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US vs Russia | The Next Level Confrontation

Advanced technology and globalization have enabled many countries to wage a silent war without the need to commit soldiers. The 21st century soldiers sit behind computer screens whose AI-driven software provides the parameters of decision-making for the military and government.


This “War Room” includes the economic sector which can shutdown access to capital instantaneously to one’s adversaries. The effectiveness of sanctions is debatable and has had mixed results as countries, at least the leadership, have survived, even thrived without compromising their lavish lifestyles. Furthermore, sanctions have frequently hurt innocent third parties which are highly dependent on commercial relations, usually commodities, from the sanction targeted country.


Nuclear Level Economic Sanctions


Because of Russia’s first-step invasion into the Donbas region and probable subsequent invasion elsewhere in Ukraine, the forthcoming sanctions by the US and European allies will be far more draconian than previous ones.


The following chart entitled Why Has the US Sanctioned Russia in the Past? provided by the Congressional Research Service, indicate past sanctions against Russia and the reasons for their implementation.



In this war environment western sanctions will be broad and deep encompassing all the above categories and possibly the creation of others.


Because Ukraine is not a Nato member, the US/Nato are not legally obligated to engage Russian forces directly on Ukrainian soil. Furthermore although the vast majority of the US/Nato citizenry think Russia’s invasion is abhorrent, they are firmly against their respective countries direct involvement militarily.


Russian Pollster Propaganda


The following chart entitled Russia’s Friends and Foes provided by the Levada Analytical Center, an independent Russian non-governmental research organization, represents the results of a poll of 1,620 Russian adults in May 2021.



The “Enemies” of Russia category in descending order are USA, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Latvia/Poland and Lithuania.


The “Friends” of Russia category in descending order are Belarus, China, Kazakhstan, Armenia and India.


Indeed this is an extremely threadbare poll consisting of only 1,620 samples, not enough for a comprehensive breakdown of socio-economic-educational status nor one that one can extrapolate accurately. Furthermore the poll is based on the threats to their government, not personally.


Although various western sources have confirmed that the Levada Center has come under scrutiny and pressure by the Russian government particularly, under the Putin regime, this does not mean that there is some type of Russian government influence. The paucity of samples is outrageously unprofessional.


I believe that despite its official independent, non-governmental status, this is a prime example of Russian governmental coerced propaganda which severely skews Russian citizens’ viewpoint of the west and contradicts the actions and experiences of many ex-pat Russians, from white collar professionals to billionaires, who invested heavily and are enjoying far better lifestyles in western societies and even seeking citizenship in those countries.


US vs Russia | Next Level Military Confrontation


As the saying goes, “Here’s where it gets complicated.” During the Cold War the Russian and US militaries have made efforts to avoid direct military confrontation by using proxies. Nonetheless there were many confrontations took place but were quickly negotiated and resolved, often quietly. However the Putin regime is a different Russian bear from his Soviet predecessors in the Soviet model he enthusiastically extolls.


There are multiple circumstances that raise the risk of direct conflict between US/Nato forces and Russia troops during the conflict. In war non-combatant third parties provide on-the-ground, hands-on technical and surveillance assistance, and are sometimes embedded within foreign units. The capture or death of US/Nato personnel could raise the intensity of the conflict providing Putin justification to raise the stakes further before and/or after the conflict. It’s one thing to capture US/Nato equipment and another to capture US/Nato personnel within a war zone where it is not officially participating.


Other scenarios include the capture of US/Nato personnel during the extraction of key Ukrainians and their families either by land or air (helicopter). This might occur even post-invasion for those Ukrainians of vital interest to US/Nato who stayed until the end of the war and now have difficulty leaving the country while eluding Russian security units.


Conclusion


The US and its allies have declared a nuclear-level economic war Russia in retaliation for its invasion of Ukraine, a tactic that Russia had factored in and is reasonably prepared to weather.


The dicier threat is in the form of possible, even probable, direct confrontation between US and Russian military personnel in Ukraine with respect to firefights. Despite all the satellite and cyber-technology, the US requires “boots on the ground”, primarily surveillance & technical, to assess Russia’s capabilities and intentions. The risk is getting caught too deep and risk capture if an extraction operation fails.


The Cold War “courtesies” of quiet prisoner exchanges may not apply under a Putin led Russia and push Putin’s paranoia off the rails. For this reason, Putin may employ his cyber-warfare machine against the US and/or other Nato member(s).



© Copyright 2022 Cerulean Council LLC


The Cerulean Council is a NYC-based think-tank that provides prescient, beyond-the-horizon, contrarian perspectives and risk assessments on geopolitical dynamics and global urban security.

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