Wednesday, February 6, 2019

On Some Russian "Experts" And INF Treaty.

The urban dictionary defines Hussler as a person who gets money from other people. In general, a person who hussles. Of course there is another way to define operation of swindling, by using good ol' Hustling, which is:
That's more like it. This is the issue I address on a regular bases when speaking about "expertdom" which both in US, Russia and elsewhere tries to present itself as the only voice of wisdom and which, most of the time has no real expertise in the subjects this "expertdom" tries to preach. Enter CAST, Moscow "Center of Analysis of Strategies and Technologies". The organization also known for maintaining a rather popular in some circles Blog BMPD which is an excellent platform for mutual insults and fanboys' exchanges on military toys. I communicated on some forums with one of the CAST "experts", Mikhail Barabanov, who among some people in Russia passes for "expert" in the navies, and who didn't serve a single day in uniform and has a degree from Moscow Institute of Culture, allegedly in either librarian or screenplay writing fields, something like that. Barabanov is known as a mindless and utterly incompetent herald of US Navy's "ideas" (without knowing anything of substance about them) and his main "expertise" is in memorizing types of weapons and some technical data and parroting mostly Western views on warfare. Just to give you some taste of his "expertise", here is his piece in...drum roll, where else, The National Interest. Generally, CAST is a classic hustler organization which shuffles among military people in Moscow, collects rumors and reads open press and after that calls itself an analytical organization. I read their views on Russian Navy once--a total strategic and operational delirium written by liberal amateurs.

But CAST's other big honchos, namely Kosnstantin Makienko, who is a graduate of famed MGIMO with specialty in...drum roll..."International Relations" and then of some French madras, also in some..something-something not really military, publishes yesterday a CAST's "manifesto" on the death of INF Treaty in Russian here. The article by Makienko, whose experience on a tactical, operational, weapons' design, integration and other relevant military issues is exactly zero (with the exception of reading open pop-military media), laments many things. I would have omitted addressing yet another "pearl" of strategic thinking by CAST but this one really interested me as a psychiatric case of utter ignoramuses firmly believing that they have capability to produce something sensible on a rather very complex issue of defense policy of Russia and America, this is not to mention the fact that Makienko, as well as all of CAST enterprise have a very vague idea about US economy and her military-industrial complex. 

Here is the opening wowser salvo of Makienko's "lament" from his symptomatically titled piece What is the Threat to the World from INF Treaty's Liquidation. 
Крах ДРСМД будет иметь для военной безопасности России чрезвычайно тяжелые последствия. Главную опасность представляет совершенно неминуемая разработка и развертывание Соединенными Штатами нового поколения баллистических ракет средней и меньшей дальности, в том числе с гиперзвуковыми блоками. Причем эта разработка может быть реализована в сжатые сроки. Не стоит впадать в прекраснодушное заблуждение относительно сегодняшнего предположительного американского отставания в области гиперзвука от России. Учитывая невероятную научную и технологическую мощь США, это отставание, если оно вообще существует, будет ликвидировано очень быстро. А принимая во внимание колоссальный американский индустриальный потенциал, необходимо исходить из того, что производство таких ракет легко может составить сотни и тысячи единиц.    
Translation: the crash of the INF Treaty will have an extraordinarily grave consequences for Russia's security. The main threat is inevitable development and deployment by the US of new generation of the intermediate range ballistic missiles, including with hyper-sonic blocks. Moreover, this development could be conducted within short time-frame. Do not fall for placid delusion regarding current US lagging behind Russia in hyper-sonic technology. Considering incredible scientific and technological power of the United States this gap, if it even exists, would be closed very fast. Moreover, considering colossal American industrial potential we need to assume that production of such missiles will easily number hundreds and thousands of units. 

I don't know where to start here, but I'll try. 

1. It is obvious that Mr. Makienko has a very vague idea of the genesis of INF Treaty and who and why signed it. Here, instead of me elaborating on this treaty, again, and again, I will only give the link to Dmitry Orlov's piece on this Treaty which will help.  

2. My real issue is this: there is very little doubt that the United States will develop new missiles and I stressed this simple fact non-stop whenever talking about hyper-sonic weapons for years. There is one little, teeny-weeny thing, though, of which Mr. Makienko--an obvious product of very "westernized" humanities education simply doesn't know--it is expected from experts in "international relations" who have zero military, industrial and technological background. Obviously, the horizon of Makienko's views on the United States is, at best, that of a tourist, at worst that of a consumer of American economic propaganda. I don't know if Makienko read this:
If he didn't do this yet, I would strongly suggest he and his colleagues from CAST start studying this document in earnest. Because unlike them, I live and work (in real industry) in the United States and know this country quite well. Makienko uses rather outdated categories when speaking about American incredible scientific and technological power. United States still remains an industrial powerhouse but reality is such that it is nowhere near what it used to be in 1970s and 1980s. I'll quote for Mr. Makienko just one thing from Inter-agency Report to POTUS and if they do "analysis", as their title of CAST suggests, they better start learning real industrial economy and what serious manufacturing sector is.

Inadequate U.S. Skilled Labor Supply

The U.S. machine tools sector lacks assured access to a sufficiently large pool of skilled labor. Many skilled workers are exiting the workforce due to age, and there are too few technical educational programs to train those who could take their place. Without concerted action that provides both a ready workforce and a continuously-charged pipeline of new employees, the U.S. will not be able to maintain the large, vibrant, and diverse machine tools sector needed to produce the required number and types of products when needed. Market Forces Decreasing Domestic Capabilities The U.S. machine tools sector has been shrinking since at least the 1980s due to a number of primary and contributing factors with the U.S. standing dropping significantly since 2000.  In 2015, China's global machine tool production skyrocketed to $24.7B accounting for 28% of global production, while the U.S. accounted for only $4.6B, after China, Japan, Germany, Italy, and South Korea. According to the U.S. Census Bureau data, in 2015 there were 1,028 machine tool firms employing 27,919 people. 
I don't know if they taught them in MGIMO what this, among very many other debilitating factors, means but I'll give a hint, if one removes monetary comparison in US Dollars (inaccurate as it is), then the gap between US and others becomes even larger, once one considers high costs of US production, which, when combined with purely FIRE "economy" values inflate US GDP to the absurdity it is today. American economic and industrial reality today is such that it is much smaller than many (Russian western liberal cabal especially) think.   

3. But then, of course, there is purely military (and technological) aspect to all that, since Russia's real security is not limited by the intermediate range weapons only and it must be viewed as a complex of means and measures designed to prevent attack on Russia across the whole spectrum of modern warfare--from informational, to conventional combined arms to nuclear strategic. I thought that CAST which does "analyze strategies" should know that. Let me go out on a limb here and, shamefully, with my head down, assume that Chief Designer of strategic missile systems Yuri Solomonov, while having pathetic credentials of a creator of latest generation of strategic missiles not to mention his clearance, when compared to a monstrous academic and military experiences of Barabanov, or Makienko, still knows just teeny-weeny bit more about subject matter than Makienko. This is what Solomonov states:

But then, there is another issue of CAST's members situational (un)awareness--it is the fact of failing to analyze that:
a) Russia's military and technological record of the last 15 years;
b) US military and technological record of the last 15 years;   

For a person with even rudimentary military background it becomes very clear that many Pentagon's military programs are nothing but a technological, hence tactical, and operational disaster. Of course, one may use good ol' examples of F-35, LCS or even new Columbia-class SSBN which even before being built already has some huge cost and technology issues. Sure, when one sub costs as much as the whole 8 hulls of Borei-class SSBNs one is bound to notice. But, the issue is with procurement practices which, being utterly corrupt on practically every level, increasingly fail to deliver any serious capability for even grossly inflated investment in dollars. But here we enter the field which CAST firm is simply unfamiliar with--it is system analysis, analysis of operations (aka Theory of Operations) and other things which require a lot of background in math, technology, physics, tactics etc.--exactly the fields in which CAST has zero competencies. In the end, knowing what Russia's current political and military leadership is, which navigates Russia for the last 5 years brilliantly from one geopolitical, economic, military triumph to another, I would say those guys in General Staff (especially its GOU) calculated a rather impressive number of contingencies before playing out INF Treaty's dismantling. Unlike CAST members who never commanded a single sailor, marine or soldier, those people have the lives of 148 million of their compatriots in their hands and they do not have luxury of going around proclaiming themselves "experts" while BSing, sorry, "consulting" those who are willing to listen and are dumb enough to pay (after all, CAST is very similarly constructed as famous frauds from STRATFOR). This is not how Soviet/Russian military works and it has, unlike CAST, an enormous record of success to back it up. In other words, those people know what they are doing, precisely because they are real experts.

In conclusion. I don't know what's the deal with these CAST people and navies, could it be the fact that they are attracted to a shiny beautiful objects such as ships and submarines? I don't know, I remember Mikhail Barabanov, a naval "expert", about 15 years ago BSing a whole military-historical forum about US Navy's cruise missile developments--mind you, the person saw sea or ocean mostly at the beaches and probably took a tourist tour on some ships--plus expressing some mind-boggling ideas on force requirements (using very peculiar "math"), effectiveness and other broad generalizations on the naval warfare. Now comes Barabanov's boss Makienko and delivers another naval "pearl":
Еще один теоретический профит для России состоит в возможности отказа от дорогостоящей политики «калибровизации» флота в виде строительства дорогих и нелепых «Буянов-М» и «Каракуртов» по цене в половину фрегата при техническом уровне малых ракетных кораблей 40-летней давности. Строительство дорогих морских платформ-носителей «Калибров» теряет смысл при отсутствии ограничений на их сухопутное развертывание.      

Translation: Another theoretical profit (yes, he says this in Russian) for Russia is the possibility of rejection of the expensive policy of Kalibralization of the navy by means of constructing of ridiculous and expensive Buyan-M and Karakurts with the price of the half of the frigate with the technical level of the Small Missile Ships of the 40 years ago. Construction of the expensive platforms-carriers of Kalibrs loses any sense with the loss of limitations for Kalibrs' land deployment. 
The level of ignorance of this statement by Makienko is such that it is simply difficult to even react properly. How to explain to him (he wouldn't know anyway) what could be the "profit" in the littoral, anti-access operations by the KUG of 3-4 Karakurts armed with 3M54 (forget coming Zircons for those types of ships) and shore based aviation against even the group of FREMMs or Burkes at the edge (range) of the launch of TLAMs. I know Makienko wouldn't know shit from shinola when dealing with augmented Salvo Equations, attrition models and combat effectiveness among other things required for professional rough assessment, but here you are. As I said not for once--for some reason these type of "experts" rush into the military field, instead of gynecology or open heart surgery, but it is zeitgeist--ignorance rules. My suggestion to CAST in this case, if they have no human, forget professional, integrity to recognize themselves ignorant pretentious hustlers and to try to get busy with something they actually were taught, be that librarian, "international relations", what have you, humanities-based field,  stop spewing an utter unprofessional BS on issues you have no clue about. Do you even understand what an embarrassment and fraud you are? I guess not. For failing to recognize that, one has to be Russia's urban liberal with "humanities" degree and this, I guess, is a diagnosis. 

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