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tv   Quadriga - International Debate from Berlin  LINKTV  August 28, 2022 10:30pm-11:01pm PDT

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nato has responded to russia's war of aggression against ukraine with a new strategy to new members and one of the most sweeping reforms in its entire history, it will massively increase its troops and weapons systems in eastern europe especially in the baltic states. the rapid reaction force will even be increased seven fold with this, nato wants to deter putin from attacks against further neighboring states. our topic today, nato versus putin going toe to toe with the aggressor. a warm welcome to to the point, let me
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introduce my panel today carolina bigorre political editor of cultura libere ana poland's leading online weekly gustav nato and military expert with the european council on foreign relations and alexei yusupov, a russia expert with the liberal but foundation here in berlin a warm welcome to all of you. now yusupov, a russia expert with the liberal but foundation here in response to putin's war in ukraine, nato has undergone yusupov, a russia expert with the liberal but foundation here it's most sweeping reform and biggest transformation since the end of the cold war, putin has achieved the opposite. it seems of what he wanted namely weakening nato, pushing it back westwards. at the summit last week, nato welcomed nearly welcomed two new members. so did not to do the
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right thing there. absolutely nature reconfirmed its open door policy that countries that want to apply can apply. um sweden and finland have both made it clear before the war that although they are not members of nature, the freedom to choose the alliance is one of the core rides granted to them under the paris charter and that it to choose the alliance is one of the core rides would not see this right being diminished or limited by russia and this was if you if you go back to the december 17 proposal that putin put on the table, the kind of forced neutralization of eastern europe and and all countries um in the east was something that they bitterly objected. so it is certainly the riright thing uh carolina poland has demanded sort of um an improvement of the defenses on the eastern flanks, more troops, more weapons uh for for many, many years. so it's also happy now, warsaw is quite happy we understand that this
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is a compromise. it is perhaps not the whole that that also wanted, but not only poland, but also other states of the eastern flank are quite happy with the results of the of the nato summit and the new strategy. it is quite obvious that nato has never chaed so much and it is also very obvious that it is a compromise, but well, it's very difficult to have such a compromise among so many member states, so we should be satisfied. now let's say, let's let's look to to russia and this confrontation with nato? what's the reaction in the commentariat in moscow, what the political circles, what what do they think? there is a variety of voices and opinions, different shades of it? most of them are are saying that we told you this is that we told you so fraction, pretty much they're saying masks are
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off this was the plan throughout the last 30 years anyway. so now you can see that narrative and now we can see go it into fulfillment. this is the more propagandistic tone you have then you have the strain of thought saying, look, it always was between the us and russia and whatever happens in europe only shows that this is a bilateral conflict. this gives of course additional reputation to russia's standing, but it's also a propagandistic note and then there is a third more sober i would say tone coming up from professional military also diplomatic circles saying, look this thing has never been planned like this and the risks of in advantage escalation are extreme wi this new nato russia border coming up with lacking lines to deconflict with an absolutely new militarization dynamic. so is this really something or at least it's not a doubting voice, but it's a voice saying we should really be careful about things which are happening on the european theater now. so you have different voices but all of them treat this thing as the new normal. everyone has accepted now. so you have different voices but all of them
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it. now, nato some have declared nato brain dead in the past, but putin's aggression against ukraine kissed the alliance awawake. nato now confronts is biggest realignment since the cold war. let's have a quick look on land in the air and on the water. nato has been present in the baltics and poland since russia's activity and occupatioof crimea in 2014 as a deterrent so far. now the transition from deterrence to a state of alert, the nato troops already present on the eastern borders will be increased to brigade level. that means up to 5000 soldiers each and bases are to become permanent. germany has already announced its intention to lead the combat brigade in lithuania. nato's very high readiness joint task force will be increased seven fold in the event of an emergency to 300,000 soldiers more money will flow, â1 billion euros will be invested
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for the development of new technologies. the path is clear for finland and sweden to join the military alliance with this. nato will grow to 32 member states exercises in the event of an attack are underway. like in this maneuver in the baltic sea. does nato now have a permanent, does it does need to have a permanent grip on putin? well, it if all the measures that are talked about now are implemented then the capability to deter russian aggression are fairly high and fairly good. however, i mean a lot of stuff is in the details and how it will be implemented when and what's the timeline because a lot of the goals are fairly wake as like the 300,000 man to be held in arms. not yet clear at what level of readiness. the old nato
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response force was sort of 30 days readiness. i don't know if we can manage 300,000 men in 30 days readiness, where will they be located etc. it also needs to be said that as long as the war in ukraine is ongoing, basically russia is not in a military position to do anything about what is happening now. we have seen people barracks from kaliningrad being empty to be sent to reinforce the domus offensive. now the finnish borders even emptied out uh people sent to ukraine. we will sort of however russia might react in practice. we will only see that after the end of this war and this war is still undecided that we we really don't know what is coming out of that. so a lot of unknowns and i'd be careful to make long term predictions on the current situation. are you suggesting that putin or russia is too weak to oppose nato's eastern flank now there are too weak to post because they're broke
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down in ukraine. um once they have finished the war it will depend on how they ended and then they will initiate probably a deep military reform because the war in ukraine will be very frank has not shown that the russian army is that capable as they thought and they thought they were. and i think a lot of issues will demand a structural change on the russian side and this is something that actually will happen regardless of what nato will do. it has happened regardless of what nato did before. um if you see the sort of the strengthening of the northern dimension of uh of the nato did before. um if you see the sort of russian military, the sort of westward moving, the strengthening of the southern and the western military district. that's happened long before sweden and finland were nato members or or this war escalated. so i think we kind of overestimate how much we are the drivers in russian military policies and underestimate how much they drive themselves into things. also, the
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relative relative failure of the military advances has also resonated with the russian intellectual and political elites. and there are a lot of people coming back to the first question saying, is this really what the russian army should be capable of? so there will be a reform whatsoever, regardless of what's happening outside. well, there's a nice quote that i can bring in now that somebody has said recently we thought russia had the second best army in the world and now we're seeing that the second best army in ukraine is that the, is that a fair assessment it has been, it has been the expectation that the russian economy will collapse and the russian army will prevail it has come to be in a completely different way russian economy will collapse and the russian army will prevail the russian economy. we were talking about nato. if you compare it to nato, the military capabilities of russia versus nato. i think there is nothing to be, that there is no. and this is why risks of further extension of conflict be to moldova bid to other regions, i assess them as completely non realistic at this current moment doesn't mean that it will not happen in 2356 years
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down the road. but at the current moment, this is the single most challenging task for the russian army military forces to stabilize and sustain the successes and gains that have in ukrain so yes, but i have to come in. a lot of these illnesses that plagued the russian army plague particularly european armies as well. there is a difference between paper and what troops actually have. there is a low state of readiness of material. some stuff is really old. it was just sort of superficially refurbished. it doesn't work the the way it was intended to be of course the big difference in nato is there is doesn't work the the way it was intended to be the u. s. army's combat proven. it's capable is high tech um, which is as long as the americans are there and are committed to europe. i don't think the russians play with and fiddle with that. if the wind in washington change, we will live in a different world but that's subject to probably further questions. i want to in washington change, we will live in a different world go to carolina carolina with poland will poland which has been said to be sort of on the, on the
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front line very very soon or possibly on the front will poland send troops to the baltics or will it keep troops troops inside to prepare for any eventually. i think it's still very flexible and we will see what's going on. what, what will come. the ancient greek philosopher heraclitus told once that everything flows and i think this is exactly what will be happening with this nato strategy it's an important step. i don't have any doubts about it. but then how it will look like how what poland will decide, poland as a very important hub. now playing an important role in delivering weapons also to ukraine we will we will see 11 comment i would just playing an important role in delivering weapons also to ukraine like to make about the capability of russia to reform its army. i i don't doubt that they will undertake a reform. but the question is whether they are capable of doing it success effectively. i mean first we were
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told by many experts during the pandemic that whilst whilst europe was putting money into recovery funds and the pandemic etcetera, russia was putting money into military. and this is first thing and the second thing is of course we say that the reform will be undertaken after the war is over. but will the world be over? and when will be over? because it doesn't seem like a war that was going to end, it rather seems like a frozen hot conflict while we're in poland kaliningrad, which is a russian exclave on on polish territory if you if you will. are you worried about it? yes. and the polls are very worried about it because it seems like this is the only exception for the stability and security that nato brings to this part of the region. and of course not only polls, so youou could see the reaction of of of of the baltic states, the blockade
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partial blockade of of the transport of good that was decided by will knows the government in vilnius. so, yes kaliningrad is ironically because it seemed it's a very small uh place. uh it's only if i'm right 15,000 square kilometers, so it's it's really small, it has only one million inhabitants. and yet, according to many experts, there are there are nuclear weapons there and if not nuclear then million inhabitants. and yet, according to many experts, there are still very dangerous weapons, aleksei briefly, if it could it be a a reason for putin to move kaliningrad as except for the factual data, huge symbolic potential symbolic significance be a a reason for putin to move kaliningrad as for the russian, let's say, um revenge is ideology. so
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the four case, if you will, because in russia, it's the letter k for crimea for kaliningrad for kazakhstan and for the kuril islands on the japanese border, those are all areas which contribute immensely to the idea that russian is a great eurasian power or even a global power if you will. and kaliningrad is one of those. so i think it has been smart that despite a lot of tension in lithuanian poll and the european commission has not um going the way of escalating because it doesn't help ukraine. and i think this realization shows us that even in brussels, people understand that it is an issue which could trigger further hostile action. so while war is going on in ukraine, it's unwise to open up a separate different theater of conflict. so you're right, it's super dangerous. it's very, very, very slippery and i guess, and separate different theater of conflict. so you're right, it's super this is something we c can red along the lines on the russian side of the military experts as well. the fear that it will escalate without political intent is huge
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so the one thing is the political intent, if there is a marching order and we don't know how it works, because no one can look into the head of vladimir putin on the same time, you have this dynamic of you have a lot of hardware, you had a lot of new dynamics, you have very little communication. there has been good experience between norway and russia, for example where despite all of the conflicts, the navy commanders have had a standing line so that they can escalate the conflict on the level below the political level. at the moment, we don't have that. we have the us russia contact. we don't have a secure contact from nato to russia. we don't have a um navy contact in the baltic sea, which the factor now transforms into a nato sea in a way. so there is a lot of risk there. and this is why i feel that both sides will look very, very intensely into looking for ways to manage this new confrontation because as you're saying, and i agree it will probably stay here for years and years and years to come. so what's the the nato point of view on that? well the problem with deconflicting
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mechanisms between russia and nato is that that moscow wants to talk to washington. uh and when it comes to cocommon structures, soccer's is almost accepted because it's an american commander. but when we talk for example about the multinational corps in session which is a nato multinational corps and which is responsible for military operations in the baltic area it's not taken seriously in moscow because it's not american and i think well you know in moscow thinking it's sort of the pentagon commands and all the other multinational formations are just minions who take the, who take the orders and there's no point in talking to them and that makes these things very difficult. um the deconflicting mechanisms with the u. s. still work somehow. they're yes they're degraded. gerasimov was not really happy to talk um to his u. s. counterpart for some time but they're still compared to the others that are still functional. um that
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another another hotspot on this is of course that maybe in the future of the black sea again because moscow is happy to talk to turkey but not to anybody else. not to romania bilateral, no not to bulgaria and not to any nato force, there's no equivalent in set up in in constanta a multinational corps southeast. that's that that is, that is difficult. however, i think without an intent to escalate, i think incidents can be tamed. um if if there is an intention to escalate any incident will do because they kind of support the general narrative well be the one person who thinks that might happen that way. as ukraine's president zelensky, he is certain that putin will not stop in ukraine instead continue with attacks on other countries. let's listen in all of them, this
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is historical experience that is that is talking through his mouth. it doesn't have to be factually correct as for what is going to happen tomorrow or in three months but the most important experience of this region which contains ukraine poland and the baltic states. and it's important not all the eastern europe, it's it's just the russia's direct neighbors. the experience is that there is a longstanding collective habit which is russian imperialism and this russian imperialism in a new package of russian nationalism has been spreading throughout the past 20 years. so, the cases of kenya georgia
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and crimea, of course, are the proofs for for such argumentation. it's very important because of course, you might say well, this is just fatalism and this is just thinking that russian russians are always like this, they have to behave like this. no, it's not about this, it's about knowing what the historical patterns were, what is probable when the historic, when the historically grounded russian imperialism comes back yet again talking about russian imperialism. and if we're looking at russia's russia's population right now, is there an appetite for more action for to attack more countries to bring them back into the fold? with the average russian, i think the so called war party of mobilized nationalists who realally pursue a very open revanchist agenda is around 10-15% of the population, the same size, there's still a lot of the same size. i would dedicate two calling an anti war movement passive or active. because you've seen, for
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example, in comparison to the last year, you've seen an increase in derailment incidents on russian railways, which is very similar to what happens in belarus up to 50%. there have been more than 20 attacks on military commerce areas so there is some kind of an underground clearly saying this is not what we want. the problem is the middle, because this means that the absolute majority doesn't care is apathetic, is fatalistic in a way which can come from deep soviet experience of not having a say in country policy making a lot of violence in the past from deep soviet experience of not having a say in and looking inwards looking and also facing, to be honest an unprecedented economic crisis, which has never happened fore with technological regression, which will bring russia to if they succeed in mitigating the risk to the level of 90s, if they fail in mitigating the risk to the level of the 80s. so, people frankly don't care. and this is
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a big problem because of course this would be the resonating space where some signals could be sent out to stop the aggression. unsurprisingly, the kremlin frames nato's reaction on the war in ukraine as an act of aggression. let's listen into vladimir putin on this very matter. okay, we'll the war in ukraine as an act of aggression. let's have to mirror this behavior we touched upon this earlier but can he mirror uh, this kind of troop build up? well, he there are long term trends and plans
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to strengthen russia's military posts in the west. if we if we see how russia has planned this war and what was the mindset in this war? was that the west this week? the west is weakening, europe is decadent americans are pivoting away towards asia. they don't, as we seen in afghanistan, don't have the resources to care for other parts of the world. so there's an opening up for us, we are the great nation, we have the great military now eat ukraine. and then as a big empire with sort of governing over ukraine, we will, we will show the rest of these decadent europeans were very sort of where the power now, of course it didn't play out that way. um, but i guess sort of depending on how this war will be concluded that he will the one or the other way resume to this kind of counter western poster because we have seen a an influx kaliningrad was militarily reinforced over the years following
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up to that the same was for for the arctic circle, especially the border to finland. then after 2020 situation in belarus also, we had a lot of influx and only military but especially of course security presence, fsb assisting the kgb in belarus itself. so so all these are longstanding trends and of course now putin has a kind of sticker to apply to them. yes, it's a reaction to nato. one would have uh conceived that they were planned before. however, of course, the big thing is the war in ukraine is not going to plan. um, and and whatever the outcome there is the biggest determinant of how many resources financially militarily russia will have after the after that to do whatever it intends to one edition there is briefly very briefly, domestically speaking, the russian government the kremlin abandons obligations towards its citizens. they go back to an era where they say, well, social security, economic
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development, that's private. national security is state matter. and this makes it more probable. but what is important, i believe is that this escalation of russia of putin's russia has a protein face. it changes the form every time it appears, i have to go into the last round. this is my last question to all of you. and with a brief statement, please, are we looking at a new iron curtain going down? have we have we have we not seen it already. i do believe that it already happened and it happened actually quite some time ago. it was perhaps not very well visible from the western perspective but i do believe that the new strategy of nato shows that there is a certain closeness between the western perspective and the eastern perspectives right now. i think it's a misleading analogy because russia's economy and society have been so open and it's nearly impossible to close them down in the same fashion. it was after the second world
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war. so we're going into an unprecedented geopolitical confrontation. and i'm not sure this form of open economy, it's the most globally integrated economy among the brics countries. 700 1000 russians have left russia after the war. this maintains private channels and new ways of influencing what's going on there i think it's new. we have a systemic rivalry. it's not the kind of economic, different model that russia proposes as the soviet union was. but we have a different model of governance of policy of justification. uh, a, and hence we have this kind of competition. it will be a different cold war, but it will be a cold thank you very much. this was to the point for this edition. thank you very much for watching. and if you're watching us on youtube do share with us what you think down there in the comments, thank you very
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