Friday 20 August 2021

The Men of the West’s Day Has Come – and Gone.

The Western Sun Sets: What nation, looking aghast at the chaos and confusion created by the United States precipitate withdrawal from Afghanistan, would consider putting its faith in American promises? What peoples, oppressed and abused though they may be by tyrannical regimes, will ever again look to the Western democracies for inspiration? What enemy of freedom and equality need any longer quail before the might of the West? The answers, tragically, are: “None.”

AS I WATCHED the big American helicopters circling the US Embassy in Kabul, I thought of Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings”. As the smoke of burning files billowed out of the Embassy compound, I recalled Aragorn before the Black Gate of Mordor. As Sauron’s Orc legions marched towards the uncrowned King of Gondor’s vastly outnumbered army, he rallied his quailing knights with a speech that has always stuck in my memory:

“A day may come when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship, but it is not this day. An hour of wolves and shattered shields, when the age of men comes crashing down! But it is not this day! This day we fight! By all that you hold dear on this good Earth, I bid you stand, Men of the West!”

In those stirring lines, Fran Walsh captures perfectly the chivalric Western ethos. The idea that an oath, once given, cannot be broken. That protection offered and accepted cannot be withdrawn unilaterally and arbitrarily. Most of all, that there is no greater sin than the betrayal and abandonment of the weak by the strong. Through all the blood and sweat and tears of our history. In spite of them being honoured more in the breach than in the execution – these have been the animating ideals of the “Men of the West”. The principles they strove to live by.

No more.

What nation, looking aghast at the chaos and confusion created by the United States precipitate withdrawal from Afghanistan, would consider putting its faith in American promises? What peoples, oppressed and abused though they may be by tyrannical regimes, will ever again look to the Western democracies for inspiration? What enemy of freedom and equality need any longer quail before the might of the West? The answers, tragically, are: “None.”

The true measure of the Afghanistan debacle will not be calculated in terms of the blood and treasure expended in that unhappy country. It will be calculated in terms of the loss of faith in the West’s word, and the West’s values, that the West’s betrayal and abandonment of the Afghan people – especially its women and girls – has provoked.

Henceforth, whenever anyone hears the “International Community” (a mealy-mouthed euphemism for the nations of North America, Europe and Australasia) warning some international miscreant against earning its displeasure, all that’s likely to be evoked is hollow laughter. It is difficult to imagine a more compelling miscreant than the Taliban, but it is equally difficult to imagine the Taliban losing too much sleep over what the “International Community” might do to it. After all, it’s been demonstrating its displeasure for twenty years with “Daisy Cutter” bombs, Cruise missiles, and “pinpoint” drone strikes, and all the “International Community” has achieved is the restoration of Taliban power.

And what about the nations not generally included in the “International Community”? What of the Russian Federation, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Peoples Republic of China? What will they make of the West’s forsaking of its friends; its breaking of the bonds of fellowship?

What has happened, they will ask themselves, to the West that responded to Stalin’s provocations of 1948 with the Berlin Airlift? The West that met North Korea’s sudden southward thrust with a UN “Police Operation” that drove its forces back across the 38th Parallel, and which, thanks to the United States, has maintained a strong military presence in South Korea for nearly 70 years? The West that massed its armies against Saddam Hussein in 1990-91 and made good the promise of President George H.W. Bush that the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait “would not stand”. The West that, however imperfectly, and self-interestedly, kept its word?


Writing for the Newsroom website earlier this week, Professor Robert Ayson, observed: “Kabul’s fall could be the last echo of a period when western governments believed their armed forces could knit together broken nations. Despite all of today’s talk about democratic values, the message is that we don’t really mind how you govern yourselves, or actually whether you govern yourselves, as long as you don’t harm us.”

But, cowering behind walls, while the rest of the world burns, is the policy of appeasers and defeatists. The Men of the West’s day has come – and they have not stood.

This essay was originally published in The Otago Daily Times and The Greymouth Star of Friday, 20 August 2021.


Wayne Mapp said...

The same was said after Vietnam, yet 15 years later the Cold War had been won, substantially due to western resolve over the SS20 deployment in Eastern Europe. Thatcher, Reagan and Schmidt were steadfast in standing up to the USSR.

Great powers don't collapse after a failed military adventure in a remote land. Their power is derived from their internal cohesion, their economic strength and their broader international presence. Thompson wrote about the Great Powers, noting that broadly the same group of nations had been powerful for many centuries, though clearly their relative positions change. Probably the notable example of decline was Spain and the Netherlands, both being smaller nations.

Returning to the present, is the US more divided today than it was in the 1960's and early 1970's?

A more extreme example of the continuation of great powers is Russia. The USSR did collapse in 1990, thirty years ago. Over a third of the population of the USSR is in new states, most of whom have little international influence. Yet, Russia remains a great power, able to influence major events, such as in Syria.

What does this mean for the United States? Well, the extended Middle East will hold little attraction for US policy makers. The changing role of oil politics also ensures that. However for traditional allies in Europe and the Pacific, I imagine they will still feel they can count on the United States. Unlike Afghanistan they are core alliance partners. Our closet neighbour, Australia, will remain a close ally of the United States and will act accordingly. Of course New Zealand will continue to keep some distance. We are not in the inner orbit of alliance relationships, and neither do we want to be.

Given the overall retreat from the Middle East, we can expect more concentration by the United States on the Indo Pacific. For instance Afghanistan will probably result in China building a nexus from the Arabian Gulf to China, through Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. As a consequence, India will continue to build its relationship with the United States. While China builds it land based links across Asia, expect the maritime nations of Asia to build their own maritime connections. The progressive reintegration of India into the global economic system will be an enormous strength. India is a strong democracy and is more diverse and pluralistic than China. Expect to see much more engagement between the democracies of the Indo Pacific in the coming years.

This will be New Zealand's major international challenge. How doe we see ourselves within this group of nations? Because we won't be apart from the Indo Pacific group. Though we will have choices in the depth of our engagement.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

If – after 20 years and hundreds of BILLIONS of dollars spent on your country and in particular your army – you can't create a society that your own people are willing to fight for, you don't deserve to have kids from other countries come and die for you.
I had a friend who spent some time in Afghanistan, largely because he was on a bus driving through the night, fell asleep and woke up in the middle of the road surrounded by dead bodies because the driver had also fallen asleep, and he was treated with absolute kindness and hospitality by the people of the countryside who found the bus and worked to free and patch up some of the injured.
But these were basically peasants, and had very little to do with the small percentage of Afghan elites who live in the cities, who the West was supporting. These people are closer to the Taliban than the more secular society of the cities. That's one reason why the West couldn't win, and one reason why we never should have interfered for so long.
And if anyone actually believes that the US was doing this "nation building" from some sense of moral obligation rather than protecting US interests, they need their bumps reading.

CXH said...

Is it any wonder. Our time is spent looking for safe places, discussing the number of sexes, wearing our victim badges with honour. We have happily turned ourselves into prey and the hunters can smell our softness.

'Be kind' will not keep the marauders from the door. They scorn safe places and victims alike.

John Hurley said...

Here’s my thoughts on this situation.

I was looking through Christchurch remembers on Facebook. Someone posted a question: “did Winston Churchill ever come to Christchurch?”. To which came one reply: “Winston Churchill was a racist fat slob” blah blah.

A reply like that puts you on the back foot to prove he isn’t. Weird.

Then I thought O.k so Winston is like the family dog who only barks at strangers and hey, these behaviors people come with must have had an evolutionary purpose (remember back then he wasn’t referring to British citizens).

Take the corollary a dog who loves strangers more than his master? Anyone old enough to remember homogenous NZ will know that within that society there was us and them at a national level in a much less ambiguous way than today but also us and them at every level of society.

I don’t really get involved much with Covid but on Twitter I saw support for the Swedish position on the basis that the immune system recognises broad pattern whereas the vaccine just the spike (was the argument I think). Someone noted that they had a lot of deaths in their rest homes.

So then I was thinking about ANZAC and the way it is spun. One head master in Australia tried to be inclusive suggesting it is mate-ship.

No it isn’t it is about that human capacity to act like the lizards tail. Soldiers in battle (can) ascend a staircase that takes them to heaven.

That’s what I thought of.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

" India is a strong democracy and is more diverse and pluralistic than China."
China is not a democracy Wayne. You might want to change it to country? And I'm keeping the comment about India being a strong democracy because, like "Afghanistan is stable." I think this will also come back to bite you in the arse. India is at the moment one of those pseudo-democratic states where the ruling party is making it harder and harder for opposition parties to operate – like Hungary, like Poland, and parts of the US. We'll see.

Charles Pigden said...

From the Diary of Charles Greville, Clerk of hte Closet ot George IV, William IV and Queen Victoria, November 1842:

“In the midst of all our successes (a successful evacuation of British personnel from Afghanistan) , however, the simple truth is that Akbar Khan and the Afghans have gained their object completely. We had placed a puppet king on the throne, and we kept him there and held military possession of the country by a body of our troops. They resolved to get rid of our king and our troops and to resume their barbarous independence; they massacred all our people civil and military, and they afterwards put to death the king. We lost all hold over the country except the fortresses we continued to occupy. Our recent expedition was, in fact, undertaken merely to get back the prisoners who had escaped with their lives from the general slaughter, and having got them we have once for all abandoned the country, leaving to the Afghans the unmolested possession of the liberty they had acquired, and not attempting to replace upon their necks the yoke they so roughly shook off. There is after all, no great cause for rejoicing and triumph in all this.”

Of course it only SOME Afghans nowadays that will be enjoying liberty, barbarous or otherwise.

John Hurley said...

Wayne Mapp says:

Returning to the present, is the US more divided today than it was in the 1960's and early 1970's?
October 1965 Lyndon Johnson signed the Immigration and Nationality Act much like the Burke Review of Immigration. Take white ethnic group add other ethnic groups and stir.

Donald Trump didn't stir up the masses and Brexit wasn't caused by Nigel Farage.
Nevertheless the masses pay taxes so public media is dominated by elite interests.

Kit Slater said...

The Men of the West also assumed that since democracy, borders, and religious, cultural and racial tolerance were achievable in the West, the same format was applicable everywhere. People just needed convincing. What got in the way was ideology in every case. Belief in freedom is no match for that, as we’re discovering closer to home.

Brenda said...

A poignant eulogy to political integrity, which ultimately is personal integrity. I read and weep for Afghanistan and the West. God help us all.

Nick J said...

Not sure about why the Yanks lost in Afghanistan being attributed to any one reason, nor why they went there in the first place. I would however agree with Wayne that the Americans arent finished yet.

Id posit that from a military viewpoint that Syria and Crimea showed the US incapacity to project military might when opposed by another power with sufficient local strength to block US efforts. That means it is locals like the Taliban with AK47 and RPGs who win if they can sustain the casualty rates.

The China sea is similar, Russian and Chinese missile technology make deployment of US "gunboat" diplomacy an invitation to sink carrier task forces. I doubt either side would want that, China and the US are symbiotic in trade.

The new order Wayne alluded to may be our future, Im not so sure about the USA. Niall Fergusson wrote extensively upon the collapse of empires. He points out graphically how quickly the inability to project external rule ends. Examples, Ottoman rule gone from the middle east after 500 years after a 4 year conflict. British and French rule over global empires, gone between 1945 and 1965. Soviet Union, dissolved in less than a decade.

Post Empire most nations recede into themselves with a strongly national cultural centric model. Kemals Turkey, Putins Russia, De Gaulles France, Britain's welfare state.
What America does next I'm unsure but history indicates that it will be localised within US borders.

One thing history also indicates is that cultural characteristics die hard and often lead to a rebirth in national character. Turkey created a monocultural national state that excluded minorities. Their war between religious tradition and secularism is still running after a century. If the US followed the same track it would split into several entities. Who knows, but Id confidently posit that the world no longer trusts a house divided to rule. Pax Americana is sinking.

David George said...

Take up the White Man's burden -
The savage wars of peace -
Fill full the mouth of famine
And bid the sickness cease;
And when your goal is nearest
The end for others sought,
Watch Sloth and heathen Folly
Bring all your hopes to nought.

Take up the White Man's burden -
Ye dare not stoop to less -
Nor call too loud on Freedom
To cloak your weariness;
By all ye cry or whisper,
By all ye leave or do,
The silent sullen peoples
Shall weigh your Gods and you.

Part of Kipling's The white Mans Burden seems appropriate. Again.

Nick J said...

On the international news sktes were reports of protests against the Taliban. Nobody has mentioned civil war and tribal conflict. This could get more messy if that is possible.

Anonymous said...

The lack of internal revolt against the Taliban may be telling. Perhaps the information that has been provided to us by our media is off, and in fact, the Afghans are more sympathetic to the Taliban than we were led to believe.

David Stone said...

To my mind Chris the US (West) entering Afghanistan was where the evil was perpetrated. And it was never undertaken with the stated aim of improving the lives of Afghanistan's female population; it was to kill Osama Bin Ladin. Improving the position of women in that society was a PR exercise to try to justify still being there a decade after Bin Ladin had been assassinated.
The real reason for still being there was because there never having been a real justification for going in in the first place there was never any point at which the situation could be established where they could logically say the job was done. Clearly by your implication that they should have remained to look after the emancipation of the country's women-folk, they would be committed long after the global warming question is settled. That is to say after the sun has become a red Giant and engulfed us.
"You can check out any time you like but you can never leave"
The other quote I am reminded of from Kipling...

When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains,
And the women come out to cut up what remains,
Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
An' go to your Gawd like a soldier.

They could have made a more orderly withdrawal , It would seem to make sense to get the civies and collaborators out before the military, but the cross/over of administrations and the intense hatred between the two domestic camps meant that the priority of the action in Afghanistan was to discredit the other side. Didn't Trump dodge a bullet!
If a lesson can be learned to mind their own business within the limitations of their own natural resources and what they can honourably and openly trade for what they need from other nations, And leave the politics of other countries to develop in a peaceful co-operative atmosphere the world will undergo a revolutionary improvement.

sumsuch said...

I'd like to hear your obituary of Cullen. He came from 'working class origins', rather than 'working class hero' for Moore.

Clarke and Cullen should have done more by social democratic standards. Reality is our foundation not what can be got away with in the minute. They delivered us up to these impossible times.

David George said...

"cowering behind walls, while the rest of the world burns, is the policy of appeasers and defeatists'

The recent performance of the POTUS certainly qualifies: hiding away, not fronting, avoiding questions and mouthing comforting lies when he does appear.

On a lighter note, great to see him reaching out across the aisle with conservative pundit Ben Shapiro now working in the Whitehouse. Biden does say some strange things though. In this clip he says "thousands of mexi-melts massing at the border, some as young as a dollar ninety nine" Pretty weird but does sort of make sense, a mexi-melt is a taco with melted cheese I found out.
The thing with Corn Pop at the swimming pool really did happen, apparently.

Wayne Mapp said...

Nick J,

I am pretty certain that the US is very committed to the Asia Pacific, or as expressed these days the Indo Pacific (GS, India is about as vibrant a democracy as any in the world, and has been so since independence).

The US has sovereign territory right across the Pacific, through to Guam. They have close allies in Australia, Japan and to a lesser extent South Korea. They won't be abandoning the Pacific, including the East Pacific (East China Sea and Japan Sea) to China.

Naval warfare is where the US has its strongest military advantage. They practise naval/air exercises all the time. The great bulk of their defence expenditure id concentrated in these areas. In contrast China are novices. Yes, they have some smart new equipment, but they are still well behind the US. I would say, having spent a great deal of time studying this issue, they are about two decades behind the US in military capability. Chinese submarines are as noisy as US subs of the 1970's. Chinese aircraft and radars are about two decades behind those of the US. China is slowly closing the military gap, but it will be 2040 to 2050 at the earliest before they approach parity.

This possibly means the biggest risk is the next two decades. Just like Japan in WW2, China may take on the US without understanding the level of advantage the US actually has. Mind you, Admiral Yamato knew the risk and warned his superiors not to take on the US, but they did so anyway.

In terms of US power I would note that the US is still the world's strongest economic power. The US has a population approaching 400 million and it spans a whole continent. The US is in a very different condition to that of the UK and France after WW2, where both were physically and financially bust, as well as being much smaller nations in area and population.

So, no I don't see US power and influence vanishing any time soon, particularly in our region of the world.

Hence why this is New Zealand's biggest foreign policy challenge. We are a Pacific nation, as are both China and the US.

sumsuch said...

I've just discussed the quality of MMP German leaders with a cousin, versus our reeds in the wind. I suggested the 4 year term might explain it to a degree. She said the diabolical leader before them did. Morality was the post WW ll Germany's new realpolitik. Her enemies forgot it but Germany can't.

Jens Meder said...

I don't see the fall of Kabul as a fatal blow to the West just as I did not see it as fatal blow or weakness when the Atlantic Charter did not manage to keep Stalinist totalitarian Monopoly Capitalism out of Eastern Europe.
Of course, if the West succumbs to only more "circuses and bread" to secure the loyalty an expanding property-less proletariat without any direct, individual participation in the efforts, sacrifices, responsibilities and benefits one desires to achieve and does not want to lose - the West may be in decline indeed.
However, the retreat out of Kabul may just as well also mean an acceptance of the limited power of destructive military might compared to the constructively emotional and economic energy unleashed by a systematic, universal effort towards a property-owning democracy, with 100% of citizen participation in the effort and the resulting wealth ownership.
Would not both the wealthy and the poorest discover in this a worth-while goal to achieve and work for ?

Nick J said...

DJS, David George, Though it didn’t start out that way, the war in Afghanistan morphed over time into a sort of modern Verdun for the liberal world order, a Verdun in a very ideological sense.

Old Snowy said...

It may be so, Chris, it may be so. Gone are the good old days, but then gone are the men who were happy to suck the odd sour lemon in view of getting on, it seems. Now these values seem to be restricted to a few old codgers.

'fraid my lots in with the old lemon suckers.

Nick J said...

Wayne, as an ex minister for defense I respect your opinion. I agree that currently the US navy controls global sea lanes, and I dont expect that to diminish any time soon. That is however the defensive side of naval warfare.

The other side is offensive. As a navy brat from multiple generations of navy family I had in my youth all the literature available. Janes featured, but most precious was Mahons great book on seapower. He basically drew a big distinction between projection of power and defense.

Reading Janes and the Indian defense review on missilery indicates that the Russians have a multiyear leap in hypersonic missiles. Its not the be all and end all but it would indicate that US carrier task forces trying to project power are sitting ducks if they are deployed too close to hostile shore, say in the South China Sea. It is a game changer in the way torpedoes and bombs were to battleships.

Interesting times but I'm sure you are right, theres fight in the old dog yet.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

David! I'd love to know why you quoted the white man's burden thing. Just at the moment I'm doing an assignment on racism, and I'd love to know if you're doing this in a racist way? Do you actually think it's our job to civilise the natives? Do you have an opinion on "the noble savage"? Is not due in until the end of September so you've got plenty of time to think about this. I'm just looking for a good quote to finish off the assignment.

Ted said...

Utterly Deranged from the former Defence Minister. Wayne Mapp has gone barking mad. Had a bit too much of Chris Finlayson's famed "Pink Whisky".

David Stone said...

@ Wayne
Hi . There is no doubt that in conventional war machinery the US is head and shoulders above whoever is in second place. Not so much in the nuclear missile department. But reality on the ground is that except for picking some some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world America means business ,A war that called upon that huge killing machine to be fully mobilised would need to be of a different nature. And it would be a very short time, probably minutes , before it became nuclear. And not much longer before the efficacy of Russia's missiles was revealed.
This being the situation it seems to me that what matters to the US is it's moral standing throughout the world , both from the perspective of allies and potential rivals.
In this respect I think the US is at a very low ebb. The US dollar's hegemony as the unit of global exchange is all that is supporting its colossal debt, swelled to mind boggling numbers by the maintenance of that machine which is almost the only industry remaining in the country, and the sanctioned adversaries that US has selected for their temerity to aspire to independence are steadily working their way around those sanctions.
I think the US has hollowed itself out; morally , industrially , politically and financially.
It is certainly headed for a very reduced role in the world by my reckoning.

Trish said...

Can't say that I agree with Mr Trotter's thesis wholeheartedly, but I was amused to see that his post had been "lemonpartied".

Wayne Mapp said...


Fundamentally I agree with you, which is why I think the risk of general war is extremely low. Since China and the US are both nuclear powers, I think general war won't happen. But I do think incidents, involving individual planes and ships is quite likely. There has already been cases of that between China and the US. Boundaries and thresholds will be tested.

The US won't withdraw from the Pacific. China and the US could easily slip into Cold War Mark 2. The Pacific will not feel as comfortable as it does today.

David George said...

Thanks for the question GS.
I put up (part of) that poem because it chimed with the essence of Chris's essay; the arrogance of, and the weariness with and, perhaps, the ultimate failure of, the civilising mission and to illustrate how little has changed over a hundred years since Kipling penned those lines.

The missionaries saw it as their role to nourish, educate and enlighten and that continues with the various NGOs and, to a lesser extent now, the churches. Probably best to ask them if they are racists for what they're doing.
Of course we still have various initiatives (government and non government) here in New Zealand that take a patronising line with the natives. Not sure if that's racist as well, perhaps something to explore in your essay.

I'm all for treating people according to their individual needs and abilities rather than some inherited aspect of their group identities. Anti racist?

Tom Hunter said...

The US dollar's hegemony as the unit of global exchange is all that is supporting its colossal debt, ...

Too true, and given the rate at which the debt is exploding I wonder how much longer it can hold up. From my post The Stupid Party strikes again
Last September, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) predicted the federal debt wouldn’t hit $29 trillion until 2028. Just short of a year later, the national debt stands at $28.6 trillion and is set to surpass $29 trillion within weeks.

$50 trillion b y 2030. It's already at such levels that no tax increases can stop it, or likely spending cuts either.

But I can't let this one go since it's such a rock-solid belief of the global Left.

... swelled to mind boggling numbers by the maintenance of that machine which is almost the only industry remaining in the country...

Ah, NO! As I pointed out here in This is not going to get better, the overwhelming driver is not the classic boogieman of military spending:
the fact is that it has changed little since the early 1950’s in constant dollars, and has had substantial cuts on four occasions...It has also constantly reduced as a % of GDP (not to mention as a proportion of the Federal Budget).

On the latter measure it's at its lowest since about 1941.

The reason is not just the occasional bursts of insane spending such as in 2008/9 with the GFC and now with the Covid response, but the steady march of good old Medicare/Medicaid and Social Security spending as a proportion of the government budget. All three are automatic machines which are not even voted on each year, although the government has at least some control over the outgoings. But as for the former:
Medicare collects premiums and other revenue, hence the net figure. Still, that’s a growth rate for the two programs of 12% per year, for fifty one years. The US economy has never grown at that rate for even one year. There is no prospect of this changing so future payments are going to be difficult to meet.

Medicare already has unfunded future liabilities of $33 trillion (2018 calcs) and Social Security another $20 trillion, but...
Remember this roughly $50 trillion unfunded debt whenever anybody talks about the current Federal debt of $22 trillion (2018).

By the way, that infinite horizon analysis that’s endorsed by a large number of economists (including Nobel prize winners) produces an unfunded debt figure of $210 trillion.

Nick J said...

That Akela should sort Shere Khan.

David Stone said...

@ Wayne
Thanks for the response Wayne.
So what do you think the US's interest is in Syria now? Will they stay there steeling the little bit of oil the country has, denying access to their best irrigated agricultural cropping land and electricity supply just for spite? Or what is the purpose now for being there? There must be a large and growing scattering of people for whom this episode is contemptible. Is it purely to prevent Assad from demonstrating a successful economy based on his sovereign banking system? Or is there another purpose?
@ Tom
Cheers, I guess the atomic bomb testing and buildup of the nuclear arsenal and delivery systems , together with the space race would have accounted for the relatively large military budget of the 50's and 60's so I take your point about that not being any larger part of the economy than it has been in the past. But during that period it was part of a huge vibrant domestic economy. Their automotive industry is a ghost now. The finance industry has taken over and it produces nothing but numbers and debt. I think the military when the personnel are accounted for , and the hundreds of bases dotted around the world, it must be a large proportion of the physical dynamic of the country. GDP isn't the only measure of an economy is it!

Nick J said...

Wayne, some info
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HomeRussia & Former Soviet Union
Russia to kit out warships with new ‘aircraft carrier killer’ rockets as standoff with West continues to heat up on high seas
27 Aug, 2021 12:57 / Updated 5 hours ago
Please note that this footage was originally released on July 19, 2021. Credit: Russia’s Ministry of Defense
Please note that this footage was originally released on July 19, 2021. Credit: Russia’s Ministry of Defense
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Warships and boats of the Russian Navy will soon be carrying advanced new missiles designed to take out enemy vessels in a single, critical blow, after Moscow’s Ministry of Defense signed a contract with their manufacturer.
On Friday, RIA Novosti reported that military chiefs had penned the deal with rocket design bureau NPO Mashinostroyenia. Under the terms of the agreement, deliveries of the Zircon complex will be received next year, marking the first time a serial anti-ship hypersonic missile has been routinely deployed.

Last month, a warship sailing in Arctic waters reported the successful test-firing of the Zircon. According to officials, “it struck the target in the White Sea with a direct hit at a distance of over 350 kilometers (217 miles). The test confirmed the tactical and technical performance of the missile, and its flight speed was around Mach 7.” This means that the projectile flew at hypersonic velocity, seven times faster than the speed of sound. The Zircon has been nicknamed the ‘aircraft carrier killer’ on the basis that a single warhead has the potential to take down large targets.

If Britain violates Russian territorial waters again, Moscow's forces will make things ‘much more difficult,’ ambassador warns
Just weeks ago, US Strategic Command Chief Admiral Charles Richard warned that his country’s “current terrestrial and space-based sensor architecture may not be sufficient to detect and track these hypersonic missiles.” According to him, NATO fleets could become vulnerable if technological advances don’t keep up with the pace of Russia’s missile development.