In the past week, Russia and U.S. Relations have degraded significantly.
Tensions in the past week between Russia and the United States of American have reached levels beyond a few incidents during the Cold War. The situation is extremely fluid, almost comparable diplomatic relations wise to the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.
CNN – “It’s not a new Cold War. It’s not even a deep chill. It’s an outright conflict.”
Mikhail Gorbachev, former Soviet Premier – “I think the world has reached a dangerous point.”
Geopolitical hotspots, and current potential large-scale conflicts are occurring in;
Syria – a major “trigger point” for tensions between Russia and the United States, some have accused both sides of fighting a Proxy War in the besieged nation. Russia has been continually occused of targeting civilians, hospitals and aid convoys, and assisting the Assad regime, and even Isis. Now with S400 and S300 anti-aircraft systems in place, they are covering nearly the entire Syrian territory, and much of the Middle East including parts of Syria, southern Turkey, northern Jordan, most of Israel, all of Cyprus and Lebanon.
“Russian S-300, S-400 air defense systems deployed in Syria’s Humeimim and Tartus have combat ranges that may surprise any unidentified airborne targets, operators of Russian air defense systems won’t have time to identify the origin of airstrikes, and the response will be immediate. Any illusions about ‘invisible’ jets will inevitably be crushed by disappointing reality.” – Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov
Russia’s advanced Anti Air system can target any jet, cruise missile or drone. It has not been tested by NATO as of yet, so its actual capability is unknown vs current technology. The United States, Israel and neighbours of Syria are nervous for many reasons; passenger jet safety, security of the Golan Heights, and the now potential impossibility of implementing a No Fly or Safe Zone over Syria to prevent more humanitarian disasters. If the system is as capable as Russia boasts, then nothing airborne will be able to get close to Syria at all. An effective stalemate for the two adversaries, it may cause “The Incident” that provokes all out war.
Russia has conducted civil defense drills and inspected much of their military hardware, underground bases that can protect their leaders during all out nuclear war, and their media is actually telling their civilian population to “prepare for nuclear war”!
Yemen – Saudi Arabia has been fighting the Houthi rebels for some time, they have been firing anti ship missiles into Saudi Arabia for some time, usually safely intercepted by Patriot Missile Defence systems. This week though, the rebels have fired on U.S. Navy ships in the international waters, on the Red Sea close to Yemen. The Pentagon fired 5 Tomahawk Cruise missiles at the radar stations inside Yemen that were suspected to have been involved in targeting the U.S.S. Mason.
Iran has been accused of supporting the Shia Houthi rebels, and supplying them with weapons; at the same time the U.S. Navy ships were targeted, Iran dispatched a fleet of ships to the same area. The U.S.S. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group has since been dispatched to the same area.
Ukraine – In 2014, Russia began making military incursions into Ukrainian territory. Russian troops took control of strategic points in the Ukrainian territory of Crimea. Russia annexed Crimea shortly after denying that they had any troops in the area; a claim that had been proven false many times. On the 17th of July, Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down by Russian Troops by a “Buk” Surface to air missile. Russia still denies this, Dutch investigators concluded in September 2016 that the launcher system had been transported from Russia on the day and fired from a field in Rebel (Ukraine aligned) territory. 298 people died, from a High Explosive, Fragmentation missile; believed to be launched from a Russian 53rd Anti Aircraft Rocket Brigade supplied Buk System. Missile fragments were found in the bodies of the flight crew, and wreckage of the plane; Serial Numbers found on non-explosive components of the missile confirmed this. After this information was gathered, Malaysia requested that the UN Security Council prosecute those deemed responsible; Russia vetoed the proposition after a majority vote was gained.
Russia is slowly taking more territory and frustrating the UN, Ukraine and neighbouring states too. The Donbass region is constantly fighting, with almost predictable violations of the ceasefire occurring like clockwork. Ukrainian Soldiers are trying to respect the ceasefire and at the moment inviting world press to come and witness the almost incessant mortar, sniper and RPG attacks on their troops.
Philippines and South China Sea – China has been building airstrips, military bases and oil rigs in disputed sea areas; known as the “9 dash line”. The rest of the nations in the area dispute China’s claims, and there have been many incidents so far. Mostly threats, and sailors and fisherman have been arrested so far. The US and Australian navies and Air Forces have been navigating through the area since this dispute began, and there have been many threats and radar lock-ons upon RAAF planes, and threats on Indian, U.S. and Australian Navy forces as they sail in what the rest of the world regards as international waters. China seems to want the quite large oil and gas resources located close to Vietnam, Philippines and Malaysia.
Russia’s Cyberattack Allegations – Wikileaks and Russian Hackers have been implicated in the hacking of DNC emails. Some are accusing Wikileaks of being “taken over by the FSB” or acting in Russia’s interests. They have released damaging emails from the Democratic National Convention and senior officials involved in Hillary Clinton’s campaign, causing some embarrassment and some people to resign. The U.S. Government has claimed to have proof but will not reveal what information they have – perhaps due to ongoing investigations.
Russian Vessels have been spotted recently lurking near important undersea internet cables too. Russia has threatened to “destroy the internet” recently as well.
DEFCON levels and meanings;
- Nuclear War Imminent – Maximum Readiness
- Next step to Nuclear War – Armed forces ready to deploy in less than 6 hours.
- Increase force readiness – Air Force ready to mobilise in 15 minutes
- Increased Intel and strengthen security – Above normal readiness
- Lowest state – Normal Readiness
The Defense Readiness Condition is an indicator of current mood, world and national security and adjusts so that the United States Armed Forces match varying military situations. There’s no single DEFCON status for the entire world, or any country. Before 2014, the worldwide DEFCON level had never raised above DEFCON 3; DEFCON 2 had been reached during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the 1991 Gulf War but they did not extend to global status, just regional.
The last time the DEFCON levels reached level 3, which many are claiming is the current status were:
The Yom Kippur War
In October, 1973 the CIA was concerned that the Soviets had supplied nuclear warheads to the Egyptian armed forces, and were concerned that the Soviets had given these to Egypt to destabilise the whole region..
The Axe murder incident
On August 17, 1976 two United States Army officers were killed while trying to cut down a Popular tree in the JSA. North Korean soldiers assaulted and killed the two service men.
3 Days Later, Operation Paul Bunyan began with a massive show of force, culminating in the cropping of the tree with a huge guard.
September 11 attacks
The most recent DEFCON increase, and known to many. 4 coordinated strikes hit the USA. Two passenger planes hit the World Trade Centre twin towers in New York City, another hit the Pentagon and a fourth plane (believed to be heading for the Whitehouse or Washington D.C.) crashed in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
It is incredibly disturbing that international relations have broken down this far, and many columnists are writing or questioning “what will be the Franz Ferdinand incident” that kicks off World War 3.