US/Russian competition: Russia at bay.

Blog No. 151.

“The man, who sold the bear’s skin while the bear yet lived, was killed in hunting him.” Russian proverb.

Introduction: In our neighbourhood there lives a thug we have nick-named Godzilla. He supplements his living by pushing lethal materials into the community and by providing protection and extortion services for the deep-state criminals that employ him. When required, and with impunity, he kills.

Recreation for Godzilla is to climb the fence into the local school playground and make the children hand over their lunch-boxes. Occasionally recalcitrant and foolish children, such as Castro, Allende, Chavez, Gadhafi, Saddam, Assad and Kim have refused to hand over their goodies. They have duly earned a beating and been crippled and/or left for dead.

Meanwhile, the other children look on in awe. They either do nothing to draw attention to themselves, or utter words of encouragement in the hope that the flattery will dissuade the thug from pillaging their own lunch boxes. Some of them have gone even further in the hope that, if they actually join in and restrain some of Godzilla’s victims, while he robs them, he might let them share some of his spoils.

It is a great living and lots of unchallenged fun that the thug has enjoyed. And then one slightly bigger boy has started to stand up to him. It now looks as though this asking-for-it martyr might gather a small cluster of other resisters around him. Godzilla’s reptilian brain sees only one solution to that problem.

The Competition: The competition between Russia and the USA is striking in its one-sidedness:

MISSION (Taken from the US Department of Defense website.)

“The mission of the Department of Defense is to provide a lethal Joint Force to defend the security of our country and sustain American influence abroad.”

US Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan told a Defense Writers Group breakfast

April 2018 answering a question from a TASS correspondent.

“Russia continues to be a strategic competitor. And its efforts undermine the West,”

Statistics:

Land mass:

USA: 9 million sq.km Russia: 17 million sq.km

GDP: (1.)

USA: $20 trillion Russia: 1.5 trillion (Italy’s GDP is $2 trillion.)

Population:

USA: 325 million Russia: 145 million

Defence expenditure:

USA: $550 billion (3.8% GDP) Russia: $70 billion (5.3% GDP)

Other calculations have US defence expenditure, which is ticking upwards under the current presidency, at around $900 billion (2.)

Military personnel:

USA: 1.3 million active, 0.8 million reserve. Russia: 0.77 active, 2 million reserve.

Nuclear Capacity:

USA: 2,200 warheads: Russia: 2,500 warheads– each sufficient to kill all life on planet Earth.

Overseas military bases:

USA: Around 800 with troops on active service stationed in around 150 countries (all used to inflict suffering in their neighbourhoods.) (3.)

Russia: Less than ten overseas bases, with the exception of Syria, all in ‘near-abroad’ allied countries sharing borders with Russia.

Neither USA nor Russia can use their nuclear arsenals without committing suicide. Other than that on every other basis, there is no competition. There are only two statistics with which Russia leads the USA. One is in military reserves – that is in personnel to be called up in defensive emergency, rather than in offensive opportunity.

The other is in landmass – but excess landmass, especially when so much of it is an unproductive and frozen waste, can be a disadvantage. It represents extra costs in infrastructure and administration and distant perimeters to be defended. The USA is defended by vast oceans to its west and east and faces no possible military threat from its northern and southern borders.

In contrast, Russia is confronted with a vigorously expansionist and overtly hostile NATO alliance on its most vulnerable Western frontier, through which all previous western invasions have entered. It also faces the ever-present threat of US sponsored subversion and insurrection to the South. No wonder that Russians have to spend a greater proportion of their income on military preparedness than do NATO’s far wealthier citizens. The only advantage of Russia’s vast size, as both Napoleon and Hitler learned to their cost, is the opportunity to mount a defence in depth.

Additional adverse factors: Russia is further disadvantaged in that Godzilla is using threats, issued from his privileged position in the neighbourhood, to place an embargo on shop-owners that sell victuals to it and its allies. At the same time, dire punishment is threatened to those, who allow Russia and friends to earn their pocket-money by trading with them.

In an attempt to justify its moves to alienate Russia from all potential neighbourly contacts, and insulate further pupils in the playground from ‘contamination’ through conversations with Russia, Godzilla has mounted an intensive propaganda campaign. The school principal has been pressured, bribed or duped (4) into allowing School Assemblies and the school newsletter to be used to incite hatred of Russia among the pupils. Russia has been accused of cheating in exams, planning to rob other pupil’s lockers and even of gassing the school cat. Instructions have been issued to keep all conversations with Russia to a minimum in the hope that being placed in Coventry will induce despair and surrender.

From Russia’s viewpoint, by far the most serious success Godzilla has had in this hate campaign has been to subvert Russia’s step-brother, Ukraine, whose support Russia had always been able to rely on in the playground struggle. Ukraine’s desertion has left Russia feeling very vulnerable. It is noticeable how, from its newly disadvantaged position, Russia, while attempting to block any of Godzilla’s overtly hostile moves, such as the subversion of Syria, has gone out of its way to avoid provoking further conflict with him. This caution has done nothing but encourage Godzilla and allies and inspired them to redouble their verbal and economic assault on Russia.

Given the degree of physical damage to its economy that Russia has seen inflicted by western sanctions and fearing worse to come, it would appear that Russia is taking some precautionary steps in cyber-space to be able to reciprocate with economic damage should the economic pain inflicted become intolerable. Needless to say, at such impertinence, the cries of foul-play and shock-horror outrage from Godzilla and his mates have reached a new crescendo. (5.)

Not all odds are stacked in Godzilla’s favour. Happily for Russia, its South-Eastern border is controlled by China. China is a playground prefect, rapidly gaining in both economic strength and localised defensive capability, already sufficient to dampen Godzilla’s parade. Should Russia be defeated by Godzilla, China is well aware that it would be next. With its ever mounting attempts to bully Russia, Godzilla is cementing the alliance between Russia and China. (6.)

Huffing and puffing and ever more thwarted and frustrated, it would appear that the likelihood of Godzilla suffering an acute myocardial infarction increases year by year. If nothing changes, the strain of the USA’s runaway military expenditure, the media induced delusions of its population and the spectacular dysfunction of its political system will ultimately lead to its collapse.

A tipping point? Provided a prior miscalculation doesn’t intervene and the two competitors destroy the world in a nuclear exchange, at some stage in the exciting journey ahead, a tipping point will be reached. The other children in the playground will realise that Godzilla, faced with the effective resistance of the increasingly strong Russia/China partnership, will start looking for easier targets – with them as the easiest pickings. At that point, one by one, they will start looking to the East for trade and protection and Godzilla, if spared jail and treated with intelligent clemency, could become a normal member of the international community.

Footnotes:

1. http://statisticstimes.com/economy/countries-by-projected-gdp.php

2. https://www.thebalance.com/u-s-military-budget-components-challenges-growth-3306320

3. http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/176418/tomgram%3A_danny_sjursen%2C_hail%2C_%28donald%29_caesar%21/#more

4. https://lobelog.com/thinking-about-the-thinkable/ and http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/49335.htm

5. http://fortune.com/2018/04/17/russia-hacking-us-uk-australia/

6. https://www.msn.com/en-nz/news/world/russia-china-pledge-new-military-ties-challenge-us/ar-AAwjba6?li=BBqdg4K&ocid=SK216DHP

 

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