Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Gen. McChrystal is right — in fact, Russian leaders think they already are at war

By Thomas E. Ricks, Foreign Policy
January 30, 2017

General Stanley McChrystal perhaps shocked many when he spoke out on the chance of a war in Europe — aside from the continuing conflict in Ukraine. He stated that “A European war is not unthinkable. People who want to believe a war in Europe is not possible might be in for a surprise.” He is absolutely correct, and it is with Russia.

The common idea on how this will happen is that increased activity can lead to incidents and unintentional escalation. That is, however, only focusing on the direct issues. The underlying issue is that Russia believes itself to be in a war with the West, albeit, for now, a non-military one (coincidentally the topic of my PhD).

The economic sanctions imposed on Russia following the invasion of Ukraine are not perceived as a moderate response from the West to a breach of international law. Rather, as the Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov stated, they are seen as an attempt to provoke regime change in Russia. Moreover, this perception has a longer story than economic sanctions.

The Russian regime is convinced that the West has become so good at mastering the technique of “Color Revolutions” that they can induce regime change where it suits their geopolitical interests. The technique includes an enormous informational offensive, funding NGOs, using special services, and diplomatic pressure — all in the name of democracy.

(More here.)

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