Losing Military Supremacy: The myopia of American strategic planning Author: Andrei Martyanov Clarity Press, Atlanta, 2018
By Ron Ridenour
When I first heard of Andrei Martyanov, I was skeptical about his intentions. Born in Baku, Azerbaijan, USSR, 1963, he became a naval officer and expert on Russian military and naval issues. He took part in conflicts in the Caucasus. In mid-1990s, he moved to the US for reasons unstated in print. He currently works as laboratory director of a commercial aerospace group, and blogs on the US Naval Institute Blog and on the other side of the fence, at unz.com.
This is not a typical leftist or peace activist, but after reading his book and a piece on the website of the world’s most aggressive naval institution, I surmise that this Russian-American seeks to influence the avaricious eagle into realizing that warring against the cautious bear would not achieve success for anyone. Here is his conclusion of that blog piece:
“Today, the Russian Navy is on its way to becoming a leaner and more potent…version of its former Soviet self, capable of carrying out any task in defense of its country. By doing so, the Russian Navy has finally found its mission. Considering Russia’s immense and tragic experience with warfare, such an accomplishment is no small feat. Especially in the absence of a coherent navy specific doctrine.” https://blog.usni.org/posts/2017/06/01/russian-navy-mission-found
This statement is in keeping with what Martyanov sees as his book’s key mission: to assist his native country in defending its national sovereignty, which entails acting to prevent a nuclear world war. As he states in the conclusion of his book, Losing Military Supremacy, he is most worried that it is the United States that will pull the trigger to set off world war III.
“The main task today is to prevent by all means any possibility of this delusional, self-proclaimed exceptional nation unleashing Armageddon because of frustration with its own weakness…” so well exposed by now.
Martyanov refers to the fact that despite all the hubris, the US has failed to win most of the wars it has started since WWII. Korea was a stalemate. It lost to Vietnam/Cambodia/Laos. Afghanistan will never be conquered. The victory over a much inferior Iraqi military largely destroyed the cradle of civilization and left nearly all its people hating the US. The current government wants the US out of its country and is allied with Iran, a country the US government sees as an enemy. The US got rid of Libya’s leader Muamar Gaddafi only to have him replaced by three internally fighting self-declared governments, whose extremist Muslims wantonly murder, smuggle and enslave people. The once richest people in Africa are now among the poorest. The US has divided people in Syria, and also in Ukraine where they installed a neo-fascist following a US-orchestrated and funded coup government.
The US’s military thinks in terms of offensive weaponry and strategy much more than in defensive ones. It couldn’t even defend its most hallowed buildings, including the New York World Trade Center and Pentagon, from 19 terrorists in 2001. Seventy percent of US military funding goes towards fighting wars abroad started or stoked by the US with a goal oft taking or controlling other lands’ resources.
That reality is based on what I call an “America Über Alles” mentally ingrained in nearly every person born in the country from babyhood. Former Ronald Reagan treasury assistant secretary Paul Craig Roberts puts it this way: “The arrogant hubris of American exceptionalism and the myths that sustain it are subjected to devastating analysis in this long overdue book.”
Martyanov demonstrates, using facts, documentation, and policies, that the US has always opposed the very existence of Russia, geographically the world’s largest country with self-sustaining resources. Washington has lied that it was the victor in WWII, alongside Britain. All evidence points, though, to the contrary: The victorious Soviet Union’s Red Army defeated the elite Wehrmacht forces on the Eastern Front and moved on into Europe as the main force attacking the Third Reich. The USSR also aided the US in defeating the Japanese by sending nearly a million troops to Hokkaido, keeping its promise Stalin made to President Roosevelt.
Martyanov cites Hans Morgenthau to explain this peculiar American geopolitical “realism”. As one of its founding fathers, Morgenthau told his audience at the US Naval War College, in 1957:
“…that if the czars still reigned in Russia, that if Lenin had died of the measles at an early age, that if Stalin had never been heard of, but the power of the Soviet Union were exactly what it is today, the problem of Russia would be for us by and large what it is today. If the Russian armies stood exactly where they stand today, and if Russian technological development were what it is today, we would be by and large confronted with the same problems which confront us today.”
Regardless of the crimes of Stalin against many of his people, he stood for “socialism in one country”, and the “containment” policy of US governments during the Cold War, which was started by Churchill and Truman not Stalin, did not bother the Soviet leadership. Throughout the world where there were uprisings against tyrants and struggles for socialism, the Soviets always cautioned them. In contrast, it was the US that extended its territory or area of influence in a neo-colonial manner, what we call imperialism, not necessarily by occupying land but by controlling the resources and foreign policies of much of the world, including the former European colonialists.
“The Soviet Navy, like the modern Russian Navy today, was built largely for a single purpose: to prevent a NATO attack on the USSR from the sea. Power projection in its classic, US Navy interpretation, was the last thing in mind for Soviet strategists. There simply was no intent to start a war; the intent was to prevent it.
“Russia does have the capability to deal major damage to NATO’s European members but, apart from Article 5 of the NATO treaty, which would bring the United States into the conflict, even if there hadn’t been such an article, the immediate question is: Why would Russia attack or damage European countries which are worth way more for Russia free and prosperous than they would be if damaged and theoretically, subjugated?
“To achieve the needed capacity and public support for such an intent [war], the United States needs to run a very tight routine. It has to simultaneously present, sometimes by gross inflation, a set of threats to itself…while nonetheless insisting on American overwhelming military superiority over any power. It is a very schizophrenic policy requiring a constant reconciliation of opposites: If one claims itself to be almost omnipotent militarily, as the US does non-stop, it is really difficult to prove that one is also and simultaneously very vulnerable. In some psychiatric sense it is very close to the more specific Russophrenia phenomenon, where Russia is simultaneously about to collapse and about to overtake the US, and the combined West. It is a classic Orwellian scenario from Nineteen Eighty-Four, which also involves such ideological imperatives as hate sessions and public affirmation of one’s loyalty to the powers that be.
“The list of America’s military interventions in the last 70 years is unrivaled. It is no surprise then that the US consistently tops a wide range of global public opinion polls as the main threat to the world peace. No other nation can undertake such a massive range of wars all over the globe as does the US.”
The chronic lying that politicians and the US mass media spew forth, such as that engaging in and winning wars is done the name of human rights, continue undiluted. Today, it is the Trump government that claims victory over IS in Syria when, in reality, the US did little to effectively fight IS or al Qaeda. Rather it was the determination of the Russian government and military not to allow Syria to fall into the hands of those terrorists that did the job. When the US military did engage in fighting these extremist terrorists its own forces worked at cross purposes. The reality of competition between the US Army and Navy, and between the US military and the deep state CIA, often resulted in one group of US-supported terrorists fighting another US-supported group of terrorists.
The whole foundation of Russiagate is also based on lies. When Vladimir Putin became president he, like his drunken predecessor Boris Yeltsin, sought to be friends and even an ally with the US. Putin even discussed with George Bush the possibility of Russia joining NATO and EU, proposals which US deep state leaders rejected. Nevertheless, Putin offered Bush his support in his war against Afghanistan. The one key difference between Yeltsin and Putin was (is) that the latter acted to reverse the disastrous economic policies of the Yeltsin-Clinton team, which raped Russia of its gold and resources (increasing poverty from 1.5% to 50% of the population). Putin acted to regain national sovereignty with a robust capitalist economy in which the rich actually pay taxes .
Bush rewarded Putin for his efforts to revive the Russian economy by abolishing the all-important Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty reached between another Republican conservative, President Richard Nixon, and then Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev, in 1972. Bush also allowed the CIA to stir up terrorist conflicts with Russia, such as Chechnya.
Bush senior advisor Karl Rove summarized the essence of US foreign policy saying:
“We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.” (NYT Magazine, October 17, 2004)
It took the cautious, disciplined Russian leader seven years before he finally saw that building a friendship/alliance with the US was not possible. In 2007, Putin gave his landmark speech in Munich in which he merely stated the obvious.
”The fundamental principles on which US foreign policy was built were unilateralism based on both real and perceived national power, and that he rejected that”, writes Martyanov. But Putin’s realistic assessment of the situation got mischaracterized by the “war hero” Senator John McCain as being “the most aggressive remarks by a Russian leader since the end of the Cold War.”
Putin saw that US foreign policy is built on the concept of military supremacy, so he embarked on a policy of rearming the Russian military to defend the country against any aggressions launched by the US. Already by the next year, 2008, he let the US know that Russia would not allow it to bring Georgia or the Ukraine into NATO, which would have surrounded Russia all the more.
Russia didn’t attack Georgia first, another US lie. Even the former National Security Adviser and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice later admitted that it was Georgia, which started that war.
South Ossetia and Abkhazia were independent states that Georgian President Mikjail Saakashvili attacked, killing many of resistance fighters and some Russian troops before Russia fired backed. The Russo-Georgian War demonstrated that Russia’s conventional military power mattered. In August 2008, Russia sent an army to Georgia of equal size to Georgia’s, which had been poorly trained by the US/NATO, and defeated it in four days.
Besides the issue of the NATO alliance, the US wanted to use Georgia as a pipeline for oil as it had demanded of Afghanistan in 2001, and as it tried with Syria in 2009. The Taleban government of said no and the US invaded. Assad said no, and the US organized a rebellion against his government in 2011. It got its pipeline through Georgia in 2005—piping crude oil from Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean Sea. But the US is never satisfied, that’s what “globalization” is all about.
The most unique aspect of Martyanov’s book in relationship to many other informative, truthful books coming from alternative publishers about Russia/Soviet and US relations, is that this author, a military expert, analyzes the military forces of both countries and shows who has what capabilities militarily.
Russia’s Modern Weaponry
“During all these years since the unilateral U.S. withdrawal from the ABM Treaty,” Putin explained in his 2018 State of the Nation address, “we have been working intensively on advanced equipment and arms, which allowed us to make a breakthrough in developing new models of strategic weapons. Those technological breakthroughs are now here. Sadly, we never got the diplomatic ones we needed.”
Putin’s message was clear: “You didn’t listen to us then but you will listen to us now”.
Martyanov maintains that today there is parity in military capacity:
“1) The United States military in future conflicts will have to deal, in the case of conventional conflict against a near-peer, let alone peer, with an adversary who will have C4ISR [Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance] capability either approaching that or on par with that of the US.
“2) US real and perceived advantage in electronic means of warfare (EW) will be greatly reduced or completely suppressed by present and future EW means of the adversary thus forcing US forces to fight under the conditions of partial or complete electronic blindness and with partially or completely
suppressed communications and computer networks.
“3) The US will encounter combat technologies not only on par but often better designed and used, from armor to artillery, to hyper-sonic anti-shipping missiles, than anything the US military has ever encountered.
“4) Modern air-forces and complex advanced air defense systems will make the main pillar of US military power—its Air Force—much less effective.
“5) Today the US military will have to deal with the grim reality of its staging areas, rear supply facilities and lines of communications being the target of massive salvos of long-range high subsonic, supersonic and hypersonic missiles. The US military has never encountered such a paradigm in its history.”
I do not have the knowledge or the space to detail and judge the many weapons that Martyanov includes in his book to show that the US is not capable of winning a conventional war, or that many weapons Russia has are intended to prevent US weapons from reaching their goals. Here though, is but a taste of what the author tells us Russia is capable of doing with its modern weapons:
“Russian generation 4++ fighters, such as the SU-35C, with their Irbis radar capable of ‘seeing’ even an F-22 fighter as far as 90 kilometers away, to say nothing of modern Air Defense complexes such as the S-400 which can track and engage any aero-ballistic targets. The coming of the revolutionary S-500 air-defense system may completely close Russia and her allies’ airspace from any aerial or even ballistic threats…In 2007, the 3M22 Zircon hypersonic missile is already dramatically redefining naval warfare and makes even remote sea zones a ‘no-sail’ zone for any US major surface combatant, especially aircraft carriers…the TU-160M2 strategic bombers with new, 10,000-kilometer range cruise missiles getting ready to be deployed. The combined air and submarine launch of hundreds of such weapons could effectively incapacitate, with minimal damage to civilians, the American state.”
It is not just Putin or his government and the military that are fed up with trying to be friends or at least allies with the United States. The Russian people, too, are tired of trying. That means that once again the US is turning to “regime change” (and “meddling in elections”) against the democratic will of the people. Gallup and national polls of 2017 and 2018 show that less than one-third of Russians think having good relations with the US is even important anymore. A 2018 national poll (Vzglyad) showed that 80% wanted to have either neutral or even hostile relations with the US.
“Only 14.7% wanted allied relations with the US. The US is simply no longer attractive as a model, whether economic, cultural or social, in Russia and the majority of Russians view the United States as a very real threat,” Martyanov concludes.