chapter  12
10 Pages

Fighting (defensive) political war

WithMark Galeotti

The fundamental challenges are to understand quite what involves, what Russia’s capabilities are, and what can be done to deter and respond to it. This is no quick or easy matter, especially as the threat facing the West is political, not hybrid war, unless one side or the other makes some particularly bad decisions. The main defence against such forms of warfare is thus pre-emptive, to ‘target harden’ by shoring up governance and legitimacy – a hybrid and political defence to resist hybrid and political war – sufficient to deny Moscow the hope of an easy victory. The good news is that the measures that can reduce the threat of a subversion-then-soldiers hybrid war are effective against political war. Faced with Russia’s undoubted political aggression, it is inevitable that – as in the Cold War – there are voices in the West calling for retaliation in kind.