Russia is watching us. Good!


Russia is watching our each transfer. And that is an excellent factor.

You might not realize it from studying the information, however in particular instances the US can truly profit by exploiting Russia’s behavior of snooping.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Protection Minister Sergei Shoigu held a joint assembly not too long ago taking half their time to extol the features the Russian navy made in 2016. The opposite half of their speeches, nevertheless, detailed simply how a lot they’ve been observing NATO navy workout routines and U.S. nuclear modernization packages.

President Putin said “we should be very astute in monitoring any adjustments within the steadiness of forces and military-political developments on the earth, particularly alongside the Russian border… to neutralize potential threats our nation might face.”

Comrade Shoigu then commented on NATO price range figures, the 4 fight battalions NATO plans on inserting within the Baltics close to Russia’s border, the speed of “NATO’s intelligence exercise” in surveillance flights, and even the sorts of tanks and uniforms the British used of their navy workout routines.

That is nice information for the US and NATO as a result of the Russians tipped their hand by detailing precisely which allied actions concern them and what weapon packages they’re watching. Now that the US and NATO have a glimpse into the Russian thoughts, they’ll extra successfully tailor our deterrence messages.

Efficiently deterring Russian assaults on Europe requires that many issues go proper, the primary of which is the US and NATO sending the appropriate deterrence message in a approach that Russian leaders like Putin and Shoigu will obtain and interpret accurately. That is troublesome to do, even beneath the very best of circumstances.

Deterrence requires figuring out what messages an adversary receives, takes critically, and acts on. Common Petr Pavel, Chairman of the NATO Army Committee, believes the West want solely evaluate the out there proof of the previous few years to see that, “Russia respects energy. Russia sees the liberal strategy, democratic strategy, dialogue, compromise, as a weak spot. And I consider that … as Russia retains this angle we’ve to point out our dedication. We now have to point out energy.”

If Putin and different Russian leaders communicate and perceive the language of navy energy then the US and NATO should acknowledge that Russia will view allied phrases and actions via this prism whether or not we prefer it or not.

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So what kind of deterrence message can the United States, and specifically President Donald Trump, send Russia in the coming days to signal U.S. resolve? First, the United States and NATO must respond forcefully to Russia’s continued violation of the INF Treaty, which prohibits a certain class of nuclear weapons, with the goal of deterring future violations and assuring allies within range of the prohibited Russian nuclear weapon system. By researching and procuring air and missile defense systems, along with the addition of battalions of heavy armor vehicles, U.S. and NATO actions will signal to Putin that he can only lose security by continuing down the current path.

Second, we know the Russians are watching the early stages of U.S. nuclear modernization programs, and fully funding these weapon systems in the coming years will send a clear deterrent message to Russia that they cannot tip the balance of nuclear forces in their favor. The United States can and should accelerate the modernization pace on the B-61 nuclear bomb and the nuclear certification for the F-35 fighter aircraft, which will eventually be stationed in Europe. In addition, NATO allies must be assured there are credible U.S. capabilities backing up NATO’s Article 5 commitment that an attack on one is an attack on all.

Third, the United States and NATO should openly exercise these capabilities, since the Russians are so fond of watching, so the Alliance gains better proficiency in military cooperation and information-sharing under stressful conditions.

Russian leaders are watching and listening. But that is only a good thing if we send the right message.

Matthew R. Costlow is an analyst at the National Institute for Public Policy.

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Matthew R. Costlow

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