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Rogozin’s “nuclear surprise” – What matters?

October 9, 2014

Here is a good article by The Jamestown Foundation relating to the modernisation of the Russian Federation’s nuclear military capacities – and for anybody who follows Dmitry Rogozin closely, the usual slightly ambitious rhetoric.

Whilst Mr Rogozin makes the claim that instead of the previously announced 70% modernisation of Russian nuclear military capabilities by 2020, it will now be 100%.

Unfortunately this issue of timing seems to have taken centre stage, rather than the technological advances and in some cases 100% self-reliance regarding equipment and technology production.

Considering the size of the Russian Federation nuclear arsenal, a complete modernisation of 70% by 2020 as previously declared should have been noteworthy enough.  That many decry Mr Rogozin’s statement of 100% modernisation in that time frame as fanciful, stating 90% by 2025 is more realistic is perhaps somehow meant to lessen the importance of a major nuclear military modernisation programme?  This additional 5 years, to be 20% further on than the original target, would somehow be a poor result for the Russian nuclear forces, regardless of Mr Rogozin’s rhetoric?

Now it may be, and it is to be hoped, that such modernisation alone would not drastically change western and neighbouring nations strategies or policies.  The revamp of the Russian military doctrine may very well do so however, if as expected, Russia lowers its own bar for nuclear weapon use.

Some neighbours may have more reason than others to consider changing their policy after all, and regardless of the academic arguements for and against.

If truth be told, the policy world works at a very different speed to that of academia.  Policy is expected by most, not unreasonably, to not only look ahead and shape the future, but also to respond to the public, the media and actual incidents almost immediately in an instant news world.

Academia, naturally, does not work at the same speed and will produce the academic answer to the questions posed of it – which raises the issue of translating policy needs into the right academic question, to receive the right academic answer in the first place.  Thus the hacking and/or manipulation of data that is made to fit the policy – and not policy fit the data.

Anyway, of all the interesting things within the Jamestown Foundation article, the least interesting of all is the time issue between 70% and 100% modernisation being scoffed at – After all, if the first modernised 70% were ever to get launched in a moment of madness, the remaining 30% will be a non-issue entirely.  The questions relating to the timeliness of that 30% Mr Rogozin claims will also be modernised by 2020 becomes purely academic.

What really matters in all of this, is that Dmitry Rogozin (together with others such as Sergei Glazyev and Sergei Shoygo) clearly currently hold the ascendancy at The Kremlin court.

Tomorrow, back to Ukrainian domestic issues.

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