This overview follows on from our recent article (To Russia with love, and further dimensions to the cyber-threat) on the risk posed by Russian to global internet cables. You may well find some of the details here disturbing. I have quoted historical precedents for showing why it is important to pray for western politicians and defence chiefs to respond appropriately and to make adequate preparations. What I am sharing is very much at an earthly level: our real warfare of course is at a spiritual level against those mighty beings without bodies – and, to a very great extent, on what the Lord Himself decrees.
At that time I began a follow up article which, in the light of the stark and clear warning from the head of the British Army, General Sir Nick Carter that the British Army is no longer in a position to resist Russian aggression, I am prompted to release now. (cf this warning by General Sir Richard Barrons).
I have felt for a long time that the West has been living in a state of complacency, assuming that America ‘had the lead’ in all matters military following Western ‘victory’ in the Cold War. Only now is it waking up to the need to take urgent counter measures against widespread Russian rearmament and reorganisation. Russian military capacity now significantly exceeds Western capability in many theatres. Top American strategist, Lieutenant-General McMasters, admits that American forces are now outgunned in both hardware military armaments and cyber capacity.
There are parallels here with the situation Britain faced in the 1930s, when the Liberal government chose to increase pensions and welfare rather than to rearm the nation. Had not Winston Churchill doggedly refused to ignore the threat of Nazi Germany, Britain would quite simply have been swallowed up by the German military machine.
An assessment from The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace provides a detailed overview on the subject of Russian military strengths and weaknesses. One of its many concerning conclusions is that:
Comparisons of overall military and economic power between Russia and NATO are important when assessing the possible outcome of extended conflict, but far less relevant to a brief military adventure. Here, Russia’s demonstrated ability to swiftly concentrate sufficient numbers of military assets for the immediate task at hand, and Russia’s far greater willingness than its adversaries to resort to military force, would be much more relevant . . .
After a late start, a number of Western armed forces are urgently studying how best to respond to specific Russian capabilities, such as ensuring that communications and situational awareness are maintained in the face of intensive electronic warfare (EW) and cyber disruption, and mitigating vulnerabilities to artillery overmatch and ubiquitous hostile UAVs.
[At the cyber level] “Russia has shown itself willing to routinely jam GPS signals for security purposes, neutralizing civilian navigation systems. At the same time, Russia has introduced new stand-alone communications and data networks with a reported low probability of intercept, reducing their vulnerability to countermeasures or exploitation by Western adversaries.”
This lengthy report contains other concerning developments. Quite what the motive power behind them is is difficult to uncover. To what extent is the Russian military machine setting the pace as opposed to the Kremlin for example? How much in fighting is going on behind the scenes? I have always maintained that understanding Putin’s complex make up is key to proceedings. See this article for more information on the psychological factors that analysts have identified and which may well lie behind Russia’s increasingly belligerent approach to the West.
There is much to pray for here and a great deal more that is ‘swirling around’ in Russia itself that we are aware of. A manageable response would be to ask the Lord to highlight two or three particular areas He would have you focus on, and then seek Him and His word on those matters. May our prayers play their part in seeing His Kingdom come and His will being done on Earth as it is in Heaven!
A historical precedent
In an article I wrote exactly a year ago, entitled ‘Small steps that entail major consequences’ I shared along similar, just after Trump had been elected. When God has a specially important task for someone He begins His work of shaping their life and destiny long before the full reason for it becomes clear. It is becoming increasingly well known that Churchill went through several meltdowns and setbacks that would have completely knocked out many another. Click here to see why the West owes so much to Winston Churchill and why there is such an urgent need for people of his stature and perspicacity to meet the challenges of our own day.
The bear is getting restless in its cave
What did Russia do first when it annexed Crimea? It either severed or took over all cable communications channels. Was this not a dummy run to try out its capabilities in this field? Bear in mind that the places where Internet cables make landfall in the UK are all but undefended despite being of paramount importance to the country’s well-being.
When we lived in Shetland, I was astonished at how poorly defended the oil terminal was at Sullom Voe, through which a very high percentage of all the UK’s oil flows, and despite being number two on the hit list.
A bomb exploded at precisely the time she would have been making her speech, had her programme not been running late. There was little structural damage and no casualties. The incident was not made public.
Three years ago we wrote about how Russia directed “Ouroboros” (The Snake) against both Lithuania and Ukraine. This sophisticated virus acts as a highly sophisticated “digital beachhead” that has the power to destroy computer networks, as well as opening the way for unlimited surveillance opportunities. Given that absolutely everything in modern life depends upon computers, the virus that spread through the NHS a few months ago is a tiny glimpse of the sort of effects such an attack could cause on public institutions.
In the earlier article I shared for example how Russian forces are advancing each year into Georgia. I have subsequently read that Russian forces were able to destroy two mechanised infantry Ukrainian battalions in just fifteen minutes.
Pray for the powers that be to wake up and develop proper contingency plans. Laying unpublicised Internet cables, costly though that would be to do?
Many decades ago, I sensed that our Navy would be particularly vulnerable in the event of a major confrontation. During the Falklands conflict soldiers and airmen performed magnificently, but it was the Royal Navy that took the greatest hits. Yet the Navy then was richly endowed by comparison with the present shrunken version, in which our aircraft carrier possesses no aircraft and, when for the first time in its history, Britain has not one single fighting ship free to deploy around the world.The short-sighted decision to axe the Nimrod surveillance aircraft, on the assumption there ‘was no longer any current threat,’ has left us seriously short of intelligence gathering capability. Replacements have been commissioned from America but in the meantime we remain extremely vulnerable. Pray for Gavin Williams the new Defence Minister and all involved in policy making.
These are just some of the practical realities of the dangers that we once again face. May the Lord hear once more the concerted prayer of His people concerning the new dangers that we face.
See also: A Revived Imperialism is on the rise in Russia and this review of Putin’s Wars: The Rise of Russia’s New Imperialism and Serious New Restrictions placed on Russia Christians.