Frag Out! Magazine

Frag Out! Magazine #33

Frag Out! Magazine

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Page 26 of 185

After the fall of the Berlin Wall, and when anti-communist opposition came into power in Poland, the Soviet Union ceased to exist, legally and geopolitically, while China transformed itself into one big assembly line, it seemed that great wars would no longer be a problem between nation-states, while the military would only be employed to conduct peacekeeping operations in the third world countries, to suppress the local conflicts. The economic markets were to become the only arena where the superpowers could compete. This did not happen though. Russia was not satisfied with the prospect of becoming a big state that benefited economically from commercial ties with the West. China did not want to become solely a subcontractor for western businesses. Peacekeeping and stabilization operations, such as the "War on Terror" that began after 2001, reinforced the presence of the western, and primarily, of the US military, in areas of strategic importance, mainly in the Middle East. Thus, the rivalry and competition among the superpowers have yet again become a dominating factor in international relations. This is visible in Europe, as Russia is making steps towards recovering its empire, geographically defined as the former Soviet Union. These actions, also extending Russia's geopolitical footprint, create a potential threat of "hybrid", or even conventional aggression that could target nations that never found themselves in that area. The above pertains to Ukraine - which has already been attacked. This may also refer to Lithuania, Latvia, or Estonia. The aggression that could target NATO and EU member states could also mean that actions may be taken against other member states, to hamper or disrupt the process in which they would be supporting the victims of aggression. Broadly speaking, the Russian actions may also be aimed at taking over the control over key areas and regions, not only to compensate for the losses resulting from the dissolution of the USSR but also strengthening Moscow's position, within the European context. The Baltic region, the Black Sea basin, and the Arctic are the main areas affected. This may not refer solely to the conquering of relevant areas, as it happened in the case of the annexation of Crimea. If the EU or NATO failed to respond or did not respond at all, this would mean that these organizations would no longer be valid in their current form. This vacuum would be taken over, undoubtedly, by Moscow. Furthermore, the internal factors may also become a motivation for potential aggression. The Russian economy is relatively weak. Based on the data provided by the World Bank, Russia is ranked 11 globally, when it comes to its GDP - between Canada and South Korea. Crude oil, natural gas, metal ores, chemicals, and arms are the main export goods that Russia trades. The political system is a fusion of oligarchy, dictatorship, and influence of intelligence services, with the mafia also playing an important role Back in 1986, "Red Storm Rising" by Tom Clancy and Larry Bond was a go-to book for any western military expert. The book described a probable scenario of a conventional conflict between NATO and the Warsaw Pact. One of the most important problems highlighted by the plot was the deployment of forces, from CONUS to Europe. The problem depicted in that novel resurfaces today, though its form factor is different. ANALYSIS

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