- Leonid Vladimirovich, carefully read your new book. She made the same strong impression on me as Brzezinski’s famous work “The Great Chessboard” once was. It was this study that then gave a new impetus to the leadership of the United States in implementing the project of rebuilding the world in the American way, which they have been continuously engaged in since the creation of their state. From my point of view, your work could be a help for all those involved in making strategic decisions to ensure the security of Russia. But you give a mixed assessment of Russian analytical thought: “As the events of recent years show, Russia has not been prepared enough for a number of conflicts (Ukraine, sanctions regime, agent structures acting as NGOs and research projects, the role of international organizations in weakening sovereignty), but for a number of the challenges answered most adequately the situation (the return of the Crimea, the suppression of the threat of terrorism, the presence in Syria, the modernization of the Armed Forces). ”
- It all depends on who makes the decisions and who will be responsible for them. There is, say, the opinion that in countries where the armed forces are fully professional, politicians are less responsible in their conflicts, since their view of the war is too instrumental. This largely explains the absurd decisions that were made by the US political elite regarding the occupation of Iraq and the destruction of Libya. And the people sent to these countries did not defend their homeland, but fought for the interests of a small group of people who did not understand all the consequences of their decisions.
“At the same time, you write about Syria, in particular:“ The fact that the conflict was prepared in advance is shown by the data of the Syrian special services ”. And about Ukraine: “It is obvious that“ euromaidan ”was not a spontaneous reaction to the statement of Viktor Yanukovich and Mykola Azarov about the need to study the Association Agreement with the EU in more detail. He was planned and directed in advance with the help of foreign consultants and donors. ” Does this mean that the West is planning conflicts (wars), which it then uses as a tool for realizing its geopolitical goals? What can Russia oppose to this?
- Yes, the West plans conflicts, develops their scenarios, carries out provocations. Here you can recall, for example, a group of studies of war and peace, created in the United States during the Second World War. The purpose of this group was to design a future world order, part of which should be war in the interests of the United States. The conflicts in Korea and Vietnam were also provoked by Washington, including for the implementation of their economic projects. However, wars do not always follow the planned scenario; rather, on the contrary, there are more often surprises and uncertainties that Clausewitz called “the fog and friction of war”. Vietnam was beyond the power of even the United States and its allies. The conflict in Syria initially fit into the framework of the “Arab Spring”, but the process did not go as the West had intended. The civil war was unleashed, but its course was changed. Not without the intervention of Russia, of course.
As for countering such provocations, it is obvious that the UN system is ineffective here. Russia (as well as a number of other states) is saved from direct intervention in many ways by the “nuclear umbrella”, but the methods of using proxy actors, the “fifth column” and political pressure continue to be used. The Olympics scandal is another confirmation of this. Where the West will hit next time is almost always possible to calculate by analyzing our own vulnerabilities and the course of actions of our opponents. However, as experience shows, at the "top" they do not always correctly respond to criticism and comments from the fields of geopolitical battles. In addition, there are still too many Westerners and defeatists in the corridors of power who either hope for it or naively believe that we can be friends with the West (some insist on the need to subjugate Russia to the West), and the current situation is only a temporary mess.
Of course, the creation of partner coalitions and allied blocs is one of the classic solutions, since such “cooperation” allows you to work on threats together, share experiences, intelligence data, etc. However, you can and should act ahead of schedule creating “honey traps” (a cybersecurity term when making artificial vulnerabilities in order to lure a potential hacker and define his profile), and implementing programs that only one can do and can trigger them the opponent's view.
- In the USA, with their dozens of “think tanks” and vast experience of provocations in different regions of the planet, they could not have foreseen that President Trump’s decree recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel would immediately cause a surge of tough confrontation in the Greater Middle East. I think, shifting accents from Damascus to Tel Aviv, Washington, thus, is trying to level the victory of Russia in Syria and thereby regain control of regional processes. Could Russia have predicted just such a turn of the situation? It seems that we are constantly late in making strategic decisions. Is this why in the book you refer only to works of foreign authors, and where are our “thinkers” and “think tanks”? Which of them could you name, if any?
- Of course have. A considerable number of domestic thinkers and authors of the patriotic direction are concerned with the problems of sovereignty, security, and Russia's place in international politics. I would like to draw attention to the activities and works of Alexander Dugin. It was he who, at the beginning of 1990-s, introduced the term "geopolitics" into domestic discourse and developed a number of concepts that were once used by the current government. Our platform Geopolitika. Ru in principle is an analytical center, some of our research and proposals are published on the site. Of course, there are partner organizations and authors with whom we exchange views, most of them are in Moscow (NGOs, centers on the basis of a number of universities), and there are non-resident.
There are a number of initiatives and projects such as the “Izborsk Club” by Alexander Prokhanov, the Analytics Association, and there are attempts to create pools of experts of a conservative direction. However, the results of their activities, as a rule, are not taken into development. And compared to American NGOs and think tanks, this is a drop in the ocean. Well, government projects are often launched on the principle of "effective management", where, if there are good initiatives, the output leaves much to be desired ...
Unfortunately, it should also be noted that after the reorganization of the distribution model of presidential grants in 2017, the role of analytical centers in Russia will be minimized. The current policy is focused on “social”, and not on the development of concepts, doctrines and strategies. Of course, distributing syringes to drug addicts and collecting empty bottles in the open air is a necessary thing, but government policy should create conditions so that there are no drug addicts, and not the world to eliminate the consequences of such a social policy, part of which is formed from the outside. The degradation of national science also played its part in this. If there are doctors of science who do not know a single foreign language (there are many of them), then this, I believe, characterizes the level of the scientific and educational system as a whole.
- You write, in particular: “a number of studies on social swarming were conducted by American experts in 2009 during and after the presidential elections in Iran, in 2010, after the earthquake in Haiti, after the start of the Arab spring in December, 2010, in Tunis and also in Pakistan, revealing which side has the sympathy of the inhabitants of this country. These scenarios can be deployed in any state where there is little access to the Internet and mobile communications. ” In this context, you also view the events in Ukraine that preceded the coup d'état. Social swarming, what is its essence? Russia, too, may be under the influence of such a “swarm”, and very quickly.
- Imagine that you have disturbed the hornet's nest in the forest. A swarm of angry wasps flies out to sting his abuser at all the places they can reach. What will be your actions? Obviously - run away as quickly as possible. And how will the state escape from its territory? When applying such an allegory, this will be expressed in a change in the institutions of power.
People can be manipulated through their values and interests, through specific techniques, setting goals. In this case, different groups may have different goals, but, ultimately, everything will be in one picture. Having different “squads” under common management, which street performers may not even guess, the customer can plunge the country into chaos, as has been repeated many times. The ability to resist such networks depends on the ability of the authorities to recognize threats at the stage of their emergence, as well as the ability to create their own counter networks for balance through indirect actions. But the basic resistance must be strong enough. This refers to the feeling of patriotism among the masses and the desire to defend their country.
- In your book there are moments concerning the topic that is now being annoyingly actualized in the West, I quote: “you can consider less violent methods of waging network wars - through economics, social and humanitarian programs, and education. As an example, we will cite the North Caucasus as an object, international (Western) organizations as a subject of influence, and gender factors as a topic for manipulation. ” Does this mean that Russia has not drawn conclusions from the armed conflicts in the North Caucasus of the 1990s? Or is this a warning? I do not want to say "foresight" ...
- The technique of introducing a gender policy is quite simple and is used wherever possible, including the republics of the North Caucasus. Starting with clubs of interest and ending with human rights associations dealing with discrimination. With pleasure, the West takes such structures under its wing, allocating grants, inviting people to study abroad, etc. The work has been going on for decades, systematically and for a long time, in order to create the proper infrastructure and social base. When the time comes, "X", this agency is used in accordance with their experience, connections and skills.
- Focusing on the quotations from your book, I would like to identify individual reference points, based on which you give a fairly broad picture of the conflicts of the modern world. Here is one of these points: “Western researchers themselves do not deny the fact that the study and understanding of gender norms implies commercial benefits.” Is it possible to consider the gender policy of the West as an integral part of the economic war against Russia?
“Since gender is directly related to the economic interests of some states and transnational corporations, designing consumer frameworks in countries is part of their strategy.” Fashion regulations also apply to it directly. If earlier there were the so-called opium war (China and Great Britain), pig war (between Serbia and Austria-Hungary due to meat tariffs), etc., conflicts related to price policy and trade flows, now they have only become aggravated. Sovereign states are under pressure from the pharmaceutical lobby, microelectronics sellers and other industries. History with supplies and routes for Russian gas, it shows how serious the geoeconomy is at present.
When there was a bipolar world, the USSR had its own programs of economic development and mutual economic assistance, which differed significantly from Western methods of cooperation. After the world became unipolar, it was understood that only Western liberal models were the only true ones, and these mechanisms began to be included in the internal politics of states around the world. As a result, the standards, methods and ideological background were of a pronounced liberal-capitalist character. And over the past 20 years, they have become almost an axiom in international relations, which even few critically dare to analyze critically.
- Another your thesis: “It is impossible not to recall the influence of media on political processes and decision-making in the field of economics. Publications such as Forbes and Bloomberg regularly publish their ratings. In this case, the situation looks typically commercial - those who pay for advertising and a custom article will be praised by the “experts” in economics and investments of these publications. But priority will always be behind the habitat - the United States. " In your opinion, why won't rating agencies appear, say, in China or India? This is a very dangerous tool of hybrid warfare.
- Such alternative institutions and agencies are starting to appear. And some of them are located in Europe. They still felt the full “charm” of liberal hegemony. Efforts to create a different discourse there have already been undertaken, not to mention China, whose approach does not at all accept the methods of the WTO, the World Bank and Wall Street.
- I thought your next remark was curious: “military capabilities can also be used to penetrate deep into the rear of the enemy. At the same time, the target country voluntarily admits an alien to its territory. For this you need a banal reason - cooperation. The fight against terrorism, the exchange of experience, the strengthening of trust - such proposals for cooperation may be the first step for the de-sovereignty of the state. As a rule, the USA willingly use this opportunity by signing bilateral agreements with many states. ” Does this mean that Russia needs to abandon bilateral agreements with its Western "partners"? Then on what basis to build relationships with them? And with the countries of the former Soviet Union, the participants of the EAEU, the CIS, the CSTO?
- It is necessary to revise all agreements that in any way limit our sovereignty. The DPRK cares little for the statements of the White House - the country wanted to become a nuclear power and became. Of course, we are unlikely to be threatened by Hungary or Thailand, so this is, first of all, traditional opponents of Russia. But so that neutral states are not used against us, and agreements with them are not interpreted to the detriment of our interests, it is necessary to cancel the current agreements in time if they are defective, and to sign new ones after careful analysis. It is necessary to analyze the laws that relate to domestic policy. Their introduction can lobby external forces for further use against our state.
And we must not forget about a balanced approach, which should take into account the interests of our real allies. For example, after the arrival of the King of Saudi Arabia, a rumor began that Russia would supply C-400 systems to this country. Of course, it is unlikely that this will come to this, but these rumors have disturbed Iran, which has rather tense relations with the Saudis. In other words, decisions must be made taking into account the global geopolitical context, the interests of our reliable partners and allies, and also in accordance with the course towards a multipolar world pattern. Otherwise, we will take a step forward and two steps back.
- The book is called "Coaching War." An unusual combination. I would ask you to clarify in what sense do you use this term?
- The term “coaching” is mainly used as a special training method, where there is no rigid framework, constant adaptation to changing conditions is necessary and the competitor (opponent) is highly likely to do the same, therefore, one needs to be flexible and be proactive. Even if the other side was able to beat (win), the coaching technique allows you to quickly extract the appropriate lesson and change the tactics or strategy of action so that at the new stage of the confrontation to prevent defeat. I also note that the use of citations and references to Western authors is connected with the need to show the intentions of our “partners”, as well as the huge range of instruments of influence that they use against us in practice.
- Thank you for the interesting conversation, Leonid Vladimirovich!