Contemporary global power competition has turned the world into a hybrid battlefield. In modern battlefield, authoritarian regimes have the strategic advantage of being irresponsible, reckless and aggressive. This advantage is combined with the ability of the authoritarian regimes to find cheap and effective - short of war - solutions for achieving geopolitical objectives. In past decades authoritarian regimes such as Russia and China have been actively applying hybrid strategies against the Western dominated rules based international system. Those strategies are being constructed based on identification and utilization of the vulnerabilities of the democratic political systems, institutions and societies. Pandemic crisis caused by unpredictable and unprecedented spread of the mutated new Corona virus, have underlined vulnerabilities and opened up new possibilities for the hybrid warfare. The pandemic influences every power on the global stage, but will COVID-19 be a turning point for the Euro-Atlantic Security environment?
This article first traces the origin of hybrid warfare and the label game surrounding the concept, asking
whether it is merely old wine in a new bottle, and if so, whether it is still a useful concept. It is found that while being old wine in new bottles, it is still a good wine well worth drinking. While there is not much new in the concept itself, it is a useful tool to think about past wars, today’s wars and the wars of the future. Thereafter, this paper analyses how hybrid warfare and hybrid threats are to be understood in the context of peace, conflict and war. It is shown how hybrid warfare and threats fit into our traditional understanding of conflict dynamics.
With the takeover of Crimea by masked Russian soldiers/fighters without national insignia in February/
March 2014, with the Kremlin at first denying its involvement, war became ‘hybrid’ in our minds. The follow-on conflict in Eastern Ukraine, with separatism supported by neighbouring countries and the armed establishment and military securing of pseudo-state people’s republics, including recourse to pro-Russian fighters ‘on holiday’, has reinforced the impression of a hybrid form of warfare, raising the question: what is hybrid warfare? This article argues that the specific nature of hybrid warfare is essentially a strategic matter characterised by three key tendencies and their orchestration within a hybrid ‘grand strategy’: 1. Focusing the decision of the war/conflict, as such, primarily on a broad spectrum of non-military centres of gravity in a flexible and dynamic manner. 2. Operating in the shadow of various interfaces against specific vulnerabilities of the opponent, thus challenging traditional lines of order and responsibilities, creating ambiguity and paralysing the decision-making process of the opponent. 3. Creative combination and parallel use of different civilian and military means and methods, categories and forms of warfare and fighting, thus creating ‘new’ mixed, hybrid forms.1 At the same time, there is a growing sense that hybrid forms of warfare will shape the face of war in the 21st century.2 They seem to offer unpretentious political success by smart recourse to limited, deniable and supposedly manageable use of force. The assumption that the risk of military escalation and political damage could be kept within limits may at the same time increase the likelihood of the offensive use of hybrid forms of warfare. For this reason, it is high time to improve our common and comprehensive understanding of hybrid forms of warfare as a precondition for common and comprehensive action in defence and response.
The attempts by Russia under President Putin to assert its hegemonic ambitions against Ukraine and the other countries in what Russia perceives as its 'Near Abroad', have posed serious challenges to the security of the region and the entire international order of the 21st century. 'Lawfare (legal warfare) is a pivotal element of Russia's hybrid toolbox that has remained under-studied by the analytical community Given Lawfare's central role in Russia's comprehensive strategy, NATO must develop a deeper understanding of this Russian hybrid warfare domain, and design a unified strategy to counter this major challenge to the European security architecture.
This article addresses a key legal debate that the Baltic NATO members ought to engage in: what constitutes an “armed attack” and what interpretation should be made of this concept in order to deter recent Russian hybrid warfare strategies. These questions are considered in connection with a more general issue regarding the law of self-defence: the question of what constitutes an armed attack in international law. This article will try to present a broad definition and context of Russian hybrid warfare and how it is challenging traditional jus ad bellum paradigms. Too few policy-makers have paid detailed attention to the new Russian “lawfare” in Ukraine, using specific military and non-military tactics in order to blur the lines between “armed attack” and mere political intervention. Meanwhile, legal scholars detach their analysis from actual policy-serving considerations and tend to acquiesce to some very restrictive theories of the use force in self-defence. For some countries, like the Baltic ones, facing strategic exposure – because of both threatening neighbours and low military capacities – the jus ad bellum paradigm should not be construed as another layer of obstacle.
The annexation of Crimea in 2014 was a clear sign that Moscow is looking to extend its sphere of influence and it forced the Baltic States to take a very close look at their deterrent capabilities. The article introduces the basic concepts of deterrence and discusses the differences between the deterrent capabilities of Ukraine and the Baltic States. Furthermore, the threats that Russia presents, the factors that were responsible for Ukraine’s deterrence failure and the challenges that the Baltic States are facing are analysed. The article concludes that while the Baltic States are significantly better prepared for possible Russian aggression, their deterrent capabilities must continuously evolve to reflect the changes in the nature of modern warfare.