Is Russia making preparations for a great war? | OSW

Andrzej Wilk asks “Is Russia preparing for a large-scale war?”

In total, these armed exercises involve over 200,000 soldiers and several thousand combat vehicles, hundreds of planes and helicopters, and about a hundred ships…… military spending has become the undisputed priority of Russia’s financial policy. For 2015, this will reach the value of 4.0% of GDP (compared to 3.5% of GDP in 2014), a rise of more than 10% in real terms (to a level of at least US$84 billion). The increase in the Russian army’s activity and military spending is being accompanied by an information campaign which is increasingly intense, and is being channelled to meet public expectations, according to which Russia must defend itself against the aggression of the West.

….At present, it is increasingly relevant to question whether the spiral of militarisation which the Kremlin has set in motion has already reached the point of no return. The only way out in such a situation would be, in the best case, to achieve a spectacular success along the lines of Russia reducing the whole of Ukraine to a vassal state… and in the worst case, for Moscow to start a war on a far bigger scale than its actions in Georgia in 2008, or currently in Ukraine.

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“This is No Way to Run a Government!” – Gates | The Fiscal Times


Nothing has stumped Gates [former Secretary of Defense and CIA director Bob Gates — who served eight of the last nine presidents], who oversaw the $700 billion military budget until last year, quite like the country’s current Congressional gridlock and the government’s ineffective efforts to stop runaway deficit spending.

“We’ve lost the ability to execute even the most basic functions of government,” he said.

via “This is No Way to Run a Government!” – Gates | The Fiscal Times.

Federal Spending Cutbacks Slow Recovery –

BEN CASSELMAN and CONOR DOUGHERTY: Recent economic data show that long before the fiscal cliff hits, federal spending already is falling — and taking a toll on the recovery…….State and local governments are projected to receive $20.8 billion in federal stimulus funds in the 2012 fiscal year, ending in September, down from a combined $180.7 billion in fiscal 2010 and 2011, according to the Government Accountability Office……At the same time, military spending has fallen for three straight quarters as wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have wound down and as the Pentagon prepares for further budget cuts.

via Federal Spending Cutbacks Slow Recovery –