As US, Europe Talk, Russia Is Redefining Modern Warfare

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk will visit Washington this week to meet with President Barack Obama as Russian President Vladimir Putin showed no intention on withdrawing his troops from Crimea.

Angela Merkel of Germany, which is Russia’s largest European trading partner, told Putin that the referendum planned for March 16 on Crimea joining Russia violated Ukraine’s constitution and was against international law. The US and European leaders continue to engage in discussions on how to apply pressure on Putin, but no consensus on what measures to take has emerged to date.

According to the Voice of Russia, Crimean Prime Minister Sergei Aksyonov already has started making preparations to become part of Russia and could be ready within months of a pro-secession vote to use Russian law.

In addition, the local Finance Ministry is already working on a roadmap for switching from the Ukrainian currency to the Russian ruble. Ethnic Russians comprise 60 percent of the Crimean population.

Molly McKew and Gregory A. Maniatis, who are independent consultants that worked for the Georgian government, argue that Putin’s move into Ukraine marks a redefinition of 21st century warfare. Not only has he engaged in psychological warfare against local Ukrainians, they note he has used cyber-attacks to disrupt Ukraine’s economy.

Rather, the pair write, Putin “state warfare” by utilizing a style of warfare that is “nimble and covert” and could shape warfare of the future.

“For years, Putin relied on the heavy, Soviet-style hammer. His recent actions suggest that traditional military and intelligence are no longer the means by which he feels he has to fight. While the West is focusing on the best response to his recent steps, Putin is most likely on to the next stages: determining which, if any, international protocols apply to his actions and how his tactics can be used elsewhere.

“It’s time to give up the decadent belief that continental wars are over. Going forward, the terms by which the world is playing are Putin’s — a reality we all must recognize and for which we need an effective response.”

All Revolutions Are Not Created Alike
It might be easy to draw a straight line from the street protests that sparked the Arab Revolution to those occurring today in Venezuela and Ukraine. But Christian Caryl contends the similarities they share are not as numerous as someone would assert.

“Take a closer look, though, and it soon becomes apparent that there’s a big gulf between today’s would-be revolutions and those that unfolded during the Arab Spring. The main difference involves the nature of the regimes that opposition movements are trying to combat. When people took to the streets in Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia, they were opposing long-entrenched dictators. But the demonstrators in Turkey, Thailand, and Venezuela are fighting elected leaders who still have the backing of big segments of society. This was true in Ukraine as well,” Caryl writes in Foreign Policy.

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