Russian Strategy

Interesting analysis.

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“…Raiding is the way by which Russia seeks to coerce the United States through a series of operations or campaigns that integrate indirect and direct approaches. Modern great power competition will thus return to forms of coercion and imposition reminiscent of the Middle Ages, but enacted with the technologies of today. Although raiding will be Moscow’s principal approach to competition, international brigandry may be the best term to describe elements of Russian behavior that the West considers to be “bad” or “malign.” These are acts of indirect warfare, both centrally planned and enacted on initiative by entities within the Russian state empowered to shape policy – often in competition with each other. Brigandry may come with negative legalistic connotations, a byword for outlaw, but here the term is meant to define a form of irregular or skirmish warfare in the international system conducted by a partisan.

Russia is, at times, miscast as a global spoiler or retrograde delinquent. Delinquents commit minor offenses and have no plan. Spoilers react to plans, but have little strategy of their own. Raiders, by contrast, launch operations with a strategic outlook and objectives in mind. And while often weaker than their opponents, raiders can be successful. The structure of the international system and the nature of the confrontation lends itself to the use of raiding, which increasingly appears to be the chosen Russian strategy. By focusing on deterring the high-end conventional fight and restoring nuclear coercive credibility, both important in and of themselves, the United States national security establishment may be fundamentally overlooking what will prove the defining Russian approach to competition…”

RAIDING AND INTERNATIONAL BRIGANDRY: RUSSIA’S STRATEGY FOR GREAT POWER COMPETITION