MOBILIZATION PROJECT, KEY PREREQUISITE FOR A ‘MAJOR BREAKTHROUGH’ STRATEGY
(the accompanying article)
1. Primary Issue
The system-wide crisis of global civilization is turning, unmistakably, into a decisive factor of world development or, more properly, world retrogression. A drastic, yet non-controllable transformation of the entire fabric of international relations has begun. In this case, the time period of unparalleled geopolitical and geo-economic transformations could be quite a prolonged one. The previous changeover period, a far less dangerous one, befell last century, and lasted from 1927-29 through 1951-52.
In the face of a precarious global balance of power, fight for the planet’s scanty resources becomes more tightening. Strategic contradictions between principal political actors are sharpening at an accelerated pace. This springs, to a large extent, from the collision of various technological modes on the scene, especially due to a boosted expansion of technologies of the 6th wave of technology revolution.
A strategic uncertainty dominates the behavior and thinking of many or, perhaps, most state figures and political elites. Mid-term prediction scenarios are no longer seen as effective or reliable. Some of the players turn to policies of bluff while others are just benumbed by politico-mental fear under an imaginary burden of responsibility for possible decisions that might lead to disasters. These are, again, indications of the growing likelihood of a ‘Big War’.
History, however, teaches us in no uncertain terms that, in the end, it is the loser who will pay for whatever comes! Now then, since today’s Russian so-called elite keep holding, in western caches, hundreds of greenback billions, they must keep in mind: they all are being watched by the proverbial ‘Big Brother’.
Therefore, these days, it is one’s nation’s survival amid the ongoing global system-wide crisis that becomes an issue of utmost importance for a truly conscientious state leader.
What can Russia counterpoise in response to the risks and challenges of the coming years? Are the Russian polity/society prepared to struggle for the country’s survival and inherited vital space? Are they prepared for a looming big and merciless war whose flames can already be seen not far away with the unaided eye?
Frankly, for the oncoming dramatic, possibly even catastrophic, developments in question the Russian polity/society are not prepared yet.
2. Four Scenarios
Russia’s present-day society is:
— mixed in terms of economic set-ups;
— crony corporate in terms of prevailing social structures;
— petty-bourgeois in morals: “every man for himself, and for all, maybe God only”.
Finally, which is possibly the crucial point, this society is seized with an in-system crisis from which there are no easy or simple ways out.
Modern-age and recent history has offered only these four scenarios for the overcoming (either temporary or definitive) of in-system societal crises.
One: Society disintegrates, and its in-system crisis goes temporarily depthward and to lower levels of societal fabric. The most outstanding case: the collapse and disintegration of Soviet Union.
Two: Direct or indirect alien occupation; surrendering society is integrated in the winner’s strategic project and subdued to the winner’s strategic interests; the occupied country may as well be divided territorially. Two graphic examples: post-WWII Germany and Japan.
Three: There comes a revolution proceeding from a fundamentally new project vision, and enacted by a new subject of action. This may evolve then along a variety of lines. Best known illustrations: the inner dynamic of 20th-century revolutions in Russia, China, and Iran.
Finally, four: Provided a country has a charismatic leader and conscientious patriotic elite, it may build up and implement successfully a long-term system-based survival strategy.
What we have in the end are three very bad or bad outcomes (all involving a lot of blood!), and only one positive solution (far less bloody).
However, success in elaborating and implementing such unconventional and creative strategy may come only insofar as one does take account of the main dangers ensuing from the three bad alternatives. A wise leader must always prepare for the worse. His must be the wisdom of the Samurai of olden days, “When you go to war, do overestimate the enemy’s strength”.
Proceeding from the ongoing dramatic global dynamic, and its potentially even more dramatic repercussions for Russia itself, our national system-based strategy of ‘Major Breakthrough’ ought to be built and implemented in the form of a national mobilization project.
3. Why a Mobilization Project for Russia?
One can cite at least seven key reasons in support of the insistent and urgent call for an immediate build-up and implementation of a special mobilization project for Russia.
First and foremost, it is the steadily approaching danger of a global war in the coming 5 to 7 years.
Psychologically, of course, none of the world’s leading politicians may wish to start such war. (Incidentally, no one wanted World War I, either!). However, a new global war is, in fact, approaching, with its paths of approach being different from those of the 1930s.
Secondly, taking into account the system of all-pervasive corruption now existing in Russia, the country is doomed to lose in a major war, in all probability. The launch of a mobilization project would offer an opportunity to start dismantling the corruption system swiftly, softly and in a flexible way.
Thirdly, it is precisely under successful mobilization projects that long-term national strategies of system-based modernizations have normally been carried out most effectively. There are hardly any examples to the contrary, especially in our country’s history.
Fourthly, over 20 trillion rubles are to be allocated for rearmament programs in view of looming war dangers. Absent a hard-framed system-based nationwide mobilization project, those huge sums of money are likely to be misappropriated pitilessly, to a large extent. Furthermore, in the absence of appropriate programs for personnel recruitment and development, in the absence of nationwide programs aimed at enhancing mobilization awareness and conscience, and mission-focused modernization of social relations and institutions, even the best armaments could turn into useless scrap metal.
In the fifth place, it is precisely within such special mobilization project, duly responding to the ongoing global dynamic, with the 20-trillion-rubles-large rearmament programs being implemented efficaciously, that a ‘Major Breakthrough’ may be achieved in society at large. This refers to a renovation of socioeconomic structures, building up a long-term strategic domestic market model, and launching genuine innovative-technology breakthroughs in a number of key industries.
In the sixth place, it is only within such mobilization project that a new effective system of state governance can be shaped, the one that could cope with critical challenges and threats of the upcoming period of sharp conflicts on the global scene.
Finally, in the seventh place, there exists a sharp competition of national mobilization projects, which is being exacerbated to the utmost under the current stage of the global crisis. Russia cannot afford to sidestep such competition.
Sic! September 2001 saw the launch of a new phase of potential mobilization project development in the USA. As for China, where a high level of ideological mobilization has been maintained in society and polity due to the authorities’ focused effort, they have hardly ever stopped making improvements in their mobilization project schemes.
4. Confrontation Has Already Begun
We are bound to proceed from the fact: since 2007, a strategic, large-scale multi-layer offensive has been mounted, on a methodical basis, against Russia’s society and the country’s top echelon of authority.
Whether we like it or not, a multi-facet, astute power-game confrontation has already broken out. At the same time, the current drift into a global war is substantially different from the initial stages of WWI or WWII.
One has to pay special attention to the following aspects of the unfolding conflict-escalating spiral of developments that may lead to a global confrontation:
— Employment of updated psychological-war methods and technologies; reflexive publicity campaigns have been waged aimed at deepening rifts amidst Russia’s top-level leadership, political elite, and at de-legitimizing of a number of Russian state institutions, especially that of RF President;
— Special-operation campaigns (such as fomenting ‘flushes of rumors’) have been waged with a view to exacerbate antagonisms between top authorities and larger sections of Russian society;
— Conditions have been prepared for special focused global-level operations (for instance, by manipulating the Saudi elite) that could gradually worsen the RF’s socioeconomic position, which can be followed by incited mass social conflicts and campaigns of popular protest;
— Special political-PR technologies as well as congruent organization-targeting operations have been employed aimed at creating seats of opposition at the social system’s four levels simultaneously: stimulating wider social protest networks, creating rifts in the governing class, building up opposition groups amidst top business circles, and exacerbating conflict in the top political leadership;
— ‘Black’ and ‘grey’ propaganda efforts against Russian society at large have been energized aimed at instigating national inferiority complex, especially at times of socioeconomic crises;
— Special pin-point psychological-war operations have been staged with a view to compromise top figures in the RF leadership;
— Waging special operations to foment opposition and splits in the country’s defense and law-enforcement agencies;
— Focused efforts to exacerbate conditions in the North Caucasus and southern Russia at large, some non-Russian titular republics and in the country’s Far East resulting in the massive deployment of interior military forces and army units;
— Focused efforts to exacerbate the situation in parts of Central Asia and the Caucasus (Georgia, Nagorno-Karabakh) in order to force the Kremlin to resort to the use of military muscle on a massive scale;
— Proceeding steadily and uncompromisingly with the deployment of the US missile defense system targeting Russia.
Within the western strategy scenarios, a direct military confrontation between the NATO and Russia (with the use of WMD) is possible at the final stage only – if the desired sovereignty-surrendering changes in the top echelons of Russia’s leadership do not materialize until then.
5. Creative Approach to the Mobilization Project Building
History shows: If world powers had mobilization projects that proved to be effective in periods of drastic global-scene transformations, such powers would usually emerge as the basic cornerstones in a subsequent new global system.
Thus, in the aftermath of World War II, a new bipolar global system emerged based precisely on the long-term strategies of Stalin and Roosevelt arising from the implementation of Soviet and American mobilization projects.
At present, very few actors on the world scene may have under their belt such unparalleled experience of an emergency system-based mobilization project- building as Russia has as the Soviet Union’s successor. Accordingly, the implementation of successful mobilization projects in such countries as Taiwan, China, Vietnam, or Cuba was influenced, to a significant extent, by what they learned and borrowed precisely from the Soviet experience of the 1930s-1950s.
Owing to the effectiveness of its emergency mobilization project building, and due to the fact that a special system-based mobilization mechanism was created, the Soviet Union managed to:
— win the Great Patriotic War,
— implement an unparalleled modernization of a backward country in social, economic, and cultural dimensions,
— make rapid progress in economic development in the 1950s,
— develop a civilization model of its own,
— attain and preserve a global geostrategic balance of power in the 1950s to the 1970s.
Many genuine achievements of the USSR arose precisely from the thoroughly designed and implemented Soviet strategic mobilization project.
At present, however, Russia is faced with a far more dangerous situation, a far more complicated system of growing global, regional and internal threats, risks and challenges than the Soviet Union of 80 years ago.
Therefore, building a new national system-based mobilization project with a view to ensure a ‘Major Breakthrough’ demands, today, specific, unprecedented intellectual and organizing efforts. This being said, one need not forget certain universal principles, methods and technologies that were appreciated and used by Stalin, Roosevelt, Den Xiaoping, Khamenei, and other strategically sophisticated leaders.
At the same time, political will of iron is needed to build and implement such kind of project under the existing very tight historical time conditions, amidst continuing aggravation of external and domestic conditions. When building and implementing such a project, it is crucially important to avoid emulating or borrowing whatsoever in a mechanical way. Amidst the ongoing unexampled global crisis, emulating even the most successful examples from the past, including one’s own national past, is deadly dangerous!
In addition, any downright borrowings from the Soviet-era methods and technologies of mobilization are, today, unfeasible anyway.
6. Key Directions in the Mobilization Project-Building
The main issue, these days, lies not so much in “what” is to be done but rather, in ”how” it can be done. The directions cited below are key components in the system of mobilization project building, basic constituent elements of a ‘Major Breakthrough’ strategy for Russia.
It is highly important to point out that each of those components, in terms of its implementation in political reality, will demand eventually a clear-cut system of coherent and pragmatic instructions – political, economic, ideological, etc.
1). An urgent buildup of a national ‘Common Cause’ mobilization ideology as an ongoing mechanism for interest coordination ensuring consolidation of efforts in society at large.
Amidst the global system-wide crisis the importance of ideology and ideological thinking increases drastically. As far as various global conflicts are intensified, political answers to such ideological queries as “Who are we?”, “Where are we from?”, “Where are we going?” become critically important in the struggle for survival of a nation or national state entity.
2). As a pragmatic mechanism of crisis management the ‘Common Cause’ mobilization ideology must:
— articulate the ideal of nation building based on the principles of justice, solidarity, corporate mutual aid,
— define a basic value system (justice, patriotism, social solidarity, personal will factor, self-discipline, etc.) capable of coping more effectively with increased global threats and challenges,
— support the need to protect the traditional values of the country’s popular majority as the nation’s basic moral canon,
— bring to a focus and confirm the goal of peoples preservation as a national priority,
— establish in the public opinion and conscience a ranking of the country’s principal domestic and foreign foes as well as that of key allies and partners,
— consolidate various regional, ethnic-national, corporate, political and security-related elite groups (and at the same time, broader sections of society at large) by establishing a well-defined, clearly and thoroughly regulated mechanism for coordinating basic group-related and corporate interests.
3). To build up and institute a nationwide system of coordinated political, ideological, legal, and moral responsibility and accountability for the step-by-step implementation of the ‘Common Cause’ ideological program and policies. Absent such a system, the mobilization strategy is doomed to failure sooner or later.
Such system of responsibility, embracing formalized as well as unspoken ‘rules for the game’, should be perceived as fair enough by at least some leading elite groups as well as the majority in larger society.
4). An urgent elaboration of a coherent, system-based program for a speedy transition of the country’s economy onto a wartime footing, and above all, for reorganizing the entire system of economy management for operation under prolonged emergency conditions.
5). One key prerequisite for a successful economic mobilization project building is the institutionalization of the country’s state sector of economy. The national economy, in effect, must be legally subdivided into two systems: state-run market-economy sector, and non-state market economy.
In most developed countries, such division has been established since long ago. An economically efficacious state sector is a powerful core not only for economy; it is also an important tool for changing societal structures. Under the mobilization planning, an efficacious state sector, under certain conditions, can turn into a potent stimulant of effective economic competition.
At present, the RF government uses largely conventional bureaucratic and legal means of leverage over non-state market agents. However, with the emergence of a state sector system it will be possible to develop new kinds of strategies aimed at building state-run economic mechanisms of management of markets, including the development of special mechanisms of emission.
6). Amidst the ongoing hard exacerbation of geopolitical and geo-economic struggles, one should and must speak out frankly and openly at various levels about the development of the country’s state sector as a basic core for a potential Eurasian socio-economic system. Many post-Soviet elites, who are not unconcerned as regards the survival of their peoples, will appreciate such ideological turn and will support it either openly or tacitly.
7). The Russian economy state sector should include primarily military-industrial complex (MIC) enterprises, state corporations as well as major banks, development agencies, key enterprises in the fuel-and-energy complex (FEC), and natural monopolies.
At the same time, as an important prerequisite for true success, it is critically important to augment substantially the strategic responsibility of the sector’s management by special efforts focused on building and molding ‘mobilization mentality’ among the top officers and staff.
To begin with, the ‘mobilization mentality’ strategy, if consistent enough, can help make ruptures in the existing webs of corruption, thus setting the stage for eroding the system of corruption practices.
Secondly, the introduction and build-up of patriotically-minded ‘mobilization mentality’ may create opportunities conducive to the rise of a substantially new kind of Russian elite. Its hallmark will be a capacity to act, in an efficacious way and in the state interest, in response to a flow of increasingly complicated crises and conflicts of domestic and foreign origin.
Indeed, if such elite arises, the existing crony-corporate, regional, and criminal groups with their particularistic concerns and interests will be unable to resist them.
8). If the legally instituted state sector should make up a strategic backbone of the country’s economy at large, then the MIC (which was, and is, and will always be an indispensable tool for ensuring the state security) should make up a working hardcore of the state sector itself.
At the same time, a Center for Strategic Planning ought to become the state sector’s reflexive brain center.
9). The Russian national mobilization project should proceed from the need to develop the Eurasian integration system at several interrelated levels simultaneously:
— Macroeconomic region and common Eurasian market;
— Sovereign Eurasian credit and financial center;
— Military and political security organization;
— Supranational political union structure;
— Common cultural and linguistic community;
— Single technology, science and education area;
— Multi-polar civilization area based on the shared ideological values of justice, solidarity, accord of peoples and cultures.
10). Another task: Building and molding such national elite that would be able not only to implement a coordinated mobilization project, and ensure the strategic survival and development of Russian society, Eurasian peoples and Eurasian geo-economic area (amidst growing crises and conflicts), but also become a hub for new Eurasian elite.
11). Establishing a hard multilayered government mechanism capable of exercising effective control over the nationwide system of responsibility and accountability, based on the previously coordinated principles of justice.
12). There should exist a system of ‘top-to-bottom’ decision-making and decision-execution as a linchpin of such corporate mechanism of state governance in the key sectors of national policy-making and economy (parallel development of efficacious and powerful network structures and institutions as distinct from the classical models of governance and administration does not overrule the principles of hierarchy and responsibility/accountability in the mobilization project mechanisms of decision-making).
13). The mobilization project-building demands the deployment of special-kind, creative organization-targeting political measures. All pivotal societal shifts in history have been effected using fundamentally new kinds of organization systems.
There is an objective prerequisite for the action in question. It consists in that there already exists, in Russia, a powerful assembly of patriotic social groups who find the existing socio-economic and socio-political model unacceptable. More importantly, they can become an efficacious social and personnel recruitment base for the implementation of a new strategy because they are vitally interested in ‘changing rules for the game’, and in taking part in something truly positive.
14). The deployment of mobilization organization-targeting weapons means, first and foremost, the buildup and shaping of a fundamentally new nationwide socio-political organization capable of:
— ensuring the operation of a new personnel recruitment system;
— molding and implementing the model and personality type of a new governing class member – one who is capable of assuming responsibility for making and implementing decisions amid aggravating crises and conflicts;
— providing – in periods of strategic uncertainty and prolonged crises – efficacious feedback between the country’s leadership and society;
— ensuring, on a daily basis, operation of the mechanism that coordinates key interests of the nation’s basic social classes and groups within the ‘common cause’ ideology;
— coordinating continually the implementation of the ‘Common Cause’ ideology through the system of interrelated projects developed at the local level.
15). Promoting focused system-based struggle with a view to suppress as far as possible all real or potential rival power mechanisms, such as crime world, organized crime, corruption networks, regional crony or clannish groups, etc.
16). Creating an integral and relatively autonomous system of civil society groups for large-scale control over the implementation of the national (state) ‘common cause’ strategy, including mechanisms of strict control over the use of basic economic resources.
17). Establishing clear system-based conditions and criteria for the vertical social mobility of all those who may be capable of contributing to the enhanced effectiveness of the mobilization project implementation.
18). The logic of the mobilization project-building calls for a drastic change in the national leader’s public and elite-related image. There are two reasons for that at least.
First, within mobilization projects implemented in history the image of a national leader was, for a number of reasons, an important and indispensable part of mobilization processes pertaining to the state and society.
Secondly, history repeats itself paradoxically in one significant respect. Today, the personal fate and fortune of the country’s national leader are tightly interwoven with those of Russia. The same was true for the Soviet Union in the 1930s.
19). In the periods of strategic uncertainty, sharp conflicts, drastic crises and turning-points, the mobilization project-building must necessarily envisage the creation of strategic political intelligence.
At the same time, the existence of such intelligence institution will become an important ‘shadow’ facet of the national leader’s image.