Of which he has no clue as is expected from a product of US "education" in the "political science" and persona associated with the liberal sewer of Moscow Times. Funny thing: here is the Russian comment from Bodner's article in Defense News, or rather its Russian translation on famous InoSmi (Foreign Media) website:
Translation: Maybe I am slightly more informed, but I, as a Russian citizen, is more afraid of not NATO's military capabilities but of NATO's detachment from reality and own people. The West has this feature--getting drunk on own greatness, then moving to Russia and inflict the goodness and violently cause liberation.
A superb sarcastic summary by the Russian user with a handle of Jadefalcon. And here is my point--most of current American, so called humanities-"educated" (in reality dumbed down and misinformed) talking class is utterly unqualified for expressing their "opinions" on any issue related to actual defense and, least of all, on any issue related to Russia's defense policies and geopolitical status in particular. It is understandable that all kind of media outlets in US are always ready to publish any kind of contrived unprofessional trash, especially coming from "specialists" like Bodner who lives in Russia now for a whole three or four years and on this merit alone, supposedly, should know how defense policies are formulated, but no. The only degree most American "journos" and "experts" in Russia have could be identified as this: BS (or MA) in Rubbing Shoulders Inside Russian Uber-liberal "tusovkas" For Reinforcement of Western Narratives on Russia. Majors vary from Specialization in Solzhenitsyn and Russia-Mordor GULAG to Specialization In Listening To The Same Clueless Russian "liberal" Military Experts (Rumor-mongers) who Say What Is Expected From Them.
Let us also be very clear--American Russian military "expertise" even among actual professionals is not that great, now comes the class of American political "scientists" who never served a day in any military capacity and have zero military academic, which is on several orders of magnitude more complex and difficult than any BS degree in political science, background continuing to pontificate on issues they have no clue about. I have news to Mr. Bodner--to concentrate visiting Moscow's wonderful theater and gastronomical scene with his Russian "military experts" since this is the only circle of people Mr. Bodner can have legal access to in Russia, not to speak of most important thing of them all--there are NO real military experts in category of public Mr. Bodner gravitates to naturally.
Here is an example, from his latest piece:
NATO has long been Russian President Vladimir Putin’s favorite foreign
boogeyman and, as far as political footballs go, this one has been easy
and fruitful to kick around at home.Most of Putin’s legitimacy in recent years has been rooted in a
well-designed domestic narrative of Fortress Russia under siege from
foreign powers — with NATO being the focus of concern.
This could have been written only by a complete ignoramus of Russian history and of Russian people (expected from US-"educated" Moscow Times' material) since NATO is NOT Vladimir Putin's "favorite foreign bogeyman" but it is sure as hell favorite "bogeyman" of overwhelming majority of Russian people who ARE NOT in communication circle of Mr. Bodner, which, I am 100% positive, consists of Russian liberal West's sycophants whose only real skills are in distinguishing Glenlivet from Johny Walker's Black Label. My suggestion to Mr. Bodner would be in this case to visit, when he has a time away from writing his sophomoric "military analysis", Poklonnaya Gora Memorial Complex or Piskarevskoye Cemetery in St.Petersburg. Not that it will educate him on anything--the level of ignorance of the body of "political science" in US of a warfare is appalling, but maybe it will give him some insight. I don't hold my breath though. I have some news, however, NATO was a real threat to Russia even in Soviet times. As recent (20+ years) history showed, Russians had ample reasons to be worried. They sure as hell got all evidence they need.
Bodner proceeds then to offer Vladimir Frolov's ("independent political analyst") opinion on Russia's grand strategy:
“Even the shouting match over the 2 percent spending, not to mention
Trump’s lunatic call for 4.5 percent, is a significant concern for
Moscow,” Frolov said. “Were Germany to start remilitarizing, approaching
the capabilities level of the Cold War, we should be worried. And we
would hate to see Poland emerge as the new Germany for U.S. forward
basing and positioning.”
I don't know what stone Mr. Frolov lived under last 20 years but I may remind him and Mr. Bodner that it was NATO's barbaric acts against Yugoslavia in Spring 1999 which became the last straw in Russia's reassessment of herself and served as grounds for soft removal of drunkard Yeltsin and emergence of Vladimir Putin, as representative of Siloviki power block at the top of the political power. By 2008 reassessment was largely complete and after War of 080808 there was no turning back in relations with the West. I guess Putin's 2007 Munich speech could be a clue? No? Well, then... So, I have news for Mr. Bodner--while Russia is always open for business dialogue, no ONE of any serious position of influence and, especially so within the power structures which formulate Russia's defense and foreign policies, have any freaking illusions on the nature of the West in general and US in particular. Hence Russia's rearmament and military reforms, which, of course, due to hubris and ignorance were misrepresented and misread in the US, the same goes for the massive shift in Russia's economic policies, which also were misrepresented and misread by all those American Russia "scholars". Russia is playing for both remilitarization of Germany (what and how is that is a separate issue altogether) and absolutely 100% for Poland becoming a forward basing and positioning for US mostly ABM and other components.
But Bodner doesn't stop here and adds another "brilliant" insight:
The Kremlin has made confrontation with the West a cornerstone of its
domestic legitimacy. Western politicians and pundits have honed in on
Moscow with an intensity that makes their Russian counterparts nervous.
And Trump cannot realistically deal with Russia in any way the Kremlin
would like to see.
Obviously, Bodner is lost completely in Russia's political, cultural and historic realities--a normal thing for American Russia "scholars", such as clown Michael McFaul, who still thinks that Russians are about to rise up since they want Pride-parades, multiculturalism, "democratic" reforms and other "values" which basically are killing the US--but last time I checked, May this year, and I know about Russia on several orders of magnitude more than Bodner will ever do, not to mention my background--yes I am talking about it--Russians in general were way more sophisticated and, I may say educated, than to be used as pawns in the "confrontation with West". I have some secrets to break to our Moscow "correspondent-political scientist":
1. Even Moscow's metro has free Wi-Fi and Russia and Russians are an extremely "plugged in" society and have, in actuality, better access to more competent and freer opinions than, say, Americans who simply are tuning out from hysterical and incompetent US media, who, as Mr. Bodner demonstrates, push same old tired Russia "narrative". Well that, plus Putin controlling everything in US and is being about to destroy US "democracy".
2. OK, here it comes, current Russian military and political analysis (and I don't mean Russian "liberals"--those are largely intellectually challenged and are badly educated) is on the order of magnitude better and and more competent. Why it is so? Well, because I know of very few Russian "political scientists" who actually comment much (again, with exception of Russian "liberals") on defense issues since this, for the most part, is reserved for people with actual military backgrounds and many of them (there are exceptions, of course) are either good or damn good. Example of a damn good political analyst without direct military background is Rostislav Ishenko who is not just some top notch political analyst but a historian with a good grasp of warfare and its evolution. That is what makes him so good.
3. In general, with some minor exceptions, most what was or is being written on Russia's military, be that doctrinal, social or technological dimensions, is utter trash. Part of it is butt-hurt, part is hubris but most important part is that most political scientist in the US have no clue on the nature and application of the military power and, in general, will have issues with grasping even simplest technological, tactical and operational concepts reduced to a comic book and all mathematics removed.
So it is difficult for me, in this case, to convey to Mr. Bodner how the necessary force (Naryad Sil) and its requirements are identified and calculated and how the levels of readiness are implemented especially in the country which has a military history which dwarfs anything the US ever experienced and which has ZERO illusions on NATO and is getting ready to face the worst possible scenario. But I am sure that Matthew Bodner will get to the bottom of it, after all, political science is such a great tool in getting force structure right or winning actual wars, right? Nah, I am being facetious--they can't handle the truth.
UPDATE: Here is another "military expert" from a clownish organization known as STRATFOR. Omar Lamrani. Read attentively his CV.
AREAS OF EXPERTISE: Military doctrine, Naval strategy and technology, Logistics, Asymmetric warfare,The Syrian Civil War
I would love (not really--I prefer not to waste my time with amateurs) to talk with this hack about this:
“Physically the Russians really can’t do anything to stop that strike,” said Lamrani. “If the U.S. comes in and launches cruise missiles,” as it has in past strikes, “the Russians have to be ideally positioned to defend against them, still won’t shoot down all of them, and will risk being seen as engaging the U.S.,” which might cause U.S. ships to attack them. Lamrani pointed out that in all previous U.S. strikes in Syria, the U.S. has taken pains to avoid killing Russian servicemen and escalating conflict between the U.S. and Syrians to conflict between the world’s two greatest nuclear powers. “Not because the U.S. cannot wipe out the flotilla of vessels if they want to,” said Lamrani, but because the US wouldn’t risk sparking World War III with Russia over Syria’s government gassing its civilians. “To be frank, the US has absolute dominance” in the Mediterranean, and Russia’s ships won’t matter, said Lamrani. “The U.S. would use its overwhelming airpower in the region and every single Russian vessel on the surface will turn into a hulk in a very short time,” if Russian ships engaged the U.S., said Lamrani.
This is a perfect case in point since all those "strategy" and "technology" scholars with useless degrees in International Relations do not understand what they are talking about. They do not teach such things as Combat Stability (Ustoichivost') and how it forms in Vienna Diplomatic Academy, nor Mr. Lamrani has any clue on the issues of "leakers" and how configuration of salvo changes probabilities dramatically, especially in EW dense environment, but again--this doesn't prevent glorious amateurs and sophomores from offering their utterly uninformed--I am not talking about higher issue of knowledge--rubbish as a valuable opinion on issues of which, no matter amount of the materials they may dig up in open press and comic books, they will never have even semi-professional grasp of. So, Omar Lamrani is as "military expert" as I am Chinese, but then again--no serious professional will bother oneself with working for such outfit as STRATFOR. Reputations are difficult to built and are easily lost.
Here is a review by real American military and intelligence professionals on this STRATFOR outfit.
Stratfor is a sleazy outfit. It was established as a money machine by George Friedman and a former Texas Congressman (now out of the picture) who served at one time on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. His being the co-founder along with the presence in the vicinity of numerous retired military people and civilian officials helps explain the selection of Austin as the company’s home. They hustle; everything they do smacks of a hustle. They exploit the student interns while playing on their desire to partake of the mysterious and the romantic. Those they do hire for regular positions get the skimpiest of wages. Expertise and languages are little valued. Their hallmark tool is an electronic pair of scissors. One student had spent four years as an interrogator for the U.S. Army in Iraq and Afghanistan. He served as an employee of a contract firm there. His first assignment as a junior member of the Stratfor team was to prowl around the Rio Grande Valley looking for stuff on the drug cartels; he never had been there before.
And this is how utter operational-strategic and technological rubbish is re-utilized and regurgitated in the American media.