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Are our connections with Russia getting worse?

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Are our connections with Russia getting worse?

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Just recently there has been some concern since Russian television broadcasted a map of the United States and where they would strike if a war breaks out. According to many officials, the “propaganda” showed the Pentagon and the presidential retreat camp in Maryland being the main targets. For now, the American government continues to insist that the television clip is not a threat. However, in response, Putin has said that Russia is forced to prepare placement of hyper-sonic nuclear missiles on submarines near US waters, due to Russian fears that the US might deploy intermediate-range nuclear missiles in Europe, as a cold war-era arms-control treaty unravels.

 

Why does this threat make news, and not others?

Well, for the most part, it is not surprising that we don’t take threats as seriously as we used to. The United States gets tons of them, many not even from Russia. So, what’s happening? Why do we care now about Russia and this new threat?

 

Military Upgrades and NATO:

Recently everyone has been noticing the upgrades that the Russian military has been making. This has been driven by Vladimir Putin’s ambition to restore Russia’s hard power. The modernization of their military has been supported by the revenues that flowed into the country between 2004 and 2014, when the price of oil was high.  It seems that all aspects of their military have been “improved”, including both their strategic and non-strategic nuclear weapons. The only difference between the two being, strategic nuclear weapons.

 

Russia and their Nuclear weapons:

As expressed before, Russia has been improving their different types of nuclear power, ranging from both strategic, to non-strategic weapons.  In terms of strategic nuclear weapons, the concerns seem to be a lot less. After the fall of Soviet times, Russia has been trying to replace their old weapons with new ones. Most of their strategic warheads like SS-18, SS-19 and SS-25 ICBMs, are scheduled to be retired by 2020. Many claim that if Russia had the resources, they would have done this years ago. Russia’s non-strategic nuclear weapons has been shown as being more worrisome. The country has broken some treaties and rules, the most famous being Russia’s violation of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, by testing a ground-launched cruise missile to intermediate range. While the missile has been deemed as a non-threat to the United States, Russia did violate a treaty. Some countries are starting to get concerned as they see Russia developing a broader range of non-strategic nuclear capabilities. America, in contrast, started to reduce the number and types of weapons they have. One of the famous and last destructive weapons America has left, is the B-61 nuclear bomb.

Russia, for now, claims that they would never use a nuclear weapon unless there is “an event of an attack with weapons of mass destruction on Russia or one of its allies, or in the event of an attack on Russia with conventional forces in which the fate of the state is at stake.” It seems that only time can tell what the fate of nuclear will be.  

 

Hackers:

Besides actual war, there is another war taking place: A digital one. We have been in a long war on the Internet since it was born. The Major players? America, China, North Korea, and of course, Russia. Within the last year we had numerous accounts against the Russians, claiming they hacked the presidential elections. Whether this is true or not, it is still being investigated.

Likewise, another concern the U.S government is having with the Russians is their shift of focus on what they are looking to attack: Our power grids. Any normal person might ask, “why is that dangerous?”. There are two major reasons why this is considered dangerous. It is not simple electricity they are looking to target, it is on the whole national level. A modern day society without electricity cannot function. If a person thinks about it, our everyday needs are dependent on it. Our water will not be purified, we will have no plumbing system, no agricultural systems, no medical help from machines, and less strength as a country overall. To many in the country, the war tactic seems to be very smart and strategic, leading to the government planning to deal with an attack like this.

 

War:

Russia is one of the few countries that are actively annexing countries. Russia, so far, invaded Georgia in 2008, and they invaded Ukraine in 2014. The effects are starting to be shown as harrowing. It was during the Beijing Olympics that the Russian troops started to occupy parts of Georgia. Still, 11 years later, they occupy Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions (also referred to as the Tskhinvali Region) of Georgia.  The better known occupation, is the occupation of the Ukrainian Crimean peninsula. The occupiers who came from across the border would come to be known as “Putin’s little green men” — Russian troops with their military insignia’s hidden.

As of now, it is known that 1.5 million Ukrainians have been misplaced and over 13,000 others have been killed. This terrible tragedy tends to be overlooked by the media landscape due to North American and Western European political events. However, even 5 years after the major invasion, it seems that the people of the country are still suffering. The economy went down due to decreasing trade. The trade went down after the Russians started to tighten their control over their sea ports. Just recently the U.S started to deploy more soldiers in Ukraine, in order to help protect their borders. The U.S also started to help upgrade Ukraine’s navy.

When it comes to support, Ukraine finally just started to get worldwide attention for the crimes being done to them. NATO also just released a claim saying how they condemn Russia’s actions and that they, “call on Russia to bring an immediate end to all violations and abuses in illegally annexed Crimea, to release Ukrainian political prisoners and hostages, and to grant international monitoring organizations access to Crimea.”  However, as many could imagine, the statement seems to be ignored by the country, and many surrounding nations are starting to get irritated by their careless response. Only time will tell if the connections between our nations are getting better or worse.    

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Are our connections with Russia getting worse?