What would you say if I told you that Russia and Mexico agreed to carry out a joint military exercise in the northern states of Mexico that
include forcible entry, air and missile defense, live-fire, and a command post exercise, all intended to improve readiness and the ability for Russian soldiers to work with Mexican forces easily in the event of a crisis.
Pretty outrageous, right? That would be crossing a line. Russia has no right to put its troops on our border. Wouldn’t we consider that a potential threat? Absolutely.
So why do we think we can do the same thing to Russia and not expect pushback or blowback?
According to the Washington Examiner:
U.S. military forces in Europe started an exercise Tuesday that will put 28,000 troops from 26 countries near Russian territory for over six weeks, with a focus on the Balkans and Black Sea region.
European Command’s largest multinational exercise comes on the heels of an alleged Russian military exercise involving some 100,000 troops massed on the eastern border of Ukraine and in occupied Crimea. The long-planned American exercise will test infrastructure and interoperability in NATO’s southeastern flank, home to the former countries of Yugoslavia and the European Union’s poorest member states but also some that spend big on defense.
But this exercise is not happening in a vacuum. The Russian political and military leadership are listening to a perpetual tirade of anti-Russian propaganda. Remember when Biden said this in March?
Joe Biden has condemned Vladimir Putin, saying he thinks the Russian leader is a killer and that he told him he did not have a soul. Biden’s remarks were made on ABC News in an interview with George Stephanopoulos. The interview coincided with the release of a declassified US intelligence report that bolstered allegations Putin was behind Moscow’s interference in the 2020 election. When pressed on the allegations against Russia, Biden said Putin ‘will pay a price’ for the attempts to swing the vote in Donald Trump’s favor.
If you are Vladimir Putin do you think that you can trust or reason with Joe Biden?
But this is not just an isolated ranting by dementia Joe Biden. A Newsweek columnist insisted in April that Russia is unchanged and ready to attack:
Russia’s conventional weaponry and warfare tactics directly threaten the 29 European members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), as well as its partners. By treaty, the U.S. and other NATO members are obligated to “seek to promote stability and well-being in the North Atlantic area” and are “resolved to unite their efforts for collective defence and for the preservation of peace and security.” This one-for-all and all-for-one arrangement commits the U.S. to come to the defense of any NATO member attacked by any foreign power.
And there is more chest thumping coming from our Department of Defense:
“The Russian military is an existential threat to the United States,” Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, said during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing about worldwide threats.Berrier said the country’s military is being used to maintain influence over states “along its periphery, compete with US global primacy and compel adversaries who challenge Russia’s vital national interests.”“Moscow continues to invest in its strategic nuclear forces, in new capabilities to enhance its strategic deterrent, and that places the US homeland at risk,” Berrier said.
Now consider this simple set of facts.
- Russian military expenditure has grown significantly over the past two decades. It increased by 30 per cent in real terms between 2010 and 2019 and by 175 per cent between 2000 and 2019. Although Russian military spending decreased in 2017 and 2018, it rose again in 2019 to reach $65.1 billion (see figure 1 and table 1). The military burden on Russia’s economy—that is, military spending as a share of gross domestic product (GDP)—was 3.9 per cent in 2019. This was higher than in 2010, but much lower than the peak of 5.5 per cent reached in 2016.
- The USA’s military spending in 2019 was over 11 times greater than Russia’s, while China’s was four times greater. In contrast, Russia spent about 30 per cent more than the largest West European spenders—France, Germany and the United Kingdom. Russia’s military burden in 2019 was much higher than that of China and the other large European spenders and slightly higher than that of the USA.
Got that? The United States is spending close to a $800 billion dollars a year on defense while Russia is less $70 billion. And Russia is a great threat that the United States and all of NATO must unite to defeat?
We live in a country that is beholden to private companies profiting from selling pricey military equipment to the Federal Government. There is a revolving door between the Pentagon and these defense companies. The current head of the Department of Defense, retired General Lloyd Austin is a case in point. His ties to the defense industry, most notably his membership on the board of Raytheon Technologies, is certainly a conflict of interest.
But less well-known is his membership on the board of Nucor, a steel company that’s a subcontractor to at least two major defense contractors.
I am all in favor of protecting our Republic from genuine foreign threats. But Russia is not accusing us on a daily basis of stealing an election. Russia is not conducting military exercises on our border with 26 other countries. It is time we put America first and stop this madness.