The Russian International Affairs Council (INF), chaired by former Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, continues his expert work. October 21 The 2013 of the year on its information resource published an expert analysis of the nuclear disarmament problem by Andrei Zagorsky, head of the IMEMO RAS department and MGIMO professor. For "strengthening the security of Russia", Zagorsky proposed, under a possible future agreement with the United States, to eliminate ballistic missiles and the Strategic Missile Forces.
The next day, i.e., October 22, the INF Committee published the material of another expert, Valeriy Alekseev, entitled "Is war possible with America? ". Alekseev argues that in the coming 10-15 years, a Russian-American military conflict is likely to occur. So, during two days, the RIAC offered diametrically different scenarios of a possible and plausible future in the security sphere of our country. measures to eliminate the traditional Russian security tool, and then another RIAC expert speaks about a very likely war with the United States in the near foreseeable future. There is a legitimate question: why should a country disarm, if the military danger is growing? Therefore, we immediately note that the predictions of the future are a very sensitive issue, and the diametrically opposed scenarios of the near future are a reflection of our crisis time. Possible bifurcation points that occur in such epochs make any predictions for the next decade rather uncertain.
And, nevertheless, the alarmist forecast of Valery Alekseev is of interest, if only because it is about the ultimate means of resolving a political conflict - war. We note right away that the military scenario of the near future is generally present in the materials of the Russian expert community. A series of Arab revolutions, the creation of a belt of instability and, in particular, the civil war in Syria, burdened by foreign intervention, gave rise to the scenario of the future spread of the belt of instability in the underbelly of Russia in Central Asia and in the Russian Federation in the North Caucasus and the Volga region. It is obvious that the military scenario in this version was fueled by the experience of two Chechen wars and the counterterrorist operation in the North Caucasus. But she didn’t have time to relieve tensions in Syria, as the ethnic conflict in Biryulyovo in Moscow gave rise to the alarmist forecasting of some future war on the territory of Russia between the "indigenous" population and the migrants.
In contrast to these scenarios of the “chaos wars,” Alekseev predicts the likelihood of a local military conflict between the Russian Federation and the United States using regular armed forces on both sides. The conditions for this alleged military confrontation, as defined by Alexeev, are as follows:
- The military conflict between the United States and the Russian Federation takes place in a certain peripheral area far from the center;
- the clash between the USA and the Russian Federation is mediated by some third force acting on the side of the Americans, i.e., the military conflict of the Russian Federation and the USA has an indirect character. The latter circumstance does not exclude the entry of the US into military operations in the final phase;
- military actions will be conducted on the basis of conventional weapons, which, however, does not exclude the possibility of a limited use of nuclear weapons at some point in the conflict weapons.
The war, as is well known, by the classical definition is a continuation of politics by other means, therefore each of the parties to the conflict pursues its own goals in the conflict. The United States is creating conditions for destabilization of the Russian Federation and changes in the world order, which is currently a continuation of the Yalta-Potsdam system. Russia - legitimization in the eyes of the public of the social system that emerged after 1991, and the continuation of the dialogue with the United States based on their own interests. Speech of the third party to the conflict on the side of the United States does not exclude the fact that he pursues his own interests in it. Thus, it is obvious that for the model of a hypothetical future military conflict, the RIAC expert used the five-day war between Russia and Georgia in August 2008, which, in fact, was an indirect military conflict between the United States and Russia. Unlike the 2008 events of the year, Alekseev believes that the new military conflict between the Russian Federation and the United States will be longer and more bloody. A possible military conflict between the Russian Federation and the United States will not develop into an all-out war. However, it can lead to such results that each of the parties to the conflict will declare its results his victory.
When considering the underlying causes of a possible military conflict between the Russian Federation and the United States, Alekseev proceeds from the position that, until now, peaceful Russian-American relations are going around in a circle, giving no advantage to any of the parties. After 20 years after the liquidation of the USSR, "the leaders of Russia and the United States are discussing, in fact, the same problems as at the end of 1980's: reducing the intensity of confrontational rhetoric, resuming arms control negotiations, and establishing economic contacts." The existing permanent confrontation between Moscow and Washington, Alekseev believes, is fraught with military conflict with a high probability of its realization. The cause of the conflict is the growth of real contradictions, although, from our point of view, this is not obvious. It’s just that neither side is currently able to solve its basic geopolitical and strategic goals on the Eurasia continent, so the struggle has assumed a positional character based on the time factor.
After 1990, the United States announced its intention to create a new world order. However, the existing conditions mean the realization in the world of only informal American leadership. Despite the collapse of the bipolar system, the basic principles of the Yalta-Potsdam order remain in the world. The structure of world governance has not changed, in which the leading role is still formally owned by the UN, or more precisely, by the UN Security Council, whose permanent members are legitimized by the outcome of the Second World War. The objective reasons for the Russian-American confrontation are the existence of the Russian military potential capable of technically destroying the United States and the ability of the Russian Federation to block the decisions of the Americans through the UN Security Council. Russia does not recognize American leadership. Under these conditions, Alekseev believes, without solving the "Russian problem" the United States cannot implement its project for a global world order. Russia is initiating formal and informal coalitions designed to block US policy. In addition, Russia is pursuing a commercial policy independent of the United States in the field of military technology exports. It acts as a technology donor for countries wishing to build power capabilities to counter Washington. Starting a new round of tensions, Alekseev believes 1994 is the year when the administration of President Clinton realized that the task of disarming Russia could not be quickly resolved. From that moment on, the Russian regime became hostile to Washington. Since the beginning of 2000, the situation has only worsened. However, the growth of authoritarianism in Russia cannot be the cause of confrontation, the INFRM expert believes, because the USA regularly cooperates with regimes much more authoritarian than Putin’s Russia to achieve its goals.
Since the mid 1990-s, the United States has been trying to influence the Russian political system by creating a negative image of our country as an authoritarian and criminal state. In Europe, Americans are promoting countermeasures to the policies of Russian energy companies. In Russia, they finance the opposition in attempts to promote candidates favored by the US and study the potential of separatist tendencies in Russia.
The US’s rejection of the second term of Vladimir Putin’s presidency stems from the fact that the Russian president is not making concessions to the Americans on their disarmament agenda, and with the realization that it’s impossible to change the Russian regime in the foreseeable future through non-systemic opposition actions. The US response was a tightening of policies towards Russia in various forms.
In such a situation, according to the RIAC Alekseev expert, the United States has an interest in defeating the Kremlin in a regional military conflict. However, Russia in such a conflict will not be the passive victim of American politics like Yugoslavia, Iraq or Syria. Under certain conditions, the very logic of Russian foreign policy can contribute to the emergence of this kind of conflict, says Alekseev. Russian foreign policy strategies are associated with the instability of its internal political system. The Russian leadership managed to preserve the territorial integrity of the country. However, the problem of the division of property has not yet been solved and is not legitimized in the eyes of the country's population. In the mass consciousness of the inhabitants of the regions, nostalgia for the Soviet past is widespread. In such a situation, the Russian government needs foreign policy successes that serve as a form of its legitimation. The political crisis at the turn of the 2011-2012 years showed a decline in the legitimacy of the current Russian leadership. Under these conditions, forcing Washington to engage in dialogue with the Kremlin requires either a drastic weakening of the US position, or an impressive force demonstration. The ideal solution could be the victory of Russia in a regional conflict. Inside Russia, the “common test” will finally make it possible to draw a line under the collapse of the USSR and the privatization of the 1990s.
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The RSMD expert Alekseev lists the possible scenarios of a military conflict: "the third Russian-Japanese war," the "Arctic war," "the Far Eastern war," etc. Here it should be immediately noted that the author of the article in question leaves the crisis points in the CIS behind the brackets of the military conflict. He believes that “the collision of the Russian and American armed forces is theoretically possible in such conflict points of the CIS as the Crimea, the Black Sea, and the Transcaucasus. However, such a conflict will not allow Moscow or Washington to solve the underlying political problems. For Russia, victory in it will look too much obvious, and for the United States - will raise the question of escalation. " Obviously, the "five-day war" 2008 of the year drew a line under the possibility of military adventures of this kind. Alekseev writes that "theoretically, the most realistic proving ground is: unrest in Belarus caused by its possible exit from the Union State," but for some reason is silent about the conflict potential of Ukraine. These scenarios do not give a “third interested party” who will initiate this kind of conflict from the United States. Should Poland not be considered as such? Therefore, the escalation of the military conflict around the Kaliningrad region is doubtful due to the presentation of territorial claims on it by Poland or Germany, or the appearance of separatist sentiments in it, which will be supported by the EU. Alekseev writes about the conflict potential of the problem of the status of the Russian-speaking population in Estonia and Latvia. However, in this situation, the initiative of the conflict must again come from the Balts.
The Alexeyev’s proposed scenario of the US-Russia Pacific conflict is also problematic, since there is no “third concerned” in it. The conflict in this version will take the form of a direct collision between the United States and the Russian Federation. In this capacity, he does not meet the basic conditions of a hypothetical collision. "An additional source of conflict may be the Americans' support for separatist tendencies in the Far East," Alekseev said when considering this option. But where are these Far Eastern separatists, we ask, when considering this option? Real separatist movements on the outskirts of Russia can manifest themselves only in a situation of weakening the center - in a state where it will not be able to wage external wars for sure.
Alekseev’s proposed scenario of the Arctic War is also doubtful. The IMIT expert believes that Canada could be the “third concerned”. “Between Russia and Canada, the conflict over the status of the North Pole persists. For Russia, squeezing small Canadian groups from the Russian sector (perhaps after a tense air battle) will look like a“ won victory, ”writes the INF Committee. Such an option is at least ridiculous Potential hostile Russia "Canadian groups" have nowhere to gain a foothold in the Arctic, except on drifting ice. For this kind of conflict in the Arctic there are no any disputed island territories.
Of all the considered and, as we believe, unrealistic scenarios, there remains one option that has been sufficiently worked out by an expert. Alekseev believes that the Russian-Japanese territorial dispute is an ideal testing ground for a military clash between the Russian Federation and the United States. For Russia, Japan is a strong adversary, possessing, if not equality, then even superiority in surface navy at the Pacific theater of operations. However, the factor of Russian aviation, especially for strategic purposes, makes Moscow’s ultimate victory undoubted, the RSMD expert believes. In the indicated conflict, the “third party concerned” is also represented. In Japan itself, there are forces that may be interested in defeating their country in order to eliminate dependence on the United States and gain full sovereignty and create full-fledged armed forces. If Washington and Tokyo have an alliance treaty of 1960, the Russo-Japanese war will look like a manifestation of US weakness if they do not enter the war. For the United States, conflict can also play a positive role. Washington’s intervention at the final stage can be presented as evidence of the effectiveness of American power and the inability of the Allies to solve problems without the participation of the United States, as well as stopping and even discarding "Russian expansion," Alekseev concludes.
In favor of the "Japanese scenario", the blocking of negotiations between Moscow and Tokyo on the territorial issue testifies. The Russian side’s purchase of Mistral-class amphibious assault ships from France shows where Moscow sees the main naval theater of military operations.
However, we note that the position of Tokyo is crucial for this hypothetical version of the new Russian-Japanese war. It is the Japanese who should provoke this war. Note that in our political science fiction literature, the variant of the victorious Russian-Japanese war for Russia was spelled out in an artistic action movie in the alternative genre. stories Evgenia Sartinova "Last Empire" 1998 of the Year. In the course of the novel, Japan landed its troops on the disputed islands of the Kuril chain Kunashir and Iturup. The Japanese in 90 number of thousands of bayonets entrenched on the islands, entrenched themselves and began to wait from the sea for the Russian troops to bleed him. Ready to intervene in the conflict at any time, the strike force of the US Pacific Fleet, headed by the aircraft carrier Admiral Chester Nimitz, plied in neutral waters, claiming the role of arbitrator. As a result of the whole action, the Russian Tu-22M dropped a megaton thermonuclear bomb from transcendental heights on Kunashir. After that, the Japanese prime minister responsible for the beginning of the war in Tokyo made himself a hara-kiri, and the Russian leadership "generously" donated Iturup and Kunashir to Japan that turned into radioactive rocks. The peace treaty with Japan was never signed, America insisted, but the war was over. Two weeks later, a truce was signed in Seoul. Recall that we are not talking about the plans of the General Staff, but about fantasies on the subject of a hypothetical new Russian-Japanese war of the Russian writer Yevgeny Sartinov.
Here we will again return to the RLME expert material by Valery Alekseev on the topic “Is war with America possible?”. In principle, of course, war with America is possible for the Russian Federation, if only because the parties to a potential conflict have military capabilities. But Alexeev’s material itself is weak in relation to possible concrete options, since, in the end, the only real scenario depends on the will of the Japanese leadership. However, there is one significant point to which attention should be paid to Alexeev’s expert material - this is his obvious connection with the context of Russian history. The author of the INF Committee states that “a small victorious war” with Japan, according to Plehve’s prescription, will make it possible to remove the question of the need to “modernize” the country. "The issue of the inefficiency of the raw materials economy will be pushed aside, just as the 1812 war of the year allowed freezing discussions for half a century about the inefficiency of serfdom and autocracy," Alekseev writes. The Russian leadership in the expert material is actually called for criminal political cheating. True, the credentials are for some reason sent to Tokyo. The real first Russian-Japanese war of 1904-1905 ended with the real first Russian revolution, isn’t it?
It should be noted that many of our experts in the field of political forecasts are not allowed to sleep by the glory of dissident Andrey Amalrik, who published an essay book “Does the Soviet Union last until 1969?” In samizdat and tamizdat. Amalric acquired the glory of a prophet in his patronymic, the Soviet Union lasted seven years longer than he had predicted. True, few people note that the condition of the collapse of the USSR defined by Amalrik - the Soviet-Chinese war never happened. From this position, it is necessary to consider specific scenarios of a possible military conflict between the Russian Federation and the United States in the expert analysis of the RLME Valery Alekseev.