MIL OSI Translation. Region: Russian Federation –
– Mikhail Mikhailovich, it is obvious that the military-political situation around Russia is becoming more and more tense. On February 16, another “Russian invasion of Ukraine” did not take place, which, based on “reliable intelligence”, was announced in advance in Washington. At the same time, the United States and, under its leadership, the NATO countries continue to build up their military grouping near our borders. So who is really threatening whom?
Mikhail Popov: The belligerent statements of certain politicians of Western countries addressed to us are not new to us, and we know perfectly well what they are worth.
Another thing is that these statements today are accompanied by references to “intelligence data” received from no one knows where about the alleged readiness of Russian troops to invade Ukraine, an unbridled propaganda campaign and specific military activities.
Back in the 19th century, the famous Russian publicist, poet, one of the leaders of the Slavophile movement, Ivan Sergeevich Aksakov, said: “If whistling and uproar rises about Russia’s lust for power and conquest, know that some Western European power is preparing a shameless seizure of someone’s or foreign land.
Since then, in fact, nothing has changed, only now all the warlike aspirations of the European countries are strictly controlled and directed by their overseas “big brother” – the United States.
In essence, a carefully planned complex, multifaceted information operation is being carried out against Russia within the framework of the “hybrid war” concept so beloved in the West. The same picture was observed on the eve of the US invasion of Iraq.
The same “irrefutable intelligence data” about the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the unforgettable test tube in the hands of Colin Powell at a meeting of the UN Security Council.
– And this time the imaginary Russian threat is used?
Mikhail Popov: Yes. And under this pretext, the Americans forced their NATO allies to rally their ranks and demanded that they significantly increase the transfer of weapons and ammunition to Ukraine. Thus, European countries will be tied with responsibility for the very likely provocations against the DPR and LPR by Kiev, including with the use of all kinds of nationalist formations and mercenaries.
Washington demanded that its allies also urgently deploy troops transferred from the United States on their territories and agree to additional deployment of American military contingents in the future. That is, the timid attempts of a number of Western European countries to show independence are countered by the readiness of the United States to tighten control on the European continent through its expanded military presence.
At the same time, an obvious attempt is being made to limit the scale of the planned operational and combat training of the Russian Armed Forces, as well as to put under control any movements of our troops on national territory.
In general, one gets the impression that one of the goals of this US operation is to divert attention from its own problems, of which there are many, as well as from the implementation of Washington’s plans to revive its rapidly losing dominance in the world. What exactly can be discussed, it will soon become clear. One such manifestation may be the decisions of the upcoming NATO summit scheduled for late June 2022 in Madrid. It is expected to adopt a new strategic concept for the block, which will reflect the changed security conditions. We can see in which direction the US and its allies are changing these security conditions.
– According to official reports from the Ukrainian authorities, the United States alone supplied Kiev with more than 650 tons of various so-called “defensive” weapons and ammunition, some of which have already appeared in the area of Donetsk and Lugansk. How can one not recall here the classic Chekhov remark that if in the first act of the play there is a gun hanging on the wall, then in the next it should nevertheless fire.
Mikhail Popov: Saturation, or rather, oversaturation of Ukraine with various types of weapons, unfortunately, can cause some leaders of the military department of this country, as well as representatives of nationalist groups located in areas bordering the Luhansk and Donetsk republics, the illusion of “invincibility” and push them to provoking an open military clash.
When so many armed forces and military equipment are concentrated in the region, one accidental shot is enough for an armed conflict to flare up with renewed vigor. The supply of so-called “defensive” weapons to the Ukrainian army by a number of Western countries demonstrates the disdainful attitude of these states towards the lives of ordinary Ukrainians located on both sides of the conflict in the east of the country.
– Not so long ago, German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said on Deutschlandfunk radio that the West should be more decisive in deterring Russia, demonstrating its readiness to use nuclear weapons. How would you comment on the statement of the German minister?
Mikhail Popov: A rather irresponsible statement by an official of this level. Moreover, given that Germany itself does not possess nuclear weapons, this statement can be seen as a call to the United States to use its nuclear capabilities, including tactical nuclear weapons deployed at forward bases in NATO countries.
An official of this level must understand that in the event of the use of nuclear weapons, US facilities on the territory of Germany will become the object of a retaliatory or retaliatory nuclear strike. It would be interesting to hear the answer to the question: “In the event of a nuclear apocalypse, will the surviving voters forgive such a short-sighted behavior of their country’s defense minister?”
And few people, except for specialists, think about the fact that modern systems quite quickly detect the fact of a missile launch, but they cannot identify whether they carry nuclear weapons. Therefore, in a tense military-political situation, any missile launch can be classified as a nuclear strike.
– Unlike Russia and other countries, the United States has entangled the whole world with a web of its military bases. And at the same time, they do not consider it necessary to explain why this is necessary and who threatens them?
Mikhail Popov: You are right. The Pentagon has deployed and is constantly improving the system of forward basing of American troops, which is the largest in the world in terms of scope, composition of the forces and assets involved, as well as the cost of maintaining it. Currently, the US armed forces in 58 foreign countries have up to 900 military facilities. The most important of them are the objects of naval bases, air bases and airfields of the permanent basing of the Air Force and Navy aviation, as well as the points of deployment of the ground forces and marines.
The cost of their maintenance is about 25 billion dollars annually. In order to ensure a rapid buildup of groupings of troops and forces on the territory of allied foreign states, including near the Russian border, stocks of material and technical equipment and the necessary infrastructure have been created to receive formations and reinforcement units.
– Moreover, American troops are stationed tens of thousands of kilometers from the United States itself, in Europe, for example. Is it really to protect allies from imaginary threats?
Mikhail Popov: Their main goal in Europe is to create a constant threat to our country. To this end, a significant grouping of the US armed forces has been formed in the region, numbering more than 60,000 military personnel, 200 tanks, and about 150 combat aircraft. Since 2014, the Pentagon has been implementing the Deterrence of Aggression in Europe anti-Russian program, which annually spends $4-5 billion from the US military budget. Pay attention to the name of this program, which has a significant informational and propaganda meaning, aimed at creating the image of the “US peacemaker”.
A forced response to these threats requires financial and material resources from Russia, which we could use for the further development of our country. Thus, the presence of American troops and aggressive policy inflict certain financial and economic damage on Russia.
Over the past seven years, there has been a significant increase in the composition and combat capabilities of the American group of troops and forces. The number of US ground forces in Europe has increased by 30 percent, the number of armored vehicles has quadrupled. In addition, tactical nuclear weapons are maintained in readiness for use, and the capabilities of the European segment of the US global missile defense system are being built up.
It is impossible not to note the significant activation of the US armed forces in the western strategic direction. In particular, in the last year alone, the intensity of flights by American strategic bombers near the Russian borders has increased by 40 percent.
The intensity of conducting aerial reconnaissance has almost doubled in order to identify the possibility of breaking through the Russian zones of restricted (prohibited) access, primarily in the Kaliningrad region and the Crimea. The provocative activity of NATO ships in the Black Sea zone continues.
– And what is known about Washington’s military activity in the Arctic?
Mikhail Popov: In the Arctic, the United States seeks to challenge the legal rights of Russia, to gain unhindered access to the resources of the region and to the Northern Sea Route. Based on this, over the past two years, the Arctic strategies of the Departments of Defense, Army, Air Force and Navy have been adopted in the United States.
In addition, the United States in the Arctic provides for the expansion of its military presence through the deployment of American destroyers URO in the Barents Sea, the construction of three new heavy icebreakers by 2027, the creation of new facilities and naval bases, as well as in the long term “Arctic division”.
– Dozens of military bases of the Pentagon are located in the Asia-Pacific region, is there also someone threatening American interests?
Mikhail Popov: To date, the largest grouping of American troops has been created in the region, including in Japan, the Republic of Korea and on the island of Guam. More than 200 US military installations operate in the region, including more than 50 military bases.
The main goal of the military policy of the United States in the Asia-Pacific region is to create a threat to China, Russia and the DPRK. To this end, the Deterrence of Aggression in the Pacific Zone program has been implemented since 2020, for which about $5-7 billion is allocated annually.
– Washington accuses our country of escalating the situation not only on the border with Ukraine, but also in Europe as a whole. US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said: “Recent history has already taught us a lesson – if the Russians are in your house, it is sometimes very difficult to get them to leave,” referring to the introduction of a limited peacekeeping contingent of CSTO troops into Kazakhstan.
Mikhail Popov: When people turn to Russia for help, they will definitely respond. There are many examples of this from our history. Let me remind you that the CSTO peacekeeping contingent was brought into Kazakhstan by a unanimous collective decision and at the invitation of the President of this country, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, after protests in a number of regions turned into bloody clashes. Tokayev said that the country was attacked by terrorists and in fact compared the protests to external aggression.
At the same time, the Russian military in Kazakhstan was not involved in the implementation of operational and combat activities of local law enforcement agencies and army units.
In this case, I would like to ask the same Blinken: who invited the United States to Syria, Afghanistan or Iraq? The list of countries subjected to American invasion and plunder can be listed for a long time. The United States, according to experts, after the end of World War II unleashed or took part in more than 200 wars and armed conflicts, that is, 3-4 armed conflicts a year. Does this speak of the peace-loving policy of Washington?
– The United States has long and firmly ranked first in the world in terms of defense spending. The Pentagon’s budget is more than 10 times that of the Russian Defense Ministry. And the total military spending of NATO countries exceeds Russia’s by more than 20 times. How do Western leaders justify such gigantic defense spending to their taxpayers?
Mikhail Popov: With a colossal military budget, the US leadership considers it possible to ensure its military presence in all regions of the world where Washington may have an economic interest. Hotbeds of political and military tension are being created there, which allows the United States to maintain the necessary level of controllability in the regions under its control.
In addition, this allows you to show your flag to other world players who could claim some economic preferences from these territories. Justifying the huge US military budget from year to year involves maintaining the appearance of an imminent war with other major powers, primarily Russia, which systematically results in provocative actions.
– Europe is forced to follow the policy of Washington, repeating aggressive rhetoric and providing its territory for the deployment of military bases. What could this mean for Europe itself?
Mikhail Popov: Let’s recall some pages of history. The result of the First World War was the destruction of many hundreds of European cities, the death of more than 18 million people, 55 million wounded. Four empires of that time ceased to exist – German, Austro-Hungarian, Russian and Ottoman. At the same time, the US got rich.
World War II – all of Europe is in ruins, more than 60 million people died, and the United States again got rich, and in the literal sense of the word. They sold equipment and raw materials for gold and platinum to both warring parties, took the gold reserves of a number of European countries “for storage”, and only France managed to return them back. This, subsequently, cost Charles de Gaulle the presidency of the country.
The role of Western Europe in world politics has significantly weakened. And the United States solved many of its economic issues and carried out long-term economic and political expansion into European countries and around the world. They became the “world gendarme”. Today’s anti-Russian hysteria is aimed not only at curbing the economic development of our country. Washington’s desire to financially tie European partners to its expensive military developments, as well as to impose on them the products of its military-industrial and oil and gas complex, is coming to the fore.
In this regard, let me remind you that if war is the continuation of politics by other, violent means, then politics is a concentrated expression of the economy.
– So, will we be able to save such a fragile peace?
Mikhail Popov: Despite the tense military-political situation, I want to believe and hope that reason and common sense will prevail over the global ambitions and overconfidence of our Western opponents. The world is confidently and steadily becoming multipolar. Western leaders must be clear that Russia is not their enemy. It is better to be friends and trade with Russia, but this must be done honestly, on an equal footing and with mutual respect.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and/or sentence structure not be perfect.