March 1994 (vol. 10, #3) 1601 N Tucson Blvd #9, Tucson AZ 85716 c 1994 Physicians for Civil Defense


Russian Initiative

In November, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced a ``new'' military doctrine that looks very much like the old Brezhnev approach. The key features are:

Launch on warning in the event of threat of nuclear strike, whether merely perceived or actually clear and present;

Missiles targeted on the United States;

Nuclear deterrence by means of crushing, all-out nuclear strikes;

A traditional ``offensivism'' (as opposed to a ``defencist'' strategy), incorporating surprise, advantageous initiation of hostilities, firepower superiority, exploitation of diplomacy, and disinformation; and

The indoctrination of soldiers with sacred Russian patriotism and selfless sacrifice for the Russian Motherland (instead of ``Marxist-Leninist ideology'').

Boris Yeltsin's opinion of the doctrine may be irrelevant. According to a U.S. authority, ``the military has a stranglehold on him now'' (Albert Weeks, ``Russia Unfurls Its New/Old Military Doctrine,'' ROA National Security Report, January, 1994).

The manifesto of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR), led by neo-fascist Vladimir Zhirinovsky, also reflects the strong influence of the security services.

Zhirinovsky himself has made a number of threatening off-the-cuff remarks. For example:

``When I come to power, there will be a dictatorship. I will beat the Americans in space. I will surround the planet with our space stations so that they'll be scared of our space weapons. I don't care if they call me a fascist or a Nazi. There's nothing like fear to make people work better'' (The Shield, High Frontier's monthly newsletter, January, 1994).

Even if Zhirinovsky himself is soundly rejected, the LDPR document points the way to Russia's future policy, according to Joseph de Courcy, editor of Intelligence Digest (17 Rodney Road, Cheltenham, Glos, GL50 1HX, United Kingdom). The manifesto rejects both doctrinaire communism and free markets; supports an all-powerful president; and calls for a ``unified powerful army.'' It advocates close alliances with Germany and China and hegemony in the Middle East. India and Iraq are also identified as strategic allies (Intelligence Digest, 1/14/94).

As to actual actions, Russia has put forward a plan to increase its conventional forces in the Caucasus in contravention of the limits drawn up in the Conventional Forces in Europe agreement (Intell Digest 10/1/93). A CIA official reported to a closed session of Congress that Russia will flight test and deploy three new ICBMs in this decade, according to David Montgomery of Freedom International. Russia is strongly supporting Iran's nuclear program, despite intense opposition from the U.S. (Intell Digest 1/28/94).

U.S. Response

Meanwhile, in Washington, D.C., the new U.S. approach is diametrically opposed to previous policies:

The nuclear ``deterrent'' force is being targeted on the open seas, a gesture to show trust, which could be reversed in a crisis (Ariz Daily Star 12/6/93). Under the START agreements, the U.S. is to dispose of thousands of nuclear warheads; current debate focuses on whether or not to use the bomb material as fuel for power reactors (Insight 1/24/94). Rocky Flats (the ``bomb factory'') is entering an era of decommissioning and environmental cleanup. (The standards are so strict that the creek water has to be one hundred times less radioactive than drinking water--CANDID Comments Nov 1992).

U.S. defensive technology, such as it is, will be turned over to former Soviet republics. The idea arose in the 1993 Vancouver meetings between Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin and was passed into law (the ``Friendship Act'') by voice vote with very few representatives present, using procedures reserved for noncontroversial bills. Rep. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) objected, remarking that Russia is not in compliance either with START or the Convention on Biological Weapons (David Montgomery). Development of ballistic missile defense remains ``dangerously underfunded or totally ignored'' in the US, according to Rep. Bob Dornan (R-CA) (The Shield 1/94).

Civil defense has been further diminished, if not totally demolished. A FEMA reorganization will abolish the National Preparedness Directorate. Civil defense appears nowhere in the recent DoD graphic on ``Responding to the Proliferation Threat.'' Instead, the DoD will ``issue defense planning guidance to the services to make sure everyone understands what the President wants.'' It will also establish positions for a new Assistant Secretary and a new deputy director; create a new joint office; triple the number of experts assigned to the Nonproliferation Center; and engage the help of Eastern European nations to stop proliferation (former Defense Secy Les Aspin in the ROA National Security Report 1/94).

Conventional forces will probably face further cutbacks, possibly reflecting ``the fact, already accepted at the highest levels, that a Western-imposed world peace is not sustainable'' (Intell Digest 1/28/94). De Courcy refers to the logistical statistics that ``the military have been brandishing in front of the something-must-be-done school of politician since the beginning of the Yugoslav civil war.'' The Gulf War, he states, demonstrated that transporting the needed men and materiel required an astronomical effort, which ``stretched the Western powers to the limit.'' Without the cooperation of civilians and the goodwill of host countries (Germany allowed exclusive use of roads, railways, canals, and ports), the effort would have failed.

A comparison of the strategic doctrines of Russia and the United States reveals a clear-cut fundamental distinction. The Russians place their trust in hardware; the U.S. invests total faith in bureaucrats, charts, and rhetoric.