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The Russian Perception of the NATO Aerospace Threat: Could It Lead to Preemption

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Journal Article

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Air University Maxwell AFB United States

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A major shift occurred in the geopoliticalgeostrategic landscape in Europe well before the United Kingdoms vote to leave the European Union. Russias forcible annexation of the Crimean region of Ukraine and its recent assertive military moves, especially in the Baltic area, have led to the most serious crisis in Russian-AmericanWestern relations since the end of the Cold War. So far, no one has suggested a plausible strategy for reversing the annexation of Crimea by Russian president Vladimir Putin or, for that matter, for preventing further Russian encroachments on Ukraine.1 No one has proposed a forcible military counteraction neither the United States nor the North Atlantic Treaty Organization NATO has a specific commitment to defend Ukraine in any case. In fact, so far neither the Obama administration nor the major European countries have been willing to provide serious military aid to Ukraine. There is absolutely no sign that President Putin considers the costs of economic and other sanctions imposed by the West on Russia as especially problematic. The obvious question, especially for Eastern Europe, is whether Ukraine is the first step in a new Russian strategy that seeks, among other things, to absorb areas inhabited by ethnic Russians in neighboring states into the Russian Federation. It is all too plausible that President Putin, as a Russian nationalist, ultimately intends to rebuild the Russian Empire.2 Furthermore, he appears to have devised a so-far-effective strategy and set of tactics for doing soambiguous warfare waging war with deniable forces intended to keep the war below the threshold that might trigger outside intervention.3 Russias foreign policy concept calls for protecting the rights and legitimate interests of Russian speakers living outside Russia.

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  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
  • Government and Political Science

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