News that Russia has placed Iskander-M missiles in Kaliningrad Oblast near the borders of NATO member states has spread around the world. The West is keeping silent about the reasons for such a move. They are keeping silent about the fact that the appearance of Iskander missiles alongside Russia’s western borders is in response to the deployment of a US missile defence system in Europe. The asymmetrical response that Russia has long warned about has finally come.
The military and strategic situation in Europe following the deployment of new Russian missiles aimed at the territory of NATO member states is changing drastically.
Let us remind ourselves of some history. When the USSR placed SS-20 missiles on its western borders in response to the emergence of plans to deploy American Pershing missiles in Germany in the mid-1980s, Western Europe was horrified. At the time, Germany was engulfed by a wave of anti-war protests. Soviet diplomacy made considerable efforts to come to an agreement with Washington not to continue with the deployment of Pershing missiles in Germany with a reciprocal reduction of SS-20 missiles. It was only after this that Europe was able to breathe easily again. And now, thirty years later, the US is mixing exactly the same hellish potion, just with new ingredients. The nightmare of waiting for the Apocalypse has once again returned to the European people.
The Russian Iskander missile, developed by KB Mashynostroyeniya in Kolomna, is currently one of the best tactical ballistic missile systems around. With regard to its capabilities, the Iskander-M missile surpasses foreign analogues in its class both in terms of its accuracy and the speed with which the missile is ready for launch. In addition, thanks to its unique stealth technology, the Iskander-M has a high probability of penetrating missile defence systems. The missile is also capable of high-G manoeuvres and follows an unpredictable trajectory.
Washington’s reaction to the deployment of Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad Oblast was typically hypocritical. “We have urged Russia to take no steps to destabilise the region,” announced US State Department Deputy Spokeswoman Marie Harf. What can one say to that? The Russian government has long indicated that if the US EuroABM programme is implemented, the world will become a less safe place. While alluding to a mythical threat from Iran, however, Washington did not hear Moscow’s argument. In November 2013, the six nations negotiating with Iran reached breakthrough agreements. The Islamic Republic of Iran promised to grant international inspectors full access to its nuclear facilities. The West now has no more reason to worry – and no reason for the creation of a NATO anti-ballistic missile (ABM) system in Europe.
Except that Washington did not want to agree with such logic. In 2014, the Pentagon is going to start deploying destroyers equipped with Aegis anti-ballistic missile systems off the European coast. The destroyers Ross and Donald Cook are going to be deployed permanently to the Rota Naval Base in Spain, with destroyers Carney and Porter to follow in 2015. Their area of operations is the eastern basin of the Mediterranean Sea, and their objective is the detection and destruction of ballistic missiles.
As at the beginning of 2013, the Americans had already deployed the following components of their anti-ballistic missile system:
– a ground missile defence system for the exo-atmospheric interception of ballistic missiles consisting of 34 launch silos at Fort Greely (Alaska) and four of the same type of silos at Vandenberg Air Base (California);
– the Aegis ABM system, a ship-based anti-ballistic missile defence system, on 29 ships. They are equipped with a total of 113 Standard-3 interceptor missiles and 72 Standard-2 surface-to-air missiles;
– mobile THAAD anti-missile systems consisting of two Batteries of 48 THAAD interceptors and 6 THAAD launchers deployed at Fort Bliss (Texas); and
– Patriot mobile air defence systems (58 Batteries and around 1000 upgraded PAC-3 missile interceptors).
The plan is to create a missile defence network that covers the entire globe, and these plans are no longer being sheltered by the lie that America needs to protect itself from Iran.The network being created by the Americans is part of Prompt Global Strike (PGS). This refers to non-nuclear systems of high-precision weapons and hypersonic platforms capable of delivering missiles to any part of the world in less than an hour after the relevant political decision has been made.“As yet, nobody has this system but America, and it is operated from an American space platform which in our country is unfortunately quite limited”, commented Vladimir Evseev, senior researcher at the Centre for International Security at the Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences. “America has a powerful space observation system which they supplement with other systems, primarily unmanned aerial vehicles. And they can transmit the information through a satellite in real time”.
Non-nuclear warheads on available intercontinental missiles and hypersonic long-range cruise missiles are being developed as PGS weapons. Ivan Safranchuk, Deputy Director of the Institute of Contemporary International Studies at the Diplomatic Academy of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, believes that these weapons of attack will enable the United States to launch a pre-emptive strike anywhere in the world. “So far, the United States is going to have around 200 of these conventionally armed strategic missiles, but there is every likelihood that both the warheads and the carriers will be improved in the future. It is clear that non-nuclear strategic forces are being designed for a first strike. These are not defensive weapons [my emphasis. – D.S.]”.
The PGS’ main weapon of destruction should be the high-precision supersonic cruise missiles. Thus the CALCM Block II missile, which is already in service, is equipped with an advanced unitary penetrator and designed to destroy buried and hardened targets. Besides that, a plane is currently being developed that will be capable of flying at speeds 20 times greater than the speed of sound. The Pentagon is exploring the potential of this aircraft to defend orbiting satellites.
Chinese military expert By Hu Yumin writes in China Daily: “Washington will have 1,500 to 1,800 sea- and air-based first-strike cruise missiles by 2015 and 2,500 to 3,000 by 2020.The US aims to combine PGS with its space and anti-missile technologies to form an integrated defence system, which could render other countries’ strategic weapons, including nuclear arms, almost useless.This could put other countries in a dilemma:they either lose the capability to launch a strategic nuclear counterattack or use nuclear weapons first to avoid devastation”.It is a question of plans to break the strategic balance with incalculable consequences.
Now nobody needs to be convinced that the EuroABM system is targeted at Russia.After exhausting every diplomatic means of persuasion, Moscow took specific measures to create systems to counteract PGS.
In the statements currently being heard from Washington and Brussels, there is a distant echo of the Cuban missile crisis. More than half a century ago, when the USSR deployed its medium-range missiles in Cuba in response to the deployment of US missiles in Turkey, there was a universal uproar accusing Moscow of aggressive intentions. The world was a step away from World War Three. Regrettably, history teaches us nothing.
The US has already started a new round of the arms race, and in the process is making every effort to distance itself far away from Russia and China. From the point of view of military calculations this is understandable, but is hardly understandable from the point of view of a wise international policy.In his address to the Federal Assembly on 12 December 2013, Russian President Vladimir Putin clearly stated the reasons behind the new situation and the goals that Russia is setting itself.“The strategy that is actively being developed in ‘some countries’ of a ‘prompt global strike’ is accompanied by the failure of agreements relating to the reduction of strategic nuclear arms.Attempts to tip or erode the strategic balance in the world linked with US plans to extend its anti-ballistic defence system into Europe are continuing. In combination with the anti-ballistic defence system, the US Global Strike programme could undermine the strength of Russia’s nuclear deterrence potential”.
Putin said that Russia would not allow this.
In order to strengthen the Russian nuclear triad, new land-, sea- and air-based strategic missile systems are being developed. The strengthening of strategic missile forces and the formation of a nuclear submarine fleet will continue, while work has already started on a promising Russian long-range aviation complex. A Russian global intelligence system is also being created. “Nobody should have any illusion about the possibility of gaining military superiority over Russia”, declared Putin.
The new round of the arms race being imposed by the West could be the most dangerous thing that humanity has experienced so far. How many more wars need to sweep through Europe before Europeans finally realise that the nuclear missile-feathered American eagle is not thinking about their safety, but about world domination.