Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
March 01, 2018

Russia Shows Off New Weapons - Tells U.S. To "Come Down To Earth"

In his yearly address to the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation President Putin spoke about the progress his country has made and about future aims of Russian policies. Most of the address was devoted to internal Russian economic and social developments.

The last part of the two hour long speech (video, English simultaneous translation) was a presentation of Russia's new military posture in response to U.S. encroachment on Russia's borders and the global U.S. missile defense system. Putin announced the development and fielding of new types of strategic weapons which together will make the U.S. global missile defense systems useless. The thirty minutes section starts at 1h:18m.

In 2007 Putin spoke at the Munich Security Conference and warned of U.S. attempts to create a unipolar world:

[W]hat is a unipolar world? However one might embellish this term, at the end of the day it refers to one type of situation, namely one centre of authority, one centre of force, one centre of decision-making.

It is world in which there is one master, one sovereign. And at the end of the day this is pernicious not only for all those within this system, but also for the sovereign itself because it destroys itself from within.

In 2002 the U.S. unilaterally ended the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty. In 2004 the U.S. and NATO included global missile defense into their strategic nuclear forces’ drills. Since then Russia has continuously warned that it will have to respond to such a development.  

When the ABM treaty had come into force it created stability by guaranteeing Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD). If one side would fire its nuclear armed intercontinental missiles onto the other side that side would respond by firing its own missiles. Thus both states would be destroyed. MAD guaranteed that neither had any interest in starting such a war in the first place.

With a missile defense shield the balance changes. A first strike becomes possible because the missile shield can defeat the retaliating strike. Since the U.S. terminated the ABM agreement it has constantly built up its missile defense and thus threatens Russia's survival:

“The global US anti-ballistic missile system includes a naval group. These are five cruisers and 30 destroyers, as far as we know, deployed in areas in the immediate vicinity of the territory of Russia,” Putin said in an address to Russian parliamentarians on Thursday.

The president also warned that the range of missiles will only increase, while further deployment is planned in Japan and South Korea.

Additionally the U.S. has shown no interest in renewing the only two strategic weapon control agreements still in force. The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) will end in 2019 and the New START Treaty, which limits the number of deployed nuclear warheads and delivery vehicles, expires by 2021.

Last week the Trump administration published its Nuclear Posture Review which includes several new elements that threaten early escalation into a new nuclear war:

In sum, the United States is building a new generation of nuclear weapons and delivery systems, will deploy more usable nuclear weapons in “forward” areas, remains committed to possible “first use” of nuclear weapons even against non-nuclear attacks in defense of 30 countries, retains missiles on active alert ready to launch, is skeptical of the possibility of any progress in arms control and is hostile to the global movement to make nuclear weapons illegal.

Noteworthy for its destabilizing effect is the new doctrine of responding to a non-nuclear attack on U.S. early warning, command and control elements with nuclear force.

President Putin responded to these plans with a strong warning and a renewed offer to talk:

"I believe it as my duty to say this: any use of nuclear weapons of any yield - small, medium or whatever - against Russia or its allies will be regarded as a nuclear attack against our country. Retaliation will be instant with all the ensuing consequences," Putin said to draw loud applause from the audience.

He warned that "nobody should have any doubts on that score." At the same time Putin cautioned against creating new threats to the world, "but on the contrary to come to the negotiating table to give thought to an updated, future system of international security and the civilization’s sustainable development."

The purpose of the new weapons Putin announced is to make the U.S. anti-ballistic missile shield useless and to thereby restore the stable state of Mutually Assured Destruction.

Shown during the speech were short videos demonstrating the new weapons.

Russia has already changed its existing Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles to defeat some ABM features but it can not make them invulnerable.

Now Putin has announced a new intercontinental missile SARMAT with unprecedented reach. Launched from Russia it can reach the continental U.S. from any direction, even flying over the south pole, and thus renders any concentrated missile defense like the one in Alaska useless. The missile is huge, with allegedly 200 ton payload(?) total weight, and its multiple warheads are maneuverable.

The next system introduced is a cruise missile with a nuclear power plant which makes any anti-missile system practically useless. Cold air that enters the missile at the front is superheated by a special nuclear reactor, exits at the rear and gives the missile an enormous thrust. (In the early 1960s the U.S. had a development program for such a nuclear driven Supersonic Low-Altitude Missile (SLAM) but it did not succeed.)

The new weapon described in Putin's speech:

"A low-flying low-visibility cruise missile armed with a nuclear warhead and possessing a practically unlimited range, unpredictable flight path and the capability to impregnate practically all interception lines is invulnerable to all existing and future anti-missile and air defense weapons," Putin said.

At the end of 2017 Russia successfully launched the newest nuclear-powered cruise missile at the central proving ground, he went on.

Interestingly there had not been a peep about this system or its test from the U.S. military or any spying services. No other country but Russia has such a system.

Another weapon with a nuclear drive system is the new super fast submarine drone Status 6 or Kanyon. Its development was (intentionally?) leaked in 2015. Its purpose is to destroy aircraft carrier groups and/or whole harbors.

The new torpedo and the new cruise missiles will both carry nuclear warheads.

The fourth system Putin announced is a hypersonic air launched cruise missile named Kinzhal which, he said, has been successfully tested and is already in combat duty in the southern Russian defense sector. The missile is maneuverable and flies at ten times the speed of sound with a range of 2,000 kilometers. It can be armed with conventional or nuclear warheads. U.S. forces in the Middle East should take note of this.

Putin spoke of two other weapon systems which are still in development. One is the maneuverable hypersonic glider "Avangard" which flies beyond the stratosphere at twenty times the speed of sound and comes down onto its targets "like a meteor". Another weapon shown in a short spot is a ground based laser system for air defense. The U.S. and several other countries are currently developing similar weapons.

Putin repeated the point that these weapons are designed to repel the U.S. attempt to act as the unilateral and dominant force against Russia. With the fielding of these weapons U.S. missile defense becomes a useless endeavor:

Putin noted that such unfriendly steps against Russia as deploying the missile defense system, bringing NATO’s infrastructure close to Russia’s borders had become ineffective from a military perspective and unreasonably costly from a financial point of view. "All that ultimately (becomes) just pointless for those who initiate and do that," he concluded.

The "western" media will call Putin's speech and the announcement of new weapons a sign of "Russian aggression" and that he "threatens to start an arms race". But that is not what it was. This was the Russian response to 20 years of U.S. aggression and unilateral arms deployment. It is the response to NATO encroachment on Russia's border and to the attempted destruction of the balance of power that MAD ensured. This is the response that Putin had announced eleven years ago in Munich.

It will take some time for "Washington" to understand what Putin means.

Get real, he says. There is no longer a point in trying to achieve a unipolar world. Missile defense has become useless. It is time to talk and to find new agreements on strategic weapons and other issues. In his words:

"I hope that everything that was said today will bring any potential aggressor down to earth."

The official English translation of the speech is now available.

Posted by b on March 1, 2018 at 19:24 UTC | Permalink

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"All these US missile shields surrounding Russia are really aimed at Iran, no honestly!"

The US Pentagram has also confirmed that the nuke-capable first strike 'missile defense'system is also not targetted at Russia. The whole system is actually intended the defend against attacks from Binomo.

Posted by: Anonymous | Mar 2 2018 16:37 utc | 101

I really need to go study these new little nuke rockets...some big implications there...

i am intrigued by where it could lead to...Fundamental design change for fighter aircraft jets?...lots of possibilities ...

Personally, i think Putin has wanted to declare his new hardware for awhile...but right before his election is just smart...many birds, one stone...



Posted by: oldenyoung | Mar 2 2018 16:55 utc | 102

and South Front is back up...I go to them just about first thing every morning...really good, current warfront reports...



Posted by: oldenyoung | Mar 2 2018 16:59 utc | 103

a paragraph below from @93 b's first link. the 2nd link is worth reading for what it says about the direction usa has gone in.. sad..

"The real genesis of Russia’s new generation of bizarre nuclear weapons lies not in the most recent Nuclear Posture Review, but in the George W. Bush administration’s decision in 2001 to withdraw from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, and the bipartisan failure by both the Bush and Obama administrations to engage meaningfully with the Russians over their concerns about American missile defenses. Putin said as much in his remarks. “During all these years since the unilateral U.S. withdrawal from the ABM Treaty,” Putin explained, “we have been working intensively on advanced equipment and arms, which allowed us to make a breakthrough in developing new models of strategic weapons.” Those technological breakthroughs are now here. Sadly, we’re never got the diplomatic ones we needed."

@97 alaric

in answer to your question.. this from @53 kalen " "In fact Putin's speech (was) actually more (a) campaign speech countering the political right on (the) subject of weakness and western appeasement..."

Posted by: james | Mar 2 2018 17:07 utc | 104

" I am hoping that the Ukrainians will eventually tire of their antics."

The recent Swedish arbitration adjudication if favor of Naftogaz has clarified Gazprom's dealing with it. It is now starting the process of cancelling the supply contract as it would be loss-making. So instead of buying gas at $300 per 1000 cubic meter from Russia, it will now have to buy it at market rates of $600 per 1000 cubic meter from the EU. They will also lose the transit fees. Talk about a pyrrhic victory courtesy of the Swedes.

Already, all Ukrainian education institutions are closing for a week to conseerve energy supplies.

Posted by: Anonymous | Mar 2 2018 17:17 utc | 105

RE: smoothie

Saker identified him:
I will turn to my naval warfare expert friend Andrei Martyanov and repost his initial reaction to just one of these systems.
Then he published "It's Official and It Is Over" from smoothie's blog.

Posted by: Red Ryder | Mar 2 2018 17:20 utc | 106

Here is a journal that I have started to read. It is a pro-Moscow site, but seems to have a lot of good coverage.

Posted by: ninel | Mar 2 2018 17:54 utc | 107

@107, ninel,

Orentalreview is primarily helmed by Andrew Korybko, a young analyst from US who is now in Moscow and is prolific writer on all geopolitical topics. Very astute fellow, and the website is valuable. Often Andrew is months ahead on developments of hot issues.

Posted by: Red Ryder | Mar 2 2018 18:35 utc | 108

O, Moon of Alabama,
Your bartender is to be praised,
And friends shoulder to shoulder
Make it easy to discern
A foaming lager from soapsuds in a dirty glass.
Sweet, sweet nectar - thank you all!

Posted by: juliania | Mar 2 2018 18:50 utc | 109

Don Karlos@76 I don't think THAAD, Patriot missiles and Iron Dome work as advertised. Of course I have to admit I've thought for years that if ICBMs had actually flown, the miss rate would be appalling. I've wondered if simply detonating a handful of missiles in the Arctic atmosphere wouldn't severely compromise targeting, simply by buffeting them in flight.

So I've always thought of short-range antimissile missiles as more accurate missiles aimed at enemy missiles where they could really be hit: The launch site. Putin devising fake weapons to counter a fake threat of missile defense against a second strike is nonsense...especially since first strike has apparently never been a part of any socialist country's defense strategy. I can't see that any of these weapons can change anything about the real threat from them, which is their dual-purpose as offensive weapons that can actually hit their targets.

Posted by: steven t johnson | Mar 2 2018 19:13 utc | 110

Naturally, Putin apologists are acting like Russia just won WW2 again. The reality is made of shabbier, machiavellian stuff. What Putin did was a cheap, incompetent stunt. It was mostly animations and those have to be the worst animations ever, right? [A commenter who, like many Afghans, uses only one name]

I did not see the animation but one may conclude that the government of the Russian Federation once again misallocated resources. Rather than investing in good graphics, they actually spent on weapon development, and who enjoys that? Now compare with this video presenting a weapon that, in its day, was a true game changer, tachanka. It starts low key, with technical drawing and then progresses through aesthetically pleasing picture until at 2:50 min we see the thing on the field of battle, in the best Palekh style., not something that you can make cheaply or quickly.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Mar 2 2018 19:59 utc | 111

Shooting down the N Korean test missile flying over Japan in 2017 would have been a great way to demonstrate US ABM capabilities.

What a stupid and easily predicted waste of money.

Posted by: Christoph | Mar 2 2018 20:05 utc | 112

It’s always good to keep in mind the true scale of the world’s nuclear arsenals:

Currently the US and Russia both have 1,800 weapons on alert with a total number of warheads of about 7,000 each. It’s a little confusing since many ballistic missiles are MIRV’d and one missile can deliver a dozen independent warheads, but more than enough to obliterate human civilization. Other countries - France, China, Britain - have arsenals of 200-300 warheads, India and Pakistan and Israel have about 100 each, North Korea has maybe 10.

So, in a rational world, the US would eliminate the bogus missile defense program and the US and Russia would agree to say, 500 weapons on alert with a total stockpile of 1000 warheads. This would save each county billions of dollars and free up funds for domestic infrastructure and economic growth. Nuclear deterrence would be unchanged.

And, also, the US would end Israel’s little fan dance and just announce to the world that Israel has 100 nuclear weapons and will either accept IAEA inspections of their Dimona complex or face the cutoff of all US aid (some $4 billion a year). That would pressure North Korea to do the same, and a freeze could likely be implemented, greatly reducing tensions on the Korean peninsula (and the US military would stop doing drills on North Korea’s border), opening a diplomatic route to North-South discussions and rapproachment.

So what’s stopping this? Nothing but the greedy US military-industrial complex and all those who ride inside it, that’s what. The sleazy shitheads, the Edward ‘Strangelove’ Teller acolytes, the neocons and the war pigs, the McMasters and the Ashton Carters and that sordid ilk.

Posted by: nonsense factory | Mar 2 2018 20:16 utc | 113

I've been reading SST's March 2nd guest post on Putin's new arsenal. I may have read RT's transcript of Putin's weapons speech too quickly because I hadn't properly understood how this new suite of weapons makes US ABM systems obsolete.
That blank has now been filled in,
As the author of the SST post points out, the new Russian delivery systems don't follow a (predictable) ballistic trajectory which makes it IMPOSSIBLE for ABM detection systems to compute the location of the intended target. More importantly, the unpredictability of a non-ballistic trajectory makes it virtually impossible to compute reliable interception coordinates.
Added to the non-ballistic trajectory dilemna, is the 'back-door' problem in which the missile can travel 3/4 of the way around the world in order to approach its target from the opposite, or any other, direction from the one anticipated by the ABM boffins.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Mar 2 2018 20:25 utc | 114

And all this escalation caused by the U$A corporate empire and it's minions, just for the sake of profits garnered by the lust for global hegemony.

"It's just business, get over it."

Thanks b, for the therapy..

Posted by: ben | Mar 2 2018 20:32 utc | 115

Putin's speech will explain to the global elite (which Putin aspires to have a seat) as an idiot, and on the contrary will push the global elite to work to frame Russia completely without the need for military
Putin is stupid and very boring

Posted by: ALAN | Mar 2 2018 21:25 utc | 116

Posted by: V. Arnold | Mar 2, 2018 5:29:01 AM | 67

This type of shot was the one that the likes of Admiral Nelson dreamed of, albeit into the stern of the adversary. Unlike a side shot, which could go straight through the ship causing little damage, a stern shot would see the incoming cannonball bounce its way along the whole gun deck doing serious damage. A broadside into a stern would have been a wet dream of destruction.

As that clip shows, the modern equivalent would be a kinetic munition wreaking destruction right down the length of the ship. Better even than the one in the Russian clip going down vertically (unless nuclear tipped) when it would just go out the bottom leaving the ship to be saved saved by watertight compartments.

Posted by: JohninMK | Mar 2 2018 22:08 utc | 117

Anonymous @105

Far to simplistic an analysis. In particular cancelling contracts is not the Russian way, exploiting the clauses is. Briefly as I can as this is off thread.

Naftogaz will pay a bit less for gas (similar to Germany if transit costs taken into account) but has to buy 4Bcm from Gazprom in this and next year on a take or pay basis with payment on a monthly basis in advance. That is until the current contract runs out at the end of December 2019. Gazprom has already said that it will not renew. If NordStream2 is not up and running, the EU will then have a huge (understatement) problem with energy supplies, especially to its central and southern countries.

Gazprom to pay Naftogaz $4.63B for not putting the contracted minimum transit gas through. Interest charged at 4.14% pa until paid. This was an old contract, under the current contract there is no minimum.

Naftogaz to pay Gazprom $2.019B for gas taken but not paid for. Interest charged at 10.95% pa until paid.

Given the crazy demands by both sides at the start (Ukraine wanted $16B) it looks like the Court of Arbitration in Stockholm has done a good job with neither side really being able to claim that they won. Although the Ukrainians are of course doing just that.

The Ukrainians are in a gas supply pickle now because they thought the could just flash the cash for March at the Russians and get gas. No way, Gazprom sent it back, return to sender, telling Naftogaz to get the paperwork in order. Basically, piss us off at your peril, in this case freeze in the coldest winter for quite a while.

Posted by: JohninMK | Mar 2 2018 22:29 utc | 118

@114, Hoarsewhisperer: "I've been reading SST's March 2nd guest post on Putin's new arsenal. I may have read RT's transcript of Putin's weapons speech too quickly because I hadn't properly understood how this new suite of weapons makes US ABM systems obsolete. [...] As the author of the SST post points out, [...]"

People who can't be bothered to spell out acronyms for the benefit of non-insiders can just fuck right off. So goddamn tired of that shit.

Posted by: Eric | Mar 2 2018 22:53 utc | 119

Eric 119
If you are unaware of SST, why not simply ask what it is?

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Mar 2 2018 23:00 utc | 120

Red Ryder 106

Thank you. My mistake.

Posted by: m | Mar 3 2018 3:11 utc | 121

Great stuff as usual. Psychohistorian. As you may recall, I share your views on the supra-national private banking cartel. It is the root of all evils. I have to ask if you (or any of the other worthy commenters here) think this could be theater to promote/excuse the expansion of the arms race? It is highly profitable, even if (some of) the weapons are never actually used.

And any of the players could well be invested in (and/or invested into by) the banksters who profit greatly from all of it.

Posted by: Daniel | Mar 3 2018 3:39 utc | 122

2018 sure is escalating fast, the powder keg is set in Syria.. Will it blow?

Posted by: Lozion | Mar 3 2018 4:28 utc | 123

@ Daniel with a question as to purpose

Do you think if peace was profitable we would have the same issues we are having now?

Did you read the Globalresearch article I supplied in comment 1 in the last Open Thread? It explains that the elite own everything either directly or indirectly. A couple of years ago here someone provided a link showing the global interlocking directorships that make some of it possible.....I mean, common, its all LEGAL......

perfidy comes to mind

Posted by: psychohistorian | Mar 3 2018 5:28 utc | 124

SST is for Sic Semper Tyrannis Pat Lang's blog I think.

Posted by: Maximus | Mar 3 2018 7:01 utc | 125

A scathing dressing down of U.S. intelligence agencies by Gilbert Doctorow in R.I.

A must read, because Doctorow highlights the failures of the corporate media in properly assessing the realities of what President Putin was reporting.
A very dangerous mis-step in calling Putin's speech a bluff; we here know Vladimir Putin doesn't bluff.
Usians apparently can no longer discern facts from lies...

Posted by: V. Arnold | Mar 3 2018 7:30 utc | 126

Which begs a reposting of an earlier comment from me:
Bill Casey (CIA) said: “We'll know when our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.”

Posted by: V. Arnold | Mar 3 2018 7:38 utc | 127

People who can't be bothered to spell out acronyms for the benefit of non-insiders can just fuck right off. So goddamn tired of that shit.
Posted by: Eric | Mar 2, 2018 5:53:20 PM | 119

I'm not unsympathetic to your plight. Unfamiliar acronyms can be very irritating.
SST = Sic Semper Tyrannis (as Maximus has amply explained).
ABM = Anti-Ballistic Missile systems.
RT = Russia Today aka RT News (from Russia, unlike Moscow Times which is US State Dept/CIA bullshit).

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Mar 3 2018 13:36 utc | 128

Oops! Sorr-ee-ee, Eric!
aka = also known as

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Mar 3 2018 13:40 utc | 129

What is really sad is the scoundrels in D.C., (District of Corruption), would sacrifice Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Miami, Dallas and every major US city to make themselves look good. All at the expense of our future. Madness rules the day.

Posted by: Jose Garcia | Mar 3 2018 18:43 utc | 130

I like the taunt of RT head...."elon musk my arse". Referring to the totally archaic junkheap 1960's tech rockets the clown is saucing the world with.

Total junkville

Compared to even Satan 1 let alone Sarmat.

Just dusted off mid 60's plans to give to the silly little entertainer to have as props to keep everyone amused. Musk has this faded stinking little doll which he dresses up because US can't roll out anything new, it doesn't have the engineering potential and is now decades behind and too embarrassed to try and fail. So arse wipe elon gets to put on a circus with paper tigers and white elephants. A pox on the turd.

Posted by: Whorin Peace | Mar 4 2018 4:14 utc | 131

Lozion @123:

There's a good chance of that. Syria is the last remaining step towards Iran. Ignore North Korea.

Posted by: Ian | Mar 4 2018 4:18 utc | 132

The laments are a bit overly pessimistic about the 'clueless Americans' who buy the media lies on about the many US imperial cold and hot war actions. But the numbers who are infected by official propaganda are dwindling.

The belief in official media is nearly dead, especially for most folks under 50. The freedom to view and read more authentically objective sites like WSWS or Moonofalabama on an essentially equal convenience level as govt propaganda sites like ABC or BBC, and the ability to compare and contrast 'opposing' govt propaganda sites, has had an effect. Among those who still care, it produces Bernie Sanders, Jeremy Corbyn, and Brexit. And Trump, unfortunately. All of these 'unfathomable to the neoliberal establishment' political events happened 1 or 2 years ago.

Something new and very good is happening. It may be misdirected, perhaps into racialized or identity politics, but then again it may not be. Activism not wailing pessimism is the best response.

Posted by: fairleft | Mar 4 2018 5:49 utc | 133

@133 'Activism not wailing pessimism is the best response.'

Yes but how does one define activism these days? It doesn't seem to go much beyond internet posting. People seem easily outraged by race and gender issues but there are more important things to deal with. But how?

Posted by: dh | Mar 4 2018 14:41 utc | 134

After the election today in Italy, western media will start spreading bs about russia of course when the MSM-hated right-wing parties win.

Posted by: Anon | Mar 4 2018 14:47 utc | 135

I was reading by the morning in the newspaper front page a small headline warning from...
George Soros. Yes. Against social media personal intercommunications: because they can utterly deceive people without their consciousness of the fact!!!!
Frankly, that exactly from Soros moved me to tears.

Posted by: augusto | Mar 4 2018 23:58 utc | 136

seen to me many forget surprise action of Russia on 09/30/2015....VVP DO NOT BLUFF !!!!!

Posted by: sejmon | Mar 6 2018 1:26 utc | 137

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