Georgia will soon receive $75 million worth of man-portable air defense systems from the U.S., including fire-and-forget missiles, anti-tank missiles, and Javelin launching platforms.* How should Russia react to this? Why does the U.S. weaponize our neighbors? And what will that lead to? We discussed these points with Leonid Ivashov, president of the Academy of Geopolitical Problems.
Russia should not react to these military shipments. Javelin platforms are intended to fight tanks, and our tanks will never enter Georgia. These shipments are an element of big league politics. For the U.S., it’s not a big sum of money, but it’s significant for Georgia, as it will allow it to show off and acquire a large amount of debt. The United States also supplies Ukraine with weapons, not for the resumption of fighting but to tie Ukraine to itself. There were some deliveries to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan at one point, but now they have ended. The U.S. is actively supplying Baltic countries and Poland with weapons. For the most part, this is due to the fact that the leaders of these countries cannot see themselves without U.S. assistance.
We can react to this only by strengthening our own arms market. However, frankly speaking, we are quite competitive in this sphere, especially when it comes to developing nations. We supply weapons to China, India, and countries of the post-Soviet space. Technically, we do not confront the U.S. on this issue; in any case, we are quite competitive. Anyhow, arms delivery belongs to big league politics.
*Editor’s note: Man-portable air-defense systems are shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles, typically guided weapons which are a threat to low-flying aircraft, especially helicopters.