Russia Prepares for Local Wars (and the US)

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Following the August 2008 war in Georgia, which Russia considers its victory in its first major engagement of this century, Russian military has amped up its activity and preparedness schedule. Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov recently toured key military garrisons across the country, and following his trip made an official announcement that the armed forces must be prepared to engage in three local or regional conflicts.

The defense minister called for the creation of fast-acting, mobile Army and Navy units capable of quickly engaging in such conflicts. Military experts were in agreement that two such conflicts may erupt in the Caucasus region and Central Asia, while the third region was debated: the top two choices were the Far East (Korean peninsula) or the Black Sea (Crimean Peninsula, home to a sizable Russian minority and currently part of Ukraine).

Recently, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Nikolai Makarov spoke at the Military Academy of the need to continue Russian military rearmament, since the United States "... continues to surround us with military bases, and such bases can even appear in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. American military bases are all over the world, including Europe. If anyone thinks that the world situation will get better because a new administration will enter the White House, then he is sadly mistaken." Makarov stated that under such circumstances, Russia must place its hope in the strategic nuclear forces.

Echoing Makarov's concern, Leonid Ivashov, Vice President of the Academy of Geopolitical Problems, stated: "America is actively implementing strategic plan "Anaconda" around Russia. Around the perimeter of our borders, there is a tightening loop of hostile military forces. At present, there are gaps - Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan. Regarding Kazakhstan, it seems this matter is already being addressed: in November of this year, Astana gave the Pentagon the use of two airports - for refueling and landing of military aircraft in emergency cases. But if you look at the map, it is obvious: From Alma-Ata (where one of the airfields is located), it is much closer to the Russian and Chinese borders than to Kabul."

Yevgeny Bendersky is the Senior Strategic Advisor for International Operations at Jenkins Hill International, LLC and a RealClearWorld contributor.
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