Interpretation of the new version of Russia’s National Security Strategy

  On July 3, Putin formally signed a presidential decree and promulgated a new version of the “Russian Federation National Security Strategy” (hereinafter referred to as the “Strategy”). The “Strategy” is a basic strategic planning document in the field of Russia’s national security. It is used to determine Russia’s national interests and national priorities. The last version of the “Strategy” was promulgated in December 2015. Through the analysis of the old and new “Strategy” texts, Russia’s view of the current world trend can be summarized as: the world is chaotic and disorderly, like a “great chaos”, and the “Strategy” requires Russia to “be self-serving” in a more introverted and conservative posture.
The world order is changing

  The new version of “Strategy” states: “The world is in a period of change, the international order is changing, and new principles, rules, and structures of the international system are being formed.” The reason is that the power of the West has declined, the liberal model has encountered a crisis, and the global economy and politics are centered. The number has increased, and new global and regional powers have emerged. In the process of order reform, “great chaos” is unfolding: First, various domestic, international, political and economic contradictions are prominent. “Western countries are trying to maintain their hegemony, the global economic development model has encountered a crisis, the development of countries is uneven, and social inequality has intensified.” To question”. The second is that the world has become more unstable. The new version of the “Strategy” states that “global turmoil is rising and radical and extreme emotions are intensified.” Some countries “intentionally set up internal and external enemies when resolving contradictions between countries, undermine the economy and traditional values, and ignore the most basic rights and freedoms of people.” The third is chaotic economic order. The new version of the “Strategy” states: “The world’s major economies have fallen into stagnation and recession, the stability of the global monetary and financial system has declined, and the adoption of trade protectionism and sanctions has become more and more common.” Fourth, the risk of using military power has increased. The new version of “Strategy” states: “The danger of escalating armed conflicts into local and regional wars involving nuclear powers is on the rise.”
  Compared with the 2015 version, the new version of “Strategy” uses a larger space and deeper language to describe the international situation. The change. This change is not a whim of the drafters of “Strategy”, but a “product” of continuous and in-depth thinking about the reform of the world order by the Russian strategic community in recent years. This can be seen in the annual report of the “Valdai” International Debate Club in recent years. Condition. The 2017 “Report” pointed out that the world has become increasingly disordered, with problems such as separatism, religious conflicts, and extremely unbalanced technological development emerging one after another. The 2018 “Report” was entitled “Living in a crumbling world”, believed that “global governance has collapsed, and the world has slipped into the era of unilateral decision-making”, and is skeptical of the reconstruction of the world order. The 2019 “Report” directly denied the possibility of rebuilding the world order, and pointed out that the world order of the 20th century originated from a special international environment that no longer exists, and its state of “permanent collapse” is likely to continue.
Threats and challenges facing Russia

  The new version of the “Strategy” has a more profound explanation of the threats facing Russia than in the 2015 version, and realizes that the current threats and challenges facing Russia are also in all areas. For example: Geographically, the new version of the “Strategy” mentioned that “the universally recognized norms and principles of international law have been weakened…The continuous disintegration of treaties and agreements in the field of arms control has led to increasing tensions in the military and political situation, including the situation in the neighboring regions of Russia.” The new version of the “Strategy” accused some countries of “conspiring to isolate Russia, inciting the disintegration of the Commonwealth of Independent States, and undermining Russia’s relations with traditional allies.” Some countries exert open political and military pressure on Russia; economically, they restrict Russian enterprises’ access to the international market, curb Russian industrial development, control Russian transportation lines, and hinder Russia’s development of the Arctic region.
  Compared with the 2015 version, the new version of the “Strategy” has two outstanding features in the elaboration of threats and challenges.
  First, it has greatly increased attention to ideology and cultural security. This issue was also mentioned in the 2015 edition of the “Strategy”, but this edition mainly elaborated on Russia’s achievements in this field. The new version of “Strategy” is the opposite, focusing on the perspectives of threats and challenges. It believes that some countries are “targetedly trying to downplay traditional values, distort world history, and tamper with Russia’s role and status in it”, “Russian traditional thinking Moral, historical and cultural values ​​are being attacked by the United States and its allies.” Judging from the space occupied by the new version of the “Strategy”, Russia attaches great importance to such threats as much as it has traditionally paid most attention to military security issues.
  Second, the perception of Western threats is more comprehensive and specific. The 2015 edition of “Strategy” also contains discourses on Western threats, but mostly focuses on the geopolitical and military fields. In addition to the West’s threats to the international order and Russia’s military and geopolitical security, ideological security, and economic security mentioned above, the new version of the “Strategy” also criticizes the West for “increasingly actively using indirect means to provoke disputes and create Russia. The long-term internal instability is trying to use existing socio-economic problems to undermine Russia’s internal unity, induce protests and radicalize them, and split Russian society.” In short, Russia believes that the West is adopting an all-round hostile policy towards Russia.
How to “be good alone”

  The new version of “Strategy” explores how Russia responds to this chaotic and complex world. Judging from the content and length of each part, the overall tone of the new version of the “Strategy” is more introverted and pays more attention to Russia itself. This is consistent with Putin’s policies and practices since the start of his fourth presidency in 2018. Specifically, there are three “keywords”.
  One is the “people”. In the description of Russian national interests in the new version of the “Strategy”, “protection of the Russian people” has been put in the first place, believing that “the people are the main bearers of Russian sovereignty and wealth”, and put forward many specific requirements on how to defend the Russian people.
  The second is “tradition.” The “Culture” section of the 2015 version of “Strategy” was changed to “Protection of Russian traditional culture, history, and ideological and moral values”, requiring “to strengthen the unity of all ethnic groups on the basis of citizenship identity, and to maintain the protection of all human beings since ancient times. Universally recognized principles and important guidelines for social development”. Specific measures include: maintaining the people’s identity, protecting historical truth, consolidating family systems and maintaining traditional family values, strengthening patriotic education, supporting traditional religious organizations, protecting Russian, and so on. The new version of the “Strategy” lists Russia’s spiritual, cultural and historical values ​​and the people as the “foundation of the country.” The famous Russian scholar Trenin believes that the introduction of the new “Strategy” signifies that Russia has formally abandoned its liberal discourse system and replaced it with moral standards rooted in Russian traditions.
  The third is “de-Westernization.” “De-Westernization” is all-round. First of all, in the “Strategy” section on international cooperation, the clauses of “building a true partnership with the United States” and “consolidating mutually beneficial cooperation with the EU” have been removed. The new version of the “Strategy” stated that cooperation with China, India and the CIS countries is still Russia’s priority, and it will continue to deepen Russia’s cooperation with the SCO member states and the BRICS countries. Secondly, in the field of ideology, the new “Strategy” believes that the “Westernization” of culture has increased the risk of Russia’s “loss of cultural sovereignty”. Therefore, while strengthening traditional values, it is necessary to protect society from external intrusive ideologies and values. Finally, the new version of the “Strategy” requires “consolidation of Russia’s financial system and sovereignty”, “expansion of the scale of domestic currency settlement”, and particularly clearly “to reduce the use of U.S. dollars in foreign economic activities.”
  At present, Russia is facing an urgent development task. How to play the “two games” of economy and security at the same time in the trend of introversion will be the problem it has to face.

  Before and after the Biden administration came to power, the US Congress’s “China Task Force” established the “New Strategy for Technological Competition in the United States” released in November 2020 by the Science and Technology Group and the “Asymmetrical Strategy” released by the “China Strategy Group” think tank in January 2021. “Competition: Strategies to Deal with China’s Technological Competition” has had a great impact, prompting the Biden administration to reflect on the effects of the “comprehensive decoupling” of science and technology policies during the Trump era, and then adopt the strategy of “small courtyards and high walls” and “selective decoupling”. Emphasizing the non-linear characteristics of competition in the science and technology field, paying more attention to cutting-edge basic technologies with a wide range of applications, the government has increased investment in the science and technology field, and adopted a “changing lane” competition strategy that is different from Trump. So how should my country view and respond to the new strategy of the Biden administration?
  Changing lanes in the field of technological competition is an inevitable choice for technological leaders. Unlike the leader in sports competitions, you must stay ahead of the prescribed path to win. For leaders in the field of science and technology, the strategy of staying ahead in the competition of science and technology is to constantly open up new fields, that is, when others are still trying to catch up, they have already created a new field, so that competitors have to do it again. Become a follower and chaser in a new field. The United States is recognized as a leading country in the field of science and technology in the world. The Biden administration’s strategy of changing lanes is obviously wiser and more in line with the characteristics and laws of technological competition. This strategy is not aimed entirely at China, but at all potential opponents who hope to catch up with the United States in the field of technology.
  The lane change strategy may gain a huge first-mover advantage, but also face greater risks and uncertainties. Once the lane change strategy is successful, the benefits of the first-mover countries are extremely obvious, because it opens up a new and broad field. As this prospect gradually emerges, countries around the world will follow them one after another, and the first-mover countries will become the game. Makers of rules and standards. It is as if the first country to lay railroad tracks basically determines the track width, and latecomers who want to change the track width will pay a great price, and the probability of success is very small.
  However, the path of scientific exploration is full of risks and uncertainties. Not all lane changes can achieve breakthroughs. The success of lane changing strategies requires certain conditions and is full of contingency. Exploring a new track is highly uncertain and faces high risks. Adopting a lane-changing strategy is similar to venture capital. It must be invested in several fields at the same time, that is, try on many new tracks, and one of them may end up Or a few tracks can get enough rewards for success. If the economic strength or scientific and technological strength is insufficient and most of the resources are invested in a particularly promising track, then it is likely that all the investment will not produce benefits, and it is difficult for ordinary countries to bear it. Therefore, although everyone knows the benefits of the success of the new track, most countries choose to follow. Only those countries with strong economic strength and sufficient technological teams can continue to open up new tracks.
  If the Biden administration continues to implement such a lane-changing strategy, we need to pay attention to the following aspects: First, the United States will increase investment in lane-changing strategies to increase the cost of attracting scientific and technological talents to my country and other countries, and to obtain high-quality talents from other countries. Science and technology resources pose certain obstacles. The logic of the Trump administration’s technology decoupling strategy is that as long as it decouples from China, the United States can automatically maintain its technological advantage. Under this logic, the motivation of the US government to increase investment in science and technology is obviously insufficient. However, Biden’s lane change strategy means that opening up new fields of technology requires large-scale investment of manpower and material resources, and the cost of technology competition among countries will naturally rise. The second is that the Biden administration abandons the comprehensive decoupling policy, and my country’s science and technology policies in recent years should also change with the situation. To carry out a comprehensive review of my country’s current science and technology strategy, we must not only take a long-term perspective, but also pay attention to the current domestic and foreign situations, and then make corresponding adjustments.
  First of all, the new science and technology policy should not be based entirely on “preventing decoupling.” The “anti-decoupling” strategy is generally a passive defense strategy. If we invest all technology in the “anti-decoupling” aspect, then we are still tracking and catching up in a comprehensive manner. Although the gap may be shortened, it is difficult to obtain a comprehensive or comprehensive approach. Core competitive advantage. Secondly, we should fully understand the current systemic and integrated characteristics of global technology, and intensify efforts to find our new track. In the context of globalization, the world’s technological development until now, no country can control all or most of the core technologies. The number of major scientific and technological achievements of a country accounted for more than 25% of the world’s total in the same period, and this country can be called the “world science center.” As the currently recognized “world science center”, the United States must invest in more fields to maintain its leading position and attract outstanding scientists in a wider range of fields. As a chaser, my country does not have such a burden, and can concentrate resources to catch up in new areas with certain advantages. Finally, an asymmetric strategy can be adopted in areas where investment intensity is low. The intensity of investment required in different fields is different. In some fields, the investment is hundreds of billions of yuan, while in some fields, the investment of several billion yuan is enough to produce obvious results. If you focus on areas where the investment intensity is low and the United States is not paying enough attention, it will be easy to form a local advantage if you concentrate your efforts. With the continuous improvement of my country’s economic strength, such local advantages will increase.
  In short, the Biden administration’s strategy of changing lanes in the field of science and technology is an inevitable requirement of the law of scientific and technological development and a measure that the United States has to adopt to maintain its leading edge in science and technology. This is also a huge burden that defenders have to carry. As a late-comer country, although my country is still in the catching-up stage, it has the advantage of policy flexibility. It can adopt asymmetric investment strategy to obtain partial advantages and gradually expand it. With the continuous improvement of comprehensive strength, my country will get closer and closer to the “World Science Center.”