ROAR: “Russia retains the status of nuclear power”

Vladimir Kremlev for RT
Moscow and Washington are practically replacing their military doctrines simultaneously.

The new Russian military doctrine is ready and will be signed by the president soon, Secretary of the Security Council Nikolay Patrushev has said.

The doctrine had already been adopted at an operational meeting, and Dmitry Medvedev is expected to approve the document and sign a decree on it in the near future, said Patrushev, who is visiting India. After the signing, the doctrine will be “an open document,” available for examination, he added.

Some changes have been included into the doctrine, which, however, remains “a successive document and does not deny the previous one,” Patrushev said. The amendments concern “radical changes” of the situation in the world, the secretary added.

The draft military doctrine for the first time stipulated a pre-emptive nuclear strike. On the whole, the clauses of the doctrine regarding nuclear weapons formulate that Russia “retains the status of nuclear power,” Patrushev told Rossiyskaya Gazeta daily earlier.

Moscow might use nuclear weapons “depending on the situation and the intentions of a potential adversary,” Patrushev said. “In situations critical to national security, a strike on an aggressor is not ruled out, including a pre-emptive one,” he said.

At the same time, Russia stands against solving any conflicts through military means, not to mention the possibility of the use of nuclear weapons, the Security Council secretary stressed. He added that Russia and the US have already reduced their nuclear arsenals significantly in the framework of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, and it is necessary that other nuclear powers should follow their example.

On February 1, the final round of negotiations between Moscow and Washington on the new strategic arms treaty started. According to the previous START-1 treaty, the US has less intercontinental ballistic missiles, but significantly surpasses Russia in the number of ballistic missiles based on submarines, cruise missiles and nuclear bombs on bombers. The new treaty is expected to ensure the parity of nuclear forces.

Russia had postponed publishing the new doctrine, and analysts cite the current arms reduction talks as one of the main reasons behind the move. The aim is to rule out any irritating factor that might even theoretically influence the protracted negotiations, observers say. The two parties are expected to conclude the new treaty in a month.

Russia’s third military doctrine was prepared in November 2009. The authors of the first such doctrine, adopted in 1993, believed that military conflicts were ruled out. The second document, approved in 2000, was described as “defensive.”

It was logical to expect the change of the military doctrine after the National Security Strategy had been released in May 2009, military analyst Petr Belov told website. “The doctrine should answer clearly what kind of wars the state may wage and what kind the armed forces correspond with,” he stressed.

“Accordingly, the state should prepare particular kinds of troops to be ready to use them in a particular situation,” the analyst said. The National Security Strategy stipulates that the country should use different ways of “strategic containment,” he said.

The reliance on strategic nuclear forces “is inevitable,” Belov said, adding that the struggle for resources and demographic challenges will only deepen in the future. “Of course, a retaliatory strike is the most non-aggressive means of ensuring strategic security,” Belov said. “But it cannot be realized because of the small number of delivery vehicles.”

The US, in turn, is certain that its superiority will be secured by new kinds of weapons, in particular, by missile defense complexes, TV Center said. Washington believes that these complexes “will defend the country not only from Iranian missiles, but also from all possible foreign missile technologies,” it said. “However, Washington on Monday had to recognize the failure of another test of its missile defense,” the channel added.

However, Washington is also changing its military doctrine. The Pentagon on February 1 also released the Quadrennial Defense Review, revising its previous two-war doctrine. The United States has shifted its strategy from a possible confrontation of regular armies to fighting guerilla and terrorist groups, Vedomosti daily said.

The principle is now being dropped, according to which the US has the possibility of waging two full-scale local wars, the paper added. “The new doctrine, the preparation of which was announced in April 2009, should replace the strategy that has guided the US armed forces for the last 25 years,” the daily stressed.

The United States intends to “fight on all fronts,” website said, commenting on the new doctrine. “Now the military development will be planned according to new principles that take into account the need to take part in several local conflicts and preventing new threat, rather than waging a full-scale war on two directions,” it added.

For the first time in many years, the US is changing “the style of its military planning,” Rossiya 24 TV channel said. The armed forces should be able to defend the country “from a whole specter of threats ranging from terrorism to cyber-attacks,” it added. The Pentagon also believes that possible conflicts over resources and wars prompted by natural disasters will be important challenges in the future, the channel said.

Insurgents are becoming the most important threat to the US armed forces, the Russian media note. “Now the US troops are fighting simultaneously on two fronts, in Afghanistan and Iraq,” Rossiya 24 said. And the Pentagon “considers the Afghan campaign the main conflict,” it added.

The new doctrine replaces the strategy that guided the US armed forces since the breakup of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, Vedomosti said. The new document takes into account the US experience in Afghanistan and smaller conflicts and will be presented together with the budget project for 2011, the paper noted.

If Republicans had retained power, and former Vice President Dick Cheney had continued to determine US war policy, “they would have also abandoned the doctrine of two simultaneous wars,” believes Ivan Safranchuk, chief editor of magazine Bolshaya Igra (“Big Game”).

The US cannot afford two wars now, Safranchuk told Vedomosti. And Washington “no longer intends to replace regional balances of forces by military means and is ready to only fight disorder and chaos,” he stressed.

The new approach means that the US will rely more on its allies and will sell more arms to them, Ruslan Pukhov, director of the Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, told the paper.

Sergey Borisov, RT