Russia will never come close to the size of the defense spending of our main opponents
The commander-in-chief of the NATO Joint Armed Forces in Europe, American General Tod Walters, said that next year he intends to meet with the chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Russia, Valery Gerasimov.
The main reason for the meeting, most likely, is to minimize the threat in case of contact line incidents. Walters himself said that the last three months (after he met with Gerasiv at a summit in Baku), there were no dangerous actions by NATO and Russian troops.
Why, then, the defense budget of the block this year exceeded $ 1 trillion? Who are the NATO members arming against? It’s obvious that it’s against Russia … The expenditures of the NATO member countries on defense began to gallop at a pace since 2014 (before that they had been declining for six years): it is obvious that this was a response to the annexation of Crimea.
The lion’s share in this amount falls on two countries – the United States ($ 752 billion) and France ($ 51 billion). For comparison: last year, Russia’s defense budget was $ 46 billion. Although, say, military expert Michael Kofman, adjusted for the purchasing power parity of the ruble, estimated Russia’s real defense spending at $ 150 billion. In any case, this is very far from NATO’s appetites.
But still, the Russian “scarecrow” is very beneficial for the Western military, allowing them to spend as much as they like (Donald Trump, for example, insists that every country in NATO, including tiny Bulgaria and Montenegro, spend at least 2% of its GDP on defense).
Professor Mikhail Roshchin, senior researcher at the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, told about why NATO has returned to extremely aggressive rhetoric today.
– NATO functionaries either refuse to call Russia “an enemy or an adversary”, or declare “Russia’s aggressive actions as a threat to Euro-Atlantic security”. What double standards ?!
I however would not call it double standards. Whatever Stoltenberg claims, NATO perceives Russia primarily as an enemy. Otherwise, it is difficult to explain the continuous buildup of NATO forces around our borders. If not for the events in Ukraine, NATO troops would have stood even closer to us. NATO had the opportunity to de-escalate in mutual relations, but this opportunity was closed under Bill Clinton, who announced the expansion of NATO to the East.
– Does China see NATO as a threat like Russia?
– Of course, China is also perceived as a threat. Of course, today it is an economic superpower, but its military strength is not quite obvious, unlike Russia and the United States, which have real combat experience.
At the same time, China has become our natural ally in recent years. It is important that in recent years joint military maneuvers have been carried out – naval and land. By the way, I note that South Africa also participated in the exercises of Russia and China this year? And in December, Russian-Chinese exercises with the participation of Iran in the Oman Sea will be held.
I think the near future will show how strong military cooperation with China will be: a lot will depend on how the US-Chinese contradictions grow.
Europe sees the strengthening of the military-political relations of Russia and China, and this seems to me to be the reason why the most passionate European leader, French President Emmanuel Macron, is trying to restore relations with Russia.
– Moreover, in addition to Macron, not many Western leaders today decide to restore relations with Russia.
– I would not say that Macron is pro-Russian, but he is definitely the most adequate among the NATO leaders. Unfortunately, he has serious problems with a late and unsuccessful pension reform. I remind you that France has been holding an unlimited national strike of transport workers since Thursday.
– But in general, the West is not interested in defusing relations with Russia. The sanctions attack on China is also intensifying. But unexpected things happen to Iran (at least for me): for example, Washington and Tehran, which recently stood on the threshold of a real war, begin to exchange prisoners.
– I think the reason is that Donald Trump has a difficult domestic political situation. And he is rather interested in detente with Iran. In addition, the main hawk in his administration, John Bolton, resigned, and it was he who advocated air strikes on Iran.
But in general, in the Middle East, I see detente. Say, the situation in Syria has stabilized noticeably – especially after the actual departure of the Americans. The situation in Iraq remains tense: the pro-American regime established there after the US aggression under George W. Bush today is holding its last strength and is close to falling, as it is extremely negatively perceived by the majority of the Iraqi population.
– It is unlikely that Iraq will become a field of military confrontation between Russia and NATO …
– I agree. Geographically, the main nodes of the contradictions between Russia and the North Atlantic bloc are the border of Poland and the Kaliningrad region, the Baltic Sea and the borders of Russia with Latvia and Estonia.
And finally, I would like to note: if Donald Trump manages to be re-elected for a second presidential term, then, I believe, Russian-American relations will leave the zone of dangerous cooling.