It has been said that timing is everything. In the case of Vladimir Putin, indeed, timing has been his specialty: — to become prime minister at the right moment, in 1999, when Boris Yeltsin was eager to find a safe exit; to annex Crimea at the right moment, when Obama was president and NATO in weakened state; and now, Putin cashiers his own long-serving prime minister, Dmitri Medvedev.

What is the logic behind his timing in this instance?

The given explanation for “changes” in the Russian political system make no sense. Dmitri Medvedev resigns the premiership but keeps his number two seat in Russia’s Security Council. Why would you fire him and retain him at the same time?

Imagine if the U.S. Vice President resigned his office but retained his position on the National Security Council — with the new Vice President taking the number three slot beneath him. In the American system this kind of thing couldn’t be done. And it’s never been done in Russia until now. So how do we explain it?

Coming directly on the heels of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani’s assassination, the Russians may be taking precautions. A government minister is a valuable commodity (in terms of knowledge, experience and skill). If a war boils over in the Middle East, perhaps it is wise to place one’s best and brightest out of harm’s way; that is to say, somewhere that is not to be confused with ground zero.

Why would Russia fear a strike against its leaders if the Middle East blows up? Let’s briefly review the score: The Americans killed a high-level Iranian leader. It is the Iranian turn to respond. If the Iranians kill an American leader or leaders in reply, there is no telling who will be dragged in next. And if the game becomes one of reciprocal assassinations, wouldn’t it be wise to take precautions?

Admittedly, most Americans believe that Iran “blinked” after the Soleimani killing. Such an assumption, however, may be unwarranted. After all, the red flag of war was raised over the Jamkaran mosque, and it cannot be taken down until Gen. Soleimani is avenged. Therefore, the Iranians are honor-bound to retaliate.

The Russians know this. They know that an Iranian response is pending. If that response involves an EMP attack, or cruise missiles fired from offshore against the White House — or, God forbid —- against the Capitol during Trump’s State of the Union Address, then there could be blowback on Russia if the situation escalates out of control.

In discussing the danger of a wider conflict with Americans, one finds an alarming nonchalance. “The Iranians cannot hurt us,” they say. Or, “They wouldn’t dare attack us.” It is cowardly, of course, to be unduly fearful. But it is rash to believe one is invulnerable. Nobody in this world is invulnerable.

Consider the Russian Club-K container missile launching system, which can be mounted inside an Iranian merchant ship. This would allow Iran to launch cruise missiles from an offshore freighter — directly against targets in Washington, D.C. (Please note: the Iranians most certainly have the Club-K system.)

Cruise missiles launched from an Iranian freighter, coming into the District of Columbia below radar, could not be intercepted by U.S. defenses. For obvious strategic reasons, such a freighter would be scuttled in minutes. The crew would then be picked up by a nearby submarine and carried away beneath the sea. There would be no trace of the attacking ship. The resulting decapitation strike would have a devastating effect. The U.S. Congress would be gone, along with the President and Vice President, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Supreme Court. Would we correctly identify the attacker? Would we blame Iran or North Korea? (As reported in the press, North Korea has placed its government and military on a war footing since Soleimani’s death. Why?)

You say an Iranian attack is unlikely, and I agree. On December 7, 1941, a Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was considered unlikely. But the Japanese attacked nonetheless. Days prior to the attack, U.S. military officials thought the Japanese would be committing suicide if they started a war. But they started a war anyway. Given the horrifying American death toll that followed, shouldn’t we have taken more precautions before Japan attacked? Shouldn’t we be more vigilant now?

It is an error to be dismissive of a relatively less powerful enemy. Therefore, why not hold the State of the Union further inland? Why not pay closer attention to Russia’s odd political reorganization? The Russians may be providing us with a valuable clue. But nobody in our government has noticed these subtle signs. Nobody is thinking things through.

It’s time to pay closer attention. It’s time for our national leaders to stop taking their physical security for granted.

6 thoughts on “A Word on the Resignation of the Russian Government

  1. Thanks for the email.I’ve started following you back when you were writing about The Silent Invasion. (Red Chinese)From there I found Scott Gulbransen, “The Silent Invasion” Back then no one would listen to us.  I was FreedomFighterGrl on your forum, The Final Phase? I didn’t stay on there because the guy in charge didn’t really listen to women.  Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android

    1. Nice to hear from you again. Whatever happened to Scott? Wishing I could pick his brain about goings on in Mexico, Things are bad on every side. Canada is falling to China. America refuses to wake up. Europe is becoming Eurabia. A stinking Chinese Communist bioweapon got loose at Wuhan, China is mobilizing in response, Russia is up to old tricks, Iran is desperate, Cuba is sneaking whole countries into the enemy camp, Africa is gone, Trump is on trial for withholding military aid to Ukraine, but Ukraine is still a dirty Soviet colony despite the wonderful people of the country….

  2. Your comments on the shuffling of the Russian government is an interesting one. I figured Putin was trying to play a new game while remaining in charge as he did when he allowed Medvedev to pretend to be in charge, which most of the world went along with. Your take on it being more of a security issue makes sense also.
    I do not know that Iran would strike DC, although you never know. I would think they would target an Army/USAF/Marine General in the Middle East, or in Germany as a strike back against the Soleimani strike. I do not know that they would escalate the situation to a strike on DC just yet. When they have their nuclear program in place, then all bets are off, as they can and will do most anything at any time.

    1. Perhaps, from the Iranian point of view, they think of Soleimani’s death as an assassination of an important state official. What would satisfy them? — the reciprocal assassination of a comparably ranked U.S. official. In addition, the U.S. President has taken personal responsibility killing Soleimani. This fact creates psychological pressure on the Iranian leadership. Proper revenge in this instance could have only one target: the person directly responsible for Soleimani’s death. The political algebra here is pretty clear cut. If they do not avenge Soleimani they are dishonored according to their own moral code. The Iranian President and Foreign Minister have discredited themselves with their own people by claiming that the need for revenge was satisfied by the missile strikes. There is great dissatisfaction with these leaders on account of their apparent impotence. The pressure for real revenge has only increased as a result. Anyone who believes Tehran blinked will be disappointed. It is only a matter of time. They will make an attempt on our president. How will they proceed? A Club-K missile strike is one of many options. Please do not imagine we are protected by our ability to defeat Iran in an all-out war. Deterrence is no guarantee of our security. Military history is largely the history of failed deterrence. Wars are often begun by inferior powers or coalitions out of fear that their position has hopelessly eroded — so it is, for them, a question of now or never. Germany took this view in both world wars. Japan took this view in 1941. Sometimes the smaller country wins, as did Israel in the Six Day War. Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union was a similar act of desperation. An apparently suicidal decision is made, again and again, by inferior powers. Why? Because they are cornered. Because they put their faith in God or wrongly believe their enemy is weak-willed. Fanatical leaders tend to believe in their destiny. After all, they see themselves as underdogs and yet they have risen to positions of great responsibility. Perhaps further miracles are in store, or so they flatter themselves. It is an error to believe that people are always rational in their choices. Some of the most momentous decisions have been irrational. If a leader makes nine rational decisions, we have no guarantee the tenth decision will also be rational. That’s why a country like Iran is dangerous. If al Qaeda could bring down the World Trade Center and set the Pentagon on fire, Iran can do much more. But in this case, Iran only has to kill one person.

  3. Jeff, any idea that IRAN doesn’t already have a bomb, a North Korean one, is ignoring reality. And they obviously have the delivery systems such as the Club-K and even more advanced “hidden” systems.
    Nothing about this is particularly hard, and hundreds of trained and skilled technicians have long been readily available.
    These are not rational actors, and they are operating in increasingly non-rational times.
    A deadly combination for sure in the era of mass destruction.

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