In the old days coal miners took a caged canary down into mines. If the canary suddenly dropped dead, that meant that the deadly gas, carbon monoxide, was slowly seeping into the shaft... An order of magnitude increase in killing rampages in America over the last several decades is like canaries suddenly starting to drop dead all around us. It is an early indicator of much worse troubles to come.
While only recently the West’s dominance looked absolute, now the roles of the teacher and the student, the leader and the straggler are no longer definitely assigned. Сompetition in interpreting reality, defining meanings, and translating values will increasingly grow.
If the sanctions against Russia persist for a long time, the Russian defense industry may again seek full autarky (with the exception of cooperation with companies of Israel, China, South Korea, and some other countries), which would have a negative impact on its innovative potential in the long term.
We will live in a highly competitive and increasingly unpredictable world. Russia should start economic growth and development in order not to fall behind the new technological revolution again. Economic weakness provokes external pressure.
The safe, secure and reliable management of nuclear weapons has always been a complex and complicated business, plagued by uncertainty and risks.
The scope of China’s containment is broadening, while the scope of U.S.-China cooperation is gradually narrowing. Of course, it is easy not to see this if one cites high volumes of U.S.-Chinese trade or the great enthusiasm for American popular culture among the Chinese.
New disarmament talks are hardly necessary. With the West continuing to dominate the information space, such talks would only be used for inciting greater mistrust and militarizing mentality in Europe. But there is the need for military-to-military dialogue.
NATO and Russia have failed to develop institutionalized relations that would bind each side to predictable patterns of behavior. As a result, Europe is now locked in a dangerous spiral of security competition. In order to avoid conflict in the future both sides need to find new ways to make institutional binding work.
It is unlikely that the current impasse in Russia-EU relations will be resolved within the next few years. It appeared long before the Ukrainian crisis. It is so deeply rooted that it will persist even if the con?ict in Donbass deescalates and the Minsk agreements are fully implemented. Both sides advocate fundamentally incompatible models for Russia-EU relations and for the economic and political order that should prevail in both “Wider Europe” and Eurasia.
The North Korean issue has become an irritant not only in relations between “continental” and “oceanic” powers, but also within each of the camps and specifically between the United States and South Korea, and Russia and China.
The Syrian conflict has provided an example of the profound virtualization of politics (and even its power component) and of creating stable pre-engineered actors exclusively for the communication space. The “moderate opposition” is the most noteworthy one.
The analysis of the Russian Navy’s involvement in the Syrian campaign suggests two conclusions. The first one is rather optimistic: the Russian Navy has begun to recover after a long period of decline. The second one is less comforting: the Navy is already facing a shortage of ships of almost all major classes.
The Baltic Sea region is gradually becoming center stage in the clash of interests between Russia and NATO members. There is an obvious need for a document on mutual understanding between Russia and NATO to resolve dangerous incidents. The assessment of any actions of one party or another should be strictly legal.
Numerous international competitors see the use of force as a solution to their challenges. In relations between Russia and NATO, China and Japan, Iran and Saudi Arabia, power plays unfold with unpredictable repercussions.
With the latest protracted nosedive in U.S.-Russia relations, when areas of cooperation have continued to shrink, it is beneficial to reflect on historically constructive joint endeavors, such as the cooperation between the two countries’ nuclear weapon laboratories (“lab-to-lab cooperation”).
On July 14, 2015, the United States, Russia, China, France, UK, Germany, the European Union and Iran concluded the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), commonly known as the “Iran deal,” with the goal of ending the standoff over the Iranian nuclear program.
As Russia begins to wind down its military operation in Syria, it is time to assess what it has taught us about how the Russian military operates.
The strategic partnership with China began in 1996 (just in time when this form of bilateral cooperation first became available), and it was considered by the leaders of Russia and China as a geopolitical rather than economic project.
The Russian military campaign in Syria has been a major military and political event with significant regional and global consequences. It is post-Soviet Russia’s first openly-conducted full-scale military operation abroad.
Whereas the short conflict with Georgia in 2008 resulted in a radical reform of Russia’s Air Force, the participation of Russian military aviation in the Syrian campaign will have even more far-reaching effects since the experience acquired during it is immeasurably greater.
The fast build-up of China’s military power is a natural and inevitable process, albeit belated. China is only bringing its military capability into line with the scale of its economy, territory and population. More importantly, it is taking systematic and very costly efforts to make its armed forces ready for active combat operations in remote regions of the world.
Neither Ukraine nor Syria has eased psychological tension so far. The United States and partly Russia do not think they have reached the dangerous point. Apparently they still need a bigger crisis to finally settle their issues.
Russia’s active involvement in the Syrian conflict and, specifically, employment of its Caspian Flotilla for destroying Islamic State targets, has changed the balance of power in the Caspian region significantly, and highlighted the need to re-examine its legal status and security.
Opinion polls show the fragility and inconsistency of many attitudes towards war. Currently, it is tentative catastrophism or, using the terminology of Shlapentokh, catastrophism of judgments but not action. It is hard to predict what will happen next.
Russia is seeking to consolidate itself and enhance resilience in preparation to defend its interests. This is not a traditional form of mobilization—that of a “nation in arms,” which is no longer politically sustainable—but represents more a “nation armed” to face the problems of the 21st century.
There can be no return to the status quo ante. “Militant Russia” is here to stay. The U.S., EU and other powers will have little choice, regardless of current attitudes towards Putin and the regime, but to work towards a new modus vivendi with a stronger, more self-assured and demanding Russia.
Nearly a quarter of a century after US-led coalition forces relied extensively on information technology, hi-tech precision weapons and joined-up military doctrine to comprehensively defeat Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi army in Operation Desert Storm, the concept, implications and legacy of the so-called Revolution in Military Affairs remains both contested and indistinct.
Russia entered 2015 burdened by a confrontation with Ukraine and the Western countries, which had thrown their weight behind Kiev. Western hostility took the form of painful economic sanctions against Moscow.
Extremes in foreign policy and personal ambitions of those who make decisions at the “macro” level may push a feeble or even growing economy to the limit, thus causing its rapid destruction or plunging it into a period of degradation that may last for decades.
The United States will develop new weapons in cooperation with its closest allies (Great Britain, Israel, and possibly Japan), which will accelerate R&D and reduce production and procurement costs for America, but at the same time make it harder for Russia to provide an adequate and timely response.
At a roundtable event in Moscow, top experts debated the “hypocritical” and “insincere” foreign policies of both Russia and the West in the post-Cold War era.
Vladimir Putin has mentioned several times that the collapse of the Soviet Union was a geopolitical mistake. Although these words were often interpreted as his desire to constitute that country, there is little reason to believe this.
The April 16 referendum will focus on power distribution rather than institution building. In other words, the organizers saw it as an opportunity to expand the President’s powers and allow him to rule longer. In their turn, Turks perceived it as an institutional choice to contribute to the development of the state.
If the larger picture defies prediction, the immediate future is scarcely more transparent. In the U.S. case, the known unknowns are numerous. They begin with the question of how much deck furniture Trump is willing to overturn in order to pursue an “America First” strategy.
In the wake of the For Fair Elections protest movement in Russia in 2011-2012, the Kremlin initiated a new strategy of state-society relations that was aimed at diminishing the propensity for protest in the next election cycle.
Belarus’ traditional structural dependence on Russia is increasing, and Minsk’s freedom of maneuver continues to shrink.