Putin’s new Cold War is different and far more dangerous, Kyiv paper says

A screen capture from Russian NTV channel broadcast showing a sheet with information about the Status-6 nuclear drone submarine, which is a weapon with roots in Soviet times, but that could be used to cover a coastal area with radioactive debris and make it uninhabitable, according to the report. (Image: Delovaya Stolitsa)

A screen capture from Russian NTV channel broadcast showing a sheet with information about the Status-6 nuclear drone submarine, which is a weapon with roots in Soviet times, but that could be used to cover a coastal area with radioactive debris and make it uninhabitable, according to the report. (Image: Delovaya Stolitsa) 

2015/11/13 • Analysis & Opinion, Military analysis, Russia

Vladimir Putin has chosen a military strategy which makes the new cold war he has started not only different but also far more dangerous than its namesake because he is seeking not parity with the West which acted as a restraining factor but rather planning to use threats of various kinds against the West which could easily spiral out of control.

Those conclusions that suggest many of the mechanisms which helped to prevent conflict between Moscow and the West in the past are being dispensed with by Moscow are offered in a lead article today in Kyiv’s “Delovaya stolitsa.”

The editors point out that “debates about strategic forces are almost the only sphere where the Kremlin always gives a symmetrical response.” Because US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter spoke about the need for a new strategy to contain an aggressive Russia, Moscow responded by the television report about a new weapon of its own.

In one sense, Moscow has no choice but to do that, the paper continues, “its much-ballyhooed nuclear club remains the single ‘legitimator’ of its ambitions and argument in the geopolitical game.”

“The goal of ‘catching up and surpassing’” the West is no longer something Moscow can aspire to given its deteriorating economy and technological collapse, but, the paper warns, “Moscow does not need parity – it is sufficient to create a guaranteed unacceptable risk ‘for the other side.’”

Hence its “accidental release” of information about Status-6, a weapon with roots in Soviet times but that could be used in new and far more dangerous ways by the Putin regime. “The main distinction of Status-6 from its prototype is its assignment,” the paper says, to cover a coastal area with radioactive debris and make it uninhabitable.

That is, “Delovaya stolitsa” says, “one is in fact talking about a primitive ‘dirty’ bomb,” rather than a counterforce device. And “in this way,” it continues, “Russia has symbolically put itself on the same level as the terrorist international from Al-Qaeda to ISIS,” which for a long time has sought to acquire “such a plaything.”

Moreover, this new Russian dirty bomb inevitably recalls the Nazi’s faith in “wonder weapons” at the end of World War II, given that like those imaginary devices, the new Russian one is clearly intended to frighten and intimidate rather than simply restrain, all the more so because the US does not now have a system to counter the Status-6 device.

But the Americans are working on one, “Delovaya stolitsa” points out. In February DARPA announced that it was testing the ACTUV, a 140-ton drone subhunter that would negate the military value of the Russian “Wunderwaffe.” Needless to say, Kremlin-controlled media haven’t been talking about that.

Edited by: A. N.

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