Streetwise Professor

June 26, 2008

Oh Yeah? You and What Navy?

Filed under: Military,Politics,Russia — The Professor @ 9:29 am

More bluster from the Russian military, this time over the Arctic:

“After several countries contested Russia’s rights for the resource-rich continental shelf in the Arctic, we have immediately started the revision of our combat training programs for military units that may be deployed in the Arctic in case of a potential conflict,” Lt. Gen. Vladimir Shamanov, who heads the Defense Ministry’s combat training directorate, told the Krasnaya Zvezda (Red Star) newspaper. . . .

Meanwhile, the Defense Ministry has already announced plans to expand the presence of the Russian Navy in the world’s oceans, including the Arctic, and extend the operational range of submarines deployed in the northern latitudes.

The last paragraph is particularly choice. Even by the standards of the shambolic Russian military, the Navy is incredibly decrepit. Its submarines–even its boomers–seldom patrol. Its lone carrier is a floating wreck:

Every time the Kutzenov enters blue water, its main engines fail, and the ship must be towed to a shipyard for major overhaul. In short, it is not now, nor ever has been, a dependable combat asset.

Recently, a Russian repair auxiliary vessel (!) had to be towed in the Aegean when its engines failed. The Arctic is a little more challenging than the Aegean, no?

The Russian navy’s ability to contest the Arctic–in the unlikely event–is virtually nil. Certainly it has nothing to fear from the Danish navy, and the Canadian navy has cratered about as badly as the Russian, but it wouldn’t stand a chance against the US navy in the Arctic, or anywhere else.

This not to mention that if global warming really occurs (not that I’m betting on it, but the conflict over resources is most likely to occur if the northern regions warm), its northern airbases would be unusable morasses.

So, yet again, we see military posin’. Big talk with no ability whatsoever to back it up. In the event that Russia tries to push it in the Arctic, it would be inevitably forced into a humiliating climb down. So why does it persist in confrontational approaches, when, when push comes to shove, it could not prevail? Habit? Delusion? Such disdain for the west that they believe that their bluster will cause any potential adversary to back down? Whatever the reason, it’s pretty pathetic. Again.

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