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RAND Corporation`s forecasts: the four-component plan against Russia

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Baku, 13 June 2019 – Newtimes.az

American nonprofit global policy think tank the RAND Corporation has published a new research, analyzing what the United States should do to unbalance Russia. Authors of the research boast a diverse range of professional and educational experiences. The research therefore caused great interest. Russian experts are analyzing the proposals featured in the research. The geopolitical matters involving four components draw particular attention. The research mentions the South Caucasus among other issues. The American side seems to be trying to involve the South Caucasus countries in the U.S-Russia standoff. With this in mind, the geopolitical aspects of the RAND Corporation`s research need to be analyzed.

Scenarios of confrontation: whose plans does the think tank highlight?

It is a well-known fact that there are numerous think tanks in the United States. Some of them are special as they are linked to the Pentagon and the American special services. The researches and forecasts of these think tanks are interpreted in the context of the U.S. government`s plans. The RAND Corporation is one of such think tanks. The corporation published a research this May that attracted the interest of political analysts and experts in the world. Among those who contributed to the research are former diplomat James Dobbins, three university professors, military intelligence branched officer Raphael Cohen and seven RAND research fellows specializing in international relations, military industry, intelligence, political and technical sciences. The research is headlined "Overextending and Unbalancing Russia. Assessing the Impact of Cost-Imposing Options'' (see: Overextending and Unbalancing Russia. Assessing the Impact of Cost-Imposing Options / RAND Corporation, May 2019).

The main goal of the research is to examine the options to bring Russia to its knees. The RAND Corporation puts forward a special strategy for this, which envisages exerting pressure on Moscow across four areas.

The first is economic component. The RAND Corporation believes that expanding U.S. energy production would stress Russia’s economy and that by adopting policies that expand world supply and depress global prices, the United States can limit Russian revenue. Imposing deeper trade and financial sanctions would also likely degrade the Russian economy, especially if such sanctions are comprehensive and multilateral. Thus, their effectiveness will depend on the willingness of other countries to join in such a process. The RAND researchers believe that increasing Europe’s ability to import gas from suppliers other than Russia could economically extend Russia and buffer Europe against Russian energy coercion. Europe is slowly moving in this direction by building regasification plants for liquefied natural gas (LNG). But to be truly effective, this option would need global LNG markets to become more flexible than they already are and would need LNG to become more price-competitive with Russian gas, according to the research. The corporation also recommends that encouraging the emigration from Russia of skilled labor and well-educated youth has few costs or risks and could help the United States and other receiving countries and hurt Russia.

This shows that the West aims to prevent Russia from exporting its vast natural resources and find new sources that replace Russia. In addition, the West wants to hurt Russia by destroying its human and creative potential. The emigration of skilled and well-educated youth from Russia could play a crucial role here. In order to achieve this, they lure young Russian brains with highest paying jobs.

The second component is geo-political measures, which include six scenarios. The first is providing lethal aid to Ukraine which, according to the RAND experts, would exploit Russia’s greatest point of external vulnerability. But any increase in U.S. military arms and advice to Ukraine would need to be carefully calibrated to increase the costs to Russia of sustaining its existing commitment without provoking a much wider conflict in which Russia, by reason of proximity, would have significant advantages. The second scenario provides for increasing support to the Syrian rebels. The corporation believes that this could engage other superpowers too and that these tactics can also be used against Iran and Turkey. This could risk further destabilizing the entire region.

The third geo-political scenario envisages promoting liberalization in Belarus. Russian experts describe this as attempts to prepare a color revolution. Against this background they also emphasize the necessity for Moscow to change its policy towards Minsk. Russia has treated Belarus as a junior business partner. Moscow should treat Minsk as a brother and establish a union state based on this principle.

South Caucasus: amid Washington-Moscow tension

As for the fourth scenario, the RAND Corporation recommends that Washington expand ties with the South Caucasus. However, the corporation`s researchers note that expanding ties in the South Caucasus – competing economically with Russia – would be difficult because of geography and history. Russian experts describe this as the U.S.` attempt to lure the South Caucasus countries. They particularly fear that Azerbaijan could incline towards the West. Andrey Ilnitsky, adviser to the Russian defense minister, says the fact that the RAND research highlights Armenia and Azerbaijan could mean that these countries are inclining towards the West (see: Через Украину и Сирию: США собираются дестабилизировать Россию / Gazeta.ru, 29 May 2019).

Of course, the RAND Corporation experts can pursue specific interests just like Washington can also have certain plans. But Azerbaijan is working tirelessly to expand and deepen regional cooperation in the South Caucasus and Russia is not a foe in this process. On the contrary, relations between the two countries are strengthening. At the same time, Azerbaijan is pursuing an independent policy and its inclining towards any power is out of question because statehood and national interests are above anything else for the country. President Ilham Aliyev has repeatedly reaffirmed this.

The fifth and sixth scenarios relate to reducing Russian influence in Central Asia and Moldova.

As the third component, the RAND Corporation proposes taking ideological and informational measures against Russia. It is more interesting and thought-provoking. Such measures will also be taken against other independent states on the pretext of democracy and liberalism. And what the final outcome will be is clear – a color revolution. The RAND experts recommend diminishing faith in the Russian electoral system in order to increase discontent with the ruling regime, creating the perception that the regime is not pursuing the public interest, encouraging domestic protests and other nonviolent resistance, and undermining Russia’s image abroad.

The fourth component is about taking military measures, which include reposturing bombers within easy striking range of key Russian strategic targets, deploying additional tactical nuclear weapons to locations in Europe and Asia, repositioning U.S. and allied ballistic missile defense systems to better engage Russian ballistic missiles, and increasing the number of NATO troops in Europe, etc.

The RAND Corporation recommends that the United States immediately launch measures against Russia using all the possible influence mechanisms.

It looks like some forces in the USA are ramping up efforts to escalate the global geopolitical tension. They are resorting to all means to ensure America`s global leadership. The RAND Corporation`s recommendations mean the deepening of the global standoff among superpowers because Russia will take counter measures. It is openly affirmed by Russian experts. 

This kind of confrontation is a no-win situation, particularly for states and nations which are within the sphere of influence of superpowers. The situation in the South Caucasus may deteriorate to become disastrous. As Armenia has fallen into the West`s democracy trap and Georgia is strongly influenced by the United States, the situation in the region poses serious risks.

If a think tank as the RAND Corporation gives such recommendations, then it’s easy to imagine which geopolitical processes could take place globally, including in the South Caucasus.

Newtimes.az

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