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This is the second of our monthly Q&A videos, which we announced in February. The questions were collected via a special post on the SouthFront Patreon account.
The first question comes from I. He asks – Do you see Russia as being able to stand up to America long term? All three super powers (USA, Russia, China) have serious problems but only two (China and Russia) seem to be rising.
You mentioned that all three powers have serious problems. This is right. Furthermore, the entire world political and economic system is in a complicated situation. For example, according to the existing data, a majority of big business around the world is bearing operating losses, which are being covered by financial schemes, the existing reserves, stock market machinations and other measures designed to delay the consequences. The entire world economic model based on the creation of advance demand and the dominance of the one financial superpower and its regulatory agency is in the crisis. We agree with multiple economists that describe the current situation with the situation in the period between the first and second world wars.
As to the US, we believe that it’s a happy coincidence that Donald Trump is the president now. Even taking into account negative assessments of his actions, Trump is consistently working to support the national economy of the US, first the industrial complex. In the very least, these efforts will allow to postpone the consequences of the crisis for the US.
China is also in a complicated situation. On the one hand, Beijing makes global investments in infrastructure projects, an expanding building of warships and undertakes active actions to promote own economic interests around the world, including Africa and South America. China is also working to reduce costs of its industrial production, in particular, to get cheaper energy resources. On the other hand, the Chinese domestic economy faced a wide range of crisis developments. For example, there is no growth of household spending. US actions against China also impact its economy. Summing up, we believe that China’s prospects and potential for the development are better than those of the US. However, even a small dust may impact the current balance and change this situation.
In Russia, the situation is much more complicated than in the US and China. Russia overcame negative impact of the Western sanction, but the real income of the population is falling. The gap between the rich and the poor is growing. The main Russian problem is a low effective system of the governance. It is hard to say how long President Putin and a constructive part of his team will be capable of managing the state manually and further. It is unclear why the economic bloc of the Russian government is ignoring approaches and solutions developed by the team of then Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov in the late 1990s. The new Russian aristocracy mostly consists of people that are not interested in defending the interests of the population.
There are problems with the implementation of the global projects related to the industrial complex. For example, problems can be observed with the surface fleet, a low effective management of large defense contractors and space companies, which are the core of the Russian economy alongside with the energy sector. Russia will have a chance to remain a player of the Big Game only if it reforms the government machine, and approaches for the national economic development and the defense of national interests.
Next question from Kaveh20: Is Iran’s defense industry capable of sufficient advancement in the face of growing western aggression? Is it as autonomous as it’s claimed to be? Regarding the conflict between Israel and Iran what is your prediction for the next 20 years?
In the conditions of a constant sanction pressure, the Iranian efforts are mostly focused on developing an asymmetric answer to actions of its adversaries. As it can be seen in Syria, Iraq and even Yemen, these efforts have been mostly successful and Teheran has been able to strengthen own influence and push regional and global competitors. As to the military industrial complex, it has also achieved a notable success in some fields, in particular the missile and UAV programs. Despite this, Iran faces significant issues in the aircraft industry, shipbuilding and the production of heavy military equipment, like battle tanks. A constant lack of spare parts to maintain existing equipment and the inability to participate in major military technical cooperation programs with allied powers having technical advantage in key fields, like China or Russia, are among the key problems.
Next question by Jean-luc Martel: Could you do a video on the various types of so called Technicals and thier typical armament, DIY armour and tactics?
Answer: We are planning to release several videos in furtherance of the overview of Syrian battle tank modifications within several months. One of these videos will be dedicated to the issue of technical vehicles and their employment in local conflicts.
These are all the questions, which we received in March. On Patreon you will find a post where you can ask your questions for the April Q&A video.
Regarding problems with the donation budget and the current situation with SouthFront work, we want to make a few points:
- In March, SouthFront faced significant issues with colleting the minimum monthly budget needed to continue our work. Most of these issues were related to the situation with our PayPal account: firstname.lastname@example.org. It works. However, people still experience problems with the wrong language of donation interface. We cannot solve this situation manually. PayPal has provided no real assistance in this field since the end of February. Therefore, SouthFront introduced several new options to make donations, which in some cases look more complicated than common PayPal donation buttons. Even in this situation, we were able to collect 4,010 USD – about 80% of the needed budget.
- The current situation undermined SouthFront capabilities to produce complex analytical videos and documentaries, which you have become used to seeing, in April. In particular, this delays a big analytical video comparing the structure of the US and Russian ground forces.
- Despite all these difficulties, SouthFront Team will contribute every possible effort to resume the production of content at the level you have become used to seeing. We hope that by the second half of April, we will be able to resume production of big analytical videos.
- Unfortunately, if the current situation remains same and SouthFront does not collect the minimum budget in April, it will be forced to halt work in the current format.
We want once again to say a thank you to all people, who support SouthFront.