Russia is the only country in the world with the nuclear capability to destroy the U.S., according to Army Chief of Staff General Mark Milley. The General called Russia an existential threat to the U.S., speaking in front of the audience at the Defense One summit in Washington, DC on Monday.
Milley also considers Russia “aggressive” and “adversarial to the interests of the United States,” which is why Moscow’s nuclear weapons are capable of destroying the U.S.
The General warned that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent behavior suggest the country would be willing to use nuclear weapons. Milley also noted that Russia has been violating “the Westphalian order” ever since it started invading “sovereign nations” in 2008.
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Milley has already called Russia an existential threat during his confirmation hearing before the U.S. Senate back in July. Two weeks prior to his confirmation hearing, U.S. General James Dunford used the same phrasing during his own Senate confirmation hearing to become the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
“I would say that Russia’s recent behavior is adversarial to the interests of the United States,” Milley said, referring to Russia’s aggressive drills and patrols with its troops, aircraft and submarines for the past “four-five-six-seven” years. “Russia bears close watching,” he added.
The audience then asked whether Russia should be considered an enemy rather than a partner, but Milley responded with an urge to a “strength and balance sort of approach, which is our current policy.”
While diplomacy is very “nuanced,” Russia must be fought with sanctions and NATO’s confident stance, he noted. However, the General added that the U.S. must cooperate with Russia on matters that require involvement of both Washington and Moscow.
Russia’s military far more advanced than that of U.S. – American analyst
Russia is far more advanced and superior in terms of military technologies than the U.S., while the recent American missile tests were nothing but a “bluff” to trick people into thinking the U.S. military could easily counter even such a nuclear-powerful adversary as Russia, according to an American counter-terrorism analyst.
Scott Bennett, a former U.S. Army psychological warfare officer, said in an interview with Press TV on Monday that this is something Washington typically does: it tells its military brass to show off in front of its Russian counterparts, claiming that American missile technology is “the absolute end-all technology that can determine any war.”
The analyst’s comments come just a day after the U.S. military carried out a $230 million test involving Lockheed Martin’s Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) systems and the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) equipped onto the USS John Paul Jones destroyer.
The results of the test showed that the missile systems were capable of successfully hitting their targets in all but one of the tests. The tests with the missile systems involved a medium-range ballistic missile fired from C-17 aircraft.
During one of the tests, a SM-3 missile fired from the warship failed mid-air in its flight and missed the target. But the THAAD system was capable of taking the failed shot out.
“From a psychological warfare perspective, I see this as a massive bluff, as just a lot of feather puffing, and [it] really doesn’t have a lot of substance because the technology is not there and the Russian technology as we know is far superior,” Bennett said.
Bennett sees this elaborate $230 million missile test as a standard military test, while Washington wants to make it look as if it is more lethal than it really is.
U.S. will be responsible for deaths in Syria, not Russia – Analyst
The analyst also believes that the test is an attempt of the U.S. to assure its allies in the Middle East, who turn away from Washington one by one because of its incompetence in Syria, that the U.S. still has what it takes to maintain influence in the region. The tests seem to fall in line with U.S. President Barack Obama’s decision to send Special Operation forces to Syria.
Bennett expects Russia to call the bluff and warn the U.S. that if it sends American troops to Syria, “the Russian coalition will not be held responsible for any deaths that may result.”
Bennett also called Obama’s decision “a potential trap.” “It is an attempt to try and goad Russia, I think, into maneuvers and bombings that can kill a lot of American troops for the purposes of triggering a larger US action.”
The analyst also suspects that there might be a connection between the U.S. missile tests and the recent Russian plane crash over Egypt’s Sinai desert which killed 224 passengers on board, including 25 children and 7 crew members.
Russian navy presents threat to U.S.
Meanwhile, the U.S. is discussing the possibility to station more of its ships and naval objects in Europe as a response to Russia’s most threatening naval operations in two decades, according to the new U.S. Navy chief of naval operations.
The U.S. Navy is now reassessing its global stance to counter the aggressive activity of Russian warships and submarines, Admiral John Richardson, chief of naval operations said in an interview with the Financial Times.
“Their submarine force and their navy are as active as they have been in a long time, 20 years or so,” Admiral Richardson noted. “How are we going to posture our forces to make sure that we maintain the appropriate balance and are suitably engaged?”
The Admiral also said that the U.S. Navy is considering to step up its presence in Europe and the Pacific. “That’s the conversation we’re having right now.”
Russian Admiral Viktor Chirkov, the chief of the Russian navy, recently said that Russian submarine patrols have increased by 50 percent from 2013.