July 2, 2017 Special Dispatch No. 6986

Son Of Star Wars Scam

July 2, 2017
Russia | Special Dispatch No. 6986

Aleksandr Kalyadin a Russian security and disarmament expert and a senior research associate at the Primakov Center for International Security of the Institute of World Economy and International Relations as well as a member of the Academy of Military Studies wrote an article titled "Strategy of Prompt Global Deception" for Nyezavisimoyo Voyenoye Obozreniye (Independent Military Review). In this article, Kalyadin took issue with a previously published article in the journal authored by retired Colonel Leonid Orlenko. Orlenko, like many in the Soviet defense establishment, have sounded the alarm that the U.S. is planning a massive nuclear first strike and argued that Russia must substantially beef up its military budget to counter this growing threat. Kalyadin, who was an arms control expert during the Gorbachev era, completely dismisses the threat as nonsensical, because even given the extremely unlikely chance that a preemptive American attack could nullify Russia's second strike capability, America would be the loser and China would be the real victor. America is not crazy, and it can hardly consider Russia a threat. Having been around during Ronald Reagan's SDI, Kalyadin fears that Russia is about to repeat the same mistake it committed in the 1980s. By following the advice of Orlenko and others, Russia would fall for the American bluff and bleed its economy white by diverting badly needed resources to counterattack the chimera of an American first strike.

Below is MEMRI's translation of Kalyadin's article.[1]


Aleksandr Kalyadin (Source:

"In the ever increasingly complicated international situation, the ability of the expert community to distinguish real danger from various scams aimed at disorienting the public, causing a panicky mood and forcing the Russian leadership to incur a senseless and wasteful expenditure of resources in order to weaken our country economically and politically, and undermine our ability to be politically active on the global stage, is of growing importance. One of these “horror stories” recently featured in the Russian mass media, is the notion of an increased U.S. threat to launch a sudden disarming nuclear strike (DNS) as part of the Prompt Global Strike (PGS) program. Thus, an article by Colonel Leonid Orlenko, published in NVO, claims that the task of eliminating the increased threat of a nuclear strike must take top priority in the state arms program for 2018-2025. He believes that the survivability of the Russian Federation's Strategic Nuclear Forces (SNF) cannot be guaranteed, since the use of 1000 nuclear warheads in a DNS 'will enable the US to incapacitate 90% of the Russian SNF'. And, in order to defend ourselves, we need to 'radically change our strategic approach' – increase the military budget two- or threefold, 'otherwise, Russia may lose its state sovereignty'.

Colonel Leonid Petrovich Orlenko, Professor at the Moscow State Technical University (Source:

"Some other Russian analysts, influenced by American publications on the subject, describe the nuclear PGS in the same alarmist terms. An idea is promoted that, as part of the PGS concept, so-called disarming and decapitating attacks will be launched, and the surviving missiles of the attacked side that would start towards the US in a retaliatory [second] strike, will be destroyed by the multilayer defense system. There is an attempt to convince the public opinion that the US could successfully destroy Russia as a result of a sudden nuclear strike, take away its 'nuclear sting' and thus restore American global supremacy.

"Let’s make a surreal assumption: the US have managed to take Russia by surprise – launch mass disarming nuclear strikes and avoid unacceptable damage in the process. Will the USA gain world supremacy after that, as some “experts” claim?


"In order to guarantee the incapacitation of Russian strategic offensive arms (SOA) in silos, mobile land-based systems, submarines, as well as those stored in depots etc., the US may resort to mass strikes on missile deployment areas.

"In the first variant, 4 thousand strategic nuclear warheads (NW) and all launchers (both deployed – 700, and non-deployed – 100) will be used. It is assumed that the second variant will use about 2000 deployed NWs.

"Let’s first look at the variant with 4 thousand deployed and stored NWs of 100 kilotons each. According to the calculations of Russian scientists back in 1983-1986, as a result of nuclear explosions with the total yield of 400 Mt (a significant part of which will cover the European part of Russia), 180 Mt of soot will be thrown into the stratosphere, and the solar stream at the Earth’s surface will decrease by a factor of more than 20. As a result, a stratospheric smoke contamination will spread, and there will be a very strong cooling of the atmosphere. Low temperature over Europe will continue for a long time, which will lead to a decrease in precipitation and provoke an agricultural catastrophe. High level radiation, lasting dozens of years, will supplement the temperature collapse. American [atmospheric] scientists Owen Toon, Alan Robock and Richard Turco arrived at the same conclusion; in their opinion, the detonation of 4400 100-kiloton NWs will result in dramatic climate change and, as a consequence, in mass hunger and shortage of drinking water.

"Now let us look at the variant of the US launching the first strike with only the deployed NWs (about 2 thousand). Out of this number, one thousand NWs with a total yield of 100 megaton (Mt) detonate in the European part of the RF and disable 500 Russian NWs (with a total yield of 50 Mt), which, in their turn, become sources of radioactive contamination that spreads all over the European continent. In addition, tactical nuclear warheads (1950 units, according to SIPRI – Stockholm International Peace Research Institute) may as well become the target of the first strike; they too will become sources for Europe's radioactive contamination, encompassing the U.S.'s European allies. [Such contamination will occur] even if not a single nuclear warhead detonates in their territory. Nuclear blasts with a total yield of 100 Mt mark, according to experts, the critical point "the nuclear threshold") followed by the beginning of catastrophic geophysical and ecological changes on a continental scale begin: biosphere contamination by radioactive waste, including the long-life radioactive isotopes – strontium-90 and cesium-137, atmosphere pollution by aerosol particles and gaseous substances that are created in the explosion and the accompanying fire, etc.

"Areas at a distance of thousands of miles – far beyond the sites of nuclear blasts – will be subjected to radioactive fallout of fissile materials and contamination. With the above-mentioned total yield of used (and destroyed) nuclear ammunition, almost the entire territory of Europe will become a zone of contamination by radionuclides with the total gamma-radiation dose that can significantly impair the functioning of the human immune system. Increased radiation doses are a source of cancers, neonatal pathologies and genetic mutations as a result of breaks in the DNA chain. As a consequence, tens of millions of people in Western Europe, subjected to radiation damage, will be doomed to very painful death. Additionally, people will find themselves in a situation of extreme psychological stress and degradation. This will cause chaos in Europe and outside it – a stream of demoralized refugees and the disorganization of global economic relations, especially in the larger part of the Northern hemisphere.

"Thus, the result of “successful” mass disarming nuclear strikes of USA against Russia will logically be incapacitation of the European NATO allies of the USA and the factual disintegration of this military alliance.


"Of course, in the above-described scenario, the US causes colossal damage to Russia. But these actions will turn into a boomerang for the US itself: its position in the world will deteriorate, and the chief beneficiary of the criminal nuclear escapade will be China – the major geopolitical rival of the US on the global stage, laying claim to world leadership and getting ready to replace the USA in this capacity. In addition, after launching a mass nuclear attack on Russia, the U.S. will not only lose allies in Europe and other parts of the world but will also acquire the status of a global pariah that had committed an atrocity for which a name has not yet been invented.

"In this context, it is appropriate to recall that most of the UN member states are in favor of drawing up a legally binding instrument for the abolition of nuclear weapons and their complete liquidation. 115 states have already signed agreements establishing nuclear-free zones, and practically all the countries undertook a commitment to refrain from nuclear tests by joining the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty or by setting a moratorium on those tests. 190 states are members of the Nuclear Weapons Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). We have seen the expansion of the anti-nuclear movement, whose participants consider the use of these weapons illegitimate.

"By using nuclear weapons, the USA would find itself not only in windowless international isolation, but also in a vulnerable strategic position. Moreover, having spent a large part of its arsenal against Russia, the US will for some time be left without convincing means of nuclear deterrence. In this situation, other nuclear states, as well as terrorist entities, may fully yield to the temptation of settling historical accounts with the US…

"At the same time, the global power balance will shift radically in favor of China (even without taking into account the strategic offensive arms factor), which would contribute to the expansion of its sphere of influence, the growth of its ambitions, and the domination of the Chinese power center, propelling China to the position of global leader. Moreover, as the US is already now experiencing growing competition from a PRC that launches ambitious geopolitical initiatives "The Great Silk Road”) and increases its military, political and economic influence on the global stage, it will, [once] bereft of allies –stand on its own against the rapidly growing power of the “Red Dragon”, which it will hardly be able to oppose.

"The US capacity to restrain the spread of Chinese influence in adjacent regions will be weakened. Its chief global opponent will have much more opportunities to increase its geopolitical and geo-economic activity in order to become the sole global leader. Exploiting the weakening of Russia and the US, China may, for example, again claim its rights to Lake Baikal and a considerable part of the Far East, and under various pretexts seize the natural resources of Siberia (oil, gas, metals, wood, etc.) and other parts of the world. In particular, China will have a free hand in such vital issues for South-East Asia as territorial disputes in the South China Sea. Thus, a nuclear attack on Russia would not only be an international war crime unprecedented in history, but also an egregious geopolitical blunder on the part of Washington, a disastrous folly.


"So, can the US president, if he is guided by common sense, national egotism, and an instinct for political self-preservation, dare get entangled in such a mad and criminal escapade, manifestly doomed to fail? Why should the American political establishment recklessly raise the stakes and risk literally everything, as would happen in case of disarming nuclear strikes against Russia? Is there a sufficient political, economic or other motivation to initiate such an extremely risky operation?

"Territorial and border disputes? There are none. Ideological differences? There are no ideological barriers between the US and the RF, their relations are free from ideological bias. Getting rid of a strong rival in science and industry? But what does it have to do with modern Russia, which experiences colossal difficulties with its less than 2% share in the global GDP, 0.7% in the global export of high technology products, and an economic growth rate of 1.5–2%?

"Of course, there are tensions and conflict zones in the relations between Russia and the US. But they are not antagonistic in character and quite lend themselves to resolution and regulation by political and diplomatic means even during a crisis in relations with the West. At any rate, in a situation when both sides are capable of inflicting mutual unacceptable damage, there is no place for DNS in real rational politics. That is why great attention is paid in Russia to the subject of causing unacceptable damage in a counterstrike.

"The conducted analysis shows that the US cannot restore global supremacy even by destroying Russian nuclear means of deterrence. Moreover, as a result of the DNS operation, the aggressor, whatever the outcome, will sustain immense political losses, as has been previously mentioned. The US will inevitably lose the support of its current key allies – potential victims of the use of American nuclear arms. We have to admit, however, that promoting the idea of DNS is not a bad tool of information warfare. There is good reason to interpret the DNS concept as mostly a bluff, chiefly intended to serve as a bogeyman. Its main function is to scare the Russians, cause panic in the Russian leadership, make it go to ruinous expense that will decrease the country’s competitiveness and curtail its future development.

"By the way, this kind of scam has a precedent. On March 21, 1983, the then US president Ronald Reagan announced the so-called Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI). In the context of SDI, there were a lot of discussions about star wars, orbital battle stations, the forthcoming creation of the American potential of unchallenged first strike against 'the Evil Empire', etc.

"In fact, the SDI program was primarily targeted at the strategic disorientation of the USSR. Enemies of the USSR saw in SDI a tool to deplete and erode the Soviet economy. And they managed to do it then. The Soviet leaders believed the bluff called SDI, and the economy of the country was bled dry by the senseless arms race. Which was one of the main reasons for the collapse of the USSR and its disappearance from the world stage.

"Later, when the deed was done, the US officially acknowledged SDI as strategically unviable and economically wasteful', and work on the program was stopped. Thus, SDI proved to be a very successful propaganda trick.

"The 'bogeyman story' about the growing threat of a sudden unchallenged attack by launching a DNS also comes from the arsenal of information technologies. And it is as harmful and destructive for international strategic stability, since it delays the process of establishing international control over nuclear arms, creates conditions for the renewal of the nuclear arms race, and increases the probability of using nuclear weapons. That’s why the task of uniting the efforts of state structures, the public, and the expert community in order to counteract such hardly harmless 'bogeyman stories' is one of the most important ones.

"It would help us distinguish bluffs of this kind (that provoke nuclear paranoia and, as a result, a ruinous arms race) in the context of informational confrontation. Russia does not need excess arms. As experience shows, they are a burden and are ineffective against 'soft power'; they will only deflect financial resources from the primary objectives of economy, medicine, education, science and technology.

From the point of view of Russian interests, we must focus more on building up our integrated defense capabilities, and especially – the resource of our 'soft power'. This will allow us to close the gap and obtain a significant competitive advantage. It is important for Russia to regain its status as the leader of the global process of international multilateral arms control and the disarmament process, thereby strengthening national as well as global security. And its international image, of course. Acting in this way, Russia can successfully face current and future challenges."



[1], May 26, 2017.

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