When and if the story of the American intellectual collapse will be written, among many examples of a stupefying idiocy which afflicted American military-political thought lately, today's piece by Barry M. Blechman in USA Today must be used as a prime example of a desperation which completely wipes out any pretense of "scholarship" and reduces alleged thinking to the spewing of some propaganda points.
Make no mistake, Blechman's list of Ph.Ds and employment by all kinds of military-political think-tanks is impressive by American establishment standards. Yet this list evidently does not reflect in any way Blechman's ability to make a coherent argument since he is, indeed, desperate. The desperation oozes from his piece and it is dense. Indeed, the author, with all his Ph.Ds and experience to produce all kinds of pseudo-scholarly BS about war doesn't have any grasp of a reality since using the United States and "international law" in one sentence is an affront to even rudimentary morality and common sense.
In its latest “in your face” assault on international law, Russia has developed and now deployed operationally an intermediate-range cruise missile — a weapon that the U.S. and USSR solemnly agreed to ban in the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. The U.S. has long known that the new Russian missile, the SSC-8, was being developed and has sought to bring Russia back into compliance. After denying for years it had been developing such a weapon, within the past few months Russia cheated even more flagrantly by deploying an operational battalion. A second battalion remains at the development site and no doubt could be fielded quickly.
So, according to Blechman, it is Russia who assaults "into you face" international law, while it is good ol' USA who, actually, completely demolished it and unleashed a mayhem by destroying several nations such as Libya, Syria, Iraq and, failed miserably, in Afghanistan. While doing so, the United States killed hundreds of thousands of people, wounded and displaced even more, unleashed deadly civil wars, undermined not only regional but global stability and to top it all paraded herself as an exhibit A of a complete political corruption and ended up supporting terrorists. All that, I assume, was due to the US' particular admiration for the law in general and international one in particular. Ah yes, while doing so, United States, completely on her own volition, withdrew from a landmark ABM Treaty in 2002, but I guess Mr. Blechman is not aware of the fact that as of lately US is not a treaty-worthy party precisely for the reasons that she doesn't care about this proverbial international law. In the end, the main rationale for withdrawal from ABM Treaty was the fact that US (at that time) thought herself to be a greatest everything, the slayer of dragons and, in general, humanity's greatest hope. Russia's legitimate appeals to the US in an effort to uphold this important treaty were met with condescension and were viewed as Russia's weakness. Of course, how could those backward and evil Russkies respond to a flagrant violation of the treaty obligations by the US.
Well, Russian did respond. Ain't life a bitch? Now, Mr. Blechman makes, in his piece, a fascinating reversal to completely destroy his own argument:
Russian leaders know that their new cruise missile has no military value. One can only guess at their motives for developing the weapon, but they likely are political — to weaken NATO by reigniting the debates that nearly destroyed the alliance in the 1980s. Responding to the Russian violation with conventionally-armed LRSOs would counter Russia’s cheating effectively, while avoiding the political fall-out that would accompany a nuclear response.
Wait a minute, Mr. numerous Ph.Ds in BS--how come that you just fumed the whole article about those nasty Russkies cheating on holier than thou United States on cruise missiles and after making a passionate "argument" you state that those missile(s) "has no military value". Then what this whole fuss is all about? Hey, if the weapon has no military value then why worry? Actually, "Russian leaders" know damn well that be it SSC-8, or any other kind of other cruise missiles, they do have huge military value. But SSC-8 is a figment of imagination of the ever so "reliable" US "intelligence" community and media, and the whole Blechman's worry is not about this "secret" SSC-8, it is about technological re-balancing, especially in the field where Russia holds an advantage over US--cruise missile technologies. Be it Iskander missile-complex, or Kalibr's 3M14 or 5000+ kilometer range X-101, all those missiles are completely capable to conventionally, within one salvo, demolish any Anti Ballistic Missile installation in Europe. This IS the real reason for Mr. Blechman's incoherent, to put it mildly, "argument".
Of course, who likes to be on the receiving end. Mr. Blechman certainly doesn't. It is one thing to bomb helpless Arabs into the stone age with impunity, totally another to live with understanding that firing solution is one push of a button away from being entered into the "enemy's" cruise missiles on-board computers. And while some US "scholars" are busy concocting another propaganda BS about those evil Russlies who can not appreciate (backward people, after all) all magnanimity of the US, after all, all hell was unleashed out of the best "democratic" intentions, Russia continues to do what seems only natural--to increase her totally legitimate salvo by Kalibr cruise missiles (3M14) from sea-platforms. In this particular case, Russian Navy signed the contract for another three Buyan-class missile corvettes and that means another 24 powerful (and totally legit) 3M14s in the first salvo be it from Baltic Sea, at Poland's ABM positions, or Romania's, from the Black Sea. That is why Mr. Bleachman is so desperate--the missile balance between US and Russia is changing and for the US this dynamics is highly unpleasant, especially with 10000+ km range cruise missiles being in line for procurement, not to mention hyper-sonic missiles and vehicles completing their trials. Without this "secret" SSC-8 even today Russia has enough missiles to make sure that the equilibrium is preserved. In the end, Mr. Blechman should know how it works, he wrote the whole book on the use of armed forces without actually going to war and that goes well with Sun Tzu's immortal truism on not fighting wars.