No, Russia’s New National Security Strategy Doesn’t Explicitly Call U.S. a Threat to RF.

I have come back from the Christmas break today to learn that “for the first time, Russia has named the United States a threat to its national security in the Kremlin’s new security strategy document.” At least that’s the claim that Stratfor makes in its  01.02.15 news item, which is entitled “Russia: New Security Strategy Lists U.S. As Threat.”  A Reuters story, which Stratfor cites,  makes pretty much the same claim. In reality, however, Russia’s new National Security Strategy, which Vladimir Putin signed off on as promised by 2016, doesn’t explicitly identify U.S. as threat to Russia. Moreover, the new doctrine calls for a “full-fledged partnership” with U.S. and leaves door open for cooperation with NATO. The new doctrine is consistent with Putin’s 2014 military doctrine, which called for a dialogue of equals between NATO and CSTO, and which I reviewed here.  Please see (1) list of contestable claims that Stratfor and Reuters make about the new doctrine; (2) corrected version of my earlier comparison of the new doctrine and its 2009 predecessor.

Claim Reality
Stratfor: “Russia: new security strategy lists U.S. as threat. For the first time, Russia has named the United States a threat to its national security in the Kremlin’s new security strategy document, Reuters reported Jan. 2.” (Stratfor, 01.02.15). Wrong claim. Russia’s 12.31.15 National Security Strategy doesn’t either list U.S. among threats or explicitly name U.S. a threat. Rather, it says the following: “Strengthening of Russia is occurring against the background of new threats to the national security. These threats are of complex, interconnected nature. The Russian Federation’s independent foreign and internal policies generate counteraction by the United States and its allies, which seek to preserve their domination in global affairs. The policy of deterrence of Russia, which they implement, provides for exerting political, economic, military and information pressure on her (Russia).”

Moreover, the 2015 document  declares that  “the Russian Federation is interested in building a full-fledged partnership with the United States on the basis of shared interests,” which is something that its predecessor doesn’t call for even though Medvedev signed off on it 2009 as the reset evolved. (Kremlin.ru, 12.31.15).

Nor is the 2015 strategy the first such document to cast U.S. in a negative light:

The 01.10.2000 Concept of Russia’s National Security had language similar to that of the 2015 document. Specifically that 2000 strategy said: “The second trend manifests itself through attempts to create a structure of international relations  based on domination of developed Western countries led by the United States.”

The 2009 National Security Strategy said: “There is an increasing risk that the number of countries possessing nuclear weapons will rise. The possibility of maintaining global and regional stability will substantially decrease with the placement in Europe of elements of the global missile defense system of the United States of America.”

Reuters: “A new appraisal names the United States as one of the threats to Russia’s national security for the first time, a sign of how relations with the west have deteriorated in recent years.” (Reuters, 03.02.15). Wrong claim. See above why.

 

Reuters: “It also names the expansion of NATO as a threat to Russia’s national security.” (Reuters, 03.02.15).

 

Correct claim, but ignores the fact that Russia’s 12.31.15 National Security Strategy also states that “the Russian Federation is ready to develop relations with NATO on the basis of equality in order to enhance security for all in the Euro-Atlantic region.” (Kremlin.ru, 12.31.15).

 

 

2009 National Security Strategy[1] 2015 National Security Strategy
Refers to NATO as a source of threats, but also calls for cooperation with NATO:

·       “A determining aspect of relations with NATO remains the fact that plans to extend alliance’s military infrastructure to Russia’s borders, and attempts to endow NATO with global functions that go counter to norms of international law, are unacceptable to Russia. “

·       “Russia is prepared to develop relations with NATO on the basis of equality and in the interests of strengthening the general security of the Euro-Atlantic region. The content and depth of these relations will be determined by the preparedness of the alliance to recognize Russia’s legal interests when engaging in military-political planning, and to respect norms of international law; and likewise NATO’s readiness to consider the further transformation of these relations and the search for new tasks and functions with a humanist orientation.”

 

 

 

Criticizes NATO as a threat, but leaves door open for cooperation :

·       “The strengthening of NATO’s forceful potential and allocation of global functions to this organization carried out in violation of international law, the intensification of military activities of this alliance, further expansion of the alliance, bringing of its military infrastructure closer to Russian borders pose a threat to the national security.”

·       Laments “development of processes of militarization and arms race in regions neighboring Russia.”

·       “The preservation of the alliance-based approach to solution of international problems doesn’t facilitate countering of the entire specter of the modern challenges and threats.  Activation of migration flows from Africa and the Middle East to Europe showed the bankruptcy of the regional security system in the Euro-Atlantic region that is built on the basis of NATO and the European Union.”

·       “The factor that determines relations with NATO is the unacceptability (for Russia) of the strengthening of military activities of the alliance and of bringing its military infrastructure to the Russian borders, of creation of the system of the global missile defense, of attempts to bestow global functions on this alliance in violation of the norms of international law.”

·       The Russian Federation is ready to develop relations with NATO on the basis of equality in order to enhance security for all in the Euro-Atlantic region. The depth and content of such a relationship will be determined by the willingness of the alliance to take into account the legitimate interests of the Russian Federation in the military-political planning and respect the norms of international law.”

Calls for strategic partnership with U.S.:

“Russia will strive to build an equitable and valuable strategic partnership with the United States of America, on the basis of shared interests and taking into account the key influence of Russian-American relations on the international situation as a whole. In terms of priorities, these will continue to be the achievement of new agreements in the sphere of disarmament and arms control, the reinforcement of confidence building measures, and likewise the resolution of issuessurrounding non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the development of antiterrorist cooperation, and the regulation of regional conflicts.”

Calls for full-fledged partnership with U.S.:

“The Russian Federation is interested in building a full-fledged partnership with the United States on the basis of shared interests, including in the economic sphere, and taking into account the key influence that the Russian-American relations have on the state of the international situation as a whole. The most important directions of development of this partnership should be improving the mechanisms, which the international treaties on arms control provide for[2]; taking confidence-building measures, expanding issues related to non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, expansion of cooperation in the fight against terrorism, and resolution of regional conflicts.”

No explicit reference to U.S. as a threat, but implicit criticism of U.S.’ unilateralism:

·       “The possibility of maintaining global and regional stability will substantially decrease with the placement in Europe of elements of the global missile defense system of the United States of America.”

 

No explicit reference to U.S. as a threat, but implied:

·       “Strengthening of Russia occurs against the background of new threats to the national security. These threats are of complex, interconnected nature. Conducting of independent foreign and internal policies by the Russian Federation generates counteraction by the United States and its allies, which seek to preserve their domination in global affairs. The policy of deterrence of Russia, which they implement, provides for exerting political, economic, military and information pressure on her (Russia).”

Explicit and implicit criticism of  military and security  policies of U.S. and its allies:

·       “The possibility of maintaining global and regional stability will substantially decrease with the placement in Europe of elements of the global missile defense system of the United States of America.”

·       “Threats to military security include the policies of a number of leading foreign countries, directed at achieving predominant superiority in the military sphere, primarily in terms of strategic nuclear forces, but also by developing high-precision, informational and other high-technology means of conducting armed warfare, strategic non-nuclear arms, by unilaterally creating a global missile defense system and militarizing space, which could lead to a new arms race, and likewise policies directed at the proliferation of nuclear, chemical, and biological technologies, and the production of weapons of mass destruction, their delivery systems or components.”

 

Explicit and implicit criticism of  military and security policies of U.S. and its allies:

·       “Asserts that U.S. plans for deployment of ballistic missile components in “Europe, Asia-Pacific and Middle East accompanied by implementation of the Global Strike concept, deployment of conventional long-range high-precision weaponry systems significantly diminish possibilities for maintenance of global and regional stability” as would deployment of weapons in space.

·       Laments failure “to observe principles of equal and indivisible security in Euro-Atlantic, Eurasian and Asian-Pacific regions” and “development of processes of militarization and arms race in regions neighboring Russia.”

No accusations of U.S. or its allies pursuing color revolutions. Explicit criticism of U.S. and EU for allegedly instigating color revolutions:

·       Explicitly criticizes U.S. and EU for “countering integration processes and creating hotbeds of tensions in the Eurasian continent” in what “negatively impacts advancement of Russian national interests” as well as for “supporting the unconstitutional coup in Ukraine.”

·       Implicit criticism of Western countries’ and their allies’ policies: Condemns the “practice of overthrowing legitimate political regimes, provoking of inter-state instability and conflict.”

No exact equivalent Implicit criticism of Western countries’ and their allies for allegedly facilitating rise of ISIS: “Emergence of the terrorist organization, which has declared that its name is “Islamic State” and strengthening of its influence is the result of the policy of double standards, which some states pursue in the fight against terrorism.”
No references to S. Ossetia or Abkhazia Refers to S. Ossetia and Abkhazia
Inexpensive, but sufficient nuclear deterrence

·       “In the interests of strategic stability and equitable multilateral interaction on the international stage, during the period of realization of this Strategy Russia will undertake all necessary efforts, with minimum expenditure, to maintain parity with the United States of America in the area of strategic offensive arms “

·       “For the defense of its national interests, Russia, while remaining within the boundaries of international law, will implement a rational and pragmatic foreign policy, one which excludes expensive confrontation, including a new arms race.”

 

Inexpensive, but sufficient nuclear deterrence: Refers to the need to maintain a strategic nuclear deterrent on “a sufficient level” which should also be the “least costly level”
No accusations of U.S. of BW program.

 

Implicitly accuses U.S. of BW program

  • “Risk of the increase in the number of countries that possess nuclear weapons remains as does the risk of proliferation and chemical weapons as does the risk associated with uncertainty over whether foreign countries possess biological weapons and possession of capacity for development and production of such weapons by these countries. The network of U.S. military-biological laboratories is expanding on territories of countries neighboring Russia.”

 

Refers to the threat of WMD terrorism:

“A negative influence on the assurance of Russia’s national interests will be exerted by the likely recurrence of one-sided use of force in international relations, disagreements between the main participants in world politics, the threat of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and of their use by terrorists, and likewise the improvement of forms of illicit activity in the cybernetic and biological domains, in the sphere of high technology.”

 

 

Refers to the threat of nuclear and other types of WMD terrorism:

“Activities of terrorist and extremist organizations, aimed at forcible change of the constitutional system of the Russian Federation and destabilizing the work of the organs of state power… through  acquisition of weapons of mass destruction, radioactive , poisonous, toxic, chemically and biologically hazardous substances as well as through acts of nuclear terrorism, breaches of security and sustainability of the critical informational infrastructure of the Russian Federation”

“The critical state of the security at dangerous facilities and of dangerous materials, particularly in countries with unstable political situation…. increases the likelihood of their falling into the hands of terrorists

[1] Translation available at http://www.isn.ethz.ch/Digital-Library/Publications/Detail/?id=154915

[2]  So indicates Russia has no interest in withdrawing from INF.

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