Military Thought A Russian Journal of Military Theory and Strategy
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VOLUME 28, NUMBER 3
GEOPOLITICS AND SECURITY
The Condition and Developmental Prospects of a Regional Security System in the Arctic
Threats to Russia’s Maritime Economic Activity in Coastal Areas of the Indian Ocean and Southeast Asia A.A. Mikhlin, V.V. Molochny, S.N. Okhremchuk, V.A. Balandin, T.M. Koemets
Current Transformations in the Concepts and Power Instruments of Strategic Deterrence
A.Ye. Sterlin, A.A. Protasov, S.V. Kreidin
Combat Sustainability of a GF Missile Forces Formation: Ways of Solving the Problem of Support
Radar Subunit Maneuvering in a Positioning Area
The Role and Place of Coalition Air Defense Systems in Collective Security Regions under Present-Day Conditions
M.G. Valeyev, A.V. Platonov, V.V. Sutyrin
MILITARY THEORY AND PRACTICE
Artificial Intelligence As a Promising Basis of Formalized Forecasting Methods
Ye.O. Bukharov, V.R. Polyakov
Troops (Forces) Materiel Support Decisions: Quality Assessment
V.V. Demkov, D.Yu. Bogdanov
Methodological Support for Corroborating Development Trends of Ground Forces’ Electronic Warfare Weapon Systems
Yu.Ye. Donskov, D.V. Kholuyenko, Yu.N. Yarygin, D.M. Byvshikh
Using Digital Terrain Models to Specify the Location of Military Assets
A.M. Kudryavtsev, N.L. Stupak, P.A. Ageyev
Using Optics to Detect and Pinpoint Nuclear Explosions in Ground-Based Information Support Systems
I.A. Rybin, O.I. Kovalevskaya, V.P. Busygin
Organizing Deep-Sea Target Positions
V.V. Vergeychik, V.A. Kramar’, Yu.A. Chirkov
Building a Communication and Data Transmission System to Handle Prospective Military Medical Robotechnology
A.A. Zhigalov, V.A. Drogovoz, V.V. Matveyev
Conceptual Issues of Building and Employing Autonomous Military Robotechnical Systems
N.A. Rudianov, V.S. Khrushchev
Developing an Airfield Network for RF State Aviation
A.A. Borodin, V.V. Lazukin
Methodological Basis for Ensuring Environmental Security within the Engineer Troops
The Ideology of Organizing and Operating a Reconnaissance System for the Missile Forces and Artillery
A.G. Yermishyan, S.V. Safronov
The Role and Place of Electronic Intelligence Collection in Navy Combat Support
V.V. Schell, R.V. Yurov
Author: Maj. Gen. A.Ye. STERLIN, Col. A.A. PROTASOV (Res.), Doctor of Military Sciences Col. S.V. KREIDIN (Res.), Doctor of Technical Sciences
CURRENT TRANSFORMATIONS IN THE CONCEPTS AND POWER INSTRUMENTS OF STRATEGIC DETERRENCE
Maj. Gen. A.Ye. STERLIN
Col. A.A. PROTASOV (Res.), Doctor of Military Sciences
Col. S.V. KREIDIN (Res.), Doctor of Technical Sciences
Source: Military Thought, Vol. 28, No. 3
Abstract. This paper cites arguments in favor of a steady transition to the three-tiered concept of strategic deterrence on the global, regional, and local levels, relying increasingly on the growing nonnuclear combat potential of strategic offensive forces.
Keywords: strategic power deterrence system, strategic deterrence forces, strategic offensive forces, Strategic Nuclear Forces (SNF), nonstrategic nuclear forces, strategic nonnuclear weapons, antimissile defense, intermediate-range missiles, general-purpose forces.
Over the last few years, the category of strategic deterrence has been increasingly the subject of doctrinal concepts and research. President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin thus expressed the essence of Russia’s defense policy at the series of conferences in Sochi in November 2017, “To provide guaranteed strategic deterrence, and in the event of potential external threat, its effective neutralization.”
The well-established domestic view of strategic deterrence1 interprets the latter as a system of various measures, moreover, not just of a power nature, that are aimed at convincing the adversary that aggressive plans against the Russian Federation have no prospect of being realized. Nevertheless, the basic mechanism there is the power one, without which any other measures would be literally powerless. Out of these considerations, let us focus precisely on the power mechanisms of strategic deterrence. Preaching force is not what we tend to do, but in the present-day world one can hardly do without that. Mind you, we have no intention of attacking anyone, and all our military preparations are strictly peaceful, which was yet again emphasized by President Putin in his Federal Assembly address.
The position-of-strength policy has long been the practice of the United States. The Survey of Nuclear Policies recently published in that country reiterates this. It has to be said that there is nothing fundamentally new in the document. It stresses for an umpteenth time the traditional American desire to dominate at every rung of the escalation ladder, including the following:
– at the global level, falling back not only on Strategic Offensive Forces (SOF), but also on the increasing combat potential of the global ABM defense system;
– at the regional level, with a possible use of nonstrategic nuclear weapons (NSNW);
– in local wars, with nonnuclear adversaries, with a potential resort to prompt global strikes involving, among others, strategic nonnuclear weapons (SNNW).
Closely linked to the US nuclear strategy is the nuclear strategy of NATO whose traditional principles are as follows:
The principle of potential first use of nuclear arms.
The principle of nuclear threshold indefiniteness.
After the Soviet Union disintegrated, the official NATO nuclear strategy acquired the principle of lesser reliance on nuclear arms. The basis of that was the conclusion that the main objectives of the alliance in the area of strategic deterrence can be attained by largely relying on the combat potential of highly efficient conventional weapons being developed.
The stress on the latest conventional arms does not rule out the traditional role of nuclear forces; they are still the unshakeable foundation of the military security for the alliance and its constituent nuclear powers, which was yet again emphasized in the recent Survey of Nuclear Policies.
The official stand of the Kremlin on the strategic deterrence of external aggression finds reflection in various state documents, such as the following.
– The Concept of National Security;
– The Military Doctrine;
– Decrees by the President of the Russian Federation;
– Resolutions of the Security Council, and other sources.
In fact, the nuclear aspects of foreign and domestic military strategy have always been, and always will be, the basis of strategic deterrence in projections, and, which ought to be specifically accentuated, of major threats to military security.
Theoretically speaking, the strategy of nuclear deterrence is international and relies on two main principles.
The first one is related to the concept of nuclear retaliation. This is fear of unavoidable retribution for nuclear aggression. In actual fact, this is the traditional foundation of nuclear deterrence based on retaliatory action of the nuclear forces.
The second, no less important, element in the mechanism of nuclear deterrence is the concept of curbing major nonnuclear threats. These are the threats that cannot be effectively parried by general-purpose forces with conventional arms.
It is important to stress that the strategy of curbing major nonnuclear threats is a superstructural element of the classical mechanism of nuclear deterrence and works strictly if coupled with the basis of efficiently realized retaliation strategy. The superstructure without the basis is unstable. The basis strategy of retaliation slows down nuclear aggression escalation. Once the foundation has been removed, the entire edifice will lose stability. Moreover, the superstructure that is not reinforced with the necessary foundation in crisis conditions turns into its own opposite becoming a catalyst of a bilateral game of nuclear anticipation, where the stimuli of the weak and the strong party to take preemptive actions are reproduced in a vicious circle.
On the one hand, the weak party’s stimuli are due to its fear of rapidly losing its only instrument of deterrence, while its strategic choice is woefully limited: it can either suffer a military fiasco virtually without resistance, or else it can try to stop aggression with weapons of mass destruction. On the other hand, fear of forestalling actions by the weak party creates a definite stimulus for the strong party to take preemptive measures. This again aggravates fears that the weak party might rapidly lose its shrinking potential. The thing has come full circle, the cycle repeats itself, and mutual stimuli to preemptive actions are snowballing fast. On the whole, the crisis standoff situation with even one of the parties relying on preemption strategy alone appears unstable, or as some people say, unstable in a crisis. The classical recipe of providing stability in a crisis, or more broadly, strategic stability, is mutual reliance of strategic players on the effective basis of retaliation. It is this form of mutual deterrence that the major nuclear powers historically arrived at in the person of the United States and Russia.
The present-day reality of strategic stability did not emerge overnight. The way there passed through the inevitable period of initial crisis instability. At the first stages of the nuclear race, both sides vied with each other in making mostly preemptive strike systems. In the wake of the Caribbean crisis, the situation started to improve in the direction of increasing reliance on the nuclear retaliation strategy. In the early 1970s, the sides realized that cooperation agreements in the area of mutual disarming strike system limitations were a good thing. This is in fact what all subsequent agreements in the area of strategic offensive weapons aimed at.
At the current stage, the strategic stability evolution is rising to a new level related to multipolarity trends and forecasts of fundamental crisis instability in relations between major and minor nuclear poles. The basic problem in the emergence and development of new nuclear poles is the vulnerability of the few nuclear groupings when subjected to hypothetical impact, including from conventional weapons. The only practicable strategy line of deterring external military-political pressure for minor poles is reliance on the strategy of preemptive actions involving weapons of mass destruction (WMD). This invigorates the parties’ mutual game of forestallment under conditions of crisis and inevitably engenders the problem of crisis instability of a hypothetical armed confrontation between major and minor nuclear poles.
Importantly, in similar situations the classical deterrence canons based on mutual threats of mutual destruction in retaliation do not work, alas. Therefore, the United States is fairly actively displaying to the world its potential and resolution to forbid instances of WMD getting into the hands of hostile regimes. The first precedent was Operation Desert Storm, which in fact turned out to be a storm in a teacup of unjustified suspicions, because they failed to discover any traces of WMD production in Iraq. Now, it was precisely this suspicion that underlay the arguments in favor of armed aggression. The sensibility threshold had been displayed. They hinted unequivocally at activating the power instruments of supporting the WMD and missile technologies nonproliferation regime.
Rattling power approaches and instruments is also in evidence in the relations between Washington and Pyongyang. North Korea is de facto already a member of the nuclear club. The United States cannot accept this and periodically throws into the information environment various versions of diplomacy by force threats. Such as the following:
special operation to establish control over the North Korean nuclear warheads already in existence;
the Navy forces brought up to the combat positions disguised as military exercises.
Preemptive strikes on facilities of potential nuclear arms production and corresponding delivery means;
deployment of elements of the global US ABM defense system in the vicinity of Japan and getting them ready for action to intercept trial launches of North Korean ballistic missiles.
The US AMD program as conceived by the Pentagon is to accomplish the mission of extra obstacles on the way of nuclear-missile programs of hostile regimes. Washington views the global system of antimissile defense as a major constituent of the power mechanism of supporting the nonproliferation regime. The preemptive deployment of the ABM system is to devalue the importance of ballistic missiles as strategic trump cards and do away with incentives to acquire them for third-world countries. With regard to North Korea the plan fell through. In the current setup missile defense may act as a safety net for US power actions, should a relevant decision be taken. However, the very fact of Pyongyang acquiring nuclear weapons is a mighty deterrence factor for this kind of decision.
On the other hand, if the AMD system is up to repulsing a North Korean attack against the territory of Japan or the United States, then Washington has nothing to fear, since Pyongyang is unlikely to use its missiles unless forced to do so by US ham-fisted actions. If left to his own devices, Kim Jong-un will hardly order combat use of nuclear arms. Otherwise, anything is possible; moreover, even a fairly nebulous chance of overcoming the antimissile defense and delivering North Korean nuclear warheads to the targets creates a non-zero risk of huge losses from the hypothetical blast of even a single nuclear charge.
Clearly, when choosing targets for attack and formulating the flight assignment, the North Korean expert cannot fail to take into account the AMD factor, which is something, in fact, that the Russian General Staff also has to do.
The stumbling stone is still the matter of the global AMD system affecting the stability of traditional strategic balances. In international discussions Washington representatives normally declare that the objective of developing both the global US AMD system and the prompt global strike/lightning global strike forces (PGS/LGS) is nothing to do with the desire to dominate in military terms the acknowledged members of the nuclear club, such as Russia and China. At the same time, in the military-political and military-science circles the subject of threats to security in light of the Pentagon’s global military ambition cannot fail to be raised and scrutinized.
There were heated debates on the issue, both on the eve of the US withdrawal from the ABM Treaty and later, including after the US PGS/LGS was announced. The main argument in the initial attempts to impede US antimissile cravings was the idea that antimissile defense was destabilizing the fundamental basis of strategic stability. The principal apprehension was voiced with regard to the chance of the US prospective AMD system being able to block the potential retaliation actions by the Chinese, and then also Russian, Strategic Nuclear Forces (SNF).
Once the United States had officially announced its withdrawal from the ABM Treaty, the official rhetoric of the Russian side was adjusted. The ensuing statements, including at the level of the RF President, to the effect that the US AMD system is not much of threat to us, because we possess an extensive weapon arsenal and methods of countering that, suggest that creating an AMD system capable of blocking retaliatory measures of the domestic SNF appears a highly dubious enterprise. Moreover, a similar system would plunge the strategic balance between the United States and Russia into crisis instability. This is reminiscent of the popular adage about being hoist with your own petard. The petard in case of the Pentagon was to solve the problem of crisis instability engendered by minor nuclear poles, yet it merely increased that very instability, but this time for the major poles. In terms of military-strategy logic the situation hardly merits epithets other than foolish.
Along with the ABM Treaty, another thing that incommoded the US hawks was the Treaty of Intermediate-Range Missiles Elimination. It cramped the style of the US in making new PGS/LGS assets. For Russia, creation of new assets of this kind is not quite so vital a task, objectively. So it was the United States that quit the Treaty on the pretext of unsubstantiated charges against Russia of Treaty violation. The Pentagon alleges that the PGS/LGS strategy is targeted against the third world. This is diplomatic rhetoric. In any case, Russia’s response to the US moves to create and deploy intermediate-range missiles will largely depend on where they end up.
For the purpose of achieving the proclaimed goals of making a global US AMD system and PGS/LGS forces, their enormous combat potential is over the top. The strategically expedient thing there would be reasonable sufficiency of power instruments for maintaining the nonproliferation regime. Awareness of the need to restrict the combat potential of AMD and PGS/LGS is present both in Russia and in the United States. This conclusion was made, along with corresponding recommendations to the US Government, by the well-known and respected RAND Corporation.
It is another matter that the US legislators and authorities rarely choose to go by scientific recommendations. So it is up to us to safeguard ourselves against overseas military-strategic foolishness and take adequate measures to neutralize the latter. Among those are the recently named by the RF President Avangard, Sarmat, and Kinzhal complexes, as well as new sea- and airborne strategic systems with miniature nuclear units.
Pointing out the danger of the US current military technology policy, it is also worth saying that there are certain noteworthy elements in the foreign practice related to the integration and centralized control of strategic offensive and defensive forces under the auspices of joint command. In fact, planning offensive actions with a view to the AMD combat potential implements the scheme of successive strikes with control over their practicability. Moreover, actions by the defense forces can be optimized in real time according to the criterion of maximum prevented damage and adjusted to the actual realization of preplanned response by the opposing side. Admittedly, these finer points should be taken into consideration, including when specifying the methodology and methodological apparatus of efficiency assessment of Russia’s SOF activity in conditions of furthering the global US AMD system and PGS/LGS assets.
Here it would be wrong to either overestimate or underestimate the danger of AMD and PGS/LGS. Moreover, it is expedient to extract from the foreign experience rational items and useful initiatives. Of these the more noteworthy are the wordings to do with the concept and main objectives of developing strategic nonnuclear weapons; should they gradually oust nuclear weapons in all spheres of strategic deterrence? The United States in all recent renewals of its nuclear strategy answers the question unequivocally: at the present stage, strategic nonnuclear possibilities add to the nuclear SOF triad, but do not replace it.
And this is perfectly understandable and stands to reason, since nuclear weapons have no alternative as an instrument of global and regional strategic deterrence of nuclear, as well as major nonnuclear, threats. And as long as similar threats are in existence, nuclear weapons will also exist. At the same time, along with the said major threats to military security in today’s world, the threats increasingly topical are of the nodal, and local nature, including the previously mentioned threats of nuclear arms and missile technologies proliferation, terrorism threats, and also traditional threats of local wars and armed conflicts.
By and large, local threats to military security, as well as the global and regional ones, are an object of strategic deterrence. And if a threat fails to be deterred, it has to be curtailed. Actually, the potential chance of curtailing nonnuclear threats is the foundation of their deterrence. In this sense, the Armed Forces on the whole are an instrument of deterring threats to military security on the basis of the prospective possibility of their curtailing. From this viewpoint, all the latest instances of the Pentagon’s nuclear strategy renovation look like its sphere has incorporated not only global and regional, but also local threats of potential clashes with nonnuclear or near-nuclear adversaries. In the spirit of the American tradition, this is a way of removing obstacles in position-of-strength politics with regard to hostile regimes seeking nuclear club membership and those having the opposite intention of saving themselves from Washington’s obsessive global ambition. It is a well-known American amusement: first create a threat, and then valiantly fight against it.
In contrast to the United States, Russia does not impose its will on anyone. At the same time, the originally American idea of including local threats in the deterrence concept appears perfectly sound and applicable in the Russian context. In the latest US innovations, this kind of threat is included in the sphere of the nuclear deterrence mechanism, because the threats of proliferation that are of current importance for that country have an obvious potential nuclear tinge. In the Russian context, it appears expedient to likewise include local threats in military strategy, though not in the nuclear kind, the way Washington did, but in the general concept of strategic deterrence, deescalation and curbing of threats to the military security of Russia and its allies. This is a step toward a more general concept where the nuclear deterrence mechanism acts as a mere constituent.
Theoretically speaking, the domestic concept of strategic deterrence is regarded as a two-tiered system in which the global and the regional levels are singled out tentatively.2 At the first level, the threats deterred are of the global nuclear kind, whatever their source. The second level is aimed at deterring major regional threats falling back on nuclear weapons, including NSNW. To make the picture complete, we suggest adding to the traditional two-tiered system of global and regional deterrence another, third, tier, namely, deterrence of local threats to military security with nonnuclear weapons including of strategic purpose.
The proposed vision of the renovated strategic deterrence concept encompasses the entire range of threats to military security, from local to global ones. The new conceptual interpretation consists in the fact that included in the arsenal of deterring the whole gamut of threats to military security is extra reliance on strategic nonnuclear potential. In fact, this is a strategic resource easily projected onto nonnuclear threats to security localized both on territories next to the Russian Federation and in remote military-geographic areas. This creates favorable prerequisites for solving priority problems of local wars with nonnuclear adversaries by using more compact groupings of general-purpose forces in threatened sectors.
One more argument in favor of using strategic nonnuclear opportunities in local wars is related to the basing of strategic carriers outside the combat zone. Basing in the strategic depth coupled with the chance of launching long-range destruction weapons without the carriers entering the ABM/AD areas virtually rules out combat loss of carriers. This is an advantage that the joint strategic commands of general-purpose forces groupings do not have, so they will inevitably sustain losses in combat actions. Considering the said advantageous aspects of strategic nonnuclear weapons, it appears expedient to view that as the main means of winning the strategic initiative in any local warfare. Also, the general-purpose forces are to finalize the rout of the nonnuclear adversary or force the latter to surrender. In fact, this is about a strategy of guaranteed aversion of local wars with nonnuclear adversaries, and if necessary, curbing their aggression against the Russian Federation or its allies with minimum loss of personnel, weapons, and military hardware. The practicability and efficiency of this strategy have been convincingly proved by the already historic events in the Syrian Arab Republic.
At the regional level, the SNNW potential seems best oriented toward tackling deescalation tasks in attempts to halt hostilities against a superior adversary in the nonnuclear phase, and to a degree assuage the suddenness of transition from the threat deterrence that did not work under crisis conditions to threat suppression with extreme means. In this sense, strategic nonnuclear weapons act as a tool of rendering more flexible the mechanism of strategic deterrence of major nonnuclear threats, offering extra chances of hostilities deescalation prior to crossing the nuclear threshold in regional wars.
At the global level, potential tasks of the SNNW could be related to setting up nonnuclear barrier zones of opposing strategic force deployment, including the US global ABM defense system, in particular its maritime echelon, and power control of their combat potential in the interests of maintaining the required level of efficiency in retaliation actions by the domestic SNF. Yet another task could be controlled anti-value escalation of hostilities. It is carried out by means of hitting facilities vulnerable to nonnuclear impact, e.g., fuel and energy facilities, which, if hit, may inflict tangible damage within dozed limits. The potential threat of the yield buildup in these strikes, given the prospect of likely nuclear continuation, is to encourage the superior adversaries to desist from making their aggressive plans reality and give up their desire to win at all costs.
It has to be pointed out that in terms of antivalue struggle efficiency, strategic nonnuclear weapons cannot create a total military-economic alternative to nuclear arms. For this reason, the principal instrument of global and regional deterrence is still nuclear weapons that surpass nonnuclear ones, the latest kinds included, by the cost-efficiency criterion. This conclusion is worth especial emphasis, for strategic nonnuclear weapons are no rational alternative to nuclear arms in solving the problems of global and regional strategic deterrence. Hence the idea that looking for sufficiency criteria for strategic nonnuclear opportunities is best limited to tackling key tasks of local warfare. First and foremost, these are tasks in the struggle for strategic initiative, namely, to win superiority in the air and at sea, isolate the combat area, disorganize control over adversary groupings, hit key facilities of the military infrastructure, etc.
In order to prevent Russia’s potential participation in one or another local war from provoking aggression in other strategic and operational sectors, it appears expedient to resort to the concept of simultaneous deterrence (halting) of two local wars. The hypothetical aggression on the part of a third local adversary would conceptually turn into the large-scale kind, given corresponding involvement of the nuclear factor of military security provision. The strategic nonnuclear potential built to suit the objectives of local wars is a multipurpose resource used to address, among others, the tasks of deescalation in regional and global deterrence.
Given the suggested vision of the role and place of strategic nonnuclear armaments, it appears pertinent to state the objective transformation of the domestic concept of strategic deterrence into a three-tiered model (concept). Within this framework, the traditional nuclear deterrence mechanism supplemented with strategic nonnuclear potential, parries major nuclear and nonnuclear threats at the global and regional levels. Moreover, strategic nonnuclear potential is viewed as a flexible parrying instrument, including for local nonnuclear threats to the military security of Russia and its allies.
The main objectives and ways of neutralizing global, regional, and local threats to military security within the three-tiered concept of strategic deterrence reflect the following basic provisions:
SNF supported by nonstrategic nuclear arms provide global nuclear deterrence based on the SNF effective potential of retaliatory measures in any strategic situations.
Nuclear weapons (both SNF and NSNW), in cooperation with SNNW, act as a deterrent deescalating and curbing major nonnuclear threats, including the coalition kind.
SNNW supplement the mechanism of nuclear deterrence helping to attain the goal of strategic blocking of local nonnuclear threats to military security and make it impossible for the nuclear threshold to slide into the sphere of local wars and armed conflicts.
In the suggested vision of SNF, NSNW, and SNNW act as centrally controlled resources of fulfilling the tasks of global, regional, and local deterrence that are to be optimized without being traditionally divided into spheres and levels of influence, where the SNF tackle the problems of global deterrence, NSNW, those on the regional level, and the problems of local wars are wholly the responsibility of the general-purpose forces. In fact, this is about a system integration of heterogeneous resources to solve diverse problems from a novel perspective, which opens up new vistas for further research in this area.
In today’s world, the system integration trends, both in domestic and in foreign military affairs, are steadily gathering momentum. In particular, this trend manifests itself in enlarged forms of strategic actions by the RF Armed Forces as the spectrum of separately singled out strategic operations is shrinking. One of the more promising versions of the RF AF strategic actions system includes two strategic operations:
Operation by the strategic deterrence forces (OSDF).
Operation by the general-purpose forces (OGPF).
Eventually, the boundaries between OSDF and OGPF will most likely blend into a uniform strategic operation. The prerequisites for this are already discernible from the standpoint of the trends toward upgrading the Russian concept of strategic deterrence, deescalation, and curbing of threats to military security examined here. There strategic offensive forces in the person of SNNW have already been inscribed in the traditional sphere of the general-purpose forces inasmuch as they tackle the problems of local wars. In light of this, a clear-cut division of the strategic deterrence forces and general-purpose forces between OSDF and OGPF collapses. Essentially, this is a forerunner of further integrative task forces toward a uniform strategic operation.
The ultimate goal of this operation is simple and clear, namely, to optimize employment of all systems and assets of armed struggle in order to ensure efficient solution of problems of global, regional, and local deterrence of aggression, and if need be, to localize its scale and neutralize it.
Just as simple and clear is the one purpose of developing all systems and assets of armed struggle, namely, to ensure efficient task performance of global, regional, and local strategic containment of external armed aggression, taking into account the limited amounts of allocations for defense.
Any division is known to be conventional. No matter how strategic actions are divided into individual operations, the General Staff has always tied them into a single concept. In this sense, a systemic approach to strategic planning, for better or for worse, has in fact been present since time immemorial, namely, from the moment the domestic General Staff was set up on January 25, 1763. But division into departments within the Armed Forces makeup, and into individual operations within the system of their strategic actions, inevitably raised, raises, and will raise certain barriers on the way of optimum system solutions. In the end, the thing is not to divide the whole into parts, but to get these parts to work in concert, moreover, in the name not of their private, but precisely of general aims. This is what the essence of a systemic approach is about.
The renewal of the Russian concept and power mechanisms of strategic deterrence is proceeding, in fact, toward a system integration of instruments of global, regional, and local deterrence of external aggression against this state and its allies.
In light of the suggested three-tiered concept of strategic deterrence, one can clearly detect the development prospects of the negotiating process in the area of strategic arms:
The Strategic Nuclear Forces did and do constitute the basis of the global strategic balance, and the prospects of their further transformation will wholly depend on the development standards of the adversaries’ strategic forces, and also on the criteria thresholds of sufficient effectiveness of hypothetical retaliation strikes.
Domination in conventional arms objectively encourages NATO to involve Russia into debates on issues of NSNW liquidation, which runs counter to our military-economic opportunities in the area of strategic deterrence.
In the interests of neutralizing the US competitive advantages in developing nonnuclear forces of RGS, and also to parry foreign initiatives about NSNW liquidation, it appears expedient to put forward our counterinitiatives on the matter of legally binding limitations of strategic nonnuclear arms.
In conclusion, it has to be said that unlike the United States, Russia is not seeking the role of a global military leader. We are peaceful folks, so to say, but all they that take the sword against us shall perish by the sword; the question is merely at which level this will happen, local, regional, or global.
1. Gareyev, M.A., Problemy strategicheskogo sderzhivaniya v sovremennykh usloviyakh [Issues of Strategic Deterrence in Present-Day Conditions], Voyennaya mysl’, # 4, 2009; Burenok, V.M. and Pechatnov, Yu.A., Strategicheskoye sderzhivaniye [Strategic Deterrence], Granitsa Publishers, Moscow, 2011; Matvichuk, V.V. and Khryapin, A.L., Sistema strategicheskogo sderzhivaniya v novykh usloviyakh [A Strategic Deterrence System under New Conditions], Voyennaya mysl’, # 1, 2010, pp. 43-49.
2. Kreidin, S.V., Global’noye i regional’noye yadernoye sderzhivaniye: k sisteme printsipov i kriteriyev [Global and Regional Nuclear Deterrence: On the System of Principles and Criteria], Voyennaya mysl’, # 4, 1999; Matvichuk, V.V. and Khryapin, A.L., Op. cit.
Author: Yu. Gaidunko, S. Makarova
THE ROLE AND PLACE OF RUSSIA IN TODAY'S WORLD
Authors: Yu.A. GAIDUNKO, S.P. MAKAROVA
Lt. Col. Yu.A. GAIDUNKO (Res.), Candidate of Sciences (Educ.)
S.P. MAKAROVA, Candidate of Sciences (Soc.)
Source: Military Thought, Vol. 28, No. 2, pp. 33-41
Abstract. This paper offers ways of improving the architecture of international security on the basis of the emerging international situation.
Keywords: international law, international security, sovereignty, foreign policy, cooperation, national security, military doctrine, military potential.
The crisis of the contemporary system of international security is due to both the current alignment of forces and the reluctance of certain states to come to an agreement with their opponents.
"At the moment the world is going through a crucial stage when relations between states are changing, and the emphasis is increasingly on settling differences by force. Some countries claiming to be exceptional encourage a new arms race." That was how RF Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu described the international situation in his speech at the 7th Conference on International Security held in Moscow on April 4-5, 2018.1
Despite the numerous complaints against the UN and calls for having it reformed, the Organization continues to operate and remains the only universal international floor for coordinating various approaches and positions. However, the generally known instances of using armed force in circumvention of resolutions by the UN Security Council have had an adverse effect on the status of this most important entity in settling international conflicts, and created a precedent for similar actions in the future. The right of veto granted to SC permanent members is likewise losing its effect of a containing factor for aggressors. The more powerful take decisions prompted by the political and ideological expediency. Even such universal international principles as noninterference in the internal affairs of a state and the right of nations to self-determination in the current conditions are ceasing to be imperatives.2 The erosion of internattional law is a direct consequence of the bipolar world's demise and domination of a single center of power that has replaced the former.
The ideologues of globalization as a major argument in favor of stable existence for the monocentric world system used to cite the idea that in society interconnected by a global economy there would be no cause for military conflicts. Accordingly, whereas previously this state was ensured by the military parity of the two opposing systems, later, once the Soviet Union disintegrated, it relied on unified economy whose chief players and promoters were and are representatives of the liberal wing in the U.S. ruling elite and transnational corporations connected with the former.
A significant feature of the world economic globalization process in the late 20th and early 21st centuries was its artificial spurring by political means, and rejection of the natural laws of market development.3 These ranged from the use of soft power in states induced to join the processes and viewed as new markets, to the crude application of the fist law under the slogans of democracy export or humanitarian intervention aimed at demolishing the established economic ties and their subsequent transformation in the perpetrator's favor. A vivid example of the latter were the events of the Arab Spring.4 Yet its consequences gave the expert community reason to speak of the failure of Steven Mann's controlled chaos theory as a technology of neocolonial redivision of the world.5
At the same time, in the part of the globe inhabited by the so-called Golden Billion, a whole complex of problems started coming to the fore; irregular migration of the refugees from Africa and the Middle East flooding across the European borders, a succession of terrorist acts, etc. Apart from this, disintegration has entered an active phase affecting such economically crucial regions as Western Europe and the Middle East: Brexit, attempts at self-determination by some territorial entities in Great Britain, Spain, and Italy, creation of a Kurdish state. The new White House Administration, in its turn, resolved to withdraw from the Transpacific and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnerships, which used to be the token projects of globalization.
The U.S. Democratic Party losing the presidential election would not resign itself to the fact and unleashed an information campaign against president elect, which has radically hindered the process of decision-making for him, and so also reduced the predictability of his politics. The controversy in the political elite of the superpower is negatively impacting the entire global political process. The European elites used to the U.S. dominance, and those following their lead are becoming less of a monolith under the new White House Administration, although from habit they still try to keep a consolidated stand on most issues. The watershed, among other things, is the attitude to the West's relations with Russia. Such countries as Poland, Ukraine, or the Baltic states, to please their masters in the U.S., are willing to disregard their own economic interests for the sake of achieving political objectives aimed at aggravating confrontation with Russia.
On the other hand, Germany, Austria, Hungary, and the Czech Republic take a more pragmatic position and look askance at the protectionist policy of the U.S. Establishment manifested in imposing sanctions on European companies that implement certain projects in the Russian market.
The current hotbeds of tension have merely rendered more difficult the international situation. The reference is primarily to the conflicts in the Middle East and Ukraine. Moreover, the world community has repeatedly been confronted with the fact that the system of international security that evolved during the standoff between the two systems, in present-day conditions cannot function smoothly. Cases of using armed force in disregard of the UN Security Council resolutions (the bombing of Serbia, the intervention in Iraq) are graphic proof of that.
Another destabilizing factor is the U.S. foreign policy. Lately, the White House has quarreled with North Korea, yet there are signs of this contradiction getting settled. Caution in predicting a positive outcome for the would-be negotiations is dictated both by the noncontinuity policy of the U.S. leadership with regard to the work of the previous Administration, and inconsistency in their own actions in international relations. A case in point may be the fact that on May 8, 2018, President Trump announced a unilateral withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (known commonly as the Iran nuclear deal) threatening to impose more sanctions. The agreement member states and many side observers view similar actions as political vandalism, because the withdrawal was effected in violation of the procedure provided for in the agreement, and with demands of similar withdrawals to the allied countries on pain of sanctions imposed on them.
Besides, the U.S. contradictions with Turkey are getting worse, among other things, on the Kurdish issue; in case of the EU and China, the quarrel is over customs duties for whole groups of commodities. The thing causing concern is the utterly unauthorized presence of U.S. army formations on Syria's territory, and in some cases, their employment against the armed forces of that state. A highly negative factor in the Palestine-Israel relations was the transfer of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.
The thing worth a special mention is the deteriorating relations between the RF and the U.S.A. where the starting point seems to be Washington's reaction to Vladimir Putin's 2007 speech at the Munich conference on security politics. The address focused on the unipolar world being inadmissible in present-day conditions, and on the role and place of Russia there, given the current reality and threats.6 The West took Putin's words as an indication that Russia had been heading for independent foreign policy, and defense of its national interests. What happened next was the launch of a steadily accelerating flywheel of unprecedented information warfare against Russia. At the moment, we are witnessing an unceasing battle of sanctions and countersanctions between countries. Especially disquieting is the fact that the U.S. side refuses to comply with its liabilities under previously approved disarmament programs (for weapon-grade plutonium. or destruction of chemical weapons). All START III accords are gradually being devalued. AMD systems are already active not only on U.S. territory (Alaska. California), but also in Eastern Europe; there are now two similar areas in Romania and Poland. Moreover, there are plans to further deploy bases in Japan and South Korea.7 The unfortunate result of this policy was mutual distrust, overcoming which at present is entirely out of the question.
The U.S. openly positions Russia as an Axis of Evil component. To fight Russia, the United States seeks to have our economy in tatters with the help of the following.
- unleashing an arms race;
- rewriting history;
- waging information warfare involving input of fakes under the slogans of isolating and discrediting Russia on the international arena;
- imposing sanctions against certain economic sectors, members of the political leadership and business elite;
- steadily growing NPO funding (in 2015-2017, the U.S. Administration annually allocated over 70 billion rubles to 4,500 nonprofit organizations; some 150 of those were recognized as alien agents).8
The scenarios of further events that the U.S. stage managers are hoping to see enacted are fairly predictable; they expect the people to increasingly resent the ruling regime because of a drastic drop in the living standards, and society to split into ethnic and religious sections, with the protest potential of the youth increasing, and the informal opposition stirred to action. It is not unlikely either that a fifth column will be set up within the business circles, among the intellectuals, media people, and university lecturers.
Here this is clearly about purposeful attempts at undermining the internal and external sovereignty of the state and also delegitimizing the authorities that work to maintain and consolidate the trend toward independence in domestic and foreign policies.9
Another thing that points to growing tension in the international situation is the hands of the Doomsday Clock, which were at 23:57 in 2015-2016, but were moved forward half a minute because of Russia-U.S. relations deteriorating and the news of North Korea developing nuclear arms, while already in January 2018 the Clock said 23:58 (according to Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists of Chicago University). The latest forward shift of the Clock hands by 30 seconds was related to US President Donald Trump and other world leaders failing to remove the threats of nuclear war and climate changes.10
In contrast to the Soviet Union, the RF stand in today's conditions is more vulnerable. The result of the Soviet Union's disintegration was that Russia ended up with a mere 75 percent of its territory, half of its population, 60 percent of GDP, 60 percent of its industrial potential, and 50 percent of its military potential.11
Besides, over the recent decades this country has become fairly deeply integrated in the international economic environment where it is not among the key players and, therefore, takes no part in decision-making. Our financial system is incorporated in the international financial system; a portion of our currency reserves is in foreign finance institutions. It is hardly a secret that some members of our political elite and major business entities closely associated with the former have a personal interest outside their country. Russia's underbelly is also the fact that its entire economic model relied until recently on selling mineral resources to the West. Russia is dependent on its customers who can raise or lower the price of the exported commodity or of its transit.
The chief strategic risks and threats to national security in the economic sphere in the long term are believed by this country's leadership to be preservation of the raw-materials-export model of national economy development, reduced competitiveness, and considerable dependence of its major spheres on the external economic situation, as well as loss of control over national resources.12
One of the main lines in the National Security Strategy of the Russian Federation for a medium term is said to be technological security.13 "It is precisely our lagging behind that is our main threat and our number one enemy. Unless we manage to reverse the situation, the problem will continue to deteriorate," such was the assessment the President voiced in his Address to the Federal Assembly.14
Technological self-sufficiency is one of the major constituents of state sovereignty. Today's world is developing by leaps and bounds, and if the state neglects this matter, the backwardness will become critical, which will inevitably force us to use foreign technologies and so make us technologically dependent until we lose our sovereignty. This risk is particularly significant for advanced states, since they are the chief consumers of new technologies.
In the global hierarchy, the great power role is contested by those who possess natural, technological, scientific, economic, and therefore, also political resources. So the country's leadership is taking steps to diversify the economy, alter the correlation between hydrocarbon and other mineral resources exports, further processing facilities in various industries, develop alternative transit logistics to export gas, and develop own modern technologies.
Nowadays, one can state that international law has formed two trends, namely, most states forsaking a portion of their sovereignty in exchange for their place within the unipolar world, and accepting the fist law principle in interstate relations. Naturally, not every state is up to choosing whether to be sovereign or cede some of its independence. Sovereignty is an expensive commodity, and in the current conditions only three states seem to possess that in full measure, the Russian Federation, China, and the United States.
The debatable issue is the elements making up sovereignty. Is the state's economic might a sine qua non there? We think that the said characteristic is important but not crucial. Thus, Russia has far from the greatest economic potential (two percent to four percent of global GDP, which makes sure that it gets among the Top Ten),15 but considering its military might and ability to provide itself with material resources without external borrowing, it can conduct independent foreign policy and anyway, the position of our state is unique. Throughout several centuries now we have possessed sovereignty that had to be repeatedly defended in armed struggle. We occupy the largest territory in the world and possess vast natural resources, which is a constant irritant to certain states. Russia, therefore, is not up against a choice between sovereignty and political geocapitulation; total sovereignty is a sine qua non for its existence as a state in present-day forms, and at the same time, a superpower attribute.
As for the matter of the right of the strong in the world community, any superpower should prove precisely by its foreign policy its relevance in defining the rules of the game on the international arena, defend its interests and those of its allies on universal and regional sites. The range of means for implementing these tasks is fairly extensive for great powers, from compromises and right of veto in the UN Security Council, to using their military potential in accordance with the international law standards and their military doctrines.
At present, the world is witnessing a boost to the rivalry over the place in the global hierarchy. The situation is made more complex by the fact that the mechanism of managing the world political process and global economy, only recently operational, is no longer as effective as it used to be, and requires upgrading at the very least, which in turn adjusts the leading countries' approaches to implementing their foreign policy. Current reality calls for new rules there, and these rules will continue to be defined by the strongest states.
The task of the Russian Federation is to remain a superpower and consolidate this status pursuing an independent and individual foreign policy course. This is the only way if we wish to see this country in existence and progressing. Therefore, our foreign-policy priorities include provision of the country's security, sovereignty, and territorial integrity, consolidation of the RF position as a more influential center in today's world, and furthering the provision of universal security and stability architecture in order to establish an international system based on international law supremacy.16
According to the results of the sociological survey conducted by the Federal Sociology Research Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences in April 2018, 58 percent of the Russians believe that the main objective for the country in the 21st century is to be among the most economically advanced and politically influential states of the world; for 31 percent this is to see Russia recover its superpower status, and only four percent think that the country should not strive for global goals. This is a repeat research, and the results obtained are practically the same as in the first research dating back to April 2014. Let us observe that 36 percent of our compatriots, assessing the current position of Russia in the world, consider it to be a leading power comparable to the United States and China in terms of impact on global processes.17
In the emerging complex, dynamically changing international situation, the country's political leadership has reviewed and corrected views on issues of national security and its individual constituents. The result of this work was adoption of a number of strategic, conceptual, and doctrinal documents.
Thus in 2009 the National Security Strategy of the Russian Federation until the Year 2020 was approved. In 2015, it was revised. The main lines in national security provision named there are strategic national priorities, which define the purpose of major social, political, and economic transformations when creating safe conditions for exercising constitutional rights and freedoms of the RF citizens, implementing a sustainable development of the country, and preserving the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the state.18
In 2014, the RF President signed the Military Doctrine that takes into account the main provisions of the Concept of Long-Term Socio-Economic Development of the Russian Federation until the Year 2020, the National Security Strategy of the Russian Federation until the Year 2020, and also corresponding provisions in the Foreign Policy Concept of the Russian Federation and strategic planning documents.19
On the basis of the said documents, the State Armaments Program for 2018-2027 was adjusted and approved. This document provides for developing and purchasing cutting-edge types of weapons, giving priority to such trends as high-precision weapons, UAV, employment of artificial intelligence for military purposes, and others. Besides, they passed the Doctrine of Food Security, and the Doctrine of Information Security, which should be seen as stages in consolidating the state's security, i.e. the basis of its sovereignty.
Thus food security is among the main trends in the provision of the country's national security in the medium term. It is viewed as a factor of preserving statehood and sovereignty,20 while the strategic objective of information security provision in the country's defense is protection of the vital interests of the individual, society, and the state from internal and external threats related to the use of information technologies to military-political ends that go against international law, including in order to commit hostile acts and aggression aimed at undermining the sovereignty, violating the territorial integrity of states and jeopardizing international peace, security, and strategic stability.21
It is expedient to introduce changes in the effective version of the Military Doctrine in accordance with the current reality.
■ First, it was adopted before the start of our military grouping's active involvement in the Syrian events.
■ Second, in 2017, the United States signed its National Security Strategy, which outlined its priorities in the sphere.
Some points in this document are causing concern. Thus, it has recorded a lower threshold of nuclear retaliation, namely, in response to the use of conventional weapons or cyber attacks.22
Given all of the above, we propose adding to Russia's military policy such provisions as indicating Russia's claims to the role of a military superpower, possibility of averting aggression against our state outside its territory, and the presence of our military contingents abroad on a permanent basis in various regions of the world.
The doctrine registers the right of the Russian Federation to use nuclear arms in response to nuclear and other kinds of weapons of mass destruction used against this country and/or its allies, and also in the event of aggression against Russia involving conventional weapons when the very existence of the state is under threat.23 It is expedient to use as a retaliatory measure a lowered threshold of nuclear weapon employment. For instance, the possibility of using that in response to Russia or its allies being attacked with tactical nuclear weapons or warheads with depleted uranium, and also massive cyber attacks against the country's life-supporting facilities.
By way of the quintessence of the above, one can summarize the general idea of the second part of the Address to the Federal Assembly, which the RF President made in 2018. He stated that Russia today is a leading power with a great external-economic and defense potential that can protect its sovereignty and independence under any challenges, which is a necessary condition for the state's existence in its present form, and also its sustainable and independent development. However, neither the role of superpower nor the military might can change Russia's attitude to its foreign policy. As always, it adheres to the principles of international law and is open to equal and mutually beneficial cooperation on the international arena.24
1. Speech by the Defense Minister of the Russian Federation, General of the Army Sergei Shoigu, at the 7th Moscow Conference on International Security. URL: http://lyricpow.com/выступление-министра-обороны-рф-сергея-шойгу-на-vii-московской-конференции-по-международной-безопасн-5j5wIs2tX50 (Retrieved on April 8, 2018.)
2. Oleinov, A.G., Sovremenniye mezhdunarodniye otnosheniya [Present-Day International Relations], Textbook. Ed. by Torkunov, A.V., Malgin, A.V., Aspekt-Press, Moscow, 2017.
3. Kutuzova, Ye.A., Globalizatsiya ekonomiki i yeyo vliyaniye na ekonomiku Rossiyi [Economy Globalization and Its Effect on Russia's Economy]," Elektronniy nauchno-prakticheskiy zhurnal Gumanitarniye nauchniye issledovaniya [Electronic theoretical and practical journal Humanitarian Research]. URL: http://ekonomika.snauka.ru/2013/4/2173 (Retrieved on April 8, 2018.)
4. Kozhahmet-uly, K., "Arabskaya vesna": predposylki, kharakter i znacheniye [The Arab Spring: Prerequisites, Nature and Significance]," Vestnik KazNU [Kazakh National University Press], 2013. URL: https://articlekz.com/article/11797 (Retrieved on April 8, 2018.)
5. Doktrina upravlyayemogo khaosa: aktual'nost' issledovaniya [The Controlled Chaos Doctrine: the Relevance of Research], Politobrazovaniye: informatsionno-analiticheskiy zhurnal. URL: http://lawinrussia.ru/content/doktrina-upravlyaemogo-haosa-aktualnost-issledovaniya (Retrieved on April 8, 2018.); Teoriya upravlyayemogo khaosa i Stiven Mann [The Controlled Chaos Theory and Steven Mann], Politobrazovaniye.... URL: http://lawinrussia.ru/content/teoriya-upravlyaemogo-haosa-i-stiven-mann (Retrieved on April 8, 2018.)
6. Speech by Vladimir Putin at the Munich Conference on Security Politics of February 10. 2007. URL: http://mediamera.ru/post/9244 (Retrieved on March 3, 2018.)
7. Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, Chicago University journal. URL: https://thebulletin.org/clock/2018 (Retrieved on April 8, 2018.)
8. Speech by Vladimir Putin at the Munich Conference....
9. Kuznetsova, Ye., Uskol'zayushchiy suverenitet: status-kvo protiv ideologiyi peremen [The Elusive Sovereignty: Status Quo versus the Ideology of Change], Monograph, ARGAMAKMEDIA Publishers, Moscow, 2013; Moiseyev, A.A., O nekotorykh vzglyadakh na suverenitet [On Certain Views of Sovereignty]. URL: http://km.kazguu.kz/uploads/files/12.%20Моисеев%20A.A.%2074-79.pdf (Retrieved on April 8, 2018.)
10. Bulletin of Atomic Scientists....
11. Poslaniye Prezidenta RF Federal'nomu Sobraniyu ot 01.03.2018 [Address by the RF President to the Federal Assembly of March 1, 2018], URL: http://www.kremlin.ru/events/presdent/news/56957 (Retrieved on March 1, 2018.)
12. RF President's Decree 683 of December 31, 2015 O Strategiyi natsional'noy bezopasnosti Rossiyskoy Federatsiyi [On the National Security Strategy of the Russian Federation]. URL: http://www.consultant.ru/document/cons_doc_LAW_191669/ (Retrieved on February 25, 2018.)
14. Poslaniye Prezidenta....
15. Priemskaya, Ye., Kozyakova, N., Kakoye mestopo razmeru ekonomiki Rossiya zanimayet v mire: sravneniye ekonomicheskikh pokazateley RF s krupneyshimi ekonomikami mira [The Place of Russia in the World in Terms of the Economy Size: Comparing RF Economic Indicators with the World's Biggest Economies]. URL: https://iz.ru/news/675077 (Retrieved on February 28, 2018.)
16. Ukaz Prezidenta RF ot 05.12.2016 # 646 Ob utverzhdeniyi doktriny informatsionnoy bezopasnosti Rossiyskoy Federatsiyi [Decree 646 by the RF President of December 5, 2016 On Approving the Doctrine of Information Security of the Russian Federation}. URL: http://www.consultant.ru/document/cons_doc_LAW_208191/ (Retrieved on February 25, 2018.)
17. Seliverstova, N., Rossiyane nazvali glavniye tseli strany [The Russians Name Their Country's Principal Objectives]. URL: https://ria.ru/society/20180522/1521063692.html (Retrieved on May 22, 2018.)
18. RF President's Decree 683....
19. Voyennaya doktrina Rossiyskoy Federatsiyi [The Military Doctrine of the Russian Federation]. Approved by RF President's Decree Pr-2976 of December 25, 2014. URL: http://www.consultant.ru/document/cons_doc_LAW_172989/ (Retrieved on February 25, 2018.)
20. RF President's Decree 120 of January 30, 2010 Ob utverzhdeniyi doktriny prodovolstvennoy bezopasnosti Rossiyskoy Federatsiyi [On Approving the Food Security Doctrine of the Russian Federation]. URL: http://www.consultant.ru/document/cons_doc_LAW_96953/ (Retrieved on February 25, 2018.)
21. RF President's Decree 646....
22. US National Security Strategy. URL: http://politinform.su/pervaya-polosa/18245-strategiya-nacionalnoy-bezopasnosti-ssha-polnyy-tekst.html (Retrieved on March 1, 2018.)
23. Voyennaya doktrina Rossiyskoy Federatsiyi....
24. Bulletin of Atomic Scientists....
Translated by Margarita Kvartskhava
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Author: A. V. Brychkov, V.L. Dorokhov, G.A. Nikonorov
THE HYBRID NATURE OF FUTURE WARS AND CONFLICTS
Col. A. S. BRYCHKOV (Ret.), Doctor of Philosophical Sciences
Col. V. L. DOROKHOV, Doctor of Military Sciences
Lt. Col. G. A. NIKONOROV, Candidate of Philosophical Sciences
Source: Military Thought, Vol. 28, No.2 (2019), pp. 20-32
Abstract: Based on analysis of the military-political situation throughout the world, the US National Security Strategy and US military planning documents, the authors forecast some characteristics of future wars and armed conflicts. These factors relate to the proliferation of asymmetric and indirect actions, the shift of armed confrontation to cities and population centers, and the broader application of irregular formations.
Keywords: Hybrid war, irregular formations, asymmetric and indirect actions, direct defense, strategy of guerrilla warfare, cyber and counter-cyber weapons.
The geopolitical situation in the world remains unstable, as evidenced by numerous facts and circumstances of functioning social systems on the verge of balancing between peace and war. Many regional military conflicts, including at the borders of the Russian Federation are unresolved; the trend toward their forceful resolution continues. Moreover, world public opinion is presented with scientific, military doctrinal and legal justification of the necessity and inevitability in the system of geostrategic plans and aspirations of the Anglo-Saxon world, particularly the NATO countries, led by the United States. In our view, we also cannot rule out the probability of escalation of armed conflicts in a large-scale war with the participation of the leading states of the world.
It is difficult to say today what future wars and armed conflicts will be like, particularly in terms of the ratio of used military and non-military ways to achieve policy objectives. It can only be assumed that they will not be like the previous ones. This is evidenced by the nature of the local wars of recent decades and the analysis of United States military planning documents: The US national defense strategy (National Defense Strategy, NDS), US national military strategy, (National Military Strategy, NMC), and US Army Operating Concept 2020-2040: Winning in a Complex World.
Many military experts predict that future war will typically be carried out without front and rear, and the defending party may sometimes strike before the aggressor attacks. Will this aggressor really exist? After all, “Tough confrontations of the future will be in unfamiliar surroundings and in an unfamiliar place. Furthermore, armies will confront unknown enemies, belonging to unknown coalitions.”1. And where there are unknown enemies there are also strange wars: not only armed struggle on a traditional battlefield, but also confrontation in diplomacy, internal civil conflicts, behavioral, informational, financial and economic and technological confrontation. Everything now for Western civilization has become synonymous with the word "war.”
On land and at sea, in the air, space and cyberspace, the Pentagon intends to wage wars that are hybrid, asymmetric and counter-insurgent - which the mass media, also being a resource and tool for military action, will called "conflict", "confrontation" or "opposition." Indeed, the fact is that mankind is entering a new era of "world wars" and "shadow wars.”
Whereas through most of the 20th century, largely due to the existence of the socialist system, social differentiation within developed capitalist countries decreased, as did differences between developed and developing countries, for nearly 25 years the opposite trend has been observed. An increasingly large share of income, property, resources and power is concentrated in the hands of the richest segments of the population, particularly the upper 1%. The size of the middle class is gradually decreasing. The debt burden of the population is growing. A certain improvement of living standards has been accompanied by a decline in wealth and property truly belonging to the population. Living in debt has become widespread.
Moreover, the problem of masses of extra people is emerging. An additional dimension of this problem the fact that year by year, there are fewer incentives for moving production from Western countries to Asia, Africa and Latin America in pursuit of reduction in labor costs. Today robots produced in the United States and Japan, with little more than two years’ recoupment, are proving to be cheaper in assembly production than, for example, Chinese or Indonesian workers. It is quite obvious that the growth of wealth and social inequality, the lack of prospects for work and increasingly disconnected worldwide "social elevators" inevitably lead to a dramatic rise in social tensions and contradictions, which will continuously escalate, and their participants are becoming more radical. In this regard, the risks of unleashing throughout the world not only international, global and regional military conflicts, but also civil conflicts fraught with global civil war are increasing.
Traditional activities that had previously been the prerogative solely of the state are in private hands. For example, few people know that 70% of the activities of the American intelligence community are done by private contractors. In addition, no one properly comprehends fact that in terms of firepower and combat capabilities, major private military companies (PMCs) currently surpass the national armed forces of 30% of the world’s countries. We are seeing an expansion of supranational governing bodies that come into conflict with the policies of nation-states, as a result of which new trouble spots are created.
Internet and communications change the awareness of political ideas more quickly and create a new reality. Whereas real life used to determine consciousness, now it is possible to use transformations of consciousness to build a new version of life, even an illusory one, and turn it into a reality that can be used to solve political problems. International law designed for the legal subjectivity of sovereign states, is becoming increasingly blurred as a result of the increasing scale of the use of nonstate actors, with the aid of which political tasks at the international level are being addressed.
The old world order, which was based on clear military and economic priorities, is increasingly more difficult to preserve. The new situation is being realized in many countries of the world. Recent decades have been unsuccessful for the United States in political and military terms. American Armed Forces by and large suffered tangible defeat in Iraq and Afghanistan, and have failed to achieve their goals in North Africa and other regions of the world.2
In the US National Security Strategy adopted in 2017, the modern geopolitical situation is characterized as follows.
First, Russia and China are called revisionist, i.e., countries that want to revise the world order. In the description of the key challenges for the US, they occupy most of the space. The “current challenges to free societies” are portrayed in the 2017 Strategy as “just as serious, but more diverse” than “during the cold war, when there was a totalitarian threat from the Soviet Union.” The new Strategy emphasizes that China and Russia are seeking to shape a world that is contrary to American values and interests. It is noted that it is Russia’s goal to weaken the influence of the US in the world and to isolate America from its allies and partners, and that China is expanding its power “at the expense of the sovereignty of others" and “is building the most perfect military system in the world next to America’s.” On the basis of the provisions of the new National Security Strategy, the US, competing with such countries as China and Russia, will act independently to a greater extent, without regard to international organizations.3
Second, in accordance with the new Strategy, the policy of containment of Russia will now be conducted openly and even more fiercely, regardless of political change inside the US, no matter which group comes to power in America, as long as Russia remains an obstacle to the main American goal of preserving the position of the US as the sole global leader. By designating Russia and China as its main strategic opponents, Washington itself thus acknowledged that a unipolar world no longer exists.4
Third, most alarming in the document is the idea that America has the option to wage preventive wars against countries that pose a threat to its national interests. A preventive war is a willingness to deal a military blow before there is aggression. Preventive actions are usually conducted without tangible evidence of a threat and without relevant decisions by international organizations.
The following was written in the introduction to the previous Strategy-2015: "The question is not whether or not America should lead. The question is how we should lead... We are united by a national confidence that America’s global leadership remains immutable.”5 The motif of American global leadership also remains in the new Strategy: “The whole world is lifted by America’s renewal and the reemergence of American leadership.”6
The provisions of the National Security Strategy are developed in the US National Defense Strategy and National Military Strategy. The first, signed by the US Secretary of Defense, focuses on the role of defense in implementing the National Security Strategy. Next comes the US National Military Strategy (National Military Strategy, NMS), developed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the governing body of the US Armed Forces. It formulates the role of the Armed Forces in accordance with the tasks set by the parent documents.
In the US National Defense Strategy, the US Department of Defense proposes to focus on three main directions to counter threats: increasing the combat readiness of the Army, strengthening existing alliances and reforming the department itself to increase the efficiency and speed of the bureaucratic process. It also proposes to upgrade weapons. “The surest way to prevent war is to be prepared to win it,” reads the National Defense Srategy.7 The US plans to upgrade its Army, in particular, by modernizing the nuclear triad: strategic aircraft, intercontinental ballistic missiles and nuclear-missile submarines. In addition, the document says that the US is planning to work to strengthen alliances so that “no enemy can stand up to the joint fiorces of the US and its allies.” Key areas for strengthening partnership are the Indo-Pacific region, the Middle East and NATO.
The American ideology of modern warfare is set out in the US National Military Strategy-2015, where the scale of the Pentagon’s preparations is demonstrated. In essence, it is about turning “global disorder” into an “international order promoted by American leadership.” This "international order" is directly connected with "the promotion of universal values" and ensuring "security of a global open economic system."
Inasmuch as the document is from the Pentagon, it envisions promoting the new order through war. To do so, the American Armed Forces should be “used globally" and be able to conduct "integrated operations," relying on their "global stabilizing presence" - i.e., their network of military bases and "global network of allies and partners."
In full accordance with the hierarchy of legal acts in state and military administration, the document designed to implement the provisions of the National Defense and National Military Strategies is the US Army Operational Concept "Victory in a Complex World 2020-2040.” It is not prescriptive in nature, but determines how the Army operates now and the way in which the US Army command can use future opportunities to reflect anticipated threats. The Concept proceeds from the assumption that on land, in the air, at sea, in space and in cyberspace, the military advantage of the Anglo-Saxons will be undeniable.
To enshrine the political and military trend for the short term, President Donald Trump signed a national defense budget for the year 2019 in the amount of $716 billion, which is 3% more than the previous year. The budget, whose passage is seen by analysts as a victory for US Defense Secretary James Mattis, provides the Pentagon $69 billion for current foreign operations (Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Syria, etc.), as well increasing Armed Forces salaries by 2.6%. Their numbers will grow by 16,000 troops in the near future.8 For comparison: In 2018, the military budget amounted to almost $700 billion, in 2017 it was about $619 billion, and $600 billion in 2016.9
Thus, it can be argued that the US is preparing for war, while constantly expressing the need for the preservation of peace. An analysis of the basic provisions of the US National Security Strategy, the National Defense Strategy and the US Army Operational Concept allows us to understand the nature of future wars and get a sense of the methods of conducting the combat operations for which the NATO Armed Forces are preparing out to the year 2040. On this basis, it is advisable to reverse-engineer a counteraction procedure: Knowledge of an attack strategy provides an opportunity to outline a strategy for protection.
Although advances in technology will continue to have an impact on the nature of wars of the future, it can be assumed that they will have less impact on ground forces (GF) than on other AF branches. The threats to the vital interests of states in air, sea, space and cyberspace are ultimately determined by the situation on the ground. Despite the fact that the ability to project power on Earth from the air, sea and cyberspace is very important when carrying out joint operations, the use of GF remains crucial for achieving political results.
GF in the wars of the future will face challenges not only to defeat enemy ground troops and hold territory, but also to create conditions for the organization of an interim military government in anticipation of the transition to civil authorities, which will require the availability of relevant experts in the army. In other words, GF must not only defeat the enemy on the battlefield, but also possess the ability to translate military victories into political results. At present and in the future, the significant influence on the conduct of operations by GF formations will provide a number of new factors (see Table).
GF should have the possibility to achieve their goals both through the use of special operations forces (SOF) with full support of their operations (simplified version carrying out their mission) and through broad-based operations using all available forces and assets. While military forces must work closely with GF, it is necessary to interact with forces and assets of other federal bodies of executive power, both when conducting combat operations as part of joint groupings of troops (forces) and in operational tasks to support vital activities of the population in areas of armed conflict, providing military support to the local self-government bodies, law-enforcement agencies, etc. In connection with this, general cultural training of GF personnel, aimed in particular at the study and understanding of national psychology and culture of the population in the likely field of operation, become increasingly important.
Currently, one can see an effort to develop super-complex technical innovations to replace high-quality training for troops waging firefights. Changes in the environment of armed confrontation and its forms are not always taken into account when, despite their technical and resource superiority, troops are unable to perform their assigned missions.
Currently there is a disparity between NATO’s general-purpose forces and those of the Russian Federation (with its allies). It will not disappear in the near future, for economic reasons. Therefore, it is necessary to focus on finding and developing asymmetric and indirect methods of waging war (Fig. 1).
As evidenced by the retrospective analysis of the 200-year history of military conflicts, power, strength and resources do not always guarantee victory in an armed confrontation. For instance, during this period the weaker side won nearly 30% of all asymmetric wars. Moreover, an interesting trend is observed: The more recent the conflict, the more often the weaker side has won. Perhaps this is due to the fact that the strong side in the conflict is less motivated to win, because its survival is not at stake. Conversely, a weak entity is increasingly ready to go all the way, demonstrating the utmost motivation for victory, because that is the only guarantee of its survival.
The most common asymmetric strategies of a militarily weak side include direct active protection and guerrilla actions.
Direct active defense involves the use of armed forces to prevent capture by the enemy of territories with resident populations that possess businesses and strategic resources. Like a direct attack strategy, a direct defense strategy focuses exclusively on the military plane -- the application of regular armed forces. Paradoxically, active defense in practice can be implemented in preventive offensive actions aimed at advancing the destruction of the most dangerous groupings of a stronger opponent, in order to deprive it of an opportunity to unleash an all-out war, which the opponent would inevitably win because of its power and resource advantages.
Guerrilla warfare strategy involves achieving one’s own goals through constant attacks on the enemy by small detachments, distributed in space, causing losses in manpower, armament and military equipment and materiel, and destruction of logistical structures, thereby undermining the morale of personnel and weakening their will to win. The strategy of guerrilla warfare may be successfully implemented if two obligatory conditions are met. First, the terrain must be difficult, complicating the conduct of combat operations – for example, dense forest, jungles, swamps, mountains, major cities, etc. Second, one needs real support from the local population and continuous full supply of guerrillas.
Guerrilla warfare has never counted on the rapid, decisive defeat of the stronger side. It is almost always a war of attrition. The experience of the Great Patriotic War and struggles with various underground groups shows that, for the efficient organization of such asymmetric fighting, it is necessary to train personnel in advance during peacetime and to familiarize them with the upcoming operations area.
For manning of guerrilla groups and their relevant training, it is advisable to involve specialists from the Federal Security Service (FSB), the National Guard, the Internal Affairs Ministry, the SOF and Airborne Troops. In addition, a special entity responsible for the status of forces and assets for waging such operations, planning, and coordinating their actions should be created in advance within the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces; a system of depots and bases with arms and food should be set up, as well as a logistics chain to resupply them. If fighting becomes protracted due to the occupation of large parts of Russia, then without this kind of structure SOF and Spetsnaz units alone are not likely to be able to carry out their missions fully of disrupting enemy communications and destroying its infrastructure on the captured territory.
In our view, it is also necessary to consider training for military units of the Armed Forces, including the revision of their guidance documents, so that in unfavorable conditions they could transition to guerrilla warfare technique, either on the orders of superiors or in the event of disruption of centralized command and control.
History shows that the troops of the strong side have succeeded in the early stages of the war succeeds when acting against the regular armed forces of the weak side; but once the weak opponent moves to guerrilla warfare or insurgent actions, combined with terrorist attacks, the strong side often suffers defeat.
It should be noted that, judging by the nature of the expenditures on armaments, the leading states of the West have not drawn the proper conclusions from the lessons of history. They still fully rely on their technological, informational and resource superiority and believe that the weak side will act within their logic and linear strategy, embarking on conventional warfare. It is necessary to benefit from the situation and prepare to use asymmetric methods of armed struggle in forests and cities, all the more so because these same factors may impede combat operations in enemy territory.10
Analysis of warfare in military conflicts in the 21st century shows that cities and major metropolitan areas are increasingly becoming the arena of armed confrontation. Fighting in urban areas give the weak side the opportunity to equalize potentials due to limitations in the application of enemy aircraft, tanks, multiple launch rocket systems, tactical missile weapons, etc. The side observing the norms and rules of international humanitarian law will be forced to minimize its own superiority in forces and assets and conduct combat operations mainly using small arms in close combat, which always leads to large losses.
It must be noted that the ever-increasing flow of migrants into cities and urban agglomerations represents a certain threat. This is the main labor force engaged in essential services, such as public transport, food service, medical care, communications and utilities. Migrants are a hotbed of ethnic crime, causing discontent among the urban population. They will be among the first recruited for various kinds of illegal armed groups, terrorist organizations and nongovernmental structures, which at some point could disrupt or take control the urban infrastructure.
In connection with the language barrier, the insularity of ethnic groups, and other factors, it is quite difficult for law-enforcement authorities to monitor the situation with respect to this category of the urban population. And the availability of accessible information networks makes sabotage or rebellion quite possible. Measures to counteract this process need to be developed, and the factor of migrants should be taken into account in the organization of upcoming combat actions.
Attention should be paid to the ever-increasing role played in military conflicts by irregular formations supported by state structures; some even include SOF subunits. In this regard, in our view, combined conflicts will become widespread in which both state-run armed forces and irregular armed formations take part in combat operations, as well as small SOF units and reconnaissance groups. Some of these will be from sponsor countries that, while formally not party to the conflict, actively supply one or several of its participants with everything necessary. Despite the fact that the use of asymmetric methods of fighting is usually the prerogative of the weaker side, in the future all warring parties will use them.
It must be borne in mind that nonstate armed groups will largely be manned by representatives of the civilian population, with increasing access to advanced technology. Today almost any civilian technology can find a military application. For example, remote control devices of various consumer electronics or car access can easily be repurposed as triggers to remotely control explosive devices; household and industrial chemicals can be used to manufacture explosive devices; automobiles can serve as mobile mines and battering rams; and drones can be used for reconnaissance or delivery of ammunition to the target.
Military conflicts that involve asymmetric and indirect actions, irregular armed groups supported by interested countries, and subsequently state armed forces are commonly referred to as hybrid wars (Fig. 2).
It appears that the international criminal network, which engages simultaneously in military, political and business activities, will play a significant role in such wars. It is not ruled out that criminal groups, taking advantage of the weakened state during armed conflicts of varying intensity, will seek to seize power in certain regions and take control over part of the country’s territory and resources. This factor will also have to be considered in order to achieve victory over the enemy.
In future hybrid wars, we should expect an ever-greater combination of the lethality of interstate conflict with the fanaticism and rage of guerrilla warfare. The warring parties, including interested state-sponsored irregular groups and volunteers, will be equipped with modern arms and communication equipment, including encryption systems, man-portable air systems and other systems, as well as engineering ammunition and improvised explosive devices. They often will begin to practice mass killings of local residents who refuse to support them.
When waging hybrid wars, they may also use the resources of interested states: weapons to incapacitate satellites, cyberweapons, unmanned aerial vehicles, state terrorism and provocations, such as the simulated use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government army. Therefore, it is becoming increasingly difficult to equate the state solely with a regular army, and nongovernmental organizations and forces only with irregular groups.
The armed forces and law-enforcement authorities of most states were formed in the era of classical wars, and so they are focused on combating specific internal and external enemies. However, the nature of threats has changed, and for their neutralization it is necessary to establish integrated teams involving combined-arms formations and special units trained to operate in such situations. It is quite possible to involve representatives of PMCs as well.
Wars and armed conflicts will be increasingly difficult to classify in accordance with national and international legal systems, because their participants will belong to many sectors: public and private, domestic and international, volunteer and salaried, religious and criminal.
In our view, the experience of fighting in Syria and in other armed conflicts has shown that from traditional types of military forces it is advisable to move to expeditionary, specially trained small subunits that are able to operate autonomously on urbanized terrain with the support of aviation and high-precision weapons. Traditional regiments, brigades and divisions must be built on a modular principle from such units, which would be staffed by fighters who are well trained individually and also trained to operate in concert in the most difficult situations. In keeping with the modular structure, these units would be expected (after completing their own missions, or upon order) to quickly assemble into powerful unified special combined-arms units to deliver strikes on important targets and perform missions in accordance with the general plan.
Holding territory and controlling it cannot be fully guaranteed with only forces from GF military formations. Liberated territory must be quickly integrated into the nationwide space; therefore, serious consideration should be given to the application of these combined groupings, among which it is advisable to include groups of professionals capable of infrastructural support to operations and, if necessary, restoration of fuel, energy and utilities to populated areas.
The procedure for the establishment of a military-civilian administration in areas seized by combat operations should also be thought out. In the event of repelling aggression against Russia, it is advisable to create -- in all major populated areas where battles are expected -- a rapid-response system for infrastructure crises to restore essential public services, including supplies of food and water. This issue requires careful consideration and detailed planning.
There is also a need to continue to improve the system of territorial defense and regularly conduct training and exercises with the involvement of relevant military and law-enforcement manpower and resources, the Emergency Situations Ministry and local administrations to practice guarding and defending important installations, fighting enemy SOF and illegal armed groups, as well as eliminating the consequences of hostilities in urbanized territories.
Thus, future wars and armed conflicts will usually be of a hybrid nature. The main strikes will very likely be directed at state and military administration sites and at cities. Military action will take place using methods of asymmetric confrontation in hard-to-reach areas, as well as major cities and agglomerations with their huge masses of population, social inequalities, densely built-up areas, and in most cases poor infrastructure and inconsistently effective governance systems.
Conflicts would include battle confrontations on various scales, combining the activities of military formations of conventional armed forces, PMCs and other nonstate actors and criminal organizations. In addition to combined-arms battles and operations, forms of combat will include urban riots caused by hopelessness, well-prepared uprisings, terrorist acts and shadow wars inspired from abroad. The warring parties will use various highly sophisticated methods, tactics and modern technology.
In this connection, the military-political leadership of Russia must improve the military organization of the state to reduce the risks that the country might face in the future, and take measures to redistribute scarce economic resources to neutralize hybrid threats and implement the strategic objectives of the Russian Federation and its allies. It is expedient, in our view, to pay particular attention to creating within our military structure flexible, multi-purpose forces capable of acting in the unique circumstances of any particular conflict, including a hybrid war. A certain level of specialization is necessary, of course, but in the long run troops and forces should be prepared to conduct successful campaigns against not only the armies of the leading states of the world and against international terrorist organizations, but also against a combination of both simultaneously, in urbanized areas and in other very difficult situations. This will minimize risks and maximize the potential to meet the needs of the Armed Forces with limited resources.
Today, more than ever, we must not forget the ever-changing threats and challenges to the security of Russia and its allies. The President of the Russian Federation has pointed out a number of times that throughout the world new regional and local wars keep cropping up right before our eyes, as well as zones of instability and artificially stoked “managed chaos.” Moreover, we are witnessing conscious attempts to provoke such conflicts in close proximity to the borders of Russia and its allies. The Supreme Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation has stated: “Under these circumstances, Russia cannot rely only on diplomatic and economic methods of removing discord and resolving conflicts. Our country faces the challenge of developing military capabilities as part of a strategy of deterrence and defense sufficiency. And the Armed Forces, intelligence services and other security agencies must be prepared to respond rapidly and effectively to new challenges.”11
1 Ye.S. Larina and V.S. Ovchinskiy, Mirovoyna. Vse protiv vsekh. Noveyshiye kontseptsiyi boyevykh deystviy anglosaksov [World War: All Against All. Latest Concepts of Anglo-Saxon Combat Operations]. Moscow: Knizhniy mir, 2015, p. 35.
2 Ye.S. Larina. Umnozhayushchiye skorb. Kak vyzhit’ v epokhu voyny elit [Increasing Grief: How to Survive in the Age of the War of Elites.] URL: https://books.google.ru/books?id=MtZwDgAAQBAJ&pg=PT87&lpg=PT87&dq = (Retrieved March 5, 2018).
3 National Security Strategy of the United States of America, December 2017. URL: https://www.hsdl.org/?abstract&did=806478 (Retrieved April 2, 2018).
4 Report to Congress on US 2017 National Security Strategy. URL: https://news.usni.org/2018/01/05/report-congress-2017-u-s-national-security-strategy (Retrieved May 5, 2018).
5 National Security Strategy of the United States of America, December 2017. URL: http://nssarchive.us/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/2017.pdf (Retrieved May 16, 2018).
6 Report to Congress on US 2017 National Security Strategy. URL: https://news.usni.org/2018/01/05/report-congress-2017-u-s-national-security-strategy (Retrieved May 16, 2018).
7 URL: https://www.rbc.ru/politics/19/01/2018/5a61ccc09a7947061eb2ed36 (Retrieved May 16, 2018).
8 Rossiyskaya gazeta. URL: https://rg.ru/2018/08/14/tramp-podpisal-oboronnyj-biudzhet-na-2019-god.html (Retrieved Aug. 15, 2018).
9 Rossiya v novoy Strategii natsionalnoy bezopastnosti SSHA [Russia in the New US National Security Strategy.] URL: https://topwar.ru/132323-rossiya-v-novoy-strategii-nacionalnoy-bezopasnosti-ssha.html (Retrieved March 3, 2018).
10 Ye.S. Larina and V.S. Ovchinsky, Mirovojna..., p. 235.
11 V.V. Putin, “Byt’ sil’nymi: garantiyi natsionalnoy bezopasnosti dlya Rossiyskoy Federatsiyi” [Be strong: Safeguards for national security of the Russian Federation]. Rossiyskaya gazeta, 2016, No. 5709 (35). February 20, 2012.
Translated by Dean Benson
Author: A.A. Mikhlin, V.V. Molochny, V.A. Balandin
RUSSIA AND NATO: A HISTORY OF RELATIONS IN THE CONTEXT OF COOPERATION AT SEA
Authors: A.A. MIKHLIN, V.V. MOLOCHNY, V.A. BALANDIN
Source: Military Thought, Vol. 28, No.1, 2019, pp. 1-19
This paper analyzes the arduous path of the Russia-NATO relations in historical retrospect and at the current stage, looks into the principal trends in international terrorism as an element of a single system of new challenges and threats of today, and gives a concise retrospective survey of practical measures implemented along the Russia-NATO line in the area of cooperation in combating new challenges and threats at sea.
Uniform system of new challenges and threats of the 21st century, international terrorism, transnational organized crime conglomerates, struggle against new challenges and threats at sea, international relations, Russia-NATO cooperation, systemic structural approach.
The entire history of the 20th century is an unending succession of wars, bloody postwar local conflicts in various parts of the planet, collapse of the socialist system, and the resulting global geopolitical shifts that shook the whole world political system of the time to its foundations. Quite a few countries that used to be members of various military-political blocs vanished from the political map of the world. The worst geopolitical upheaval of the last century was the disintegration of the Soviet Union, which plunged into oblivion the entire Yalta-Potsdam system of postwar world order.
The collapse of the enormous country engendered a host of problems, not only in the domestic but also in the foreign policy of the Russian Federation that had succeeded the U.S.S.R. As the Soviet Union disintegrated, lots of local conflicts erupted in former (FSU) republics, some of them ethnically and religiously conditioned; transnational organized crime burgeoned on an unprecedented scale, and terrorism in all its monstrous manifestations flared up accompanied by a flood of all kinds of drugs that gushed into Russia through the gaps in its frontiers.
Today's world on the whole displays a precipitous growth in the scale, nature, and geography of such transborder challenges and threats as illicit proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and means of their transportation, uncontrolled arms trafficking, irregular migration, human trafficking, illegal turnover of narcotics, psychotropic agents and their precursors, corruption, maritime piracy, cyber crime, global poverty, climate change, and also threats in the area of food, environmental, sanitary, and epidemiological security.1
The main marker of the current stage in the development of international relations is tectonic shifts in the geopolitical landscape mightily catalyzed by the global financial and economic crisis. International relations are undergoing a difficult transition period whose essence is the emergence of a polycentric international system. The process is far from smooth, accompanied as it is by enhanced turbulence in economic and political development at the global and regional levels. International relations continue to get increasingly complex, and their development is increasingly unpredictable.2
The formation of the new polycentric model of the world makeup involves global and regional instability. The contradictions related to the uneven global development, the deepening gap between prosperity standards in various countries, fight over resources, access to markets, control over transportation thruways are getting increasingly acute. The entire gamut of political, financial, economic, and information instruments has gone into operation in the struggle for influence on the international arena.
According to the views of Russia's military leadership, the military-political situation will continue to develop until 2025 involving radical reconstruction of the entire international relations system that affects the foundations of global security. This complicated process will be characterized, on the one hand, by deepening international integration, formation of the global information, economic, and environmental space, but on the other, by a drastic worsening of rivalry between world and regional economic and military-political centers for expanding the spheres of influence, including in ex-Soviet countries, which is among the foreign-policy priorities of the Russian Federation.3
The Euro-Atlantic Region has accumulated a great number of systemic problems that are finding expression in the geopolitical expansion undertaken by NATO and the European Union, including in the Mediterranean Region, with these organizations clearly loath to make reality their political declarations of building a common European security system. Russia's military-political leadership feels serious concern over NATO's decision to raise military spending. That, moreover, when the aggregate military budget of the alliance states totals over US$ 900 billion, which is dozens of times the defense spending of Russia.
The succession of wars for resources unleashed by the United States and NATO in North Africa and the Middle East, thinly disguised as combating terrorism, provoked an uncommonly tough reaction on the part of Islamic fundamentalist politicians. This kind of reaction was planned by Washington-NATO strategists to engulf the entire Islamic world, like a giant wave, as well as the Muslims in Eurasia, and beyond its confines. The events of the bloody Arab Spring of 2011-2014 that unfolded in Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt marked the start of the collapse of the old world order system that had evolved in the sub-African region after World War II. According to F. William Engdahl, protests demanding reforms, a change of regime or total revolutions erupted in Yemen, Libya, Bahrain, Kuwait, Jordan, Morocco, and even in the remote Chinese province of Xinjiang. Wherever the popular protests failed to produce the desired effect, NATO stepped in, openly displaying its involvement that previously was kept under cover. Thus to topple Muammar Gaddafi they had to introduce a no-fly zone over Libya, which resulted in massive bombing of civilians....4 And it was in Libya where NATO first tested the methods of hybrid warfare.5
The growing military presence of the United States and NATO, including in the region of North Africa and the Middle East, the tide of instability and chaos that affected the entire Islamic world did and still does exert a negative influence on Islamic radicals of every description, not unlike the effect of a red rag on a rabid bull. The terrorist acts that occurred over the last few years in Paris, Berlin, and London, the huge migrant flows from several North African and Middle Eastern countries, a serious rise in crime, and the recent trend related to the emphasis in criminal activity shifting toward ethnic criminal groupings closely linked to transnational crime syndicates vividly illustrate this point.
Combined, these problems could not fail to cause a serious crisis in relations between Russia and the West. Add to this the deliberate policy of the United States and its allies to contain Russia and exert on this country political, economic, sanction, and other kinds of pressure aimed at undermining regional and global stability. This policy inflicts irreparable damage on the parties' long-term interests, and runs counter to the currently growing need of cooperation and dealing with transnational challenges and threats.6
It seems worth mentioning that at the moment, despite all the efforts the United States is taking to demonize Russia, inside the NATO bloc not only the US Russia policy is increasingly resented, but also the US attitude to its NATO allies. Moreover, the latest first-class armament items coming to the Russian Army and Navy, without an analog in the world, and in many ways vastly superior to those of NATO, the regular large-scale exercises conducted by the RF Armed Forces and the Navy send a clear signal to the Alliance that should a hypothetical conflict flare up, NATO will not stand a snowball's chance in hell to win the stand-off with the great power that is the Russian Federation. It is getting increasingly obvious that the combat might of the North Atlantic Alliance, whatever the NATO fans may allege, is being leveled out fast by the rapidly growing military and economic might of Russia.
Besides, it is necessary to point out two important trends that define today's relations between the United States and its NATO allies in Europe.
■ The first trend is lack of unity of opinion on many key political (geopolitical) issues. Lately, the relations between the USA and its NATO partners have hardly appeared friendly, owing to wavering and general disarray among the bloc leadership that can no longer be concealed behind the strained smiles of its official heads and the vague wording of NATO press releases. To take key decisions by consensus of all the 29 NATO states is getting an increasingly uphill battle, and this includes issues of defense spending. Far from every NATO member can afford to spend the notorious two percent of their GDP on that. Not least in the relations between the United States and NATO is the US aggressive expansionist policy in various parts of the world. A vivid case in point was the harsh criticism of the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 by Germany and France, key US NATO allies in Europe, and refusal of these states to take part in the intervention. Moreover, in the self-same Germany increasingly large numbers of Germans are watching with open indignation the policy of diktat toward their country that the United States is practicing (the brazen shameless conduct of US secret services, including the US National Security Agency, on the German territory, etc.). Yet another vivid example is the series of protests in several European countries, in the Czech Republic in 2009, in Poland in 2016, against component of the US global ABM system (European ABM defense system).7 Besides, making operational the US ABM radar unit in the city of Deveselu (Romania) and in the foreseeable future, in the town of Redzikowo (Poland) may result in these states becoming likely targets of Russia's retaliation, should new US armaments be deployed on their territories. According to military expert Lieutenant General Yu.M. Netkachev, placing on combat duty US ABM missiles in Romania will cause Russian operational-tactical missiles and other precision-guided weapons to be retargeted at these new targets. Ex-director of the Department for Nonproliferation and Arms Control at the Russian Foreign Ministry M.I. Ulyanov believes that the US decision to launch the ABM system on Romanian territory is a mistake; it upsets the balance of strategic forces in Europe and runs counter to the provisions of the Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range Missiles.8
■ The second trend is the historical (genetic) memory handed over from generation to generation in quite a few European NATO member states of their armies suffering defeat at the hands of the Russian (Soviet) army at various stages in history. For instance, the French remember only too clearly the rout of Napoleon in Russia during the 1812 Patriotic War and the Liberation Campaign of the Russian Army in Europe in 1813-1814; the British remember horrendous losses sustained by the British Army during the Crimean War (1853-1856); the Germans will never forget the rout of the Prussian Army in the Seven Years War (1756-1763) and of the German Nazi invaders in World War II (1939-1945), etc. In their reminiscences prominent military leaders, e.g., in France and Germany, name among the main reasons for their defeat in wars against Russia inclement Russian winters, the unprecedented endurance and staunch courage of Russian (Soviet) officers and men, and the fantastic standards of their military skills.9
In this connection, it has to be said that despite the rabid anti-Russia hysteria now rife among the political Establishment in the West, not one of the US NATO allies feels like dying for US interests, especially if there is a hypothetical global conflict with Russia that is perfectly capable of not only putting paid to NATO as such, but also to the United States itself.10 In January 2018, German Contra Magazin published an article under the heading NATO versus Russia: Anyone Dreaming of a War with Russia Dreams of Suicide; there its author Ernst Plener writes that any hostilities directed against Russia are suicidal for the West. The author reminds the readers of Iskander-M tactical missile complexes deployed in the Kaliningrad Region of the Russian Federation whose missiles will take minutes to reach Warsaw or Berlin.11
At the moment, the likelihood of large-scale military actions against Russia in the near future involving not only conventional but also nuclear means of destruction remains fairly small. Nevertheless, this does not rule out the possibility of existing conflicts worsening, and new ones emerging on a regional and global scales, which can destabilize the situation in Europe and in the world at large affecting the national interests of the Russian Federation.
At the moment, the likelihood of large-scale military actions against Russia involving nuclear means of destruction remains fairly small.
At present, Russia is building relations with NATO countries mindful of the actual efforts the Alliance takes to ensure the common environment of peace, security, and stability in the Euro-Atlantic Region. They are based on the principles of mutual trust, transparency, and predictability, all NATO members fulfilling their commitments within the framework of the Russia-NATO Council not to provide their own security at the expense of that of others, and also commitments to military reservation under the Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation, and Security between the Russian Federation and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization of May 27, 1997.
The Russian Federation deeply resents NATO's eastward expansion, with the military infrastructure of the Alliance creeping ever closer to our borders and its military activity on the up in the areas bordering Russia, for it regards these actions as violating the principle of equal indivisible security, with the old division lines deepened and new ones appearing in Europe.12 The RF Ministry of Foreign Affairs is of the opinion that deploying NATO military contingents and combat hardware on the territory of states contiguous with Russia adversely affects the level of security in those very states. The Russian Foreign Ministry also appealed for caution to the countries that had allowed NATO contingents to settle on their territory. According to the RF FM, the negative consequences of military preparations by the Alliance ought to cause serious concern in all countries. Similar tactics of NATO actions merely aggravates the security situation with regard to those countries whose territory is used to deploy NATO forces and assets.13
Nevertheless, it is worth pointing out that at the moment some NATO members are voicing increasingly sound opinions about the need to restore constructive relations with Russia. In Germany, say, people openly demand their country's withdrawal from the Alliance and immediate normalization of relations with Russia.14 Even though Germany is a NATO ally of the United States, the U.S.A. is doing it damnedest to prevent a Russia-Germany rapprochement and the resulting powerful economic alliance of the two states, because that would automatically deprive Washington of its geopolitical and economic influence in the EU territory. Incidentally, the policy of sanctions that the EU introduced against Russia under US pressure has failed thanks to a well-considered and balanced policy pursued by the military-political leadership of this country, inflicting more than 100 billion euros' worth of losses on the Europeans.15 Forty percent of these losses was sustained by Germany whose monthly loss was 727 million euros, with the annual amount exceeding nine billion,16 and Italy accounting for over 10 billion a year.17
The basis of this positive striving displayed by the leaders of a whole series of NATO members is awareness of the unquestionably important role of this country in solving the more acute key problems of regional and international security, settling international conflicts of varying intensity, and providing strategic stability and supremacy of law in the multipolar world taking shape. Many countries of the bloc positively assessed the renewal of work by the Russia-NATO Council in 2016, specially remarking on the importance of filling the agenda with specific issues oriented above all toward averting incidents in the course of military activity and enhancing mutual transparency. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that relations between Russia and NATO could be restored exclusively on the basis of equality and abidance by agreements to do with indivisible security for all countries in the Euro-Atlantic space.18
The aggregate potential of Russia and NATO would make for successful solution of problems of varying complexity not only in the short, but also in the medium and long term (obviously, provided the Alliance is willing) along several lines that seem important to us:
- combating terrorism (maritime terrorism);
- countering piracy in various parts of the World Ocean;
- combating illicit drag trafficking, including at sea, on a bilateral and multilateral basis;
- prospective cooperation in fighting other challenges and threats of today, including irregular migration.
Incidentally, in 2017, over 170,000 irregular migrants arrived in Europe by the so-called Mediterranean route.19 What this challenge is like and what its aftereffects might be is clearly indicated by the events currently occurring in this area in the countries of Central and Western Europe, and also in the Mediterranean Region.20
The activity by terrorist and extremist groupings, criminal organizations and groupings, including transnational ones, related to illegal trafficking of drags and psychotropic substances, weapons, ammunition, and explosives, to organizing irregular migration and human trafficking, is among the main threats to the state and public security of the Russian Federation.21 The new maritime piracy (terrorism) threat taking shape is having a most unfortunate effect on security levels and stability of energy resource delivery to customers along naval communications, and ultimately on the stability of the military-economic and strategic situation in the world.
The global spread of piracy (maritime terrorism), its recent steep rise and increase in the economic and political damage inflicted by maritime crime have resulted in making straggle against the said criminal activity in the World Ocean a real task for the navies of the world's leading states, Russia's Navy included.
Such forms of unlawful activity at sea as piracy and terrorism, their essence, content, and crime vector, development trends, distinctions and mutual connection remained for a long time outside the expert community's attention, unheeded by the military-political leadership of the world's foremost states, and also of relevant UNO entities. And it was not until the early 1980s that certain shifts for the better started occurring in this area.
What makes the issue topical is disclosure of interaction mechanisms between Russia and NATO when implementing a whole series of measures to counter the new challenges and threats of the 21st century, including at sea. Despite the serious and largely insurmountable geopolitical contradictions and friction in Russia's far from easy relations with NATO, and the two sides' standpoints on quite a few global problems (provision of European and global security) that at times are directly opposite, Russia is still one of the most influential poles in the multipolar world and a leading geopolitical actor on the international arena.
In 2002, under the Rome Declaration on new relations between the RF and NATO, the NATO-Russia Council was set up (hereinafter, RNC), within whose framework Russia and all NATO member states were presented as equal partners, and decisions were to be taken by consensus. Within the RNC there were over 25 working groups and committees set up to deal with various issues, including for combating terrorism, arms and proliferation control, Afghanistan problems, and also peacekeeping. Since the RNC started its work, a lot has been done to implement a number of joint Russia-NATO projects.
With the appearance of the RNC, the mechanisms of communication and interaction between the military were strengthened, both in the NATO commands (for operations and transformation), and in Moscow. The main point of military cooperation is to consolidate trust, confidence and transparency, and also increase the ability of Russian and NATO forces to cooperate when preparing various joint military exercises in the future. Cooperation focused on such areas as logistics, fight against terrorism, search and rescue at sea, combating piracy, TOO/AMD/AMD, and measures in the military sphere.22
The Navy, being a constituent of the RF Armed Forces, also actively participated in the measures under the program of Russia-NATO cooperation. From the moment of signing in February 2003 the frame agreement on cooperation in the area of search and rescue at sea of crews from wrecked submarines, work in the area has been progressing steadily. From 2005 to 2011, Russia took part in three search and rescue exercises under NATO supervision, Operation Active Endeavor (2006-2008), and also in the operation by the Turkish Navy to prevent the threat of terrorism and WMD proliferation, Black Sea Harmony (2007-2015, renewed in 2017) conducted in the Mediterranean and the Black Seas in order to counter new challenges and threats of the 21st century.
Once the Cold War was over, and the standoff of the two world systems ended, the international policy of suppression and superiority pursued by most EU countries and the US, precipitous spread of globalization, the sharp stratification of states into the very rich and the very poor, the very powerful and the very weak, the growing social tension, unemployment and discontent caused by the global economic crisis opened up the latest and far from heartwarming phase in the history of humanity.
The current challenges and threats, above all terrorism in every shape and form, constitute a complex, multidimensional and multifaceted phenomenon with its attendant subjective and objective factors that call for a scrupulous study based on an all-embracing system and structural approach that implies using at once the entire set of theoretical, methodological, logical, mathematical, and international-law instruments taken together in order to uncover the underlying causes of new challenges and threats of today with their interrelations, and prognosticate the activity of various drug, terrorist, pirate, and other transnational criminal groupings in the short, medium, and long terms. At present, we observe a steady trend related to the fact that not one of the existing global challenges or threats is examined individually, they are studied exclusively in a comprehensive interconnection with each other. Speaking of terrorism, one can say that it is constantly undergoing serious transformations, including under the impact of progress in science and technology, and that the intellectual potential of terrorists is growing rapidly.
Modern terrorism as an element of the single system of new present-day challenges and threats displays the following typical trends.
■ Trend one. International terrorism is trying to exert an increasingly active influence on the shaping of the political (including the geopolitical kind) situation in various regions of the planet. A typical case in point is the European Union the majority of whose members are also NATO member states. In the course of the June 4, 2017, terrorist act in London the terrorists openly showed to the authorities that they despised law and their country per se.23
Another vivid example is the activity of the international terrorist grouping Islamic State (IS) banned in Russia. When it was at its peak, the IS controlled up to 70 percent of Syria's territory, and is still in control of some 30 percent of Iraq.24 During the war in Syria, the Americans spent nearly two billion dollars to supply weapons to the so-called Syrian democratic opposition. The weapons were Soviet-made and were purchased in Ukraine and in Georgia.25 According to Chief of the General Staff of the RF Armed Forces General of the Army V.V. Gerasimov, the so-called Islamic State had at its disposal up to 1,500 tanks, some 1,200 guns and mortars. Within the last two years, nearly 60,000 terrorists were destroyed, over 2,800 of them coming from the Russian Federation.26
Things that terrorists do can, first, meet with a most harsh response on the part of official authorities in one or another EU country, not just with regard to migrants from Muslim countries arriving in search of political asylum, but also with regard to their own nationals who are second-or third-generation descendants of the people from the said countries and wholeheartedly support terrorists. Second, activity by terrorists can provoke full-scale clashes on an interethnic and interreligious basis with all the ensuing unpredictable consequences, which, in their turn, can grow into a full-scale civil war in Europe.
There are eloquent statistics to show how badly Europe suffered at the hands of terrorists at various periods in its history; from 1970 to 1988 - British Spanish, French, Italian, and German terrorist groupings were responsible for the death of over 4,800 people, and from 1993 to 2017, they killed nearly 1,200 Europeans.27
■ Trend two. A clear-cut division into land-based and maritime terrorists in some parts of the world according to the kind of crime they commit, and the close ties these have with various pirate and other transnational criminal syndicates active in various regions of the world. Maritime terrorists, using increasingly advanced vessels and combat gear, started transferring their operations to the shores of the most civilized and economically and militarily developed states, at times invading their territorial waters, delivering surprise attacks in seaports and roadsteads, provoking the armed forces of these states into harsh response. At the moment, maritime terrorism and piracy plague ever more regions of the world. Terrorist attacks become increasingly intense, ingenious and cruel, causing considerable loss of life and property, inflicting serious economic damage on merchant and transportation shipping, and also on Navy ships controlling the latter and the coast guards of a whole series of countries. And whereas in the open sea ships are more or less immune to terrorist attacks, in roadsteads, ports, rivers, canals, where there is little room for maneuver, terrorists have a lot of scope for attacking. Also, maritime terrorists increasingly resort to the tactics of assaulting a vessel from the water, a method that proved most efficient, by using small speedboats with suicide crews.28
According to British Lloyds insurers, in the recent past over 90 percent of terrorist acts occurred in the littoral waters of developing countries whose leaders were incompetent and powerless to counter extremists, having no skills, forces, and assets for that. Besides, corruption, that is especially rife in African countries, did and does a lot of harm, nourished as it is by supplies of drugs, weapons, ammunition, irregular migration, human trafficking, trade in human organs, etc.
How vulnerable naval and merchant shipping navigation can be to terrorist was convincingly proved in the course of events that occurred on October 12, 2000 in the Yemeni port of Aden, where during an attack by members of the al-Qaeda terrorist grouping against the USS Cole, an American destroyer, moored there at the time, 17 US marines were killed and 42 suffered injuries of varying degrees of seriousness, while the vessel herself was badly damaged to the point of decommissioning. The incident became a sort of detonator that triggered an immediate chain reaction on the part of other terrorist groupings the world over, including in parts of Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, encouraging them to organize other similar subversive and terrorist acts at sea.
The actual potential of maritime terrorists, not only at the tactical (regional), but also at the strategic (global) level, creates a comprehensive threat to international security. A number of maritime terrorist groups engaged in unlawful activity in various coastal regions of the planet focus on using mines, either locally made or imported from abroad. For instance, the notorious Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) got them, as analysts in various Western countries believe, with the help of corrupt members of state entities in the Middle Eastern countries; as for the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) terrorist groups, they manu-
facture their own mining equipment. Latin American and Asian terrorists widely use both contact mines and trip-wire varieties.29
It has to be said that today the world weapon market abounds in all kinds of technologies for building any vessels suitable for terrorist purposes, and also corresponding equipment, weapons, and ammunition of various types, as long as the customer has the money. The spread of weapons, ammunition, drugs, psychotropic substances, and toxic agents has now reached a stupendous scale. Thus in 2000, the Colombian police seized a whole submarine which the local drug barons intended to use to transport narcotics. The submarine could hold from 150 tons to 200 tons of the drug and had a crew of 12.30
■ Trend three. The confuence of terrorism, including the maritime kind, with other challenges and threats of today, the all-round support it receives from quite a few countries of the world, suggest that it has become a very well prepared adversary that incorporates a whole series of terrorist groupings of various political persuasions to make up a no-nonsense force, well-organized, armed and equipped with cutting-edge devices, in possession of numerous cells across the world numbering vast numbers of followers. It is capable of large-scale terrorist warfare, including the hybrid kind, of a regional and global nature, including active use of the Internet, in close cooperation with various transnational criminal syndicates, keenly and flexibly reacting to the merest change in the geopolitical and economic situation in any given country or a whole region in various parts of the world. Taking up the latest advanced technologies obtained with the help of corruption, international terrorism can act in virtually any physical medium, including in cyberspace, with farreaching politically biased goals and unpredictable consequences.
■ Trend four. The interconnection of terrorism, maritime terrorism included, with other challenges and threats of today and transnational organized crime as a whole, gets more solid by the year. Huge sums of money gained from selling drugs in various parts of the planet go to finance a variety of drug, terrorist, pirate, and other transnational criminal groupings the world over. In this context, it may be worth mentioning that in the European Union alone, say, there are some 5,000 transnational crime groupings at work that unite members of more than 180 ethnic groups, which are under investigation by Europol. As for the illegal drug trafficking as such, it is estimated to yield some 24 billion euro in Europe.31
Thus there appear prerequisites for multilevel, in terms of makeup, and multi-profile, in terms of specialty, transnational crime conglomerates on a global scale with similar objectives that can also coordinate their actions along several lines at once, affecting the formation of political and geopolitical processes in various countries and regions of the planet, thus creating enormous global arcs of instability stretching from Central and South America to Africa, and from the Indian Ocean to the countries and territories in the Pacific area.
For the Russian Federation, countering international terrorism remains a major priority of its foreign and domestic policies closely connected with the efforts it takes to create a new system of international security. Its military-political leadership advocates pooling the efforts of all interested countries to fight the new challenges and threats of today, but certainly not vying with each other, including along the Russia-NATO line, in the interests of forming a new more reliable architecture of international security up to the current demands. And the types of activity to overcome such threats as terrorism, drug smuggling, irregular migration, etc., have been fixed in the basic Russia-NATO documents.
In this context, and given the fact that the main freight turnover routes in the direction of the Black Sea start in the Mediterranean Region, involving Russia (before 2008) in Operation Active Endeavor under the NATO aegis in the Mediterranean and in the Black Sea Harmony antiterrorism operation by the Turkish Navy was and is of great significance.
Speaking of Operation Active Endeavor, it is necessary to say that it owes its appearance to the 09.11.2001 events in the United States. To carry out this operation, a special multinational formation of ships was set up on the rotation principle to include, until July 2016, up to 12 destroyers, a frigate of the permanent formations of the NATO Joint Naval Forces in the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Ocean, submarines, reconnaissance and patrol aircraft. The ships were rotated every three to four months, and some ships and submarines were replaced within two to six months.
The main objectives of Operation Active Endeavor were as follows.
- combating terrorism;
- conducting naval operations in the East Mediterranean, and also in the Strait of Gibraltar area to ensure safe passage of nonmilitary ships of NATO states;
- developing cooperation with non-NATO countries.
In order to conduct the operation more efficiently, the entire Mediterranean Sea was divided into sectors. Depending on the kind of the sector, the tasks carried out by the operation ships varied. Here are a few of those:
- in the East Mediterranean: presence and containment, surveillance, inspection of the vessels with the captain's voluntary consent;
- the Strait of Gibraltar: provide convoys for certain ships with dangerous and extraimportant freight while passing the strait area, etc.
The Russian Navy started preparing to take part in the operation from the moment of signing the Agreement between the Russian Federation and NATO, on December 9, 2004 (in the form of letter exchange), on participation of RF Navy forces and assets in NATO's antiterrorism Operation Active Endeavor, which continued till 2008. At various times, the Russian Navy sent to take part in the operation its Moskva missile cruiser, and Pytlivy patrol ship.
Another fairly important point worth mentioning is that maintaining the safety of busy merchant shipping lanes in the Mediterranean is crucial to NATO. Speaking of energy resources alone, the oil and gas transported over the Mediterranean account for 65 percent of the total consumed in Western Europe; there, too, are the main pipelines connecting Libya with Italy, and Morocco with Spain. Therefore, Active Endeavor aimed at ensuring safe and uninterrupted supplies of energy resources to Europe.32
From 2001 to the end of the operation in July 2006, some 128,000 vessels were monitored. Control over the black migration market in the Mediterranean was indirect, yet tough enough, to rescue civilians on various oil rigs and sinking ships. Thus on March 23, 2006, while conducting the antiterrorism operation in the Mediterranean, the NATO forces notified the Greek coast guards of the M/V Crystal. The coast guards intercepted the ship, and arrested its captain and crew that attempted to smuggle 126 irregular migrants across the Mediterranean. The operation has had one more concomitant effect, namely, improving the safety of navigation in the region as a whole.33
Thanks to its advantageous geopolitical position, the Black Sea Region was, is, and for a long time to come will remain a focus of close attention from the countries of the West and the East, especially in the wake of the Crimean Spring events of 2014 and the Crimea and Sevastopol subsequently joining the Russian Federation. The Black Sea plays a tremendously important role in the security and economics not only of the countries around the Sea, but also of those with access to the sea via the river systems of the Danube and Dniester.
The strategic position of the Black Sea at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, and also the fact that it constitutes a most important transit route, makes it vulnerable in terms of threats from international terrorist groupings. One of the main routes of transporting oil, passengers, and container cargo goes through the Black Sea. It remains a vital transit route also for supplying energy carriers to world markets. Instability in the Black Sea Region would have large-scale consequences impossible to predict for security and stability in the Mediterranean and Euro-Atlantic regions on the whole.
The NATO leadership has repeatedly tried to extend Operation Active Endeavor to the entire Black Sea Region. However, these attempts came up against active opposition on the part of some Black Sea states, first and foremost Russia and Turkey, which believe that the countries of the Black Sea basin have enough forces and assets to ensure regional security and stability on their own without interference by other NATO states, primarily the US.
To prove this point, the Turkish Navy launched on March 1, 2004, an operation to preempt the threats of terrorism and WMD proliferation codenamed Black Sea Harmony, which continues to this day, in accordance with the main principles enshrined in the UN Charter, and the goals listed in UN Security Council resolutions 1373 (of 2001), 1540 (of 2004), and 1566 (of 2004).
The main objectives of Operation Black Sea Harmony are as follows.
- ensuring naval presence along merchant shipping lanes and regular monitoring of sea areas under Turkish jurisdiction and of the airspace over the latter;
- tracking suspect vessels, etc., in the line of sight or covertly.
One more naval component of terrorism countering forces in the Black Sea region is the Black Sea Naval Force of operational interaction (BLACK-SEAFOR), whose creation was agreed in Istanbul on April 2, 2001.
Subsequently, this agreement was ratified by all the member states. Among the principal tasks of Blakseafor are search-and-rescue and humanitarian operations, sea mine clearing, environment monitoring, joint exercises, and goodwill visits. Blackseafor can also be used to carry out the said tasks within the framework of peacekeeping operations conducted under a UN or OSCE mandate, should these organizations apply to the Black Sea states.
The area of the group activity is the Black Sea, yet going beyond its boundaries has also been provided for, given a consensus of the member states to this effect.
The group consists of four to six vessels (one from each state).
It is convened whenever some specific tasks have to be carried out, and barring that, at least once a year, for four to six weeks as part of planned activation to drill training exercises. The Blackseafor activity relies on the principles of consensus-based decision-making and voluntary participation. According to some experts, before long the standards of Blackseafor training will allow it to perform antiterrorism actions on its own, similar to Operation Black Sea Harmony. However, considering the Crimean Spring events resulting in the Crimea and Sevastopol joining Russia, hostile and openly Russophobic policies pursued by several Black Sea states (Bulgaria and Romania, that are NATO members, Georgia and Ukraine seeking NATO membership) with regard to the Russian Federation, the rising numbers and standards of exercises by NATO countries in the Black Sea, there is a big question mark over further Blackseafor activity.
Nevertheless, fight against international terrorism and attendant additional challenges and threats of today can and must become part of the efforts to keep international relations civilized at all levels, which rules out use of illicit methods, even if the ultimate goal appears noble enough.
Given the above, despite the existing disagreements, both Russia and NATO are aware that cooperation in this area is a must, the more so since the events of
the last few years point to international terrorism increasingly set on rocking the current foundations of international law and order by aiming their attacks at the peaceful civilians of continental Europe, not least thanks to the disastrous migration policy pursued by the leaders of several European countries to please the United States.
It is also important to bear in mind that the world community is threatened not only by the terrorism phenomenon as such and related challenges and threats of today, but also by the inadequate response to those on the part of various legitimate entities meant to combat all that. Under conditions of the antiterrorism/anti-Islamic frenzy building up in some European countries, certain crucial concepts get blurred, and the system of international relations undergoes profound erosion. The state declared a pariah within the axis of evil or an abettor of terrorists, in contrast to any national, regional, or global terrorist organization, is a different, or more specifically, lawful entity of global politics and full-fledged member of the international community.
Fighting against international terrorism and attendant additional challenges and threats of today can and must become part of the efforts to keep international relations civilized.
Establishing the involvement of one or another state in various aspects of terrorist or other kinds of unlawful activity, determining the degree to which the official authorities in those states are responsible for that, devising and implementing corresponding measures to influence them employing the entire set of international-law and other instruments, and also a number of other issues to do with this sphere, are a prerogative of some respected international organizations, above all the United Nations and its structural subdivisions, such as the Security Council and the International Criminal Court. It is utterly inadmissible to accuse of terrorism whole nations, ethnic groups and states, or religions to promote geopolitical plans of the NATO bloc or its members based on the changeable political situation.
A vivid case in point is the NATO aggression against Yugoslavia in 1998-1999 and the work of the so-called International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia active between 1993 and 2017, which tried and sentenced to long prison terms for imagined war crimes exclusively Serbs but none of the leaders in the United States and NATO for giving obviously criminal orders resulting in real war crimes against the civilians in former Yugoslavia.
The relations between Russia and NATO should rely exclusively on equality in strict accordance with the provisions of the Founding Act on Mutual Rela-
tions, Cooperation, and Security between the Russian Federation and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization of May 27, 1997.
Assessing the positive or negative trends in Russia-NATO relations one cannot overlook the matter of the bloc's further expansion and the related problem of its subsequent transformation. Russia made known its sentiments about these developments, which can be described as calmly negative. RF President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly commented on the NATO activity at Russia's borders. Speaking at the October session of the Valdai International Discussian Club in 2017, Vladimir Putin said that Russia was aware of each step taken by the Western forces.34
At the same time, in his speech at the Board of the RF Defense Ministry summing up the work in 2017, the Russian President called correct and timely the strengthening of the Russian Army and Navy, given the military-political situation taking shape in the world. According to Vladimir Putin, this country has to be prepared to effectively respond in time to any threat, because the countries of the West are constantly trying to upset the global balance of forces.35
Obviously, the NATO eastward expansion proceeds in accordance with the Alliance's policy of globalizing functions and reserving for itself the role of a leading military-political force not only in Europe, but also in the world at large. The very logic of NATO expansion is hard to perceive other than as desire to achieve further weakening of Russia's position and role in international affairs. Moving the military structures of the bloc closer to the Russian borders is a perfectly obvious and utterly unjustified recurrence of the Cold War, whatever reasons may be cited to substantiate it. Further expansion of the North Atlantic Alliance thanks to the incorporation of new members has adversely affected the geopolitical and geostrategic position of Russia, which induces it to take certain measures to parry these threats that are new indeed.36
Instead of trying hard to step up unfounded anti-Russia hysteria in the Western media and engage in saber rattling next door to Russia's borders, which, in the event of a hypothetical conflict, will bring nothing but defeat with the ensuing consequences to the Alliance, the parties had better seek ways of cooperation in combating new challenges and threats of today that are really putting the world in jeopardy, in strict accordance with the norms of international law, international-law and other instruments available, and using not only a bilateral, but also a multilateral format of cooperation. Despite the Russophobic elites in Europe, the pragmatically minded members of those still realize that Russia is a most important neighbor (and one located on the shortest route to China, to boot), and that the European Union is being plagued by so many domestic problems that pointless quarrels with Russia merely aggravate the situation.37
Given the rapid progress in science and technology in the first half of the 21st century and considerable differences in the technology gap that is continuing to deepen thanks to globalization between industrially advanced countries in the West and developing countries in various parts of the planet, the parties
should take into consideration the fact that terrorism does not remain at a standstill, but is constantly undergoing transformation under the impact of progress in science and engineering. Its intellectual potential is growing; the makeup of terrorist organizations is changing; on top of the ground component, they have now acquired a maritime one as well.
Thus, terrorism is turning into an adversary well prepared in every respect, including financially, that comprises a whose series of terrorist groupings of various political hues, and into a serious force that is well-organized, armed and equipped with cutting-edge technologies, and can wage large-scale terrorist, including hybrid, wars on a regional and global scale in close cooperation with various transnational criminal syndicates the world over, keenly responding to the merest changes in the geopolitical and economic situations, be it in a single country or region in various parts of the world. Armed with advanced technologies, international terrorism can act in virtually every physical medium, including in cyberspace, with far-reaching politically biased aims and unpredictable consequences.
Considering the above, it is of immense importance that Russia and NATO should cooperate in combating new challenges and threats at sea, namely, that Russia should participate in events conducted by the international community to combat terrorism (the maritime variety), maritime piracy, irregular migration, illicit drug trafficking, destroy the terrorists' maritime infrastructure, and undermine their economic basis. Besides, a promising area of cooperation, including along the Russia-NATO line, could be a prospective exchange of data about persons suspected of unlawful activity at sea lanes.
In present-day conditions, another thing that is becoming important is consolidation of efforts by terrorism fighters, including along the Russia-NATO line. The main efforts should focus on coordinated actions by the interested countries at all stages of combating the new challenges and threats of today that would make impossible the activity of various drug, terrorist, pirate, and other transnational groupings, including those built on the ethnic principle. Without a steady operational interaction and common understanding of the prospects of the situation development in Afghanistan, in the areas of the Middle East, North Africa, and the Mediterranean on the whole successful struggle against new challenges and threats of today is impossible in principle.
As for the use of force in international relations, this can only be sanctioned by the UN Security Council in strict accordance with Chapter VII of the UN Charter. Neither NATO nor any other organization have the right to act instead of the decision-making mechanism of the UN with regard to the use of force.
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36. Ostankov, V.I. and Anastasin, A.V., Op. cit.
37. Mirzaian, G., Russkim stalo naplevat' na NATO [The Russians Don't Give a Damn about NATO Now], URL: https://ru.sputniknewslv.com/analytics/20180116/7047190/Russkim-stalonaplevat-NATO.html (Retrieved on August 19, 2018.)
Translated by Margarita Kvartskhava