The Obama administration considers Russia the biggest threat to international security and it intends to increase US military potential to protect the US and its allies. Unprecedented statement of the Pentagon chief Ashton Carter to the US military in California continued a series of attacks on Moscow, made during his tour in Asia. Although Ashton Carter criticized China as well, his remarks about Russia were much tougher, which confirmed the inability of early normalization of bilateral relations. However, Kommersant's sources in the Government believe that this refers not to a new White House policy, but its attempts to avoid accusations of being too soft after the incipient Syrian rapprochement between US and Russia.
The Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter announced US's military plans to counter Russia, in his speech at a conference in the Ronald Reagan Memorial Library in Simi Valley, California. As if Carter is trying to keep up with Reagan, who called the Soviet Union an "Evil Empire," placing the burden on Moscow's current policy for the international security crisis. "Russia has been violating sovereignty in Ukraine and Georgia and actively trying to intimidate the Baltic states. Meanwhile, in Syria, Russia is throwing gasoline on an already dangerous fire, prolonging a civil war that fuels the very extremism Russia claims to oppose," the US official enumerated his accusations against Moscow.
Carter's speech is mostly resembling Ronald Reagan stylistics, claiming that Russia is attempting to disrupt the strategic world balance with its weapons of mass destruction. "Most disturbing, Moscow's nuclear saber-rattling raises questions about Russian leaders' commitment to strategic stability, their respect for norms against the use of nuclear weapons, and whether they respect the profound caution nuclear-age leaders showed with regard to the brandishing of nuclear weapons," said Carter.
According to the Secretary of Defense, the United States "is not seeking neither cold, nor hot war with Russia,” and by no means “is not seeking to make Russia an enemy." "But make no mistake; the United States will defend our interests, our allies, the principled international order, and the positive future it affords us all," the head of the US Defense assured. In this regard, he made it clear that the Pentagon has got a set of measures to deter Russia — starting from modernizing of US's nuclear arsenal, development of bombers and submarines, long-range missiles, and innovative technologies like the electromagnetic railgun, lasers and new systems of electronic warfare, as well as an increase of military aid to Ukraine.
Carter claims that currently the US is adapting plans “to contain Russia's aggression” to help reduce the vulnerability of America's allies and partners. Although in his speech he also blamed China for destabilizing the world, his criticism of Russia was far more extensive and sharp. Moreover, speaking of China during his recent tour in Asia, the Secretary of Defense gave notice of the intention to include Beijing into a collective system of Asian security and promised to discuss this topic during his upcoming visit to China.
Ashton Carter's speech in California was not the only invective against Russia. Earlier, during his visit to the US Air Force base at Pearl Harbor, the head of the Pentagon made a number of declarations. The uppermost subject of his talks was containment of Russia.
Accusing Moscow of using "hybrid warfare" with "little green men" in Ukraine, he said that the US's response should be the reformation of its military potential located on the European continent. "We are doing some military corrections in Europe, understanding that Russia has chosen an unexpected path," the US official noted. He also added: "This is what Europe requires. This is what NATO requires. And we intend to do it."
Although Ashton Carter assured that there would be no return to the Cold War scenario, recent statements of the US administration representative were the most uncompromising since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the military confrontation. These statements confirmed the absence of conditions for an early normalization of our bilateral relations.
However, sources of Kommersant in the Russian state took Ashton Carter's statements in their stride, drawing attention to the fact that such aggravation occurs every time after the two countries manage to narrow the gap on certain issues, for instance on Syria. "The stern statements of the Pentagon or the State Department usually follow our positive interactions. In such a way the Obama administration is trying to balance its Russia policy in order to avoid possible accusations of being too soft with Moscow," the expert commented.