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Apropos ABM without hysterics
13.06.07
MOSCOW. (RIA Novosti political commentator Pyotr Romanov) -

One of the main sensations of the G8 summit in Heiligendamm was President Vladimir Putin's surprise proposal to his American colleague George W. Bush to exchange the
radar in the Czech Republic for the Russia-rented radar system in Azerbaijan.

Competent people know that this idea had been discussed prior to the summit
and was only presented in Heiligendamm - no more than that. Putin knew what
to offer the Americans in order to alleviate the crisis with the West, and
Bush knew what to expect. This is a good thing. It means that for all the
ostentatious polemics largely designed for domestic consumption both in
Russia and the West there is a much more rational policy that does not
necessarily reflect the desires of Western and Russian hawks.

It is a pity that although Bush was well aware of what he would be offered
he did not come up with a sensible answer. But he is not too much to blame
because technically this is an intricate issue and, most importantly, he
does not seem to know what to do with the U.S. military-industrial complex
(MIC), which has already counted all its profits from the ABM project. The
MIC is all but a perpetuum mobile of U.S. foreign and domestic policies.

To sum up, the Russian idea voiced at the right time and in the right place
has not been accepted even in principle. It is going into the bureaucratic
grinder of consultations and discussions. It is not clear what it will
produce. Many Russian experts are convinced that the ground meat will be
absolutely inedible. They are basing their assumptions on the Russian hawks'
axiom - the United States is dying to destroy Russia.

Many ordinary Russians also believe in this axiom. This is not their fault
because U.S. policy towards Russia after the Soviet Union's disintegration
has not been altogether honorable. The Warsaw Pact has long ceased to exist,
whereas the prosperous NATO is reaching out. The ill-famed Jackson-Vanik
amendment was adopted to pry open the gates of the former Soviet Union for
thousands of Soviet Jews. Russian Jews have long been traveling wherever
they want but the amendment is still there. In short, Russia has many
reasons for complaints to America.

Nevertheless, the question remains whether the axiom is correct. After all,
the Brzezinskis do not make the entire American population. The Americans
may not be in love with the Russians but they have common sense.

Besides, it is easier said than done, although some Russian experts are
convinced that the United States not only wants to destroy Russia but are
capable of doing so.

Finally, there is a third question. What will happen to the United States
and the rest of the world if the Americans deal a massive nuclear strike at
Russian territory? Experts predict that there will be no "nuclear winter."
Contamination will be local because the Americans do not have to destroy
Russian military and strategic facilities with nuclear weapons - the
destruction technology has moved ahead.

Let's take a closer look at Russia, the world around it and the logic of the
worst-case scenario advocates. If we assume, even hypothetically, that the
United States really wants to destroy Russia, we'll have to admit that it
has long ceased to be a priority target in the Pentagon's plans. Why start a
war against a country that is still more dead than alive, considering its
demographic situation? Russia has not yet amassed an economic and military
potential that may threaten the United States. Given a sensible economic
policy, Russia's growth rates make it likely, but this will not happen
today. For the time being, Russia is merely recovering. This is especially
obvious against the backdrop of the rapidly growing Asian giants for which
demography is not a problem. I think they worry the United States much more
than Russia. The Americans are still scared of Russia by force of habit, but
no more than that.

Finally, there is an urgent problem of terrorism, but here America is not
looking at Russia, either.

Last but not least, there are serious irritants nearby, in the traditional
zone of U.S. interests, such as Cuba, Venezuela or other countries affected
by Latin America's tilt to the left. The United States has not given up the
Monroe Doctrine. I could quote other arguments but I think it is obvious
that we should not exaggerate things and seriously believe that nowadays
Russia is a number one threat for the United States.

There are many shades of grey between black and white. Nobody disputes the
fact that Europe-based ABM will upset the balance of forces and destabilize
the situation. Hence, for all its respect for the pacifist views of Mahatma
Gandhi, Russia is not going to sit idly and watch ABM deployment. But
hysterics is another extreme and won't help, either. Even if the Azerbaijan
version is rejected and ABM appears in Europe, we should not think that this
is a call for all forces of evil to attack Moscow.

Finally, I'd like to say a few words about typical scenarios of an American
attack against Russia that appear on Russian websites and are popular with
military experts. A key is a surprise attack, because if the American
intention is detected at the preparation stage, Moscow's retaliation is
inevitable. At best, this will lead to blitz negotiations after which the
sides will come to their senses or fall into the nuclear precipice.

Russian military experts believe that the Americans will have to secretly
deploy three to four groups of attack destroyers in the North Atlantic, two
to three groups in the Pacific and three to four groups of attack nuclear
submarines in the Arctic, that is, in the North Sea, the Bering Strait and
the Kara Sea - in the direct vicinity of Russia.

Under the scenario, long-range cruise missiles should be launched from these
areas to hit Russian ICBM silos. Their flying time to targets is between 2.5
and three hours. The American ABM in Europe is supposed to destroy the
surviving Russian missiles. This is the whole point.

For all my respect for the expert community, I still have huge doubts. In
order to secretly deploy such an armada, the Americans should make sure the
Russian Armed Forces, the Commander-in-Chief, the Main Intelligence
Directorate (GRU), the Foreign Intelligence Service, counterintelligence,
border guards and the Navy stay fast asleep for days. It doesn't take long
to bring them all to the cruise missile launch site.

I have not mentioned here that there are numerous indications of a war in
the making. These are quite obvious political, financial, organizational and
propaganda signs. One has to be absolutely blind to reality not to see them.
We may not have fully recovered yet but we have overcome the senility of the
Soviet times.

The Unites States is also capable of thinking straight. If the Russians miss
everything and let the Americans attack Russia and go unpunished, the
Americans may hope for local damage from the use of nuclear arms. But what
if the Russians do not miss anything?

What is the dream of the American hawks - world supremacy or agonizing
suicide?

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not
necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti.