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US Intel report predicts Russia will be a declining ‘disruptive power’ but over the next two decades

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Russia is likely to remain a disruptive power for the next two decades, but its global influence could wane in the face of numerous political, economic and societal headwinds, according to a U.S. intelligence report released on April 8.

The US National Intelligence Council report, which is produced every four years, provides a broad overview of global trends and potential scenarios that will likely shape the US national security environment over the next 20 years.

In the years and decades to come, the world will face more intense and cascading global challenges, ranging from disease and climate change to disruption caused by new technologies and financial crises, says the report, titled Global. Trends 2040: A More Contested World.

Regional powers and non-state actors can wield greater influence, likely resulting in “a more conflict-prone and volatile geopolitical environment” and weakening international cooperation, he said.

On Russia, leading U.S. intelligence analysts have described the country as a rising and revisionist power alongside China, eager to reshape an international order dominated by Western institutions and norms to meet Muscovites’ desire for them. traditional values, non-interference in its internal affairs and Russian domination. protectorate covering much of Eurasia.

Russia is likely to remain a disruptive power for much or all of the next two decades, even as its material capabilities decline relative to other major players, the report says. Russia’s advantages, including a large conventional army, weapons of mass destruction, energy and mineral resources, geography, demographics, and a willingness to use force abroad, will allow it to continue to play the game. role of spoiler and power broker in the post-war era. Soviet space, and sometimes further afield.

The report suggests that Russia will continue to use information warfare to amplify divisions in the West, with the aim of breeding cynicism among the foreign public, diminishing trust in institutions, promoting conspiracy theories and to dig corners in societies.

Meanwhile, Russia is likely to expand its relations in Africa, the Middle East and elsewhere. Moscow is also seeking to increase its economic and military footprint in the Arctic, taking advantage of the impact of global warming on the vast northern region.

Despite some of Russia’s political and military advantages, U.S. intelligence analysts have estimated that the country may find it difficult to project and maintain its influence globally due to a poor investment climate, labor force stagnation, dependence on commodities with volatile prices and a small economy that is only expected to be around 2% of global gross domestic product (GDP) for the next two decades.

Likewise, a decrease in Europe’s energy dependence on Russia, either through renewable energies or through diversification towards other gas suppliers, would compromise revenue generation and overall capacity of the Kremlins, especially if those declines could not be offset by exports to customers in Asia, according to the report.

On the domestic political front, the next two decades in Russia will be determined by President Vladimir Putin’s exit from power, either at the end of his current term in 2024 or later.

The 68-year-old leader’s departure could erode Russia’s geopolitical position more quickly, especially if internal instability ensues, the report said, suggesting possible infighting between post-Putin elites.

While China and Russia share a common competitor with the United States and other Western democracies, U.S. intelligence services have said Moscow and Beijing will likely avoid formal alliances with each other and with other countries in favor of transactional relationships.

Such a flexible approach will allow the two countries to exert influence and selectively employ economic and military coercion while avoiding entanglements of mutual security.

As long as Chinese President Xi Jinping and Putin remain in power, Beijing and Moscow are likely to remain firmly aligned.

But disagreements over the Arctic and parts of Central Asia could increase friction as power disparities widen in the years to come, according to the report.

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