Why a Hot War with Russia Is Gaining Steam

[wcm_nonmember] In this Dispatch…

  • Russia “poses threat to international order”
  • Russian force projection
  • What Russian rhetoric signals

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This week, General Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, pointed to Russia as the greatest threat to the U.S.  “The Russian military presents the greatest array of threats to U.S. interests,” Dunford said on Tuesday.  “Russian capability has to be viewed in the context of their saber-rattling.  It’s got to be viewed in the context of what others describe as ‘gray zone’ activity in such places as Georgia, Crimea and the Ukraine, and their expressed intent and demonstrated capability to project power in multiple regions simultaneously. Its actions threaten NATO cohesion and undermine the international order.”

(Analyst Coment:  Unless harboring a staunchly anti-NATO agenda, the next president will spend at least the next four years, along with NATO and European leaders, playing cat and mouse with Russia in the previously-stated ‘gray zones.’  Georgia (2008), Ukraine (2014), and Syria (2015) were proving grounds for the Russian military, which is in the throes of modernization and reform.  The next step — what military and intelligence analysts are doing now — is identifying future gray zones where Russia will attempt to expand its sphere of influence.  Russia’s military is built to project its force regionally, so the U.S. is not a target for Putin’s brand of hybrid war, although we at Forward Observer continually express our concerns over Russia’s cyber capability and what that could mean for us at home.

Since Russia’s involvement in Syria surprised leaders at the Pentagon, one trend I’ve noticed is in rhetoric.  Whether or not it keeps them up at night, general officers are going on record and speaking about Russia’s threat to Europe, even as U.S. military readiness falls.  In a related topic, General Dunford also said that the next U.S. military strategy, which is usually made public, will be classified.)

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Samuel Culper is a former military intelligence NCO and contract Intelligence analyst. He spent three years in Iraq and Afghanistan and is now the intelligence and warfare researcher at Forward Observer.

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