Steve Clean Expertise, Innovation, and Nice Energy Competitors – Class 3 – Russia


This text first appeared in West Level’s Fashionable Conflict Institute. 

We simply had our third week of our new nationwide safety class at Stanford – Expertise, Innovation and Nice Energy CompetitorsJoe FelterRaj Shah and I designed the category to cowl how expertise will form all the weather of nationwide energy (our affect and footprint on the world stage).

At school 1, we discovered that nationwide energy is the mixture of a rustic’s diplomacy (comfortable energy and alliances), data/intelligence, its army, financial energy, finance, intelligence, and legislation enforcement. This “complete of presidency method” is thought by the acronym DIME-FIL. And after 20 years centered on counter terrorism the U.S. is engaged in nice energy competitors with each China and Russia.

At school 2, we discovered how China is utilizing all parts of nationwide energy: diplomacy (comfortable energy, alliances, coercion), data/intelligence (utilizing its financial leverage over Hollywood, controlling the Covid narrative), its army would possibly and financial energy (Belt and Street Initiative,) to use Western finance and expertise.  This has resulted in Western democracies prioritizing financial cooperation and commerce with China above all else.  China’s objective is to problem and overturn the U.S.-led liberal worldwide order and exchange it with a neo-totalitarian mannequin.

Going ahead, coexistence with China will contain competitors but additionally cooperation. But it surely’s going to take the demonstrated resolve of the U.S. and its allies to proceed to uphold a rules-based order the place nations share a imaginative and prescient of a free and open Indo-Pacific the place the sovereignty of all nations are revered.

Meet up with the category by studying our intro to the category, and summaries of Class 1 and Class 2.

All which results in at the moment’s subject, the opposite nice energy – Russia.


Class 3 Required Readings

Fall of the united states

Russian Geopolitics & Overseas Coverage

Putin & Putinism

Russia’s Pivot to Asia & the Chinese language-Russian Relationship

Russian Expertise Technique

Studying Project Questions:

Decide one of many under questions and reply in roughly 100 phrases, based mostly on the required readings. Please be aware that this project shall be graded and rely in the direction of course participation.

  1. Examine and distinction the viewpoints of John Mearsheimer and Michael McFaul on drivers of Russian overseas coverage. The place do they agree? Disagree? Which perspective do you agree with extra and why?
  2. Consider the views of Artyom Lukin and Chris Miller on Russia’s so-called pivot to Asia. Do you agree with yet another than the opposite? Do you imagine that the pivot is extra a rhetorical or substantive strategic transfer on the a part of Moscow?

Class Dialogue Questions:

  1. What are Russia’s geopolitical pursuits, objectives, and/or targets? From Moscow’s perspective, what are the principle obstacles standing in the best way of attaining its nationwide objectives?
  2. To what diploma is Vladimir Putin a unitary actor? How a lot is he the system of presidency versus the product of a system?
  3. How does Moscow view the present, American-led rules-based worldwide order?
  4. What position, if any, does ideology play in Moscow’s technique?
  5. In what methods are Moscow’s objectives appropriate and/or incompatible with U.S. nationwide pursuits?
  6. In what domains does the competitors between the US and the Russian Federation play out? How do these domains work together with each other? Is cooperation between the 2 potential and helpful?
  7. How would you characterize the Sino-Russian relationship? In what dimensions is the connection the strongest? The place are its fault strains? Is the connection enduring or transient?

Class 3: Visitor Speaker

Our visitor speaker for our third class was Mike McFaul, the previous U.S. Ambassador to the Russian Federation and former Nationwide Safety Council Senior Director for Russian and Eurasian Affairs. Mike wrote about his expertise as ambassador in From Chilly Conflict to Scorching Peace: An American Ambassador in Putin’s Russia. At Stanford, Mike is the Director of the Freeman Spogli Institute for Worldwide Research,Stanford’s analysis institute for worldwide affairs, and the house for this class and the Gordian Knot Middle for Nationwide Safety Innovation.

Lecture 3

In case you can’t see the slides, click on right here

Ambassador McFaul identified that at instances Russia pursues safety and financial pursuits in parallel to ideological goals. At instances, these targets complement one another. At different instances, they conflict. He posited it’s as a result of Russian coverage is run by Putin and his political establishments. Slide 7

We then reviewed highlights from the assigned readings. John Mearsheimer’s article took the contrarian place that the US and its European allies share many of the duty for the disaster in Crimea. Slide 8.

Slides 10-12 led the dialog concerning the finish of the Chilly Conflict & Collapse of the united states. George Kennan was the creator of the 1946 Lengthy Telegram which set in movement the coverage of “containment” of the Soviet Union. He lived to see its collapse a half-century later, and wrote, “I discover it arduous to consider any occasion more odd and startling, and at first look extra inexplicable, than the sudden and whole disintegration and disappearance…of the nice energy recognized successively because the Russian Empire after which the Soviet Union.”  Stephen Kotkin maintains that if the Soviet elite had so chosen, they may have sustained the Soviet Union a long time longer. Maybe probably the most enduring quote is from Vladimir Putin himself, “the collapse of the Soviet Union was a serious geopolitical catastrophe of the century,” as he tries to remake Russia into an amazing energy as soon as once more.

Slide 13, Dmitri Trenin from the Carnegie Middle factors out that the 2014 Ukrainian disaster was the Rubicon. Russia broke 1 / 4 century of cooperative relations amongst nice powers pivoting away from the west, beginning a brand new period of intense competitors. Slide 14, Mike McFaul has a extra nuanced view. “For a whole understanding of Russian overseas coverage.., people, concepts, and establishments—President Vladimir Putin, Putinism, and autocracy—have to be added to the evaluation. (The).. three instances of current Russian intervention (in Ukraine in 2014, Syria in 2015, and the US election in 2016) illuminate the causal affect of those home determinants within the making of Russian overseas coverage.

Slide 15, Russia’s pivot to China.

China-Russian relations are actually at their highest level because the mid-Fifties, being drawn to one another by probably the most elementary legislation of worldwide politics: that of the stability of energy. Slide 16 Russia has lengthy struggled to beat the constraints imposed by the nation’s persistent lack of ability to retain expertise in assist of homegrown innovation and R&D.

North Korea/Iran/Non-Nation States
We additionally lined the 2 regional threats to worldwide safety – North Korea and Iran – in addition to the continued threats of terrorism from non-nation states (Al-Qaeda’s, ISIS).

Slides 20-22. North Korea has sturdy and increasing nuclear weapons program with 10-40 nuclear weapons. Their ballistic missile program not solely threatens their neighbors, however their growth of long-range ICBMs places your entire continental United States in vary of their nuclear weapons.

Slides 23-25 the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) has actively pursued nuclear weapons and lengthy vary ballistic missiles. Beneath the Iran Nuclear Deal (JCOPA) that they had agreed to restrict their uranium to three.67% enrichment. They broke out of the deal in 2019. At this time, their uranium enrichment has reached 60% enrichment (90% is weapons grade). Iran has been a serious supply of regional destabilization, hostage-taking, and sponsorship of terrorism: Ansar Allah (Houthis) in Yemen, Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas/PIJ in Palestine, quite a few Shia militias in Iraq (Kataib Hezbollah, Asaib Ahl al Haq, Badr Group). Iran’s long-running battle with Israel is a perennial potential flashpoint for a broader battle within the area. Iran has been actively utilizing cyber assaults and has attacked and harassed industrial transport and Freedom of Navigation Operations within the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz.

Slides 26-27 Non-nation states haven’t gone away. They’re a persistent, survivable menace unconstrained by conventional geopolitical checks (irrational actor). They’re able to regional and worldwide terror assaults. Some are actively pursuing acquisition of weapons of mass destruction (nuclear, chemical, organic). Addressing the issue by counterinsurgency/ counter terrorism operations, runs the chance of long-term engagements that injury different nationwide targets and, generally, the nationwide curiosity. But, if left unaddressed, these insurgencies can unfold globally and create second- and third-order challenges (al-Shabab, Boko Haram, Abu Sayyaf).

Slides 28-31 lined the Group Venture. The category has shaped into 7 groups – slides 32-38. We prompt they get out of the constructing to first deeply perceive the issue they’ve chosen.

We provided a sequence of questions they could need to ask:

Slide 33. Who has this downside? Why does the issue exist? Consequence of the issue? When do they want an answer? How does this get deployed/delivered? How are they fixing it at the moment? How have you learnt you solved the issue?

Slide 34. Subsequent, after they validate the issue: What would a minimal viable product appear like? Who would construct and ship the ultimate product/service? Learn how to you create an “Innovation Insurgency” across the thought? Who must get excited concerning the MVP to fund it? Who’re the saboteurs?

Subsequent week we begin speaking concerning the impression of economic expertise on Nice Energy Competitors. First up – semiconductors.

Classes Realized

  • After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the U.S. and the Russia Federation had a two-decade lengthy cooperative relationship
  • In 2014 with the Russian-Ukrainian battle and Russia’s annexation of Crimea, and in 2015 with Russian intervention within the Syrian civil battle, Russia’s pursuits and the West’s have radically diverged
    • Mike McFaul makes the case that Putin, Putinism, and the Russian autocracy are key determinants of their overseas coverage
  • This week, pupil groups will begin getting out of the constructing to construct reflexes and expertise to deeply perceive an issue
    • By gathering first-hand data to validate that the issue they’re fixing is the actual downside, not a symptom of one thing else
    • Then, college students will start quickly constructing minimal viable options as a approach to take a look at and validate their understanding of each the issue and what it will take to resolve it


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