By Kyle Prentice
During Russian President Vladimir Putin’s 14th state of the nation address, he showcased a video of their latest military technology. The video showed off supersonic jets, cruise missiles, intercontinental ballistic missiles, and underwater drones. In one of the videos, a simulation showcased what appears to be a missile strike on the state of Florida. Putin also went on to describe Russia’s new nuclear weapons as “invincible”. Russia and the United States have been staunch critics of one another and opponents in the international community for decades, so it is no stretch of the imagination to suggest this video was not only meant for audiences in Russia but here in the US as well.
Although we cannot be sure if it is or is not supposed to be Florida in the video, a strong message is sent nonetheless. This state of the nation address is highly controversial and unlike any of the others Putin has delivered. This state of the nation address was an address to the world to let everyone know just what Russia has been up to in military research.
President Trump has mentioned updating America’s nuclear arsenal on a number of occasions, including during his state of the union address. One cannot help but notice the similarity with Putin’s state of the nation address, considering the highlights were Russia’s latest advancements in nuclear weapon technology. Could this be Putin’s response to Trump, or is it just a general message to those who might oppose Russia in achieving their goals?
This move by Putin is an aggressive one, and may also be tied more to his re-election, which he has been relatively quiet about in terms of campaigning. President Putin might be trying to make the statement of “a vote for me is a vote for national security”. Putin is expected to win his fourth presidential run regardless of this video, however.
As of the writing of this article, the response from the US has only been that of officials criticizing the state of the nation address as not “behavior of a responsible international player”. Hopefully, President Trump will take a loud, strong stance on the matter for the international community to hear.