Friday, August 28, 2009

Quick Thought on Russian Mistral Order

DefenseTech and InformationDissemination have thoroughly covered the Russian order of France's Mistral Landingship, Helicopter/Deck, or Landingship, Platform/Dock, depending on your classification tastes. Just a quick thought here:

Historically, Russia had allied with France and England to balance against Germany. So this Mistral perchase is interesting in this historical sense. It could be the re-start of Russia's affinity with France and England. Germany is no longer Russia's enemy number one; China and Islamic insurgents are Russia's present security preoccupations. So in this context, it will be interesting to note how other EU countries will react to this. How this new strategic relationship affects the global dynamics of balancing will also be interesting to observe.


Anonymous said...

Affinity with England? He he, no. Really no.

I think Russia's present security preoccupations are NATO expansion towards Russia's Near Abroad. Islam is a very minor threat to Russia, and entire point of the SCO is to manage Sino-Russian interests without butting heads.

Jimmy said...

Yes, Russians are pre-occupied with NATO expansion. However, as Defense Secretary Gates has said, there's the war you're preparing for, and there's the war that you're actually fighting.

Yes, NATO is expanding. However, that does not pose a security threat, per se, to Russia. Rather, it is more over spheres of influence, prestige, and control.

In addition, NATO expansion is driven, in large part, by former Warsaw countries such as Poland and Czech. If you think about intentions, these Central European countries are more hostile toward Russia than, say, England and France are. England and France may object to Russian internal politics on humanitarian grounds, but that could change if Russia becomes more Westernized. Poles and Czechs, on the other hand, will forever hold Russians in suspicion.

So geostrategically, England and France may be rekindling their strategic relationship with Russia. Here I am thinking on historical timescales of decades. Historians in the 22nd Century may well mark this Mistral order as the start of the trend.

Ref SCO and China: For all the pomp and circumstance surrounding the SCO, Russia is deeply worried about China due to the demographics. With the sporadic anti-Chinese riots and actions in Moscow, and the de-facto Chinese colonization of Russian Far East, China is Russia's biggest security risk at this moment.

As Russia is fighting its Muslim minorities right now, Islamic insurgency is Russia's biggest security task. The war you're fighting today, like I said.