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The Myth of a Russian "Threat"

By       Message Pepe Escobar     Permalink
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Reprinted from Sputnik

(image by Flickr/ Michael Baird)

Not a week goes by without the Pentagon carping about an ominous Russian "threat."

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey entered certified Donald "known unknown" Rumsfeld territory when he recently tried to conceptualize the "threat" -- "Threats are the combination, or the aggregate, of capabilities and intentions. Let me set aside for the moment, intentions, because I don't know what Russia intends."

So Dempsey admits he does not know what he's talking about. What he seems to know is that Russia is a "threat" anyway -- in space, cyber space, ground-based cruise missiles, submarines.

And most of all, a threat to NATO; "One of the things that Russia does seem to do is either discredit, or even more ominously, create the conditions for the failure of NATO."

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So Russia "does seem" to discredit an already self-discredited NATO. That's not much of a "threat."

All these rhetorical games take place while NATO "does seem" to get ready for a direct confrontation with Russia. And make no mistake; Moscow does view NATO's belligerence as a real threat.

It's PGS vs. S-500

The "threat" surge happens just as US Think Tankland recharges the notion of containment of Russia. Notorious CIA front Stratfor has peddled a propaganda piece praising Cold War mastermind George Kennan as the author of the "containment of Russia" policy.

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The US intel apparatus don't do irony; before he died, Kennan said it was now the US that had to be contained, not Russia.

Containment of Russia -- via the expansion of the EU and NATO -- has always been a work in progress because the geopolitical imperative has always been the same; as Dr. Zbigniew "The Grand Chessboard" Brzezinski never tired of stressing, it was always about preventing the -- threatening -- emergence of a Eurasian power capable of challenging the US.

Ultimately, the notion of "containment" can be stretched out towards the dismantling of Russia itself. It also carries the inbuilt paradox that NATO's infinite expansion eastwards has made Eastern Europe less, not more, safe.

Assuming there would even be a lethal Russia-NATO confrontation, Russian tactical nuclear weapons would knock out all NATO airports in less than 20 minutes. Dempsey -- cryptically -- admits as much.

What he cannot possibly admit is if a decision had been made in Washington, a long time ago, preventing NATO's infinite expansion, Russia's concerted move to upgrade its nuclear weapon arsenal would have been unnecessary.

Geopolitically, the Pentagon has finally seen which way the -- strategic partnership -- wind is blowing; towards Russia-China. This major game-changing shift in the global balance of power also translates as the combined military assets of China and Russia exceeding NATO's.

In terms of military power Russia has superior offensive and defensive missiles over the US, with the new generation surface-to-air missile system, the S-500, capable of intercepting supersonic targets and totally sealing Russian airspace.

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Pepe Escobar is an independent geopolitical analyst. He writes for RT, Sputnik and TomDispatch, and is a frequent contributor to websites and radio and TV shows ranging from the US to East Asia. He is the former roving correspondent for Asia (more...)

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