With the world lumbering towards war and all major governments wanting it- this means the US and Russia alike -the Russians have recently brought forth their own series of wargames involving Belarus, China, Iran, and Burma (Myanmar) that is taking place in the Caucasus region according to AFP.
The largest of these games, Caucasus-2020, kicked off in southern Russia this week and include land and naval exercises involving a total of 80,000 people including more than 12,000 troops.
China, Iran and Myanmar are taking part along with several ex-Soviet countries including Belarus.
“These exercises are the main annual test of the Russian armed forces’ readiness to engage in a large-scale conflict,” Vasily Kashin, a Moscow-based military analyst, told AFP. (source)
Now at first sight, one might be afraid or concerned about this. However, there is nothing really special taking place here, especially considering that NONE of these countries are really Russian ‘allies’.
Belarus is the closest of what one might consider to be an “ally” to the Russians, since the former Soviet-annexed nation was under the rule or influence of the Bolsheviks and their descendants for almost three-quarters of a century.
But what is Belarus, really? Has one ever heard of, historically speaking, great Belarusian armies pillaging, conquering, colonizing, or fighting in Europe? Even Poland, with all of the jokes levied against her, is a historical minor imperial power and once upon a time was the largest country in Europe under the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, and it was thanks to that nation for saving Europe from the Ottomans, which included specifically the nation of Austria. Austria, Germany, and Russia then thanked Poland for the next almost three centuries by first conspiring to invade Poland, then carve her up and partition her, then try a series of deportations, population displacements, religious destruction, and war to genocide the Polish race, then once Poland got her nation back after World War I, repeated the same process all the more intense beginning in 1939 with Germany and continuing until 1991 under the Russians.
What is Belarus, without any disrespect intended to her and historically speaking, more than a boxing ring between east and west?
Russia’s “collaboration” with Belarus is just an attempt to exert territorial influence over her. Until then, one does not have to worry about hordes of Belarusian soldiers overrunning Europe and the Middle East (something that cannot be said about the Russians, which from the American/English/NATO perspective was the purpose in creating Gladio).
China is also another joke to mention because Russia and China, as I have said repeatedly in my articles, is a Russian ally in name but not in practice. The reason for this is simple, and has been pointed out not just by Shoebat.com, but others on the basis of simple logic.
The reason is that Russia east of the Urals is a vast land filled with raw materials as well as is a major “pivot point” in geopolitical positioning. This is where all of Russia’s power comes from and is what gives her the ability to contend with the US and other nations. Without Siberia, Russia is just a fenced-in swampland (mostly) west of the Urals fighting Turkic tribes in the east and German incursions from the West. She has NOTHING without Siberia, and this is why she may not explicitly say it, but will use all tools available to keep Siberia under her control. This is also the reason why Russia is so wary of any form of nationalism in Siberia among the native peoples (since there are many Slavs, but far more of other ethnic groups), since if parts start trying to “break away”, it directly threatens her survival as a nation as well as creates exploitable opportunities for American and Western European “intervention”.
China has a billion people and needs resources. Russia has 141 million (about) and is in continual population decline by about 750,000 to one million people a year AFTER calculating mass migration of about 500,000 per year from Central Asia to Russia. China could easily walk into Siberia and conquer it by settlement without firing a single gunshot. Russia knows this, and is the reason why she does nothing to stop illegal Chinese-government operations, such as mass timber harvesting in the taiga, even if it may be a cause behind the massive forest fires that have wracked Siberia in recent years, because she genuinely fears upsetting the Chinese since they could just annex Siberia and Russia could not stop her, for she may have a powerful military, but she lacks the manpower and the justification to prevent it without completely upsetting the global balance of power and turning the world against her in conflict.
China is a dog-and-pony show. Russia fears them more than what she lets on.
Iran and Burma are also jokes. Iran doesn’t care about Russia save as a thorn to the Americans, and since she already supports Turkey, will go with whoever treats her better. Burman has more to worry about from the Chinese, and Russian involvement there comes after many years of US involvement in Burma, which has the feel of a Russian “push-pull” strategy employed during the Soviet years. It is like the Soviet influence in Latin America, but now in Southeast Asia. Politics as usual it is.
The drills that last until Saturday and feature naval deployments on the Black Sea and the Caspian have been organised “for the top echelons of the military leadership”, he said.
Russia’s navy is not very powerful. The French are far more formidable, considering that Russia only has three year-round access sea ports- Murmansk (by Finland), Vladivostok (by Japan), and Kaliningrad, they are also surrounded by her enemies. One may consider a fourth one in Odessa now, but that is still near Turkey, and will be likewise a major issue. The only reason for such naval activity, it would seem, is about preparing for disruptions to oil shipments in the Caucasus region heading to Europe.
According to the defence ministry, up to 250 tanks and around 450 infantry combat vehicles and armoured personnel carriers are taking part in the drills along with artillery systems and rocket launchers.
The Russian forces will test the TOS-2 heavy flamethrower systems first paraded through Moscow’s Red Square during Victory Day celebrations in June.
President Vladimir Putin has made reviving the army one of the top priorities of his 20-year rule.
After years of post-Soviet neglect, the armed forces received new aircraft, tanks and missiles, opened new bases in the Arctic and resumed Cold War-style strategic bomber patrols.
This is a look into the future. The past has not actually changed, but that it seems the world is preparing for another major war. I have pointed out that Putin openly admires Stalin, and just as Trump wants to “make American great again”, there is a lot of evidence that consistently notes that Putin equates the revival of the USSR with a revival of Russian ‘greatness’, in spite of the fact that it was socialism that almost destroyed Russia and if it does return, may destroy not just Russia, but the Russian people since it would, logically speaking, continue the same effects as what it did on the past, which was to turn one of the most fertile and strong nations in Europe into a bunch of sick, weak people who want to get away from Russia as fast as they can to this day.
Likewise, Russian weapon threats of such do not concern me at all, since the real weapons of a future global conflict will be computers, robotics, and artificial intelligence. That is what I want to see more about, and until then, carrying around flamethrowers or other weapons, be it the Russians or Americans, has about as much purpose as does a “bathroom contest” between teenage boys bragging about who is “larger” and “more powerful”, except this is with adults in government and missiles or other large weapons.
Moscow has staged more frequent large-scale military exercises in the Caucasus, the Baltic and the Arctic in recent years.
In 2018, Russia held what it has called its largest ever military drills, with 300,000 Russian troops joining Chinese soldiers in a show of force condemned by NATO.
Russia’s drills this autumn are also viewed as a show of support for Belarusian strongman Alexander Lukashenko who has faced unprecedented protests against his disputed re-election last month and was sworn in during a secret ceremony Wednesday.
Running parallel to the Caucasus-2020 games, the joint Russian-Belarusian drills dubbed Slavic Brotherhood began in mid-September and involve more than 900 troops.
The drills were launched near Belarus’s southwestern city of Brest on the Polish border, and as part of the games, two Russian supersonic heavy strategic Tu-160 bombers flew over Belarus’s border with the EU on Tuesday.
Lukashenko has accused Poland and the Baltic states of coordinating with the opposition and has claimed Western countries see Belarus as a “springboard” to attack Russia.
Russia accusing Poland, Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia of ‘aggression’ is about as sound a reasoning as a man beating up an infant because ‘he was threatening me’. This is typical of Russia to make such statements since the national leadership has shown a consistent pattern that they cannot lie to save (what is left of) their nation and will bully or threaten small nations. The US does the same thing, but generally offers a carrot before the stick, while Russia gives the stick first while promising carrots that she never gives.
There is military activity with an aggressive purpose taking place, but this is almost entirely being done by the Americans, Germans, and French. The reason is because in a future conflict, there will be fighting in the Arctic since Russia has shown signs she is moving many of her operations to this area since, historically speaking, she uses the cold to ‘freeze out’ her adversaries.
Several countries have pulled out of military exercises with Russia this year, with New Delhi citing the coronavirus pandemic but observers pointing to its frayed ties with China.
Moscow’s ally Serbia dropped out of drills in Belarus after what Belgrade called “great and undeserved pressure” from the EU.
The EU may have influenced such, but Serbia has a history of big talk and then changing her mind. One may remember that in spite of her talk about Russia, “orthodoxy”, and being anti-German, Serbia provided many of the main routes of trafficking for “migrants” coming to Europe. This is a long pattern with her going back centuries, and is not a surprise.
Russia insists the purpose of its “purely defensive” exercises are to ward off a theoretical enemy, but sees the games as an opportunity to show off its military prowess.
Moscow is carrying out a costly overhaul of the country’s military and has tested dozens of new additions to its arsenal in Syria since entering the conflict in 2015.
Compared with the last Caucasus-2020 games in 2016, Russia has added more drones and artillery to its military as well as fighter jets and air defence systems like the renowned S-400 systems, Kashin says.
Putin has also lauded new “invincible” nuclear-capable weapons, which have yet to be shown off in drills.
Russia’s talk of “invincible” nuclear weapons is worthless because of her history of bluffing. Rather, it is more interesting to see what she has for drone technology, since that will determine the future as it is part of the AI trend in conflict.
Likewise, Russia is not acting in a “purely defensive” capacity, since she has obviously shown signs of returning to her former soviet days. Serbia’s running away from Russia is not because she is a ‘traitor’ or because of outside influence, but because Russia is forcing Belarus into her sphere of influence is a sign that Russia wants to revive the USSR, and those former Soviet bloc nations know what happened during those years. While the world prospered, those under the USSR languished while an elite minority feasted on the misery of the common man. They may not like Germany, but at least Germany and the UK will allow the workers to eat some of their own produce and even maybe make something of their own to keep for themselves, while Russia has a history of taking everything and then deairing it is still not enough.
Russia is indeed carrying out wargames, but it is not entirely something that one should fear, for Russia has a lot more to lose and is the one most likely who is truly afraid for what the future holds.