What conflicts are possible in the world in the coming year? What threats do they pose to Russia? How to respond to them? President of the Russian section of the International Police Association, Lieutenant General, Doctor of Law, Professor, Honored Lawyer of Russia Yuri Zhdanov analyzed the risks that our country may face.
– What conflicts taking place in the world should Russia pay attention to this year?
– I propose to first look at the conflicts that the Americans attach importance to. In my opinion, it will be clearer comparison of risk assessments by them and us. It is known that the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) – a private American organization in the field of international relations – published the next, fourteenth, annual Preventive Priorities Survey, dedicated to the likelihood and impact of thirty potential conflicts that may arise or intensify during this year.
The compilers interviewed American foreign policy experts, asking them to assess the likelihood and impact on American interests of these thirty conflicts, a list of which was compiled back in October 2021 using social networks.
Did everyone answer?
– No, only about 400 sent the completed questionnaire to the authors.
On what basis was the questionnaire compiled?
– Conflicts were categorized into three groups according to their impact on US interests (high, moderate, low) and likelihood (high, moderate, low). True, the groups themselves were formed according to some arbitrary and even strange logic.
For example, the worsening humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, the growing level of unrest and instability in Haiti, the military conflict between Iran and Israel over Tehran’s nuclear program, the escalation of clashes in eastern Ukraine, or large-scale military operations in contested areas have somehow fallen into one group.
Here is Taiwan with China, and Mexico, and Lebanon, and Venezuela. And the same hodgepodge in the other groups, which brought together three dozen conflicts of various colors. Again, it is not clear why exactly three tens, and not two or, say, five.
What are they most afraid of?
– None of the potential and actual conflicts was assessed this year as both highly probable and having a high impact on American interests. The most likely event, according to experts, is a humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.
–. And what potential conflicts are the most dangerous for Russia?
– In the first place of them, of course, we put the conflict in Ukraine. It is around him that a particularly fierce debate is being waged. But one gets the impression that many political forces in the United States are simply eager for a military development of the conflict. Thus, on January 10, a group of Republican congressmen announced that they intended to introduce a bill declaring Ukraine a NATO-plus country and initiating a review of the advisability of declaring Russia a state sponsor of terrorism.
“Diplomacy has little chance of success unless it is approached from a position of strength,” said Michael McCall, a leading Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, who is the bill’s main sponsor. “Vladimir Putin should take note that Congress will not tolerate the restoration of a Russian sphere of influence and will not allow the abandonment of Ukraine and our other allies and NATO partners in Central and Eastern Europe,” he added.
What is the purpose of this bill?
“The bill will provide Ukraine with the military and diplomatic support it needs in the face of an alleged Russian military buildup along its borders. The bill also designates Ukraine as a “NATO-plus” country to provide expedited consideration for the sale of certain US defense goods and services. As Congressman Rogers said, “This bill will significantly increase funding for the supply of lethal aid to Ukraine, in particular anti-aircraft and anti-ship weapons, which the Ukrainians need to contain Russia.
He also makes it clear that Putin’s demands, such as a veto on countries joining NATO and a moratorium on the deployment of medium-range missiles in Europe, are unacceptable and contrary to US national security interests.
In addition, the bill provides for the allocation of $155 million to combat “Russian disinformation” and information operations in the countries of the former USSR for 2022. That is, the information war against Russia.
– What other conflicts cause concern?
– Second place is occupied by the conflict in Afghanistan. The recent rebellion in Kazakhstan showed the reality and involvement of the Afghan situation in the processes taking place in the post-Soviet space.
The ongoing conflicts over Taiwan and the Iranian nuclear program will also always be among the most significant for Russia. Every year the danger that they will flare up and involve the whole world in their funnel only increases.
As for the new Karabakh conflict in 2022, here, most likely, the least likelihood. Especially due to the consequences of the events in Kazakhstan.
By the way, the authors of the forecast did not indicate other areas of potential conflicts. After the events in Kazakhstan, the report of the RAND Corporation, made back in 2019, is now often recalled.
Rand Corporation is, in fact, the “thought factory” of the US military-industrial complex. In 2019, the corporation developed a plan to involve the Russian armed forces in conflicts. Their goal is to weaken Russia economically by forcing it to go to excessive spending on deploying troops and using them in the next “hot spots”.
Six options for action in this direction have been proposed: arming Ukraine; increased support for jihadists in Syria; regime change in Belarus; maintenance of tension in the South Caucasus; reduction of Russian influence in Central Asia; rivalry with the Russian presence in Transnistria.
So, it has been noticed that the events in Kazakhstan over the past week correspond to the fifth chapter of the RAND Corporation plan. And the sixth chapter of this plan will be implemented in Pridnestrovie. The previous four episodes have already taken place over the past two years in Ukraine, Syria, Belarus and Nagorno-Karabakh. At the same time, the US National Security Council initiated a series of actions against Russia. This is not about overthrowing governments or starting new wars, but about plunging Moscow into conflicts beyond its borders and thereby exhausting it.
– So, now Transnistria is next?
– Yes, especially since it borders on Ukraine. The United States, together with the European Union, organized an economic blockade of this unrecognized state, whose population seceded from Moldova in a referendum during the collapse of the USSR. The staff of the European Union Border Assistance Mission to Moldova and Ukraine (EUBAM), led by Stefano Sannino (former OSCE Representative to Serbia), has been monitoring the work of the Moldovan and Ukrainian customs to implement the blockade of this country since January 1, 2022.
Although, mind you, Ukraine and Moldova are not members of the EU. Russia is forced to create an air bridge to supply food to the 500,000 inhabitants of this enclave.
– And another conflict zone is being created in Georgia?
– Yes, NATO promises that Georgia will join the North Atlantic Alliance and that a third country will not solve the issue of Georgia’s Atlantic integration. According to a report released by the Georgian Foreign Ministry, NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoane stated this on January 10 in a telephone conversation with Georgian Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani.
Earlier, on January 5, US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and Georgian Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani discussed the right of sovereign states to determine their own security mechanisms in a telephone conversation. The State Department said in a statement that the parties discussed the situation in the region and the threat of aggression from Russia.
The US diplomatic department reports that in a conversation with a Georgian diplomat, Sherman reaffirmed the firm support of the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia by the United States.
“The Deputy Secretary of State noted that the United States will continue to urge Russia to withdraw its troops to pre-war positions and honor the 2008 ceasefire,” the State Department said in a statement.
However, in parallel with the statements of Western partners about supporting the freedom of choice of Georgia and Ukraine, Russia continues to insist on “reinforced concrete” guarantees that these countries will never be able to join the North Atlantic Alliance. “We emphasize that it is absolutely imperative for us to make sure that Ukraine never becomes a member of NATO.
We would like the formula adopted by the Bucharest summit in 2008 to be withdrawn and replaced at the Madrid summit of NATO with the following: “Ukraine and Georgia will never become members of the North Atlantic Alliance.” We are tired of empty talk, we are tired of half-promises, of misinterpretation, which often happened in negotiations behind closed doors.We do not trust the other side.We need concrete, legally binding guarantees, not promises, but guarantees, with the words “should”, “must”, never become members of NATO. This is a matter of Russia’s national security,” Ryabkov told the media after a closed-door meeting that lasted about eight hours.
– The US reaction is known and quite expected.
– Alas, in turn, during the briefing following the talks, Wendy Sherman ruled out such a guarantee for Russia: “We will not allow anyone to close the door to NATO for another country.”
– In other words, as always, “we can only dream of peace”?
– What to do, this is our usual state. The list of existing, smoldering or as yet only possible conflicts makes it impossible to relax literally for a single day. And the events in Kazakhstan have shown that the post-Soviet space, with the help of our “partners” in negotiations from the United States and NATO, remains a “zone of special attention.”