Heavy Metal Diplomacy
New report on Russia’s political use of its military in Europe since 2014 written by Mark Galeotti and published by the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR).
Since 2014, Russia has mounted an extensive, aggressive, and multi-platform attempt to use its military and the threat of force as instruments of coercive diplomacy, intended to divide, distract, and deter Europe from challenging Russia’s activities in its immediate neighbourhood.
The main elements are threats of potential military action, wargames which pointedly simulate such operations, the deployment of combat units in ways which also convey a political message, and intrusions close to and into European airspace, waters and even territory.
The actual impact of these policies is varied, sometimes counter-productive, and they depend on coordination with other means of diplomacy and influence. But they have nonetheless contributed to a fragmentation of unity within both NATO and the European Union.
‘Heavy metal diplomacy’ is likely to continue for the immediate future. This requires a sharper sense on the part of the EU and its member states of what is a truly military move and what is political, a refusal to rise to the bait, and yet a display of convincing unity and cross-platform capacity when a response is required...
Dr Mark Galeotti is the IIR Senior Researcher as well as an internationally recognized expert on transnational organized crime, security issues and modern Russia.