‘US sees Russia as competitor for global leadership & power’
RT: For the first time since 1991 the Pentagon is reportedly re-evaluating contingency plans for a potential armed confrontation with Russia. Why now, considering there are so many threats like ISIS at this moment?
Karen Kwiatkowsky: The foreign policy both of the Pentagon planning side and also of the Obama administration is filled with neo-conservatives. And for neo-conservatives Russia has never fallen off the radar as a threat. It’s number one. The other aspect, I think, that brings Russia to the fore as a possible enemy or target of military planning on the part of the US Pentagon is that financially the US is extremely vulnerable. For years, and certainly back in the 80’s and 90’s, the dollar was the world reserve currency without question. And there were really no challenges to that. But there are many challenges today, I mean, you have a $19 trillion current deficit, we have huge obligations up into the future, the Federal Reserve is printing lots of money. And the rest of the world is waking up to the fact that maybe they don’t want to hold so many dollars as the world reserve currency. Russia is a leader in this, but many other countries are looking for their own best interests in terms of fiscal policy. But Russia is a big, important one, Russia has gold and Russia doesn’t have the kind of debt that United States has. So, in that respect Russia is a challenger and a competitor just in terms of financial leadership. This is where people look at Russia favorably compared to investing or using the US both in terms of trade, respect for their policies and, in effect, power. So, Russia is a competitor for global leadership and power and the US sees that. And the Pentagon’s job - because they don’t really believe that they should share power - in a unipolar world is to dominate. So, certainly Russia is going to be at the top of that and now more than it was maybe in 1989 and 1991.
RT: Many US officials have already expressed their dissatisfaction with America's confrontation with Russia. Why are they unhappy?
KK: They are unhappy because the language is rash, a little bit radical and certainly hostile. And that kind of language and terminology coming from a nation state addressed towards other countries tends to not lead to peace but tends to lead to conflict and, more possible, even war. And when we talk about war, for the US we’ve had a lot of endless wars against terror, occupations, that kind of thing. We go up against fourth-rate powers and there is really no question of a nuclear option in these interventions that the US has been doing non-stop for the last thirty years. No real chance of a nuclear escalation. But when you use that same offensive and aggressive language to a country that has nuclear weapons, a country that is on par in many ways to the US in terms of military might and strategic advantage, then you’re talking language that can not only lead to war, but can possibly lead to the use of nuclear weapons which, of course, is a tremendous disaster. And anybody with any wisdom in the US, certainly in the foreign policy side of things, does not want to see any type of nuclear confrontation. And the language that we are using could very possibly lead to that at some time…
RT: How likely are the chances Russia won't be seen as a potential threat to the US any time soon?
KK: I was looking back on some of the reports over the past six or seven years. And as early as 2010 WikiLeaks released [that] the US military had plans to engage with Russia militarily over Eastern European countries. So, I think, the foreign policy of the US and Pentagon have already placed Russia in the top three of countries that could pose a threat. It’s already happened that we are moving into identifying Russia as a potential, not just competitor, but a military opponent. And that is really kind of crazy to me. And I think most of the Americans would be surprised because I don’t think most Americans are aware of how a Pentagon views it or how parts of the administration view Russia. And most of them don’t think about Russia at all, there are not concerned about it…
RT: Some experts say the Pentagon is just trying to get more funding by claiming Russia is the biggest threat. What do you think about that?
KK: That’s absolutely true. What we have to justify the Pentagon budget for the past decade and 15 years is really countries that cannot wield, they don’t have navies, very good armies, air forces. And so when we go up against fourth-rate military powers and do occupations, that doesn’t really drive a demand for the kind of heavy weapon systems, air defense systems, big navy ships… Those small occupations, interventions, wars and fighting against terrorism don’t drive spending here at home for these ‘big ticket’ military items. We can only justify those ‘big ticket’ items when we have opponents that may be able to go up against them. And certainly that makes China and Russia the two big ones on the block…
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.