View Full Version : Cold War Nostalgia

Mota Boy
11-17-2004, 11:09 AM

Today in my American Foreign Policy class our professor presented us with the usual slide of American defense spending versus other worldwide defense spending. As usual, we dwarfed the opposition (America - Fuck yeah!). Hundreds of billions of dollars more than our nearest competitor, China. And third-place France... (France?), and fourth-place... I forget. Germany or something. However, one country was conspicuously absent. The figures, taken from the CIA world factbook, listed the military expenditures from upcoming rival China, from staunchly anti-American Iran... fuck, somehow they even have a pretty good idea what North Korea is spending on its defense. But not Russia.

In the past few years since Putin has become the head of state, Russia's defense spending has been a mystery. We do know that they are spending, though - the country recently announced the existence of a next-generation hypersonic nuclear missile designed to be able to penetrate America's missile defense system. Not to mention they've been fighting a fairly sizeable conflict in Chechnya for the past few years. This, combined with Putin's recently announced plan to reduce the power of local governors and his friendly relations with a corrupt, pro-Russian Ukranian ruler, should make us a bit uneasy. It seems that old habits die hard. Is Russia returning to an autocratic state? Is it a country that will be a potential challenger to U.S. power in the future? Just how important, and just how dangerous a player will Russia become in the coming years?

11-17-2004, 11:16 AM
What makes you think Russia was ever *not* an autocratic state. Both Putin and Yeltsin were never really elected.

However you speak of Russia's growing friendly relations with other Pro-Russian nations. Yet we forget that Lukashenko of Belarus is about as Pro-Russian as they get, and he's been getting the cold shoulder from Putin.

So no, I don't think Russia ever wants to be put into opposition with America. (Especially since Putin is looking forward to using Bush's pre-emptive strike strategy on a few places.)

Also I believe, (am not sure, I'm no expert) that a lot of Russia's military has gone into different forms of decay. Like everything else in Russia since the fall of 'communism.' (Or hell even before.)

It's a pity Gorbachev was thrown out of office, he wasn't a marxist, but he was far better the leader than Yeltsin and Putin proved to be.

11-17-2004, 11:00 PM
Wouldn't know about the numbers and statistics, but one way to look at it from my perspective is Russia heavily engaged in research and development, as opposed to mass armament; the former, although incredibly expensive, is still not nearly as much as having to pay for millions of troops, buy their equippement etc... And the research contructed by Russian officials is, contrary to ways of the past, are conducted by private firms so their expenses aren't included in the military budget. The new Sukhoi planes, for example, are a military masterpiece. But less than a dozen have been bought by the military.

So yeah, the expenses are cut down, but not to the point of forgetting the military might all together.

11-17-2004, 11:27 PM
Russian aircraft have always been a step ahead of the states. The Su-37 is a perfect example.

HP's point about research is good. Even with no money they were still churning out amazing aircraft comparable to the huge multi billion F-22 project in the states.

Mota Boy
11-17-2004, 11:31 PM
I didn't mean to suggest that Russia wasn't spending anything on its military but, ominously, that it's managing to hide its expenditures from the CIA, a feat that even China, Iran and North Korea appear unable to get away with.

And Gorbachev was a fool in that he thought the major mistake of Soviet Russia was it's social repression, not it's backwards-ass system of economics. If he had followed Deng Xiaoping's route and turned his country towards a tentative, state-tended capitalism then there's a chance that the old guard would still be in power.

Also, while Yeltsin and Putin weren't elected into power, they did face elections to reaffirm their leadership. However, it is interesting that post-Soviet Russia has not experienced a peaceful transition of power. I'm not really worried about the country at the present, but I the developments are more interesting than I knew of and I think it's worth keeping an eye on it.

11-17-2004, 11:39 PM
Lol you're not suggesting the CIA statistics provided to the mass media are a reflection of CIA's intelligence, are you?

Mota Boy
11-17-2004, 11:54 PM
I think it's a reflection of something, and I can't think of any other reason that they're unsure - why withhold information about Russia and not China, etc.? Unless the CIA is just mocking them, which would be awesome.

11-18-2004, 12:31 AM
From what I've read, the elections to affirm their leadership have been dubious at best.

I think Russians should be glad they didn't have a Deng Xiaoping, he certainly has not been good for the average Chinese citizen. Gorbachev, can even be argued to be a Marxist (unfortunately I haven't read enough to be able to argue this point myself, but I know people who have.)

And you have to understand, at this point Russia already had a state-tended capitalist economy. (In Marxist terms State-Capitalism.) For years actually, Yeltsin basically freed it(capitalism) from it's restraints (very similar in the way to how the old Feudal economies became replaced).

11-18-2004, 01:30 AM
I think it's a reflection of something, and I can't think of any other reason that they're unsure - why withhold information about Russia and not China, etc.? Unless the CIA is just mocking them, which would be awesome.

Fuck knows. Maybe because to release full figures compromises certain spies or programs currently stationed in Russia? Or maybe the CIA didn't really dug up their figures themselves--maybe, as I suspect it is the case, they just quoted the War/Defense ministers on their own figures. I'm sure the CIA does have extensive knowlede of the overall movie... I just don't think it's the kind of knowledge they will share with first year Pol-Sci students. Duh.

And while we're talking about Russia's weaponery, here's a linkage - http://www.cbc.ca/story/world/national/2004/11/17/russia-missiles-041117.html You might have seen it elsewhere too.

11-18-2004, 01:38 AM
That link can also go in the "U.S. missile defense" topic, but i'm not gonna emberass myself posting in gay mainstream topics (i'll find other ways to emberass myself thank you very much).