Flip-flopping Between Deterrence and Appeasement

In trying to find a way to stop the bloodshed in Syria and settle the conflict in the breakaway eastern Ukrainian region of Donbas, Western foreign ministers have taken to guardedly praising Russia’s constructive role. This week (May 17), in Vienna, Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov co-chaired another session of the International Syria Support Group with his counterpart from the United States, Secretary of State John Kerry.

The Kremlin’s New Divisions May Actually Reduce Russia’s Military Readiness

During a regular ministerial conference call, on May 4, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu clarified previously declared plans to counter the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). He noted, “The defense ministry is taking a number of measures to counteract the buildup of NATO forces in the immediate vicinity of Russian borders. Two new divisions will be set up in the Western Military District and one division in the Southern Military District until the end of the year” (TASS, May 4).

The U.S. Army’s Big Guns go to the South China Sea

Senior Army and Pentagon strategists and planners are considering ways to fire existing weapons platforms in new ways around the globe – including the possible placement of mobile artillery units in areas of the South China Sea to, if necessary, function as air-defense weapons to knock incoming rockets and cruise missiles out of the sky. 

U.S. Army’s Return to Mechanized Warfare

The Army’s “live-fire” combat exercises involve large-scale battalion-on-battalion war scenarios wherein mechanized forces often clash with make-shift, “near-peer” enemies using new technologies, drones, tanks, artillery, missiles and armored vehicles.

The Army is expanding its training and “live-fire” weapons focus to include a renewed ability to fight a massive, enemy force in an effort to transition from its decade-and-a-half of tested combat experience with dismounted infantry and counterinsurgency.