PEPE ESCOBAR: You Say You Want a (Russian) Revolution?

Andrei Martyanov’s latest book provides unceasing evidence about the kind of lethality waiting for U.S. forces in a possible, future war against real armies (not the Taliban or Saddam Hussein’s).

By Pepe Escobar
in Moscow
Special to Consortium News

Once in a blue moon an indispensable book comes out making a clear case for sanity in what is now a post-MAD world. That’s the responsibility carried by The (Real) Revolution in Military Affairs,” by Andrei Martyanov (Clarity Press), arguably the most important book of 2019.

Martyanov is the total package — and he comes with extra special attributes as a top-flight Russian military analyst, born in Baku in those Back in the U.S.S.R. days, living and working in the U.S., and writing and blogging in English.

Right from the start, Martyanov wastes no time destroying not only Fukuyama’s and Huntington’s ravings but especially Graham Allison’s childish and meaningless Thucydides Trap argument — as if the power equation between the U.S. and China in the 21stcentury could be easily interpreted in parallel to Athens and Sparta slouching towards the Peloponnesian War over 2,400 years ago. What next? Xi Jinping as the new Genghis Khan?

(By the way, the best current essay on Thucydides is in Italian, by Luciano Canfora (“Tucidide: La Menzogna, La Colpa, L’Esilio”). No Trap. Martyanov visibly relishes defining the Trap as a “figment of the imagination” of people who “have a very vague understanding of real warfare in the 21st century.” No wonder Xi explicitly said the Trap does not exist.)

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Martyanov had already detailed in his splendid, previous book, “Losing Military Supremacy: The Myopia of American Strategic Planning,” how “American lack of historic experience with continental warfare” ended up “planting the seeds of the ultimate destruction of the American military mythology of the 20thand 21stcenturies which is foundational to the American decline, due to hubris and detachment of reality.” Throughout the book, he unceasingly provides solid evidence about the kind of lethality waiting for U.S. forces in a possible, future war against real armies (not the Taliban or Saddam Hussein’s), air forces, air defenses and naval power.

Do the Math

One of the key takeaways is the failure of U.S. mathematical models: and readers of the book do need to digest quite a few mathematical equations. The key point is that this failure led the U.S. “on a continuous downward spiral of diminishing military capabilities against the nation [Russia] she thought she defeated in the Cold War.”

In the U.S., Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) was introduced by the late Andrew Marshall, a.k.a. Yoda, the former head of Net Assessment at the Pentagon and the de facto inventor of the “pivot to Asia” concept. Yet Martyanov tells us that RMA actually started as MTR (Military-Technological Revolution), introduced by Soviet military theoreticians back in the 1970s.

One of the staples of RMA concerns nations capable of producing land-attack cruise missiles, a.k.a. TLAMs. As it stands, only the U.S., Russia, China and France can do it. And there are only two global systems providing satellite guidance to cruise missiles: the American GPS and the Russian GLONASS. Neither China’s BeiDou nor the European Galileo qualify – yet – as global GPS systems.

Then there’s Net-Centric Warfare (NCW). The term itself was coined by the late Admiral Arthur Cebrowski in 1998 in an article he co-wrote with John Garstka’s titled, “Network-Centric Warfare – Its Origin and Future.”

Deploying his mathematical equations, Martyanov soon tells us that “the era of subsonic anti-shipping missiles is over.” NATO, that brain-dead organism (copyright Emmanuel Macron) now has to face the supersonic Russian P-800 Onyx and the Kalibr-class M54 in a “highly hostile Electronic Warfare environment.” Every developed modern military today applies Net-Centric Warfare (NCW), developed by the Pentagon in the 1990s.

Rendering of a future combat systems network. (soldiersmediacenter/Flickr, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons)

Martyanov mentions in his new book something that I learned on my visit to Donbass in March 2015: how NCW principles, “based on Russia’s C4ISR capabilities made available by the Russian military to numerically inferior armed forces of the Donbass Republics (LDNR), were used to devastating effect both at the battles of Ilovaisk and Debaltsevo, when attacking the cumbersome Soviet-era Ukrainian Armed Forces military.”

No Escape From the Kinzhal

Martyanov provides ample information on Russia’s latest missile – the hypersonic Mach-10 aero-ballistic Kinzhal, recently tested in the Arctic.

Crucially, as he explains, “no existing anti-missile defense in the U.S. Navy is capable of shooting [it] down even in the case of the detection of this missile.” Kinzhal has a range of 2,000 km, which leaves its carriers, MiG-31K and TU-22M3M, “invulnerable to the only defense a U.S. Carrier Battle Group, a main pillar of U.S. naval power, can mount – carrier fighter aircraft.” These fighters simply don’t have the range.

The Kinzhal was one of the weapons announced by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s game-changing March 1, 2018 speech at the Federal Assembly. That’s the day, Martyanov stresses, when the real RMA arrived, and “changed completely the face of peer-peer warfare, competition and global power balance dramatically.”

Top Pentagon officials such as General John Hyten,  vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs, have admitted on the record there are “no existing countermeasures” against, for instance, the hypersonic, Mach 27 glide vehicle Avangard (which renders anti-ballistic missile systems useless), telling the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee the only way out would be “a nuclear deterrent.” There are also no existing counter-measures against anti-shipping missiles such as the Zircon and Kinzhal.

Any military analyst knows very well how the Kinzhal destroyed a land target the size of a Toyota Corolla in Syria after being launched 1,000 km away in adverse weather conditions. The corollary is the stuff of NATO nightmares: NATO’s command and control installations in Europe are de facto indefensible.

Martyanov gets straight to the point: “The introduction of hypersonic weapons surely pours some serious cold water on the American obsession with securing the North American continent from retaliatory strikes.”

Kh-47M2 Kinzhal; 2018 Moscow Victory Day Parade. (Kremilin via Wikimedia Commons)

Martyanov is thus unforgiving on U.S. policymakers who “lack the necessary tool-kit for grasping the unfolding geostrategic reality in which the real revolution in military affairs … had dramatically downgraded the always inflated American military capabilities and continues to redefine U.S. geopolitical status away from its self-declared hegemony.”

And it gets worse: “Such weapons ensure a guaranteed retaliation [Martyanov’s italics] on the U.S. proper.” Even the existing Russian nuclear deterrents – and to a lesser degree Chinese, as paraded recently — “are capable of overcoming the existing U.S. anti-ballistic systems and destroying the United States,” no matter what crude propaganda the Pentagon is peddling.

In February 2019, Moscow announced the completion of tests of a nuclear-powered engine for the Petrel cruise missile. This is a subsonic cruise missile with nuclear propulsion that can remain in air for quite a long time, covering intercontinental distances, and able to attack from the most unexpected directions. Martyanov mischievously characterizes the Petrel as “a vengeance weapon in case some among American decision-makers who may help precipitate a new world war might try to hide from the effects of what they have unleashed in the relative safety of the Southern Hemisphere.”

Hybrid War Gone Berserk

Beijing parade celebrating the 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic, October 2019. (YouTube screenshot)

A section of the book expands on China’s military progress, and the fruits of the Russia-China strategic partnership, such as Beijing buying $3 billion-worth of S-400 Triumph anti-aircraft missiles — “ideally suited to deal with the exact type of strike assets the United States would use in case of a conventional conflict with China.”

Because of the timing, the analysis does not even take into consideration the arsenal presented in early October at the Beijing parade celebrating the 70thanniversary of the People’s Republic.

That includes, among other things, the “carrier-killer” DF-21D, designed to hit warships at sea at a range of up to 1,500 km; the intermediate range “Guam Killer” DF-26; the DF-17 hypersonic missile; and the long-range submarine-launched and ship-launched YJ-18A anti-ship cruise missiles. Not to mention the DF-41 ICBM – the backbone of China’s nuclear deterrent, capable of reaching the U.S. mainland carrying multiple warheads.

Martyanov could not escape addressing the RAND Corporation, whose reason to exist is to relentlessly push for more money for the Pentagon – blaming Russia for “hybrid war” (an American invention)  even as it moans about the U.S.’s incapacity of defeating Russia in each and every war game. RAND’s war games pitting the U.S. and allies against Russia and China invariably ended in a “catastrophe” for the “finest fighting force in the world.”

Martyanov also addresses the S-500s, capable of reaching AWACS planes and possibly even capable of intercepting hypersonic non-ballistic targets. The S-500 and its latest middle-range state of the art air-defense system S-350 Vityaz will be operational in 2020.

His key takeway: “There is no parity between Russia and the United States in such fields as air-defense, hypersonic weapons and, in general, missile development, to name just a few fields – the United States lags behind in these fields, not just in years but in generations [italics mine].”

All across the Global South, scores of nations are very much aware that the U.S. economic “order” – rather disorder – is on the brink of collapse. In contrast, a cooperative, connected, rule-based, foreign relations between sovereign nations model is being advanced in Eurasia – symbolized by the merging of the New Silk Roads, or Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the NDB (the BRICS bank).

The key guarantors of the new model are Russia and China. And Beijing and Moscow harbor no illusion whatsoever about the toxic dynamics in Washington. My recent conversations with top analysts in Kazakhstan last month and in Moscow last week once again stressed the futility of negotiating with people described – with  overlapping shades of sarcasm – as exceptionalist fanatics. Russia, China and many corners of Eurasia have figured out there are no possible, meaningful deals with a nation bent on breaking every deal.

Indispensable? No: Vulnerable

Martyanov cannot but evoke Putin’s speech to the Federal Assembly in February 2019, after the unilateral Washington abandonment of the INF treaty, clearing the way for U.S. deployment of intermediate and close range missiles stationed in Europe and pointed at Russia:

“Russia will be forced to create and deploy those types of weapons…against those regions from where we will face a direct threat, but also against those regions hosting the centers where decisions are taken on using those missile systems threatening us.”

Translation: American Invulnerability is over – for good.

In the short term, things can always get worse. At his traditional, year-end presser in Moscow, lasting almost four and a half hours, Putin stated that Russia is more than ready to “simply renew the existing New START agreement”, which is bound to expire in early 2021: “They [the U.S.] can send us the agreement tomorrow, or we can sign and send it to Washington.” And yet, “so far our proposals have been left unanswered. If the New START ceases to exist, nothing in the world will hold back an arms race. I believe this is bad.”

“Bad” is quite the euphemism. Martyanov prefers to stress how “most of the American elites, at least for now, still reside in a state of Orwellian cognitive dissonance” even as the real RMA “blew the myth of American conventional invincibility out of the water.”

Martyanov is one of the very few analysts – always from different parts of Eurasia — who have warned about the danger of the U.S. “accidentally stumbling” into a war against Russia, China, or both which is impossible to be won conventionally, “let alone through the nightmare of a global nuclear catastrophe.”

Is that enough to instill at least a modicum of sense into those who lord over that massive cash cow, the industrial-military-security complex? Don’t count on it.

Pepe Escobar, a veteran Brazilian journalist, is the correspondent-at-large for Hong Kong-based Asia Times. His latest book is 2030.” Follow him on Facebook.

 The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

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53 comments for “PEPE ESCOBAR: You Say You Want a (Russian) Revolution?

  1. bolangi
    December 26, 2019 at 15:06

    One of the possible explanations of the Fermi Paradox — If there are so many alien civilizations as we expect why haven’t we heard from them yet? — is that all these civilizations develop resources and technology, and when they achieve the ability to destroy themselves, they end their existences, and this is why we don’t hear from them.

    When you think of the hair trigger of nuclear war, it’s sobering to consider that we’ve made it this far, and that we could be atomized and poisoned at any time.

    The story of the fisherman who releases a genie from a bottle seems apropos as metaphor if not prophecy. Hearing the genie cry out from inside, with offers of riches and power, who wouldn’t be tempted to remove the seal and pull out the plug for a look at what had been promised?

  2. Chris Cosmos
    December 26, 2019 at 14:15

    The American oligarchy does not want war against credible armed forces–end of story. If the US military fights it is against minor powers, guerilla armies and so on. At most the US will hire mercenaries, as they do in Syria, install sanctions and use its domination of international finance to harass countries who will not quickly stand at attention and follow orders for whatever orders are given by Washington/Langley. Since the whole “defense” industry in the US is primarily corrupt it can’t be an effective fighting force and it, in fact, isn’t. The dominant oligarchs use external “threats” to scare the American citizenry into supporting this massive confidence game. Fortunately for them the vast majority of Americans WANT to be fooled and lied to so it works perfectly. The only danger I see is from primitive fundamentalist fanatics like Pompeo and Pence who might get a “message” from Jesus to start a nuclear war in hopes that they and their families will rise into heaven while the rest of us will be gnashing our teeth. These people really believe this and the national security system is peppered with these types alongside many Jews who believe there own fantasies of world-domination. But, as far as I know, the criminal class whose object is making money and asserting power for its own sake, i.e., the rush of domination which acts as a drug.

    Serious military planning exists and the US military knows very well the situation which is why they generally have vetoed any war with Iran. Iran knows this and acts accordingly trying to not be too obviously aggressive but, at the same time, giving out the message that they will resist the US attempt to take over Iran. Just as reference, I knew some CIA people who told me, when the Shah was in power, that Iran was a playground for the CIA. Any officer and his/her family could even commit crimes and not be charged–they had complete extra-territoriality in Iran during the Shah’s reign. Not many people know this and, for course, it was never reported in the MSM.

  3. JK Orielly
    December 26, 2019 at 12:30

    Being a retired military — Thank you for this article.
    For many years now i have told people what you state — these ‘soldiers’ couldn’t fight a war if they had to!
    These ‘soldiers’ can go house to house and raid villages like terrorist and do well. It’s like the video games they grew up on.
    But the instant they have to face real cannon fire, watch their friend fried with napalm, or see their buddy hit with a round and nothing left but a boot — well, they can’t handle it.
    Don’t say they can, because they can’t even handle the ‘terrorist’ style acts they perform now — they leave the military and commit suicide, become drug addicts of some type or go off the handle hurting friends, family or whoever and then claim ptsd. That is not a soldier — oh, please, forgive me, i mean a ‘warrior’. we no longer have soldiers who only defend but ‘warriors’ who aggressively seek out to hurt others by invasion.
    WWI, WWII, Korea, and even VietNam saw the last of our men who were soldiers. Even the later part of Nam saw less men and more boys; however, the majority of those ‘boys’ were more man than any 100 of the children put together nowdays.
    A full on WAR is not something the ‘good ole usa’ can handle in this modern era with children in control. They know it all and have done it all — thus, we are doomed should an actual war occur.
    The US ‘might’ is dependent upon technology which has been proven numerous times to be ineffective. AND, with the obamaites still in charge and the ‘mixed’ ranks, there is no winning a war.
    Sad that amerikans cannot awaken to the truth and teach their offspring values rather than accept the onslaught of hedonism & paganism via ‘immigration’

  4. December 26, 2019 at 07:24

    I’m from Syria, Syria is one of closest Russian allies, but Russia is not defending this ally against Israeli attack, indeed Russia provided great help to Syria in its war against terrorism, but the Russian position from Israeli attacks in my country gave an impression that Russia is not so strong as the USA, which is defending its allies very well, we need to see a strong and harsh Russian response to the Israeli attacks in Syria, by this way Syrians will put their trust in Russia again, believe me that it very difficult to us to convince our public audience in what you say dear Pepe,

  5. Luis Antonio Freire
    December 26, 2019 at 06:33

    … make love… not war…
    … ( remember..?
    … ( in the 60’s… … (in the 70’s…

  6. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg
    December 25, 2019 at 21:00

    Really what the US must fear most is a modern Russian equivalent of the KV1 Tank. The T34 is famous as a tank the invading Axis forces really had no equivalent to (actually they did). But th KV heavy tank was unstoppable in mid 1941. The standard divisional German antitank gun was completely incapable of dealing with this vehicle. Heavy corps-level artillery or army level heavy antiaircraft (the famed ’88’) had to be brought up to crack them. Fortunately for Germany, the KV were few in number and often suffered from transmission problems.
    The Germans realized that their adversaries were very adept at deploying weapon systems that were relatively simple (for their day). Easy to manufacture. Simple to maintain. Germany quickly copied the T34 (The famous Panther tank is a German adaptation). While all the great powers learnt from one another during the last general great power war, The Soviets went all in on systems that farmhands could quickly master, maintain and deploy. While the Soviets in WW2 had many problems that cost them dearly, they took from their WW2 experience something the US missed entirely. Like Germany, the US and Britain focused on superior technology to foil their adversary. Making a weapon that was well made and ‘advanced enough’ in tremendous quantity, brought the western allies their victory against Germany, equipped with superior engineering but insufficient material resources to bring this edge to bear. Mostly the US/UK won by floating on a ‘wave of oil’.
    Latterly, Russia has taken its WW2 lessons and essentially taken a similar approach. In the next great power war, They are looking for the weapons that will confound an invader long enough for Russia’s other advantages to be brough to bear. If there’s a full tilt nulear exchange, all bets are off.

  7. Charles Carroll
    December 25, 2019 at 12:43

    Do not be turned off by the mathematics in RRMA. You do not have to keep track of all of the variables. The military capabilities are just functions of certain factors like the economy of a nation, but the factors have to be adjusted to reality, not the distorted numbers of the establishment. E.g., like our medical system, the amount of money spent on the military is not a true reflection of its effectiveness.

  8. Charles Carroll
    December 25, 2019 at 12:27

    Martyanov’s first book. “Losing Military Supremacy . . .” was even better. I wound up reading it two more times waiting for his second book. I strongly recommend reading it first. It was like reading THE most important information about the present world conditions. If some real expert from the West (most are fake experts) cannot answer this with their own version, then Martyanov’s version of the world’s condition will continue to prevail.

  9. Jim Christian
    December 25, 2019 at 01:03

    You can tell the mood in the comments of the Papers of Record in Washington. On The Hill, an endless, shrill hatred of Putin and Russia and any suggestion of compromise, negotiation, renewal of existing treaties brings a cacophony of “Putin! Russian agent!” Same for WashPost, few thoughtful posts, always the shrill hatred of Russia and given the venues, it’s because Hillary lost. This cold war here, Jesus, it’s a thousand times worse than the Soviet era. Back then, professional, diplomatic. Today, on our side, it seems infantile, the citizens’ mood. Hopefully, there are adults in the Rooms Where Big Things Are Decided.

    Great take on Martyanov’s scribblings, Pepe’, good read. He’s a guy that needs to be read by the little people. Bettherass the Bigs here are reading him. Merry, Merry. Sir!

  10. CitizenOne
    December 22, 2019 at 20:43

    The Congress been on a MIC spending spree for anti ballistic missile defense since Reagan wanted Star Wars. Today Trump wants Space Force. One and the same. Perhaps MOSGA. Make Outer Space Great Again? So what is Russia to do? It is the oldest of military equations we have not been using at all. That equation states that an offensive or defensive weapon system will ultimately fail if there is a cheaper counter measure that neutralizes it. ABM technology is hard and expensive. Making missiles faster is cheap and also effective.

    But our military has never given a crap about making sense about anything it spends trillions of dollars on. Most of these massive programs are white elephants and will never deliver the promises they make. Especially the ABM systems. Russia could have saved the fast missiles since our systems only are able to shoot down slow ones about 25% of the time under tightly controlled test parameters that are designed to provide the optimal conditions that enable a successful intercept.

    I really think everyone in the military knows this is a fools errand but we just have to keep paying it forward to future budgets with bigger allocations for nonsense.

    The scariest part is our Congress and President are getting stupider by the day. They really may actually feel they can rely on this “protection” and remain safe. If that really takes hold then the likelihood of a first strike grows by leaps and bounds. That is why Russia has to launch all the new scary weapons. It is because our brain dead government is not afraid of mere ten megaton thermonuclear bombs any more.

    • Ron Chandler
      December 24, 2019 at 16:20

      Vladimir Putin followed up his pivotal March 1 speech with further announcements. He intimated that America’s conventional ballistic missile defence is now moot, because Russia has RETIRED its ballistic ICBMs. That means a missile will not simply be aimed, launched, and describe an arc to its target: it will be FLOWN — guided and navigable, able to deviate and avoid anti-missile defences. Also, most Russian ICBMs are now launched from MOBILE launchers, some on railcars, some hidden in freight containers on shipping — anywhere. America’s entire targeting of Russia’s missile armoury is now redundant. Even given the thickness of Yanqui skulls, it’s impossible the Pentagon is not aware of this. Just saying…

    • Jim Christian
      December 25, 2019 at 01:20

      “But our military has never given a crap about making sense about anything it spends trillions of dollars on. ”

      Yeah, this, C-1. Patrick Buchanan did a piece this week about budgets, at Taki’s. Claimed defense is merely 4.5% of the GDP. I can’t believe that. Defense production IS our GDP. It’s all we do. Sure ain’t space (outside of Defense) or commercial air. Wasting talent and resources on sub-sonic TLAMS that can be swatted like mosquitoes at 1.5 million a copy is nuts. Meh, I grew up on and lived on that to great degree in the DC region, being candid. It’s a hell of a ride if you have talent and work on the inside. Lotta money. But it’s really grift as practiced today. Ya cut right to the old nuts, CO. It has to be experienced to be believed.

    • Bob Bright
      December 25, 2019 at 13:36

      I agree with most of your comment. Having served in the U.S. Military for most of my life I have my frustrations. I have to say, for the little bit of inside knowledge I have, we have far greater technologies and weapons than you or the Russians or the idiots in Congress are aware of. Obviously we haven’t shown our cards. Those of us that served are well aware that we are all to often used as expendable. I hope you and the others who judge our Military Capabilities aren’t right and I also hope we never find out.

  11. Walter
    December 22, 2019 at 19:32

    The statement> “One of the staples of RMA concerns nations capable of producing land-attack cruise missiles, a.k.a. TLAMs. As it stands, only the U.S., Russia, China and France can do it”

    May not be true. Use searchterm “the 5000 dollar cruise missile” or “New Zealand man ‘building cruise missile in garage’

    Withal, anybody can build a fairly good cruise missile, with a range near 500 miles. The gizmo to make it effective is another matter. And it is a stupid thing to build. Do it and get caught – you won’t need a retirement plan. It’s still easy.

    • December 24, 2019 at 11:10

      The boundary between drones and cruise missiles is a bit vague. Even Yemen has shown itself to be a ‘cruise power’.

    • Ron Chandler
      December 24, 2019 at 16:24

      Certainly not true. IRAN used cruise missiles to attack an ISIS base in Iraq next to the Syrian border — only a few miles from a US Army forward base (funny, that)

  12. Drew Hunkins
    December 22, 2019 at 16:38

    Martyanov’s “Losing Military Supremacy” was spectacular. I have it on my bookshelf with vast passages highlighted and underlined.

  13. Cat
    December 22, 2019 at 15:58

    The world will eventually witness WW3 as Russia, China and U.S. (which is currently working on at least six different hypersonic programs/projects) are developing hypersonic weapons and the supremely capable USAF being already fully primed to use dial-a-yield B61 tactical nukes supposedly safe to civilians on the other two (Russia and China).

  14. ttshasta
    December 22, 2019 at 15:25

    That the US outspends others does not directly connote superiority.
    Was it not apx. $200M
    in overcharges by Halliburton for meals not delivered and fuel overcharges in Iraq?
    How many false test results and double billings are there, we may never know.
    And what of the F35, it was designed by Congress to have parts sourced from 50 states guaranteeing passage. The result; so many bells and whistles it needs constant maintanence, and its anti radar coating may melt at top speed.
    As well in hurricane Michael in Florida 22 of 55 F22s were not flown to safety in Ohio and endured the hurricane. Apparently the F22 also spends 49% of it’s time in maintenance.
    Of course we. need defense, but with accountability. Look up Catherine Austin Fitts and missing money, the Pentagon’s black hole of a budget is staggering.

  15. John Drake
    December 22, 2019 at 14:21

    Very interesting!!!
    I look at the Pentagon budget as a warped economic stimulus plan considering how many of their exotic weapons are lemons: the F-35, the USS Gerald Ford which six years after launching is still not fully ready to deploy, etc. etc. This organization can’t even complete a complete audit-or is it they don’t dare.
    They make sure their vendors are in all 50 states so any time a congress critter votes against a defense budget, he/she votes against jobs in that state.

  16. jo6pac
    December 22, 2019 at 11:06

    Thanks PE as you are an interesting read for sure. Thanks for the link to Andrei Martyanov site.

  17. December 22, 2019 at 10:27

    This is capitalism at its best. Selling the world a delusional reality. What if I told you these weapons are already obsolete? The real issue being who has more highly advanced technology that’s being held from public knowledge and what they’re going to use it towards.

    • Anna
      December 22, 2019 at 19:41

      Genuine capitalism demands expertise, technical, scientific, et cet., as well as an adherence to the unforgiving rules of responsibility. Instead, the US “deciders” are mired in incompetence and sycophancy.
      The stunning story of the Boeing 737 MAX plane tells it all, including the total lack of responsibility in the highest echelons of the “deciders.”

    • Skip Scott
      December 24, 2019 at 07:42

      One of the tenets of capitalism is competition. Efficiency and quality win the day. These “defense” corporations get “no bid” contracts to feed at the government trough. Then they take a portion of their loot to bribe congress to give them more. It’s criminal, but it’s not capitalism.

  18. SteveK9
    December 22, 2019 at 08:25

    If China and Russia want to fight the American Empire, missiles are not going to be the way. I suppose they have to keep building up conventional forces, but the idea that there could be a long-term conventional war between the US and either Russia or China, seems fanciful … nuclear weapons. America’s main weapon now is the control of international finance through the dollar and the use of the dollar in sanctions, arming proxies, paying fifth columnists. Those are the avenues that Russia and China have to block, if they want to loosen America’s hold on the World. Trump is helping quite a bit.

    • Rob
      December 23, 2019 at 11:13

      Nailed it. Both Russia and China have pursued advanced weaponry as a deterrent against U.S. aggression, not for the sake of fighting a conventional war. The message being sent to the U.S. and its allies is that there will be a heavy price to pay both at home and abroad for hostile military threats or actual attacks.

    • mark delmege
      December 24, 2019 at 20:42

      Yes SteveK9. End of time weapons for a war that can’t be won might put off that fight but wars are ongoing. I was asked once to give a talk to school kids about nuclear weapons and said I didn’t think they would be stupid enough to use them but pay attention to the real wars of today.

    • HelenB
      December 26, 2019 at 05:21

      I think Russia and China have already engaged their defences against sanctions. It’s the smaller nations that are most devastated by them. It’s economic warfare, and has in the past led to hot warfare, and will again. Meanwhile, the greedy US loses crediblity and sympathy. Most will cheer its downfall.

  19. Skip Scott
    December 22, 2019 at 08:09

    For pennies on the dollar, Russia and China have military superiority over us. It is the end of Empire, but there is no getting through to our thickheaded emperors. We have no choice but to quit insisting on our “exceptionalism”, and wage peace. All the money and manpower wasted on our 800+ military bases and bloated weapons programs could feed the world, educate our children, and transform our infrastructure into a new model of sustainability. Hubris and entrenched power structures must be overcome if we are to survive as a species.

    It is time for the latte sippers to wake up and insist on real change or their last view of the world will be mushroom clouds out the window from their stools in Starbucks. Corporate sponsored warmonger from column B will not suffice.

  20. Walter
    December 22, 2019 at 07:17

    Speaking from History Walter observed that “all war originates from Domestic interests”.

    Mikhail Alexandrov (expert) says> “…One can break through air defenses only as a result of a massive attack operation. This can be done by concentrating aviation into massive fire support.” (Pravda)

    “As soon as we can see the concentration of American aircraft on airfields in Europe – they cannot reach us in any other way – we will simply destroy those airfields by launching our medium-range ballistic missiles at those targets. Afterwards, our troops will go on offensive in the Baltic direction and take control of the entire Baltic territory within 48 hours. NATO won’t even have time to come to its senses – they will see a very powerful military buildup on the borders with Poland. Then they will have to think whether they should continue the war. As a result, all this will end with NATO losing the Baltic States,”

    Not exactly a watered-down view, eh? See also >”…According to The National Interest, a B-52 bomber of the US Air Force practiced an attack on the Kaliningrad region in March of this year….”

    This is an explicit statement by Russia – fire on opposing forces prior in time – an error Stalin made was to not trust the intel. Russia, it seems, designs to avoid that mistake the next time the nazis concentrate force.

  21. Donald Duck
    December 22, 2019 at 04:51

    There was an old song British soldiers used to sing in the trenches of Flanders and France during WW1.

    It went something like this:

    ‘Hush, here comes a whizzbang (German artillery)
    Hush, here comes a whizzbang
    Come on you solider boys
    Get down those stairs
    Into your dug out
    And say your prayers
    Hush here comes a whizzbang
    And its headed straight for you
    And you’l see all the wonders of no-man’s land
    When that whizzbang hits you.

    Now with my amendments:

    Hush here comes a Zircon
    Hush here comes a Zircon
    Come on you neo-cons
    And get down those stairss
    Into your fall-out shelters
    And say your prayers
    Hush here comes a Zircon
    And its headed straight for you
    And you’ll see all the wonders
    Of a post nuclear apoclypse
    When the Zircon hits you.


  22. curious
    December 22, 2019 at 00:05

    “The Culture of Defeat by Wolfgang Scheivelbusch, posits that in the future wars will be won when the opposing entity’s economy is destroyed or at least seriously damaged”
    China has the capability and the will to play the long game in not capitulating to the demands of the US. The current trade wars initiated and used by the US to threaten China’s independently minded progress is only party due to the trade deficit between the two countries. The real reason the US is so belligerent is that China successfully developing socialist based political system which is exposing the deep failures and lack of people oriented capitalistic system. Once the US population wakes up the this fact it will spell doom for those wealthy oligarchs ruling the US who want to keep their “gravy” train rolling. They know their time is running out.

    • Jeff Harrison
      December 22, 2019 at 21:32

      Oh, I agree completely that the US is still fighting the socialism vs capitalism wars of the early 20th century. A form of socialism is the only sensible approach. But, as Nicolas Van Rijn (see Poul Anderson’s Trader to the Stars) puts it: Oh, Governments they come and they go but greed goes on forever. But as for your thought that everybody will rise up and hang the oligarchs by the heels from the nearest light pole? Better hope not. We know what that looks like. It was the great communist wave before and after WWII. The reason it was so effective in Cuba is that Castro had all the oligarchs still in the country shot.

  23. CitizenOne
    December 21, 2019 at 23:55

    Cruise missiles deployed by the US do not depend on GPS information to find their targets. They fly by internal guidance that cannot be blocked or jammed or interfered with in any way. There is nothing else I can say other than destroying satellites or radars or even obliterating land targets such that they are unrecognizable will have no (zero) effect on a US counter strike by nuclear cruise missiles that will be highly lethal to the Russians. The triad of US defenses is based on an unstoppable and completely independent model based on unalterable and insurmountable attack strategies. If the Russians or the Chinese try to wage a preemptive strike they will need to defeat so many invincible technologies that the task becomes impossible. The US is also playing catch up with intermediate range nukes which the Russians long ago abandoned the treaty prohibiting these weapons. Intermediate Nukes pose the greatest danger for the human race since the time from launch to impact is short. That is what this article announces as an unstoppable threat but it it is not a post MAD World we live in. We live in a current MAD world where Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) is still healthy and a world where the US can still inflict extinction on any nation that chooses to launch a preemptive nuclear strike on the US. Just because the Russians chose to abandon the anti nuclear treaties does not mean they have an edge. The US has followed suit and has nullified the various treaties banning intermediate nuclear armaments and has begun testing.

    There can be little doubt that the nuclear armaments of the USA arrayed across multiple weapons platforms that use technology immune to interference by any known or unknown technology are prepared to launch a counter strike which will effectively annihilate the nation or nations that choose to use a first strike option no matter what the technology they employ to use for their advantage.

    Hyper sonic nuclear weapons developed by various nations may be a threat but there are enough missiles left in place to defeat this threat. The US will also develop the same weapons.

    If North Korea were ever to launch nuclear tipped missiles it would be obliterated. If Russia were ever to do the same it would be obliterated. If China were ever to do the same it would be obliterated.

    So what is the point of the author threatening that the US will be obliterated by new technology when the defenses the US uses rely on old tech and unstoppable means to retaliate? Who cares about whether we can survive a first strike?

    What matters is that we can mount a credible deterrence by a counter strike that will obliterate the enemy. That has not changed in the present power balance. The United States maintains the ability to mount a lethal blow to any nation that tries to attack it with nuclear weapons. Hyper sonic weapons and Russians loud announcements that they have the upper hand just amount to nothing. The facts are that even if the US was obliterated we would still have the means to obliterate Russia.

    That will keep the balance of MAD in place and also renders the article useless and devoid of any useful information.

    Nobody wants nuclear war. But if there is nuclear war then we must and will win. That is the proposition of the US government and it is also a vision that we Americans need to support.

    • Lawrence Magnuson
      December 23, 2019 at 13:16

      “But if there is nuclear war then we must and will win.” I thought you, elsewhere in your panegyric, conceded Mutual Assured Destruction?

    • Donald Duck
      December 23, 2019 at 14:01

      ”Nobody wants nuclear war. But if there is nuclear war then we must and will win. That is the proposition of the US government and it is also a vision that we Americans need to support.”

      ”Nobody wants nuclear war.”

      Really, so who moved NATO right up to Russia’s western frontiers and parked there military hardware there? Who revoked the INF treaty? Who is using Ukraine and Georgia as battering rams and forward attack bases – The same goes for Poland and Romania where the US has stationed or is stationing Intermediate Range Missiles. How would you like the Russians doing likewise in Mexico and Canada. This is the Cuban crisis in reverse.

      Nobody wants nuclear war! You called have fooled me. Your neo-con lunatics seem to be gagging for one. And BTW you won’t win such a war, nobody will. And that my friend is the cold logic of the age, accept for your demented neo-cons.

    • TimN
      December 23, 2019 at 15:09

      So, supporting the destruction of all life is something “we” need to support? A nuclear war can’t be won, sonny, and insisting “we” to support total destruction…. There’s something wrong with you.

    • NoOneYouKnow
      December 23, 2019 at 15:51

      Sure, except Obama embarked on a $1.5 trillion plan to modernize the US’s nuclear arsenal to make it “more usable.” So if anyone is looking to start a nuclear war, it’s the US.

    • LJ
      December 23, 2019 at 18:11

      @ CitizenOne

      It seems to me that what this essay and the Russian advertising their new technology is to ensure that MAD is still in place, as US has been ‘updating’ its nuclear arms in an attempt to promote a nuclear war that is survivable.

      You make the classic US mistake of assuming that North Korea, Russia, China etc are interested in and possibly planning nuclear pre-emptive strikes against the USA. In my opinion, it is much more likely to be the US that initiates nuclear war, and these weapons are developed to ensure that US policy makers realise that, as you say, “The facts are that even if the US was obliterated we would still have the means to obliterate Russia.” – if Russia/China/etc are obliterated, they still have the means to obliterate the USA.

      I hope you are right that o one wants nuclear war, because it is doubtful many of us in any country would survive it!

    • CitizenOne
      December 24, 2019 at 01:45

      Hello all. Merry Christmas and a happy New Year to all. Let me clarify Mutual Assured Destruction. Mutual Assured Destruction is by any definition the premise that one side will win no matter what the cost. The conundrum is that each side believes that the premise of victory via nuclear annihilation is true. Then there is the realization that there is a no win scenario. Each side has the option of escalating the threat of annihilating the other side but realizes that in developing plans and armaments capable of defeating a nation by obliterating it there will be another plan that opposes it in not just equal measure but in a superior measure to defeat the plans of the opposing force.

      This is what MAD has really come down to. Who really has the weapons that are superior? We are locked in an arms race not of our choosing but by design. It is up to the military to choose that design and they have chosen a design based on the principals that favor invincibility rather than technologies that are vulnerable to attack. This is just a fact and it is rather useless to discuss fictitious theoretical outcomes that purport as the article states that renders our counter strike capabilities as useless and incompetent.

      It is true that we face a world full of hostile nations armed with new super weapons which have the potential to launch a first strike. It is also true that in the decades since the eve of the end of WWII the United states has embarked on the most well funded and effective programs to defeat an enemy with nuclear potential.

      No doubt exists that the efforts of the US in spending on the development of superior technology spanning decades will rule the day if ever a nuclear war will erupt.

      That should be a promise which is what MAD is intended to do. So far we have managed to manage avoiding nuclear war with the strategy of MAD fully enforced by superior technology. So far the World has been a safer place for it.

    • David Otness
      December 24, 2019 at 03:03

      Huff-puff Citizen One, and you PRESUME to have it all wrapped up nice and tidy, especially your blunt self-assurance to any and all that “We got this thing! We’re fucking invincible!”
      Undermining your thesis is your statement: “But if there is nuclear war then we must and will win.”
      Good God, Dr Strangelove. Good God Almighty!
      See you in Hell if and when that scenario occurs.
      Ignorance is curable. Stupidity is forever. SMFH.

    • Walter
      December 24, 2019 at 07:30

      “Nobody would survive”…VVP to Oliver Stone in re nukwar.

      It is not true that US cruise missiles do not use satnav input. The weapons Trump ordered on Syria were ineffective and landed on irrelevant spaces. (Ruskie fubar?) Intnav accumulates error and is useless for a long flight. Terrain mapping gives away the position of the on-board transmitter and makes the bird easy to shoot. GLONAS and GPS and Intnav and ternav all are used.

      Overwhelming Power has been the Strategic goal since 1942, see Stimson’s quote below.

      “We are determined that before the sun sets on this terrible struggle our flag will be recognized throughout the world as a symbol of freedom on the one hand…and of overwhelming power on the other.”

      Obviously the two goals are unequal. If one party has overwhelming power, then that party defines “freedom”.

      That leaves a vast propaganda campaign enabled by Power to bs people into believing a fairytale. And smashing the disbelievers.

      As we have seen since 1942…and at Dresden, Hiroshima and Syria and in between.

    • Jeff Harrison
      December 24, 2019 at 17:00

      @citizen one
      Forgive me if I say that while your perorations are good, you’re full of it. MAD by definition operates on the same concepts that ECM operates. For every form of electronic counter measure, there is an electronic counter counter measure that will defeat it. There is always a lag between the time that “the enemy” whomever that is, develops a new weapon or capability and your ability to counter it and during that time, you are vulnerable. It’s all part of that military saw – when the enemy is in range, so are you. Frankly, your assertion that even if the US were obliterated, we could obliterate Russia (and presumably China as well) is simply wishful thinking on your part that I refuse to support. Your vision is simply for an increasingly armed world – an arms race with no end – and sooner or later somebody’s going to start shooting things off. ‘Cause I’ll give you another broad hint. The rest of the world simply isn’t going to accept US suzerainty.

    • Keith Aich
      December 24, 2019 at 17:10

      Keep on telling yourself that.

    • Crazyczar
      December 25, 2019 at 18:52

      Are you high? What part of Assured Destruction do you not understand? America this Russia that, no one would want to be alive post nuclear exchange. Go back to smoking your high and mighty American weed.

  24. Dick
    December 21, 2019 at 22:39

    The problem with the US is the military, Congress, and the President, perhaps even most Americans, believe their own propaganda. Belief in one’s exceptionalism leads to hubris, which leads to arrogance leading one to overestimate their capabilities and underestimating the capabilities of one’s adversary; this is always fatal.

    “The essence of immorality is the tendency to make an exception of myself” – Jane Addams

  25. Jeff Harrison
    December 21, 2019 at 18:44

    Ah, Pepe, you are always a fascinating read. The United States has been foolishly chasing diminishing returns in military hardware that have a cost that is looking asymptotic. The actual military hardware may well become, like the medieval castle, irrelevant. One of the more fascinating books I’ve read recently, The Culture of Defeat by Wolfgang Scheivelbusch, posits that in the future wars will be won when the opposing entity’s economy is destroyed or at least seriously damaged. The cold war ended when the old SovU had their economy collapse when they tried to keep up with the US’s profligate war spending capability. Actual defense has, historically and traditionally, been cheaper than offense. Both Russia and China have an advantage – they are really only interested in defense; they are no longer interested in conquering the world, unlike the US which still seeks global hegemonic status. Indeed, a relatively small investment by Russia and China is causing the US to spend huge sums of money in response.

    Of late the US has been using its economic power in the form of the status of our currency and the need for countries and companies to keep assets on deposit in the US where the US can readily steal them based on illegitimate legalities. When the petro-dollar finally dies, the US will be substantially poorer. People have to borrow US $s to trade oil even if the buyer is India and the seller Iran and the US makes interest on every one of those loans. And it wasn’t even our oil! I predict that this latest cold war will end when enough countries are buying and selling oil in national currencies and not the US $, when countries start to hold fewer and fewer US$s for national reserves, and when international businesses shun American products for fear that they won’t be able to export them. Either that or, given our existing $23T in debt with the rest of our military spending will leave us trying to borrow more money than the world has.

    • Moi
      December 22, 2019 at 01:46

      Conventional warfare seems to depend on which nation has the greatest industrial output. On that premise the US has already lost to China.

      Perhaps that’s why the US is taking warfare to space. The new frontier is hi-tech and, because no one else is really doing it yet, it is asymmetrical not conventional.

    • Anna
      December 22, 2019 at 12:39

      The first shoots of global spring: “Russia, China Sign Deal To Settle All Trade In Respective Currencies And Drop Bilateral Use Of US Dollars” See:

    • John Drake
      December 22, 2019 at 14:05

      Good analysis, however the Soviet economy never collapsed though it was weak. Gorbachev ended it trying to transition to a Scandinavian style socialism. Then he got ousted and Yeltsin allowed a hundred mostly American neo-liberal economic advisers in to supervise his selling off of state assets along with “liberalization”. It was the neo-liberal reforms and predatory raiding that wiped out the Russian economy, twice, ushering in the economic and social malaise of the early ’90’s.
      Who was behind that: Bill Clinton. He can take credit for not only wrecking the US economy with his banking deregulation, but the Russian economy as well. And his wife is even worse.

    • Bob Van Noy
      December 23, 2019 at 10:47

      (In response to John Drake) Yes, John Drake and Clinton’s program is well described in F. William Engdahl’s book “Manifest Destiny”.


  26. Skip Edwards
    December 21, 2019 at 17:44

    Don’t look o’er here
    where our Empire is falling down.

    Just keep looking over there
    where the fog of Trump abounds.

    What to do when there’s no place to run
    just anti up for a few more guns.

    • hstad
      December 25, 2019 at 14:53

      Sorry, “Pepe Escobar”, “Martyanov” does not “…gets straight to the point…” Both individuals talk about Russia like they were the former Soviet Union. Let’s talk about some very basic facts – Russia’s draft is a 12-month draft, mandatory for all male citizens age 18–27 very few men remain in the service vs. U.S. which is voluntary and have people stay in the military for many years. Why do I point that out – experience. Russia’s armed forces are plagued with poor service for their tanks, airplanes, ships, missiles, etc. The question I have for these theorists, “Escobar and Martyanov”, in war what resources does the Russian military have that work. LOL – such propaganda is garbage by bunch of self-appointed ‘Elites’ how have become overnite ‘Pattons’.

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