Sunday, March 17, 2019

Limited Means and Unlimited Vulnerability

I think Russia has a strategy of limited means rather than one of limited actions. Which is a problem when you have an unlimited land border.

Yeah, good luck with that:

Indeed, the earliest reports on Gerasimov’s speech also noted his assertion of a new Russian strategy of “limited actions,” which, drawing upon lessons from Moscow’s intervention in Syria, seeks to defend and promote “national interests” beyond Russian territory. Gerasimov explained that the foundation for implementing this strategy involves the “creation of a self-sufficient grouping of troops (forces) based on force elements of one of the branches of the Russian Armed Forces possessing high mobility and the capability to make the greatest contribution to executing assigned missions. In Syria, that role was set aside for elements of the Aerospace Forces [Vozdushno-Kosmicheskiye Sily—VKS]. Winning and holding information superiority, preemptive readiness of command-and-control and comprehensive support systems, and covert deployment of the necessary grouping are the most important conditions for implementing this strategy” (Interfax, March 2).

So Russia is developing a strategy of limited actions that codifies their recent history? Meh. They can dress it up all they like but it is still a reflection of weakness. Russia would roll in with mass armor and carpet bombing if they thought they could do that and wrap up a crisis in a month.

People (and I'll move beyond the shock that the EU is continuing to sanction Russia over their invasion of Ukraine), Russia still denies the obvious:

"The EU's claim that Russia 'broke international law' and used unjustified force does not correspond with reality at all," the [Russian foreign] ministry said.

"The excuse for placing our fellow countrymen on the European Union's illegitimate sanctions lists amazes with its hypocrisy and cynicism," it added, saying the individuals targeted were simply doing their jobs.

Would a powerful Russia bother denying that they invaded a country and took its territory?

And I thought "simply doing their jobs just following orders" was established as not being a defense to committing crimes.

The fact that they don't bulldoze an enemy and then claim a "frozen conflict" (aka "bleeding ulcer" of constant casualties, expense, and foreign hostility in reaction) is exactly what they intend is farcical.

We call it "hybrid warfare," propping up Russian conventional weakness as a novel scary doctrine.

Also, claiming America has a strategy of inspiring a "color revolution" in Russia that would be supported by American precision bombing sounds like Russia just wants a convenient excuse to violently suppress any signs of dissent from their own people who the Kremlin bosses clearly fear more than America and NATO.

And God help us if the Russians truly believe that protests in Russia must be the work of America given that the Russians seem to feel that they have the right to strike at the heart of the real threat.

Unless, of course, I'm wrong and this is just Russian disinformation. What if the Russians really see this new strategy to counter supposed foreign subversion linked to precision weapons as applying to China which poses a threat to the territorial integrity of Russia in their Far East. A Chinese threat only suspended by the 20-year treaty they signed in 2001. Russia is running out of time to be able to defend their territory in the Far East rather than appease play second fiddle to China while the power differential favors China.

In that light, Russian investment in long-range air and missile precision strike capability isn't intended to reach America but is intended to reach Russia's own Far East and neighboring China from European Russia. The fifth column might not be Russian protesters on the streets of Moscow but ethnic Chinese illegally settling in Russian territory in the Far East (and maybe local Russians who'd rather go with China than distant Moscow which siphons off their natural resources) where their empire is truly at risk.

Russia's exercises for their airborne forces could be seen in this light, too.

Also, a peace treaty with Japan might signal that Russia is getting serious about having a conventional capability to deter China.

A "limited actions" strategy signals that the correlation of forces isn't going Moscow's way any time soon, doesn't it?