Reprinted from Asia Times
The New Great Game in Eurasia advanced in leaps and bounds last week after Russia fired 26 cruise missiles from the Caspian Sea against 11 ISIS/ISIL/Daesh targets across Syria, destroying all of them. These naval strikes were the first known operational use of state-of-the-art SSN-30A Kalibr cruise missiles.
All it took for the Pentagon was a backward look over the shoulder at the flight path of those Kalibr missiles -- capable of striking targets 1,500 km away. Talk about a crisp, clear, succinct message from Moscow to the Pentagon and NATO. Wanna mess with us, boy? With your big, bulging aircraft carriers, maybe?
Moreover, on top of the creation of what is a de facto no-fly zone over Syria and southern Turkey, the Russian Navy cruiser Moskva, carrying 64 S-300 ship-to-air missiles is now docked in Latakia.
The proverbial anonymous US sources could not but go on overdrive, spinning the Russians had four wayward missiles that landed in Iran. The Russian High Command ridiculed them; all missiles landed within eight feet of their targets.
The Pentagon didn't even know the Kalibr could be fired from small ships -- as Tomahawks require much larger ships.
The best the Pentagon could muster, apart from widespread apoplexy, was NORAD commander Adm. William Gortney telling the Atlantic Council Russian long-range aviation and long-range cruise missiles present a new "threat" for US strategic homeland defense.
The Russian cruise missile threat is a "particular challenge for NORAD and for Northern Command." Oh, really?
Talk about a New Great Game-wide understatement. A case can be made that Russia's military development over the past few years has put Moscow generations ahead of the US. In case of a Hot World War 3.0 -- and nobody, apart from the usual Dr. Strangeloves, could possibly want that -- missiles and submarines will be the key weapons, not US-style monster aircraft carriers.
The Pentagon is apoplectic because this display of Russian technology revealed the end of the American monopoly over long-range cruise missiles. Pentagon analysts were still working under the assumption their range was around 300 kilometers.
Moreover, NATO has been warned; Russia can crush them, in a flash -- as I witnessed in conversations in Germany last week. Fiery rhetoric of the "you're violating my air space!" variety also won't cut it.
Once again, assuming the Dr. Strangelove scenario, the only possible US response if the going gets tough would be to launch nuclear ICBMs; but then Russia's air space will be sealed by S-500 anti-missile missiles, carrying 10 interceptor missiles each and unable to miss on any American ICBM.
Dumb and moderately dumber
Pentagon supremo Ash Carter swore Washington would not cooperate with Moscow in Syria because the Kremlin's strategy is "tragically flawed." We should read "flawed" as Russia in a few days killing more assorted Salafi-jihadi goons than the US-led Coalition of the Dodgy Opportunists (CDO) in over a year. Does anybody remember the CDO is officially called Operation Inherent Resolve?