Russia is keeping NATO on high alert with Russia’s fighter jets over Europe, thousands of troops on the ground, and 5,000 nuclear weapons right next to Europe. While the United States appears to be busy battling its inner demons of segregation and immigration, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has chosen to do something else. When confronted with his latest actions against NATO and the U.S. during last week’s G-20 meeting, Putin showed the world how he reacts to criticism about his latest actions – “he just got up and left,” reports Forbes on Nov. 20.
Apparently, Russia’s president has very little concern about what the world thinks of his actions. However, one cannot help but wonder. Would Putin really dare to start World War 3? What would be the point of starting a war that would most likely end in the destruction of not just one country but of much of the world? As the Forbes article asks, “Could Russia’s New Nuclear Weapons Win World War III?”
“As for tactical nuclear weapons, the superiority of modern-day Russia over NATO is even stronger,” writes Russia’s Pravda on Nov. 12 in the article Russia prepares nuclear surprise for NATO. According to the article, Russia is not only superior to NATO’s nuclear weapons but also those of the United States.
“It just so happens that today, Russia’s strategic nuclear forces (SNF) are even more advanced in comparison with those of the US. … Having written off Moscow as a serious geopolitical rival, flying on the wings of inaccessible military and technological superiority, Washington drove itself into a trap, from which it does not see a way out even in a medium-term perspective. … The Americans are well aware of this. They were convinced before that Russia would never rise again. Now it’s too late.”
In comparing Russia to NATO and the United States, Pravda writes that Russia has 5,000 pieces of different classes of tactical nuclear weapons including Iskander warheads to torpedo, aerial and artillery warheads. In contrast, the United States has 300 tactical B-61 bombs on its own territory and NATO countries have 260 tactical nuclear weapons in the ETO. The United States has 200 bombs with a total capacity of 18 megatons. They are located on six air bases in Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Turkey. France has 60 more atomic bombs. “That is pretty much it.”
Pravda claims that Russia’s superiority in tactical nuclear weapons was made possible by START-3, the treaty signed by Dmitry Medvedev and Barack Obama on April 8, 2010, in Prague. “It was the first strategic agreement, after the treacherous policy of democrats, in which Russia managed to win significant advantages. In the treaty, the Americans, for the first time in history, undertook to reduce their strategic nuclear potential, while Russia won an opportunity to increase it.”
Russia has not only increased its nuclear weapons but also its presence on the ground and in the air. On Thursday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that NATO warplanes had to scramble 400 times this year in response to an increase in Russian air activity around Europe, an activity by Russian fighter jets that has not been seen since the Cold War. “This pattern is risky and unjustified, so NATO remains vigilant. We are here and we are ready to defend all our allies against any threats.”
According to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, since 2005, Russia has increased its military spending by 50 percent while NATO has cut spending by 20 percent. Charly Salonius-Pasternak, a security expert at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs in Helsinki, calls Russia’s military buildup on the ground and in the air “quite a wake-up call.” “Russia’s armed forces can do things that they couldn’t do 10 years ago,” he said in an interview. “Russia has a much better ability to transport large units, long distances and have them arrive combat ready.”
Karl-Heinz Kamp, academic director at the German government’s Federal Academy for Security Policy in Berlin, said recently that “the rapid mobilization of 20,000 to 40,000 Russian troops at the Ukrainian border scared the hell out of NATO.”
In regard to Russia’s shocking actions towards NATO and the U.S., the Russian newspaper Pravda writes that “Times have changed. One can easily understand the new state of affairs.” From Russia’s point of view, the new state of affairs is debunking the myth that Russia is weak and that the West is superior.
“In today’s Russia, many find this hard to believe. This is a common belief for many of those, who still enthusiastically remain in captivity of the myths about the absolute ‘weakness’ of Russia and the absolute ‘superiority’ of the West. The myth was made up in the 90’s under the influence of Boris Yeltsin and his betrayal of Russian national interests. One has to admit that during that time, the myth was real, if one may say so.”
Quite evidently, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is trying to show NATO and the United States that he is ready to debunk the myth of a weak Russia. While Putin might be just flexing his muscles to the world, Russia’s former leader Mikhail Gorbachev warned that the situation is dramatic.