Four Ways Obama’s Syria Gambit Could End

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Evan Vucci / AP

President Barack Obama gestures during a speech at the Belfast Waterfront on June 17, 2013, in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

The White House last week said the U.S. will start arming certain Syrian opposition groups with light weapons, moving to intervene in that country’s bloody civil war. The question now is how deeply America will become involved in the fighting.

The decision to supply arms is a cautious half-step for President Barack Obama, who previously concentrated on ending the two wars begun by George W. Bush. Obama has only agreed to military entanglements when world opinion clearly leaned in favor of it. When he has done so–in Libya and Central Africa, for example–he’s largely succeeded in keeping the U.S. from being drawn further into the bloodshed.

But Syria is by far the largest war in which Obama has picked sides, and with U.S. stakes already high in the region, intervention carries far more risks than rewards.

(MORE: Is Obama Prolonging the War In Syria?)

The recent history of U.S. intervention in messy civil wars is mixed, and suggests there are four ways Obama’s risky Syria gambit could end.

1. Mission creep to a bad outcome.

When President George H. W. Bush deployed U.S. forces to Somalia in late 1992, it was for similarly humanitarian reasons as the Obama administration now cites for stepping up its involvement in Syria. On taking office less than two months later, Bill Clinton found himself waging a war he had not expected. The escalating U.S. involvement introduced the term “mission creep” to the American vocabulary as the initial humanitarian mission turned into a hunt for the conflict’s worst players.

After American troops were killed and dragged through the streets of Mogadishu on one such expedition, Clinton was suddenly facing a potential quagmire: he could drastically escalate, but with little guarantee of lasting victory, or he could cut and run. He chose the latter.

The memory of Mogadishu is still fresh for many who advocate humanitarian intervention, including Obama, which is why he remains leery of being drawn deeply into the Syrian war. “We don’t at this point believe that the U.S. has a national interest in pursuing a very intense, open-ended military engagement through a no-fly zone in Syria at this juncture,” said Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes in announcing the arming of Syrian rebels.

Obama already faces calls from members of Congress on both sides of the aisle to do more. None envision troops on the ground, but many advocate a no fly zone. “Our goal should be in the short term is to balance the military power and providing small arms won’t do it,” Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, said Sunday on NBC’s Meet the Press. “So we need to create a no-fly zone to neutralize the [Syrian president Bashar] Assad’s air power.”

(MORE: The Syrian War: Israel and U.S. Coordinating How to Target Assad’s Arsenal)

2. Mission creep to an acceptable outcome.

After Mogadishu, Clinton resisted calls to intervene in the wars in the Balkans. He also faced strong resistance from Russia, which viewed the region as its traditional area of influence. Clinton pushed a series of U.N. missions led by a mix of European and Asian troops that failed to deliver peace or protect civilians. Over the following three years, nearly 100,000 people died as the U.N. missions expanded. Ultimately, the Clinton administration led a NATO mission to end the fighting.

The United Nations estimates that 93,000 have perished in Syria in the last two years of fighting. NATO needed 80,000 troops to secure Bosnia, and the Pentagon estimates it would take 80,000 troops to secure Assad’s stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons. Russia has strongly condemned European and U.S. involvement. Former Rep. Jane Harman, a California Democrat who now heads the Woodrow Wilson Center, suggested on Fox News Sunday that the lessons from Bosnia may apply in Syria. “I have some reservations about the air campaign [proposed by Graham and others] because of the chemical weapons. But we have to show the Russians that we are tough. And we haven’t shown that yet.”

3. Limited U.S. military aid tips the balance in favor of the rebels, Al Qaeda-allied groups emerge more powerful than before.

Part of the conundrum for Obama as he gets the U.S. involved in Syria is that some of the rebels the U.S. is backing are allied with groups tied to Al Qaeda. So even if U.S. aid helps topple Assad, the U.S. could face a worse outcome: radical jihadists empowered and emboldened in the region. That is the kind of mixed blessing the U.S. got backing the Taliban against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan in the late 1970s and early 1980s. It’s a primary reason Obama is limiting the kind of military aid he is sending to the rebels.

4. America’s involvement remains very limited but helps tip the balance in favor of the rebels, but not those allied with al Qaeda.

There are no real models for that kind of success in recent American history. The closest is Obama’s intervention in Libya, his first as commander-in-chief. When Muammar Gaddhafi threatened widespread attacks against his own people a U.N. sanctioned coalition of countries, including the U.S. stepped in to help insurgents oust Gaddafi. The Libyan opposition was better organized and more cohesive than their Syrian counterparts. Even so, jihadists emerged in the east to launch the raid in Benghazi that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

Even if a good outcome were likely in Syria, there are few upsides at home. Polls show there is little support for the U.S. sending arms to the Syrian opposition, let alone engaging in another Middle Eastern war. And Obama’s opponents are already critical. “It’s not clear to me what the mission is here,” former Vice President Dick Cheney said on “Fox News Sunday.” “Is it strictly humanitarian? Is it geostrategic? Does the United States have a vested interest in the outcome?”

The President is weighing all his options, White House Chief of Staff Dennis McDonough said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “We have to be very discerning about what’s in our interest and what outcome is best for us, and the prices that we’re willing to pay to get to that place,” McDonough said. “We’ve rushed to war in this region in the past. We’re not going to do it here.”

MORE: Arming Syria’s Rebellion: How Libyan Weapons and Know-How Reach Anti-Assad Fighters

40 comments
WimRoffel
WimRoffel

"When Muammar Gaddhafi threatened widespread attacks against his own people a U.N. sanctioned coalition of countries, including the U.S. stepped in to help insurgents oust Gaddafi."

Please... This is propaganda. The UN resolution said nothing about ousting Gaddafi. That was illegally done by NATO.

drudown
drudown

Tell me, GOP, if you steadfastly refuse to raise a single dollar of revenue via your “oath of allegiance” to LOBBYIST Grover “I demand transparency from a government that I am trying to drown in the bathtub” Norquist- please: confess: how, pray tell, are you going to subsidize your proposed “intervention” in war-torn Syria? The same “mission impossible” you increasingly “demand” of President Obama are likewise true of Mali or Nigeria. These people taking up arms against all others do not have jobs, infrastructure, education or the means to provide for their basic needs. Stop citing “ideological” differences as if, in the end, survival instincts will not supersede.

Tell me, what can any US President realistically do to stave off a civil war in Syria under our charter of government predicated upon Limited Powers? The GOP pays lip service to “strict constructionism” in judicial hearings as their allegiance to this fundamental precept dies more quickly than flies in the hour. If the G8 wants a new direction in the Middle East and Africa, world leaders need some dispassionate reflection on how to deal with Colonialism’s legacy- instead of citing the “liberation” via the naked act of “voting” which defies all credulity. As natural resources are depleted via wide scale pollution and the biosphere brought closer to boil: Lindsay Graham: get real: no amount of “boots on the ground” can “stabilize” regions where market players desire disruption to create the illusion of “destabilization” of the price of crude oil.

Tell me, surely you cannot credibly contend you can cut off revenue and fight endless wars abroad in “liberty’s name”, as you collectively play the foil towards domestic agendas against the interests of those that contributed to your campaigns? Ah me, the GOP feigns “disgust” yet garner even more voter distrust by promulgating “ghost written” Legislation with an eye towards absolving Big Business of liability in meritorious litigation. With our returning Veterans, the GOP “reformed” Bankruptcy to prevent their debtor relief, supplanting it with prior restraints on the images of fallen soldiers, hiding the reality of their lies and greed.

Tell me, how is Sen. Inhofe’s refusal to even accept federal funds after climate change-induced “super-storms” not unlike the GOP’s failure to even secure our borders in its immigration “reform”? Doing the opposite of what is best for the People- that is, in terms of fiscal prudence- has become their norm. The “greatest hoax” is your feigned ignorance of climate change. And it is a little disingenuous to claim that the IRS is “rigging the game” by investigating sham “charities” titled and operating conspicuously via political names.

Tell me, if not corruption (see, e.g., the “Halliburton Rule”), under what auspices is the GOP providing blanket immunity to those that poison our precious groundwater via “fracking” in both our urban and rural communities? Conspicuously, it is the same “hurried” refusal to engage in a dispassionate cost/benefit analysis under the unfounded pretext of partisan paralysis that is implemented maliciously, and all you have to offer are “talking points” that impugn our image abroad by projecting dysfunction and by derailing diplomacy.

Tell me, without increased regulation over industrial activities, how can we ensure the preservation of the very clean water, fish stocks and climate we depend upon will not be sacrificed upon the altar of your greed, just as our general welfare grows disfigured with the sharpened blade of “austerity”? This one scientific fact the GOP hates: like harmful industrial pollution, climate change-induced weather will continue to arrive in our lives unapologetically: stop pretending that without regulation our collective woes will not be exacerbated materially. Perceiving the reality of foreseeable global warming, reduced natural resources, increased population and societal decay, your Lord Grover’s sinister plan to Bankrupt our State is only rivaled by the GOP leaders breach of Fiduciary Duty to ratify it- stop obstructing President Obama from working in good faith with the EU, Russia and China to deal with it.

Ah, me- even Putin is weary of the broken record of GOP “scandals”- fabricating falsehoods about his purported conversion of Kraft’s Super Bowl Ring. Whether at home or abroad, deceitful greed rules the right wing.

The People’s military, fiscal, strategic and diplomatic interests are ill-served by invading and occupying Syria. Those GOP leaders blind to lessons of History the People learned in Iraq seemingly wish to condemn us to the selfsame mistake.

The People should speak out against another $4 trillion war before it’s too late.

“History is a set of lies we have agreed upon.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

Bill_321
Bill_321

5)  Rebels win conflict, but some of the advanced weapons that we provided are used on U.S. soil against U.S. citizens.  

SamKnapp
SamKnapp

Classic wag the dog...the heat is on obummer, and he has to do something to divert our attention

benyaminshaker
benyaminshaker

the only way for a secular syria without genocide is Bashar

MikeMueller
MikeMueller

Fifth way: Obama sends too little too late and Assad beats the Hell out of the FSA and America loses another war. Then Obama retires and gets paid to make speeches to people who still like him and he's just another Clinton and most people think he's irrelevant to them.

drhill
drhill

Syria, the next nail in the West's Economic coffin.

Why is it that western governments get it so horribly wrong and their eastern counterparts get it so overridingly right? For over the last quarter of a century there has been two wars going on – one military and the other economic. The irony of the former is that it has also been economic under the guise of war. Indeed, has anyone ever wondered why China has marched on in economic terms and why the West has decisively gone backwards? Using common sense gives us great insights into what has happened. Whereas China has not gone to what is commonly known as conventional War, the USA, UK and its western allies have. Joseph Stiglitz, former World Bank economist and others have estimated recently that the real cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars at the end for the USA alone will be in the range $4 trillion to $6 trillion. To put matters into perspective the United Nations considers that $30 billion a year would end world hunger. Therefore for the average of $5 trillion, why not end world hunger for 167 years? But these Wars have cost the UK dearly also and some place the costs at the end to over £100 billion (or around $150 billion). For other western allies collectively the Wars have most probably cost them at least $50 billion and a total projected cost to the West of between $4.2 trillion and $6.2 trillion. But if we add in the Wars that the West has been involved with since the end of WW2 in real terms, the cost to the West moves towards $10 trillion. Therefore whilst the West has been going to War and countries like China have not, the West has got poorer by the year and where China is marching on to eventual Economic supremacy. Add in again the $15 trillion of Western bank debt and we can see why our governments have got it so horribly wrong and why China et al have got it so right. Indeed, whilst China has been building up its nation through the economic war of the last quarter of century, we in the West have been fighting the wrong Wars, even it has to be said unfortunately for our servicemen who died in fighting for our own kind of western War. Which politicians have intelligently run their nations it has to be asked?

Dr David Hill
Chief Executive
World Innovation Foundation
     

mewo
mewo

1.  The outcomes to this mission are not positive, no matter how you look at it

2.  There is no "red line" that makes the US need to be involved in another country's civil war.  Not unless there is a direct threat to our national security.

MrObvious
MrObvious

What a terrible idea - getting involved in a civil war will always misfire. 

fsinsf
fsinsf

No more unfunded military involvements!  Regardless of whether or not military involvement is a good idea we will need to fund it.  We need a war tax now to cover this, whatever it will cost, and if we are not will to pay for it we should stay the heck out. 

rob10001
rob10001

What every administration since clinton has not understood, or understood and ignored, is that the various petty dictators we are so eager to overthrow in the name of "democracy" are really the only thing that keeps these countries even remotely civil. If anything, we should support them all in the interests of mideast peace.I'm so tired of hearing our president talk about these "rebels", as if they are the founding fathers, when what they really are fighting for is the right to behead ten year old girls, and rape woman without consequence.

rob10001
rob10001

Actually,

The best option would be for obama to step back and let putin, who has a strategic interest in syria, handle assad. The russians can arm assad, squash the rebels and continue to pull assad's strings, which will ensure peace. The prospect of obama sitting down to negotiate with putin is like me playing hoops with lebron. Obama is going to the cleaners and won't know what hit him.

asg
asg

It was reported that a US-Saudi-Israeli conspiracy to overthrow the governments of Iran and Syria by arming sectarian terrorists, many
linked directly to Al Qaeda, was already set in motion in 2007. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh in his 2007 New Yorker article, "The Redirection. Now they just need something to tip it over, like the utter b.s. of sarin gas used by the Assad gov't, when even the UN have strong evidence of it being used by the al queda rebels. So yippee let's arm the war criminals.

asg
asg

The “rebels” in Syria that the U.S. has been arming and otherwise supporting are Al Qaeda and Muslim Brotherhood. 
Specifically, the American government gave chemical weapons to Saddam Hussein which he then used on Iran and on his own Kurdish population.
The American government attempted to blame Iran for the chemical weapons attack on Iraq’s Kurds … just as the U.S. is trying to blame the Syrian government for the attacks in Syria.

lazarus00000
lazarus00000

The problem with trying to bring democrisy to these people is they do not know what it is. They have never seen it or experienced it. The culture is older than ours and to try to change them is fruitless.  when Americans try to impose our culture onto them it is like trying to explian moonlight or a blue sky to a person who has never seen it. The very best we could hope for is to allow their version of moderate behavior to grow unmolested by the radicals within their culture. But religion is a powerful force and as the Russians learned in Afganistan, the religious zealots are hard to kill.

Russia is the reason the Government has survived thus far and should be held accountable by the UN, instead of the US committing to a war that it cannot hope to win...another vietnam or Africa. Politics has never won any wars and never will because compared to religion, politics will never control a person's soul.

Lazarus

JoeCogan
JoeCogan

We have always been at war in Syria...

Amit-Atlanta-USA
Amit-Atlanta-USA

It's high time we Americans stop dreaming about bringing DEMOCRACY to people who have no value for it. With the exception of Turkey, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan (only in patches), and Bangladesh none of the Islamic countries are democratic. In reality, even these far from perfect so-called democracies (No comparison to the Democracy as we know in the West) are by no means SECULAR......inspite of deceitful praises by coverty Islamists such as Mr.Fareed Zakaria.

Even the increasingly Islamic Turkey has a barbaric history of Armenian genocide, and in countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia the status of minority Christians, Buddhists, Hindus even Muslim sects (Ahmediyas, Ismailis, etc.) who have been declared non-Muslims is far from satisfactory.

IT's HIGH TIME AMERICANS DON'T GET MISLED BY CRIES OF FREEDOM IN ISLAMIC COUNTRIES...............We realize its the true Shape & Form ONLY after we see ISLAMIC DEMOCRACY IN ACTION........!

deconstructiva
deconstructiva

Thanks, Jay. Like many here, I'm tired of US getting involved in other wars - let alone the ones we started (no thanks to GW Bush). I'd be concerned about Syria's fighting spreading to neighboring countries, especially Turkey and Jordan (granted, Turkey has its own problems right now with the valid protests). Any word on that? Or does it look like Syria's problems are theirs alone, no matter how many other countries intervene?

Amit-Atlanta-USA
Amit-Atlanta-USA

It appears to me to be a repeat of Afghanistan all over again, with these Al-Qaeda backed rebels turning against the US & Europe once their job of getting rid of Assad is done.

We Americans (& Europeans) are bringing incalculable harm upon ourselves by:
a) Helping kick out moderate secular leaders such as Assad, Mubarak, Gaddafi ver 2.0, and others.
b) Letting in all these Muslim refugees into America & Europe some of whom will end up as domestic home-grown Islamic terrorists.

It's high time Americans don't get misled by covert Islamists such as CNN/Time's Mr. Fareed Zakaria who in his capacity as an external advisor to President Obama has been instrumental in America sacrificing its trusted allies/Secular leaders in Egypt, libya, Algeria, Tunisia, Yemen and now Syria in favor of Muslim Brotherhood and Al-Qaeda backed radicals.

The biggest losers in this American (mis) adventure besides Americans are the hapless minorities incl. the Coptic Christians in Egypt, and the beleagured Syrian Christians which happens to be among the oldest Christian communities anywhere in the world.  

Sibir_Russia
Sibir_Russia

The national debt of the USA continued to grow by about 4.3 billion dollars a day
The military budget of the United States, more than all other countries combined, but Washington is constantly looking for enemies among the weak countries that do not possess nuclear weapons and means of delivery, which are simply not able to get to the aggressor across the ocean, to give a fitting rebuff. Why is the US still call its military budget - "defense"?
 
The United States will be able to save a lot if you do focus on diplomacy, rather than brute military force, threatening to poor countries. It is enough to observe the norms of international law and the UN Charter. For the defense of't need a big budget. The world has become a multipolar. The United States should become pragmatists, and it means take into account the existing realities.
 
Your Tax Dollars At War:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1pLnVvxPhA

leon1376
leon1376

Well, this war is beginning to shape up rather nicely, isn't it? On one side you have Qatar; the Saudis, al-Qaeda, and the United States. On the other side there's Assad; Iran; Hezbollah; and Russia. Iran just sent in 4,000 crack troops from the Revolutionary Guard. Iraqi Sunni jihadists are pouring into Syria. Egyptians clerics are preaching jihad in Syria. Libyan extremists have brought in weapons looted from Ghadaffi. The Kurds are likely to seize the opportunity to size and hold territory. That probably  means Turkey will become involved, especially since it's growing more Islamist. We could be looking at a war that dwarfs the 1980 - 1988 Iran-Iraq War. 

What about Israel? I could well be wrong about this, but I'll say it anyway. The real war in the Middle east is between Sunni and Shia, not between the Jews and everybody else. Combine that with the fact that the relationship between Persians and Jews goes back to the time of Cyrus the Great (c. 550 BC) and the memory of Cyrus is still a big deal in Iran. Like I say, I could be way off-base here but there's an outside chance that at some point down the road, Israel may reach some sort of an informal accommodation with the Persians; something they could never do with the Arab Saudis. It's just a thought. 

PerryCameron
PerryCameron

Why do we care who wins this civil war?  It seems like both sides are equally bad to me.

karenc
karenc

A fifth possibility might be that the announcement of future military aid might be more simply a counter to Russia's announcement that they will go through with delivering antimissile equipment to Assad.  Just as Putin's comment that the west is supporting rebels who eat flesh (one did on video) may be a response to US/French/British claims that sarin gas was used.

The best hope is that these are ALL posturing before they go through with a peace conference to get a political solution. I know this may seem incredibly naive, but on all sides this proxy war is spiraling out of control.  It is really not to anyone's advantage to have a full scale regional war.  With the situation as it is,  I wonder if Obama would be brave enough to accept a government including both Assad and many moderates. 

Itseems the only good solution might be if the various Syrian sides agree to a political solution - realizing that some of what they want is better than the status quo.

Archangel_Raphael
Archangel_Raphael

How does the Syrian conflict help a species that is out of Homeostasis?  If the Human Species was a patient in the hospital with a screen next to it, what would this Syrian conflict do to the health measures on the screen?

hih1
hih1

#5  How about this scenario: The US spends billions of borrowed money to send weapons to rebels which in turn are used against us when inevitably we are drawn into boots on the ground .



PaulDirks
PaulDirks

 But we have to show the Russians that we are tough. And we haven’t shown that yet.”

Here's a hint. "Showing someone your tough" is absolutely the WORST reason to escalate a conflict. 

TimMulhair
TimMulhair

Tactfully but stupidly ignoring the fifth possible outcome, which is that the rebels crumble in spite of the weapons we give them, as nothing short of a no-fly zone will be a serious game changer (and that's unlikely to fly politically given Russia's opposition). Then we are forced to go to the negotiating table with Assad.

It's a scenario far more likely than that fairy tale happy ending in number four.

drudown
drudown

@SamKnapp 

Tell me, what is the GOP "plan" to avert, quell or somehow "manage" the internal strife in an Arab sovereign that our government has no business enforcing a Police Power over? You naively imply President Obama is not avoiding the $4 trillion mistake President George W. Bush made "liberating" Iraq. 

Given your ilk refuses to raise a thin dollar of tax revenue: how, pray tell, is the US going to pay for "intervention"? 

The People don't have Foreign Lenders pouring money in our coffer like Grover Norquist does.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@SamKnapp Is that why McCain and Graham are the one calling loudest for intervention? Are they trying to divert attention from Obama as well?

lovedothscathe
lovedothscathe

@drhill Fair enough, but does that mean you think the West should not have intervened in Bosnia? Just because China is content to let genocide happen, doesn't mean everyone can be so sanguine about it.

lovedothscathe
lovedothscathe

@Amit-Atlanta-USA "coverty Islamists such as Mr.Fareed Zakaria" - ROFL! If you've ever bothered to watch GPS I don't think you would continue to claim something so patently ridiculous.

Amit-Atlanta-USA
Amit-Atlanta-USA

And, the others who have been misleading Obama include:

- Huma Abedin (Dy. Chief of Staff in the US State dept. and Hillary's right hand woman) - daughter of a Saudi based Pakistani who's a top Muslim Brotherhood functionary.

- Rashad Hussain - US Ambassador to the Organization of Islamic Countries- OIC (Rashad is a well known Muslim Brotherhood supporter).

- Imam Rauf - the Imam of the Ground Zero Cardoba VICTORY MOSQUE, and US Goodwill Ambassador to the Middle East, and a well known radical MB activist.

- Radical apologist law makers such as Keith Ellison

- The left leaning liberal media, and
- Ofcourse, the ACLU which occasionally teams up
with radical organizations like CAIR to fight America’s Govt. &
Institutions.

And now, John Kerry who’s a great friend of the Islamic world (incl.radical Pakistan), and no great friend/admirer (if NOT an avid hater) of India (or the US)!

No wonder Obama’s policies towards the Islamic world, NOT just Syria or his record of facing the threat of radical Islam is patchy at best.

Sibir_Russia
Sibir_Russia


In February 4, 1931, Stalin openly said at a conference workers: «We are lagging behind the advanced countries in 50-100 years. We have to cover this distance in ten years. Either we do it, or we'll be crushed.» This meant that after 10 years will be war, and if we are not prepared - it's the end . He was mistaken for only 5 months. Many are wondering how the Soviet leader could predict a war with such precision. Impressionable people they even talk about his magical abilities. All much easier - Stalin knew, when will be built the Maginot line - about it openly wrote press.

S. Lavrov: "Russia has never divided the victory into its own victory and that of others. The war was won by all allies of the anti-Hitler coalition, and on the 9th of May we will honour their veterans on the Red Square. However, we, the Russia, will never forget that the Soviet Union with its territory, cities and villages took the burnt of the Hitler invasion. Three-quarters of the German troops have been sent to the Eastern Front and were crushed there. For the future of Europe it is important that in those years the victors of the "brown plague" rose above ideological differences. Communists, monarchists and anarchists, representatives of left and conservative forces sacrificed their lives selflessly in the fight against Fascism. It was very hard to reach mutual trust for achieving the common goal especially if to recall everything that happened before the war. And yet we succeeded in uniting our efforts. On 22 June 1941, the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill addressed the nation on the radio and stated: "The danger threatening Russia is a danger threatening us and the United States, just as the cause of any Russian fighting for his hearth and home is the cause of free men and free peoples in every quarter of the globe".
 
At the end of the war our country was in ruins. On fronts of that war only our army lost the killed more than 8 million people, and 19 million people of the Soviet peace population were destroyed by the Germans who have captured our earth.  27 million it are equal to the population of the average European country. Losses of the USA made about 250 000 people.
After the United States dropped the atomic bomb on Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it was obvious that the respite will not. We were drawn into a new arms race. This was a matter of life and death.  But even in such conditions we found time for the creative success, 16 years after the most devastating war in History, we have made a giant by that time technological breakthrough - the first sent a man into space.
 
Perhaps someone from the United States assumes  that it is a good idea  again to draw us into an arms race that we will be forced to spend large sums of money.  However, the situation now is entirely different. As of today, Russia has the most modern and effective Strategic Nuclear Forces and if starts again from the arms race, we will start not with zero.

Sibir_Russia
Sibir_Russia

The United States accused Russia in the fact that we have too many nuclear weapons - 1550 warheads Barack Obama considers a lot and offers a mutual reduction in two times-up to 600-700 warheads.
In this connection, Russia calls on the United States does not build its security at the expense of security of other countries. The principle of indivisibility of security lies in the basis of the international relations of which the United States violated. Sergey Lavrov: "the United States violate the principle of the indivisibility of security"
 
For the first strike 1550 warheads-it really is a lot, given that this type of weapon becomes more accurate and does not requires a bomb on the area. However, our position is that 1550 warheads - it is a potential that ensures the opportunity to destroy the United States, in any even in the most unfavorable terms for Russia after Russia has suffered global pre-emptive nuclear strike, as well as with the development of the us MISSILE defense system in Europe and other systems, which are capable of in the future, in order to intercept a part of our missiles, as expected, again, with the most negative forecasts. In principle, Russia is not against further reductions, but all subsequent negotiations would require the United States to give Russia a written guarantee not the direction of the American anti-MISSILE defense in Europe against Russia.

USA claims that the MISSILE defense in Europe against the threat from Iran and North Korea, and not against Russia. It in words. Written guarantees of the us refused to provide. Our military believe that the American ABM systems in Europe is capable of in the future pose a threat to the part of our deterrence potential.  

 The stubbornness of Washington's refusal to give Russia a written warranty may lead to the exit of Russia from the start-3 Treaty and the start of a new arms race, but this is not our choice.  
We Russians "bad guys", because we do not believe in the "honest"  American word.

TimMulhair
TimMulhair

The only thing we've shown them so far is that we're idiots.

Amit-Atlanta-USA
Amit-Atlanta-USA

You need a lot more intelligence and analysis to uncover the poison in the honey pot!