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Bipolar world again? When? Soon!





smarter
After the economic boom of the recent years, Russia is showing its political might.

Russia is claiming the North Pole, in fact the rich oil and gas reserves from the bed of the Arctic Ocean:

http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/node/5698

http://washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070801/FOREIGN/108010100/1001&template=nextpage
Quote:

This expedition reflects an intense rivalry among Russia, the United States, Canada and other nations whose shores face the northern polar ocean for the Arctic's icebound riches.


http://en.rian.ru/russia/20070801/70127765.html
Quote:

The dive is expected to gather scientific data, and is seen as a publicity stunt designed to prop up Russia's claim to about 460,000 square miles of the territory, which the country says is the continuation of its continental shelf and contains 25% of the world's oil and gas reserves, according to a U.S. survey, made accessible by the receding of polar ice due to global warming.


I think in the next decades we will see a politically stronger Russia comparable to Cold War times.
smarter
A Russian admiral declared yesterday that Russia should restore its permanent naval presence in the Mediterranean.

A Russian journalist who claimed that new moorings were being built in Latakia and Tartus in Syria died mysteriously falling from a building in Moscow this year.

Quote:

Washington will be watching both developments with concern.

Yesterday it bluntly warned Moscow that any attempt to claim sovereignty over the Arctic would not be tolerated after Russia planted its national flag under the North Pole on Thursday.


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/08/04/wruss104.xml

Forget small time conflicts like that from Middle East! Forget war on terrorists! Ominous clouds are slowly gathering...
smarter
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070808/ap_on_sc/russia_arctic_grab;_ylt=AlZGl5BJXbD.D7IjvTdYwQfQOrgF
Quote:

Moscow has sought to position itself as a force to be reckoned with in international disputes from Middle East peacemaking to U.S. plans for a missile defense system in Eastern Europe, seeking to reclaim much of the clout it had when it was the capital of the Soviet empire.

Russia's bold and sometimes confrontational positions have brought it increasingly at odds with the West.

Ties with Britain plummeted Moscow refused to send a Russian businessman to England for trial in the poisoning death of former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko.

Relations between Washington and Moscow are at their lowest level in years because of disputes including the final status of Kosovo and U.S. plans to put missile defense elements in former Soviet bloc countries.

Last month, Putin suspended Russia's participation in a key Soviet-era arms control treaty for Europe and threatened to withdraw from it completely.


If you think all these are just for show, you are wrong. Russia will surpass its Soviet era capabilities in maximum 10 years.

A quote from CIA World Factbook 2007:
Quote:

Over the past several years, Russia has used its stabilization fund based on oil taxes to prepay all Soviet-era sovereign debt to Paris Club creditors and the IMF.
Oil export earnings have allowed Russia to increase its foreign reserves from $12 billion in 1999 to some $315 billion at yearend 2006, the third largest reserves in the world.
smarter
http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/europe/08/17/russia.airforce.reut/

Quote:

President Vladimir Putin said Russia sent 14 bomber aircraft on patrols far beyond its own territory on Friday, marking the permanent return to a Soviet-era practice.

Putin said the resumption of flights was a response to security threats posed by other military powers.

"We have decided to restore flights by Russian strategic aviation on a permanent basis," Putin told reporters at joint military exercises with China and four Central Asian states in Russia's Ural mountains.

"Today, August 17 at 00:00 hours, 14 strategic bombers took to the air from seven airfields across the country, along with support and refueling aircraft.

"In 1992, Russia unilaterally ended flights by its strategic aircraft to distant military patrol areas. Unfortunately, our example was not followed by everyone.

"Flights by other countries' strategic aircraft continue and this creates certain problems for ensuring the security of the Russian Federation," Putin said.


It seems stupid Bush really annoyed Putin by ignoring Russia's opposition to the American "strategic missile shield" from Poland and Czech Republic.

After 15 years, Russia resumes a Soviet-era practice: regular patrols of strategic bombers far beyond Russian territory.
tidruG
prole, actually, it's not spam. It's a genuine news story he's been posting and following since August 03 :)

This is actually quite interesting. To be very honest, I don't know how much it would help Russia to gain control of the North Pole, though... you say it's rich in gas and oil, so that's probably going to strengthen their economy even more (If they can get someone to go make oilfields there)
Soulfire
Russia is asking for war. No, begging for war.
tidruG
And I suppose you'll justify it if the US obliges and starts World War 3?
Moonspider
tidruG wrote:
And I suppose you'll justify it if the US obliges and starts World War 3?


What ball park's left field did that come from?

I think Soulfire is simply saying that Russia is behaving in a manner that increases the likelihood of war (certainly another cold war, "Cold War II," if you like.) The U.S. did not start the first Cold War, and it certainly doesn't look like the U.S. is behaving in an antagonistic manner toward Russia now. Yet Putin seems to be pushing with a potential territory grab and placing nuclear-armed bombers on routine patrols again, just like the Cold War era bombers flying at their "fail-safe" points.

It seems very aggressive. However, the Russian nuclear missile force ceased to be a deterrent several years ago, so in a sense the bomber patrols are nothing more than a temporary means of restoring the nuclear deterrent until their missile capability can be restored and upgraded. Most people do not realize that for the past several years (perhaps even a decade) the U.S. has had the ability to completely annihilate Russia with a nuclear strike without fear of a counterattack. That is how poorly the Russian strategic capability has deteriorated.

Respectfully,
M
tidruG
Quote:
I think Soulfire is simply saying that Russia is behaving in a manner that increases the likelihood of war
Maybe you should read his statement again. To me, it looks like he's implying that if a war breaks out, it's because Russia asked, no no... begged for war. I simply replied to what appeared to me to be an idiotic statement with another idiotic statement.

Anyway, I agree with the bit of your post about the likelihood of another Cold War.
I have not been following US or Russian policies and actions in the past few months, so I won't comment on whether the US has done anything to antagonize Russia or not. I also will not comment about your assumption (because of your lack of evidence to prove it) about Russia's lame-duck nuclear/strategic capabilities, simply because I don't really know much about yours or their nuclear and/or military might.

And also, I don't think the US would be stupid enough to assume it can launch a nuclear strike and "annihilate" Russia without having other countries jump into the fray. Too many countries have the nuclear know-how to attack and vastly destroy other countries now. It's just a question of who blinks first before half the world's population is going to feel the brunt of nuclear destruction.
Moonspider
tidruG wrote:
Anyway, I agree with the bit of your post about the likelihood of another Cold War.
I have not been following US or Russian policies and actions in the past few months, so I won't comment on whether the US has done anything to antagonize Russia or not. I also will not comment about your assumption (because of your lack of evidence to prove it) about Russia's lame-duck nuclear/strategic capabilities, simply because I don't really know much about yours or their nuclear and/or military might.


Sorry for the lack of reference. My statement was based on an article pubilshed in Foreign Affairs in the spring of 2006 by Keir Lieber and Daryl Press. Here is a link:

The Rise of U.S. Nuclear Primacy

tidruG wrote:
And also, I don't think the US would be stupid enough to assume it can launch a nuclear strike and "annihilate" Russia without having other countries jump into the fray. Too many countries have the nuclear know-how to attack and vastly destroy other countries now. It's just a question of who blinks first before half the world's population is going to feel the brunt of nuclear destruction.


I don't think the U.S. would either, but that is not the point. The point is that the U.S. is in a position of absolute dominance strategically and therefore there is currently no such thing as Mutual Assured Destruction with regard to the United States. Sure, if China or Russia launched a strategic attack on the U.S., "MAD" would apply. But the opposite is not true, so the article argues.

The importance of that lies in Russia (or China's) freedom of action internationally. Take the Berlin Airlift for example, the USSR could not push the issue in that standoff because it had no nulcear weapons. The U.S. dominated because it did have nuclear weapons. Now Russia finds itself in the same strategic position as it was when it had no nuclear weapons when up against the United States. Its options on the world stage are limited by U.S. dominance. They do not have as much freedom of action because they are incapable of posing a strategic threat to the United States.

Its all about nuclear weapons capabilities but has nothing to do with nuclear war, but the fear or threat of it. It's currently the United States' trump card.

Respectfully,
M
tidruG
Then I do not find it very surprising at all that the US is trying so hard to get countries to ratify the NPT or the CTBT. Dominance. It does irritate a bit, but I'll leave that for another thread.

Quote:
One's views on the implications of this change will depend on one's theoretical perspective. Hawks, who believe that the United States is a benevolent force in the world, will welcome the new nuclear era because they trust that U.S. dominance in both conventional and nuclear weapons will help deter aggression by other countries. For example, as U.S. nuclear primacy grows, China's leaders may act more cautiously on issues such as Taiwan, realizing that their vulnerable nuclear forces will not deter U.S. intervention -- and that Chinese nuclear threats could invite a U.S. strike on Beijing's arsenal. But doves, who oppose using nuclear threats to coerce other states and fear an emboldened and unconstrained United States, will worry. Nuclear primacy might lure Washington into more aggressive behavior, they argue, especially when combined with U.S. dominance in so many other dimensions of national power. Finally, a third group -- owls, who worry about the possibility of inadvertent conflict -- will fret that U.S. nuclear primacy could prompt other nuclear powers to adopt strategic postures, such as by giving control of nuclear weapons to lower-level commanders, that would make an unauthorized nuclear strike more likely -- thereby creating what strategic theorists call "crisis instability."

I didn't read that whole article, sorry, but that paragraph interests me. I suppose I come somewhere between a dove and a hawk. The US has already cast a hegemony over most things in this world, ranging from movies, music to military and foreign policy control.
smarter
Moonspider wrote:
... and it certainly doesn't look like the U.S. is behaving in an antagonistic manner toward Russia now. Yet Putin seems to be pushing with a potential territory grab and ...


I think the new "strategic missile shield" the Americans started to build in Europe is doing just that: antagonizing Russia. Bush/US is provoking Putin/Russia not the other way around.

Moonspider wrote:
However, the Russian nuclear missile force ceased to be a deterrent several years ago ... Most people do not realize that for the past several years (perhaps even a decade) the U.S. has had the ability to completely annihilate Russia with a nuclear strike without fear of a counterattack.
...
My statement was based on an article pubilshed in Foreign Affairs in the spring of 2006 by Keir Lieber and Daryl Press.


It seems you misinterpret that article. Based on results given by "a computer model of a hypothetical U.S. attack on Russia's nuclear arsenal using the standard unclassified formulas that defense analysts have used for decades" the authors claim that
Quote:
... the age of MAD is nearing an end. Today, for the first time in almost 50 years, the United States stands on the verge of attaining nuclear primacy. It will probably soon be possible for the United States to destroy the long-range nuclear arsenals of Russia or China with a first strike.


Also their conclusion is doubted by other analysts (see replies to that article)

I am not so quick to dismiss the Russians. Their technology is generally old, "crude", but effective (compare Soyuz to the American space shuttles; not military but good showcase for "old" technology) and I guess their industrial espionage is still strong. They are lacking only money.

And even if US gains nuclear primacy (survival after nuclear war if "Amerika" strikes first) I seriously doubt that not even one of the many thousands Russian nuclear weapons will obliterate an American city.
Moonspider
smarter wrote:
Moonspider wrote:
... and it certainly doesn't look like the U.S. is behaving in an antagonistic manner toward Russia now. Yet Putin seems to be pushing with a potential territory grab and ...


I think the new "strategic missile shield" the Americans started to build in Europe is doing just that: antagonizing Russia. Bush/US is provoking Putin/Russia not the other way around.


I beg to differ, but its a matter of opinion. Our anti-missile systems can be overwhelmed. Therefore they don't pose a threat to Russia once Russia brings its systems back to Cold War reliability levels.

smarter wrote:
Moonspider wrote:
]However, the Russian nuclear missile force ceased to be a deterrent several years ago ... Most people do not realize that for the past several years (perhaps even a decade) the U.S. has had the ability to completely annihilate Russia with a nuclear strike without fear of a counterattack.
...
My statement was based on an article pubilshed in Foreign Affairs in the spring of 2006 by Keir Lieber and Daryl Press.


It seems you misinterpret that article.


I had not read the article since it was published over a year ago, so my memory took liberties with it! I realized my error after I found the article online. I wrote my original comment before reading the article again.

Respectfully,
M
smarter
INTRO

I started this topic as a reaction to the widespread opinion that in the next decades China will become the one and only competitor to the US on the world scene.

My opinion is very different: forget China, pay attention to Russia. Major players in 2020:
economy: EU, US, China, Japan, Russia
military: US, Russia, EU
technology: US, EU, Russia, Japan
------------------------------------
politics: US (interventionist role), Russia (aggressive opposition to US), EU (neutral, mediator between the other two)
disqualified: Japan (lack of military), China (lack of technology and military)

SOME DETAILS

As a confirmation/continuation of my previous posts, Russia tested the most powerful non-nuclear bomb on September 11 (coincidence?).

Russians claim it is 4 times more powerful than the American's "The mother of all bombs". The blast radius is 300 m. The power of 7.8-tons bomb is the equivalent of 44 tons of TNT.

Compared to an atomic bomb, its explosive power is insignificant. The Hiroshima bomb was the equivalent to 13000 tons of TNT and Russian's Tsar Bomb (1961, biggest man-made explosion ever) about 50,000,000 tons of TNT. However this bomb can annihilate a small town without the long-term destruction of a nuclear explosion.

link: The Father of All Bombs

2 quotes from the article:
Quote:
Last night's announcement comes at a time of growing tension between Russia and the west, and follows a tumultuous eight months in which Vladimir Putin has denounced US power, torn up a conventional arms agreement with Nato, and grabbed a large, if symbolic, chunk of the Arctic.

Last month Russia carried out a series of war games with China and four other central Asian states, designed to show the country's resurgent military power and the emergence of new regional alliances outside Nato. Russia's strategic nuclear bombers also resumed patrols of the Arctic, Pacific and Atlantic oceans.

Quote:
The new bomb comes at a time when both Russia and the US appear to be reneging on nuclear arms limitation treaties signed during the cold war and after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Yesterday the head of a Russian foreign policy thinktank warned that Russia and the US were on the brink of a new cold war involving "an unrestricted nuclear and conventional arms race".


QUICK CONCLUSION

Pay attention to Russia!
horseatingweeds
I get the feeling any real fighting may be between Russia and China. Russia has few people and its population growth isn't increasing. They also have vast resources. China has droves of people needing resources and few of their own.

The reason Russia is growing strong economically, like China, is capitalism. Causing trouble for the US will harm this, but keeping its power apparent to the US will protect it.

The freedom in Russia would also cause a problem for the leadership to behave the way the USSR did. The North Pole thing will likely be all political with an eventual compromise – hopefully. But war has started over less.

The “father” bomb isn’t some big new thing. It’s just a bid version of the US bomb. Anyway, both bombs need a lumbering cargo plane to deliver them.
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