Wednesday 22nd of September 2021

no twerking on putin's navy day...

putin navyputin navy

















Putin intimidates the world with the power of the Russian Navy


Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his speech dedicated to the Day of the Russian Navy, recalled the threats that Russia is currently facing from a number of countries.


Putin speaks bellicose rhetoric

Experts noted that Putin resorted to the rhetoric of threats for the first time as he vowed "to destroy anyone, anywhere."

Putin spoke not only about the historical significance of the date, but he also mentioned those who positioned themselves as Russia's opponents.

Putin's speech on the Day of the Russian Navy was full of admiration at the scale of the transformations that the Russian Navy has seen recently. Putin recalled that in October the Russian Navy would turn 325 years old. Over all these years, he said, the fleet has come a long way "from the small boat of Peter the Great to powerful warships of the ocean zone."


He also spoke:

  • about effective naval aviation,
  • reliable coastal defense complexes,
  • unique hypersonic missiles.

The president said that the fleet had everything to guarantee the protection of borders and national interests. Putin separately noted that Russian navy men were capable of detecting any enemy anywhere.

"We can detect underwater, surface or aerial enemies and target them if a lethal strike is necessary," the Russian president said.


The phrase became a bombshell in mass media both in Russia and in the West.

According to Putin, the Russian Navy has established its presence in almost all regions of the World Ocean.

Political scientist Alexei Roshchin said that the parade was a record-breaking event in:

  • 4,000 navy men,
  • more than 50 ships, boats and submarines,
  • 48 airplanes and helicopters of naval aviation.

Addressing Russian citizens, he also sent a signal to external partners about the power of the Russian Navy. Yet, the number of problems that the Russian Navy is facing todays is considerably smaller than during the 1990s, but still there are plenty of them.

Ivan Konovalov, the head of the Russian Center for Strategic Conjuncture, a member of the Valdai Discussion Club, linked Putin's rhetoric with recent provocations near Russian borders.

Putin made it clear that Russia was able to respond to those challenges.

During the recent years, the Russian Navy has obtained:

  • new ships and aircraft,
  • air defense systems,
  • infrastructure — berths and bases on which they will be located.

Military expert Yuri Knutov said that the demonstration of power was an important indicator of the country's development. Russia now has high-precision and hypersonic missile weapons (Caliber", Onyx, Zircon missiles) and, as a result, new small missile boats, frigates, including for the use in the ocean zone.

The Russian Navy has thus become superior to many of the world's naval forces in terms of its technical development and the ability to solve combat missions, and Putin has shown the whole world that the Russian Navy must be reckoned with.

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Note the heading reference to twerking... The poor girls/women got more than they deserved...

how it's done...

Putin's Navy Day was run like clockwork and though experts noted that Putin resorted to the rhetoric of threats for the first time — as he vowed "to destroy anyone, anywhere" — Putin is still a far better man of peace than most world leaders. A country he inherited in tatters back in 2000, Putin has managed to salvage Russia. Perhaps, another person — a woman, may be — would have done the same... May be not. My guess is that Putin was the right man at the right time... and his worried mentors, seeing the country going down the gurgler, saw a bright young man, who had broad knowledge of politics, history, commerce, of the workings of intelligence gathering shenanigans, and a genuine interest in the people of Russia... It was not easy and the future is still fraught with pitfalls... Like a chess player, Putin knows eight moves in advance while say a Joe Biden is doing catch up from base one. Amazingly, it seems that Putin has been able to maintain his youthfulness of ideas and brightness of perceptions... 


As well, Putin values the help and hard work of his ministers and everyone in Russia. Due to sanctions and the Western attitude, some Russians are doing it tough — but compared to people below the poverty line and in prison in the USA, they should consider themselves in clover. Of course some people will infer corruption and all kinds of negativities in order to get rid of Putin, all without any social program, but this is mostly stoked by a jealous West that still scratches the bottom of the barrel to find a half-dead leader or a mad man. 


Putin's "fierce" rhetoric was at the attention of countries who are trying to annoy Russia to the point that the next UK ship entering Russian waters without permission might be sunk. Note to McHale's Navy and to the British rust buckets, don't tempt fate.


The interesting side of Putin is that he is a civilian — a public servant. Not once, did he salute Navy-style. He only shook hands with admirals and captains and called all the dedicated crews: tovarisch (comrade) — all with a honest energy and smile that showed true value for their services. He has no intention of declaring war on anyone. This is not his style — and if he departed from the usual "cooperation" overtures with the rest of the world for a few minutes, it's only because the West is pushing barrows of shit towards Russia. Please Western Cowboys, learn history...


Of note, the ships from Iran in the parade... Watch the video.


Free julian Assange.







Charles de Gaulle: A Thorn in the Side of Six American Presidents by William R. Keylor (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers: 2020), 376 pages.


The signs are everywhere you look: A multipolar world is coming, whether America likes it or not.

For proof, consider the following events, which all took place in June: On June 17, the spokesman for the Chinese foreign ministry told reporters that “We have to tell those who try every means to drive a wedge between China and Russia that any attempt to undermine China-Russia relations is doomed to fail.” Ten days later, a laboriously titled bilateral treaty between Russia and China, the so-called Treaty of Good-Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation, was renewed by the presidents of those two countries. Days earlier, June 23, saw the leaders of the two leading European powers, France and Germany, issue a call for the European Union to hold a summit meeting with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin.

Unipolar fantasies of American hegemony such as those harbored by an influential claque of neoconservative and liberal interventionists continue to cloud the judgement of most of the U.S. foreign policy establishment. Leading scholars, think tank fixtures and perennial political appointees have been chasing the illusion of a U.S.-led liberal international rules-based order since the 1990s. The self-serving delusions that the U.S. can and should act in the manner of a global policeman are viewed as ridiculous in the eyes of the rest of the world (with a few exceptions, including our proxies in the U.K., Poland, Australia and the Baltic states).

The question that we must address if we are not ultimately to come to grief is this: How can we make sense of this new, emerging multipolar world that is not of our making?

This reviewer has long held that we should start with a rediscovery of French president Charles de Gaulle’s foreign policy. And I can think of no better way to do that than to turn to William Keylor’s Charles de Gaulle: A Thorn in the Side of Six American Presidents, an invaluable examination of de Gaulle from which our own foreign policy establishment could learn much.

De Gaulle’s personal relations with his American counterparts ran the spectrum from virtually non-existent (Johnson) t0 disdain and distrust (FDR) to exceedingly cordial (Nixon). This aspect of the book provides a fascinating window into the history of the time, but is perhaps of limited applicability to today’s foreign policy analyst or practitioner. Yet Keylor’s story becomes both interesting and potentially quite useful when he describes how de Gaulle deftly navigated, and in other respects shaped, the postwar European landscape.

Eastern Policy

Keylor’s offering is especially timely at a moment when the current French president, Emmanuel Macron, has been busy prompting the very Gaullist idea of European “strategic autonomy.” To de Gaulle, neither American nor Soviet hegemony over Europe was desirable, and Macron and outgoing German chancellor Angela Merkel both seem to realize that the American mania for a cold war that pits “democracies vs. authoritarians” will do nothing to further the peace, stability and prosperity of the continent. Hence, their joint effort to pursue a program of dialogue and diplomacy with the Kremlin (a plan that was blocked at a contentious meeting of the European Council in late June).

De Gaulle was, of course, the father of detente and it was his example that inspired the similar ‘eastern policies’ that were pursued by U.S. president Richard Nixon and German chancellor Willy Brandt in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Yet de Gaulle was not reflexively dovish, nor was he pro-Soviet. Indeed, when French security interests were at stake he was uncompromising. He was the West’s most vigorous opponent of the proposal (or threat) by East German Communist leader Walter Ulbricht and Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev, made in 1958, to transform Berlin into a “free city” and hand over access to it to the East Germans. This would deprive the three allied powers (France, U.S., U.K.) access to their military forces that were stationed there. De Gaulle’s response at the time was, “If Russia issues a threat of war, we must face the threat, even if that means war.” As the Berlin crisis came to a head in 1961 with the construction of the Berlin Wall, de Gaulle, according to Keylor, “was furious that the three Western allies with occupation rights in Berlin did nothing in response to this action.” Months later, de Gaulle remarked that “we should have destroyed this barbed wire with tanks.”

By 1966, de Gaulle’s policy of pursuing strategic autonomy was in full swing. Having removed NATO forces from French soil the previous year, he was now making an opening toward Moscow. Critics in Washington, not least among them President Johnson, harbored suspicion that his trip to Moscow in 1966 was a prelude to a Franco-Soviet alliance. But these fears were overblown. As de Gaulle put it: “How ridiculous! To see me associating with these oligarchs who succeed one another from revolution to revolution by [threat of] bullets.”

In the end, his approach toward the communist East (to say nothing of the American-led West) was not ideological; it was based on a realistic assessment of French national security interests. And on this, our own policymakers might take a cue from de Gaulle. American policy might find more success if it were based not on some warmed-over “End of History” ideology but rather on a hardheaded assessment of how to narrow the gap, as Walter Lippmann recommended, between our commitments and our capabilities.

The Problem of Overextension

If de Gaulle’s approach toward the eastern communist powers remains relevant, so too do his efforts at ending France’s own ‘forever war’ in Algeria.

Like our own civilian leaders who for the past decade-plus have tried to extricate the U.S. from Afghanistan and Iraq, de Gaulle faced opposition from his military establishment. However, the extent of the opposition he faced was rather more extreme than that faced by presidents Obama and Trump: de Gaulle was the target of no fewer than nine assassination attempts by the Secret Army Organization (OAS), which sought to keep French control over Algeria. Still more, in the spring of 1961, de Gaulle faced a full-blown coup attempt by a clique of mutinous generals. Yet, as Keylor points out, “the unrest did not deflect de Gaulle from his overriding objective to find a peaceful solution to the Algerian problem.”

De Gaulle described the Algeria conflict as “a thorn in the foot of France,” and a waste of “substance, money and energy abroad.” He saw too that the U.S. was in the process of getting itself unnecessarily bogged down in Vietnam, and he repeatedly and publicly attempted to warn presidents Kennedy and Johnson to unwind the American position there.

In a conversation with Kennedy in 1961, de Gaulle predicted, “you will sink step by step into a bottomless military and political quagmire, however much you spend in men and money.”

He dismissed the domino theory that obtuse American officials such as MacGeorge Bundy and Dean Rusk made into a cornerstone of American policy in the 1960s. In a meeting with Johnson’s ambassador to France, Charles “Chip” Bohlen, de Gaulle warned that the U.S. was only going to “repeat the experience the French had earlier” in Indochina.

And quite unlike our own establishment, which cannot comprehend how NATO expansion actually undermines rather than enhances American and European security, De Gaulle had a sophisticated, nuanced understanding of alliance dynamics. He knew that alliances have drawbacks and understood the risks they posed. His opposition to NATO was based on his not unreasonable view that a) a conflict having nothing to do with France—for example, between the U.S. and China over Taiwan—would unnecessarily drag it into a war with China and b) it was unlikely in the extreme, despite promises and the best of intentions, that the U.S. would ever trade New York for Paris in a nuclear exchange with the Soviets. As he told Bohlen, “no one could expect the U.S. to risk its cities for the defense of Europe.”

Indeed, de Gaulle clearly saw the problem of overextension, and not just with regard to American power. As the European Community eyed expanding from its original six members (Benelux, France, Italy, West Germany) he took a stand against Britain’s accession to the club. As he somewhat haughtily observed “England was not cut from the same wood as France and Germany.”

Brexit, then, would not have come as a surprise to le general. And, given his well known views on NATO and his understanding of alliance dynamics, he surely would have never countenanced the North Atlantic Treaty’s expansion to include the former states of the USSR or former members of the Warsaw Pact.

De Gaulle’s wish for Europe to stand on its own militarily (a wish that was wholeheartedly shared by President Eisenhower) likely would have spared it from the delusions of Anglo-American NATO expansionists once the Berlin Wall came down and the Warsaw Pact dissolved. It is these delusions that are, and remain, at the root of the current crisis between Russia and the West.

De Gaulle and America

At the heart of de Gaulle’s politics was a vision of one people; he saw it as the state’s role to pursue policies that cultivate the common good. His approach stands in stark contrast to that of our own cruel and avaricious neoliberal elites. Domestically, de Gaulle was quite forward-looking; to him neoliberal dreams of outsourcing the role of the state to the highest bidder would have held no charm.

Even before the Second World War was over, de Gaulle was laying out his vision of a postwar French society, pledging to abolish “the coalitions of interest which have so weighed on the life of ordinary people.” De Gaulle’s ambitious postwar program included a “sweeping set of social reforms that included a vastly expanded old age and retirement system, family allowances to encourage more births, unemployment insurance and a national health care system,” according to Keylor. “French democracy,” de Gaulle said in a speech in March 1944, “must be a social democracy.” His politics were a combination that is common on the continent—economically liberal, socially conservative—but which sadly holds little purchase among America political and media elites today.

De Gaulle has frequently been portrayed as being anti-American. Yet it would be hard to look at the record that Keylor lays out and come to that conclusion. Anti-American? Not really: Just a jealous guardian of French sovereignty.

Indeed, he was an ally in the truest sense of the word: loyalty when it was due, honesty when it was required.

At the height of the Cuban missile crisis, President Kennedy sent former U.S. secretary of state Dean Acheson to inform de Gaulle of what was unfolding. As Acheson was laying out the photographic evidence of Soviet missile sites in Cuba, de Gaulle interrupted him and said, “a great nation like yours would not act if there were any doubt about the evidence.” Acheson left Paris with de Gaulle’s unconditional support.

One must ask: Could any world leader truthfully say such a thing to an American envoy today, in light of the mendacity our government has repeatedly shown in incidents ranging from the illegal bombing of Belgrade, to the wars waged under false pretenses in Iraq, Syria and Libya?

But by even the mid-1960s, the U.S. was exhibiting signs that its military and national-security establishment were out of control. Observing the American interventions in the Dominican Republic, Cuba, and Vietnam, de Gaulle worried that the U.S. “was coming to believe that force will solve everything.” He viewed these developments, as he told Vice President Hubert Humphrey, with “sadness.”

Unlike so many of our so-called allies who have repeatedly indulged our worst instincts and hegemonic ambitions, de Gaulle refused to do so. What Keylor’s history ultimately shows us is that de Gaulle was perhaps the best friend we never knew we had.



James W. Carden is a former advisor at the State Department who has written for numerous publications including the National Interest, the Los Angeles Times, Quartz, and American Affairs.


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a warning to tel aviv...


Russia Closes Syrian Skies for Israel


For a long time, Russia and Israel avoided clashes in Syria, where their interests overlap. After Moscow introduced its forces into Syrian territory in 2015, it took into account Israeli interests related to the security of the Jewish state. Israel appreciated Russia’s position and tried to make the best of the situation by avoiding clashes of Russian-Israeli interests in Syria. Moreover, Israel used Russia’s military intervention in Syria to reach military and political understanding with Moscow, knowing full well that Russia will play an influential role in the region only if it can find a balance between the interests of its allies on the one hand and Israel as a regional power on the other.

However, it is no secret that Israel has recently gone too far in pursuing its interests in Syria, which has led the Russian side to regard Tel Aviv’s behavior there as irresponsible. Let’s recall the beginning of the year when the Israeli side launched several missile strikes against Syria, including against an Iranian military facility near a Russian military outpost, causing some damage to Russia. At the same time, the coordination introduced earlier between Israeli and Russian forces did not work efficiently: Tel Aviv informed Moscow of the strike only minutes before it struck, which prevented Moscow from withdrawing its forces from the area, thus endangering them.

According to many experts, Israel has made a step too far too far in defending its interests in Syria, which has sharpened Moscow’s attitude against such actions. Eventually, Russia got fed up with this, and in the last raid, the Israeli missiles were met by Russian-made anti-aircraft systems, shooting down seven of the eight missiles.

For example, last week, Israel carried out three airstrikes in central and northern Syria – all three relatively close to Russian military forces. On July 22, however, the Israeli Air Force failed in its latest airstrike attempt against Syria, launching an attack against what it percieved as an Iran base in Al-Qusayr in Homs Governorate. The F-16s made run over the target from Lebanon (northeast of Beirut) and fired Delilah cruise missiles and SPIKE-1000 guided bombs produced by Israel’s Rafael. But this time, the Syrian air defense squads with the Russian Buk SAMs entered the fray. They succeeded in completely repelling the attack of the Israeli aggressor and successfully intercepted the best bombs and missiles Israel could produce.

Note that this is Israel’s second failure in the last week: On July 20, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) attacked As-Safir in the Aleppo Governorate, and Russian air defense systems destroyed the missiles.

In this context, the leading Israeli media express various speculations about the consequences of such actions in the Syrian sky. Nevertheless, admitting that Russia has decided to protect the Syrian sky from Israel could be Moscow’s response to the recent increase in Israeli raids against Iranian and Hezbollah sites in northern and central Syria.

Israeli journalists do not exclude the possibility that such steps may be carried out with the consent of the United States. They link such assumptions to the negotiations between Presidents Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden. Russia has always been calculating its reactions in the past because Tel Aviv coordinates all its actions with Washington. However, judging by current contacts with the American side, the impression in Tel Aviv is that Moscow has received confirmation that Washington does not like the ongoing Israeli raids. The American news portal Washington Free Beacon says that the Biden administration is walking back the United States’ historic recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the contested Golan Heights region, previously announced by Donald Trump, because of its importance to Israel’s security.

The fact that Russia has abandoned its tacit neutrality with regard to Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) air operations in Syria was recently reported by the Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, which also reported that Moscow would supply the Syrian government with more advanced military hardware so that it will be able to repel Israeli cross-border attacks and close the Syrian sky from its air force.

Note that in recent years the Israel Defense Force has been striking at various parts of the country freely, leading researchers to believe the version about the alleged gentlemen’s agreements between Russia and Israel on this matter. However, after the Israeli side continued to ignore the agreements with Russia on Syria, Moscow began to support the Syrian forces more actively, almost completely repelling the Israeli attacks on the Arab Republic. According to some analysts, it was a warning to the Israeli side that after the first missiles were destroyed, the Israeli planes would be shot down as well, as the Israeli and Arab media directly hinted.

It is well known that the IDF used US intelligence and close US-Israeli military cooperation to plan its airstrikes against Syrian territory. However, we should not forget that Moscow too enjoys close cooperation with Damascus. And, given the integration of Syrian air defense systems with Russian air defenses, Russia is free to provide the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) with information that allows it to repel Israeli strikes and shoot down Israeli planes. In addition, it is no secret that US interests may also be affected by Russia’s strengthening of the SAA’s air defense capabilities: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and US Air Force planes regularly appear over the Syrian Arab Republic’s territory, violating Syrian sovereignty.

The new Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations, Vassily Nebenzia, speaking at the UN Security Council, has repeatedly stated that Russia condemns the airstrikes that Israel is carrying out on the territory of Syria. According to the diplomat, this complicates the situation in the country and affects the overall situation in the region.

Today Israel is in a very difficult situation in this regard. It is well known that Israel had already gone through a major crisis in relations with Russia in September 2018, when the Syrian air defense mistakenly shot down a Russian Il-20 ELINT transport-reconnaissance plane with fifteen Russian servicemen on board while the Syrian troops were tracking multiple missiles flying over Latakia. Moreover, in this incident, the Israeli planes that struck the Syrian territory, leaving the scene, deliberately put the Russian aircraft in harm’s way, ignoring the fact that it was carrying a lot of people on board.  Moscow vigorously accused Tel Aviv at the time and has long criticized Tel Aviv’s behavior in Syria. Eventually, Israel was able to restore relations, but with great effort.

Recent events indicate that Russia’s discontent over the Israeli strikes on Syria has resumed, and the crisis in relations between the two countries could become very acute. Moscow has run out of patience, and will not allow Israel or anyone else ruin what it has accomplished in Syria.

Today the Arab world is moving steadily toward recognition of the Assad government, not only in Iraq and Egypt but also in the Gulf countries. Many other interested parties want Syria to return to its normal state. Accordingly, the airstrikes being carried out by all kinds of foreign countries against this stricken country to cease finally. This requires the United States and Israel to stop their airstrikes and Turkey to destabilize northern Syria.



Vladimir Platov, expert on the Middle East, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.


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military forum...


In the period from 22 to 28 August 2021, the Patriot Convention and Exhibition Center (Kubinka, Moscow region), the Alabino training ground and Kubinka airfield will host the International Military-Technical Forum ARMY 2021 (hereinafter – the Forum), organized by the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation.

It is one of the world's largest exhibitions of weapons, military and special equipment, presents an extensive program of exhibition, demonstration and scientific and business events.

The Forum has unique opportunities to hold effective conversations, exchange experience and cooperate with foreign specialists in military and technical sphere. It creates new prospects for strengthening scientific-technical and industrial cooperation ties.

Given the high status of the Forum, its focus on facilitating the export of Russian high-tech military products, I invite enterprises to take part in the planned event. Information on the terms of participation and the application for participation are available on the official website of the Forum

All the organizational issues concerning participation in the Forum shall be addressed by International Congress and Exhibition, LLC (“OOO MKV”).






Considering population and war: a critical and neglected aspect of conflict studies
Bradley A. Thayer*
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This article has been cited by other articles in PMC.
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This study analyses the relationship between war and population. The impact of the growth and decline of population on important types of warfare—great power, small power, civil war as well as terrorism—is illustrated, with the objective in each case to be descriptive of risk. I find that population change has a significant impact on each, with the greatest causal impact on small power conflicts, civil war and upon terrorism. I conclude with some reasons for guarded optimism about the incorporation of population as a component of analysis in the discipline of international studies, and for the potential to devise new solutions to prevent conflict.

Keywords: civil war, great power war, population growth, population decline, small state war, terrorism
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For political scientists, studying the relationship between population change and war is a bit like geological change—not immediately important and so it is infrequently noticed. Just as an earthquake compels one's attention whether one is a geologist or not, population change will be the earthquake in the study of international politics that compels the attention of the discipline. The tectonic plates of population change are shifting underneath the feet of political scientists, and the resultant analytical and policy earthquakes will remake the features of international politics in this century.

Political scientists are open to many theoretical and methodological approaches to the analysis of war. Yet, the relationship between population and war is not one of them. The reason why says much about the health of the study of international politics. Population, and insights from the life sciences more broadly, fall outside the standard social model forcefully advanced since Durkheim—social facts may only be explained by other social facts (Barkow et al. 1992). For traditionally trained social scientists, the biological is taboo, and population is thus neglected. The cost of this neglect is significant. Shunning the life sciences costs political scientists a better understanding of political behaviour (Thayer 2004b; Barkow 2006).

Conflict is typically studied through the lens of domestic (such as regime type or militarism) or systemic factors (e.g. polarity or alliance behaviour) that preclude population. Indeed, with the notable exceptions of Hans Morgenthau and A. F. K. Organski, population is rarely acknowledged at all by the major theorists of international politics (Morgenthau 1948; Organski 1958; Organski et al. 1984). Interestingly, military leaders such as Eisenhower or, more recently, the head of the CIA Michael Hayden have been more aware of possible interrelationships between population and conflict.

While changes in power, such as relative economic power, are well studied in international politics, power is conceived as economic or military, not population. Political scientists at their annual conventions and related meetings are very comfortable discussing economic power or military might, but not demographic power or ‘youth bulges’.

One of the objectives of this study is to encourage political scientists to broaden their field of study to include population and help them comprehend its important role in causing inter- and intra-state conflict. The bottom line is transparent: rapid population growth threatens international stability and affects state power. For this reason alone, it should be of great interest to scholars of international politics. Fortunately, recent scholarship has made some progress in this area (Potts & Hayden 2008). Yet, much work needs to be done to explore the impact of population on warfare and to make scholars of international politics aware of the importance of population as a central explanatory variable for conflict studies.

This study is divided into three parts. The first considers war, population and time in order to define and frame the discussion of a complex relationship. The second examines the essential components of population and warfare from the standpoint of international studies and explains the key contributions or insights possible when population is considered. The third offers a short conclusion and reason to expect progress, however slow, in the application of population as an important variable to be considered when approaching the fundamental questions of war and peace.

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When considering the relationship between population and war, both variables must be analysed in component parts due to their complexity. To this relationship, the consideration of time must be added. Like population, time is an element not considered by most political scientists but is equal in importance to the other two variables. A demographic shift over several generations is certain to receive less attention from the national security community than the latest weapon system or military campaign. Countless articles and scores of books will be devoted to the procurement of major systems like the F-35, North Korea's nuclear programme, or the problems faced in Afghanistan or Iraq. Many fewer will be devoted to population. This has to change. To modify Clausewitz, this trinity of war, population and time is greatly significant for the study of warfare in the past as well as in the future.

It is also important to highlight and accept divisions of style between those engaged in strategic studies and sociologists, economists and development specialists. In crossing disciplinary boundaries, we need to understand that the everyday academic assumptions of colleagues who belong to other schools of thought may frame the same debate in different terms. A military analyst of Sino-American security competition, or Islamic jihads, will frame any debate on the assumption that national security is paramount and conflict could occur and he or she will think through every possible scenario, including those which would be politically painful, such as conflict between racial groups currently living in reasonable harmony. Some social or political scientists who assume that peace is the default position find this framing unnecessarily assertive. Even more difficult is the need to balance a well-grounded sense of danger presented by one particular group hostile to another against the risk of antagonizing moderates within a necessarily heterogeneous group who may be trying to restrain extremist behaviours.

(a) Types of war
Wars come in many forms but all may be conceptually divided into two different types: inter-state and intra-state or civil wars. In turn, inter-state wars come in numerous types. The greatest of these is hegemonic war (like World War II), great power war (Franco- Prussian war), great power versus small power (of which the Soviet invasion of Hungary is an example), or small power against small power (such as the Iran–Iraq war). Historically, there is an inverse relationship between the intensity of the level of war and its frequency (Levy 1984).

Accordingly, intra-state conflicts are more common and usually less costly in terms of numbers of people killed, although civil conflicts are no less vicious in their more localized effects. Consider the genocide in Rwanda or Yugoslavia, or the still unpunished madness of the Khmer Rouge. The human cost may be just as great in terms refugees and traumatized civilians, ruined economies and destroyed ways of life.

Terrorism also deserves note in this analysis. Although terrorism is not considered warfare, the rise of Islamic fundamentalist terrorism is changing this. Conventional terrorist groups like the Italian Red Brigades, the Irish Republican Army or the Red Army Faction have involved only a small number of dedicated members backed by supporters perhaps numbering only in the hundreds (Crenshaw 1995; Hoffman 1998). With Islamic fundamentalist terrorism, the template is changing. What is profoundly worrying for those tasked with defeating Al Qaeda and associated movements is a demographic fact: Many Islamic states have youth bulges, a demographic condition were the number of youth aged 15–24 is a high proportion of the rest of the adult population (Howe & Jackson 2008, p. 34). Although it is difficult to say with any certainty how many, a significant and growing number of young males in the Muslim world—and, equally significantly, in the West—are joining the jihadist movement (Gunaratna 2002; Burke 2004; Sageman 2004, 2008; Gerges 2005; Khosrokhavar 2005).

(b) Key population considerations
Population growth by itself does not cause war, not even increases in overall population density; but particular types of population changes are associated with political conflict (de Sherbinen 1995). To consider the relationship between population and warfare, it is useful to consider population composition and population dynamics. Population composition includes primary and secondary effects on warfare including: population size, sex ratios, infant mortality and population age. Depending on the particular case, not each of these variables is equally important or even relevant. For example, in the present study, population growth rates will be the most important. Second-order considerations including religion, race and class will not be considered here.

Second, population dynamics are critical as well. Population dynamics consider changes in the composition of a population over time. These changes may occur in either absolute size or relative proportions of population groups. Two factors that are of great significance are population growth rates (either positive or negative) and migration within the state or between states. In all cases, population change occurs in a political, economic and cultural context, which should be considered for more detailed analyses. As scholarship advances, we may expect that methodological hurdles, such as with datasets and auto-correlation, will be increasingly overcome.

(c) The consideration of time
The fact that population change works over generational time rather than the truncated time horizon of most scholars of international politics is unfortunate since it has hindered its incorporation into the discipline. Experts in the realm of international politics are typically focused on the next election or the war or crisis of the minute. Owing to the slow nature of demographic change, even as we demonstrate the relationship between population and war, we must keep in mind that many political scientists will not be interested due to the immediacy of the items on their research agenda. I expect this will remain true even as the world's population grows from 6.8 billion in 2009 to 8 billion by 2025 (National Intelligence Council 2008, p. 19). When it comes to time, political scientists may not be as bad as journalists, but they are not historians either.

While it is the case that most population change occurs over decades, disasters—natural and human made—may cause abrupt significant change. The eminent economic historian Eric Jones has identified the key factors that truncate or accelerate change: (i) geophysical (earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunami); (ii) climatic population (hurricanes, typhoons, floods, droughts); (iii) biological (epidemics, epizootics, crop disease, locust invasions); and (iv) social (warfare, settlement fires, collapse of man-made structures) (Jones 2003, p. 24).

These factors remain in the contemporary period and are augmented by another source of population change—immigration. As we witness in Europe, where population change is accelerated, Muslim populations have gone from a negligible amount to substantial numbers, 15–18 million, in a single generation (National Intelligence Council 2008, p. 25). Most European nations have had to adjust to this change with varying degrees of success (Nökel & Tezcan 2005; Bowen 2007). Yet again, for most scholars of international politics, such change is too slow to impact the problems defined by their research agenda or not identified as sufficiently important to be taught to graduate students in a seminar.

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If we step back a moment and consider this relationship in the tradition of big history, dismissing the welter of a host of events, we see that population's influence has been tremendous. In this section, I suggest precisely how the simple structure of population change illuminates significant facts about warfare in the past and present. Rapid population change, in particular, influences the balance of power among states and may directly contribute to war. Political scientists and statesmen should think of a population balance of power just as they do the traditional balance of power.

When we consider the role of population change historically, we see that the discovery and conquest of the New World is one of the most significant events in human history and the one that most dramatically captures the impact of population change. The rapid decrease in population due to diseases the Conquistadores had unknowingly introduced made the European conquest of the New World possible. By rights, and by the standards of power used by most political scientists, the Aztecs and Incas should have destroyed the Spanish. Eurasian diseases carried by the Europeans were their unintended but powerful ally—one so powerful that it made the Spanish victory in the great power war with the Aztecs and Incas possible.

But the epidemiological balance of power overwhelmingly favoured the Spanish and made their conquest of an American empire possible (Thayer 2004a, pp. 199–216). Cortes' key allies were Eurasian diseases—smallpox, measles, influenza—which were unleashed upon a virgin population and made his 1519 conquest of Tenochtitlán possible. The Inca were decimated by disease and concomitant civil war before Pizarro and his 168 men landed in 1532. Almost a 100 years later, the Wampanoag Indians were weakened by disease when the Pilgrims arrived in 1620, and this fact greatly facilitated European settlement and rapid expansion.

The native populations in the Americas were vulnerable to Eurasian diseases due to their isolation imposed by climatic change brought about by the rising sea levels. The Earth's warming inundated the land bridge between modern day Russia and Alaska, preventing population transfer in significant numbers. American populations crossed that bridge about 12 000–11 000 BC and thus avoided exposure to Eurasian diseases, such as smallpox, which afflicted Eurasians beginning in India around 1500 BC.

The epidemiological balance of power also worked to alter the course of European imperialism. The major reason why the trajectory of Africa colonization differed from the Asian was the presence of potent diseases in its tropical regions. The mortality of European troops in Senegal or Sierra Leone was tremendous, almost 50 per cent in the years 1819–1836 (Curtin 1989, pp. 7–8; Curtin 1998, p. 239; Thayer 2004a, pp. 210–211). It was not until the Pasteur-Chamberland water purification filters were deployed in garrison and on campaign that European armies were successful in establishing colonies in Africa and China.

It is important to be reminded of the impact of disease on population and therefore warfare, not simply because viruses keep humans humble, but because a pandemic today could be greater than what the world has experienced thus far (such as with HIV/AIDS in Africa, extensively resistant (XDR-TB) tuberculosis, highly pathogenic avian influenza like H5N1, or the SARS coronavirus crisis of 2002–2003) and will have a huge impact on the global economy and state power.

Population and warfare have had a large impact on empires as well. Peter Turchin's excellent scholarship demonstrates the connection between population growth and empire formation largely through warfare, with the denouement of civil war and imperial destruction (Turchin 2006). Introducing the concept of cliodynamics, identifying large-scale historical change with particular emphasis on cycles, and drawing heavily upon the life sciences, he makes his central argument: a demographic imbalance of power can aid imperial success in warfare, which brings prosperity (imperiogenesis) and too rapid population growth, which, in turn, causes internal unrest and civil war, inevitable population decline and, finally, imperial collapse (imperiopathosis).

These examples help illustrate the impact of population change on major events in the history of international politics, but they also sensitize scholars of international politics to the critical impact population change can have. To use the language of the discipline, population change may yield both an offensive dominance (taking territory is easier than defending it), or defensive dominance (defending it is easier for states and sub-state groups). I will now explore the impact of population on the types of warfare I have identified. As table 1 summarizes, population has a significant impact on warfare in each of the four categories considered: great power wars, small wars, civil wars due to population change and Islamic fundamentalist terrorism conducted by Al Qaeda and associated movements.


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spooking navy...


by Phil Butler


The caption under a photograph of a familiar public figure on a boat somewhere reads, “Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered the modernization of Russia’s navy.” In my ever more cynical geopolicy brain I hear echoing, “Good God people, stop him before he manages to do his job!” I mean, just what the hell else should Russia’s president be doing in the face of a trillion dollar menacing hegemony hell bent on world domination? You realize, of course, that this is what the people who control my country are after, I hope.

The photo I mention is the feature image in a letter to the editors and readers of The Scotsman. The author, a guy named John Birkett, says that Russia, China and Iran are “the new Axis” powers, that must be stopped at all costs if we are to avoid World War III. After you stew over this logic for a second, I know you’ll shake your head as I am. He goes on to suggest that tens or hundreds of thousands of “pseudo-religious fanatics” are now roaming the streets of Scotland (I guess). Birket, who contributes to The Scotsman from time to time, is not along in his phobias.

As many foes as Russian and Putin have in government houses and the media, I am surprised none of them have keyed on recent developnents between Putin and India’s Modi. I mean, if we want to create a truly horrific anti-west boogeman, India, with China, Russia, and Iran would be something like The Empire in the Star Wars epochs. Hell, I am truly surprised The Wall Street Journal has not come out with the breaking story of Vladimir building a Death Star in space. Nobody, and I mean nobody ever refers back to what started the current arms race.

Sometimes after the Ukraine Euromaidan coup, NATO started moving forward to press Russia on every front. The most critical point, the one Putin was forced to respond to, was the installation of Aegis systems in Romania. When this on shore version of the US Navy’s most advanced ballistic missile defense system went online in 2016, President Putin asked the question, “Who will this system be used against?” Of course, the western strategist knew all along what Russia’s response must be. The story at the US Naval Institute betrays this fact with:

“…the Kremlin leaked plans late last year of the proposed Status-6 (or Kanyon) nuclear-tipped torpedo that would side-step US BMD networks with a warhead capable of wiping out coastal cities.”

So, what are “experts” like this John Birkett, and other “fifes” talking about? Who is acting more like the Axis powers at the onset of World War 2? The answer is obvious. Putin went on to describe what Aegis in Romania and Poland really is, an offensive first-strike tool, a satellite killer system for controlling an eastern European battleground. This is how the Russian president framed it back in 2016.

“This is not a defense system. This is part of US nuclear strategic potential brought onto a periphery. In this case, Eastern Europe is such periphery.” 


So, some desperation operation mirroring what happened in 1940 during Barbarossa is the fear the Russians have. Looking at the situation from a Russian perspective, since we have long since understood the west’s position, what else could Vladimir Putin do when confronted with the full pressure of the western industrialists? The script for all of this was prewritten, rest assured. Now, Russia’s Defense Ministry has signed a deal with a contractor to deliver Tsirkon hypersonic missiles to Russian troops by 2025. These are missiles that the Mark 41 Vertical Launching System (Mk 41 VLS) Aegis is built around cannot shoot down. So, the development and deployment of Mr. Putin’s new weapons effectively resets missile detente to where it was before Romanian got Aegis installed. Tsirkon is not a glide weapon, so current US developments to stop missiles like the Avangard are useless against it.

Returning to the subject of who the aggressors are these days, all the western analyst say Cold War 2 began the moment Vladimir Putin took over from Yeltsin. The aforementioned “Scotsman” blurb framed it this way:

“The Cold War is not over. It merely paused in the 1990s, resumed almost immediately from 2001 under Putin, and is now worse than ever with the democracies facing at least three adversaries…”


Understand, this is not the genius geopolicy analysis of an expert, but a reverberation of the western alliance narrative against Russia since the privateers were thrown bodily from the country by Putin. To be clear, the Yeltsin era was about Russian mafiosos like Mikhail Khodorkovsky wheeling and dealing with the Rothschilds and other western elites to carve up Russia. The instant Putin and his colleagues put an end to this takeover, that’s the moment the current Russophobia nonsense kicked off. I hope this is abundantly clear from the dozens of reports I’ve already published.

The massive asset grab that gave rise to names like Khodorkovsky, Boris Berezovsky, Bill Browder, and the so-called “Magician” Christopher Samuelson stopped abruptly, once Putin stomped a boot down on the Russia selloff. It was Samuelson, the shady financier whose words turned prophetic from the early 2000s:

“[President Vladimir] Putin appears to be trying to rebuild the Russian empire. That’s where the danger is because it will inevitably lead to clashes with the US.” 


Imagine that, a Yukos mafioso adviser, a man who allegedly helped launder millions on millions, slithering out of the noose that should be around his crooked neck while Russian patriots are blasphemed. Even the anti-Putin Moscow Times reported what I am saying back in 2005, in case my adversaries cry foul. We’ve no need to rehash the aptly named Yeltsin “Family” who reaped a sort of amnesty when Putin took the reins. The point here is, Vladimir Putin has, and always shall, work to maintain the legacy of the Russian people. The westerners tirelessly undermine this idea for the average citizen of New York, London, Paris, or Berlin. But, it’s the fact of the matter.

From my perspective, TASS could announce tomorrow that Putin’s armed forces have possession of a world killing weapon right out of The Empire Strikes Back, and I would feel no apprehension whatsoever. Russia, as always, simply defends Russia. Everything we see happening is a function of this. As is the case with America, only the goal of the United States has never been isolationism, not since Theodore Roosevelt began battleship diplomacy. The sooner everyone admits who the real imperialists are, the sooner the world can come to enjoy a lasting peace. Until then, I would advise Mr. Putin to build the hell out of deterrent weapons systems our of duty. For rest assured, his counterparts in the deep state in America are doing their darndest to prevail.



Phil Butler, is a policy investigator and analyst, a political scientist and expert on Eastern Europe, he’s an author of the recent bestseller “Putin’s Praetorians” and other books. He writes exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.


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