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"John Massey has a B.A. in political science and history from the University of Alabama. His primary interest is in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, but he also finds time to study French and political theory. "

Millennial Intelligencer: Russia’s “Leaked” Doomsday Torpedo Might Be A Total Regime PR Move

Russian state TV has “accidentally” leaked several images of a potential nuclear torpedo, complete with large easy to see images and text.

Other than the cartoonish size of the schematics, one should also be highly skeptical of the accidental nature of this leak due to other recent attempts to frighten Western media by the regime.

This includes claims by Mr. Putin that Russia will develop qualitative means to defeat the NATO Missile Defense System, despite the system already being easily defeated by the sheer quantity of Russian delivery systems and easily developed countermeasures.

Of more immediate interest is the weapon system itself. Nuclear Torpedoes are not new, as both the United States and the Soviet Union developed torpedoes capable of carrying a 3-11 kiloton weapon at a range of a couple dozen miles or so.

Russian State TV

Leaked images of potential nuclear torpedo. Russian State TV

However, the “Status-6” will be much more powerful than that. With a range of 10,000 Kms (6,200 miles), about the distance from London to Lima, the autonomous unit can deliver its cargo of uranium-238 and cobalt-59 most anywhere, according to state media outlet Russia Gazette.

The system is compared to the Deadhand system in mission, meaning that the intention is likely deterrence and not first strike, if it is even developed. However, the curious claim is made that a number of Cobalt Bomb, meant to maximize radiation output, would be able to exterminate all life on Earth. Russia Gazette estimates that 510 tons of cobalt would be necessary. To date, no “salted” weapons of any kind have been tested, but a cobalt based weapon would be particularly nasty, due to the half-life of Co-60 being 5.26 years.

The information on the specifics of cobalt weapons, and further information on nuclear weapons, was provided by Carey Sublette and can be further accessed at their site, Nuclear Weapons FAQ.

Like this piece? Rise News just launched a few weeks ago and is only getting started. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date with global news. Have a news tip? (No matter how big or small!) Send it to us- editor@risenews.net. 

Cover Photo Credit: Pavel Kazachkov/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Millennial Intelligencer: Why Syria Won’t Be Putin’s Vietnam

It is clear that the Russian military is willing to engage in a more aggressive way in Syria- a region that has long been considered important for the former superpower.

The Russians have fielded about 30 fixed wing aircraft, primarily SU-25 Frogfoots, and SU-24 Fencers, as well as 20 Mi-24s. This is further complimented by cruise missile strikes, and a detachment of Marines to defend Russian facilities. In short, that’s a lot of fire power that the Russians seem more than willing to commit to a protracted conflict in the Middle East.

The Russian Army, like it’s forbearer the Red Army, is often both grossly overestimated and underestimated. One either conceives dastardly “little green men”, or a lumbering brute itching to lob it’s surplus T-62s at Estonia. The truth lies somewhere in the middle.

Taking into account the likelihood of Russians being killed in Syria, be it an Mi-24 knocked out by MANPADS (Man Portable Air Defense System), or the recent tragic deaths of three Russians in an artillery attack, some have suggested that the Kremlin has fumbled into a scenario akin to the American experience in the Vietnam War.

While it is not out of the realm of possibility that Moscow may be forced to further invest into Syria to prop up the floundering Assad Regime in response to the continued civil war and threat from ISIS, Moscow must also be aware of its own very real limitations.

The Russian Army, like it’s forbearer the Red Army, is often both grossly overestimated and underestimated. One either conceives dastardly “little green men”, or a lumbering brute itching to lob it’s surplus T-62s at Estonia. The truth lies somewhere in the middle.

Whilst Soviet/Russian equipment has held a number of qualitative advantages over NATO equipment (including purportedly “invincible” American assets) during the Cold War and to this day, the Russians have consistently been inferior in both training and Command & Control (C&C). The former is due to the Russians utilizing a conscript system. This means that the Russian government drafts young men for a year at a time to serve, and then they are sent on their way.

This includes the three months of training for soldiers, and contributes to questionable quality. Recognizing this for some time, the Kremlin has been attempting to phase out the conscript model, in favor of the “contract” or professional model, in which soldiering is a job.

While contract soldiers are better both logistically and in terms of quality than conscripts, only 200,000 solders out of 774,500 (and 1,000,000 requested, unmet due to draft dodgers) are contract soldiers. This also includes 220,000 officers, leaving 354,500 conscripts. When cutting those professional forces between Ukraine and Syria, Moscow does not have a large margin of error.

Syria acts as Russia’s only port in the Mediterranean Sea, and is thus a vital asset to power projection. However, the Russians must further enhance their contract soldier system to stay competitive for long term operations. Thus, it seems unlikely that Moscow intends to prop up the Assad government as fervently as the United States did South Vietnam.

Russia’s intervention into Syria comes not from a position of strength, but one of weakness, due to diplomatic isolation and a overly long campaign in Ukraine. It seems more likely that Mr. Putin is trying to gain support for rapprochement, in exchange for a show of force against ISIS. If that is the objective, it’s working.

Like this piece? Rise News just launched a few weeks ago and is only getting started. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date with global news. Have a news tip? (No matter how big or small!) Send it to us- editor@risenews.net. 

Cover Photo Credit: Mikhail Kamarov/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Millennial Intelligencer: Robert Mugabe Wins Confucius Peace Prize, But What Does That Mean?

You’d be hard pressed to find many more people on planet Earth less deserving of a “peace” prize that Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe. And yet Mugabe was just named as the winner of the 2015 Confucius Peace Prize.

For those unaware, the People’s Republic of China launched the answer to the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010, in response to the Nobel presentation of a Chinese dissident.

Despite the prize being awarded by a private institution, the validity of its intentions has come under question. It is been suggested as targeting those that benefit China’s geopolitical position rather than peacemakers, for example both Fidel Castro and Vladimir Putin.

The same is true in this case, though when questioned about Mugabe’s poor track record regarding political dissent and economic guidance, the chairman of the committee that awarded Mr. Mugabe with the Prize, Qiao Damo, told The Guardian that “Every country’s economy has its highs and lows. Though its economy is lagging behind, [Zimbabwe is] a very stable country [and] stability is precious in the African continent.”

While the Western reaction is well-known, one would likely also have interest in what Zimbabwean opinion is on the matter.

The largest news outlet in the country, The Herald, is a state-owned enterprise according to the Zimbabwean Stock Exchange, and is commonly regarded as the government’s mouthpiece. But it has been remarkably silent on the matter.

While The Herald lacked any specific coverage of the honor bestowed on Mugabe, it did offer a piece somewhat touching on the subject which suggested that Mugabe is trying to downplay the importance of the award.

This may have something to do with his desire to not stir negative public opinion as another Zimbabwean outlet featured a scathing piece lambasting the award.

While this is purely conjecture, it seems that there is a swath of Zimbabwean society that isn’t fooled by international gamesmanship. And the state has seemed to take notice.

Cover Photo Credit: Al Jazeera English/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Millennial Intelligencer: Why Pakistan Might Actually Nuke Itself

Pakistan and India have been at odds since the hasty partition of British India in 1947. Several wars have cemented this antipathy, and fueled the desire in both countries for arms, including nuclear arms. Tensions have run high for decades.

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) reports that Pakistan has 100-120 warheads, and India has 90-110.

The effects of a nuclear exchange between the two is not forecasted to result in radiation reaching Southeast Asia, the world’s breadbasket, but the immediate effects would leave millions dead in the first 24 hours. An environmental contamination, famine, and a massive refugee crisis would also likely ensue.

India has both a qualitative and quantitative advantage in nearly all fields of comparison of conventional military strength. Except nukes.

This information has renewed relevance in light of an announcement by Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Aizaz Chaudhary that any Indian incursion into Pakistani territory would be met with low-yield (Theater/Tactical) nuclear weapons.

As no recognized distinction exists between low-yield and high-yield weapons, it is entirely likely that the utilization of low-yield weapons would result in a retaliation by India according to The Diplomat.

Read More: Religious Tensions Rise As Indian Elections Come To Fore

One must then ask, why is Mr. Chaudhary rattling the nuclear saber? The answer lies in the conventional balance of power, and Indian military doctrine.

Simply put, if India was to invade Pakistan, then Pakistan has indicated that it would be willing to use “tactical nuclear warheads” on its own territory in order to slow the advance.

India has both a qualitative and quantitative advantage in nearly all fields of comparison of conventional military strength. Expect nukes.

One of the easier, and sexier, metrics for illustrating this disparity is by comparing the Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) of the two countries.

India, due to its historical ties to Russia and the USSR before it, is outfitted with 3,250 MBTs, most of them T-72Ms (“Monkey”models designed for exported by the Soviet Union), and 987 T-90Ss.

Pakistan on the other hand has just shy of 2,500 MBTs which are largely comprised of early and mid Cold War Soviet and American tanks, as well as Chinese models of Soviet Tanks.

The trend continues in defense spending, man power, fixed wing aircraft, artillery, etc.

Thus, one can conclude that Pakistan would likely be defeated in the event of an incursion by India. The only saving grace for Pakistan is its relationship with the United States and China, however India has made plans to counteract this advantage.

“Cold Start” is an Indian Doctrine which would, in theory, negate these advantages. It relies on limited war-fighting in Pakistan itself to destroy Pakistan’s conventional military capabilities, thus making best use of India’s advantages in combined arms but also coming short in provoking Pakistan to use its nuclear arsenal.

A 2008 paper published in International Security, indicated that short gains in territory, no more than 50-80 Kms deep, would probably bring Pakistan to its knees in short order.

This doctrine is failing in one of its objectives as of two days ago, and this official willingness to utilize nuclear weapons on home soil ought to give greater urgency to those interested in maintaining a world order in which an exchange of WMDs is considered unthinkable.

Like this piece? Rise News just launched a few weeks ago and is only getting started. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date with global news. Have a news tip? (No matter how big or small!) Send it to us- editor@risenews.net. 

Photo Credit: US Defense Department/ Public Domain

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