by SWJ Editors
Translating Russia's Military Reform
by David Capezza, Small Wars Journal
Following Russia's incursion into Georgia and its energy standoff with Ukraine, there has been a rising perception that Russia's increased vigor is a stark reminder of the Cold War days of East-West competition. The BBC has exemplified this message running a special report titled "Resurgent Russia". Even during the US presidential campaign, the situation took center stage as the candidates debated on how to deal with the awakening of the old beast. This "Resurgent Russia" -- a term that has recently caught fire and has a line of rhetoric that has led the media to stroke old thoughts of the Soviet Union once again repainting the world red with its military might and autocratic agenda -- incorrectly defines Russia's actions as being irrational when, in fact, these actions are quite rational from the Russian perspective.
Further calls for speculation regarding Russia's intent are inflated given the fact that ties between the Washington and Moscow have grown colder over recent years, while many analysts have been focused on Russia's position in the world and the role that the "new" Russia will play militarily. This discussion has become increasingly vocalized since President Medvedev announced a renewed effort to overhaul and modernize the Russian military. In fact, if Medvedev's vision is realized, the future Russian military will be completely different from the military that is operating today. The question is why is the Russian Government proposing such an overhaul? What are its intentions? In answering these questions, we find that Russia is acting in support of her own national interests, whether it is protecting energy supplies to its south or thwarting internal threats from terrorists, and in doing so, acting in a rational manner.