The true reason for US fears over Russia’s advanced S-400 anti-aircraft system goes far beyond the actual and estimated (i.e. unknown) capabilities of the air defense weapon itself – rather it is a fear of the strategic geopolitical impact the weapon has when exported to US-allied nations.
As is known, two very important countries, these being Turkey and Saudi Arabia, who have large militaries and who traditionally purchase their advanced weapons from the US or European defense companies are now set on acquiring Russia’s S-400 system.
On top of this, Qatar – another key Gulf State ally of the US – and Iraq (who already has Pantsir-S systems) have also confirmed they are in talks with Russia for purchase of the S-400, the former being in the “advanced stage” of such negotiations.
Even the purchase of the S-400 by India – who generally buys Russian equipment anyway – has left the US in a paranoid state and now threatening consequences, likely in the form of sanctions against certain individuals and groups.
The ‘why’ of the matter is virtually irrelevant – does the system perform better than the American ‘Patriot’ and ‘THAAD’ systems? Maybe, maybe not.
The point is that for some reason, two important Middle Eastern US allies (and potentially two more) who are traditionally big purchasers of Western military equipment have chosen to go with a Russian-made weapon to protect their skies.
S-400 systems in the arsenal of Turkey, Saudi Arabia and, possibly, Qatar give them a weapon that the US has virtually no control over in regards to knowing its capabilities and having established procedures for defeating.
It is also a given fact that these S-400 deals come with political strings attached, offering Russia certain leverages with traditional American allies. What exact political arrangements Russian and customer nation officials discuss are unknown, but in any case the US does not like it.
At the end of the day, the US has a fantastic history of suddenly turning against Middle Eastern allies on whim and long-established partners such as Saudi Arabia and Turkey are well aware that even they are possibly future targets of such action – Turkey’s Erdogan, for example, remains convinced that the CIA colluded with pro-Gulen elements during the 2016 coup attempt.
Read More : Russia will use S-300, S-400 systems to push US forces out of Syria – US military think
Given that the US will generally win an aerial war with the air force of any other nation in the world, a solid ground-based air defense system using a weapon system admitted to by even Western media as “one of the best in the world” serves as a fine insurance policy in the event American elites ever decide one of their MIddle Eastern “allies” have passed their use-by date.