24 August 2008

Russia's Obsolete Technology Infrastructure Defies All Attempts to Modernise

China has learned an important lesson in economics that Putin's Russia cannot seem to comprehend: sustainable wealth comes from allowing enough economic freedom for distributed decision making. Top-heavy, centrally dictated economies cannot maintain sustainable affluence. And without sustainable affluence, a nation cannot maintain a cutting-edge technological infrastructure.

Russia's mineral wealth--particularly in oil and gas--is substantial, and could form the nucleus for a healthy, diverse economy. But Putin and his ex-KGB cronies have grabbed all control of Russia's energy sector, creating a hyper-centralisation of both economics and political power in Russia. Such centralised decision-making prevents a healthy economy from growing, whatever you choose to call it. Without that broad-based economic infrastructure and a free flow of ideas, a healthy technological R&D infrastructure cannot grow.

A nation's military does not stand apart from that nation's technological base. So despite Russia's stated plans to spend large sums of money on updating the nation's technological infrastructure, without the infrastructure of human freedom and distributed decision-making, such plans are merely verbal Potemkin villages. Of course, no matter how much Russia claims to spend on "technology", the bulk of the money will end up in the Swiss bank account of one of Putin's friends. Corruption and cold winters have been Russia's most enduring characteristics over the past 500 years.

Americans can blithely discuss the development of weapons such as the following, which Russians can only hope to be able to steal eventually.
- Autonomous Weapons

....These Automatic Robotic vehicles can strike in air or on the ground without causing any damage to the friendly troops. These are equipped with sensors that can sense between enemy and the friendly troops and ask for a conformation from the ground forces to begin an attack....

- High Energy Lasers

High Energy lasers travel at the speed of light and can destroy an approaching missile in minutes and can also strike targets over thousands of kilometers...

- Space-Based Weapons

...A weapon in orbit will be able to see and destroy anything on the planet....

- Hypersonic Aircrafts (Scram Jet)

These are the aircrafts that can fly at a speed of Mach 5 that means five times the speed of sound. These aircrafts can reach any target on the planet within two hours. ...

- Active Denial System (Millimeter-Wave Weapon)

...A 2-meter long antenna and a generator produces and aims a 95 GHz wave on a group of people which causes them intense pain in the skin making them to flee....

- Nuclear Missiles

....

- Stun Guns

....

- High-Power Microwave Bombs (e-bombs)

These are known as e-bombs because they can totally damage computers, electronics and electric power. The technology uses high power microwave pulses that can burn the electrical equipment and particularly the semiconductor chips....


- Layered Missile Defense

This technology offers the best chance to shoot a missile before it reaches its target. Multiple systems are targeted on to the missile during different stages of its flight....

- Information Warfare

The technology interferes with the flow of information in the enemy channels totally disrupting it..... _Weaponsblog


Of course, these are the weapons publicly discussed, many of which are in use or quickly being made obsolete by the next generation of not so public weapons. Many of these weapons will never be used, and will probably be destroyed eventually without the public ever knowing of their existence--if their use is never required.

America's allies will be given some of these weapons to defend themselves against enemies of the free world such as Russia, North Korea, Iran, etc. Others will be reserved at the most secret levels, being deployable to any point on Earth or near space within an hour's time or less. This level of technology is only available to affluent, broad-based economies--which leaves Russia out.

Here are some other "game changers" which will only be available to broad-based technological infrastructures:
Solid-State Fiber Laser. Defined by ONR as: “A laser in which the active gain medium is an optical fiber doped with rare-earth elements such as erbium, ytterbium, neodymium, dysprosium, praseodymium and thulium”....

Free Electron Laser. A shipboard point defense weapon, the laser will fight off swarms of both high end anti-ship cruise missiles and low-tech, explosive laden small boats.......

High-Power Microwave Directed Energy Weapons. A focused microwave beam transmits high levels of energy via concentrated radio waves that will knock out computers, sensors, most anything electronic.......

The Revolutionary Approach to Time-Critical Long Range Strike (RATTLRS) Program. An ONR, DARPA, Air Force and NASA collaboration, started in 2004, to build a faster than Mach 3 air-breathing cruise missile. .....

Next Generation Integrated Power Systems. .....

Electromagnetic Railgun. A rail gun uses magnetic rails instead of an explosive charge to accelerate a solid projectile to super high velocities, around Mach 7, promising accurate strikes on targets out to 230 miles with damage inflicted by the projectile’s kinetic impact. ....

...New rocket motors using solid propulsion technologies, low erosion nozzles, pulse motors and advanced radomes designed for ultra-high speeds.

_DODBuzz
Nanotechnology and biotechnology are the real game changers, of course. That is why Putin has made so much noise about his intention to develop a strong nanotech infrastructure in Russia. That initiative, like so many Potemkin plans Russia has made, will no doubt send many billions more into Swiss bank accounts.

Corruption, thug psychology, laziness, predisposition to drunkenness....these are salient aspects to the character of the Russian male, at least. This primitive psychology is reflected in Russia's decrepit infrastructure, as it has been since the days of the Tsar. In Russia, very little changes for the better. With the demographic collapse of Russia approaching, time is running out.

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5 Comments:

Blogger al fin said...

Keep comments civil and to the point. Comment moderation will remain in effect for the time being.

Sunday, 24 August, 2008  
Blogger kurt said...

Brain Wang's website lists the nominal GDP and populations of all of the ex-Soviet countries. The Russian per capita GDP is way higher than that of the other countries. Based on this alone, Putin is a fool if he wants to recreate the empire. The Russians have nothing to gain by bringing in all of these poor countries.

The central Asian countries are the poorest. Kazakhstan is not so bad. Kirghistan and Tajikistan are the worse. Kazakhstan has many ethnic Russians, the other two have hardly any. This suggests to me that the ethnic Russians are likely to be the more productive segment of the population of these places.

Monday, 25 August, 2008  
Blogger Slava said...

you have seen too many star-wars-like movies. the shiny NATO trained army of Georgia lasted only for few days in a face of good old armor columns.

Monday, 25 August, 2008  
Blogger Mike said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Monday, 25 August, 2008  
Blogger al fin said...

Interesting suggestion, Mike. Perhaps it would actually do some good. Putin has those "snake eyes" that shout K.G.B. Bush has been no match for the reptilian quasi-Tsar, and Obama is unlikely to be much more than a "butte-buoy" for the shifty Russian.
;-)

Tuesday, 26 August, 2008  

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