Future historians may well identify Russian President Vladimir Putin’s landmark March 1 speech as the ultimate game-changer in the 21st-century New Great Game in Eurasia. The reason is minutely detailed in Losing Military Supremacy: The Myopia of American Strategic Planning, a new book by Russian military/naval analyst Andrei Martyanov.
Martyanov is uniquely equipped for the task. Born in Baku in the early 1960s, he was a naval officer in the USSR era up to 1990. He moved to the US in the mid-1990s and is now a lab director in an aerospace firm. He belongs to an extremely rarified group: top military/naval analysts specializing in US-Russia.
From quoting Alexis de Tocqueville and Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace to revisiting the balance of power during the Soviet era and beyond, Martyanov carefully tracks how the only nation on the planet “which can militarily defeat the United States conventionally” has reacted to a situation where any “meaningful dialogue between Russia and America’s politicians is virtually impossible.”
What is ultimately revealed is not only a case of disregarding basic Sun Tzu – “if you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles” – but most of all undiluted hubris, turbocharged, among a series of illusionistic positive feedback loops, by Desert Storm’s “turkey shoot” of Saddam Hussein’s heavily inflated, woefully trained army.
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