Retired Army Gen. Richard Cody, a vice president at L-3 Communications, the seventh largest U.S. defense contractor, explained to shareholders in December that the industry was faced with a historic opportunity. Following the end of the Cold War, Cody said, peace had “pretty much broken out all over the world,” with Russia in decline and NATO nations celebrating. “The Wall came down,” he said, and “all defense budgets went south.”
Now, Cody argued, Russia “is resurgent” around the world, putting pressure on U.S. allies. “Nations that belong to NATO are supposed to spend 2 percent of their GDP on defense,” he said, according to a transcript of his remarks. “We know that uptick is coming and so we postured ourselves for it.”
An extraordinary demarche came at the weekend from the German foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier. In an interview with Bild am Sonntag newspaper, he accused Nato – an alliance, lest we forget, of which Germany is a member – of “sabre-rattling and war-mongering” by staging military manoeuvres close to Russia’s borders. This, he said, was not the way to treat Russia; it was time to restart dialogue.
The implications of these advances are far-reaching for all military powers, but none more so than the UK, which depends on the invisibility and stealth of submarines for its Trident nuclear missiles. The government is in the process of placing a £31bn gamble that its submarines will stay invisible for the foreseeable future – a bet that might be splitting the Labour party but is little debated outside it. Yet these developments could drastically change the debate: from whether an independent British nuclear deterrent is good, bad or necessary, to whether Trident would even function as a deterrent in the long term. Continue reading
On Europe, Mr Carter said increased funds would allow greater numbers of troops to be deployed to European bases, as well as more training and exercises with allies.
“We’re taking a strong and balanced approach to deter Russian aggression,” he said. “We haven’t had to worry about this for 25 years, and while I wish it were otherwise, now we do.” …
The Pentagon’s proposed 2017 defence budget will include $3.4bn for its European Reassurance Initiative – up from $789m for the current budget year. Continue reading
The central nuclear observation of the report is thatNATO nuclear forces do not have much credibility in protecting the Baltic States against a Russian attack.
That conclusion is, to say the least, interesting given the extent to which some analysts and former/current officials have been arguing that NATO/US need to have more/better limited regional nuclear options to counter Russia in Europe. Continue reading
In Seumas Milnes’s piece ‘The demonisation of Russia risks paving the way for war‘, he argues that “Ukraine – along with Isis – is being used to revive the doctrines of liberal interventionism and even neoconservatism, discredited on the killing fields of Iraq and Afghanistan.” Hundreds of US troops are arriving in Ukraine and Britain is sending 75 military advisers of its own. This is a direct violation of last month’s Minsk agreement, negotiated with France and Germany – Article 10 requires the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Ukraine.
But when the latest Minsk ceasefire breaks down, as it surely will, there is a real risk that Ukraine’s proxy conflict could turn into full-scale international war.
Ukraine is now divided and Russia has occupied Crimea. The following information and analyses were quite helpful for me to understand the situation and shape my thoughts.