Although Russia is weaker than the USSR, it has every chance of winning a conflict with the West. What trump cards are in Moscow's hands, Sergey Karaganov, Honorary Chairman of the Presidium of the Council for Foreign and Defense Policy (SVAP), told Profile
- Starting around the middle of zero, every aggravation in relations with the US called the press a "new cold war". At the same time, experts, including you, insisted on the incorrectness of using this term, indicating that the Cold War was a unique phenomenon when there were two equal-sized camps, two competing ideologies and so on. Today you already say that there is a new cold war. Why is that? What changed?
- What is happening now is a really cold war. But it is significantly different from the one that was in the period of the existence of the USSR. First, it is much more acute and dangerous than the previous one. Secondly, the new cold war is rather one-sided. That is, it is conducted by the United States and part of the Western countries. Russia and China, who conditionally represent the other side in this war, are not interested in the conflict, because they like where international relations and the world economy develop. Third, there are no ideological differences, as in the years of the first Cold War. Then liberal capitalism confronted totalitarian communism. Today, ideological war is being waged, but the West is leading it inside of itself, and we are being used to justify this war.
- What do you mean by saying that the ideological conflict for the West is internal?
- Both in America and in Europe, the elites are trying to restore the management of political processes at home. And out of control they came out for this reason: the population is displeased with the fact that for many years the standard of living has been falling. The middle class is shrinking. He does not have confidence in the future. Their dissatisfaction with this state of affairs the middle class channeled into social networks, bypassing the media controlled by traditional elites. And the elite, under the slogans of defending democracy, are trying to reverse this process and take control of social networks.
- If there is no competition of ideologies and economic systems, then what is the cause of the conflict?
- Now we are going to the most important thing. The previous cold war was fought for geopolitical influence. At one time, the West, to which Russia was at that time, managed to take control of the whole world. And it happened due to military superiority. So, the Russian expansion in the Caucasus and Central Asia became possible due to the fact that our expeditionary corps was well organized, the Cossacks were excellent fighters. Block confrontation meant that part of the world was out of the control of the capitalist camp, as we called it. And since the beginning of 1960? X thanks to nuclear weapons, although it is not only in it, the erosion of the military superiority of the West has begun. The Vietnamese campaign showed that Americans can lose. But after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the West regained its full military and ideological superiority, thanks to which it was able to start pumping world GNP in its favor. It is most important. In addition, Western political, cultural and other institutions were voluntarily and compulsorily offered to the whole world. The pendulum swung to the other side, when in 2007-2008, Russia began to restore its military potential. Many people thought that it would not work. But now our Western partners see that their positions in the world are rapidly weakening. Therefore, the battle is desperate. Without military superiority, the West is doomed to fair competition, and this will result in delicate losses for both the ruling elite and ordinary Westerners.
- Who is more - Europeans or Americans - interested in a new Cold War?
- Of course, the main shooters are Americans. But there are plenty of supporters of the conflict with Russia in the Old World. The European Union as a project was showered not only because of the mistakes of its leaders, but also because Europe's military positions in the world began to weaken. This, along with structural changes in the global economy, has caused the world's GNP to stop pumping into Europe.
At the same time, the negative attitude towards Russia among the European elites grew from the middle of the zero ones. In 2013, before the Crimea and the Ukrainian crisis, there was already real anti-Russian hysteria in Europe. No positive publication about Russia in the major media! I called my European colleagues and friends who held moderate and neutral positions, and warned: we will soon get to confrontation. It was obvious to me. But people did not want to believe it, because it's more pleasant for everyone to think about good things. Sanctions, which the EU imposed on Russia, are needed in order to preserve the unity of the Union itself. It is such a clasp that does not allow it to decay. We do not understand this well, because we are busy ourselves, but the new cold war meets the deep needs of societies of the EU countries and even more of their ruling classes.
- Russia is much weaker than the USSR and inferior to the economic and military power of the United States. What are our trump cards to win a new cold war?
- This is a very curious moment. You formulated the question in such a way that it reflects the Western point of view.
- Yes. This happened because one of the main fronts of the new Cold War is in the information space. The West in it still dominates, although it gradually loses its positions there. In reality, the cards held by the opponents of the West in the new cold war are incomparably better than those of the USSR. The Soviet Union spent about half its GNP to help the so-called fraternal countries. These were amounts that you can not even imagine today! At the same time, the USSR was opposed not only by the US and NATO, but also by China. Now there is nothing like this. During the years of the cold war, the whole world, with the exception of the socialist camp, was controlled by the West. Today it is not so. The Soviet elite did not like their country, considered it morally wrong. And today the elite is united and believes that the truth is on our side - this is a fundamentally different state of society. I can continue to list, than the position of Russia favorably differs from that of the USSR. And if we correctly play these cards, the chances of winning from us are simply huge. Another thing is that Russia can lose. We can lose all our advantages. This will happen if we do not bring order inside the country. But so far the situation is in our favor.
- It seems that the conflict is on the increase. Can the new cold war develop into a hot one?
- Easy. Moreover, now we are closer to this than ever since 1962 (meaning the Caribbean crisis. "Profile"). Today the West hates us, and we feel disdain for it. Both sides of the conflict demonize each other, but the West does it much more furiously. In the years of the last Cold War, this was not. There are almost no channels for communication. And there were no tough rules of behavior - largely because the West decided that it could do whatever it wants and destroy it. At the same time, new military systems appeared-semi-strategic or quasi-strategic, erasing the line between nuclear and conventional warfare. There were more international players with nuclear weapons. So from a military-technical point of view, the situation is more dangerous.
- In April last year, the Americans struck a missile attack on Syria. Now they have done it again, moreover, they have drawn allies to the attack. Does this mean that the United States will increase military pressure on Damascus?
- The attack was needed to show that the Americans are still strong and can not only lose. It was purely political, not military. And he was very clearly verified. And I'm not sure that this blow turned out to be more powerful than the previous one. But even if it is, it does not change the essence. The United States is suffering a strategic defeat. America is still a strong country with a powerful army. But they are losing ground. The launch of missiles in Syria was one of the attempts to stop this process.
- You mentioned among other advantages of the current situation in Russia that she does not have to wage war on two fronts - both with the West and with China. On the contrary, today the relations between Moscow and Beijing are good, as never before. What is the role of the PRC in the unfolding conflict?
- Our Chinese partners understand perfectly that Russia is an intermediate goal, and the main one is the PRC. The Americans offered us to surrender China, promising that after that our relations with them would become just miraculous. And the Chinese they offered to surrender Russia. The Americans know perfectly well that Russia and China outnumber the United States in terms of total power.