The Logic of Asymmetry: Russia’s Approach Towards NATO



This chapter examines Russia’s exploitation of it’s own strengths and NATO’s vulnerabilities. The chapter argues that Russia’s blurring of military and civilian means in it’s “near abroad” inhibits NATO’s effective use of force for the purpose of policy. Before force is authorised, NATO needs to build legitimacy for its decision-making processes characterised by consensus, accountability, and transparency. Such principles are not particularly prevalent for more authoritarian regimes, such as Russia. To prevent NATO from exploiting its military superiority therefore, Russia employs a broad range of non-military means short of conventional war to preclude unanimous counter-reactions. The purpose is to inhibit well-crafted and effective decision-making processes, both inside a “multi-layered” NATO and a post-modern community of states that finds the use of force as “unappropriated behaviour”.1 Blurring the distinction between military activities and other forms of politics is therefore a critical criteria for success in order to avoid military confrontation. Staying below NATO’s “radar” is as such a fundamental prerequisite in Russia’s operative concept.


Crimean Peninsula Existential Threat Civic Society Civilian Security Civilian Sphere 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Norwegian Defence Command and Staff CollegeNorwegian Defence University CollegeOsloNorway

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