United States War Machine
Revving the engines of World War
by Michael Chossudovsky
CovertAction Quarterly magazine,
The 1999 war in Yugoslavia-which coincided
with the formation of GUUAM (an alliance of Georgia, Ukraine,
Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Moldova) and NATO enlargement into
Eastern Europe-marked an important turnaround in East-West relations.
Aleksander Arbatov, deputy chairman of the Defense Committee of
the Russian State Duma, described the war in Yugoslavia as the
"worst, most acute, most dangerous juncture since the U.S.-Soviet
Berlin and Cuban missile crises.''
According to Arbatov:
START 11 is dead, co-operation with NATO
is frozen, co-operation on missile defense is out of the question,
and Moscow's willingness to co-operate on nonproliferation issues
is at an all-time low. Moreover, anti-U.S. sentiment in Russia
is real, deep and more widespread than ever, and the slogan describing
NATO action- "today Serbia, tomorrow Russia," is "deeply
planted in Russians' minds."
Russia's military establishment had openly
expressed its distrust of the U.S.: "the bombing of Yugoslavia
could turn out in the very near future to be just a rehearsal
for similar strikes on Russia."
POST-l999 MILITARY BUILDUP
Meanwhile in Washington, a major buildup
of America's military arsenal was in the making. The underlying
objective was to achieve a position of global military hegemony:
Defense spending in 2002 was hiked up to more than $320 billion,
an amount equivalent to the entire Gross Domestic Product of the
Russian Federation (approximately $325 billion). An even greater
increase in U.S. military spending was set in motion in the wake
of the October 2002 bombing of Afghanistan:
More than one-third of the $65 billion
allocated for new weapons in the 2003 budget is for cold war type
weapons. Several billion dollars are allocated for cluster bomb
systems that have been condemned by human rights groups around
the world. There is no rationale for this level of military spending
other than a clear intent for the United States to be the New
World Empire, dominating the globe economically and militarily
including the militarization of space...
In the largest military buildup since
the Vietnam War, the Bush administration plans to increase military
spending by $120 billion over a five-year period, "bringing
the 2007 military budget to an astounding $451 billion."
This colossal amount of money allocated
to America's war machine does not include the enormous budget
of the Central Intelligence Agency allocated from both "official"
and undisclosed sources to finance its covert operations. According
to Jane's Defense Weekly, the total FY 2003 intelligence budget
is "an estimated $38 billion" (13 percent of Russia's
GDP). This amount excludes the multibillion dollar earnings from
narcotics accruing to CIA shell companies and front organizations.
From the overall defense budget, billions
of dollars have been allocated to "refurbishing America's
nuclear arsenal." A new generation of "cluster missiles"-
with multiple nuclear warheads-has been developed, capable of
delivering (from a single missile launch) up to ten nuclear warheads
directed at ten different cities. These missiles are now targeted
on Russia. In this context, Washington has clung to its so-called
"first strike" policy, in principle intended to deal
with so-called "rogue states," but in fact largely directed
against Russia and China.
Meanwhile, the U.S. had developed a new
generation of so-called "tactical nuclear weapons" or
"mininukes" to be used in conventional war theaters.
Already during the Clinton administration, the Pentagon was calling
for the use of the "nuclear" B61-11 bunker buster bomb,
suggesting that because it was "underground," there
was no toxic radioactive fallout which could affect civilians:
Military officials and leaders of America's
nuclear weapon laboratories are urging the U. S. to develop a
new generation of precision low-yield nuclear weapons. . . which
could be used in conventional conflicts with Third-World nations.
In the 2002 war in Afghanistan, the U.S.
Air Force was using GBU-28 "bunker buster bombs" capable
of creating large-scale underground explosions. The official story
was that these bombs were intended to target "cave and tunnel
complexes" in mountainous areas in southern Afghanistan,
used as a hideaway by Osama bin Laden.
Dubbed by the Pentagon as "the Big
Ones," the GBUs ("guided bomb unit") are 5,000-pound
laser-guided bombs with improved BLU-113 warheads, capable of
penetrating several meters of reinforced concrete. The BLU-113
is the most powerful conventional "earth-penetrating warhead"
While the Pentagon's "Big Ones"
are classified as "conventional weapons," the official
statements fail to mention that the same "bunker buster bombs"
launched from a B-52, a B-2 stealth bomber, or an F-16 aircraft
can also be equipped with a nuclear device. The B61-11 is the
"nuclear version" of its "conventional" BLU-113
The "nuclear" B61-11 is categorized
as a "deep earth-penetrating bomb" capable of "destroying
the deepest and most hardened of underground bunkers, which the
conventional warheads are not capable of doing." Secretary
of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has stated that while the "conventional"
bunker buster bombs "'are going to be able to do the job,'...he
did not rule out the eventual use of nuclear weapons."
The Pentagon is saying that these "lowyield"
nuclear weapons do not affect civilians, therefore justifying
their use in the same way as conventional weapons. Also, the administration
is hinting that the use of nuclear bunker busters may be justified
as part of "the campaign against international terrorism,"
because Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda allegedly possesses nuclear
capabilities and could use them against us. America's tactical
nuclear weapons are said to be "safe" in comparison
to those of Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda. Administration statements
suggest, in this regard, that a so-called "low-yield"
earth penetrating tactical nuclear weapon such as the B61-11 would
"limit collateral damage" and therefore be relatively
safe to use.
These new buzzwords are being spread by
the U.S. media to develop public support for the use of "tactical
nuclear weapons."...Yet the scientific evidence on this issue
is unequivocal: The impact on civilians of the "low yield"
B61-11 would be devastating "because of the large amount
of radioactive dirt thrown out in the explosion, the hypothetical
5-kiloton weapon...would produce a large area of lethal fallout.''
The military build-up initiated during
the Clinton administration has gained a new momentum. A new "legitimacy"
has unfolded. Increased military spending is said to be required
"to uphold freedom" and defeat "the axis of evil":
It costs a lot to fight this war. We have
spent more than a billion dollars a month-over $30 million a day-and
we must be prepared for future operations. Afghanistan proved
that expensive precision weapons defeat the enemy and spare innocent
lives, and we need more of them. .. My budget includes the largest
increase in defense spending in two decades-because while the
price of freedom and security is high, it is never too high. Whatever
it costs to defend our country, we will pay.
The Strategic Defense Initiative ("Star
Wars") not only includes the controversial "Missile
Shield" but also a wide range of "offensive" laser-guided
weapons with the capability of striking anywhere in the world,
not to mention instruments of weather and climatic warfare under
the High Altitude Auroral Research Program (HAARP). The latter
has the ability to destabilize entire national economies through
climatic manipulations, without the knowledge of the enemy, at
minimal cost and without engaging military personnel and equipment
as in a conventional war.
Long-term planning pertaining to advanced
weapons systems and the control of outer space is outlined in
Space Command document released in 1998,
entitled "Vision for 2020." The underlying objective
consists of: "dominating the space dimension of military
operations to protect U.S. interests and investment...The emerging
synergy of space superiority with land, sea and air superiority
will lead to Full Spectrum Dominance."
NUCLEAR WEAPONS, POST-9/11
In the wake of September 11, the so-called
"war on terrorism" is also being used by the Bush administration
to redefine the assumptions underlying the use of nuclear weapons.
The concept of "nuclear deterrence" has been scrapped.
According to John Isaacs, President of Council for a Livable World:
"They're trying desperately to find new uses for nuclear
The new approach became evident when the
Los Angeles Times published portions of the 2002 Nuclear Posture
Review (NPR). The leaked report states that nuclear weapons "could
be used in three types of situations: against targets able to
withstand non-nuclear attack; in retaliation for attack with nuclear,
biological or chemical weapons..." or "...in the event
of surprising military developments.''
In this top-secret domain, there has always
been an inconsistency between America's diplomatic objectives
of reducing nuclear arsenals and preventing the proliferation
of weapons of mass destruction, on the one hand, and the military
imperative to prepare for the unthinkable, on the other.
Nevertheless, the Bush administration
plan reverses an almost two-decade-long trend of relegating nuclear
weapons to the category of weapons of last resort. It also redefines
nuclear requirements in hurried post-9/11 terms.
While identifying a number of so-called
"rogue states," the not-so-hidden agenda of the Bush
administration is to deploy and use nuclear weapons against Russia
and China in the context of America's expansionary policy into
Central Asia, the Middle East and the Far East.
The report says the Pentagon should be
prepared to use nuclear weapons in an Arab-lsraeli conflict, in
a war between China and Taiwan, or in an attack from North Korea
on the south. They might also become necessary in an attack by
Iraq on Israel or another neighbor. The report says Russia is
no longer officially an "enemy." Yet it acknowledges
that the huge Russian arsenal, which includes about 6,000 deployed
warheads and perhaps 10,000 smaller "theater" nuclear
weapons, remains of concern. Pentagon officials have said publicly
that they were studying the need to develop theater nuclear weapons,
designed for use against specific targets on a battlefield, but
had not committed themselves to that course.
The thrust of the NPR, presented to the
U.S. Congress in early 2002, has been endorsed by the Republican
[C]onservative analysts insisted that
the Pentagon must prepare for all possible contingencies, especially
now, when dozens of countries, and some terrorist groups, are
engaged in secret weapon development programs... They argued that
smaller weapons have an important deterrent role because many
aggressors might not believe that the U.S. forces would use multi-kiloton
weapons that would wreak devastation on surrounding territory
and friendly populations.
"We need to have a credible deterrence
against regimes involved in international terrorism and development
of weapons of mass destruction," said Jack Spencer, a defense
analyst at the conservative Heritage Foundation in Washington.
He said the contents of the report did not surprise him and represent
"the right way to develop a nuclear posture for a post-Cold
In the wake of the 1999 war in Yugoslavia,
the Clinton administration boosted its military support to Taiwan
against China, leading to a significant military buildup in the
Taiwan Straits. Taiwan's Air Force had previously been equipped
with some 150 F16A fighter planes from Lockheed Martin. In this
regard, the Clinton administration had argued that military aid
to Taiwan was required to maintain "a military balance with
the People's Republic of China" as part of Washington's so-called
policy of "peace through deterrence.''
U.S.-built Aegis destroyers equipped with
state-of-the-art surface-to-air missiles, ship-to-ship missiles,
and Tomahawk cruise missiles were delivered to Taiwan to boost
its naval capabilities in the Taiwan Straits. Beijing responded
to this military buildup by taking delivery in 2000 of its first
Russian-built guided missile destroyer, the Hangzhou, equipped
with SS-N-22 Sunburn antiship missiles, "capable of penetrating
the state-of-the-art defenses of a U.S. or Japanese naval battle
Military assumptions have been radically
changed since September 11. The Bush administration has scrapped
the "peace through deterrence" doctrine. The post-9/11
military buildup in the Taiwan Straits is an integral part of
Washington's overall military planning, which now consists of
deploying "on several fronts."
Supported by the Bush administration,
Taiwan has been "conducting active research aimed at developing
a tactical ballistic missile capable of hitting targets in mainland
China...The alleged purpose of these missiles is to degrade the
PLA's [People's Liberation Army] strike capability, including
missile infrastructure and non-missile infrastructure (airfields,
harbors, missile sites, etc.)." In turn, U.S. military presence
in Pakistan and Afghanistan (and in several former Soviet republics)
on China's western border, are being coordinated with Taiwan's
naval deployment in the South China Sea.
China has been encircled: The U.S. military
is present in the South China Sea and the Taiwan Straits, in the
Korean Peninsula and the Sea of Japan as well as in the heartland
of Central Asia and on the western border of China's Xinjiang-Uigur
autonomous region. So-called "temporary" U.S. military
bases have been set up in Uzbekistan (which is a member of the
GUUAM agreement with NATO), in Tadjikistan and the Kyrgyz Republic,
where airfields and military airport facilities have been made
available to the U.S. Air Force.
The 2002 NPR states the Bush administration's
willingness to use nuclear weapons against China if there were
a confrontation in the Taiwan Straits. China, because of its nuclear
forces and "developing strategic objectives," is listed
as "a country that could be involved in an immediate or potential
contingency." Specifically, the NPR lists a military confrontation
over the status of Taiwan as one of the scenarios that could lead
Washington to use nuclear weapons.
THE ANGLO-AMERICAN AXIS
The 1999 war in Yugoslavia contributed
to reinforcing strategic, military and intelligence ties between
Washington and London. After the war in Yugoslavia, U.S. Defense
Secretary William Cohen and his British counterpart, Geoff Hoon,
signed a "Declaration of Principles for Defense Equipment
and Industrial Cooperation" so as to "improve cooperation
in procuring arms and protecting technology secrets" while
at the same time "easing the way for more joint military
ventures and possible defense industry mergers."
Washington's objective was to encourage
the formation of a "trans-Atlantic bridge across which DOD
[U.S. Department of Defense] can take its globalization policy
to Europe...Our aim is to improve interoperability and war fighting
effectiveness via closer industrial linkages between U.S. and
allied companies." (The agreement was signed, according to
a Pentagon official, shortly after the creation of British Aerospace
Systems (BAES) which resulted from the merger of BAe with GEC
Marconi. British Aerospace (BAe) was already firmly allied to
America's largest defense contractors Lockheed Martin and Boeing.
In the words of President Clinton's Defense
Secretary, William Cohen, the agreement "will facilitate
interaction between our [British and American] respective industries
so that we can have a harmonized approach to sharing technology,
working cooperatively in partnership arrangements and, potentially,
mergers as well" BAES was already firmly allied with America's
largest defense contractors, Lockheed Martin and Boeing.
The hidden agenda behind the AngloAmerican
"trans-Atlantic bridge" is to eventually displace the
Franco-German military conglomerates and ensure the dominance
of the U.S. military industrial complex (in alliance with Britain's
major defense contractors).
Moreover, this integration in the area
of defense production has also been matched by increased cooperation
between the CIA and Britain's Ml-5 in the sphere of intelligence
and covert operations, not to mention the joint operations of
British and U.S. Special Forces.
The British military-industrial complex
has become increasingly integrated into that of the U.S. In turn,
significant rifts emerged between Washington and Bonn. Franco-German
integration in aerospace and defense production is ultimately
directed against U.S. dominance in the weapons market. The latter
hinges upon the partnership between America's Big Five and Britain's
defense industry under the trans-Atlantic bridge agreement.
Since the early 1990s, the Bonn government
had encouraged the consolidation of Germany's military industrial
complex dominated by Daimler, Siemens and Krupp. Several important
mergers in Germany's defense industry took place in response to
the mega-mergers between America's aerospace and weapons producers.
Already in 1996, Paris and Bonn had set up a joint armaments agency
with the mandate "to manage common programs [and] award contracts
on behalf of both governments." Both countries had stated
that they "did not want Britain to join the agency."
In turn, France and Germany now control
Airbus Industrie which is competing against America's Boeing.
(Britain's BAES owns the remaining 20 percent). The Germans are
also collaborating in the Ariane Space satellite-launching program
in which Deutsche Aerospace (DASA) is a major shareholder.
In late 1999, in response to the "alliance"
of British Aerospace with Lockheed Martin, France's AerospaceMatra
merged with Daimler's DASA forming the largest European defense
conglomerate. And the following year, the European Aeronautic
Defence and Space Co. (EADS) was formed integrating DASA, Matra
and Spain's Construcciones Aeronauticas SA. EADS and its Anglo-American
rivals are competing for the procurement of weapons to NATO's
new Eastern European members. Europe's third largest defense contractor
is Thomson, which in recent years has several projects with U.S.
weapons producer Raytheon.
EADS still cooperates with BAES in missile
production and has business ties with the U.S. "Big Five"
including Northrop Grumman. However, the Western defense and aerospace
industry tends to be split into two distinct groups: first EADS,
dominated by France and Germany, and second, the Anglo-U.S. "Big
Six": (Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, General Dynamics, Boeing,
Northrop Grumman, and BAES).
Integrated into U.S. Department of Defense
procurement under the Atlantic bridge arrangement, BAES was in
2001 the Pentagon's fifth largest defense contractor. Under the
Anglo-American "transatlantic bridge, BAES operates freely
in the U.S. market through its subsidiary BAE Systems North.
The Franco-German alliance in military
production under EADS opens the door for the integration of Germany
(which does not officially possess nuclear weapons) into France's
nuclear weapons program. In this regard, EADS already produces
a wide range of ballistic missiles, including the M51 nuclear-tipped
ballistic submarine-launched ICBMs for the French Navy.
EURO vs. DOLLAR
The European common currency system has
a direct bearing on these strategic and political divisions. London's
decision not to adopt the common European currency is consistent
with the integration of British financial and banking interests
with those of Wall Street, not to mention the AngloAmerican alliance
in the oil industry (as in BP-Amoco) and weapons production ("Big
Five" plus BAES). The shaky relationship between the British
Pound and the Dollar is an integral part of the new AngloAmerican
What is at stake is the rivalry between
two competing global currencies: the Euro and the Dollar, with
Britain's pound being torn between the European and the U.S. dominated
currency systems. Two rival financial and monetary systems are
competing worldwide for control over money creation and credit.
The geopolitical and strategic implications are far-reaching,
because they are also marked by splits in the Western defense
industry and the oil business.
In both Europe and America, monetary policy,
although formally under state jurisdiction, is largely controlled
by the private banking sector. The European Central Bank based
in Frankfurt-although officially under the jurisdiction of the
European Union-is in practice overseen by a handful of private
European banks including Germany's largest banks and business
The U.S. Federal Reserve Board is formally
under state supervision-marked by a close relationship to the
U.S. Treasury. Distinct from the European Central Bank, the 12
Federal Reserve banks (of which the Federal Reserve Bank of New
York is the most important) are controlled by their shareholders,
which are private banking institutions. In other words, "the
Fed" as it is known in the U.S., which is responsible for
monetary policy and hence money creation for the nation, is actually
controlled by private interests on Wall Street.
In Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union,
the Balkans and Central Asia, the Dollar and the Euro are competing.
Ultimately, control over national currency systems is the basis
upon which countries are colonized. While the Dollar prevails
throughout the Western Hemisphere, the Euro and the Dollar are
clashing in the former Soviet Union, Central Asia, sub-Saharan
Africa and the Middle East.
In the Balkans and the Baltic States,
central banks largely operate as colonial-style "currency
boards" invariably using the Euro as a proxy currency. What
this means is that German and European financial interests are
in control of money creation and credit. That is, the pegging
of the national currency to the Euro-rather than to the Dollar-means
that both the currency and the monetary system will be in the
hands of German-EU banking interests.
More generally, the Euro dominates in
Germany's hinterland: Eastern Europe, the Baltic States and the
Balkans, whereas the Dollar tends to prevail in the Caucasus and
Central Asia. In GUUAM countries (which have military cooperation
agreements with Washington), the Dollar tends (with the exception
of the Ukraine) to overshadow the Euro.
The "dollarization" of national
currencies is an integral part of America's Silk Road Strategy
(SRS). This strategy consists of first destabilizing and then
replacing national currencies with the American greenback over
an area extending from the Mediterranean to China's western border.
The underlying objective is to extend the dominion of the Federal
Reserve System- namely Wall Street-over a vast territory. What
we are witnessing is an inter-imperial scramble for control over
national currencies and credit. These are battles for economic
conquest which are in turn supported by the militarization of
the Eurasian corridor.
While American and German-EU banking interests
are clashing over the control of national economies and currency
systems, they seem to have also agreed on "sharing the spoils,"-i.e.,
establishing their respective "spheres of influence."
Reminiscent of the policies of "partition" of the late
19th Century, the U.S. and Germany have agreed on the division
of the Balkans: Germany has gained control over national currencies
in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo, where the Euro is legal tender.
In return, the U.S. has established a permanent military presence
in the region (i.e., the Bondsteel military base in Kosovo).
The rift between Anglo-American and Franco-German
weapons producers- including the rifts within the Western military
alliance-seem to have favored increased military cooperation between
Russia, France and Germany. Russia also signed a "long-term
military cooperation agreement" with India in late 1998 which
was followed a few months later by a defense agreement between
India and France.
This Franco-lndian agreement has a direct
bearing on Indo-Pakistani relations. It also impinges upon U.S.
strategic interests in Central and South Asia. While Washington
has been pumping military aid into Pakistan, India is being supported
by France and Russia. France and the U.S. are visibly on opposite
sides of the IndiaPakistan conflict.
With Pakistan and India at the brink of
war in the wake of September 11, the U.S. Air Force had virtually
taken control of Pakistan's air space as well as several of its
military facilities. Meanwhile, barely a few weeks into the 2001
bombing of Afghanistan, France and India conducted joint military
exercises in the Arabian Sea. Also in the immediate wake of September
11, India took delivery of large quantities of Russian weapons
under the IndoRussian military cooperation agreement.
MOSCOW'S NEW SECURITY DOCTRINE
U.S. post-Soviet era foreign policy has
designated Central Asia and the Caucasus as a "strategic
area." Yet this policy no longer consists of containing the
"spread of communism," but rather in preventing Russia
and China from becoming capable of competing with the U.S. In
this regard, the U.S. has increased its military presence along
the entire 40th parallel, extending from Bosnia and Kosovo to
the former Soviet republics of Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan
and Uzbekistan, all of which have entered into bilateral military
agreements with Washington.
The 1999 war in Yugoslavia and the subsequent
outbreak of war in Chechnya in September 1999 was a crucial turning
point in Russian-American relations. It also marked a rapprochement
between Moscow and Beijing and the signing of several military
U.S. covert support to the two main Chechen
rebel groups (through Pakistan's ISI) was known to the Russian
government and military. However, it had previously never been
made public or raised at the diplomatic level. In November 1999,
Russian Defense Minister Igor Sergueyev formally accused Washington
of supporting the Chechen rebels. Following a meeting held behind
closed doors with Russia's military high command, Sergueyev declared
that "...the national interests of the United States require
that the military conflict in the Caucasus [Chechnya] be a fire,
provoked as a result of outside forces," while adding that
"the West's policy constitutes a challenge launched to Russia
with the ultimate aim of weakening her international position
and of excluding her from geostrategic areas."
In the wake of the 1999 Chechen war, a
new "National Security doctrine" was formulated and
signed into law by Acting President Vladimir Putin in early 2000.
Barely acknowledged by the international media, a critical shift
in East-West relations had occurred. The document reasserted the
building of a strong Russian state, the concurrent growth of the
military, as well as the reintroduction of state controls over
The document carefully spelled out what
it described as "fundamental threats" to Russia's national
security and sovereignty. More specifically, it referred to "the
strengthening of military-political blocs and alliances [namely
GUUAM], as well as to "NATO's eastward expansion" while
underscoring "the possible emergence of foreign military
bases and major military presences in the immediate proximity
of Russian borders."
The document confirms that "international
terrorism is waging an open campaign to destabilize Russia."
While not referring explicitly to CIA covert activities in support
of armed terrorist groups, such as the Chechen rebels, it nonetheless
calls for appropriate "actions to avert and intercept intelligence
and subversive activities by foreign states against the Russian
The cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy
has been to encourage-under the disguise of "peace-keeping"
and so-called "conflict resolution"-the formation of
small pro-U.S. states which lie strategically at the hub of the
Caspian Sea basin, which contains vast oil and gas reserves:
The U.S. must play an increasingly active
role in conflict resolution in the region. The boundaries of the
Soviet republics were intentionally drawn to prevent secession
by the various national communities of the former USSR and not
with an eye towards possible independence. .. Neither Europe,
nor our allies in East Asia, can defend our [U.S.] mutual interests
in these regions. If we [the U.S.] fail to take the lead in heading
off the kinds of conflicts and crises that are already looming
there, that will eventually exacerbate our relations with Europe
and possibly Northeast Asia. And it will encourage the worst kind
of political developments in Russia. This linkage, or interconnectedness,
gives the Transcaucasus and Central Asia a strategic importance
to the United States and its allies that we overlook at huge risk.
To put it another way, the fruits accruing from ending the Cold
War are far from fully harvested. To ignore the Transcaucasus
and Central Asia could mean that a large part of that harvest
will never be gathered.
Alongside the articulation of Moscow's
National Security doctrine, the Russian state was planning to
regain economic and financial control over key areas of Russia's
military-industrial complex. For instance, the formation of "a
single corporation of designers and manufacturers of all anti-aircraft
complexes" was envisaged in cooperation with Russia's defense
This proposed "recentralization"
of Russia's defense industry in response to national security
considerations, was also motivated by the merger of major Western
competitors in the areas of military procurement. The development
of new production and scientific capabilities was also contemplated,
based on enhancing Russia's military potential as well as its
ability to compete with its Western rivals in the global weapons
market. The National Security Doctrine also "eases the criteria
by which Russia could use nuclear weapons...which would be permissible
if the country's existence were threatened."
In response to Washington's "Star
Wars" initiative, Moscow developed "Russia's Missile
and Nuclear Shield." The Russian government announced in
1998 the development of a new generation of intercontinental ballistic
missiles, known as Topol-M (SS-27). These new single-warhead missiles
(based in the Saratov region) are currently in "full combat
readiness," against a "pre-emptive first strike"
from the U.S., which (in the wake of September 11) constitutes
the Pentagon's main assumption in an eventual nuclear war. "The
Topol M is lightweight and mobile, designed to be fired from a
vehicle. Its mobility means it is better protected than a silo-based
missile from a pre-emptive first strike."
Following the adoption of the National
Security Document (NSD) in 2000, the Kremlin confirmed that it
would not exclude "a first-strike use" of nuclear warheads
"if attacked even by purely conventional means."
TURNAROUND UNDER PUTIN?
Since the very outset of his term in office,
President Vladimir Putin-following in the footsteps of his predecessor
Boris Yeltsin- has contributed to reversing the National Security
Doctrine. Its implementation at a policy level has also been stalled.
At the moment, the foreign policy directions
of the Putin administration are confused and unclear. There are
significant divisions within both the political establishment
and the military. On the diplomatic front, the new president has
sought a rapprochement with Washington and the Western military
alliance in the so-called "war on terrorism." Yet it
would be premature to conclude that Putin's diplomatic openings
imply a permanent reversal of Russia's 2000 National Security
In the wake of September 11, a significant
turnaround in Russian foreign policy has occurred. The Putin administration,
acting against the Russian Duma, has accepted the process of "NATO
Enlargement" into the Baltic states (Latvia, Lithuania and
Estonia) implying the establishment of NATO military bases on
Russia's western border. Meanwhile, Moscow's military cooperation
agreement signed with Beijing after the 1999 war in Yugoslavia
is virtually on hold:
China is obviously watching with deep
concern Russia surrendering these positions. China is also concerned
by the presence of the U.S. Air Force close to its borders in
Uzbekistan, Tadjikistan and the Kyrgyz Republic...Everything that
Mr. Putin has eamed through the spectacular improvement of Russia's
relations with China, India, Vietnam, Cuba and some other countries
collapsed nearly overnight. What has surfaced is a primitive Gorbachev
concept of 'common human values,' i.e., the subordination of Russia's
interests to those of the West.
Ironically, the Russian President was
supporting America's "war on terrorism," which is ultimately
directed against Moscow. Washington's hidden agenda is to dismantle
Russia's strategic and economic interests in the Eurasian corridor,
close down or take over its military facilities, while transforming
the former Soviet republics (and eventually the Russian Federation)
into American protectorates.
Michel Chossudovsky is professor of Economics
at Toronto University and a frequent contributor to CovertAction
Quarterly. His work has received five Project Censored awards.
He has been an outspoken critic of U.S. policy in the Balkans
for many years.
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