Friday, September 16, 2022

Exaggerating the Russian Threat


Professor Lyle Goldstein authored a report—titled Threat Inflation, Russian Military Weakness, and the Resulting Nuclear Paradox: Implications of the War in Ukraine for U.S. Military Spending—for the Costs of War Project at Brown's Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs.

Goldstein's paper explains that "Western strategists have a long tradition of overinflating Russia as a threat."

The report says, "Russia is a weaker conventional military power than many in the U.S. had imagined; thus, there is no additional cause for intensified fear of a Russian military threat to the U.S. nor for the resultant expansion of the Pentagon budget."

"On the other hand," the document cautions, "if the U.S. and NATO increase their military spending and conventional forces in Europe, the weakness of Russian conventional military forces could prompt Moscow to rely more heavily on its nuclear forces."

Goldstein an expert in Russian military strategic development incorporated Russian-language sources, which provided a "deeper, insider's view" of the military's "multifarious, endemic problems."

Due to its relatively low military spending, "Russia doesn't seem to have a military that is capable of protracted, large-scale offensive action, let alone expeditionary operations, that could threaten U.S. national security," the paper says, detailing poor performances by Russian aerial, cyber, ground, missile, naval, and space forces against Ukraine this year.

 "Russian armies are completely unable to march on Paris or Berlin, let alone Warsaw or Bucharest now or in the foreseeable future. It is plain enough that they could not even conquer Kyiv," the document states.

"Contrary to conventional wisdom, the U.S. defense budget does not need to continue to grow," the paper emphasizes. "Rather, cognizant of Russia's conventional military weakness, the U.S. military budget can instead be trimmed."

To end Russia's war in Ukraine, the paper suggests pursuing "de-escalatory approaches," including "direct talks, reviving the arms control agenda, and pursuing military confidence-building measures between NATO countries and Russia."

"The White House and Congress are fueling this war with a steady stream of weapons instead of pushing for talks to end the conflict," said CodePink co-founder Medea Benjamin. "That's why we, the people, have to rise up with a demand of negotiations, not escalation."

Report Warns US Militarized Response to Russia Could Provoke Nuclear War (

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