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Блоги Володимир Кухар
Голова ГО "Українська альтернатива", офіцер резерву ЗСУ.
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Can Russia Stir a War?

Інколи заглядаю у соцмережу Quora. Розумні люди задають запитання, сперечаються. І тут теж - здебільшого промосковська темінь. Пробую подавати думку, відмінну від Russia Today. На запитання Чи може Росія розпалити Третю світову війну більшість відповідей - ні, це не мложливо. Наївно.

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What a day to write about Russia starting a war! :)

People arguing that Russia will never start a world war base their argument on two basic assumptions. And both are wrong.

First is that Russia will be acting rationally. Second is that adding up GDP figures and military fire-power is the key.

Russians like quoting their great poet Fyodor Tyutchev. A subtle talent. Quote: "You can not comprehend Russia with your mind, you can't apply to Russia common criteria" (Умом Россию не понять, одним аршином не измерить). And he is correct!

Basically, no decisions are made on a purely rational basis. Humans are humans. And they make their decisions with at some emotions added. Even if they do not acknowledge this. They found their judgement on believes and convictions, bits of analysis and portions of information (proved or poorly perceived). We are all full of our own subjectivity, some of us - of prejudices. Rational choice theory is an interesting concept, but even this concept is not comprehensive.

No major war started as a big war.

Look at Hitler. All of his wars were started as local solutions to some issues. (Issues looked for the West as remote and not worth of standing for them). Even while planning to attack Poland he proceeded from the point that France and Britain will not get into fight. It was unthinkable to German politicians and generals to imaging that after the Great War nightmare another big war could be started.

In all cases - invasions into Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland the actions were planned as rapid operations.

In all that cases German generals were aware that Germany is unable to win a global war. Even more so they were conscious that Germany can not fight on two fronts. But it is Germany who attacked the Soviet Union and opened the world war Pandora box.

Given the lack of resources all wars by the Third Reich were planned as Blitzkrieg - intense blows for several weeks. While gambling with invasion into Czechoslovakia Germans were aware that they posses ammunition for only three weeks fight.

Similarly, Putin's Russia generals are aware that they can not outnumber the West. So they rely on short and powerful strike. And they practice hybrid war, officially and publicly assumed as a strategy by the Russian General Headquarters (Chief of Staff General Gerasimov, January 2013).

Militarily mounting numbers makes sense, but just to some extent. No army in the world is capable to apply all of its force in one place at one point of time. Tactically you shall not put everything to one field, as from some point on too dense positions are becoming an easy target. So, it is possible to achieve local goals by a restricted contingent. And this is a huge temptation for some politicians and for some generals!

Russian KA-27 helicopter near USS Donald Cook missile destroyer. Source: CBSNews Breaking News, U.S., World, Business, Entertainment & Video

Let alone that Russian doctrine allows nuclear strike even against non-nuclear countries. Soviet and Russian military tactical handbooks open with instructions how to conduct a nuclear strike. This is the same part of tactics as mechanized brigade action. How you are going to rationally calculate this nuclear factor?

Budapest Memorandum of 1994 and Agreement on Cooperation and Partnership of 1997 were to guarantee non-intervention. No person in Ukraine and, perhaps, in the world would imaging that Putin will conduct military operation in Crimea before it started. Even Crimean Tatars leaders. Refat Chubarov, Chairman of the banned today Crimean Tatars Mejlis, acknowledged in his recent interview that he would not imaging Russian helicopters landing in Crimea one day before it actually happened.

Now what we have. Is Russia rational? No. She is doing the same as Hitler did - territorial revenge, "saving" compatriots abroad, "raising from its knees" after, as Putin put it, "the major disaster of the 20th century" (meaning quite rational in my view collapse of the economically inefficient Soviet empire). And she is testing your gut.

Is Putin rational? No. Putin wants to get into history as a great Russian ruler. No one knows the price he is ready to pay for this. He is a judo wrestler making pain tricks. But at some point he might loose control and things might get out of hands.

And, by the way, he is not a constitutional lawyer. He is a Soviet intelligence officer. He thinks in terms of KGB special operations. Big picture might escape from him.

Russian submarines approach Western countries. Russian fighter jets provoke NATO soldiers. This is not for fun. The reaction is been checked. The speed and quality of reaction has tactical meaning for military people.

The right answer to this is military deterrence so nobody even thinks of trying to stir a war.

Here are more videos on Russian jets provoking American war ship


Volodymyr KUKHAR


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