Russia, the bear, seems to be roaring as the B.B.C. reported that the biggest war games since the grim days of the Cold War are about to be underway in eastern Siberia.
In a massive flexing of muscle, “300,000 service personnel” are involved and China is sending 3,200 troops to join in “Vostok-2018” with “armoured vehicles and aircraft.” Furthermore, Mongolia is sending in “some units,” so this isn’t a small matter by any stretching of the imagination.
Vosok-2018 is even larger than in 1981, when the last such activity was reported. Considering the fact that NATO has nuclear weapons on Russia’s doorstep and that there exist many tensions in the region, this could be a sign of readiness that sends a clear message, some pundits have suggested.
It has been established that “Russian President Vladimir Putin met his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping at a forum in the eastern city of Vladivostok” and said to him, “we have a trusting relationship in the sphere of politics, security, and defense.”
Putin, a former K.G.B. agent under the brutal communist Soviet Union, just said that they have a trusting relationship in “politics” with China (also, of course, communist). That is far different than just security and it could be a very interesting statement to analyze.
Ever since Ukraine voted to join Russia, tensions with NATO have been going nerve-rattling. Russian general staff, Gen Valery Gerasimov, may have made things even more worrisome as he announced that “Tuesday and Wednesday will see planning and preparation while actual operations will start on Thursday and last five days.”
The name of the war games in Russian means “east,” which also may be quite telling to some experts. It will consist of “36,000 tanks, armoured personnel carriers, and armoured infantry vehicles will take part in Vostok-2018, from 11 to 17 September, along with more than 1,000 aircraft.”
Putin has also made the development of nuclear weapons a priority of his leadership, which history has shown can be quite deadly and problematic. President Ronald Reagan was able to get the number of such W.M.D. diminished when he was in office, but those days seem far removed from 2018.
Frants Klintsevich, a Russian senator and reserve colonel said, “it suited the West that our units and headquarters lacked combat skills and coordination, but times have changed; now we have a different attitude to combat readiness,” as if to underscore that fact.
China is said to be involved since both sides may need to react to “various security threats” with Russia, though they did not say what those threats could be. The two sides appear to be growing closer and closer in order to stand against much of the West (mainly the United States), many experts have opined.
NATO spokesman Dylan White said that the exercises shall be monitored but that they are legal. “All nations have the right to exercise their armed forces, but it is essential that this is done in a transparent and predictable manner,” he stated.
White added, “Vostok demonstrates Russia’s focus on exercising large-scale conflict. It fits into a pattern we have seen over some time: a more assertive Russia, significantly increasing its defense budget and its military presence.”
Many hope that it doesn’t result in things escalating to a point of an all-out war, because if it does, there won’t be much left afterward. Einstein said that after that, instead of using tanks, nations shall use rocks.