Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Is A New Cold War Looming?

Updated September 2015

While I am generally loathe to quote from media sources given their inaccuracy, I can only find references to this rather timely topic on Russian media websites.

According to several sites including TASS and RT (Russia Today), Russia's Ministry of Defense opened a new National Defense Control Center (NDCC) in Moscow at the beginning of December 2014.  Construction of this partially underground state-of-the-art centre was approved by Russian President Vladimir Putin on May 8, 2013 and, while the exact costs are not known, the centre is believed to have cost the equivalent of several billion dollars.  The NDCC is comprised of three parts; the Combat Control Centre which analyses domestic and international threats to Russia and its allies, the Daily Activities Control Center which is responsible for military procurement and the daily activities of Russia's armed forces and the Control Center of Strategic Nuclear Forces which oversees the use of weapons of mass destruction.  The centre will be staffed by around 1000 officers that have been selected based on their abilities to deal with the new systems. 

The NDCC is located on the Moscow River and contains several war rooms, a helicopter pad and secret transportation routes that would be used during an emergency evacuation.  As well, it contains a supercomputer that provides Russia's military with the computing horsepower necessary to make faster decisions during hostilities.  The computer is protected by high-level encryption and has multiple backup sites throughout the country in case the main facility in Moscow is attacked. 

The center's main raison d'ĂȘtre is to provide centralized, full-time monitoring of military threats against Russia including the use of both strategic nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.  In peacetime, it will also monitor all of Russia's materiel and other strategic assets including weapons being produced by contractors, weather conditions and the state of the nation's key oil refineries.  If Russia should happen to enter a state of war, the NDCC would act as a communications hub, providing orders to personnel on the front lines and to state-operated organizations that would supply the materiel needed for battle. 

All of this is quite interesting in light of the recent comments from President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev regarding Russia's vision of the world after the crisis in Ukraine.  The view from Russia suggests that a new cold war with the West is in the making, largely because of the sanctions imposed by anti-Putin governments around the world.   Russia has regularly been reminding the West that Russia has, at its disposal, the ultimate weapon, a nuclear mutual assured destruction.  Russia's military has been holding regular massive exercises in preparation for a potential regional or global war.  As shown in this interview given to the Serbian newspaper Politika by Vladimir Putin on October 15, 2014, part two of the cold war is looming:

"As for the Russian-US ties, our aim has always been to build open partnership relations with the United States. In return, however, we have seen various reservations and attempts to interfere in our domestic affairs.

Everything that has happened since the beginning of this year is even more disturbing. Washington actively supported the Maidan protests, and when its Kiev henchmen antagonised a large part of Ukraine through rabid nationalism and plunged the country into a civil war, it blamed Russia for provoking the crisis.

Now President Barack Obama in his speech at the UN General Assembly named the “Russian aggression in Europe” as one of the three major threats facing humanity today alongside with the deadly Ebola virus and the Islamic State. Together with the sanctions against entire sectors of our economy, this approach can be called nothing but hostile.

The United States went so far as to declare the suspension of our cooperation in space exploration and nuclear energy. They also suspended the activity of the Russia-US Bilateral Presidential Commission established in 2009, which comprised 21 working groups dedicated, among other things, to combating terrorism and drug trafficking.

At the same time, this is not the first downturn in relations between our countries. We hope that our partners will realise the futility of attempts to blackmail Russia and remember what consequences discord between major nuclear powers could bring for strategic stability. For our part, we are ready to develop constructive cooperation based on the principles of equality and genuine respect for each other’s interests." (my bold)

In another interview, Russia's National Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev described the United States as Russia's eternal foe in an article entitled "The Second Cold War".  In his interview, he repeatedly states that the United States is fulfilling a strategic, multi-decade plan to marginalize and destroy Russia, a plan that was initiated in the 1970s by former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski as shown in this comment (please pardon the rather poor Google translation):

"During the "Cold War" in the West there was a whole series of ideological doctrines to justify anti-Soviet policy. One of the authors of such developments was an American political scientist and statesman of Polish origin Zbigniew Brzezinski. He explained the so-called strategy of "vulnerability", the essence of which was to identify the weaknesses of a potential enemy and turning them into serious problems. Implementation of the strategy allowed to distract enemy's main forces on the real confrontation with the United States and force it to focus all resources on resolving their own growing difficulties.

In the 70s of the last century, Brzezinski developed version of the strategy "vulnerabilities" in relation to the USSR, which under President Reagan became the basis of US policy toward our country. Implementation of strategies directed the National Security Council headed by the President of the United States. Identification and specification of "vulnerability", as well as ways of organizing their transformation into significant problems for the USSR were assigned to the US Central Intelligence Agency.

It is noteworthy that the then CIA Director William Casey decided to involve eminent scholars, especially economists, as well as experts from the business world who had real experience of business wars with competitors. As a result of extensive analytical work were identified and systematically studied "vulnerabilities" of the USSR in the political, economic, ideological and other fields.

The main "weak spot" of our country, as determined CIA was our economy. After a detailed simulation of the American experts have revealed its most "weak link" -- namely the USSR dependence on energy exports."

He also adds that one of the key issues could be a future struggle for control of the world's hydrocarbon resources and that a large part of Russia's problems began during the oil price drops of the 1980s which was thanks to U.S. intervention in the world's oil markets, a theory that came to prominence during the first Bush Presidency when it was rumoured that Iraq/Saddam Hussein colluded with the United States over the world's oil prices.

As a bit of background, Russia and the United States have the following nuclear weapons:

Strategic nuclear weapons are those weapons that are delivered by long-range delivery systems including ICBMs and long-range bombers and are targeted against strategic military/wartime assets.  Non-strategic nuclear weapons are those which have lower yields and shorter ranges and are not limited by arms control treaties.

In October 2014, Interfax reported that Russia's mispending on national defense in 2014 was rising to 3.286 trillion rubles or 4.2 percent of GDP.  This is an increase of 812 billion rubles over the 2014 level when military spending was only 3.4 percent of GDP, a very significant increase and one that may be difficult to maintain given the plunge in the value of both the ruble and oil.  The funds will be mainly used for upgrading of weapons systems for the army and navy.  By way of comparison, in 2012, the United States spent $645.7 billion or 4.12 percent of GDP on its military. 

When we put the construction of the new Russian defense system headquarters into the context of increased military activity and spending and the sabre-rattling coming from both sides of this embryonic conflict, it certainly "smells" like the world could be entering a new cold war era.


  1. With 18 trillion in debt the US really needs to focus on itself. Russia isn't who the US should be worrying about, they should be looking at China who will overtake the US in all areas very soon. The only countries that should worry about Russia are the ones that directly border it and that want to develop strong ties with US/Europe. There are countries currently trying force the US to attack Syria via a No fly zone. This is part of the cause of the glut of oil right now. It’s also why Turkey to spite the US just signed a new gas deal with Russia to build a pipe line through Turkey to Greece to avoid having to ship gas through Ukraine. The US can not afford to keep attacking and bombing nations all over the middle east...

  2. I can forgive the Americans a multitude of sins if they just keep Putin from over running those countries, including Ukraine which finally escaped from Muscovite colonialism.

    1. Ukraine’s President, to the People He’s Bombing: “Go to Hell”
      Ukraine’s President, Petro Poroshenko, in an Odessa TV address to the nation, on November 13th, said: “We will have our jobs. They will not. We will have our pensions. They will not. We will have care for children, for people, and retirees. They will not. Our children will go to schools and kindergartens. Theirs will hole up in basements [from our bombs]. Because they are not able to do anything. This is exactly how we will win this war! [I.e., we will starve and terrorize them into submission.]”

    2. Poroshenko has imposed an economic blockade against Donbass. In early December Kiev stopped all social benefits to the residents of Donetsk and Lugansk regions.

      from Russian Noginsk went tenth of the account column of the EMERCOM of Russia with humanitarian aid for the South-East of Ukraine - food and Christmas gifts to the residents of Donetsk and Lugansk regions. Just the convoy will include over 150 trucks - help of weighing fifteen hundred tons.

  3. In 2015 Russia will receive 50 new Intercontinental ballistic missiles, - said Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin

    1. So what? The US still maintains a strategic advantage.

  4. Paul Krugman: U.S. Economy Needs 'The Financial Equivalent Of War'
    Paul Krugman, the Nobel Prize-winning Princeton economist and New York Times columnist, said Tuesday that the United States needs to spend on a scale similar to World War II in order to escape an extended economic slump.
    "What we need is actually the financial equivalent of war," he said during a talk at the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan. "What actually brought the Great Depression to an end was the enormous public spending program otherwise known as World War II."

    Paul Craig Roberts:”The psychopaths, sociopaths, and morons who prevail in Washington are leading the world to destruction.”