The Global Winter War

A Response to Director Andrey Kortunov, Director General of the Russian International Affairs Council speech “On Russia's Power: Is Winter Coming?” by Andrey Kortunov, Modern Diplomacy - Russia, November 13, 2018”

I read Dr. Andrey Kortunov's (RIAC Director General) speech to members of the strategic dialog organized by Emirates Policy Center, with the support of the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs. To begin with, from my own humble opinion, if Dr. Kortunov was referring to a cold winter of war in general terms between East and Western military forces, or a chilling regional war between Russia and the Ukraine, which would include a deepening conflict along the Donbass border region, then surely his metaphor of “Is Winter Coming”” is an important metaphor for us to consider in this destructive era.

Dr. Kortunov speaks on one hand of how Russia can be perceived by its limited economy, including social and culture problems, which makes Russia in theory not a global, world power. But then, we know that in actuality Russia is a world power to be reckon with on many levels. Then on the other hand, he speaks of the military clarity and calculated political responses that the Putin regime makes towards various areas in the world — Syria and Venezuela, including certain regions in Africa, and how certain opportunistic moves, both political and military, can have a healthy or a destructive effect on Russia as a nation-state. Dr. Kortunov does not mention the calculated interference by the Putin regime in the 2016 American Presidential election. As it is widely known by both political and military analysts, the United States and Russia both participate in such ‘winter war incursions’ by interfering in other countries’ affairs, as a matter of strategic political and military calculation. When he refers to Russia's military success in the Middle East, Mr. Kortunov refers to the situation as if one is playing on the stock market, by stating " I would venture to say that the price of its stocks today is significantly higher than the true value of its assets In my view, we can label it as an exceptionally successful political start-up: with rather modest price paid in blood in treasure."[i] Has the intellectual community in Russia come to this-- ironically echoing America’s language of seeing war as nothing but a business for profit and illegal access to another nation’s state’s natural resources?      

When Russia’s analysts speaks of war, the loss of Russian troops and Russian air force pilots, should not that response rise above the crude and abrasive language that America leadership and its allies use in response to losses in war?  How are we to respond to a Russian annalist who can refer to war in terms of "stocks" and the loss of people and money, as nothing but a "modest price paid in blood in treasure"? For the greatest nations war is not about profit from war.  Russia must have a voice of leadership that rises above shrieks and hypocritical language that American regimes use to intimate people and nation-states who do not follow their dictate.          

 In the case Syria there was no choice but for Russia and her armed forces to come to the aid of the Syrian people and their government.  Regarding other global situations, Russia like other countries play Right and Left originations, or regimes, against each other, which can be a dangerous option.  Should military and political assessments being assembled in Moscow be contrived by a language of pomp and a pseudo-Western sophistication which has become the present norm of a world view? I think to speak in general terms, the Russian military strategists and tacticians still hold up some of the finest traditions of values that were founded in the Soviet Union armed forces. If there is a schism between various Russian political parties in Moscow, such differences are yet to be open to the public, although Dr. Kortunov in his speech gives us a slight open door to the subject.  To be fair about the speech that Dr. Kortunov gave before a very intelligent and worldly audience, he signaled that Russia foreign policy officials had no choice but to appeal to the realpolitik of language and discourse that is dominated by Western standards.  

Dr. Kortunov was able a subtle way to point out to the Kremlin that there are social problems in Russian that must be solved. He wrote astutely, with perhaps underlying urgency that:

Finally, neither Russia, not any other nation should forget that the real foreign policy power comes from the inside. Foreign policy victories might look great and they definitely appeal to the public, but they never become an adequate substitute for victories at home. In the end of the day, the ability to balance economic growth and social equity, preserving national identity and integration into the global community, political representation and efficient governance constitute the only reliable foundation for power in international relations. All other foundations turn out to be quite shaky and fragile.[ii]

This was the most sincere and the most thoughtful part of Dr. Kortunov's analysis of Russia's foreign policy and military prowess on the world's stage, because economic, social and culture health within one’s own nation are the corner stone to waging  both peace and war abroad. As history as shown, the Russian people are a very patient people, and are some of the world's most progressive peoples across continents, and they are not submissive nor cowed like the Americans when it comes to government oppression. Therefore, when the Russian people strike out towards the outside world — as it will probably be the case against a fascist Ukrainian State — or as the Russian have strike out against its own governments or regimes — as the last Czar knew only too well, then indeed we know the intent of the actual meaning of Russian State Power and the will of the Russian people. The Global Winter War is here. As to whom is most prepared of the nation-states and countries remains to be seen.  The aftermath could be all counties will be devastated by the harsh winter of global war.