Gates doesn’t rule out a war with Russia

Vremya Novostei

GATES STRIKES

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates doesn’t rule out a war with Russia

America needs a strong military to be ready to cope with future
threats, including threats posed by Russia, US Defense Secretary
Robert Gates told the House Armed Services Committee. Does this mean
that the United States is making preparations for war with Russia
and China, two vast nuclear powers?

America needs a strong military to be ready to cope with future
threats, including threats posed by Russia, US Defense Secretary
Robert Gates told the House Armed Services Committee this week. “In
addition to fighting the Global War on Terror, we also face the
danger posed by Iran and North Korea’s nuclear ambitions… and the
uncertain paths of China and Russia, which are both pursuing
sophisticated military modernization programs,” Gates said.
The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff backed this up: “I
believe that we… should be ready for a traditional war, because we
don’t know what might happen in places like Russia or China, North
Korea or Iran.”

Does this mean that the United States is making preparations
for war with Russia and China, two vast nuclear powers? We
approached Colonel-General (retired) Eduard Vorobiov with this
question. “In listing America’s potential adversaries, Gates openly
calls for a confrontation. What worries me is that the statement the
US defense secretary made must have been pre-approved by the White
House. That makes it the official position of the US
Administration.”

An arms race involving nuclear powers is gaining momentum. The
Pentagon won’t be content with criticism and verbal attacks only.
Missile defense system radars are being installed closer and closer
to Russian borders. Debates are already raging over Washington’s
plans to deploy missile defense facilities in the Czech Republic and
Poland. There are some indications that American radars are about to
appear the eastern borders of Russia as well.

Lieutenant-General Henry Obering, head of the US Missile
Defense Agency, announced the other day that the floating radar was
being moved from Hawaii to Adak (the Aleutian islands) – that is,
right next to Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula. The radar station, a
converted oil rig, measures almost 100 meters by 65 meters. “The
floating radar’s mobility allows it to be moved to wherever it is
needed in hostilities and for the purpose of defending the United
States and its allies from missiles,” Obering said.
Everything is simple indeed from the standpoint of promoting
American interests: interceptors in Eastern Europe will take care of
Iranian missiles, and interceptors in the Pacific will handle any
missiles Kim Jong-Il may order launched. But two other countries
from the Axis of Evil – Russia and China – have reason to believe
that the American systems are being deployed to counter their
nuclear arsenals. “Teamed up with the Alaskan interceptor missiles,
the floating radar will cover a vast expanse of Eastern Siberia, the
Russian Far East, and China,” Vorobiov said. “Needless to say, this
is sure to cause concern for the Russian leadership.”

The United States wouldn’t stop even there. The deputy head of
the US Missile Defense Agency said the whole framework will come
online this year. Washington has 14 interceptor missiles in Alaska
and two in California, rising to 21 and four by the end of 2007. The
plan is to deploy 40 interceptors in Alaska by 2011. A radar located
on the US military base in northern Britain will be integrated into
the missile defense system later this year. Modernization of a radar
in Greenland is under way with Denmark’s consent. All things
considered, the US military’s hints that the North Korean or Iranian
threat doesn’t really differ much from the Russian or Chinese threat
are unlikely to reconcile Moscow and Beijing to the idea of
cooperation with Washington.

According to Major-General Alexander Vladimirov, Vice President
of the Military Expert Board, Gates’ statement and the deployment of
bases all around Russia’s perimeter “seem like preparations for a
war.” Vladimirov said: “Tension is mounting because of the US Army’s
problems in Iraq and shaky positions of the Republican
Administration in general.”

Ruslan Pukhov, director of the Center for Analysis of
Strategies and Technologies, agrees. As far as the expert is
concerned, pointedly listing Russia among rogue regimes, the White
House is but trying to justify its own faulty policy in Iraq and
Afghanistan. “The United States is stuck in Iraq, seemingly with no
way out. At least, it can’t think of any solution at this point.
Gates’ words and the fact that bases are being deployed along
Russia’s perimeter are linked. That’s unpleasant, of course, but no
reason to permit our country to be dragged into a new arms race,”
Pukhov said. “To quote President Putin, we shall respond to anything
that affects us – asymmetrically but effectively.”
Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov has a chance to ask Gates
directly what the American military establishment expects from
Russia. Ivanov and Gates have met in Spain, where an informal
meeting of the Russia-NATO Council is taking place.
Translated by A. Ignatkin
———————————————-
Russian Analysts Slam Gates’ Statement On Possible Wars
MOSCOW. Feb 9 (Interfax-AVN) – Russian political
analysts have slammed a statement by U.S. Defense
Secretary Robert Gates that the United States
should be ready for possible armed conflicts with
countries including Russia and China.
“His statement has only one meaning – that the
new U.S. defense secretary has forgotten nothing
and has learned nothing. To say that Russia may
be a threat to the United States is an extreme
manifestation of remaining Cold War syndromes,”
Major General Vladimir Dvorkin, a senior rearch
fellow at the Russian Institute of the World
Economy and International Relations, told Interfax-AVN.
Russia should “demand explanations” from the United States, he said.
“It is important to understand the meaning of
these words by the U.S. defense secretary in the
context of the declaration of strategic
partnership signed by the Russian and U.S.
leaders in May 2002. Why has it happened that
this declaration has turned out to be completely
helpless and the United States has apparently no
intention to use it as guidance?” Dvorkin said.
Leonid Ivashov, vice president of the Academy of
Geopolitical Problems, said that, after Gates’
statement, Russia “should revise its defense
concepts, revise its military doctrine, and start
taking problems of military security more seriously.”
——————————————————-
This is the totality of what Robert Gates said about Russia.
House Armed Services Committee
February 7, 2007
Hearing on Defense Department Fiscal Year 2008 Budget Request
Testimony of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates
Since 1993, with a defense budget that is a
smaller relative share of our national wealth,
the world has gotten more complicated and,
arguably, more dangerous. In addition to fighting the global
war on terror, we also face the danger
posed by Iran and North Korea’s nuclear ambitions
and the threat they pose not only to their
neighbors, but globally because of their record
of proliferation; the uncertain paths of China
and Russia, which are both pursuing sophisticated
military modernization programs; and a range of
other flashpoints and challenges. In this
strategic environment, the resources we devote to
defense should be at the level to adequately meet those challenges….
I think that we need the full range of military
capabilities. We need both the ability for
regular force-on-force conflicts because we don’t
know what’s going to develop in places like
Russia and China, in North Korea, in Iran and elsewhere.

Vremya Novostei
February 9, 2007
Auththor: Victor Volodin, Alexander Timofeyev.

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