Strives to make low-intensity conflict more understandable, as it poses important problems for American interests and policy. The U.S. will better secure its own interests only when it has developed a flexible capacity to deal with the root causes of conflicts around the world. Discusses the Middle East, Afghanistan, Guatemala and El Salvador, Africa, the Philippings and Indonesia.
On January 25-26, 2010, the Strategic Studies Institute (SSI) organized a conference entitled, "Contemporary Issues in International Security," at the Finnish Embassy in Washington, DC. This was the second in what we hope will be annual conferences bringing together U.S., European, and Russian scholars and experts to discuss such issues in an open forum. The importance of such regular dialogues among experts is well known, and the benefits of these discussions are considerable. Just as we published the papers of the 2008 conference in 2009, (Stephen J. Blank, ed., Prospects for US-Russian Security Cooperation, Carlisle, PA: Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College, 2009), we are doing so now. However, in this case, we are publishing the papers on a panel by panel basis. This monograph on Russia's defense or military doctrine represents the third of the five monographs that we will be publishing. It consists of three deeply probing essays into the genesis of the doctrine, the political struggle behind it, and the actual content of the doctrine. They reveal a highly politicized minefield of struggle comprising leading actors in the Russian military, government, and security policy circles as a whole. They duly illuminate the ongoing struggles between and among these sets of military and civilian elites and therefore cast a shining light on critical aspects of Russian policy that all too often are left in the darkness.
"On January 25-26, 2010, the Strategic Studies Institute (SSI) organized a conference entitled, 'Contemporary issues in International Security, ' at the Finnish embassy in Washington, DC. This was the second in what we hope will be annual conferences bringing together U.S., European, and Russian scholars and experts to discuss such issues in an open forum. The importance of such regular dialogues among experts is well known, and the benefits of these discussions are considerable. Just as we published the papers of the 2008 conference in 2009, (Stephen J. Blank, ed., Prospects for U.S.-Russian Security Cooperation, Carlisle, PA: Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College, 2009), we are doing so now. However, in this case, we are publishing the papers on a panel-by-panel basis. The panel presented here was devoted to civil-military relations in Russia. This is, as the papers included here show, a critical topic in understanding the domestic and foreign policy trajectories of the Russian state. The papers provided here do not deny that civilian control exists. But they both show how highly undemocratic, and even dangerous, is the absence of those democratic controls over the military and the police forces in Russia which, taken together, comprise multiple militaries. These papers present differing U.S. and European assessments of the problems connected with civilian and democratic controls over the possessors of force in the Russian state and should stimulate further reflection upon these issues and those related to them."--P. ix.
President Obama has outlined a comprehensive strategy for the war in Afghanistan which is now the central front of our campaign against Islamic terrorism. The strategy strongly connects our prosecution of that war to our policy in Pakistan and internal developments there as a necessary condition of victory. But the strategy has also provided for a new logistics road through Central Asia. The author argues that a winning strategy in Afghanistan depends as well upon the systematic leveraging of the opportunity provided by that road and a new coordinated nonmilitary approach to Central Asia. That approach would rely heavily on improved coordination at home and the more effective leveraging of our superior economic power in Central Asia to help stabilize the region so that it provides a secure rear to Afghanistan. In this fashion we would help Central Asia meet the challenges of extremism, of economic decline due to the global economic crisis, and thus help provide political stability in states that are likely to be challenged by the confluence of those trends.
The war in Afghanistan has added considerably to the strategic significance of Central Asia due to its proximity to the conflict. Moreover, the continuation of the war increasingly involves the vital interests of many other actors other than the U.S. and NATO forces currently there. This monograph, taken from SSI's conference ("Contemporary Issues in International Security") with European and Russian scholars in 2010, provides a comprehensive analysis of the means and objectives of Russia's involvement in Central Asia. It provides Russian perspectives concerning the other actors in Central Asia and how Moscow views the policy significance of those efforts, and a French analysis of the strategic situation evolving there. For obvious reasons: the war in Afghanistan, proximity to major global actors, large energy holdings, and for less obvious reasons, i.e., that possibility that domestic instability in one or more of these states could spread to other Muslim states as we now see in the Arab revolutions of 2011, Central Asia is an increasingly important and interesting region.
The documented threat assessments addressed here by Dr. Stephen Blank are clearly the culmination to date of a long-standing process by which the Russian military and government have forsaken the optimistic Westernizing postures and visions of the initial post-Soviet years and returned in many respects to assessments and demands for specific policies that evoke the Soviet mentality and period. The armed forces and the government have adopted a viewpoint that magnifies both the internal and external threats to Russia that they perceive and regard those threats as growing in number and saliency. This viewpoint is fundamentally at odds with both the post-1985 Soviet and Russian perspective and with Western perspectives on international security. In adopting this heightened sense of threat, the armed forces may well have been guided as much by interests urging higher defense spending and greater visibility for the General Staff and armed forces in the framing of Russian security policy. To the extent that official policy statements accept that assessment, they reflect trends in both internal and external policy that are inimical to notions of democratic reform and stability at home and partnership with the West abroad. Needless to say, such perspectives also make it harder for the overstressed economy, society, and polity to provide genuine security for Russia in a dynamic international context. The future course of Russian security policy is one of the most important and difficult questions in contemporary international affairs. This monograph addresses basic issues pertaining to Russia's future options for policymakers' consideration and reflection as the global debate over Russia's future direction under Vladimir Putin takes shape.