chapter  11
7 Pages

Welcome to the new world of war

WithMark Galeotti

Hybrid and political war depend on exploiting vulnerabilities, especially ones relating to unity, will and the capacity to resist. Hybrid warfare is built on capitalizing on the weaknesses of a country, on flaws in its political system, administration, economy and society. Warfare, whether it be ancient or modern, hybrid or not, is always complex and can hardly be subsumed into a single adjective. There is something that is distinctive about the modern situation, even if not so much in essence, but in degree. This applies to both essentially bloodless, if no less ruthless, political war, and the political-military hybrid war seen in Ukraine. The legal and geopolitical constraints on warfare are increasingly presenting both obstacles and opportunities. On the one hand, there demonstrably are not just reputational but real costs to open aggression, visible in the present sanctions regime. On the other hand, the flipside of this is the aforementioned lawfare, the wilful (ab)use of these structures for political gain.