Principles and Strategy of the coming war
To tell the truth, war has broken out. War has been "broken out". That war, which is most important now, is the confrontation of two civilizations: the Land civilization, represented by Russia, and the Sea civilization, represented by the US. It is a standoff between a trade-based system, and a heroic civilization, between Carthage and Rome, Athens and Sparta. However, at certain moments it reaches a “hot” stage. We are in this moment again. We are at the brink of the war, and also one exists. However, this war can become a major and, perhaps, the sole battle of our lives, at any time. As the major players – the US and Russia – are nuclear powers, the war involves all the nations of the Earth. It has every chance to become the end of humankind. Of course this is not guaranteed, but such a plot twist cannot be excluded.
First Front: Syria
From the very beginning of the Syrian conflict, Moscow supported Bashar Assad who was played against by Washington, Western Europe and the Middle East's US proxies: Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey. Each of the countries, however, followed their own interests. The tool to overthrow Assad was radical Islamic groups: ISIS, Al-Qaeda (the al-Nusra Front), etc. However, Russia became fully involved in military operations only in 2015, when an exhausted Assad asked for open military support. In this case, Moscow received allies, represented by the Shiite axis: Tehran – Shiite Iraq – and the Lebanese Hezbollah; they not only cooperate, but even fight side by side. The Shiite world is strictly anti-American, but at the same time, at the regional level, is opposed to radical Sunni Saudi and Qatari financial backing of the Salafist extremist groups.
On the first front, Russia faces the United States and NATO countries, not directly but indirectly. The Western countries themselves are at war with ISIS, as they say, but in fact strongly support the radical Islamic groups to overthrow Assad. The same tactics were used to overthrow Gaddafi in Libya.
In addition, the presence of Salafi jihadists in Iraq, as well as the Taliban in Afghanistan, seems to justify the ongoing presence of American troops. Therefore, the first fronts are a vital challenge for Russia: it fights indirectly with the US and NATO, and almost openly, with Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Therefore, the war in Syria can’t be considered as an ordinary anti-terrorist operation: in addition, the Salafists now controls most parts of Syria, having an impressive amount of direct and indirect support. But Russia is the nuclear power. Therefore, its involvement in the Syrian war dramatically changed the situation, bringing it from the local to the global level. With its involvement, it has put a lot at stake. Now it is not only Assad’s problem, his enemies are forced to fight with Russia. Nevertheless, the opposite is true too: Russia challenges not only the extremist network of ISIS and al-Nusra, but American hegemony and Middle East Salafism, with its serious base in the wealthiest petrodollar monarchies in the Gulf region. This is important: how does Moscow understand the seriousness of the situation of the first front, and how far is it ready to goin a very difficult war scenario, with an impressive coalition on the opposite side. After all, the US and NATO are there, no matter what they say.
Second Front. Turkey
Involving itself more and more in the Syrian war, Russiafaces, as it is evident, Turkey - which is essentially occupying thenorth of Syria, inhabited by Turcoman tribes, and has begun a military conflict with Syrian Kurds. Erdogan has established an alliance with wealthy Qatar for a long time, funding the Salafi groups (such as the "Muslim Brotherhood" in Egypt) and has began an active struggle against Assad. Therefore, when the Russian military in Syria started bombing the positions of the Salafists in the north of Syria, it was involved in a direct conflict with Ankara. The military jet downing and the brutal murder of the Russian pilots were just a pretext to escalate the tension. When Russia started performing decisively and getting involved in the conflict, there was no other way, the war with Turkey became a very real event.
Then there was the breaking off of trade relations, the tourism ban, and the expulsion of Turkish construction companies, which in the economic sphere is the strongest and most painful hit for Turkey, which has led to multibillion-dollar losses. Ankara is constantly threatening to close the Bosporus to Russian sea crafts, which would be cutting the vital artery for Russian troops in Latakia.
The Turks sent, in recent weeks, a significant part of its troops from the border with Greece to the border with Syria, and this can be regarded as preparation for a military invasion. All these facts greatly increase the risk of a new Russian-Turkish war. How likely is it? It is more likely than it has ever been in the 20th century and the first decades of the 21st. The Second Front has already been opened. When an outright conflict will break out, no one can say for sure. Theoretically, it could happen at any time. Here again, it is worth remembering that Turkey is a NATO member-state, and that it coordinates its actions in Syria with Washington. It means that Russia will face-off against the Western coalition (with the USA in charge) performing on the Turkish side in a potential new war, as it was with the Crimean War. So again, a regional conflict would obviously have a global impact. This is especially true because in Turkey there is a US nuclear military base. It would be difficult for an outright war with Turkey not to be the start of WWIII.
Third Front. Ukraine
The reunification of Crimea with Russia is not recognized by anyone in the world. The DPR (Donetsk People's Republic) and the LPR (the Luhansk People's Republic) are a bleeding wound with an unknown status. Poroshenko’s position in Kiev is quite unstable, and a real change in the economic and social situation in Ukraine in general, even theoretically, is impossible. Therefore, at a certain moment, Kiev has only one way: a new round of tension and escalation in the East, and even an invasion of Crimea.
If Ukraine were face-to-face against Russia in this situation, it would be suicidal for Kiev.
However, we should take into account the US and NATO. The West was behind the coup d’etat of the winter of 2014. Moreover, at some point, an attack on the consolidated position of the Novorossiya militants and even on Crimea, by the Ukrainian army, is quite possible even for Ukrainian domestic reasons, even more so in the context of the logic of the global confrontation between Russia and the United States.
It is worth noting that all three fronts are situated close to Russian borders, in the area that separates Eurasia and Russia, the continental space of the Heartland,from its western territories. It is the area where civilizations of the East and West meet. Usually, disputes over these territories start world wars and global conflicts. All three fronts are on former Ottoman Empire territories, as Russia gained Novorossiya and the Crimea from the Turks, and Syria was a part of the Empire too. Earlier these were areas of the Orthodox-Byzantine world. Therefore, the three fronts have an enormous historical and civilizational sense.
Now let’s look at the domestic problems of Russia. There are three fronts too.
Fourth Front. Salafi terrorism in Russia
The network structures of radical Islam, tied to Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey have long been deployed in Russia: both in the North Caucasus as well as in the other regions. As the influx of Muslim population in Russian cities and the capital continues, the networks spread all over and entangle the entire space of Russia. They are not limited to areas densely populated by Muslims, but actively expand their zone of influence in other social environments. Using a variety of domestic problems, radical Sunni Islam has become quite popular as an alternative to incoherent and lethargic official ideological agenda of Moscow and its purely conformist representatives in the regions. It breeds the preparation and training of terrorist groups and ISIS’ direct branches.
If the special services become technically less involved with the task of group deterrence, the strategic plan and the more ideological program to combat the phenomena will not exist, which will over time make the ForthFront extremely important. The Forth Front was actually a hot spot in the First and Second Chechen War campaign; the breakthrough in the Second one was achieved only by using a hard-patriotic line in domestic policy.
Any new attempts at weakening the national discourse automatically strengthen the centrifugal trends and the extremist groups. The Forth Front is open and is in operation, but the scale of the problems it causes, we don’t actually know. Without sowing panic among the population, the security services hide from ordinary people the quantity of averted terrorist attacks and other preventive measures, which, in fact, is impressive even today. Because the United States and its foreign centers, the US proxies in the Middle East, support the Forth Front, we can expect serious financial support and, most importantly, the support of anew escalation.
Fifth Front. Fifth Column
This Front is a network of opposition forces whose core consists of the pro-American liberals who dream to return to the 1990s, the period of obvious looting of Russia and the selling of all its assets to foreign customers, as well as the omnipotence of the liberal elites that have, as its cannon fodder, the radical nationalists and Russian neo-Nazis who are dissatisfied with the Russian authorities and its passive policy on the growing migration and inarticulate or complete absence of the national idea.
The only liberals are not enough to organize weighty and large-scale protests, so the radical Russian nationalists play a role of massive support in the coalition. However, the pro-American liberals are the main center to coordinate efforts and make major decisions, and are responsible for contact with Washington.
The US itself officially supports the "democratic" movement, giving it substantial sums from their budget. However, the funding from other, less evident, sources of the Russian Fifth Column are much greater than the open data shows. On Bolotnaya Square, in the spring of 2012, the Fifth Column showed what it could do. In the case of aggravation of the consequences of the sanctions and possible military conflicts, the Fifth Front can become a significant factor in Russia’s weakening. It is preparing a stab in the back that may be decisive if the administrative system’s inefficiency (and nothing shows that it will be more effective in the near future) continues. Under certain circumstances, sections of their rotated and disappointed ordinary people can join the Fifth Front, creating a serious threat.
Sixth Front. Pro-Western liberals and governmental agents of influence
This group was recently called the Sixth Column. It is the liberals and the pro-Westerners who integrated into power in the 2000s or remained there since the 1990s, accepting the games’ new rules. In contrast to the Fifth Column, the Sixth Column’s representatives are formally loyal to the authorities, and unquestioningly obey it and act in a spirit of complete conformity. However, the Sixth Column follows western ideology, seeing the United States and NATO as the vanguard of progressive human kind, with the economy being guided solely using liberal methods and approaches. Often, the fortunes and families of the higher Russian officials are in the Western countries. In this situation, loyalty and constrained patriotism hides the consistent sabotage of orientation on national sovereignty, State ideology deterrence and implementation of economic, administrative and information strategies, leading, eventually, to the demoralization of society, a weakening economy and further population deideologization. The Sixth Front consists of systematic, deliberate and very skillful sabotage of the Russian revival, the containment and genuine substitution of the patriotic reform, creating efficient simulacra and counterfeits. The Sixth Column is no different in its ideology from the Fifth one, as it is also oriented to the West, but it hides it, preferring to strike at the regime from within, not from the outside. Moreover, just like the Fifth Column, the Sixth Column is controlled from an external center, from Washington, although it is more subtle and nuanced than the Fifth Column. The US Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) manages the Sixth Front’s coordination so that the structure is almost officially represented at the highest levels of the Russian government. In general, this type consists of a large part of the "liberal government" as well as a significant segment of other government institutions.