“Attention! Urgent Sale of Obsolete Amercian Weapons!” – similar announcements may soon appear may on pretty much every front page of leading US arms manufacturers’ sites and the front pages of countless American media sites that used to praise the power of American weapons in a bid to sell them globally: NATO allies, radical terrorists operating in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Ukraine and every other distant corner of this planet.
Washington’s plan to dictate its will to the rest of the world through continuous military aggression came to a screeching halt after the recent address of Russia’s president Vladimir Putin to the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation. Despite this, US Under Secretary of Defense for Policy John Charles Rood announced that Putin’s revelations about new types of strategic nuclear weapons developed and tested in Russia wasn’t much of a surprise for Washington, though such statements are difficult to believe.
Last year, US President Donald Trump announced that he was in possession of the largest nuclear button in the world, but after Putin’s announcement, Trump may choose to revise this statement. Russia presented a new line of top-notch nuclear arms, as it’s been noted by a number of German sources. That is why Washington rushed to sell now obsolete and useless American weapons, while it still can convince some buyers.
As Moscow chose to revise its position on selling advanced weapons such as the S-400 air defense system, Washington became increasingly desperate. As the Iraqi Shafaq news portal notes, in addition to Turkey, in late February Iraq announced its intention of purchasing a number of S-400 air defense systems. While Egypt can be found on the latter stages of negotiations on the purchase of Russian weapons, Saudi Arabia has also almost finalized a deal for S-400 systems.
What is even more curious is that should President Putin decide to sell hypersonic weapons to various parts of the world, then Washington will find itself unable to use its “overwhelming military power” to bring down even smallest of states.
Conversely, this won’t be the first time that Washington finds itself selling obsolete weapons, while pretending that they could be of any use for those buying them.
In 2001, in response to a formal request issued by Taiwan’s government on the purchase of modern American weapons, then US President George W. Bush decided to sell a number of outdated assets, including decommissioned Kidd-class destroyers , several outdated anti-submarine warplanes together with a bunch of other clearly obsolete equipment.
There are also the slightly modernized M-14 rifles that Washington has been selling to Lithuania since 1999. This weapon was in service in the US Armed Forces from 1959 to 1970. In 2014, all the existing M-14 were handed over to the Armory Fund, which began to sell out its old stocks, transforming Lithuania into an immense vintage military client.
You can also recall how some corrupt American officials began selling Ukraine and a number of other client states Soviet-made RPG-7 grenade launchers, some of which were on shelves for up to five decades. The irony here is that the process of stripping this half a century old weapons of old casings and slapping on of new plastic details was described as “fine tuning” by American officials.
American officials peddling obsolete equipment to its allies represents a crisis within the US defense industry. Until now, this process wasn’t formalized as it involved various tenders and contracts, which reflected a free market. However, today we are dealing with direct pressure being applied on client-states by a number of prominent representatives from the United States. This transformation doesn’t change much in the grand scheme of things, since until this very day the better part of the world has been forcefully transformed into an income provider for the US defense industry.
A clear example of this is the F-16 warplane or US-made Patriot missiles, on which Poland is ready to spend billions along with a number of Baltic countries. Unfortunately, much of NATO will have to go down the same path as Poland. At the same time, we should not forget that Patriot missiles are weapons that are no longer being used by the US armed fores themselves, yet it is highly profitable for US arms manufacturers to continue selling the obsolete system to poorer nations.
Western anti-Russian propaganda is aimed at creating the impression that Russia represents an imminent threat to NATO countries, which serves as an excuse for the purchases of American weapons.
President Trump demanded that at least 2% of each NATO-member nation’s GDP be allocated on arms, arms that would certainly be “Made in the USA”.
Today, the US exports weapons through three different channels: the government – through the Pentagon, and through industry channels– under control exercised by the US State Department, and through various companies asked to clear out their obsolete inventories.
It is a well-known fact that buyers of Russian weapons are being subjected to intense pressure from the US. Washington regularly demands that these nations end their cooperation with Moscow.
There are many conflicts and wars in the world, and many traditionally Russian buyers can be found amid these conflicts. Additionally, Russia showed the power of its weapons in Syria. However, Russia did not provoke these armed conflictsnow benefiting its arms exports. For example, Iraq in 2015 became the second largest client of Russian arms manufacturers after India. The shock provokes by the US-led assault on Libya which included European NATO-members, also contributed to the continuation of large shipments of Russian weapons to nations like Algeria.
A great many of American-made weapons are being purchased by the Persian Gulf monarchies in exchange for security guarantees from the United States, Britain and France. But in this manner they are not just thanking Western officials, they are bribing them.
As the Syrian campaign has shown, Russia is just as competitive in providing security guarantees as the Anglo-Saxons or French. Until now Saudi Arabia and Qatar have failed to perceive Russia in this capacity, so they were buying practically nothing from Russia. However times are changing.
Russian weapons are usually purchased by those countries that pursue a foreign defense policy independent of Washington. In some cases, this policy may be strongly anti-American. Yet, states such as China. Malaysia and Indonesia do not pursue anti-American policies, but these are countries pursuing an independent posture upon the international stage, because they have diversified sources of armaments.
India is a separate complex issue. New Delhi is now experiencing the euphoria of rapprochement with the United States. It is necessary to wait and see wether or not India is going to suffer the bitter disappointment most US allies share. And there’s been a number of disappointing points within this “bilateral rapprochement” recently – including in January 2014, when Delhi expelled the American ambassador from the country – in response to the detention in New York of the Indian vice consul Devyani Khobragade. One should also not forget that today, India needs Washington only to balance power against Beijing. The US does not need equal partners, only satellites or vassals, and India doesn’t fit this description.
The real danger for the West and the United States is not Russia’s ability to deliver a crushing nuclear strike. What is much more dangerous are the opportunities that arise with the introduction of hypersonic weapons with extreme ranges. And Russia now seems to be ahead of everyone, leaving virtually no Anti-Access, Area-Denial (A2 / AD) zones for the US to enjoy, which means that there are no territories now protected from Russian-made weapons.
Therefore, the urgent sale of obsolete American-made weapons is the top priority for Washington today.
Martin Berger is a freelance journalist and geopolitical analyst, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”