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Scenario forecast of future conflicts and the position of Russia in the new world order
Material posted: Publication date: 16-11-2019
International relations without conflicts. It is obvious that it is a utopia. They have accompanied mankind from the very beginning of its existence, and even if someone is a big fan of classical realism, it will still have to recognize that conflicts will be a faithful companion of human civilization always. In domestic science traditionally, most researchers hold similar views.

For example, an outstanding representative of Russian school of geopolitics and military thought of A. E. Snesarev characterized the role of war as a kind of conflict: "If from the experience and still we are experiencing the state of continuous war, you will turn to the past, you will see that war is constant and invariable companion of mankind, not only from the distant time when it remembers, but infinitely before the beginning of the cultural human life" [9, C. 36].

When we try to comprehend the contents of a period in the history of international relations, will inevitably encounter the need to analyze the nature of conflicts that existed in a particular historical period, because they determined the balance of power in world politics, and, hence, the placement of key pieces on the global chessboard. Most large-scale conflicts since the epoch of early New time, began to lead to the transformation of the existing system of international relations and the evolution of its basic elements.

For example, after the Thirty years war was formed the basic contours of the Westphalian system [2, p. 384], which is known to be based on the principles of national sovereignty and balance of power. The establishment is fairly clear rules of the game on the world stage does not mean that now the world will be free of conflict, on the contrary the struggle between the powers continued in full measure. The Napoleonic wars that shook Europe in the early nineteenth century, ended with the formation of the Vienna system focused on building a kind of "European concert", determines the fate of the world. Sharing this "concert" two "troupes", which entered into an open struggle for the redivision of the world in the early twentieth century has led humanity to the first in its history a truly global conflict.

Bloody First World war eventually ended by the creation of Versailles-Washington system, which is significantly different from previous versions of the world order, because they do not have a pronounced Eurocentric character. Under this system of international relations was an attempt to create the first universal international organization. However, neither the League of Nations, established a system of control of the vanquished by the victors, were unable to prevent the emergence of a new armed conflict on a planetary scale. In the late 1920s, an outstanding Soviet theorist and the military activist B. M. Shaposhnikov, in his fundamental work "brain of the army" made the assumption that the unresolved a number of questions following the First World war would lead to more serious clashes: "We have noted that there was a series of wars, wars fierce, because the contradictions that exist between the capitalist form of the world economy and the emerging new economic structure are so large, that without great sacrifices and struggle not to do" [12, p. 9].

As a result, for an error in the design of the architecture of international security of mankind had to pay too high a price. The second World war was a major disaster in history. At its closing stage were developed the basic rules of the game in a new Yalta-Potsdam system of international relations, which entered into force almost immediately after this global conflict, and was in effect until 1991.

As you know, the end of the cold war has not led to the formation of a new world order, which would have clear conceptual and regulatory framework as previous ones. It is possible that it happened, because none of the parties, unlike all other cases, when it varied the system of international relations, has not achieved a clear military victory over the opponent, and thus had full rights to impose its rules to all other actors on the world stage. Building the contours of a unipolar world in the 1990s, the United States failed, and, apparently, did not want to reduce the conflictogenic potential of the planet.

It is obvious that in the coming years, the conflicts will continue to be one of the most important components of the system of international relations. Therefore, if we want to understand how will look our world in 10-15 years, we need to begin to understand what will happen with unresolved conflicts and to answer the question about whether or not during this time, new serious political and military problems that could escalate into a global crisis. In order to most accurately describe the contours of the near future, try using a scenario method to identify possible options for the evolution of the conflict potential of the modern system of international relations. To begin, select a group of key factorsthat will have a decisive impact on the changing situation in this sector in the medium term:

1) the Interactions between actors. Of course, as in all times, the overall level of conflict in the future will be in direct proportion to the nature of the relations between the leading States of the world. A special role will be played by the configuration interaction in the strategic triangle Russia-USA-China. A number of indicators (the us-China trade war, the so-called "new cold war" between Russia and the United States, a number of unresolved issues between Russia and China in trade-economic and energy sector) tells us that every year the controversy of the three States only increase. The situation is aggravated by the desire of Washington to create a global missile defense system, the European segment of which to threaten Russia, and Asia-Pacific - China. All this is accompanied by an attempt to turn NATO into a global military-political organization performing the functions of a world policeman.

However, even if not to take into account the interaction of the three most powerful military and political States of the world, which can potentially lead to a conflict with an unpredictable balance of power in the triangle, should be stated that there is increasing instability, which in the near future could lead to specific conflicts. A clear confirmation of this hypothesis is the increase in 2019, Indo-Pakistani and Arab-Israeli conflict, the escalation of tensions in Libya and Sudan, internal political destabilization in Venezuela, which could escalate into conflict with external intervention. All of these negative trends in the near future can only increase.

2) Resources. It is obvious that in the next 10-15 years with the fullness will occur in the objective economic law of limited resources. The transition to the so-called sixth economic structure, which will be characterized by lower energy intensity and material intensity of production, however, will not reduce the load on the resource base of the planet. Under these conditions, will begin a global redistribution of resources.

If we turn to history, we can see that the majority of conflicts occurred over resources, mainly land, energy and human. However, in the future, given the population growth and increasing anthropogenic impact on ecosystems to this list will be added to the battle for drinking water and bio-resources[1]. Most desperately it will be held in Africa and various parts of Asia.

Such conflicts could affect and the Russian Federation. China under the guise of implementation of projects under the initiative "One belt, one road" may attempt to establish its control over individual segments of the resource base of Siberia and the Far East. While Beijing is not going to demand from Moscow the transfer of any territories, and can focus on mastering the still undeveloped deposits of various minerals that, on the one hand, to stay within the framework of the investment partnership in the real sector of the economy, with the other hand, hypothetically, will help China to establish control of Russia's natural resources without a direct confrontation with her. In addition, Russia is likely to be directly involved in the process of redistribution of resources in the post-Soviet space, particularly Central Asia and the Caspian region, which will take place with the participation of non-regional players, primarily the US and China. It is possible that Russia will have a rather hard to defend the interests of their companies and CSTO allies, if the events will develop in the negative scenario.

3) Technology. In many respects, both the quantity and, so to say, the quality of conflict in the coming years will depend on how and who will use the new technology. While for understandable reasons a particularly important role to play in developing new types of weapons. The proliferation of hypersonic technologies on the world, even if they will be used to launch missiles without a nuclear warhead, may be, for example, is no less dangerous phenomenon in the system of international security than the spread of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction because countries who have access to hypersonic, you might be tempted to use such weapons against the enemy, not possessing them.

In the foreseeable future Russia will be the leader in this type of weapons that are recognized, including Western experts [3]. While the United States will seek in a short time to catch up with Russia in the field of hypersonic weapons, as evidenced by the statements of the representatives of the Pentagon [7]. It is the desire of Washington can become part of its new strategy for the development of advanced weapons systems.

In addition, no fiction, but, apparently, a reality in the near future will be the use of various forms of psychotronic weapons (its existence is currently not officially confirmed by the majority of domestic and foreign experts [11, p. 140]) for the impact on the civilian population and servicemen in the period of acute political crises, and climate weapons for applying a potential enemy a large-scale economic damage cyber weapons to launch critical infrastructure of an opponent down. In the next 10-15 years a number of States will continue robotization of their armies [5, p. 81] , which will increase their willingness to engage in low-intensity conflicts, without risking the lives of its own soldiers. This will increasingly transform the classic military doctrine of various countries and to increase the number of hybrid wars.

However, non-state actors in international relations, first and foremost, a terrorist organization, will not remain aloof from scientific and technical progress and will also get access to new technologies for military purposes (cyber-warfare, drones, in the long term and robots) that will increase their effectiveness in asymmetric wars with States. Temporary success in 2014-2017-ies in the vast territory of the so-called "Islamic state" is recognized in Russia as a terrorist organization, which, for example, along with traditional fighters, weapons actively used drones [10], demonstrated that terrorists are prepared to quickly apply innovations in their activities.

On the basis of various combinations of the above key factors, we can distinguish the following possible scenarios for crises and conflicts of the future:

Scenario 1 "global military catastrophe." Growing US interests on the world stage amid the slowdown in the economy, as well as awareness of its technological leadership and military dominance, will lead the American leadership to believe that the only way to limit the economic power of China is a preemptive strike [8]. Given the fact that such a conflict will almost certainly come with the use of nuclear weapons by both sides, we can assume that its consequences will be sad for all the inhabitants of the Earth. Of course, there are other possible participants in such a global conflict, including Russia, but with the big share of probability it is possible to say that the United States will be its initiator. However, the pragmatism of the American leadership gives reason to say that this scenario is still unlikely, since it poses big risks for Washington.

Scenario 2 "the Era of big conflicts." The increasing need for resources, especially energy, and the emergence of new technologies that will allow us to inflict significant damage without putting their armed forces, population and territory a lot of danger untie the hands of a number of States that will try to implement your wildest imaginations. Expect a collision of world powers in the classical format wars are not necessary, they will oppose each other in the hybrid wars. At the same time at the regional level will be fairly intense conflicts with non-nuclear nature. It is also possible disintegration of previously formed stable coalitions to address national problems.

Under certain scenarios, it can even be the output of individual members of the organization of NATO (members of the Balkan Alliance and Turkey), in the framework of military conflicts, including with each other to achieve their own national interests. For example, such "apples of discord" in the NATO "basket" could be the Macedonian question, the idea of a greater Albania, Graeco-Turkish contradictions. The statement of President of France E. Macron about "brain death" NATO [6] in this regard, in relation to the events of today looks like an emotional response to problems in the relations of allies, but it may indicate systematic errors in the decision-making mechanism of the Alliance.

In addition, increased activity in this scenario will be non-state actors in international relations, and above all, terrorist organizations, which are primarily in the middle East will try to engage in a serious geopolitical game in the battle for resources.

Scenario 3 "Chronic conflicts". The preservation of traditional contradictions between individual countries will be supplemented by the depletion of the resource base of States that will push them to conduct short-or medium-term conflicts of low intensity in terms of a gradual upgrade of weapons and military technologies. The factor of nuclear weapons will continue to be the best guarantee of peace between world powers. This scenario is most likely because of its conservativeness. For Russia it is also the most optimal, since the availability of modern weapons will allow it to occupy one of leading places in the international security system. In addition, Moscow will have the opportunity to become a mediator in conflicts in the post-Soviet space and the middle East but also in Africa and Latin America, which, of course, will strengthen its geopolitical position in the world (as evidenced by her involvement in the settlement of the situation in the Central African Republic, Sudan, Venezuela today).

Scenario 4 "the Long peace". This scenario will be characterized by the absence of serious conflicts. This will be possible only in the case if transition to the sixth technological mode do in the foreseeable future will lead to a sharp reduction in energy consumption and material consumption of major industries. The scientific and technological development of the States will be directed not to the solution solely to the problems of defence, and on finding possible ways to improve the quality of people's lives. While all members of the UN will be signed comprehensive agreement on the prohibition of the manufacture, distribution and testing of all types of new weapons of mass effect (cyber-warfare, psychotronic, electromagnetic). Of course, that this ultra-liberal scenario in the next 10-15 years looks very unrealistic. He could only be realized in the case of full-scale reform of the UN itself, which is a lot of talk in recent years [4], because, if the Organization is not formed, the mechanism of sanctions and control, no agreement in the field of global security in the context of the erosion of the international regime of arms control will not work.

Thus, we can conclude that in the coming years will continue the trend associated with the increase in the General level of contentiousness of the system of international relations. The evolution of the foreign policy doctrines of individual States and the formation of their units at a global or regional expansionism, the disappearance or drastic reduction of some resources, and the emergence of new threats caused by rapid technological progress, will create hotbeds of conflict around the world.

As we know from the General theory of conflict, any conflict can have a positive function because it reveals the deep contradictions of the parties and thereby creates conditions for the normalization of the situation in the future. In this respect to fear of future conflict is not worth it. They need to prepare today, by carefully analyzing the contradictions that arose between various players on the world stage, bearing in mind that any conflict it is better to avoid, but if they had to participate in it, then, is to direct all forces for peace.

In this regard, in the future will increase dramatically the request for the use of a wide Arsenal of diplomatic means, starting from the classical bilateral and multilateral diplomacy, ending with the Church Toolkit, digital, and public diplomacy. In addition, all countries that do not want to become victims of potential conflicts will require the reinforcement of its armed forces, socio-economic and political system. With renewed energy this task Russia will have to face, threats to national security which will unfortunately only increase in the foreseeable future. However, these negative predictions never threatened our country, shouldn't this happen in the XXI century, in spite of any conflicts at the regional and global level.

The list of sources

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  3. V. Kozyulin , the world race at hypersonic speed. Mode of access: (accessed: 10.11.2019).
  4. Kiku D. reform of the UN Security Council: Pro et contra. Mode of access: (date accessed: 10.11.2019).
  5. Makarenko S. I. Robotic systems for military purposes -the current state and prospects of development // System control, communication and security. 2016. No. 2. P. 73-132.
  6. Macron explained why "the NATO brain dead." Mode of access: (date accessed: 10.11.2019).
  7. The Pentagon has stated that lost US the advantage in developing hypersonic weapons. Mode of access: (date accessed: 10.11.2019).
  8. A pre-emptive nuclear attack on the United States, Russia and China: reality or illusion. Mode of access: (date accessed: 10.11.2019).
  9. Snesarev, A. E. the Philosophy of war. — M.: Lomonosov, 2013. 283 p.
  10. Horror from the sky: bombs drones ISIS can carry death around the world. Mode of access: (date accessed: 10.11.2019).
  11. Cold Y. I. the History of "psychotronic weapons": the emergence of "development" and the threat of recurrence // In defense of science. Bulletin / [ed. editor E. B. Aleksandrov]; the drafters of the E. B. Aleksandrov, Yu. Efremov, A. G. Sergeev; the Commission of Sciences to combat pseudoscience and falsification of scientific research. Moscow, 2017 P. 140-162.
  12. B. M. Shaposhnikov, the Brain of the army. In 3 books: Book. 1. — M.-L.: State publishing house. The Department of military literature. 1927. 259 p.

Korenev E. S.

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