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Subject: Possibility of a major Russian Military or Geopolitical action within the next 2 years?
DarthAmerica    8/24/2007 10:31:56 PM
I'm thinking Kosovo, Ukraine or Georgia. More specifically they could instigate and support a Serb crackdown on Kosovo independence, put direct pressure on Ukraine or take direct military action against Georgia. Does anybidy else see this as a possibility? The motive would be to reassert their status as a major power along their periphery while the USA is tied up in the Middle East, near Presidential Elections and the EU is still economically vulnerable and militarily unable to oppose them in these countries. All three of these nations are in precarious positions in regard to Russia and their are realistic achievable objectives that should not cause a direct confrontation with the USA. Does any of this sound reasonable? -DA
 
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5thGuards       8/24/2007 11:25:57 PM
They don't have any desire to do so , why would they?
Besides the Russians wouldn't need to invade georgia if they wanted too when pro-Russian forces control half the country already.
What can the Georgian army do? They can't even take back the rouge regions now.


 
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Arbalest       8/25/2007 2:46:04 AM

I suspect that the Russians might be trying to reassert their major-power status (TU-95s are flying over the North Atlantic again) but is this necessarily a bad thing?

Few want a Russia with 200 divisions, but 25-40 divisions and a credible Navy, Airforce and ICBM fleet suggests a sufficiently strong Russia, with international influence. A Russia that feels influential in its own right might feel much less need to support enemies of the US and Europe (e.g., Iran).

Unfortunately, I had to use the words "might" and "suggests", so my argument is weak. But there is some evidence that a situation along these lines might be the best for all; the Russia of the 1990s is also in no one’s interest.

 

Russia also seems to be looking at a more capitalist / "consumerist" approach to rebuilding their society. The quality of Russian industrial products could make them a very large "1970s Germany" in many areas, but with lower labor costs. Additionally, "consumerist" countries tend to be very stable.

I think that a number of Russian leaders see this, and are trying to make it happen. They seem to be using some of their oil & gas revenues to invest in consumer infrastructure; this points to not primarily militaristic short- and long-term policies.

My point is that I think that the Russian long-term policies and goals will drive their short-term policies and goals, unless something goes wrong.

 

But the thread question asks specifically about the next 2 years, not the 10+ year forecast.

 

The Russian "Oil and Gas" card seems to have worked quite well recently vis-à-vis Ukraine and Europe. The Russians probably realize that with just a little care, they can continue to play it.

So, yes, pressure on Ukraine seems probable (if Russia isn’t currently exerting pressure).

Not sure about military action against Georgia; it seems politically undesirable. Perhaps a variation on the "Oil and Gas" card will work.

But I think that conditions in Iran are probably well known in Georgia. I suspect that if Georgia starts experiencing enough Islamic activity, many Georgians will welcome Russian influence and presence.

Kosovo may need attention. I recall reading something about Muslims killing Christians there, and Kosovo being a source of radical Islamists. This affects everyone. I think that the article was at Frontpagemag.com within the last 4 days.
 
 
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DarthAmerica       8/25/2007 2:29:31 PM

They don't have any desire to do so , why would they?
Besides the Russians wouldn't need to invade georgia if they wanted too when pro-Russian forces control half the country already.
What can the Georgian army do? They can't even take back the rouge regions now.


Why? Well first I didn't say "INVADE". I said military action. Thats the full spectrum of options. As to why? The Russians absolutely hate the encroachment on NATO and EU personnel into former Soviet states that they consider to be in their sphere of influence and vital to Russian security. Right now, Georgia has a de facto independent region called Abkhazia that has ties to Russia. No one important recognizes their sovernty...lets jump for a minute to Kosovo.
Kosovo is currently seeking independence from Serbia with US/EU/Partial UNSC support which further underminds a militarily trivial but politically significant interest. Add to this that Poland and the Czecks are rapidly falling into the US/NATO/EU sphere of influence. If you look at a map over time, the Russians are not blind to the gains the west is making. Another on going tangent is the Ukraine. If Kosovo gains its independence, it will be a huge slap in the face to Russia. Surrounded by NATO/EU countries, its a slap the Russians are just going to have to absord. Georgia on the other hand...
 
...Is also an ally of the west but is MUCH more vulnerable to Russia due to proximity. Russia needs actions to back up their major world power assertions. Somethng more substantial than turning off the power in Europe. A Kosovo independence could be the match that lights the Georgian powder keg. Whats more, the US/EU/NATO aren't really in a position to put out the fires.
 
-DA
 
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Nanheyangrouchuan       8/25/2007 4:57:04 PM
"If Kosovo gains its independence, it will be a huge slap in the face to Russia. Surrounded by NATO/EU countries, its a slap the Russians are just going to have to absord. Georgia on the other hand..."

The EU/US may play trade-off, where Russia gets to hold on to Kosovo (and even gets intel from NATO) while the Ukraine is off limits to Russia.  Russia would be allowed to come back under Russian control to counter Iran but one day, some day, when the mullahs are gone, the US gets full access to Iran.

 
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DarthAmerica       8/25/2007 5:23:23 PM

"If Kosovo gains its
independence, it will be a huge slap in the face to Russia. Surrounded
by NATO/EU countries, its a slap the Russians are just going to have to
absord. Georgia on the other hand..."


The EU/US may play trade-off, where Russia gets to hold on to Kosovo (and even gets intel from NATO) while the Ukraine is off limits to Russia.  Russia would be allowed to come back under Russian control to counter Iran but one day, some day, when the mullahs are gone, the US gets full access to Iran.


Nah I don't buy it. Ukraine is far too important to Russia. While they might go to war(limited/proxy/economic) over other places. They would certainly go to war(not necessarily in Ukraine) over the Ukraine. A NATO/EU friendly Ukraine would scare them to death. Look at a map of where Ukraine is in relation to Europe and Russia. Keep in mind they already tried to kill the leadership there for being pro-western and since then have subverted power there.
-DA
 
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RockyMTNClimber    Russia's planning something but what?   8/25/2007 7:34:47 PM
Putin has made much of the rebirth of the Russian military. He has gone so far as to attend exercises on submerged SSN's, flown a mission in the left seat of a Backfire, and attended almost daily military operations of just about any kind you can imagine. I have not made up my mind whether or not they are posturing for export sales or conducting a Hitler-esque run up to a real shooting war. In many ways both look the same in the early stages.
 
Ukraine, I think it has slid to far from their grasp. Close ties to NATO now, I don't see him moving overtly after Ukraine. Better to sow discord among the ethnic Russians and seek a political change? Hitler justified his early posturing against the Poles by claiming the treatment of German communities in Polish territory was treacherous. Made up of course but if you really want war you have to sell it to your populace somehow. Ukraine is not a slam dunk for Russia. I say no move there.
 
The Kosovo thing is ripe for exploitation. Isn't the US and NATO invested there too though? France and the United Kingdom would stand with diplomatically together, as would Germany. Too close to Europe I think.
 
Georgia is not part of western Europe, not particularly stable, not able to defend her interests. Available.
 
Two questions: 1. Can Russian afford a real shooting war? Although it wouldn't last long.
                        2.  What effect would siezing control of Georgia have on the other satelites that fell out of Russia's orbit
                              at the conclusion of the Cold War. Wouldn't they imediately run for cover of the west? Would we give
                              it to them? Some of this question depends upon who wins the next US election.
 
Check Six
 
Rocky
      
 
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DarthAmerica       8/25/2007 10:25:52 PM

Putin has made much of the rebirth of the Russian military. He has gone so far as to attend exercises on submerged SSN's, flown a mission in the left seat of a Backfire, and attended almost daily military operations of just about any kind you can imagine. I have not made up my mind whether or not they are posturing for export sales or conducting a Hitler-esque run up to a real shooting war. In many ways both look the same in the early stages.

 

Ukraine, I think it has slid to far from their grasp. Close ties to NATO now, I don't see him moving overtly after Ukraine. Better to sow discord among the ethnic Russians and seek a political change? Hitler justified his early posturing against the Poles by claiming the treatment of German communities in Polish territory was treacherous. Made up of course but if you really want war you have to sell it to your populace somehow. Ukraine is not a slam dunk for Russia. I say no move there.

 

The Kosovo thing is ripe for exploitation. Isn't the US and NATO invested there too though? France and the United Kingdom would stand with diplomatically together, as would Germany. Too close to Europe I think.

 

Georgia is not part of western Europe, not particularly stable, not able to defend her interests. Available.

 

Two questions: 1. Can Russian afford a real shooting war? Although it wouldn't last long.

                        2.  What effect would siezing control of Georgia have on the other satelites that fell out of Russia's orbit

                              at the conclusion of the Cold War. Wouldn't they imediately run for cover of the west? Would we give

                              it to them? Some of this question depends upon who wins the next US election.

 

Check Six

 

Rocky

      



1. Yes
 
2. Intimidation would be the effect. Unfriendly political parties in nations bordering Russia would be emboldend and make moves toward getting into positions of power. What would we do? Well Georgia would call on us for support but militarily we would have very little options IMHO. It does not matter who the next POTUS is either. Russia could limit our options by only going after the break away region which would leave the door open for a diplomatic settlement.
 
-DA
 
 
 
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RockyMTNClimber    Abkhazia   8/26/2007 11:29:15 AM
DA, you think that the Rodina will attempt to sow insurrection in these states and use that as an opportunity to rebuild their hegemony? Taking small Abkhazian bites at a time?
 
Russia is perturbed that Georgia successfully broke off back in the '90s and in doing so sparked other break-aways. Supporting Abkhazian independence helps Russia how? The Agkhazia appear to be seeking independence not to be subjugated once again by Russia.
 
The net result of these machinations is that countries cobbled together by outside parties for their own interests: such as Chequeslovakia, Yugoslavia, Georgian Republic, are bound to shatter once the artificial cultural glue evaporates. In the Chech case they separated peacefully, in the case of Yugoslavia and Georgia the old fights are having to be re fought. The UN of course has no interest in anything but maintaining its status-quo members and regrettably US & our western partners will probably allow some of this to go on.
 
I still say a strong US State Dept. and POTUS could force the Russians to be allot less ambitious.
 
Elections have meaning.
 
Check Six
 
Rocky 
 
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DarthAmerica       8/26/2007 12:41:41 PM

DA, you think that the Rodina will attempt to sow insurrection in these states and use that as an opportunity to rebuild their hegemony? Taking small Abkhazian bites at a time?
 

I'm not so sure I would say Hegemony. But they do wish to remain a global actor and secure what they consider their sphere of influence. Right now with the GWOT taking priority, this is a good time for Russia to sow the seeds of their ambitions. Small bites at a time ensure they don't bite off more than they can chew. The last thing they want right nowis the average person or politician screaming THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING. It's in the Russian interest that for now we stay focused on the ME.
 
Russia is perturbed that Georgia successfully broke off back in the '90s and in doing so sparked other break-aways. Supporting Abkhazian independence helps Russia how? The Agkhazia appear to be seeking independence not to be subjugated once again by Russia.

 It will elbolded Russia friendly border states/political parties, reclaim territory near the Black Sea and reduce confidence in NATO/EU. It will also serve as a moral boost. Russia NEEDS to reverse the encroachment of NATO/EU/West within their traditional sphere of influence.

The net result of these machinations is that countries cobbled together by outside parties for their own interests: such as Chequeslovakia, Yugoslavia, Georgian Republic, are bound to shatter once the artificial cultural glue evaporates. In the Chech case they separated peacefully, in the case of Yugoslavia and Georgia the old fights are having to be re fought. The UN of course has no interest in anything but maintaining its status-quo members and regrettably US & our western partners will probably allow some of this to go on.

 Yes but out of necessity. It would take considerable effort to reorient in these regions considering our current situation.

I still say a strong US State Dept. and POTUS could force the Russians to be allot less ambitious.
 
Nope, IMHO. They are compelled by circumstances. 

Elections have meaning.

 

Check Six

 

Rocky 



 
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JIMF       8/26/2007 5:35:42 PM
As mentioned by Darth its size and geography make eventual (probably not two years) reaquisition of Ukraine the essential cornerstone of 21st century Russian imperial ambitions.   Despite mutual animosity, Ukrainians are frequently the victim of Russsian ethnic humor, "how many Ukrainians does it take to.....," there is still a strong cultural bond.  Russians, who generally have a strong sense of history, also are aware that in the distant past Kiev was their national center "Kievan Rus", which creates a certain sense of entitlement on their part.   
 
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