Russia's invasion of the sovereign nation of Georgia has pushed major news stories off the front-pages of newspapers and news magazines, and usually is the lead story on broadcast news shows. The images of Russian tanks pouring into Georgia is a reminder that Putin's Russia is not to be ignored by US officials.
During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union embarked on the most massive military buildups in history. Part of President Reagan's strategy for winning was to entice the Soviets into a competition it could never even hope to win. A communist economy by its very nature is ill-equipped to compete with a free-market, capitalist system whether it's foreign trade or weapons technology.
And so, slowly the Soviet economy became a basket case due to the communists desire to exceed America in an enormously expensive arms race.
After the Cold War, with the Soviet threat gone and with Democrat President Bill Clinton in the White House, terms such as "the peace dividend" became commonplace within the Washington Beltway and in the mainstream news media. No longer was the political establishment interested in defense, and the new agenda for the US was domestic.
However, slowly and methodically Russia's steel-eyed leader Vladamir Putin began to rebuild and expand his nation's arsenal and its fighting forces. This new phase in Russia's military buildup has created fear in some quarters in the US that a new arms race exists. Recently the Russians deployed a nuclear ballistic system that their generals made clear could render US antimissile defense systems ineffective, according to reports in the European news media.
While Americans and Europeans celebrated the Christmas holiday in 2005, the Russian army activated a large number of Topol-M class missiles that can fit nuclear warheads and travel 6,000 miles, while rapidly switching their trajectory in order to neutralize any US- or European-based interception device.
As usual, the news media in the US is so busy bashing the Commander-in-Chief regarding the Iraqi conflict and President Bush's tactics for combating terrorism, that they've failed to report on the Russian advances in weaponry and the accompanying hawkish rhetoric of the Russian military commanders.
In addition, most of the media have chosen to ignore the Russian buildup because the liberal take on the Cold War was that it was a result of a misunderstanding between two superpowers. During the height of the Cold War liberals -- some like Senator John Kerry who are still in power -- were more concerned over how many missiles and weapons we had. That mindset continues and it does no good for the liberal establishment and their media echo chamber to allow the American people to learn that their old enemy is quietly gearing up for a second arms race or worse -- a new Cold War.
While Americans believe that the only problem facing the US is terrorism, one Russian leader, General Nikolai Solovtsov, commander of the Russia's missile forces, has mobilized a brand new Topol-M missile battalion, with each missile having a one megaton warhead. One megaton is over 35 times the power of both US bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II.
The Russian general claims his missile system is able to penetrate any missile defense system. He boasts that the Russian missiles are unaffected by electromagnetic blasts used by current US antimissile systems.
While Russia had disbanded two missile divisions last year to show the US and European Union that they were serious about disarmament, it has recently been discovered that they formed close to 25 new units -- in what's considered the fastest increase of nuclear spending since the days of the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.
According to the Military.Com, the US Navy carried out tests of an antimissile interceptor, which can be launched from an Aegis class cruiser in the Pacific Ocean. A warhead from an incoming rocket was completely neutralized and destroyed one hundred miles above sea level. Its success marked the first time an antimissile defense system succeeded in tests when launched from a warship. While not vocally announced by the Pentagon, experts believe this testing was a result of the Russian buildup.
The debut of the Topol-M and Russia's hawkish bravado mark the fastest expansion of nuclear missiles since the SS-18 and Pershing II technologies appeared during the Reagan Administration. Since that time US-Russia arms control treaty was signed in 1993 at the Kremlin and Russia struggled to fund technology to replace its aging war machine. Their defense budget also withered away due to their depressed economy situation.
With the Russians now enjoying a certain amount of prosperity thanks to its new oil wealth and weapons system sales, their nuclear missile program reemerged. Just last month an almost $2 billion increase from the Kremlin was earmarked for the military and Mr. Putin's popularity also increased as a result. Equally disturbing is that one of the larger states from the old USSR, the Ukraine asked to come back under the former Soviet military shield and they expect to be protected by the Topol-M stationed in the Volga River.
Meanwhile, the European Union has denounced Putin's intentions to sell antiaircraft missiles to Iran, whose president announced his desire to "wipe Israel off the map."
With most of the US intelligence and military resources concentrated on the terrorism war, the Russians have taken advantage of the situation and have once again taken a lead role in international affairs, especially when it comes to nuclear arms and advanced weapons technology. And now they've shown their compunction to invade sovereign nations with impunity.
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for a number of organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. He writes for many police and crime magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer, Campus Law Enforcement Journal, and others. He's appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc. His book Assume The Position is available at Amazon.Com, Booksamillion.com, and can be ordered at local bookstores. Kouri holds a bachelor of science in criminal justice and master of arts in public administration and he's a board certified protection professional.