A recent CNN Poll found that 29% of
Americans think that Russia is a "Very serious threat" to the United
States, and that 40% consider it a "Moderately serious threat."
That's 69% who consider it a "serious threat." In 2012, only 11%
considered it a "Very serious threat," and 33% considered it a
"Moderately serious threat." 44% then considered Russia a
"serious threat." The huge surge in fear of Russia -- from 44% to 69%
-- seems to be due entirely to Ukraine. 81% of poll-respondents said that
"Russia's actions in Ukraine are ... a violation of international
law." Only 12% said that it's not. Asked whether "there was any
justification for Russia's actions in Ukraine," 72% said "No,"
and only 17% said "Yes."
When asked "Do you think it is likely or not that there will be a new cold war," 48% said "Likely," and 49% said "Not likely."
And when asked "Do you worry about the possibility of nuclear war with Russia," 40% said "Yes," and 59% said "No."
The threat feared from Russia is mainly of their troops, who are manning bases for Russian Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs), all of which are located inside Russia.
By contrast, the U.S. has troops in many countries, which include the following nations where our soldiers are stationed (and this includes ones with missile bases located near Russia): Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Kazakhstan.
We also have some soldiers in other former parts of the U.S.S.R.: Moldova, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.
We also have nearly 35,000 troops stationed in Japan, a nation near Russia and that claims ownership of four small Sakhalin Islands and two small Kuril Islands, from Russia.
Not to mention, of course, installations in places like Romania, Singapore, Turkey, Peru, Kenya, and Oman, totaling 185 countries throughout the world.
The United States is, of course, not surrounded by any Russian soldiers at all -- not in Mexico, nor in Canada, nor anywhere near this country, except Russia itself near Alaska.
Steven Starr has written about the decades-long view within the U.S. military-strategy establishment, that the Cold War is not, and actually never really was, about ideology, not about capitalism versus communism, but is instead simply about which nation will control the world: basically about national political and economic dominance of our planet. If what Starr says is true, then the end of communism in the U.S.S.R. didn't terminate the U.S. military's "Cold War" mission, which is instead actually about global dominance. Starr cites, among other sources, an article, "The Rise of US Nuclear Primacy," from the highly influential journal of the organization of U.S. aristocrats and their agents, the Council on Foreign Relations, their authoritative Foreign Affairs, in March 2006. It discusses obliquely the Star Wars Missile-Defense program that was first proposed by President Ronald Reagan, and that has been developed during the decades since. The article says (and I shall italicize the admission since it otherwise rarely appears in print): "For 50 years, the Pentagon's war planners have structured the U.S. nuclear arsenal according to the goal of deterring a nuclear attack on the United States and, if necessary, winning a nuclear war by launching a preemptive strike that would destroy an enemy's nuclear forces." That article, which basically asserts that the publicly stated U.S. nuclear strategy, of maintaining on both sides the capacity for "Mutually Assured Destruction," or "MAD," is just a peaceful-sounding cover-story for the actual U.S. strategy of militarily dominating the entire world, then says: "The ability to destroy all of an adversary's nuclear forces [via Anti-Ballistic Missiles or 'ABMs'], eliminating the possibility of a retaliatory strike, is known as a first-strike capability, or nuclear primacy." It alleges that the actual objective of these supposedly defensive ABM weapons (which are still only in the development stage) is to knock out incoming retaliatory ICBMs from Russia, so that the U.S. will be able to launch a first strike that destroys almost all of Russia's missiles on the ground, even before they can be launched. The ABMs will then take care of any straggling Russian ICBMs, which might have been missed in our first strike and been fired from Russia, by using our ABMs (which, since they haven't yet been fully deployed, are still as yet only hypothetical) as a missile-shield to protect the U.S. from any retaliation by Russia for our having nuked Russia out of existence.
This article in Foreign Affairs says, pointedly: "Even as the United States' nuclear forces have grown stronger since the end of the Cold War, Russia's strategic nuclear arsenal has sharply deteriorated. Russia has 39 percent fewer long-range bombers, 58 percent fewer ICBMs, and 80 percent fewer SSBNs than the Soviet Union fielded during its last days. The true extent of the Russian arsenal's decay, however, is much greater than these cuts suggest. What nuclear forces Russia retains are hardly ready for use. Russia's strategic bombers, now located at only two bases and thus vulnerable to a surprise attack, rarely conduct training exercises, and their warheads are stored off-base. Over 80 percent of Russia's silo-based ICBMs have exceeded their original service lives, and plans to replace them with new missiles have been stymied by failed tests and low rates of production." Moreover, "Compounding these problems, Russia's early warning system is a mess." Furthermore, "Outside experts predict that the actual cuts [in Russia's missiles] will slice 50 to 75 percent off the current force, possibly leaving Russia with as few as 150 ICBMs by the end of the decade, down from its 1990 level of almost 1,300 missiles. The more Russia's nuclear arsenal shrinks, the easier it will become for the United States to carry out a first strike." The authors report: "According to our model, such a simplified surprise attack would have a good chance of destroying every Russian bomber base, submarine, and ICBM. [See Footnote #1] This finding is not based on best-case assumptions or an unrealistic scenario in which U.S. missiles perform perfectly and the warheads hit their targets without fail." According to the authors, the assumption by U.S. military planners is that, though there might be a nuclear bomb or two that might hit the U.S. from Russia, the U.S. would emerge stronger after the nuclear conflict than before, and that the only issue left to be resolved is when would be the appropriate time to do this (presumably some time when the ABMs have been installed in as many countries neighboring Russia as possible, countries such as Ukraine). (After all: being located so near, the Russians would have only a few minutes to fire off their missiles in response -- they'd be done for.)
The authors then discuss: "Is the United States intentionally pursuing nuclear primacy? Or is primacy an unintended byproduct of intra-Pentagon competition for budget share or of programs designed to counter new threats from terrorists and so-called rogue states [assuming that Al Qaeda would have nuclear-armed missiles]? Motivations are always hard to pin down, but the weight of the evidence suggests that Washington is, in fact, deliberately seeking nuclear primacy. For one thing, U.S. leaders have always aspired to this goal [i.e.: the goal of winning a nuclear war]. And the nature of the changes to the current arsenal and official rhetoric and policies support this conclusion."
They assert: "Washington's pursuit of nuclear primacy helps explain its missile-defense strategy, for example," because ABMs "would be valuable primarily in an offensive context, not a defensive one -- as an adjunct to a U.S. first-strike capability." The authors approve of George W. Bush's continuation of Bill Clinton's continuation of G.H.W. Bush's continuation of Ronald Reagan's program to develop ABMs, by their saying: "The most logical conclusions to make are that a nuclear-war-fighting capability remains a key component of the United States' military doctrine and that nuclear primacy [winning a nuclear war] remains a goal of the United States."
They support this strategic goal, by concluding that domination of the world by the U.S. can be attained but only if it's boldly and not merely halfheartedly pursued: "Ultimately, the wisdom of pursuing nuclear primacy must be evaluated in the context of the United States' foreign policy goals. The United States is now seeking to maintain its global preeminence, which the Bush administration defines as the ability to stave off the emergence of a peer competitor and prevent weaker countries from being able to challenge the United States in critical regions such as the Persian Gulf. If Washington continues to believe such preeminence is necessary for its security, then the benefits of nuclear primacy might exceed the risks. But if the United States adopts a more restrained foreign policy -- for example, one premised on greater skepticism of the wisdom of forcibly exporting democracy, launching military strikes to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and aggressively checking rising challengers -- then the benefits of nuclear primacy will be trumped by the dangers."
The Republican-Party-oriented Project for a New American Century, which mustered American public opinion in 2002 and 2003 to favor invading Iraq, was prominently in accord with the view that was expressed in this article in Foreign Affairs. PNAC opposed "a more restrained foreign policy." (Thus, they favored invading Iraq.) Victoria Nuland, Obama's appointee to run Ukraine in 2013, had supported PNAC, and had served as Vice President Dick Cheney's advisor on foreign policy, and then she was President G.W. Bush's U.S. Ambassador to NATO.