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Germano Dottori, VI MCIS: international terrorism, security and role of global powers

Friday, 12 May 2017 07:56
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Epos converses with Mr. Germano Dottori

by Giovanbattista Varricchio (EPOS)
EPOS Conversations


I had the pleasure to interview for EPOS World View Mr. Germano Dottori, Expert in strategic studies at LUISS University in Rome and Editorial Adviser for the well-known Italian geopolitical journal Limes. Mr. Dottori has partecipated in the sixth Moscow Conference on International Security (VI MCIS), an annual meeting organised by the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation and that was focused on the most critical problems of global and regional security. The plenary sessions analysed  the issues of combating international terrorism, security problems in Europe and Asia- Pacific region, role of defence agencies in enhancing security in different regions of the world. Counterterrorism and counterradicalism in the Middle East, security of information space, BMD implications, and security in Central Asia were also in the spotlight of separate discussion sessions of the Forum. Mr. Germano Dottori shared with us his point of view about his experience in Moscow, and reported his opinion about many of the above mentioned issues.

Giovanbattista Varricchio, EPOS: From your experience at the VI Moscow Conference on International Security, how do you think Russia is orientating itself vis-Ă -vis the two main powers in the international arena, namely US and China? And how, in their turn are these powers standing vis-Ă -vis Russia?

Germano Dottori: United States are represented in the Moscow Conference on International Security just by independent analysts. This year there were Harlan Ullman, Shock&awe's father, and Thomas Graham, managing director of Kissinger Associates, whose speech has been anyway among the most interesting of the event. I perceived a lot of interest for Trump, that at least until now has certainly disappointed the expectations of the most optimists Russians. Graham has not reassured them to this extent, underlying how the differences between Obama and Trump are essentially centred on the nature of the tactics and are not related to the strategic goals. As for China, Russia's interest is not changed, but this year the Popular Republic was present with a delegation of lower profile compared with the one of the previous year, that included the Minister of Defence and some twenty generals. I ask myself if this move can be seen as a first consequence of the Chinese-American meeting that took place in Florida. It seems that Beijing is now looking more to Washington.

Giovanbattista Varricchio, EPOS: From superpowers to their proxies. It is interesting to notice the partecipation of both Iranians and Israelis officials. If the aim is to manage the stabilization of the Middle-East, defending its own interests in the area, how the Russian Federation will be able to mantain good relations with both these two actors?

Germano Dottori: Iranians intervened with their Minister of Defence, Dehghan (Pasdaran's general), that has restated the traditional position of the Islamic Republic against Israel. It seemed that also Lieberman should have joined the VI MCIS, but finally he did not came. Israelis were present and they intervened in more panels. Russia is obliged to keep good relations with both , also accepting hard compromises: until now we did not see Russia's attempts to hinder Israelis air strickes against Hezbollah in Syria. And these strikes were not few.

Giovanbattista Varricchio, EPOS: Central Asia. Afghanistan is theater of complicated geopolitical conflicts since more than one century. This country also joined the VI MCIS. Which kind of attitude did you noticed by the Afghan ruling class for the near future? Is it possible a progressive increase of cooperation with Russia or the political and military dependence on the West will continue to endure?

Germano Dottori: Intensive discussions about Afghanistan took place also in the previous Conference, last year. In 2016 as well as this year Hamid Karzai was present. It appears clearly his attempt to get back on track playing the Russian card and the nationalist one. The former Afghan President has harshly criticized the American choice to use the superbomb MOAB against IS (who appeared in Afghanistan in 2015), while Taliban are still in place and don't cease to gain strength. He also stated his own aversion to an increase of American troops in his country and he did not hesitate to attack Pakistan, that was present in Moscow with its Minister of Defence, Asif. I also listened two generals of Afghan National Army, that spoke to the public in Russian. Meaningful. Nobody tried to hide the serious difficulties of the moment.

Giovanbattista Varricchio, EPOS: Let's talk now about another critical region: Balkans. Serbia declares itself militarely neutral and is starting its iter to join European Union. Will Serbia be able to be the weighing needle between Western and Eastern Europe?

Germano Dottori: Serbian Minister of Defence, Zoran Djorjevic, has underlined without hesitations how a deep and wide prtnership links Belgrade and Moscow, with some features of military cooperation that are very important. On the other hand, the specific weight of Serbia in the Balkan region is actually limited, as demonstrated by the everlasting difficulty of Belgrade when it tries to defend its own regional interests. Also the Chief of Cabinet of the Greek Minister of the Defence, Theologos Symeonidis has mentioned the cultural similarities of his country with Russia.

Giovanbattista Varricchio, EPOS: Russia is part of international organizations that are involved in regional security. In particular, which role has emerged from the conference in Moscow regarding SCO and CSTO?

Germano Dottori: Also OSCE was in Moscow with its Secretary General Zannier, which did an excellent speech. Even representatives from NATO were at the conference, but they didn't join any panel with their speakers. SCO and CSTO are still important for Russia, but they are useful for different aims. The former is the framework for the dialogue with China, that however is going to develop on a bilateral basis; the latter is a kind of “mini Warsaw Pact” of which the most pro-Russia former Soviet Republics are part.

Giovanbattista Varricchio, EPOS: One of the major security threat of the contemporary Western world is considered to be the so-called Russian propaganda, the phenomenon of fake news and Russian hackers capable to orient Western public opinion and even the results of important elections. What has been the Russian point of view expressed at the VI MCIS about these issues?

Germano Dottori: The panel devoted to the issues about information and cyber security has been one of the most interesting. A very respected and well-known journalist in Russia like Salavyov has pointed out how the international media system is oriented in such a way that children in Syria and in Donbass receive a completely different coverage also when are victims of a very similar violence. So a cetrain imbalance and bias in Western media could exist. If they had given me the floor, as it seemed possible during the debate, I would have pointed out how even important people like the President of US are now complaining about this fact. An important concern is emerged about how cyber offenses could replace military ones. As for this topic Natalia Kasperskaya, Kaspersky's founder that produce one of the most sold antivirus in the world, has noticed how CIA has a unity devoted to the simulation of virus produced in Russia and in Arab countries. Consequently she underlined the difficulty in punishing aggressors, derived from the fact that only in the 10% of cases of cyber attacks one can identify those responsibles. The hypothesis that Russian hackers alone have been able to shape the result of US elections has been defined as unlikely and frankly speaking is a form of underestimating American capabilities in cyber field. As for propaganda, it exists and everybody does it, is pointless to be scandalised. On the other hand, it could be useful to recognize that deeply rooted perceptions in Russian political-strategic culture do exist. Russians believe in much of what they say.


DISCLAIMER: The views expressed in this article are the interviewed’s own and do not necessarily reflect EPOS WorldView’s editorial policy

Last modified on Friday, 12 May 2017 08:13
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