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How I’ve Been Right Before… A Look At The Past 8 Years

I am the greatest; I said that before I even knew I was.

– Muhammad Ali

The year 2016 is drawing to a close. Today, we all think about the year that has gone by and about all that’s happened in our lives and in the world during the last 366 days. But today, on the last day of this year, I’d like to offer a different approach : a look back at the last eight years and how my analyses, factual statements, warnings, and policy blueprints have proven right, time and again.

To cite but a few examples :

  1. I warned the public many times that the Obama administration’s myopic, singular focus on “counterinsurgency” wars and neglect of preparedness of conventional warfare would significantly weaken the US military and leave it ill-prepared for the threats posed by peer competitors (hostile states), such as Russia and China. These warnings have proven exactly right, as more and more policymakers and US military leaders have admitted, although belatedly. China and Russia have, by now, closed the gap with the US by most measures of US military power and have some weapon types and capabilities that the US simply doesn’t even have. Worse still, they are ahead of America in the development of the next generation of cutting edge military hardware, such as hypersonic arms, microwave and electromagnetic weapons, stealthy AIP submarines, unmanned submarines, and so forth.
  2. I warned that the New START treaty was essentially about disarming America unilaterally, while Russia would not uphold its part of the deal and would only grow its nuclear arsenal (as Russian officials had overtly pledged at the time of its ratification). Arms control afficionados refused to believe this (and still do – they are still in denial about Russia’s massive nuclear buildup, which they insist is merely a “temporary fluctuation”), and so did the Obama administration. But since 2011, Russia has built its strategic deployed nuclear arsenal up to 1 796 warheads and is still growing it, while the US has unilaterally cut its own to just 1 367 warheads. If Russian leaders mean what they say, the Russian nuclear arsenal will grow considerably further in the years ahead – for example, they say they’ll add 50 Tu-160 strategic bombers to the Russian Air Force’s inventory.
  3. In general, I warned that unilateral disarmament measures by the West would utterly fail to encourage others, like Russia, China, and North Korea, to follow suit. I was right : Moscow and Beijing have greatly increased their arsenals, while North Korea has mastered the art of warhead miniaturization, constructed a reliable atmospheric reentry vehicle, and built an ICBM which, when tested and perfected, will be able to deliver nuclear warheads to the Continental US.
  4. I warned that a retreat by the US to ‘noninterventionism’ (which is an euphemism for ‘isolationism’) would only lead to a reduction of US influence in the world in favor of other, hostile state powers. And indeed, America’s reluctance to use force in Syria and its general withdrawal from the Middle East has only paved the way for Russia to step in and become the kingmaker in the region.
  5. I warned that the UK would be committing economic suicide if it decided to withdraw from the European Union because, among other reasons : a) the EU’s Single Market is still far more important than any other to British exports; b) other trade partners would not make up for its importance until decades from now. And indeed, major non-EU countries are in no hurry to sign any trade agreements with Britain; some of them even outline unrelated-to-trade conditions of such deals (e.g. India wants Britain to accept many more of its students). As for China, the NYT has calculated that Britain’s trade with it would have to grow by at least 10% each year for the next 15 years in order to replace the vast EU export market. Only 3% of Britain’s exports go to China; 44% still go to the EU. China’s top priority right now is opening the EU’s vast SIngle Market to its products wider, by obtaining the status of a market economy from the European Commission; making trade arrangements with a mid-sized country like the UK is a mere afterthought for Beijing. Making matters worse, since the Brexit referendum on June 23rd, the British pound has fallen to its lowest value in 31 years. Everything the Brits import became much more expensive as a result, and they make less for everything they sell. It’s essentially as if every Brit got a pay cut.

I could go on and on, but these examples sufficiently illustrates who, over the last eight years, has demonstrated expertise on defense and geopolitical issues, and who has turned out to be totally unqualified to pontificate about them.

This blog is far and away the best, most reliable non-partisan website about defense issues anywhere on the Net, bar none.

Happy New Year 2017, and let’s hope it will bring about positive changes for world security !

This Blog Is Not Going Anywhere

Faithful Readers,

My less-than-frequent posting pattern may have worried some of you that I’ve abandoned, or intend to abandon, this blog. Rest assured that I have no intention of ever doing that. Let me explain why I’ve been posting less often than I used to.

I am currently devoting lots of time to studying French and German, because I need to certify my skills in those languages. France is Europe’s only major military power besides the UK and Germany is Europe’s biggest economic powerhouse, so I need to reach a broader audience and, in the future, do business in both countries. In order for that to be possible, though, I need to certify my French and German skills.

On January 26th, I will take the DALF certificate examination at a very high level, which requires me to use virtually all of my free time to either attend French lessons or to study at home.  In addition, I am also taking German lessons and studying that language at home as well.

Once I have obtained the DALF C1 certificate, I will be able to post most frequently. And with a new administration coming into office next January, there will be no shortage of topics to write about!

In early 2017, I will :

  • Explain why the DOD needs to restart F-22 Raptor production.
  • Compare America’s legacy fighters to the Sukhoi Su-30 Flanker family as well as the PAK FA, the J-20 and the J-31.
  • Explain why the F-35 program is utterly useless.
  • And write on other defense issues as well.

See you soon on this website !

Best regards,

Zbigniew Mazurak

Communique sur l’essai thermonucléaire nord-coréen

La Corée du Nord vient de faire exploser, paraît-il, sa première bombe thermonucléaire (une bombe-H) et executer un tir d’essai réussi d’un missile balistique mer-sol tiré depuis un sous-marin plongé.

Cette information confirme encore une fois ce que je dis depuis des mois : la France a besoin de sa force de dissuasion nucléaire plus que jamais. Les menaces nucléaires étatiques à sa sécurité n’ont pas du tout disparu ; au contraire, elles se sont multipliées. Pendant la Guerre froide, il suffisait de dissuader l’URSS ; aujourd’hui, la France doit dissuader non seulement la Russie de Poutine, mais aussi la Corée du Nord et l’Iran (qui vient de tirer, avec réussité, des missiles balistiques de moyenne portée et qui développe actuellement des missiles capables de frapper toute l’Europe).

Cette information fait donc mentir les prétensions de tous les opposants de la dissuasion, notamment Paul Quilès, Michel Rocard, Jean-Marie Collin et Bernard Norlain.

Je suis sur la dernière ligne droite du travail sur mon livre, “La dissuasion nucléaire dans le 21ème siècle”, qui expliquera ce problème dans un grand détail.

Rebuttal of Perry and Weber’s Blatant Lies About Cruise Missiles

The Wall Street Journal has recently published an op-ed by former Clinton administration Defense Secretary William Perry and former DOD acquisition official Andy Weber calling for the scrapping of plans for a new nuclear-armed cruise missile for the USAF.

Such a missile is to complement the USAF’s planned Long Range Strike Bomber in the nuclear deterrence and possibly also the conventional strike role. The rationale is that the USAF cannot afford to put all of its eggs into one basket, for that would simplify America’s potential adversaries’ plans. To thwart any American strike, they would then only need to counter US stealth technology – which they are already working on.

Thus, a new nuclear-tipped cruise missile is necessary to ensure the credibility of the airborne leg of the US nuclear triad, especially since the LRSB will not enter service until the mid-2020s at the earliest. The current, nonstealthy cruise missile borne by USAF bombers will have to be retired by 2030 at the latest.

If a new cruise missile is not fielded in that timeframe – between the mid-2020s and the year 2030 – the airborne leg of the US nuclear triad will be rendered totally ineffective and impotent in the face of the very potent, very modern air defense systems fielded by America’s potential adversaries – including Russia, China, Belarus, and Venezuela – with Iran set to join them.

Perry and Weber, however, refuse to acknowledge these facts and propagate several myths in their article. Firstly, they claim:

“Because they can be launched without warning and come in both nuclear and conventional variants, cruise missiles are a uniquely destabilizing type of weapon.”

This is nonsense. Cruise missiles are no more destabilizing than any other kind of weapon. Dozens of countries around the world possess them – both conventional- and nuclear-armed cruise missiles – and have used the conventional variants on numerous occassions without any miscalculation or destabilization occurring. Most notably, the US has used cruise missiles in combat, on a massive scale, in every major military intervention undertaken since 1991 – without anyone misreading America’s intentions.

Perry and Weber also claim:

“President Obama can lead the world to a stabler and safer future by canceling plans for a new U.S. nuclear-capable cruise missile. Moreover, taking such a step — which would not diminish the formidable U.S. nuclear deterrent in the least — could lay the foundation for a global ban on these dangerous weapons.”

This is fanciful and hopelessly naive, and as such, it completely discredits the authors of these claims. How do we know? Because the US has already unilaterally scrapped its nuclear-armed sea-launched cruise missiles (SLCMs). In their op-ed, Perry and Weber themselves approvingly recall that unilateral disarmament gesture of the elder President Bush. No other nuclear power has reciprocated it. Not even one.

Russia has not scrapped any of its SLCMs and has deployed new ones, called the Kalibr, whose range is 1,550 miles (2,480 kms). India and Israel have deployed nuclear-tipped missiles on their own submarines. China has procured nuclear-tipped air-launched cruise missiles and is developing such weapons for its submarines. Iran and North Korea are developing ground-launched types of cruise missiles.

So President Bush’s unilateral gesture has not been reciprocated by anyone at all. It has only undermined the deterring power of the US nuclear arsenal – and thus, America’s national security.

Perry and Weber also falsely claim that modernizing the B-2 stealth bomber and procuring the LRSB (B-3) stealth bomb truck will suffice to renew the airborne leg of the nuclear triad:

“With these efforts, the B-2 and B61 will provide the core capability of the bomber leg of the strategic air-land-and-sea nuclear triad for decades to come. (…) With the updated B-2 and B61 expected to remain in service for many decades, and the planned deployment of new B-3 penetrating bombers with B61 bombs starting in 2025, there is scant justification for spending tens of billions of dollars on a new nuclear air-launched cruise missile and related warhead life-extension program. The old Cold War requirement for such a capability no longer exists. We can, and should, maintain an extremely effective bomber leg of the triad without it.”

Again, they are dead wrong. Russia and China are already working on “counter-stealth” radars to add to their air defense systems. If successfully developed and fielded in meaningful numbers, these radars could, one day, detect them and permit Russian/Chinese-supplied air defense systems to kill them. Such systems, if successfully developed, will be available to anyone able to pay for them, including Iran.

It would be sheer madness to put all of the USAF’s eggs into one basket and dramatically simplify the problem for America’s potential adversaries. The US Air Force cannot afford to rely on stealth alone. While it’s very important, it’s no silver bullet.

Cruise missiles rely not on stealthiness but on their small size, shape, very low flight altitudes, and terrain masking to evade enemy air defenses and reach their targets.

Perry and Weber also falsely claim that President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev signed the INF Treaty because they supposedly “recognized the destabilizing nature of nuclear cruise missiles and prioritized the elimination of ground-launched versions in the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.” Like their other claims, this one is also completely false.

President Reagan pushed for the INF Treaty not because he believed cruise missiles to be destabilizing – he didn’t – but because he was worried about 1,846 Soviet ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles aimed at targets in Western Europe, including US military bases. Therefore, he pushed for these Soviet missiles to be withdrawn – both the ballistic and the cruise missiles. He didn’t consider the cruise variety to be more destabilizing. He simply wanted Europe to live free of the threat of Soviet nuclear attack or blackmail.

But President Reagan was not initially sold on the idea of a “zero option.” He initially didn’t support scrapping all American ground-launched intermediate range missiles. As Adam Lowther rightly notes in The National Interest:

“During the Oct. 13, 1981, National Security Council meeting, then-Secretary of Defense Casper Weinberger suggested that the United States pursue a “zero option,” which would ban all intermediate range ballistic missiles and ground launched cruise missiles. President Reagan responded to this suggestion, “Do we really want a zero-option for the battlefield? Don’t we need these nuclear systems? Wouldn’t it be bad for us to give them up since we need them to handle Soviet conventional superiority?”

In the years that followed, President Reagan never came to see nuclear cruise missiles as destabilizing. He supported ratification of the INF Treaty (1987) because the United States was required to dismantle 846 weapons (Pershing II and GLCM) while the Soviet Union dismantled 1,846 weapons (SS-4, SS-5, SS-20). With the Soviets giving up better than two weapons to every one American weapon the INF Treaty was too good for the United States to pass up.”

As for Gorbachev, at the outset he wasn’t actually willing to withdraw any Soviet missiles at all. It was not until 1986 that he agreed to do so, and not until 1987 that he agreed to a verification regime.

And now, that landmark treaty is unravelling, as Russia continues to illegally develop, test, and field ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles that violate the accord.

At the end of their screed, Perry and Weber make their most ridiculous claim: that the US can prompt other nuclear powers to scrap their own nuclear-tipped cruise missiles, and advance the childish cause of “a world without nuclear weapons”, if it unilaterally scraps its plans for the new missile:

“We therefore urge President Obama to cancel the current plan to develop and buy 1,000 to 1,100 new nuclear-capable air-launched cruise missiles. Such strong U.S. leadership, coupled with a challenge to the other major nuclear powers to eliminate or, in the cases of China and India, forgo deployment of this extremely destabilizing class of weapons, would reduce the risk of nuclear weapons use and be a historic practical step in the direction of a world without nuclear weapons.”

Only totally naive and ignorant persons or congenital liars could make such claims.

The truth is that – as this writer has been warning for many years – “a world without nuclear weapons” is a totally unrealistic, childish fantasy which is NEVER materialize – unless even more powerful and deadly weapons are developed and fielded.

Every event of the last 10+ years has proven this writer right and everyone advocating “a world without nuclear weapons” dead wrong.

Russia and China are rapidly modernizing and expanding their nuclear arsenals. They are developing and deploying, in increasing quantities, new warheads, ballistic missile submarines, cruise missile submarines, sea-launched ballistic and cruise missiles, rail- and road-launched multiple-warhead ICBMs, intermediate-range ballistic and cruise missiles, tactical strike aircraft, air-launched cruise missiles, and strategic bombers.

North Korea has managed to miniaturize its nuclear warheads and mate it with ICBMs. Top US military commanders, incl. Adm. William Gortney (the commander in charge of defending the US and Canada), have confirmed this and have warned that these ICBMs can now reach the Continental US.

Iran, despite the recently-concluded Vienna Agreement, continues to develop nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles of increasing range.

India and Pakistan are both increasing their nuclear arsenals and deploying new warhead delivery systems – aircraft, ground-launched missiles (including ground-launched cruise missiles in Pakistan’s case and sea-launched ones on India’s part), and, in India’s case, developing ballistic missile submarines.

Israel continues to grow its atomic arsenal and now possesses, inter alia, 5 ultra-quiet submarines armed with nuclear-tipped cruise missiles.

France continues to field nuclear-tipped cruise missiles and is now developing their successor, the AS4NG, which will likely be hypersonic. France maintains its independent nuclear deterrent because it believes it cannot rely on the US to provide a reliable nuclear umbrella and doesn’t want to depend on America for its security.

Several other countries are now striving to join the nuclear club, most notably Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey.

There is ZERO chance of there ever being a world of nuclear weapons. In fact, the world is marching in the exactly opposite direction.

The U.S. government should base its policy on cold hard facts and realistic prospects of the future, NOT on fairy tales and false promises.

Perry’s and Weber’s promise that the US could somehow cause other nuclear powers to give up their nuclear-tipped cruise missiles is also a fairy tale. This is just one variant of the Left’s standard “if we disarm ourselves unilaterally, others will be compelled to do so as well by our moral example” lie.

If America disarms itself unilaterally, NO ONE will follow suit.

Over 25 years of deep unilateral cuts in America’s nuclear arsenal, and multiple unilateral disarmament gestures, have completely failed to convince anyone to follow suit. They have only undermined America’s national security and that of its allies.

The U.S. government needs to be realistic base its policy on cold hard facts and realistic prospects of the future, NOT on fairy tales and false promises.

Perry’s and Weber’s op-ed is a litany of lies, false promises, and utopian fairy tales. It deserves the stark rebuttals it has received – and its authors deserve ruthless ridicule for their screed.


L’Egypte achete les Mistral : preuve que les partisans pro-russes ont eu tort

Le gouvernement français vient d’annoncer que le gouvernement de l’Egypte a commandé les deux navires BPC de la classe Mistral originalement construits pour la marine russe.

Cette annonce preuve que les partisans pro-russes, qui réclamaient la livraison de ces 2 navires à la Russie, avaiaent totalement tort.

Rappelons que les partisans de la livraison à la Russie prétendaient que la France n’aurait pu trouver un client pour ces bâtiments si elle ne les avait pas livré à la marine russe; et que, en tout cas, on n’aurait même pas pu les vendre à un autre client parce qu’ils ont été construits aux standards russes et avec de l’équipement russe.

Ils prétendaient aussi que la France aurait perdu toute crédibilité en tant que fournisseur d’armement si elle n’avait pas livré ces 2 navires à la Russie; qu’aucun pays n’aurait voulu acheter de l’armement à la France.

Les évenements ont prouvé qu’ils ont eu totalement tort. L’Egypte n’a pas hesité à acheter ces 2 navires, et d’autres pays, notamment l’Inde, sont interessés à un achat des navires de ce type. Et la France a toute la chance de gagner plus de contrâts d’achats d’armement.

The Bundeswehr and other European militaries are in disarray

As everyone knows, since 1989, all almost European countries have been dramatically cutting their defense budgets and military capabilities, choosing to depend on the US for their security instead. They are doing so even now, as Russia continues its aggression against Europe further and further west.

25 years of American pleas to Europe to stop its defense cuts and rebuild its military capabilities have fallen on deaf ears.

Even worse, some Europeans pretend that even with these deep cuts, European militaries are still highly capable. That is only partially true and only for the UK and France. The militaries of all other European countries are a joke, and none is a bigger (and sadder) joke than the Bundeswehr – the German military. As the National Interest reports:

As of October 2014, only 42 of 109 Eurofighters were in flying condition, the rest grounded by lack of spare parts. At the same time, Germany reportedly halved annual flying hours for air crews, fearing that the fuselage would become unstable.

And further:

Embarrassing news in recent months about repeated equipment failures, grounded helicopters and units scrounging for equipment in order to deploy seem to have provoked a somber reassessment of the importance of military readiness among the German political and media elites.

A seemingly endless string of bad news started in September 2014, when it became publicly known that none of the German navy’s twenty-two Sea Lynx anti-submarine warfare helicopters were operational. Only days later, a 1960s-vintage Luftwaffe Transall cargo aircraft broke down in Turkey during a mission to deliver German weapon shipments to Kurdish Peshmerga fighters in Iraq. A similar incident stranded another German Transall en route to Senegal during a mission to support relief workers combating the Ebola virus in West Africa.
But that was just the tip of the iceberg. An official Bundeswehr report on the “Material readiness of the Armed Services” revealed serious readiness challenges with almost every major weapon system in the German inventory. Out of the German army’s thirty-one Tiger attack helicopters, only ten were operational while only eight out of thirty-three NH-90 transport helicopters were ready for duty. Meanwhile, the Luftwaffe could only deploy forty-two of its 109 Eurofighter Typhoon multirole fighters and only twenty-four of the fifty-six remaining Transalls were available at any given time.

These problems were further compounded by the fact that desperately needed replacement systems were delivered years behind schedule, considerably over budget and with only limited capabilities. The Luftwaffe, for example, has only received one out of the fifty-three new A-400M transport planes it has on order to replace the ageing Transall fleet. But the A400 has only just reached initial operational capability (IOC). It’s not yet able to drop paratroopers nor can it be send on international deployments since it is lacking a missile defense system.

The German government has recently decided to increase its defense budget modestly, by 8 bn EUR, but this will barely begin, by a baby step, to restore some of the Bundeswehr’s lost capabilities. It’s too little, too late. It’s nowhere near what’s needed, as the Bundeswehr’s top military and civilian officials agree:

Outgoing German army chief of staff Gen. Bruno Kasdorf has remarked that the military needs an additional  €20 billion in funding until 2025 to complete its modernization efforts. Other voices in Berlin concur, the new parliamentary ombudsman for the armed forces, Hans-Peter Bartel, has demanded that the Bundeswehr move away from “hollow structures” and “restore the capability for collective defense.” This would cost additional “billions over the next years.”

The situation in most European militaries is the same. For example, Spain spends less than 1% of GDP. Sweden’s military has shrunk dramatically since 1989, has only bare-bones defenses along the Swedish coast, and when Russian nuclear-armed bombers intruded into Swedish airspace a few years ago, the Flygvapnet had NO fighters ready to intercept them!

Even France and Britain – Europe’s most capable military players – have significantly weakened their militaries. Britain will not recover her lost carrier capability until the 2020s, her fighter and warship fleets are woefully inadequate (and are set to shrink still further), and sometimes only one of its 7 attack submarines is ready for duty. Nor does Britain have military maritime patrol aircraft capable of detecting submarines.

France’s military uses, for the most part, aging, worn-out equipment which will be replaced with smaller quantities of modern gear. Her helicopter fleets have low rates of readiness. Her navy has only one aircraft carrier. Her army has only 200 heavy tanks (the British Army has just slightly more – 254). The French military is also suffering from inadequate tanker and airlift aircraft fleets.

The inadequacies of the French and British militaries were exposed brutally during the air campaign against Libya, in 2011, when both militaries quickly ran out of precision munitions (even though the US military was doing most of the fighting), forcing the US to make up for this shortage. In addition, the RAF had too few combat pilots and had to use instructors from its flight school.

This is utterly unacceptable. If Europe wants to be secure and does not want to be dependent on the US, European countries must start seriously investing in defense now. Not next year, not 6 months from now, but now. This goes especially for France and Britain.

This is all the more important because American taxpayers and the American political class are growing more and more impatient with Europe’s unwillingness to seriously invest in its defense. Eventually, the US will withdraw its security umbrella from Europe. And when that happens, European countries must have first-rate defenses of their own.

Russia Is In Talks to Sell Pakistan Su-35 Fighters and Hind-E attack helos

Russia’s Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister, Syergey Ryabkov, has confirmed to a state-owned media outlet that Russia is in talks with Pakistan to sell it some of its most advanced weapons: Su-35 fighters and Hind-E attack helos.

Speaking to Sputnik News, Ryabkov said:

“I do not think that the contracts under discussion will cause jealousy on the part of any of the two sides.” [i.e. Pakistan and India – ZM]

This shows, once again, that Russia cannot be trusted – even by its longtime friends and partners. India would be well-advised to completely ditch any notion that Russia is a reliable arms supplier and start dramatically reducing, not increasing, its dependence on imported weapons from Russia.

This is all the more important because:

  1. The Su-35, a full redevelopment of the Su-27 and a fully digital fighter, is far superior to the IAF’s Su-30MKI and to all other fighters operated by the IAF.
  2. Pakistan has already ordered dozens of modern, highly maneuverable, long-ranged JF-17 fighters and is reportedly in talks with China to buy the also very maneuverable, nimble, well-armed J-10 Sinocanard. These aircraft are also superior to every fighter operated by the IAF.

If New Delhi wishes to win future wars against Pakistan, its military needs to gain air superiority – and that can be done only if it acquires modern, highly-maneuverable fighters such as Rafales or Typhoons. Buying more heavy Su-30s will not do.