14 Aug 2018 13:03

By increasing defense spending, U.S. shows desire to dominate world - Russian expert

MOSCOW. Aug 14 (Interfax) - The new U.S. defense budget confirms Washington's desire to dominate the world, Col. Gen. Leonid Ivashov, former head of the Russian Defense Ministry international military cooperation directorate, told Interfax.

"The endorsement of the new U.S. military budget shows that [President Donald] Trump will continue the military-political course that he outlined immediately after taking office. It is focused on military-technical superiority over all other countries, primarily its geopolitical rivals, which are Russia and China," Ivashov said, commenting on Trump's signing of the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act.

The planned increase in the U.S.' defense spending was prompted by the weakening of Washington's positions around the world, Ivashov said.

"The world is changing, and an era of the East, not of the West, is coming. In an attempt to retain their leadership and superiority over the entire planet, the Americans have started fussing about and sometimes even panicking and betting on superpower, because they don't have other trump cards," he said.

Another reason for the U.S.' growing military power is the fact that Russia is playing a crucial role in building a number of alliances, such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the BRICS, and the Moscow-Ankara-Tehran geopolitical triangle, Ivashov said.

The U.S. never stopped actively developing its arsenal, not even after the Soviet Union's breakup and the end of the Cold War, he said.

"It [an arms race] has already started. The race was even taking place when we were disarming and reducing our armed forces during the Yeltsin era. The Americans didn't stop increasing their military budgets or their weapons for a single day," Ivashov said.

While Russia has put into service a number of advanced weapons, including strategic ones, it is still somewhat behind NATO and the U.S. in terms of its deterrence capability, and therefore needs to develop the SCO and BRICS as centers of opposition to the U.S., he said.

"It is important to launch the process of setting up a defense alliance within the SCO. We can talk about joint opposition to the American military expansion and arms race, at least with China. A collective security system could be gradually launched among the BRICS group. The Moscow-Tehran-Ankara triangle could also be engaged in some specific defense activities," Ivashov said.

Ivashov called for developing the military-political component of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and using UN resources to contain the U.S.' aggressive policy.

U.S. President Donald Trump signed the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) at the Fort Drum military base in the state of New York on Monday. The U.S. Senate had earlier backed the 2019 defense budget of $717 billion.

According to the American press, the act assigns funds for countering Russia and suspends the delivery of F-35 fighter-bombers to Turkey until the Pentagon presents a report on the procurement of Russian S-400 air defense systems by Ankara.

Measures designed to counter Russia include the commissioning of new types of low-yield nuclear warheads, financing of the U.S.' military presence in Eastern Europe, and assistance in lowering the dependence of U.S. allies on Russia.

The act also prohibits the U.S. administration and its contractors from conducting transactions with China's ZTE Corporation and Huawei Technologies, which the authors of the document see as a threat to the U.S.' national security.