I just reread my editorial for “Another Former Russian Intelligence Officer Poisoned in the UK / Syrian CW Attack (38)”. I realized I can boil it down to “DIME – Russia is being dramatically pressured via every element of national power“. It is so plain and obvious, it screamed at me.
The four basic elements of national power, as taught at the US senior service schools for the US Department of Defense: Diplomacy, Information, Military, and Economy or, collectively, DIME.
A quick glance at what I wrote shows clear pressure being applied on all four levels. Their application against Russia has never been so poignant and discernable.
Diplomatic and Economic pressure has been applied, nonstop, over the past four years since Russia invaded Crimea and Donbass. An array of increasingly painful sanctions have quite literally hurt Russia and those closest to President Putin.
There is a full-scale Information war being waged against Russia, triggered by the Skripal assassination attempt, which only amplified other messages and enabled a global unified effort against Russia.
Military. An allied armada is churning the waters leading to Syria. Russian warships have already displaced away from their ports in Syria, dispersing to safer waters.
Furthermore, must of the world is now aware of what Russia has done, is doing, and hopes to continue:
- Russia is backing Assad in Syria, his illegal actions using chemical weapons makes Assad a pariah and openly exposes Russia for backing such a tyrant.
- Russia is exposed for over four years of hyper-aggressive invasions, land seizures, and provocations in Ukraine and Georgia. NATO has responded to numerous provocations by Russian planes, ships and, it is suspected, submarines.
- Russia is exposed for many years of over-the-top election tampering in the US, Great Britain, and France, and staging a coup attempt inMontenegro.
- Russia is exposed for the assassination attempt on Colonel Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, Alexander Litvinenko, and other former Russian agents – on British sovereign territory.
Russia is under siege on a low-level strategic scale. Russia considers itself literally under attack in Syria, it already evacuated all its ships from their port in Latakia. Russia is in a full-scale information and diplomatic war over Colonel Skripal and his daughter, Yulia. Russia is still engaged with Ukraine in a low-level war, which has drawn the ire of much of the world, resulting in damaging sanctions. As bad as North Korea is, the Norks are being treated better than Russia. One of Putin’s closest advisors, Vladislav Surkov, just published a piece stating that Russia faces several hundred years of isolation.
Of note, China has offered to cover Russia’s back. To judge how effective that support is, during a recent Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) vote at the UN, China chose to abstain rather than back Russia.
In many ways, Russia is the laughing stock of the world, especially as a result of their chaotic propaganda assaults against the West. Simultaneously, Russia is being considered rogue, a bully, and an ill-behaved brat – in diplomatic channels and by the press.
Russia now needs Secretary Clinton’s famous reset button, but it can only come via Russian actions backed with words. Russia should attempt to recover their dignity, embrace an apologetic attitude and use actions supported and backed with words to shore up its meaning.
Does Russia, more importantly, does Vladimir Putin recognize this as his personal dilemma? Should he apologize, can he, will he? Does a Russian man have the capacity to feel humbled and ask for help? …or will his machismo cause Russia to act overly aggressive