RUSSIA: A WAY FORWARD FOR THE US, UK AND NATO
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RUSSIA: A WAY FORWARD FOR THE US, UK AND NATO
12 March @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
The rupture in Russia’s relations with the West laid bare a vastly different and unsettling narrative about the post-Cold War world.
From Russia’s perspective, the fault lies with the West and stems from the enlargement of NATO and the EU, the US-led interventions in the Middle East, and a perceived lack of respect for Russia. From the Western perspective, the fault lies with Russia and is the result of Russia’s annexation of Crimea, its invasion of eastern Ukraine, and its use of hacking and cyberattacks to interfere with Western democratic processes. Whatever the perceptions, it is clear that the West needs to act if it is to temper Russia’s actions beyond its borders and foster a stable security order in Europe.
By kind invitation of Bob Seely MP, The Henry Jackson Society is delighted to invite you to an event with General Breedlove, former Supreme Allied Commander Europe, NATO, who will explore where we are now, and where we need to be.
General Philip M. Breedlove is a is a retired four-star General in the United States Air Force. General Breedlove was commissioned in 1977 as a distinguished graduate of Georgia Tech’s ROTC program. He has been assigned to numerous operational, command and staff positions, and has completed nine overseas tours, including two remote tours. He has commanded a fighter squadron, an operations group, three fighter wings, and a numbered air force. Additionally, he has served as Vice Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C. Operations Officer in the Pacific Command Division on the Joint Staff; Executive Officer to the Commander of Headquarters Air Combat Command; the Senior Military Assistant to the Secretary of the Air Force; and Vice Director for Strategic Plans and Policy on the Joint Staff. General Breedlove has had a distinguished career serving as; the Commander, U.S. Air Forces in Europe; Commander, U.S. Air Forces Africa; Commander, Air Component Command, Ramstein; and Director, Joint Air Power Competence Centre, Kalkar, Germany.
On the 12th March, 2018, the Henry Jackson Society hosted General Philip Breedlove, former commander of the U.S.’s European Command.
When he served his focus was on the revanchism in current Russian foreign policy. He began his talk that Russia lost its great power status with the collapse of the Soviet Union, and so international rule-making was dominated by Europe and North America. He argued that now Russia wasn’t just a rule-breaker, or a spoiler, but attempting to rewrite international rules, in two ways: the first, the use of brute force, listing examples of the 2008 Russo-Georgia War, the Donbass insurgency 2014-present, and Crimea annexation. Russia wants force to be a credible instrument to resolve international disputes.
The second is the use of hybrid warfare. General Breedlove argued that hybrid warfare is not new, but uses old tools in new ways. He prefers terms like asymmetric methods, and “war below of the line.” The ‘line’ of a country is the threshold where Russia can act without too much retaliation, and then strike to get its desired objective. This can be assassinations, to election meddling, to involving itself in the economy, like financial services in the U.K. or European energy markets. Each country has a different ‘line’, for Ukraine, it was fairly high and after disinformation, supporting separatists and election meddling, the Ukrainian state was unable to respond to the Crimea annexation. Breedlove summed up Russian strategy with D.I.M.E., Diplomatic, Information, Military and Economic, these are spheres in which the West has to respond too in order to be effective against Russia.
After this, General Breedlove outlined his criticism of the West’s response in four crucial ways.
1) A fear of escalation,
2) A fear of losing business,
3) Political gridlock and polarization of foreign policy issues,
4) General lack of policy, the West has a problem dealing with disinformation. Underneath these four problems was the use of nuclear weapons.
General Breedlove noted that Putin claimed to have revamped Russia’s nuclear weapons arsenal, and had said he was willing to use nuclear weapons to attack Ukraine. The West can dispute the truth of the new Russian nuclear weapons, but it shouldn’t forget the huge Russian stockpile, and Putin’s rhetoric to use it.
He ended his talk with 5 recommendations:
1) Western discourse on Russia is too focused on individual cases, and so fails to see the big picture.
2) The West shouldn’t be afraid to ‘take the field’,
3) The West should unify around sticking to sanctions,
4) The West should keep its nuclear weapons reliable, safe and ensure they continue to have the desire affect,
5) Engage with Russia on non-military matters from a position of strength.
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