Streetwise Professor

March 4, 2009


Filed under: Energy,Military,Politics,Russia — The Professor @ 2:23 pm

Jules Crittenden has a caustically funny take on the Obama Message to Garcia . . . I mean Medvedev.   This missive is being spun so many different ways that it’s difficult to figure out just what’s going on.   Obama’s new line is that it was just a re-statement of his publicly announced position.   So then why all the drama of a secret, hand-carried letter?   His people also claim that the letter made it clear that this was not a “best efforts” thing: i.e., the Russians just couldn’t say “well, we tried, but. . . ” and expect us to shut down the missile defense program when Iran proceeds full speed ahead with its nuclear program; instead, the missile defense system would be eliminated only if the Iranians stop.   Maybe: let’s see the letter so we can judge on our own.   The newest spin is that this was a fiendishly clever plot to put the Russians in an awkward spot, forcing them to utter an embarrassing Gromyko-esque “Nyet!” Well, they said “Nyet,” but don’t seem the least bit embarrassed about it.

Crittenden hits the nail on the head when he skewers this negotiating ploy.   After all, it’s the Russians who have been venting over the Czech and Polish bases for an ABM system.   The intensity of their rhetoric suggests that it’s really important to them.   So, if it’s such a big deal to them, let them make the first offer.   Don’t like the bases?   What are you going to offer us?  

In other words, Obama should have taken a lesson from Kyrgyzstan.

Moreover, this is the only way to determine the credibility of Russia’s opposition to the bases.   It is very possible that all the hyperventilating is just an act, intended to gull credulous Europeans, and latterly Americans, into being nice to the Russians, and unilaterally make concessions on this and a variety of issues in order to assuage hurt Russian pride.   That is, it is just another part of the tiresome narrative about how badly the West treats Russia, and that the Russians reasonably expect that if they make a big enough stink they’ll get this–and much more–in exchange for exactly nothing but words.   If those; Putin in particular seems to relish adding rhetorical insult to practical injury.   The specific idea floated by the Russians as their idea of a quid pro quo–the non-deployment of mobile Iskander missiles to Kaliningrad–is a joke because (a) the missiles aren’t even built yet, and are unlikely to be built for some time, and (b) whereas any decision not to deploy an ABM system is likely irreversible, but any Iskander decision is easily reversible because they are, er, mobile.

The palpable anxiousness to please and appease the Russians, and others (e.g., the Syrians) reflects a fundamental leftist trope: that all of America’s international disputes are at root the result of Bush’s cowboy foreign policy and brusqueness.   Well, the brusqueness didn’t help, but there are objective sources of disagreement between nations in general, and between the US and Russia in particular, that are persistent, and which are immune to sweet talk.   This view also reflects a sort of infantile narcissism and magical thinking that perceives the US as so uniquely powerful that everything that goes wrong must be our fault.   Not that we’re faultless, but it takes two to have a dispute.

A little more realism, and a little more poker savvy, would be welcome in dealing with Russia.  Russia has smacked Obama several times–on the day of his inauguration, with the threat regarding the Iskanders, with Kyrgyzstan, and with this letter.  How many cheeks is it necessary to turn?  How many hints do we need?  

I’m not suggesting anything overtly hostile.  Just studied indifference.  Which would drive Putin et al nuts, but which wouldn’t feed his agitprop machine.  And steely resolve in resisting Russian pressure in the “former Soviet space.”  A consistent message that “spheres of privileged influence” are so 19th century.  

It’s not as if Putin and Medvedev are going to be genuinely cooperative.  They perceive us as their primary adversary, and are obsessed with denying us victory even when this leads them to cut of their noses to spite their faces (e.g., Afghanistan, Iran).  Don’t get played.  Don’t be Charlie Brown.  Just let Putin and Medvedev and Lavrov stew in their own juices–and their own economic crisis and demographic decline.

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  1. […] Professor writes that “[a] little more realism, and a little more poker savvy, would be welcome in dealing […]

    Pingback by Global Voices Online » Russia, U.S.: Policy Suggestions — March 5, 2009 @ 8:20 pm

  2. An American centric response.
    “They perceive us as their primary adversary, and are obsessed with denying us victory even when this leads them to cut of their noses to spite their faces” By “They” meaning the USA instead of Russia, it works both ways.

    So the USofA thinks it is quite alright to put a missile system in Russia’s backyard ie: Czech and Polish bases. Could you imagine the screaming from Washington if Quebec made an agreement with Russia to have Russian missiles on Quebec soil or perhaps Cuba again?

    Perhaps it is time for the Americans to Back Off, I do not remember the world electing the USA World Policeman.

    Comment by Yodarick — March 5, 2009 @ 11:11 pm

  3. What is it with you Canadians, anyways? (Michel excepted of course). (That’s a joke.) You been hanging out with Bob?

    Objectively speaking, the ABM missile bases present no threat whatsoever to Russia, or its nuclear deterrent (which is about the only functional part of its military, and upon which it is increasingly dependent–by the admission of its own military.) I say again: They pose no threat whatsoever to its nuclear deterrent. Nor is NATO a threat to Russia. Even if NATO were in Ukraine (which won’t happen, even if Ukraine were in NATO) it would pose no threat to Russia–except, to the extent that it would serve to impede Russian meddling outside its borders. NATO can barely support a shoestring operation in Afghanistan, let alone pose a serious threat to the world’s largest territory.

    Your comparison of the missile defenses in the Czech Republic and Poland to Russian missiles in “Cuba again” is truly moronic. Beyond moronic, in fact. To refresh your memory, the missiles in Cuba were offensive nuclear weapons clearly targeted at the US. Can you understand the difference?

    And re Russian missiles in Canada. Doesn’t the fact that the Czechs and Poles want US missiles on their territory tell you something about regional attitudes towards Russia? Pray tell, why would they have such attitudes? Need a clue? And the fact that Canada does not have similar attitudes, and indeed, doesn’t even defend one of the longest borders in the world, tells you just as much about its perception of the threat posed by the US.

    That is, the very fact that Quebec (or Ontario or Saskatchewan or whatever) feels no need to get missiles from anywhere (looked at the state of the Canadian military lately?), let alone from Russia, reveals the complete assininity of your comparison.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — March 6, 2009 @ 12:15 am

  4. 1. That is a flawed assessment. They pose no threat today. But an Air Ground Defense Environment can be scaled up quickly and cheaply once the basics are set up. If it was solely aimed against Iranian missiles (and let’s face it, the only country they will conceivably pose a credible threat to in the near future is Israel – and I fail to see how AMD in CENTRAL EUROPE is going to help them), then NATO would gladly accept the Azeri/Russian proposal.

    2. Ukraine would pose a great threat. Nuclear tipped cruise missiles could be used in a decapitating strike against Moscow. NATO would get good radar coverage of the Caucasus region; another scenario is covertly providing Turkey with information in the context of a Russo-Turkish War while remaining ostensibly neutral.

    3. The only reason Afghanistan is failing is because its an inconsequential country and rational countries fail to see how spending vast amounts of treasure there is of any use for the national interest. The clever thing to do is to pull out and send a drone over to bomb suspicious gatherings every now and then, but unfortunately Obama isn’t clever in all respects.

    4. You also ignore that the PUBLIC OPINION in Czechia and Poland is HEAVILY AGAINST, although I know your respect for democracy and the will of the people is superficial at best.

    Comment by Da Russophile — March 6, 2009 @ 12:32 am

  5. My understanding of the situation with respect to the missile shield is that it is not the missiles, per se, which Russia objects to but rather, the radar installation. Based on some analysis which I’ve read, there presently is a large swath of Russia which NATO is not able to directly monitor via radar. The installation in the Czech Republic would enable NATO to monitor close to 90% of Russian territory.

    Comment by Timothy Post — March 6, 2009 @ 4:09 am

  6. Dear Professor
    It might be of great surprise to your wisdom that a great amount of people on this planet, including we Canadians do not support the egotism and unwarranted actions of the United States. I also have a direct connection to Russia, a grandchild who carries dual citizenship. So I hear directly the views from that side of the world.
    The actions of the USA are not welcomed, the USA has no business being in eastern Europe just as Russia has no business being in Quebec, that is my point. Placing US missiles in the Czech Republic and Poland will only lead to further proliferation not to world peace which we all wish for.
    If you truly want to live in peace on this planet the stop making a sell arms and missiles to the rest of the world.
    Oh, and also it might be a good idea to stop telling the rest of the world what to do, we do not want to be Americans or even like Americans.

    Comment by Yodarick — March 6, 2009 @ 10:12 am

  7. Timothy writes: “The installation in the Czech Republic would enable NATO to monitor close to 90% of Russian territory.” This is nonsensical. If this were the case, then the United States could simply place the same radar in Alaska and using the same logic “monitory close to 90% of Russian territory.” Probably more because Alaska is even closer geographically to Russia than the Czech Republic. Remember, Palin could see Russia from Alaska 😉 You can’t really see it of course, but there is only 50km (30 miles) separating Russia from the United States in the Aleutian Islands.

    Then you have Da Russophile writing: “Ukraine would pose a great threat. Nuclear tipped cruise missiles could be used in a decapitating strike against Moscow.” If NATO or the United States wanted to launch a decapitating strike against Moscow they would launch the missiles from submarines off of Russia’s Pacific coast as Russia does not have the necessary radars to monitor all of the Russian Far East. This scenario has already been explained elsewhere and if you google it, you will find an article in IIRC Foreign Affairs describing how it could theoretically be done.

    As for my fellow Canadian, I agree with the Streetwise Professor. I don’t necessarily agree with everything that American politicians do, but I do not exactly worry about an American invasion or feel the need to defend ourselves from some American threat. If the Americans want something that we have, they get it the old fashioned way: they buy it 😉

    Comment by Michel — March 6, 2009 @ 11:05 am

  8. There is a qualitative difference between launching an SLBM from a third of the world away and from 500km away (or however far away the Ukrainian border is from Moscow).

    I’ve read that article and it is ironic you quote it, in fact, because as I recall it supports my contention that this AMD is aimed against Russia (the idea being that NATO launches a disarming first strike and any missiles the Russians manage to launch are picked off by the C. European AMD, as well as those at Vandenburg and Greely).

    Comment by Da Russophile — March 6, 2009 @ 12:33 pm

  9. * That is, a cruise missile from 500km away.

    Comment by Da Russophile — March 6, 2009 @ 12:33 pm

  10. Well, if you are going to be paranoid dear Da Russophile, at least articulate it logically 😉 This is an excerpt from that article:

    “Compounding these problems, Russia’s early warning system is a mess. Neither Soviet nor Russian satellites have ever been capable of reliably detecting missiles launched from U.S. submarines. (In a recent public statement, a top Russian general described his country’s early warning satellite constellation as “hopelessly outdated.”) Russian commanders instead rely on ground-based radar systems to detect incoming warheads from submarine-launched missiles. But the radar network has a gaping hole in its coverage that lies to the east of the country, toward the Pacific Ocean. If U.S. submarines were to fire missiles from areas in the Pacific, Russian leaders probably would not know of the attack until the warheads detonated. Russia’s radar coverage of some areas in the North Atlantic is also spotty, providing only a few minutes of warning before the impact of submarine-launched warheads.”

    Source: The Rise of U.S. Nuclear Primacy vt Keir A. Lieber and Daryl G. Press in Foreign Affairs, March/April 2006. Link:

    Comment by Michel — March 6, 2009 @ 1:17 pm

  11. Michek, you can always build a radar facing out to the Pacific. I hope they do so soon. Then there’ll be full coverage. But that still doesn’t change the fact that a modern cruise missile launched from Ukraine can take out central Moscow in 5 mins compared with perhaps 20 mins for an SLBM launched from the Far East (and besides the Navy patrols that area).

    Paranoia is survival.

    Thanks for digging it up, I couldn’t since I didn’t remember the title or authors. My turn…

    “The intentional pursuit of nuclear primacy is, moreover, entirely consistent with the United States’ declared policy of expanding its global dominance. The Bush administration’s 2002 National Security Strategy explicitly states that the United States aims to establish military primacy: “Our forces will be strong enough to dissuade potential adversaries from pursuing a military build-up in hopes of surpassing, or equaling, the power of the United States.” To this end, the United States is openly seeking primacy in every dimension of modern military technology, both in its conventional arsenal and in its nuclear forces.

    Washington’s pursuit of nuclear primacy helps explain its missile-defense strategy, for example. Critics of missile defense argue that a national missile shield, such as the prototype the United States has deployed in Alaska and California, would be easily overwhelmed by a cloud of warheads and decoys launched by Russia or China. They are right: even a multilayered system with land-, air-, sea-, and space-based elements, is highly unlikely to protect the United States from a major nuclear attack. But they are wrong to conclude that such a missile-defense system is therefore worthless — as are the supporters of missile defense who argue that, for similar reasons, such a system could be of concern only to rogue states and terrorists and not to other major nuclear powers.

    What both of these camps overlook is that the sort of missile defenses that the United States might plausibly deploy would be valuable primarily in an offensive context, not a defensive one — as an adjunct to a U.S. first-strike capability, not as a standalone shield. If the United States launched a nuclear attack against Russia (or China), the targeted country would be left with a tiny surviving arsenal — if any at all. At that point, even a relatively modest or inefficient missile-defense system might well be enough to protect against any retaliatory strikes, because the devastated enemy would have so few warheads and decoys left.

    During the Cold War, Washington relied on its nuclear arsenal not only to deter nuclear strikes by its enemies but also to deter the Warsaw Pact from exploiting its conventional military superiority to attack Western Europe. It was primarily this latter mission that made Washington rule out promises of “no first use” of nuclear weapons. Now that such a mission is obsolete and the United States is beginning to regain nuclear primacy, however, Washington’s continued refusal to eschew a first strike and the country’s development of a limited missile-defense capability take on a new, and possibly more menacing, look. The most logical conclusions to make are that a nuclear-war-fighting capability remains a key component of the United States’ military doctrine and that nuclear primacy remains a goal of the United States.”

    Comment by Da Russophile — March 6, 2009 @ 1:44 pm

  12. Sure, Russia could build radar stations, but feigned outrage and bluster is a lot cheaper. Why waste good money on improving infrastructure (military or civilian) that same money can be stolen by the generals and admirals 😉 As for places from which the United States could launch missiles, you also have the Baltics as they are now part of NATO and not that much farther than Ukraine.

    Comment by Michel — March 6, 2009 @ 1:57 pm

  13. DR–

    1. Define what you mean by “scaled up.” The problem with having ABMs in EEurope aimed against Russian ICBMs is that they are completely out of position. If RF were to launch a strike against the US, the missiles wouldn’t be flying E to W over Europe. They would be flying a polar trajectory. (Over Canada, by the way.) Missiles in E Europe would thus have to engage in a futile tail chase. Indeed, many RF ICBMs are located E of the Urals. There is no way ABMs would be effective in a tail chase, especially at such a distance. So. . . if the RF nuclear forces are a deterrent against the US (e.g., a second strike capability) or even if they are intended to be a first strike capability against the US, it would be a complete waste of $$ and political capital to place ABMs in E Europe to undermine that deterrent or degrade RF first strike capability. And they do nothing against Russian SLBMs. That is, if they can get Bulavas to work.

    2. Russia/Azeri proposal. Yeah, right. No minimally sane US administration would place such technologically advanced, politically sensitive, and strategically important facility in a position so highly vulnerable to Russian espionage, interference, and potential control in time of crisis. In any event, that proposal was a stalking horse. If the US would announce the adoption of the proposal, and commit to foregoing the E European ABM system, just guess how many obstacles would be thrown in the way of the Russian/Azeri option. Given the way that RF throws its weight around in Kavkaz & Caspian, you know that Azerbaijan would be subject to tremendous pressure once it became the sole option for the US. Do you understand game theory? Subgame perfection? The alternative that you propose is not subgame perfect.

    3. My point re Afghanistan had nothing to do with the merits/demerits of the campaign, or the way it is being waged. It was just to point out that, to use Patton’s felicitous phrase, NATO (ex-US, and some UK & Canadian units and some continental special forces, the latter collectively consisting of about 50K troops at best) couldn’t fight their way out of a piss soaked paper bag in a rainstorm. Even if they wanted too–which they don’t. Moreover, their logistical capabilities are completely inadequate to support any power project. In Afghanistan, for instance, some NATO forces rely on helicopters borrowed from–Russia. Even US forces have limited #s (5-6 heavy divisions, even counting USMC elements). To think that such forces pose any threat to the largest nation in the world, and one blessed by crappy weather and a crappier infrastructure/transportation system, is to immediately suggest a diagnosis of acute paranoid schizophrenia. Looking at either capability or intent, NATO poses no threat to RF except to the extent that it impedes its imperial ambitions in the Near Abroad.

    4. Re vulnerability of Russia to cruise missile attack: (a) this is off point, and (b) the US can already launch cruise missiles from aircraft (e.g., B-52, B-1B), SSGNs (modified Ohios) and SSNs, so any E European capability is largely superfluous.

    TP-Re radar, again this capability is largely redundant given our existing national technical means of knowing what goes on in 100 percent of RF territory. Grousing about this is the kind of thing you hear from the Jack D. Ripper types that still dominate the Russian defense establishment. Guys like this clown.

    Yodarick–Actions in E Europe not welcomed by whom? Both the Polish and Czech governments are very anxious for a robust US presence in the regions. And you know why? Precisely because “Russia is off its knees” and “Russia is back.” And if you’re a Pole or Czech or Ukrainian or Georgian you know what that means. History runs deep in that part of the world. In a nutshell: Russian flexing (in part to compensate for its deep feelings of inadequacy) only drives its neighbors to seek support and defense from the only nation in the world willing and able to provide it. You need to be a little more careful about evaluating cause and effect. By providing Poland and others the means to defend themselves, we aren’t making anybody be like Americans, BTW.

    And, by the way, do you recall the repeated threats of the Russian military to target nuclear weapons at various parts of E Europe if those nations don’t toe the Russian line? So often, in fact, that some Polish official (I think it was the defense minister) jokingly asked that such threats be limited to one a month. You reap what you sow, my friend.

    Why is the US in E Europe? Did we force our way in there? Or have we been asked, no, beseeched to establish a presence there in order to deter you-know-who?

    Re wishing for world peace, the way you write it makes you come off like a beauty contestant (think “Miss Congeniality”). If wishes were fishes . . .

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — March 6, 2009 @ 3:38 pm

  14. The Professor writes: “To think that such forces pose any threat to the largest nation in the world, and one blessed by crappy weather and a crappier infrastructure/transportation system, is to immediately suggest a diagnosis of acute paranoid schizophrenia. Looking at either capability or intent, NATO poses no threat to RF except to the extent that it impedes its imperial ambitions in the Near Abroad.”

    Pretty much. I sometimes ask Russians why they think the United States would want to invade Russia. They invariably say because Russia is a big country rich in resources. I then remind them that Canada is the second largest country after Russia and is as rich in natural resources. If the United States was so hard-pressed for resources, they would logically invade Canada not Russia, a country with decent roads, good donuts, and better beer 😉

    Comment by Michel — March 6, 2009 @ 4:08 pm

  15. Yes, Michel–It’s much cheaper to buy rather than conquer. If the Russians worry about anybody, it should be the Chinese.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — March 6, 2009 @ 4:14 pm

  16. 1. “If RF were to launch a strike against the US, the missiles wouldn’t be flying E to W over Europe. They would be flying a polar trajectory.”

    Thule radar station in place. Only thing you need to do once the European corridor is blocked off (by scaled up, I mean increasing the number of missiles from ten to a few hundred) is to position ABM in Greenland or northern Canada, and the ring is complete.

    NATO does not seem to have overly hostile intentions…today. That may not be the case in 20 years. The world is in a state of flux which is why its much more important to look at capability than (apparent) intentions. Western states invade Russia once a century on average so it is rational for it to devote money and attention to planning how to repel the next one.

    2. As I said opinion polls show moderate to strong opposition in Czechia and Poland to AMD, so obviously not all Poles or Czechs “know what that means”.

    3. Please explain how China is a worry. I can understand your other arguments, but this one is beyond me.

    Comment by Da Russophile — March 6, 2009 @ 5:33 pm

  17. DR–

    Don’t have a lot of time. Just a couple of remarks. First, I guess you don’t believe Russian claims about the invulnerability of its new missiles to ABM systems. Second, even if ICBMs were fired on a western trajectory, ABM systems designed to intercept incoming missiles would be ill-suited to intercept them. Still in tail chase mode. Third, you are the futurist. Can you really imagine NATO becoming MORE aggressive? Its populations are aging, and becoming thoroughly overcome by post-modern ennui. Defense budgets have been on a downward trajectory for years. Look at the UK, for instance. Note that I mentioned both capability and intentions. NATO has no capability now, and the likelihood it will have the capability 5, 10, 20 years down the line is virtually nil. Fourth, China’s appetite for raw materials is well-known; it is geographically proximate to Siberia; large numbers of Chinese are already living in the Russian Far East, and more are likely to come; demographic problems are particularly acute in Siberia; separatist tendencies are not unknown in the Russian Far East; China has historical issues with Russia; China is entering a more aggressive, expansionist phase. . . I could go on.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — March 6, 2009 @ 6:03 pm

  18. I agree with The Professor that demographics do not make Western and Central Europe a hotbed of imperial aggression. The aging of the population certainly mitigates against Europe rising up militarily and invading Russia or any other country for that matter. Those countries that tend to have more to gain from warfare are those with very young and growing populations, populations with large numbers of unemployed or underemployed young men, countries that can potentially lose large numbers of young men without leading to a demographic collapse. An example of such a country today is Iran. IIRC, the median age in Iran is close to 20, whereas in Europe it would be closer to 40. It is a young country that will face the challenge of not being able to provide enough jobs for their young men. Under such circumstances, politicians may see war as a convenient means of keeping their young men occupied while they seek to achieve their political aims. Such demographics are also seen elsewhere in the Middle East and Central Asia. In 5, 10 or 20 years, these countries will pose a much, much greater threat to Russia than Germany or any other European country.

    Comment by Michel — March 6, 2009 @ 8:20 pm

  19. “First, I guess you don’t believe Russian claims about the invulnerability of its new missiles to ABM systems.” – SWP

    I don’t know enough about this to make a meaningful judgment one way or another (and suspect you neither, but if not do expand). I have read that contrary to pessimistic commentary AMD is improving very quickly and in another decade or two will probably make the traditional ICBM obsolete with focus shifting towards hypersonic bomber forces).

    Re-Muslim threat. That is a flawed argument because today labor has mostly been substituted for capital and technology in warfare. Disunited and technologically backwards Middle East or Central Asian powers have zero chances of succeeding in a proper war against Russia (or any major Western Power for that matter).

    It is also neglects the fact that Central Asians have favorable attitudes to Russia and are within its sphere of influence, while most Middle Easterners view Russia more favorably than the West because they perceive the latter to be the more hypocritic and aggressive towards them (according to opinion polls). Also, Iran has undergone a demographic transition and its TFR today is below replacement at about 1.7, so it will be aging rapidly.

    Re-European threat. I can give another scenario. Developments in gene therapies in the 2020’s solves the physical problem of aging. Meanwhile, decadence is an unstable social state and as in the 1920’s, post-modern ennui moves on to the next cycle – fascist beliefs and aggressive expansionism to the East, which is further encouraged by resource shortages. New developments in AMD technology and bio-defences largely nullify Russia’s WMD arsenal.

    It might be a less likely scenario than what you posit, continued decline and passivity; but history is full of surprising discontinuities.

    Re-the “Yellow Peril”. I largely debunked it here – To summarize,

    1. The numbers of Chinese in the Far East number in the low 100,000’s and many of them are temporary traders and seasonal workers.

    2. Chinese expansion has traditionally been directed at South-east Asia, the Indian Ocean and Africa and today most of its military energies go towards planning a hi-tech aeronautical war with Taiwan, Japan and the US.

    3. From a simplistic military sense, the Primorie and Khabarovsk regions are vulnerable, but Siberia certainly isn’t being separated from China by mountain ranges and desert. Any Chinese assault will be very costly since Russia will almost certainly use tactical nukes against it, and if they respond in kind then Russia would likely launch a strategic strike against it that will cripple it. Not worse it for a relatively small piece of marginally productive and underdeveloped land – there are much easier and richer pickings in East Africa.

    4. So I ask the question – exactly how is China supposed to leverage its demographic advantage to get the Far East, in the face of much less favorable military and geographic conditions?

    PS – 1001th post?

    Comment by Da Russophile — March 6, 2009 @ 10:14 pm

  20. Da Russophile,

    True, the population birth rate has has fallen drastically in the last few years, but this may actually encourage Iran and other neighboring countries to pursue radical means to achieve its aims.

    This from an interesting opinion piece in the Asia Times:

    “Demographics still provide vital strategic information, albeit in quite a different fashion. Today’s Islamists think like the French general staff in 1914. Islam has one generation in which to establish a global theocracy before hitting a demographic barrier. Islam has enough young men – the pool of unemployed Arabs is expected to reach 25 million by 2010 – to fight a war during the next 30 years. Because of mass migration to Western Europe, the worst of the war might be fought on European soil.”


    You write: “Re-Muslim threat. That is a flawed argument because today labor has mostly been substituted for capital and technology in warfare. Disunited and technologically backwards Middle East or Central Asian powers have zero chances of succeeding in a proper war against Russia (or any major Western Power for that matter).”

    Please, Iran is working hard to catch up in terms of technology, with the help of Russia. Then again, given the change of demographics within Russia, this country will have a large Muslim minority. Would not take much for a civil war to break out at some point in the future and for a call for help to be sent out to receptive allies….

    Not saying that it will happen, but much likelier than your sci-fi scenario whereby Europeans discover a fountain of youth and old rejuvenated Europeans turn to fascism LOL 😉

    Comment by Michel — March 6, 2009 @ 10:51 pm

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