* William Engdahl: Putin and the Geopolitics of the New Cold War *


Richard Moore

Original source URL:

V. Putin and the Geopolitics of the New Cold War:

  Or, what happens when Cowboys don't shoot straight like they used toŠ

By F. William Engdahl*  18 February 2007

The frank words of Russia's President Vladimir 
Putin to the assembled participants of the annual 
Munich Wehrkunde security conference have 
unleashed a storm of self-righteous protest from 
Western media and politicians. A visitor from 
another planet might have the impression that the 
Russian President had abruptly decided to launch 
a provocative confrontation policy with the West 
reminiscent of the 1943-1991 Cold War.

However, the details of the developments in NATO 
and the United States military policies since 
1991 are anything but 'déjà vu all over again', 
to paraphrase the legendary New York Yankees 
catcher, Yogi Berra.

This time round we are already deep in a New Cold 
War whose stakes are literally the future of life 
on this planet. The debacle in Iraq, or the 
prospect of a US tactical nuclear pre-emptive 
strike against Iran are ghastly enough. In 
comparison to what is at play in the US global 
military buildup against its most formidable 
remaining global rival, Russia, they loom 
relatively small. The US military policies since 
the end of the Soviet Union and emergence of the 
Republic of Russia in 1991 are in need of close 
examination in this context. Only then do Putin's 
frank remarks on February 10 at the Munich 
Conference on Security make sense.

Because of the misleading accounts of most of 
Putin's remarks in most western media, it's worth 
reading in full in English (go to 
http://www.securityconference.de for official 
English translation).

Putin spoke in general terms of Washington's 
vision of a 'unipolar' world, with 'one center of 
authority, one center of force, one center of 
decision-making, calling it a 'world in which 
there is one master, one sovereign. And at the 
end of the day this is pernicious not only for 
all those within this system, but also for the 
sovereign itself because it destroys itself from 

Then the Russian President got to the heart of 
the matter: 'Today we are witnessing an almost 
uncontained hyper use of force - military force - 
in international relations, force that is 
plunging the world into an abyss of permanent 
conflicts. As a result we do not have sufficient 
strength to find a comprehensive solution to any 
one of these conflicts. Finding a political 
settlement also becomes impossible.'

Putin continued, 'We are seeing a greater and 
greater disdain for the basic principles of 
international law. And independent legal norms 
are, as a matter of fact, coming increasingly 
closer to one state's legal system. One state 
and, of course, first and foremost the United 
States, has overstepped its national borders in 
every way. This is visible in the economic, 
political, cultural and educational policies it 
imposes on other nations. Well, who likes this? 
Who is happy about this?'

These direct words begin to touch on what Mr 
Putin is concerned about in US foreign and 
military policy since the end of the Cold War 
some 16 or so years back. But it is further in 
the text that he gets explicit about what 
military policies he is reacting to. Here is 
where the speech is worth clarification. Putin 
warns of the destabilizing effect of 'space 
weapons.'-'it is impossible to sanction the 
appearance of new, destabilising high-tech 
weaponsŠa new area of confrontation, especially 
in outer space. Star wars is no longer a fantasy 
- it is a realityŠIn Russia's opinion, the 
militarization of outer space could have 
unpredictable consequences for the international 
community, and provoke nothing less than the 
beginning of a nuclear (arms race-f.w.e.) era.'

He then declares, 'Plans to expand certain 
elements of the anti-missile defence system to 
Europe cannot help but disturb us. Who needs the 
next step of what would be, in this case, an 
inevitable arms race?'

What does he refer to here? Few are aware that 
while claiming it is doing so to protect itself 
against the risk of 'rogue state' nuclear missile 
attack from the likes of North Korea or perhaps 
one day Iran, the US recently announced it is 
building massive anti-missile defense 
installations in Poland and the Czech Republic.

Poland? Missile defense? What's this all about?

Missile Defense and a US Nuclear First Strike

On January 29 US Army Brigadier General Patrick 
J. O`Reilly, Deputy Director of the Pentagon`s 
Missile Defense Agency, announced US plans to 
deploy anti-ballistic missile defense elements in 
Europe by 2011, which the Pentagon claims is 
aimed at protecting American and NATO 
installations from enemy threats coming from the 
Middle East, not Russia. Following Putin's Munich 
remarks, the US State Department issued a formal 
comment noting that the Bush Administration is 
'puzzled by the repeated caustic comments about 
the envisaged system from Moscow.'

OopsŠBetter send that press release back to the 
Pentagon's Office of Deception Propaganda for 
rewrite. The Iran missile threat to NATO 
installations in Poland somehow isn't quite 
convincing. Why not ask long-time NATO member 
Turkey if the US can place its missile shield 
there, far closer to Iran? Or maybe Kuwait? Or 

US policy since 1999 has called for building some 
form of active missile defense despite the end of 
the Cold War threat from Soviet ICBM or other 
missile launch. The National Missile Defense Act 
of 1999 (Public Law 106-38) says so: 'It is the 
policy of the United States to deploy as soon as 
is technologically possible an effective National 
Missile Defense system capable of defending the 
territory of the United States against limited 
ballistic missile attack (whether accidental, 
unauthorized, or deliberate) with funding subject 
to the annual authorization of appropriations and 
the annual appropriation of funds for National 
Missile Defense.' Missile defense was one of 
Donald Rumsfeld's obsessions as Defense Secretary.

Why now?

What is increasingly clear, at least in Moscow 
and Beijing, is that Washington has a far larger 
grand strategy behind its seemingly irrational 
and arbitrary unilateral military moves.

For the Pentagon and the US policy establishment, 
regardless of political party, the Cold War with 
Russia never ended. It merely continued in 
disguised form. This has been the case with 
Presidents G.H.W. Bush, William Clinton and with 
George W. Bush.

Missile defense sounded plausible if the United 
States were vulnerable to attack by a tiny band 
of dedicated Islamic terrorists able to 
commandeer a Boeing aircraft with boxcutters. The 
only problem is missile defense is not aimed at 
rogue terrorists like Bin Laden's Al Qaeda, or 
states like North Korea or Iran.

From them the threat of a devastating nuclear 
strike on the territory of the United States is 
non-existent. The US Navy and Air Force bomber 
fleet today stands in full preparation to bomb, 
even nuke Iran back to the stone age only over 
suspicions she is trying to develop independent 
nuclear weapon technology. States like Iran have 
no capability to render America defenceless, 
without risking nuclear annihilation many times 

Missile defense came out of the 1980's when 
Ronald Reagan proposed developing a system of 
satellites in space and radar bases around the 
globe, listening stations and interceptor 
missiles, to monitor and shoot down nuclear 
missiles before they hit their intended target.

It was dubbed Star Wars by its critics, but the 
Pentagon officially has spent more than $130 
billion on such a system since 1983. George W. 
Bush increased that significantly beginning 2002, 
to $11 billion a year, double the level during 
the Clinton years. And another $53 billion for 
the following five years has been budgeted.

Washington's obsession with Nuclear Primacy

What Washington did not say, but Putin has now 
alluded to in Munich, is that the US missile 
defense is not at all defensive. It is offensive, 
and how.

The possibility of providing a powerful state, 
one with the world's most awesome military 
machinery, a shield to protect it from limited 
attack, is aimed directly at Russia, the only 
other nuclear power with anywhere the capacity to 
launch a credible nuclear counterpunch.

Were the United States able to effectively shield 
itself from a potential Russian response to a US 
nuclear First Strike, the US would be able simply 
to dictate to the entire world on its terms, not 
only to Russia. That would be what military 
people term Nuclear Primacy. That is the real 
meaning of Putin's unusual speech. He isn't 
paranoid. He's being starkly realistic.

Since the end of the Cold War in 1989, it's now 
clear that the US Government has never for a 
moment stopped its pursuit of Nuclear Primacy. 
For Washington and the US elites, the Cold War 
never ended. They just forgot to tell us all.

The quest for global control of oil and energy 
pipelines, the quest to establish its military 
bases across Eurasia, its attempt to modernize 
and upgrade its nuclear submarine fleet, its 
Strategic B-52 bomber command, all make sense 
only when seen through the perspective of the 
relentless pursuit of US Nuclear Primacy.

The Bush Administration unilaterally abrogated 
the US-Russian ABM Treaty in December 2001. It's 
in a race to complete a global network of missile 
defense as the key to US nuclear primacy. With 
even a primitive missile defense shield, the US 
could attack Russian missile silos and submarine 
fleets with no fear of effective retaliation, as 
the few remaining Russian nuclear missiles would 
be unable to launch a convincing response enough 
to deter a US First Strike.

The ability of both sides-the Warsaw Pact and 
NATO-during the Cold War, to mutually annihilate 
one another, led to a nuclear stalemate dubbed by 
military strategists, MAD-mutual assured 
destruction. It was scary but in a bizarre sense, 
more stable that what we have today with a 
unilateral US pursuit of nuclear primacy. The 
prospect of mutual nuclear annihilation with no 
decisive advantage for either side, led to a 
world in which nuclear war had been 'unthinkable.'

Now, the US pursues the possibility of nuclear 
war as 'thinkable.' That's really mad.

The first nation with a nuclear missile shield 
would de facto have 'first strike ability.' Quite 
correctly, Lt. Colonel Robert Bowman, Director of 
the US Air Force missile defense program, 
recently called missile defense, 'the missing 
link to a First Strike.'

More alarming is the fact no one outside a 
handful of Pentagon planners or senior 
intelligence officials in Washington discusses 
the implications of Washington's pursuit of 
missile defense in Poland, Czech Republic or its 
drive for Nuclear Primacy.

It calls to mind 'Rebuilding America's Defenses,' 
the September 2000 report of the hawkish Project 
for the New American Century, where Dick Cheney 
and Don Rumsfeld were members. There they 
declared, 'The United States must develop and 
deploy global missile defenses to defend the 
American homeland and American allies, and to 
provide a secure basis for US power projection 
around the world.' (author's emphasis).

Before becoming Bush's Defense Secretary in 
January 2001, Rumsfeld headed a Presidential 
Commission advocating the development of missile 
defense for the United States.

So eager was the Bush-Cheney Administration to 
advance its missile defense plans, that the 
President and Defense Secretary ordered waiving 
usual operational testing requirements essential 
to determining whether the highly complex system 
of systems was effective.

The Rumsfeld missile defense program is strongly 
opposed within the military command. On March 26, 
2004 no less than 49 US generals and admirals 
signed an Open Letter to the President, appealing 
for missile defense postponement.

As they noted, 'US technology, already deployed, 
can pinpoint the source of a ballistic missile 
launch. It is, therefore, highly unlikely that 
any state would dare to attack the US or allow a 
terrorist to do so from its territory with a 
missile armed with a weapon of mass destruction, 
thereby risking annihilation from a devastating 
US retaliatory strike.'

The 49 generals and admirals, including Admiral 
William J. Crowe, former Chairman of the Joint 
Chiefs of Staff of the Armed Forces, went on  to 
argue to the President, 'As you have said, Mr. 
President, our highest priority is to prevent 
terrorists from acquiring and employing weapons 
of mass destruction. We agree. We therefore 
recommend, as the militarily responsible course 
of action, that you postpone operational 
deployment of the expensive and untested GMD 
(Ground-based Missile Defense) system and 
transfer the associated funding to accelerated 
programs to secure the multitude of facilities 
containing nuclear weapons and materials, and to 
protect our ports and borders against terrorists 
who may attempt to smuggle weapons of mass 
destruction into the United States.'

What the seasoned military veterans did not say 
was that Rumsfeld, Cheney, Bush and company had 
quite another agenda than rogue terror threats. 
They were after Full Spectrum Dominance, the New 
World Order, and the elimination, for once and 
all, of Russia as a potential rival for power.

The rush to deploy a missile defense shield is 
clearly not aimed at North Korea or terror 
attacks. It is aimed at Russia and much less so, 
the far smaller nuclear capacities of China. As 
the 49 generals and admirals noted in their 
letter to the President in 2004, the US already 
had more than sufficient nuclear warheads to hit 
a thousand bunkers or caves of a potential rogue 

Kier Lieber and Daryl Press, two US military 
analysts, writing in the influential Foreign 
Affairs of the New York Council on Foreign 
Relations in March 2006, noted, 'If the United 
States' nuclear modernization were really aimed 
at rogue states or terrorists, the country's 
nuclear force would not need the additional 
thousand ground-burst warheads it will gain from 
the W-76 modernization program. The current and 
future US nuclear force, in other words, seems 
designed to carry out a pre-emptive disarming 
strike against Russia or China.'

Referring to the aggressive new Pentagon 
deployment plans for missile defense, Lieber and 
Press add, 'the sort of missile defenses that the 
United States might plausibly deploy would be 
valuable primarily in an offensive context, not a 
defensive one-as an adjunct to a US First Strike 
capability, not as a stand-alone shield. If the 
United States launched a nuclear attack against 
Russia (or China), the targeted country would be 
left with a tiny surviving arsenal-if any at all. 
At that point, even a relatively modest or 
inefficient missile defense system might well be 
enough to protect against any retaliatory 

This is the real agenda in Washington's Eurasian 
Great Game. Naturally, to state so openly would 
risk tipping Washington's hand before the noose 
had been irreversibly tightened around Moscow's 
metaphorical neck. So the State Department and 
Defense Secretary Gates try to make jokes about 
the recent Russian remarks, as though they were 
Putin's paranoid delusions.

This entire US program of missile defense and 
nuclear First Strike modernization is 
hair-raising enough as an idea. Under the Bush 
Administration, it has been made operational and 
airborne, hearkening back to the dangerous days 
of the Cold War with fleets of nuclear-armed B-52 
bombers and Trident nuclear missile submarines on 
ready alert around the clock, a nuclear horror 

Global Strike: Pentagon Conplan 8022

The march towards possible nuclear catastrophe by 
intent or by miscalculation, as a consequence of 
the bold new Washington policy, took on 
significant new gravity in June 2004, only weeks 
after the 49 generals and admirals took the 
highly unusual step of writing to their President.

That June, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld approved a 
Top Secret order for the Armed Forces of the 
United States to implement something called 
Conplan 8022, 'which provides the President a 
prompt, global strike capability.'

The term, Conplan, is Pentagon shorthand for 
Contingency Plan. What 'contingencies' are 
Pentagon planners preparing for? A pre-emptive 
conventional strike against tiny North Korea or 
even Iran? Or a full-force pre-emptive nuclear 
assault on the last formidable nuclear power not 
under the thumb of the US' Full Spectrum 
Dominance-- Russia?

The two words, 'global strike', are also notable. 
It's Pentagon-speak to describe a specific 
pre-emptive attack which, for the first time 
since the earliest Cold War days, includes a 
nuclear option, counter to the traditional US 
military notion of nuclear weapons being only 
used in defense to deter attack.

Conplan 8022, as has been noted by some, is 
unlike traditional Pentagon war plans which have 
been essentially defensive responses to invasion 
or attack.

In concert with the aggressive pre-emptive 2002 
Bush Doctrine, Bush's new Conplan 8022 is 
offensive. It could be triggered by the mere 
'perception' of an imminent threat, and carried 
out by Presidential order, without Congress.

Given the details about false or faked 
'perceptions' in the Pentagon and the Office of 
the Vice President about Iraq's threat of weapons 
of mass destruction in 2003, the new Conplan 8022 
suggests a US President might order the missiles 
against any and every perceived threat or even 
potential, unproven threat.

In response to Rumsfeld's June 2004 order, 
General Richard Myers, then Chairman of the Joint 
Chiefs of Staff, signed the order to make Conplan 
8022 operational. Selected nuclear-capable 
bombers, ICBMs, SSBNs, and 'information warfare' 
(sic) units have been deployed against unnamed 
high-value targets in 'adversary' countries.

Was Iran an adversary country, even though it had 
never attacked the United States? Was North 
Korea, even though it had never in five decades 
launched a direct attack on South Korea, let 
alone any one else? Is China an 'adversary' 
because it's simply becoming economically too 

Is Russia now an adversary because she refuses to 
lay back and accept being made what Brzezinski 
terms a 'vassal' state of the American Empire?

Because there has been zero open debate inside 
the United States about Conplan 8022, there has 
been virtually no discussion of any of these 
potentially nuclear-loaded questions.

What makes the June 2004 Rumsfeld order even more 
unsettling to a world which truly had hoped 
nuclear mushroom clouds had become a threat of 
the past, is that Conplan 8022 contains a 
significant nuclear attack component.

It's true that the overall number of nuclear 
weapons in the US military stockpile has been 
declining since the end of the Cold War. But not, 
it seems, because the US is moving the world back 
from the brink of nuclear war by miscalculation.

The new missile defense expansion to Poland and 
Czech Republic is better understood from the 
point of the remarkable expansion of NATO since 
1991. As Putin noted, 'NATO has put its frontline 
forces on our bordersŠ think it is obvious that 
NATO expansion does not have any relation with 
the modernisation of the Alliance itself or with 
ensuring security in Europe. On the contrary, it 
represents a serious provocation that reduces the 
level of mutual trust. And we have the right to 
ask: against whom is this expansion intended? And 
what happened to the assurances our western 
partners made after the dissolution of the Warsaw 

US bases encircle Russia

As Russian strategist and military expert, 
Yevgeny Primakov, a close adviser to Putin, 
recently noted, NATO was 'founded during the Cold 
War era as a regional organization to ensure the 
security of US allies in Europe.' He adds, 'NATO 
today is acting on the basis of an entirely 
different philosophy and doctrine, moving outside 
the European continent and conducting military 
operations far beyond its bounds. NATOŠis rapidly 
expanding in contravention to earlier accords. 
The admission of new members to NATO is leading 
to the expansion of bases that host the U.S. 
military, air defense systems, as well as ABM 

Today, NATO member states include not only the 
Cold War core in Western Europe, commanded by an 
American. NATO also includes former Warsaw Pact 
or Soviet Union states Poland, Latvia, Czech 
Republic, Estonia, Lithuania, Romania, Bulgaria, 
Hungary, Slovakia and Slovenia, formerly of 
Yugoslavia. Candidates to join include the 
Republic of Georgia, Croatia, Albania and 
Macedonia. Ukraine's President, Victor 
Yushchenko, has tried aggressively to bring 
Ukraine into NATO. This is a clear message to 
Moscow, not surprisingly, one they don't seem to 
welcome with open arms.

New NATO structures have also been formed while 
old ones were abolished: The NATO Response Force 
(NRF) was launched at the 2002 Prague Summit. In 
2003, just after the fall of Baghdad, a major 
restructuring of the NATO military commands 
began. The Headquarters of the Supreme Allied 
Commander, Atlantic was abolished. A new command, 
Allied Command Transformation (ACT), was 
established in Norfolk, Virginia. ACT is 
responsible for driving 'transformation' in NATO.

By 2007 Washington had signed an agreement with 
Japan to co-operate on missile defense 
development. She was deeply engaged in testing a 
missile defense system with Israel. She has now 
extended her European Missile Defense to Poland, 
where the Minister of Defense is a close friend 
and ally of Pentagon neo-conservative war-hawks, 
and to the Czech Republic. NATO has agreed to put 
the question of the Ukraine and Republic of 
Georgia's bids for NATO membership on a fast 
track. The Middle East, despite the debacle in 
Iraq, is being militarized with a permanent 
network of US bases from Qatar to Iraq and beyond.

On February 15, the US House of Representatives 
Foreign Affairs Committee approved a draft, the 
Orwellian-named NATO Freedom Consolidation Act of 
2007 reaffirming US backing for the further 
enlargement of NATO, including support for 
Ukraine to join along with Georgia.

From the Russian point of view, NATO's eastward 
expansion since the end of the cold war has been 
in clear breach of an agreement between 
then-Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and US 
President George H.W. Bush which allowed for a 
peaceful unification of Germany. NATO's expansion 
policy is seen as a continuation of a Cold War 
attempt to surround and isolate Russia.

Nnew bases to guard 'democracy'?

An almost unnoticed consequence of Washington's 
policy since the bombing of Serbia in 1999, has 
been establishment of an extraordinary network of 
new US military bases, bases in parts of the 
world where it seems little justified as a US 
defensive precaution, given the threat, huge 
taxpayer expense, let alone other global military 

In June 1999, following the bombing of 
Yugoslavia, US forces began construction of Camp 
Bondsteel, at the border between Kosovo and 
Macedonia. It was the lynchpin in what was to be 
a new global network of US bases.

Bondsteel put US air power within easy striking 
distance of the oil-rich Middle East and Caspian 
Sea, as well as Russia. Camp Bondsteel was at the 
time the largest US military base built since the 
Vietnam War, with nearly 7,000 troops. The base 
had been built by the largest US military 
construction company, Halliburton's KBR. 
Halliburton's CEO at the time was Dick Cheney.

Before the start of the NATO bombing of 
Yugoslavia in 1999, the Washington Post 
matter-of-factly noted, 'With the Middle-East 
increasingly fragile, we will need bases and 
fly-over rights in the Balkans to protect Caspian 
Sea oil.'

Camp Bondsteel was but the first of a vast chain 
of US bases that have been built during this 
decade. The US military went on to build military 
bases in Hungary, Bosnia, Albania and Macedonia, 
in addition to Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo, then 
still legally part of Yugoslavia.

One of the most important and least mentioned new 
US bases was in Bulgaria, a former Soviet 
satellite and now new NATO member. In a 
conflict---and in Pentagon-speak there are only 
'conflicts,' no longer wars, which involved 
issues of asking the US Congress to declare them 
officially, and provide just reason---the 
military would use Bezmer to 'surge' men and 
materiel toward the front lines. Where? In Russia?

The US has been building its bases in 
Afghanistan. It built three major US bases in the 
wake of its occupation of Afghanistan in winter 
of 2001, at Bagram Air Field north of Kabul, the 
US' main military logistics center; Kandahar Air 
Field, in southern Afghanistan and Shindand Air 
Field in the western province of Herat. Shindand, 
the largest US base in Afghanistan, was built 
some 100 kilometers from the border with Iran.

Afghanistan had historically been the heart of 
the British-Russia Great Game, the struggle for 
control of Central Asia during the 19th and early 
20th Centuries. British strategy was to prevent 
Russia at all costs from controlling Afghanistan 
and thereby gaining a warm water port for its 
navy and threatening Britain's imperial crown 
jewel, India.

Afghanistan is also seen by Pentagon planners as 
highly strategic. It is a platform from which US 
military might could directly threaten Russia and 
China as well as Iran and other oil-rich Middle 
East lands. Little had changed in that respect 
over more than a century of wars.

Afghanistan is in an extremely vital location, 
straddling South Asia, Central Asia, and the 
Middle East. Afghanistan also lies along a 
proposed oil pipeline route from the Caspian Sea 
oil fields to the Indian Ocean, where the US oil 
company, Unocal, had been in negotiations, 
together with Cheney's Halliburton and with 
Enron, for exclusive pipeline rights to bring 
natural gas from Turkmenistan across Afghanistan 
and Pakistan to Enron's huge natural gas power 
plant at Dabhol near Mumbai.

At that same time, the Pentagon came to an 
agreement with the government of Kyrgystan in 
Central Asia, to build a strategically important 
base there, Manas Air Base at Bishkek's 
international airport. Manas is not only near to 
Afghanistan; it is also in easy striking distance 
to Caspian Sea oil and gas, as well as to the 
borders of both China and Russia.

As part of the price of accepting him as a US 
ally in the War on Terror rather than  a foe, 
Washington extracted an agreement from Pakistan's 
military dictator, General Pervez Musharraf, to 
allow the airport at Jacobabad, about 400km north 
of Karachi, to be used by the US Air Force and 
NATO 'to support their campaign in Afghanistan.' 
Two other US bases were built at Dalbandin and 

This all is merely a small part of the vast web 
of US-controlled military bases Washington has 
been building globally since the so-called end of 
the Cold War.

It's becoming clear to much of the rest of the 
world that Washington might even itself be 
instigating or provoking wars or conflicts with 
nations across the world, not merely to control 
oil, though strategic control of global oil flows 
had been at the heart of the American Century 
since the 1920's. That's the real significance of 
what Vladimir Putin said in Munich. He told the 
world what it did not want to hear: The American 
'Emperor's New Clothes did not exist. The Emperor 
was clothed in naked pursuit of global military 

During the early 1990s, at the end of the Cold 
War, the Yeltsin government had asked Washington 
for a series of mutual reductions in the size of 
each superpower's nuclear missile and weapons 
arsenal. Russian nuclear stockpiles were ageing 
and Moscow saw little further need to remain 
armed to its nuclear teeth once the Cold War had 

Washington clearly saw in this a golden 
opportunity to go for nuclear primacy, for the 
first time since the 1950's, when Russia first 
developed Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile 
delivery capability for its growing nuclear 
weapons arsenal.

Nuclear primacy is an aggressive offensive 
policy. It means that one superpower, USA, would 
have the possibility to launch a full nuclear 
First Strike at Russia's nuclear sites and 
destroy enough targets in the first blow, that 
Russia would be crippled from making any 
effective retaliation.

With no credible threat of retaliation, Russia 
had no credible nuclear deterrent. It was at the 
mercy of the supreme power. Never before in 
history had the prospect of such ultimate power 
in the hands of one single nation seemed so near 
at hand.

This stealthy move by the Pentagon for Nuclear 
Primacy has, up until now, been carried out in 
utmost secrecy, disguised amid rhetoric of a 
USA-Russia 'Partnership for Peace.'

Rather than take advantage of the opportunity to 
climb down from the brink of nuclear annihilation 
following the end of the Cold War, Washington has 
turned instead to upgrading its nuclear arsenal, 
at the same time it was reducing its numbers.

While the rest of the world was still in shock 
over the events of September 11, 2001, the Bush 
Administration unilaterally moved to rip up its 
earlier treaty obligations with Russia to not 
build an anti-missile defense.

On December 13, 2001, President Bush announced 
that the United States Government was 
unilaterally abandoning the Anti-Ballistic 
Missile Treaty with Russia, and committing $8 
billion for the 2002 Budget to build a National 
Missile Defense system. It was pushed through 
Congress, promoted as a move to protect US 
territory from rogue terror attacks, from states 
including North Korea or Iraq.

The rogue argument was a fraud, a plausible cover 
story designed to sneak the policy reversal 
through without debate, in the wake of the 
September 11 shock.

The repeal of the ABM Treaty was little 
understood outside qualified military circles. In 
fact, it represented the most dangerous step by 
the United States towards nuclear war since the 
1950's. Washington is going at a fast pace to the 
goal of total nuclear superiority globally, 
Nuclear Primacy.

Washington has dismantled its highly lethal MX 
missiles by 2005. But that's misleading. At the 
same time, it significantly improved its 
remaining ICBM's by installing the MX's 
high-yield nuclear warheads and advanced re-entry 
vehicles on its Minuteman ICBMs. The guidance 
system of the Minuteman has been upgraded to 
match that of the dismantled MX.

The Pentagon began replacing ageing ballistic 
missiles on its submarines with far more accurate 
Trident II D-5 missiles with new larger-yield 
nuclear warheads.

The Navy shifted more of its nuclear ballistic 
missile-launching SSBN submarines to the Pacific 
to patrol the blind spot of Russia's early 
warning radar net as well as patrolling near 
China's coast. The US Air Force completed 
refitting its B-52 bombers with nuclear-armed 
cruise missiles believed invisible to Russian air 
defense radar. New enhanced avionics on its B-2 
stealth bombers gave them the ability to fly at 
extremely low altitudes avoiding radar detection 
as well.

A vast number of stockpiled weapons is not 
necessary to the new global power projection. 
Little-publicized new technology has enabled the 
US to deploy a 'leaner and meaner' nuclear strike 
force. A case in point is the Navy's successful 
program to upgrade the fuse on the W-76 nuclear 
warheads sitting atop most US submarine-launched 
missiles, which makes them able to hit very hard 
targets such as ICBM silos.

No one has ever presented credible evidence that 
Al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah or any other 
organization on the US State Department's 
Terrorist Organization Black List possessed 
nuclear missiles in hardened underground silos. 
Aside from the US and perhaps Israel, only Russia 
and to a far smaller degree, China, have these in 
any number.

In 1991 at the presumed end of the Cold War, in a 
gesture to lower the danger of strategic nuclear 
miscalculation, the US Air Force was ordered to 
remove its fleet of nuclear bombers from Ready 
Alert status. After 2004 that too changed.

Conplan 8022 again put US Air Force long-range 
B-52 and other bombers on 'Alert' status. The 
Commander of the 8th Air Force stated at the 
time, that his nuclear bombers were 'essentially 
on alert to plan and execute Global Strikes' on 
behalf of the US Strategic Command or STRATCOM, 
based in Omaha, Nebraska.

Conplan 8022 included not only long-range nuclear 
and conventional weapons launched from the US, 
but also nuclear and other bombs deployed in 
Europe, Japan and other sites. It gave the US 
what the Pentagon termed Global Strike, the 
ability to hit any point on the earth or sky with 
devastating force, nuclear as well as 
conventional. Since the Rumsfeld June 2004 
readiness order, the US Strategic Command has 
boasted it was ready to execute an attack 
anywhere on earth 'in half a day or less,' from 
the moment the President gave the order.

In the January 24, 2006 London Financial Times, 
the US Ambassador to NATO, Victoria Nuland, 
former adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney and 
wife of a leading Washington neo-conservative 
warhawk, declared that the US wanted a 'globally 
deployable military force' that would operate 
everywhere - from Africa to the Middle East and 

It would include Japan and Australia as well as 
the NATO nations. Nuland added, 'It's a totally 
different animal (sic) whose ultimate role will 
be subject to US desires and adventures.' Subject 
to US desires and adventures? Those were hardly 
calming words given the record of Nuland's former 
boss in faking intelligence to justify wars in 
Iraq and elsewhere.

Now, with the deployment of even a crude missile 
defense, under Conplan 8022, the US would have 
what Pentagon planners called 'escalation 
dominance'-the ability to win a war at any level 
of violence, including nuclear war.

As some more sober minds argued, were Russia and 
China to respond to these US moves with even 
minimal self-protection measures, the risks of a 
global nuclear conflagration by miscalculation 
would climb to levels far beyond any seen even 
during the Cuba Missile Crisis or the danger days 
of the Cold War.

Mackinder's Nightmare

In a few brief years Washington has managed to 
create the nightmare of Britain's father of 
geopolitics, Sir Halford Mackinder, the horror 
scenario feared by Zbigniew Brzezinski, Henry 
Kissinger and other Cold War veterans of US 
foreign policy who have studied and understood 
the power calculus of Mackinder.

The vast resources-rich and population-rich 
Eurasian Heartland and landmass is building 
economic and military ties with one another for 
the first time in history, ties whose driving 
force is the increasingly aggressive Washington 
role in the world.

The driver of the emerging Eurasian geopolitical 
cooperation is obvious. China, with the world's 
largest population and an economy expanding at 
double digits, urgently needs secure alliance 
partners who could secure her energy security. 
Russia, an energy goliath, needs secure trade 
outlets independent of Washington control to 
develop and rebuild its tattered economy. These 
complimentary needs form the seed crystal of what 
Washington and US strategists define as a new 
Cold War, this one over energy, over oil and 
natural gas above all. Military might is the 
currency this time as in the earlier Cold War.

By 2006 Moscow and Beijing had clearly decided to 
upgrade their cooperation with their Eurasian 
neighbors. They both agreed to turn to a moribund 
loose organization that they had co-founded in 
2001, in the wake of the 1998 Asia crisis, the 
Shanghai Cooperation Organization or SCO. The SCO 
had highly significant members, geopolitically 
seen. SCO included oil-rich Kazakhstan, 
Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan as well as 
China and Russia. By 2006 Beijing and Moscow 
began to view the SCO as a nascent counterweight 
to increasingly arbitrary American power 
politics. The organization was discussing 
projects of energy cooperation and even military 
mutual defense.

The pressures of an increasingly desperate US 
foreign policy are forcing an unlikely 'coalition 
of the unwilling' across Eurasia. The potentials 
of such Eurasian cooperation between China, 
Kazakhstan, Iran are real enough and obvious. The 
missing link, however, is the military security 
that could make it invulnerable or nearly, to the 
sabre-rattling from Washington and NATO. Only one 
power on the face of the earth has the nuclear 
and military base and know-how able to provide 
that-Vladimir Putin's Russia.

The Russian Bear sharpens its nuclear teethŠ

With NATO troops creeping up to Russia's borders 
on all sides, US nuclear B-52s and SSBN 
submarines being deployed to strategic sites on 
Russia's perimeter, Washington extending its new 
missile shield from Greenland to the UK, to 
Australia, Japan and now even Poland and the 
Czech Republic, it should be no surprise that the 
Russian Government is responding.

While Washington planners may have assumed that 
because the once-mighty Red Army was a shell of 
its former glory, that the state of Russian 
military preparedness since the end of the Cold 
War was laughable.

But Russia never let go of its one trump card-its strategic nuclear force.

During the entire economic chaos of the Yeltsin 
years, Russia never stopped producing 
state-of-the art military technology.

In May 2003, some months after George Bush 
unilaterally ripped up the bilateral Anti-Missile 
Defense Treaty with Moscow, invaded Afghanistan 
and bombed Baghdad into subjugation, Russia's 
President delivered a new message in his annual 
State of the Union Address to the Russian nation.

Putin spoke for the first time publicly of the 
need to modernize Russia's nuclear deterrent by 
creating new types of weapons, 'which will ensure 
the defense capability of Russia and its allies 
in the long term.'

In response to the abrogation by the Bush 
Administration of the ABM Treaty, and with it 
Start II, Russia predictably stopped withdrawing 
and destroying its SS-18 MIRVed missiles. Start 
II had called for full phase out of multiple 
warhead or MIRVed missiles, by both sides by 2007.

At that point Russia began to reconfigure its 
SS-18 MIRV missiles to extend their service life 
to 2016. Fully loaded SS-18 missiles had a range 
of 11,000 kilometers. In addition, it redeployed 
mobile rail-based SS-24 M1 nuclear missiles.

In its 2003 Budget, the Russian government made 
funding of its SS-27 or Topol-M single-warhead 
missiles a 'priority.' And the Defense Ministry 
resumed test launches of both SS-27 and Topol-M.

In December 2006, Putin told Russian journalists 
that deployment of the new Russian mobile Topol-M 
intercontinental ballistic missile system was 
crucial for Russia's national security. Without 
naming the obvious US threat, he declared, 
'Maintaining a strategic balance will mean that 
our strategic deterrent forces should be able to 
guarantee the neutralization of any potential 
aggressor, no matter what modern weapons systems 
he possesses.'

It was unmistakable whom he had in mind, and it 
wasn't the Al Qaeda cave-dwellers of Tora Bora.

Russian Defense Minister, Sergei Ivanov, 
announced at the same time that the military 
would deploy another 69 silo-based and mobile 
Topol-M missile systems over the following 
decade. Just after his Munich speech Putin 
announced he had named his old KGB/FSB friend, 
Ivanov to be his First Deputy Prime Minister 
overseeing the entire military industry.

The Russian Defense Ministry reported that as of 
January 2006, Russia possessed 927 nuclear 
delivery vehicles and 4,279 nuclear warheads 
against 1,255 and 5,966 respectively for the 
United States. Nop two other powers on the face 
of the earth even came close to these massive 
overkill capacities. This was the ultimate reason 
all US foreign policy, military and economic, 
since the end of the Cold War had covertly had as 
endgame the complete deconstruction of Russia as 
a functioning state.

In April 2006, the Russian military tested the 
K65M-R missile, a new missile designed to 
penetrate US missile defense systems. It was part 
of testing and deploying a uniform warhead for 
both land and sea-based ballistic missiles. The 
new missile was hypersonic and capable of 
changing flight path.

Four months earlier, Russia successfully tested 
its Bulava ICBM, a naval version of the Topol-M. 
It was launched from one of its Typhoon-class 
ballistic missile submarines in the White Sea, 
travelling a thousand miles before hitting a 
dummy target successfully on the Kamchatka 
Peninsula. The Bulava missiles were to be 
installed on Russian Borey-class nuclear 
submarines beginning 2008.

During a personal inspection of the first 
regiment of Russian mobile Topol-M 
intercontinental ballistic missiles in December 
2006, Putin told reporters the deployment of 
mobile Topol-M ICBMs were crucial for Russia's 
national security, stating, 'This is a 
significant step forward in improving our defense 

'Maintaining a strategic balance,' he continued, 
'will mean that our strategic deterrent forces 
should be able to guarantee the neutralization of 
any potential aggressor, no matter what modern 
weapons systems he possesses.'

Putin clearly did not have France in mind when he 
referred to the unnamed 'he.' President Putin had 
personally given French President Chirac a tour 
of one of Russia's missile facilities that 
January, where Putin explained the latest Russian 
missile advances. 'He knows what I am talking 
about,' Putin told reporters afterwards, 
referring to Chirac's grasp of the weapon's 

Putin also did not have North Korea, China, 
Pakistan or India in mind, nor Great Britain with 
its ageing nuclear capacity, not even Israel. The 
only power surrounding Russia with weapons of 
mass destruction was its old Cold War foe--the 
United States.

The Commander of Russia's Strategic Rocket 
Forces, General Nikolai Solovtsov, was more 
explicit. Commenting on the successful test of 
the K65M-R at Russia's Kapustin Yar missile test 
site last April, he declared that US plans for a 
missile defense system, 'could upset strategic 
stability. The planned scale of the United 
States' deployment of aŠmissile defense system is 
so considerable that the fear that it could have 
a negative effect on the parameters of Russia's 
nuclear deterrence potential is quite justified.' 
Put simply, he referred to the now open US quest 
for Full Spectrum Dominance-Nuclear Primacy.

A new Armageddon is in the making. The unilateral 
military agenda of Washington has predictably 
provoked a major effort by Russia to defend 
herself. The prospects of a global nuclear 
conflagration, by miscalculation, increase by the 
day. At what point might an American President, 
God forbid, decide to order a pre-emptive 
full-scale nuclear attack on Russia to prevent 
Russia from rebuilding a state of mutual 

The new Armageddon is not exactly the Armageddon 
which George Bush's Christian fanatics pray for 
as they dream of their Rapture. It is an 
Armageddon in which Russia and the United States 
would irradiate the planet and, perhaps, end 
human civilization in the process.

Ironically, oil, in the context of Washington's 
bungled Iraq war and soaring world oil prices 
after 2003, has enabled Russia to begin the 
arduous job of rebuilding its collapsed economy 
and its military capacities. Putin's Russia is no 
longer a begger-thy-neighbor former Superpower. 
It's using its oil weapon and rebuilding its 
nuclear ones.

Bush's America is a hollowed-out debt-ridden 
economy engaged on using its last card, its vast 
military power to prop up the dollar and its role 
as world sole Superpower.

Putin has obviously realized that his new-found 
'partner-in-prayer', George W., has a large black 
spot hiding the secrets of his heart. It reminded 
of a popular country and western ballad from the 
late Tammy Wynette, 'Cowboys don't shoot straight 
like they used to. They look you in the eye and 
lie with their white hats on.' That's certainly 
the case with the famous cowboy of Crawford, 
Texas in his dealings with Vladimir Putin and the 
rest of the world.


* F. William Engdahl  is author of A Century of 
War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New 
World Order, and the soon-to-be published Seeds 
of Destruction: the dark side of gene 
manipulation. This article was drawn from his new 
book, in preparation, on the history of the 
American Century. He may be reached through his 
website: www.engdahl.oilgeopolitics.net.

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