I was told about the Russian military strategy, which is in fact the Chinese military strategy as well. When you have no money, access denial is the cheapest and the most effective national defense strategy. When you have the money, global presence is the best military strategy because you are the police of the world. It is still a form of access denial, but there’s no alien coming to invade us yet, so you can focus on “internal affairs,” basically everything on the planet Earth. Global presence costs more than local or regional presence, namely, access denial, but what are the advantages? Well, prevention is always better than correction. Better safe than sorry, as your grandfather may tell you. Global presence enables early warning and rapid response to potential threats, before they become real problems. You don’t want to wait until your enemy gets to your door. It’s as simple as that. Again, both Russia and China choose access denial simply because they have no money, but things may change soon. In fact, China is still wondering if they want to move forward with global presence. Why wonder if the basic military concepts are clear? Well, there might be a real problem with their economy now, but they are not comfortable sharing it with the world. Don’t worry, as I am sure that it’s a problem with military training and literacy, as many journalists and bloggers have talked about (http://thediplomat.com/2014/01/chinas-deceptively-weak-and-dangerous-military/ & http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/jan/7/inside-china-military-reform-is-not-a-song-and-dan/). Well, year 2014 is quite yesterday, but not that long ago anyway. Don’t worry. China is very rich. If they are not boosting their military power, they will be very inviting to invasions, like a pretty girl in a miniskirt without any underwear.
So, how do we do it, if we are not rich like US or China? We reduce the scope of presence, naturally. For Russia, it means the Eurasian circle, which is still at least the size of the entire Africa, not small at all. For India, it might mean the entire Indian Ocean, which is not that small, either. Either way, access denial shifts the focus from the entire surface of the scope to the concentric circles along important geographic features, hence reducing cost further. There are 3 categories of access denial: ground, water and air. On the ground, land mines, if deployed correctly, can be as effective as rivers. In the water, water mines, if deployed correctly, can be as effective as long islands. In the air, missile defense networks will be the most efficient, as the vertical distance is too large. Otherwise, balloon-based air mines can be very interesting, too. The real problem with mines is that animals, especially the migratory ones, will cross the defense lines in large volumes. Advanced mine design can be highly sophisticated and interesting, given the cost constraint as a hard requirement. In deep oceans, torpedo defense networks can be deployed as well as missile defense networks using floating naval bases, similar to oil rigs. Vertical coverage can always be a problem for stationary mines.
Russia is already very advanced with its access denial strategy, even against nuclear weaponry in moderate volumes. If there’s anything else to improve, it’s probably their economy, just so they can move on to a global presence strategy as well. Again, prevention is always better than correction. Better safe than sorry. Common sense.
In the short term, Russia should focus on diplomacy. US has NATO, full of strong member states. How about Russia? Russia is impressive in playing one against the world, but this is not a long-term solution. Persuading China into a military alliance and technology partnership will be good for both nations. I know, China is the real problem, like a bat pretending to be a bird and a mammal at the same time as in fables. China really has to draw the line somewhere to show that they have principles. Acting is not a long-term solution. You see, I really don’t want to be associated with a nation without principles.
Here is the thing. Russia is a real threat, but not that serious yet, containable if NATO keeps on expanding. If Russia and China form an alliance, Russia will not be containable anymore, hence prompting a new American strategy to deal with Russia. Hope is high that if they can’t afford to be your worst enemy, they will try to be your best friend, a new direction that will eventually achieve sustainable world peace. Russia has to help China see this so China can be equal to a Western nation as soon as possible.