Hawaii Intelligence Digest, 31 May 2017, 04:55 hrs, UTC, Post #216.
Author: Joe Rothstein.
Accessed on 31 May 2017, 04:55 hrs, UTC.
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Political analyst Joe Rothstein poses an interesting question for those struggling to understand what’s behind Vladimir Putin’s attempt to expand the economic, political, and military leverage of The Russian Federation in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Is Mr. Putin a “brilliant” strategist or is he just plain lucky? According to Mr. Rothstein, Mr. Putin is taking Russia’s apparent disadvantages and converting them into large geopolitical victories.
Mr. Rothstein believes there are three weaknesses which Mr. Putin is successfully addressing and, in the process, destabilizing the western democracies:
“How about trying to sow discord among NATO countries, trying to undermine their effectiveness?”
“Why not try to turn Turkey, a large and powerful nation on Russia’s southern border, against its NATO partners, particularly the U.S.?”
“Maybe even plot to weaken the U.S. internally, using its own dedication to democracy against itself?”
“And, what do you know, all that is actually happening. In Putin’s wildest fantasies, he could hardly imagine how the world has turned in his favor over the past year or so.”
“A new American president is in office, one who behaves bizarrely, shakes confidence in allies and mistrusts his own intelligence agencies.”
“In the new American government generals have replaced civilians in the role of making geopolitical military policy. With that new authority the generals are pushing the U.S. into even deeper involvement in the middle east war quagmire.”
“U.S. diplomacy has been marginalized. An oil man runs it. Key State Department jobs remain unfilled. Long time ally Germany says Europe no longer can trust U.S. support, signaling a severe break in decades old western military and trade alliances. ”
“And an even bigger jackpot—more people in the U.S. than ever are questioning whether democracy itself is on the ropes. Music to an autocrat’s ears.”
And, there you have it. By spreading disinformation, using cyber warfare to exploit intelligence weaknesses, and by undermining confidence in our own government, Mr. Putin has turned Russia’s comparatively weak and slowing economy into a major political force. In this instance, Mr. Putin saw an opportunity to expand Russia’s influence at little direct cost to itself. By keeping western allies divided and the United States tied up in an endless Middle East conflict, Mr. Putin can use his limited resources to leverage a greater say in European affairs. Mr. Putin is a “brilliant strategist” because our political leadership is so divisive, unfocused, and clearly at odds with our traditional allies. A simple case of “divide and conquer.” If this is the path chosen by Mr. Putin, we can clearly see what the Russian end game is: A gradual restructuring of the old Soviet Union as it existed after World War II–an empire that included all of Eastern Europe (with the possible exception of Yugoslavia–a country that no longer exists). The resurrection of Stalin’s communist state will be cautious and could take years with plenty of diversions along the way. Even Russia has protests and reluctant former members of the USSR unwilling to become part of Russia again. But, Mr. Putin is a patient man and will use whatever tactics he can, from economic threats to sophisticated cyber warfare offensives, to gain his goals. Mr. Putin is taking the long view, while we in the United States are only focused on the immediate present. I agree with Mr. Rothstein when he says “The western political diplomatic world is in disarray, while Vladimir Putin’s world looks brighter than ever.”
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Hawaii Intelligence Digest