Jump to content
kinophile

US/ NATO v. Russia - Misperceptions.

Recommended Posts

kinophile,

Had never heard of the site, so thanks for cluing me in. The About is a thought-provoking read all by itself, and boy, can that guy write. I read the entire thing, save for really getting into the refugee infographic and the arms sales breakdowns. Parsing the whole thing is beyond me presently, but I did want to comment on one point raised in the link you provided. This was the part on current Russian nuclear doctrine and associated matters as it applies to Syria and, by extension, any other place the Russians have or plan to install the S-400 and related systems. The Russians have said an attack against the Assad regime's forces is the same as an attack on Russia. That alone should be soberly considered and reconsidered by the US and NATO. And I most definitely disagree with Currahee150's contention Russia's not going to begin tactical nuclear war over a HARM strike on a S-400 battery.

It is precisely that sort of event which would almost certainly cause Russia to use small nukes if ever it is going to use them short of general war. From everything I can tell, it is the same for them as it is for us: kill just one citizen, and all bets are off--especially in the case of the country already on near war-war footing. This sort of concern led, I believe, to the ludicrous situation of having to let the Russian transports unload military cargo with impunity during the Vietnam War, only to bomb it later, when it was already significantly dispersed and out of our I forget how many mile radius no fly/no bomb zone around Haiphong  or of having to wait until Russian technicians finished constructing and testing the systems on an SA-2 site, then having to wait until the North Vietnamese had it online and shooting at our planes before we could go after it. What seems to be forgotten here is that those Russian radar vans, TELARs, CPs, etc. in all have Russians in them. Worse, Syrian AD systems may have Russians with them, too. Not good.

In a sense, this situation is frighteningly reminiscent of the problem facing the US Navy with BACKFIRE bombers operating out of the Kola Peninsula in Russia conducting conventional anti-carrier cruise missile strikes against US carrier battle groups in a non-nuclear WW III. I was at Hughes Missile Systems Group then, and we built the fabulous (nothing remotely comparable anywhere else at the time) Phoenix missile which armed the F-14s (sporting the enormously capable AWG-9 radar, built by Hughes Radar Systems Group). I thought long and hard about dealing with the problem and came up with a CONOPS envisioning standoff advanced conventional munitions to deal with the threat, killing the wasps in their vulnerable nests (best case revetments, if not, hangars), only to be told by my boss "You can't do that." When a shocked me asked "Why not?" He replied "They'll go nuclear, and strategic nuclear warfare will result." Net result? The Russians again got to operate from sanctuary, and the Navy was reduced to dealing, not with the bombers in their lairs, where they were quite killable, but only after they'd taken wing and were away from Russian territory, armed with two or even three almost unstoppable (AS-4 IOC 1962; US naval SAMs almost useless as of 1980!) Mach 3+ cruise missiles per aircraft, with an entire Regiment (plus super powerful Standoff Jammers) assigned per carrier.

Now, it wasn't a certainty they would go straight to strategic nuclear strikes, but we (absent ironclad intel) had to plan and act on the presumption they would. Consequently, we hoped to catch the bombers before they could launch their missiles, but if not, the goal was to kill as many AS-4s as possible before they really had a chance to get up to speed and go high. Instead of lethal flocks of heavily loaded gull gray BACKFIRE bombers struggling off their runways in the Kola Peninsula, we instead appear to have a paralyzing AD envelope which we can't kill even one launcher from, lest the Russians decide to use a tac nuke/s not only to restore the status quo but probably improve it considerably. This is entirely doctrinal on their end, and anyone who thinks they see things the way we do is a fool. This is not applicable to a general nuclear exchange. There, the Russians have understood nuclear winter since the early 1980s and shifted plans accordingly.

In a sense, for the Syrian case and others with the sort of AD bubble we see there, the Russians are using the Madman Theory to coerce the US and NATO not to do what they, the Russians, wish to prevent: strikes against their AD bubble, their forces and installations in Syria, against Assad's forces and, their guy Assad.  I think the Almaz Antei video is more aspirational than realistic. Something like all the fantasies teen-aged boys had about doing Farah Fawcett during the 1970s. Historical experience doesn't support anything remotely like that level of performance (SA-2, for example, went from P(K) of ~0.5 per engagement (in one case, got two F-4s with one SA-2) to .03 as a result of jamming and tactics, but at the same time, the US has had little experience against homeland only versions of Russian SAMs manned by Russian crews. The US did face this Russian SAM crew threat (and not just typical ones,ether; they were handpicked from Moscow's own defenses) early in the Vietnam War, but the missiles were not the homeland versions but the export versions, which were less capable. Off the top of my head, I can come up with only two situations in which the US went up against Russian crews using the homeland only missiles: Francis Gary Powers over Russia in his U-2 and Major Rudolf Anderson in another U-2 over Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Result? Powers shot down and captured; Major Anderson shot down and killed. In the latter case, we know two missiles were launched.

Regards,

John Kettler

 

Edited by John Kettler

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: Oil

Two parter actually:

a. On Iraq

Oil had a certain amount of influence...but not in terms of Iraqi oil.  Indeed, look at proportionally how much effort went into Iraqi governance and stability (although it didn't matter much), vs the oil industry.

Realistically the goal was to remove what was seen as a destabilizing influence in a region that had greater economic value.  We weren't treating the tumor because we wanted the tumor healthy, we wanted to keep it from affecting the surrounding organs, to use a poor analogy. 

Of course this was moronic, and viewed the Middle East in a 2D straightforward root of all evil (well, roots, Iraq and Iran) perspective.  But again, having been there, the oil was viewed as a solution to accomplish stability to achieve regional happy fun times vs START THE OIL YEAH!

b. On Syria

Syria has much deeper roots in religion and politics.  It didn't need to have the oil to progress into utter chaos, it would have done that any way (see Libya, it has oil mind you, but how little of a role it's actually played.  At it's heart, by far more than ISIS and oil.  In a nutshell, the ruling party of Syria is offensive to it's neighbors for political-religious reasons.  When it appeared destabilized, and in the process of gunning down Sunnis, this brought in a mess of different elements, or forged further internal opposition.  The Sunni neighbors historically have not hestitated to throw fighters and weapons at Sunni vs infidel fights.

Then it gets super-terrible, as the Syrians government handles things hamfistedly.  The most effective fighters are extremists (on both sides) and stuff gets nuts.  Broadly the west gets involved because it never liked Assad and oh god the civilians...but there's also a lot of reluctance because of Iraq and how badly Libya worked out.

Russia however for it's own reasons would drain the blood from every child in Syria so long as it ensures their man is still in place, and Syria can still serve their ends.  

There's no need to get oil involved, it's just at least in my opinion, something people cannot detach themselves from in terms of not trying to understand the underlying regional issues, because we understand oil, we all suck pretty bad at "getting" the middle east.

Re: SAMS.

It's more, the supposition of the article is pretty much the SAM is in play, and everything that flies is now in terrible danger.  It doesn't change much, the west missed the window to do the no-fly zone, there's a whole lot of ways to kill the missile system and kill it ultra dead if need be, and in terms of observation, observation goes two ways.  And I think we're discovering some interesting things about stuff the Russians have held close to their chest, while they're not seeing much we haven't shown.  

Basically if I told you three Patriot batteries were located in the middle east, would you consider it impossible for the Russians to operate?  Because there's far more than three, and they're a much more capable missile.  

It's another super-hyped system the Russians use to make a statement.  If they had Armatas in service they'd be parked somewhere safe in Syria to keep American sky Marines from keeping Hero syrian jet pilots from dropping aid barrels on the terrorist babies or whatever.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The article seems to completely and conveniently not include the first Syrian revolt of the 1980s. Pretty much a similar starting point to today's conflict only back then it was the Muslim brotherhood. 

That alone was enough for me to just disregard everything else. If an evaluation starts right from the get go with a flawed view it generally does not lead to a good use of one's time  to put more effort in. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, panzersaurkrautwerfer said:

b. On Syria

Syria has much deeper roots in religion and politics.  

There's no need to get oil involved, it's just at least in my opinion, something people cannot detach themselves from in terms of not trying to understand the underlying regional issues, because we understand oil, we all suck pretty bad at "getting" the middle east.

I agree,  Oil has a warping effect on Western perceptions of the region,  whereas within the region it seems  disputes are far more about tribal-level differences, religious antagonism and preserving power hierarchies. Oil becomes a means,  rather than an end. My disagreement is your suggestion that the author  views it differently - I think he's fairly restrained re oil, he spends much more time on other factors. This by extension gves extra credence to his points, for me. 

But this is academic, as it appears we're fairly close on our view of oil's actual  role in the region -  I think. 

8 hours ago, panzersaurkrautwerfer said:

Re: SAMS.

It's more, the supposition of the article is pretty much the SAM is in play, and everything that flies is now in terrible danger.  It doesn't change much, the west missed the window to do the no-fly zone, there's a whole lot of ways to kill the missile system and kill it ultra dead if need be, and in terms of observation, observation goes two ways.  And I think we're discovering some interesting things about stuff the Russians have held close to their chest, while they're not seeing much we haven't shown.  

 I agree  -  you can track a plane and learn a lot about its characteristics,  but the plane is also watching you, as is every other EW/Tracking device out there. He does not develop enough on that double edged sword, preferring to air-raid siren the S-400's threat solo. 

My note re number of systems was more about the increasing number rather than the number itself. Kinda related to his note re China-Iran-Russia being a strong enough grouping* to regionally counterthe US,  through an accumulated ad-hoc arrangement of AA/AD networks backed up by strong  cyberspace and local allied ground forces. While capable in themselves I'm sure that by nature (no central C&C) they will be vulnerable to a concentrated attack in turn. 

A mirror question is if Eastern Europe could achieve the same v. Russia,  says NATO.  That is, could Eastern Europe could support Ukraine in a defensive war by repositioning AA/AD  systems to augnebt/replace UKR 's network? Essentially start playing Russia's game of deniability and actual area denial against it, behind the screen of NATO. 

I guess I'm working toward the idea of using Russia's own tactics and strategies in one region (ME) against it in another (SEE). 

*NOT suggesting  a formal alliance is possible -  their nature's,  objectives and approaches differ vastly. But it's quite possible their attitudes and immediate aims could temporarily converge. 

Edited by kinophile

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, sburke said:

The article seems to completely and conveniently not include the first Syrian revolt of the 1980s. Pretty much a similar starting point to today's conflict only back then it was the Muslim brotherhood. 

That alone was enough for me to just disregard everything else. If an evaluation starts right from the get go with a flawed view it generally does not lead to a good use of one's time  to put more effort in. 

But... He's not providing a history of Syria, more looking at how Russia and US got to where they are now. Homs was a massacre,  but to be brutal,  it was irrelevant to Great Power plays in the region.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, cool breeze said:

...I'm feeling like I might have to vote trump even though I'm not a racist or a sexist...

Being your friendly neighbor from up north...  THIS scares the **** out of me (us).

Edited by Blazing 88's

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

+1

Back to topic: He states: "Russia’s position is that NATO has acted aggressively by expanding NATO influence easterly into former USSR territory along with military forces including nuclear weapons that could attack Russia with no warning."

What systems is he talking about?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

These detailed discussion are very interesting.  Looking at the big picture, the lesson being learned (imo) is that guys like Saddam, Gaddafi and yes, Assad are actually more western oriented than their Islamic fanatic extremist peoples.  History may well show that we were very naïve in removing them.  We in the Euro-centric west Christian do not understand the ME mindset, and have unleashed hell on ourselves..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Erwin said:

These detailed discussion are very interesting.  Looking at the big picture, the lesson being learned (imo) is that guys like Saddam, Gaddafi and yes, Assad are actually more western oriented than their Islamic fanatic extremist peoples.  History may well show that we were very naïve in removing them.  We in the Euro-centric west Christian do not understand the ME mindset, and have unleashed hell on ourselves..

Possibly Western style in their technical approach to matters. I think though that the ME mindset is pretty understandable, if we are aware of the same pressures, impetus and objectives as them.

Whats interesting is how much of those ostensibly man-on-the-street desires/aims actually makes it yo the top elite -  how much are they driven by pure power retention v. Religious belief? I'm. Sure it varies per leader,  elite and country. 

But,  still this is off topic. 

As mentioned, I wonder how the West,  or part of it, could parry Russia's current approach in Eastern Europe? What if Poland, et al start messing with Belarus? Create a 'Donbass' buffer zone from Grodno to Lido,  deepen the Suwalki gap? :-)

Totally ignores the ethnographic reality but still :-)

Edited by kinophile

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

7 hours ago, sburke said:

The article seems to completely and conveniently not include the first Syrian revolt of the 1980s. Pretty much a similar starting point to today's conflict only back then it was the Muslim brotherhood. 

That alone was enough for me to just disregard everything else. If an evaluation starts right from the get go with a flawed view it generally does not lead to a good use of one's time  to put more effort in. 

If you follow the links you'll find that the article does talk about the Muslim Brotherhood and their involvement with the CIA in starting this "second" revolution ( second in quotes because its such an old part of the world).  But I am completely unsurprised You didn't bother to finish reading it.

 

3 hours ago, Blazing 88's said:

Being your friendly neighbor from up north...  THIS scares the **** out of me (us).

I gotta admit it scares me a little too (specially if my dad found out)  but not as much as ww3!  I remember when the Greorgia Osseta stuff went down, and we on the forums know what was really going on, but american media caught by surprise were in full wartime propaganda mode pumping us up for a potential response to " an unprovoked Russian invasion of our ally" or whatever  And Hillary Clinton as secretary of state was being craziest of all and really seemed to want to go to war with Russia over it.  Luckily the conflict was over before the media had time to get the public to find out where Georgia was.

 

Edit to add.   Oh, and thanks again BIGDUKE for that.  Ive been feeling uniformed after you left having gotten so spoiled. 

Edited by cool breeze

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But why? seems pretty on point considering how differently they would handle our relationship with Russia.  Seems kind of like time is nigh and the fate of the world hangs in the balance.  My friend came over yesterday and I showed him the article.  He told me that Hillary talked about possibly bombing Syrian government in the second debate?  I haven't seen the whole thing yet so I don't know, did she really say that?    Seems pretty crazy that we would be talking about that kind of thing without also talking about how Russia has said that's the kind of thing they would use a limited nuclear strike to retaliate/defend. 

 

Domestic issues are really important to me but not as important as us stopping overthrowing countries and avoiding a major war.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just read your post JK, sorry but sometimes I skip em and come back when I have more time since I'm trying to follow the thread and your posts have more information than I'm ready for ;)  that was an extra good and insightful one, I really enjoy the stories from back in the day in the industry. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This should be on topic enough for this thread- Kunetsov sortieing yesterday for the Syrian Theater

14-4315045-wotiryo2aeo.jpg

 

Kunetsov's OOB (Including itself, not sure if this 100% accurate but the CMANO guys are a good source on this kind of stuff)

CAG- MiG-29K and SU-33

Kuznetsov KAG:
pr. 11435 "Kuznetsov"
pr. 11442 "Petr Velikiy"
pr. 1155 "Severomorsk"
pr. 1155 "Admiral Kulakov"
pr. 1559V "Sergei Osipov"
pr. 1452 "Altay"

Apparently the entire Russian navy will be joining us! (If she doesn't break down again trying to get there :) )
 

Edited by Raptorx7

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, cool breeze said:

I gotta admit it scares me a little too (specially if my dad found out)  but not as much as ww3!  I remember when the Greorgia Osseta stuff went down, and we on the forums know what was really going on, but american media caught by surprise were in full wartime propaganda mode pumping us up for a potential response to " an unprovoked Russian invasion of our ally" or whatever  And Hillary Clinton as secretary of state was being craziest of all and really seemed to want to go to war with Russia over it.  Luckily the conflict was over before the media had time to get the public to find out where Georgia was.

not sure if serious....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To clarify,  I don't think Russia has said it quite as simply that (strikes = nukes).

His point is that they have the technical capacity to, essentially, mini nuke, which dangerously lowers the threshold. They could escalate far quicker than the West might be ready for,  essentially keeping the initiative. 

 

Edited by kinophile

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, cool breeze said:

But why? 

Cmon.that subject is dangerously close to politicking,, something they've stamped on here. What politicians say on the stump Is heavily divorced from the realities of office. Please... don't muddy this thread.... 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, cool breeze said:

 

If you follow the links you'll find that the article does talk about the Muslim Brotherhood and their involvement with the CIA in starting this "second" revolution ( second in quotes because its such an old part of the world).  But I am completely unsurprised You didn't bother to finish reading it.

Me either.  I tend not to read the heavy conspiracy theory nonsense.  You only get so much time in this life.  No sense wasting it.

Please don't take that personally, it is just when folks get into these long complex ways of trying to link things they have to work so hard to link - humans are generally far less complex.  Syrians mostly hate Assad.  They were brutally suppressed once.  Would it be any surprise in the midst of the arab spring they would sense weakness and try again?  Why does one have to credit the CIA?  They haven't exactly had a a stellar history of this sort of thing and as disjointed as the resistance is, well it just doesn't seem to hold up to a real test.

Edited by sburke

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

cool breeze,

Glad you enjoyed it! My original plan was to write a couple of short paragraphs, but once I got going, I found there was much more which I felt needed saying. Long as that was, my post looked at only a few of the many topics raided by the OP. Speaking as someone who practically ate, breathed and slept Russia and the Warsaw Pact during his time as a Soviet Threat Analyst, I take the statements coming from senior Russian officials civilian and military as deadly serious declaratory policy. They might or might not go nuclear over one or more of these (some are obvious nuclear response triggers), but if nothing else, it shows us that they consider the various listed items to be very important to them. The last program I worked during my time in military aerospace was called NASP, and there was most definitely declaratory policy regarding things like it whizzing above the Motherland doing various military tasks.

The National Security Archive has a wealth of material from key people on Russia's end during the Cold War. These include the man whose team wrote the strategic doctrine pubs, the last Soviet Minister of Defense and more.

Summary of retrospective US study on how the Soviets viewed the nuclear situation and nuclear strategy  during the Cold War, as opposed to what we thought and believed.

http://nsarchive.gwu.edu/nukevault/ebb285/

See especially Colonel-Lieutenant (Ret.) Adrian Danilievitch. This interview, as far as I'm concerned, is worth its weight in gold.

http://nsarchive.gwu.edu/nukevault/ebb285/vol iI Danilevich.pdf

Regards,

John Kettler

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@sburke yes,  there's definitely a tinge of OMG USA CIA ARE EVIL MASTERSTROKE SABATEUR REBEL MAKER'S 4EVA!! There's something in the syntax that gives it away very early,  but for me the first knocks s always the use of the word Imperialist. Throwing that in the mix automatically marks the author as blinkered, simplistic,  behind the times and inherently biased by debunked ideology. The article also reads like a wannabe NYT or NYr article,  without a cent of the investigative ability of the former or the literary ability of the latter. I have far less faith in the CIAs ability to not **** things up, even though I'm certain they get away with a lot. I feel that the rebellion was natural,  justified and possibly encouraged/egged on by Western agencies.But it was too haphazard and reactive to read as a coordinated attempt. 

@john kettler -  interesting links,  thank you. I'm very interested in that interview, will read shortly. And yes,  we are all very much aware that you were a Soviet Threat Analyst :-) us imperialist jumping monkies thank you for your diligence in maintaining our yellow tailed uber-empire. :-)

Question : where is Russia's peripheral vulnerable to overt foreign interference? 

Edited by kinophile

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

kinophile,

During the Cold War, we used to talk about something called lateral escalation. "If you do something bad in Europe, we're going to do something bad to you elsewhere." Attacking Russian Pacific Fleet facilities in Vladivostok was one such notion. And with China already arming disputed slands and building new ones so it can arm them, too, comes news the Russians may, if geology and such suit, build a military base on an island (Matua/Matsawa) Japan also claims. This is after leaving it unpeopled for a decade. In turn, this shows Russia feels vulnerable in the Kuriles. With RT characterizing this event as an "unprecedented step," I am inclined to view this investigation instead as an advance party. The report is from May 27, 2016.

https://www.rt.com/news/344539-kuril-island-russian-navy/

But the handwriting was on the wall years prior. 2014, in fact.

https://www.rt.com/news/kuril-islands-military-revamp-572/

The Russians know they're vulnerable and are making major efforts to fix the problem, including putting in S-400s at unspecified locations, but my money would be on Vladivostok. Without bases on the islands, Russia would be in big trouble if war broke out, for the Japanese could start taking back the Kurile Islands, a task simplified by having their own trained amphibious force!

http://www.wsj.com/articles/japan-builds-amphibious-force-modeled-on-us-marines-1405597172

This is the stuff of Russian nightmares, particularly with constitutional changes which now allow the Japanese Self-Defense force to do considerably more than just defend.

Regards,

John Kettler

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...