Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard
Putin’s message is some kind of political fire extinguisher, with the help of which the Russian President cooled the heads that became too hot in the American political and military elite. The hysterics of the western media, politicians, and expert community that will inevitably follow in the next few days will be the best confirmation that the message achieved its objectives. Although the western media and politicians will accuse Vladimir Putin of militarising foreign policy and starting a new arms race, the presidential message listing new types of Russian armaments is a pledge that the next world war is postponed indefinitely.
As usual, any good deed doesn’t remain unpunished. So the President will be blamed a lot, and with pleasure – with the help of the predictable and mothballed theses of the times of the cold war. Those who saw militancy or aggressive imperialism in Putin’s speech are even now in hurry to inform the world about this via the media or on social networks, or remain deaf, stupid, or are on the payroll of the divisions on psychological operations that are in many American and European structures – specialising in the fight against Russia. It is easy to foretell that Putin will be accused that because of his militaristic ambitions and unreasonable expenses on the army, the social sphere in Russia suffers and will continue to suffer. The President will be accused of repeating the mistakes of the late USSR, that he drags the country into an arms race with the US, and that we by definition can’t win this race. Also, we will be told repeatedly from every pro-West social network account that because of the “aggressive militarism” of Putin and the endless Russian “saber-rattling” all of civilised mankind turned its back on us, and we thus remained in our cold Mordor — embracing a samovar and a “Sarmat” missile.
Let’s take a look at these accusations that are being thrown at Vladimir Putin and all the supporters of Putin.
We will start with the forecast that we can’t win an arms race against the great America and its Elon Mask’s electric car on the Moon and a military budget of $886 billion per year. The fact is that we don’t need to win an arms race. We already won it, and, as our President transparently hinted, should there be a need we will be able to repeat this result. Vladimir Putin is the master of asymmetric reciprocal actions, and this allows him to avoid the mistakes that were made by certain leaders of the USSR. Instead of competing with the US in the quantitative plan, Russia competes of qualitatively. When Americans were starting missile defense systems, they counted on Russia simply overstraining from trying to create its own missile defenses (or will overstrain itself from trying to make so many ballistic missiles in order to overcome missile defense systems due to being launched in mass). The Americans fairly considered that the attempt to realise any of these approaches will come back to haunt Russia in the form of an economic catastrophe. But in practice the new Russian armaments don’t demand economic super-efforts, and all the multi-billion investments of Americans in the missile defense systems in the US and all over the world turn into a waste of money. Putin’s presentation turned the system that the Americans spent huge financial, human, and political resources on into expensive scrap metal in the blink of an eye.
For this purpose there was no need to catch up with and overtake America in terms of military expenses. The reasonable use of the available resources was rather enough to “nullify” the American advantages. And it is precisely this that Putin spoke about in the key phrase of his message:
“And to those who in the past 15 years have tried to accelerate an arms race and seek unilateral advantage against Russia, have introduced restrictions and sanctions that are illegal from the standpoint of international law aiming to restrain our nation’s development, including in the military area, I will say this: everything you have tried to prevent through such a policy has already happened. No one has managed to restrain Russia!”
By the way, one shouldn’t think that the US has dimensionless financial resources, and that they can be spent on the military-industrial complex without consequences. This simply isn’t true. After the presentation of the new nuclear doctrine of the US, which the Russian leader spoke about so unflatteringly today, the author of this doctrine – General James “Maddog” Mattis – was hauled on the carpet in the senate where members of the commission on defense blamed him because the program of development of the American nuclear forces is too expensive, even for the US.
Mattis admitted that statements about the creation of new types of missiles and an increase in the volumes of their production are necessary first of all in order to “bargain with the Russians” concerning the Russian nuclear program. After Putin designated a range of new Russian possibilities in respect of nuclear deterrence, bargaining on the terms of the American military will become obviously impossible. Washington will be obliged to offer concessions of an absolutely other sort, and the Russian President already underlined the first foreign policy demands to the US — to send into retirement the politicians and officials who got stuck in the cold war era.
A couple of words about isolation. The great practician and distinguished expert in questions of specifics of American business negotiations Al Capone claimed that “you can get much farther with a kind word and a gun than you can with a kind word alone”. There is every reason to believe that “with a kind word and a Sarmat” Moscow will obtain from Washington and other western partners of ours a much bigger keenness to Russian national interests. And the words of the Russian President – that we are ready to defend using nuclear weapons not only our country, but also our allies – will serve as the strongest stimulation so that many feel a sudden thirst for friendship with Russia (or as a minimum – become aware of the malignancy of institutionalised Russophobia). Force is respected. An intelligent and hi-tech force is respected doubly.
It should be especially noted that in the center of the message of the President there was a person, an ordinary citizen of Russia, and not a weapon or foreign policy at all. A nuclear deterrent, missiles, and underwater drones capable of creating a radioactive tsunami on the American coast are tools that allow the State to provide peace and security for its citizens. The President highlighted that the main enemy of Russia is not some external force – not Washington, not London, and not even international terrorism, but the lag of our economy. A super-powerful weapon is a pledge to our sovereignty today. The creation of a hi-tech economy is a pledge to our sovereignty tomorrow.
The President said that we ourselves can choose our future, and outlined its contours: the development of education and medicine, investments in sewing together Russian transport infrastructure, the development of big and small cities, protecting business against the arbitrariness of officials and security officers, and the available crediting and assistance to fundamental science.
Not people for the sake of weapons, but weapons for the sake of people.
Vladimir Putin emphasises over and over again that the main richness of Russia is its people: officers and scientists, doctors and teachers, landowners and engineers, and also startups, urbanists, venture capitalists, and ecologists. Russia of the future is first of all a country of opportunities, and in order for these opportunities to be realised, on the one hand, there is a need for a “nuclear umbrella”, and on the other hand, as the President fairly noted, it is necessary to “focus all resources and summon all our strength and willpower in this daring effort that must yield results”.
Well, and the last thing. If Russians were shown this presidential message 18 years ago, we wouldn’t believe that such a thing is possible – that it is possible to recover, heal, and to make strong again the country that the treachery of the elite and the devastation of the 90’s razed, like during a war. Fortunately, it’s not only us who didn’t believe it – our geopolitical opponents didn’t either. Looking back at what was already done gives confidence that we will succeed in everything.
We often argue about how Russia must live and what its special role is – and whether such a thing exists at all. The message of the president hints that the fate and calling of Russia is to be polite and hi-tech goodness with fists. And if all of us will work for it, then the forecast of our President will come true: “The entire 21st century will undoubtedly be an age of outstanding triumphs for Russia and our shared success. I believe it will be so”.
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