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Russia Fill-In | Russia Threat Disadvantage

Russia Fill-In | Russia Threat Disadvantage

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Russia’s defense industrial base is in decline now, rebound critical to Russian military power projection.   Arms sales are critical to the base, but those sales are also declining now

Stratfor Worldview, May 5, 2019, Russia Makes Some of the Deadliest Weapons on Earth (But There Is a Problem) DOA: 5-5, 19

Russia’s defense industry is face to face with a major foe, but it’s not a foreign military power. The Kremlin has been striving to modernize all branches of the Russian military, but the country’s defense industry is struggling thanks to decreasing volumes of orders, difficulties in attracting high-skilled talent and limits to its technological capabilities. According to recent figures, the performance of Russia’s aerospace sector is declining precipitously. In 2018, for instance, Russian aircraft and spacecraft makers produced 13.5 percent less than in 2017. And there’s been no letup in 2019 either: In the first two months of the year, aerospace output plummeted 48 percent year on year. The decline in Russia’s defense output raises concerns about the competitive strength of Russia’s defense industry in general, whose health is critical if the country is to project itself as a military power in the longer term. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov attributed the reduction in output to a slowdown of orders for military systems, but projections suggest the slowdown is not just a short-term fluctuation; in fact, it’s expected to become even worse in the future. The downturn in oil prices has taken a bite out of Russia’s bottom line, squeezing spending for the military — all at a time when the country’s arms manufacturers have lost their competitive edge in the global arms market. Together, these factors ensure that Russia’s defense industry will struggle to get out of its funk. Suffering From a Dearth of Funds 10 SECONDS Do You Know What Happened On This Day? This dire picture stands in stark contrast to Russia’s frequent presentation of sensational new platforms. In reality, however, just a few of the big-ticket weapon systems — such as the T-14 main battle tank or the Su-57 fighter aircraft — find buyers, as the rest remain mere prototypes. Russia has prioritized some hardware, such as the Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile, due to their strategic relevance to the country’s overall military posture, but Moscow has failed to fully develop other programs or only introduced them on a limited scale. Under pressure from a limited government budget, the Kremlin even started reducing its military spending in 2017 — a strong indicator that, despite the modernization push, Russia’s financial challenges are taking a toll on the country ambitions. Economically, the plunge in oil prices at the end of 2014 hurt Russia’s bottom line, depriving the country of essential revenue and forcing it to dip into its reserves to bridge the gap. Today, more than four years on, Russian oil revenues are rising, yet the country is continuing to deal with the consequences of the lean years. Beyond that, low revenues from taxes, which have forced Russia to raise taxes and the retirement age, and Western sanctions over Moscow’s activities in Ukraine and elsewhere, have shrunk the financial pool available to military planners. Report Advertisement But the Kremlin’s problems don’t end there. In the past, Russia has benefited from its position as a major global arms exporter to fuel further military development. During the 1990s, for example, such sales were critical to the country as it faced severe economic hardship. While Russia remains the world’s second-largest arms exporter (only the United States sells more), the actual value of those exports has been decreasing significantly. Between 2014 and 2018, their total value dropped by as much as 17 percent. Again, budgetary limits are somewhat to blame: In the past, Russia frequently used arms exports as a political tool, offering weapons at a heavy discount, if not entirely free. But with Russia no longer able to offer customers a good deal on its fighter jets and other defense products, the country is losing business.

Countries that can’t buy US arms will switch to Russia

Ray Rounds, April 16, 2019, THE CASE AGAINST ARMS EMBARGOS, EVEN FOR SAUDI ARABIA, Lt. Col. Ray Rounds is a U.S. Air Force F-15E pilot and a Ph.D. candidate at Georgetown University in International Relations. He is a U.S. Air Force School of Advanced Air and Space Studies graduate and a former Mirage 2000 exchange pilot with the French Air Force

Senior U.S. government officials involved in the arms transfer process that I interviewed over the past year during the course of my research have echoed similar sentiments. This is also borne out by previous research providing evidence that using arms transfers as situationally coercive tools is rarely successful. Interestingly, coercion attempts using arms transfers are least likely to be successful when used as a punishment or threat against an autocratic regime, such as Saudi Arabia. Instead, punishments in the form of an embargo can often push a client to diversify sourcing rather than to change behavior. Consider Indonesia and Egypt. In 2015, Egypt agreed to purchase nearly 50 Russian MiG-29M/M2s and more than two-dozen French Rafales. This represented a shocking turn of events after more than three decades of purchasing only American-made fighter jets. It was also driven largely by the U.S. embargo put in place in 2013, after the Egyptian army’s removal of then-President Mohamed Morsi, who had won the presidency in a 2012 election. The embargo caused significant tension between the two states driven by “an Egyptian sense that they were at a point of mortal peril” while the United States was moralizing about democratic reforms. Remarkably, the United States lifted the embargo in 2015 with virtually no change in Egyptian policies, no official U.S. “democracy certification”, and Egyptian military support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. The U.S. arms embargo as a tool of coercive change was an abject failure. A similar story played out in Indonesia more than a decade prior. A long-time arms client of the United States with no history of Russian imports, Indonesia announced a deal with Russia in 2003 to purchase Russian Su-27/30s. While Indonesia was always far more politically neutral than Egypt, this remarkable turnaround in arms sourcing diversification appears to be the result of a U.S. arms embargo implemented in 1999 in response to Indonesia’s apparent human rights violations carrying out heavy-handed military actions in East Timor. Furious at U.S. meddling in something the government considered a domestic issue, Indonesia looked instead to Russia with the specific intent to “overcome the effects of [U.S.] arms sales restrictions.” In other words, Indonesia looked to diversify, not capitulate. Indonesia continued sourcing Russian arms even after the United States lifted the embargo in 2005. Perhaps most remarkably, even after the United States agreed to give Indonesia 24 F-16s in 2012, the archipelago state still agreed to purchase 11 Russian Su-35s. The U.S. attempt at coercion not only failed but continues to perpetuate negative strategic effects today.

World War 3

Butters 15 (analyst citing British Intelligence Experts from Chantam House which is a independent policy institute based in London. The report was authored by two former British ambassadors to Moscow.

If the West fails to stand up to Vladimir Putin and Moscow, then it could initiate a chain of events which would lead to World War 3, British intelligence experts have warned. The U.K’s foreign affairs think-tank, Chatham House, has issued a report which states that Putin and Moscow could easily use tactical nuclear weapons on Europe in the future and create a possible World War 3 scenario. “Just because something is unimaginable for Western planners does not mean it is not considered a viable option by Russia.” The authors of the report include Sir Roderic Lyne and Sir Andrew Wood. The two former ambassadors to Moscow are well-aware just how ruthless Vladimir Putin can be. They are hypercritical in their condemnation of the Western leaders’ failure to predict the Ukraine crisis, and its potential to be one of the contributing factors to a World War 3 scenario. The report accuses U.S. President Barack Obama and U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron of suffering from a “collective amnesia,” and whose “weak and unconvincing responses” have encouraged Putin to further his global interests and ambitions. “The Kremlin perceives that the West lacks the will to pay the necessary price to defend its principles.” The report states that lack of effective support for the “outgunned and outmanned” Ukrainian government by the West would have far reaching consequences for the Western alliance, namely the possible risk of a World War 3 situation. “The conflict in Ukraine is a defining factor for the future of European security. Russia may have the greater interest in Ukraine, but the West has an even bigger interest in preserving the post-Cold War environment. If that is dismantled, it is conceivable that Nato and the EU could collapse too.” The report, which indicates World War 3 could be a possible outcome of current global situations if the West refuses to act accordingly, also admits that Putin currently faces the biggest challenge of his 15-year rule. However, the British intelligence experts stress that Putin’s fragile position could make the Russian bear even more dangerous if provoked. “Indeed one school of thought holds that Moscow is at its most dangerous when weak.” The Express reports that the intelligence paper arrives at a time when both Europe and the U.S. are facing increasing aggression and bullish manoeuvres from Putin. In May of this year, both Britain and Sweden scrambled fighters to intercept Russian bombers who were close to violating their respective airspaces, and a Russian fighter’s “sloppy and unsafe” interception of a U.S. reconnaissance plane in international aerospace above the Baltic Sea has caused the United States to file a complaint with Russia. Europe Minister David Lidington has announced, in no uncertain terms, Europe’s intentions to curb Putin’s aggressive tactics. “The blame for the current crisis lies squarely with Russia and the separatists in eastern Ukraine, who are backed by the Russian authorities. The UK is working closely with EU and G7 partners in response to Russian actions in Ukraine. By imposing a robust sanctions regime, we have shown Russia that its unjustifiable and illegal actions will not be tolerated.” What respect Putin will give to such words is questionable, but as the British intelligence report indicates, the West must start effectively standing up to Putin and defend what it holds dear if it is to prevent the hell and horror of a World War 3 scenario.


Russia is deploying new anti-ship missiles in Crimea (2019)

Russia and China fill-in bad

US paying countries not to buy weapons from Russia (2019). This article says that right now the US is giving aid to countries that stop buying weapons from Russia and replace their weapons with US weapons.

Russia Makes Some of the Deadliest Weapons on Earth (But There Is a Problem) (2019). This article argues that Russia’s economy isn’t strong enough to sustain its defense industry and that Russian arms sales are needed to sustain the industry. It also argues that the Russian defense industry is in decline now and that that it needs to grow in order order to sustain Russian military power projection.

The case against arms embargoes, even against Saudi Arabia (2019). The article argues that if countries can’t get arms from the US that they will purchase arms from Russia.

Russia and China targeting Middle East sales (2019). The article generally describes how the US and Russia (and China) compete in the Middle East for arms sales.

Russia does not set extra political, economic conditions for arms sales (2019).   This article says that Russia does not add any extra conditions to its arms sales, making the arms easy to purchase.

Russia v. China: The race to dominant the arms defense market (2017)

Russia fill-in bad

U.S. Remains World’s Top Arms Exporter, With Russia A Distant Second (2019). This article says the US currently out-competes Russia in arms sales.

US losing market share, Russia #1 (2019). As the title states, this article claims that Russia is losing arms export market share to the US.

Russia remains 2nd largest arms supplier, despite sales drop (2019).  This article says that current increases in US sales have resulted in reductions in Russian sales

Russia vies with US as it steps up arms exports to Southeast Asia (2019).  This article says that sanctions on Russia do not prevent Russia from exporting arms.

Russia in the global arms trade (2017).  This covers all of the important topics — state of arms sales, role of competitors, importance of  sales to the Russian economy, importance of oil prices to the defense industry.

The tactical side of Russia’s arms sales to the Middle East (2017). This article argues that countries turn to Russia in the absence of US sales and that Russian sales strengthen its defense industry and foreign policy goals.  There is a section that is specific to many Middle Eastern countries, which may help with specific cases.

Russian minister claims exports not impacted by sanctions (2019). This article makes the argument that sanctions do not stop Russian arms exports.

Russia is in the Middle East to stay (2018). This article generally discusses Russia’s efforts to boost its role in the Middle East.

Russia’s role as an arms exporter (2017). This paper argues that arms sales are important to Russia’s defense industrial base and that exports are important to Russia’s economy.

Russia and Pakistan: A New Deal on the Horizon? (2019). This article discusses Russian arms sales to Pakistan. I’m not sure how it will be useful yet, but I included it in the list for now.

Overextending and Unbalancing Russia (2019)

— Answers

Russia just sold 250,000 Ak-703 weapons (2019). This article discusses a new deal Russia just made with India to produce 750,000 AK-703 weapons there.

Business booming for Russia’s arms traders (2019). This article argues that Russia arms sales are increasing world wide now.

Russia views with the US as it steps up arms sales to Southeast Asia (2018). This article claims that Russian arms sales, especially to Southeast Asia, are increasing now.

Russia Aggression

Trump administration has a plan to compete with Russia and China over arms sales (2018). This article says the US is expanding arms sales to deter aggression by Russia and China.

Putin is acting like he wants war (2019). This argument makes the case that Putin has geopolitical ambitions and that Putin is more likely to be aggressive due to his declining popularity.

Russia as it is: A grand strategy for countering Russian ambitions (2019). This post makes a general argument that Russia will not cooperate with the US and that the US needs to deter Russia.

Exports to allies, not sanctions, would better challenge Russia (2019). This article says we need to sell arms to India to undermine Russia.

Russia’s grand plan to move forward in the shadow of US sanctions (5-7-19). This article says that US sanctions on Iran will benefit Russia’s oil industry and increase Russia’s threat to the US.

Hell: How many millions would die in a US-Russian war (2019). This argues that a US-Russia would would likely escalate to the nuclear level. It is specific to a war in the Balkans escalating, but the reason (US conventional strength) does apply to all US-Russia war impacts.

Russia’s doomsday submarines are here (2019). The article says Russia is building thermonuclear doomsday torpedos to threaten the US. The article isn’t great, but it can be used to show that Russia is a threat

Russia’s global ambitions in perspective (2019). This article provides historical perspective on the desires behind Russia’s drive to global dominance. There is some limited evidence in the article.

How to stand up to the Kremlin (2018). This article argues that we need to take actions to Reduce Russian aggression. There are a few useful cards in here.

What’s next for Russia’s frontline states (2018).  This longer monograph makes that case that Russia is a threat to its “near abroad” — Belarus, Moldova, etc.

Russia has American weaknesses all figured out (2019)

Deterring Russia in the Gray Zone (2019). One of the most complex challenges facing the United States and its allies today is how to deal with an increasingly bold and aggressive Russia. As evidenced by its invasion of Ukraine, annexation of Crimea, and unremitting influence operations against the West, Russia has engaged in an antagonistic foreign policy campaign that has both challenged and befuddled the United States and its allies. How should the United States respond? What measures can it take without igniting a major conflict? These are some of the difficult questions that the authors, active duty military officers, and national security fellows from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University address in this timely and prescient monograph. They offer an audacious perspective on how the United States should deal with Russia in this unconventional battlespace referred to by scholars today as the “gray zone,” or the conceptual space between war and peace where nations compete to advance their national interests. The authors argue that a more holistic strategy, one that relies less on conventional military might and more on the full array of instruments of national power, is necessary to more effectively operate in the gray zone. Specifically, they offer and expound upon myriad policy recommendations across the diplomacy, information, military, and economic (DIME) model, providing U.S. policymakers with a range of options to confront and deter Russia while protecting vital U.S. national security interests.

There is some useful evidence in this very long monograph, but it is a long read (180 pages), so you should read when you have time.

Russia’s return to the Middle East  (2017) .  This longer monograph (90 pages) discusses Russia’s growing threat to the Middle East, including growing arms sales.  This may be more useful as specific arguments and cases develop.


Russia won’t try to start a (conventional) war in the Baltics (2019)

US, Russia must work to thaw relations (2019). This article argues that we need to reduce tensions with Russia in order to avoid conflict.

How reflexive hostility towards Russia harms US interests (2019). This article says that it is politically impossible cooperate with Russia but that we should do so instead of having hardline measures. It’s an okay article, but it’s probably better for politics links against softline toward Russia cases than as answers to this disadvantage.

Can deterrence and sanctions bridle Russia? (2017).  This article argues that deterrence could potentially work against Russia but that current deterrence postures are seen as Russia, encircling Russia and risking confrontation.