The Invisibles of Power

  • James Sherr
Part of the RUSI Defence Studies book series (RUSIDS)


A Russian saying has it that Russia will never start a war, but will wage peace so vigorously that no stone will be left standing upon another. Her method and style of ‘waging peace’ bear more than a passing resemblance to her manner of waging war: a strategy which aims to exploit weakness rather than match strength, a premium placed on intelligence and on the centralised control of one’s forces, the transfer of the locus of fighting to the enemy rear, and the ‘combined and systematic utilisation of all means available’. The answer to Lenin’s question, ‘when to choose peace, when to choose war?’ hinges upon which is more vulnerable, the opponent’s society or his armed forces. In Afghanistan society is a bed of nails; in Europe, the United States and much of the developing world it is a soft target.


Foreign Policy Foreign Affair Central Committee International Department Peaceful Coexistence 
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© RUSI 1987

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  • James Sherr

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