from Russia Insider:
An 800 pound gorilla … in the room is Russia’s stand-off capability (ability to fire from longer ranges than your oponent) —it is simply much better than the American one …
… (Russian) ranges … are simply beyond the reach of any stand-off weapon in the US arsenal.”
Size does matter and so does range and speed whenever anyone talks about weapons. It seems that there is a great deal of confusion which perpetuates itself in regards to a relatively small Russian military contingent in Syria.
The most popular indicator of this confusion is a never ending discussion of a possible American attack on the Russian forces in Syria, primarily on the air base Khmeimim. Can such an attack, once one considers the size of forces US can deploy against Russians, succeed in “defeating” them?
An excellent Russian news report going onboard Russian subs and ships involved in firing these cruise missiles – fascinating
This is both a legitimate but also a highly unprofessional question. In fact, there are many people of prominence in the US who apart from considering such a terrifying scenario are actually pushing for it. Lieutenant-Colonel Ralph Peters doesn’t mince words when it comes to attacking Russians; in fact, he is a very straight to the point guy when giving prescriptions on how to fight those Russians: This could spin out of control very, very fast. If it does, we have to win rapidly and decisively — and keep it within Syria.
There is no doubt that Peters and the bunch of US military and political people he represents did partake in the strategic wisdom of the past, from Clausewitz to Moltke to Guderian, but it is here where a seemingly legitimate question on the probability of American success in bombing those nasty Russkies into the stone age at Khmeimim and elsewhere in Syria stops being, well, serious.
Of course, US can unleash whatever it has at its conventional disposal at Khmeimim and it will eventually overwhelm whatever the Russians have there, from several SU-35s to S-300s and S-400s and, possibly, make Peters’ wet dream of keeping the whole ordeal confined to Syria very real. This would work, say against anyone’s military contingent – except Russia’s.
At issue here is not the fact that Russia is a nuclear superpower—everyone knows that. Even the most rabid American Russophobes know this and can grasp, however slightly, the concept of their poor dears turning into radioactive ash pretty fast if they do the unthinkable, such as attacking Russia proper with nuclear weapons. Syria, however, is a bit different—the escalation to a nuclear threshold could, indeed, be controlled by those who hold a decisive advantage conventionally.
At issue here is the fact of conventional war—a precise type of a conflict US military prided itself on for the last 30+ years, boasting of being able to handle any kind of adversary.
In the foundation of this, rather overly assertive approach, the self-assurance was the real and not so real advantage of the US in stand-off weapons. Aggression against Yugoslavia showed the US military could overwhelm the air-defense of a nation such as Serbia fairly fast and from distances far beyond the reach of its obsolete air defenses. There were Tomahawk cruise missiles, which were launched at Serbia in thousands and which rendered her air defense almost useless after the first couple of weeks of incessant bombing.
But here is the problem for the US: Russia can take this hypothetical conventional conflict well beyond Syria any time it wants and I am not talking about other strategic theaters, such as Ukraine, where Russia can “compensate” for a hypothetical “defeat” in Syria. The reason for this is purely technological—Russia can go tit-for-tat conventionally in Syria and anywhere in the Middle East.
In fact, the Russian military has in its possession the most advanced arsenal of High Precision stand-off weapons which have been demonstrated in action for the whole world to see.
This is what makes the whole talk about “defeating” the Russian contingent in Syria very amateurish.
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