Showing posts with label Cyber Warfare. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cyber Warfare. Show all posts

Unrestricted Warfare Theory And Meaning.


Unrestricted Warfare was published in February 1999  by two Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force colonels, Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui. 


The book became a best-seller in China, and it was extensively read at the PLA's and Chinese Communist Party's highest levels. 

 The book, on the other hand, was regarded with anxiety in the United States. 

"Unrestricted Warfare" implies that any method can be prepared for use, that information is everywhere, that the battlefield is everywhere, that any technology can be combined with any other technology, and that the lines between war and non-war, as well as between military and non-military affairs, have been systematically blurred.

'You need to read Unrestricted Warfare because it shows China's game plan in its approaching conflict with America,' said Admiral Thomas Moorer, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. 

  • China believes that by using these measures, it would be able to destroy America.'  
  • Qiao and Wang's book, as originally interpreted by US scholars and military strategists, promoted an immoral and potentially illegal transformation of warfare in which the international system and international law "will be... required to be overthrown in order for the Chinese to achieve their desired policies."  
  • This view, however, is based on a misinterpretation of the book's title rather than the overall philosophy, since the notion of unfettered warfare has subsequently sparked healthy discussion in US military circles.  

Indeed, the book's original title may have been too literally translated; a less incendiary option would be 'warfare beyond borders,' and a more accurate translation for the notion itself, based on the book's core storyline, would be 'warfare that transcends boundaries.' 

'Thus, we acquire a comprehensive notion, a totally new type of combat dubbed "modified combined conflict that goes beyond limitations,"' say Qiao and Wang.  

Because the term 'transcending bounds' does not carry the negative connotations connected with the concept of 'unrestricted' combat, such a translation may have averted the uproar that the book caused when it was initially released. 

  • This is shown by a line in the book's following section: 'Unlimited exceeding of limitations is difficult to attain.' Any breaking of constraints must be done within specified parameters. 
  • That instance, "moving beyond boundaries" does not imply "no limits," but rather the extension of "limited."  
  • Leaving aside the initial unfavorable reaction to the notion of unlimited warfare, it has now achieved a broader acceptance in the US, not least because, as Hoffman puts it, "a deeper reading of the text exposes a number of valuable and even obvious implications."  

The authors of the book make three contributions to the field of strategy: 

  1.  a constructive observation of war; 
  2.  a comprehensive analysis of the transformation of warfare at the end of the twentieth century, with the Gulf War against Iraq in 1999 serving as a symbol of this transformation; and 
  3.  an intellectual conceptualization of future conflicts in the twenty-first century. 

While the majority of Qiao and Wang's work focuses on the nature of war in the late twentieth century and makes some conceptual predictions for the future, they also make several key observations about the nature of war and its principles, such as "regardless of the form the violence takes, war is war, and a change in the external appearance does not keep any war from abiding by the principles of war." 

The most important concept is the significance of combining —'combining two or more battlefield aspects together' —in order to defeat an opponent. 

Using various examples from Chinese and Western military history, Qiao and Wang arrive at the following conclusion: 

'Regardless of whether the war occurred , 3000 years ago or at the end of the twentieth century, it appears that all victories display one common phenomenon: the winner is the one who combined well.'  

In other words, the capacity of strategists to integrate diverse technologies, conceptions of operations, means, and procedures in a manner that delivers major benefits and enhances current combat to a large degree is one of the most crucial components in achieving success in a conflict. 

In creating this concept of combination, Qiao and Wang rightly point out that not every combination is a potential force multiplier, but also that 'it will be pointless to conduct combination  100 times incompetently without grasping the secret of how to conduct combination.' 

The authors recommend two primary guidelines that contribute to the best combination, based on historical examples: 

  1. the golden section rule (0.618:1 ratio) 
  2. and the side-principle rule (taken from linguistics, where one word modifies another and determines its tendency and features). 

The first rule was inspired by the realm of art, while the second was inspired by Chinese language. 

  • By questioning, "Can you still calmly accept them as accidents if too many mishaps reveal the same phenomena?" 
  • Qiao and Wang effectively establish the applicability of these laws to the phenomenon of war. 
  • Qiao and Wang support a concept based on which the combination should be used in battle in the debate that specifies and fuses these two principles. 

  1. First, they contend that each of the five primary components of war, weapons, means, force, direction, and sphere, must have a dominating element defined. 
  2. Second, the 0.618:1 ratio should be used to establish the connections between the dominant weapons and all weapons, the dominant means and all methods, and the dominant force and all forces.

  • Instead of acting strictly according to the rule, Qiao and Wang claim to have discovered a principle that increases the likelihood of winning a war: 'the key [to victory] is to grasp the essence and apply the principle,' rather than acting strictly according to the rule, because 'correct rules do not guarantee that there will always be victories; the secret to victory is to correctly apply rules.'  
  • 'Whoever [will be] able to mix a tasty and unique cocktail for the future banquet of war will eventually be able to wear the laurels of success on his own head,' say Qiao and Wang, claiming that the principle of combination has played a crucial role in achieving victory since the dawn of human conflict. 

Qiao and Wang conclude that 'a conflict that altered the globe eventually changed war itself' after examining the influence of technical advancement and globalization processes on the character of war.  

  • These two innovations are not only at the heart of the end-of-the-century change of combat, but they are also intricately intertwined, each boosting the influence of the other and therefore speeding up the transformation of war. 
  • Building on their notion of combat success as the capacity to put together winning combinations, According to Qiao and Wang, the second half of the twentieth century saw tremendous demand for more intricate combinations than ever before due to technology integration and globalization. 

According to their theory of unrestrained warfare, the technical and geopolitical circumstances of the twentieth century have produced a scenario in which strategists must generate and deploy 'combinations that transcend frontiers.'  

Qiao and Wang highlight two independent but related processes in terms of technology growth and globalization. 

  • On the one hand, they emphasize the growing importance of information technology by claiming that: [It is pointless for military organizations] to wrack their brains over whether or not information technology will grow strong and unruly today, because it is a synthesis of other technologies, and its first appearance and every step forward are all a process of blending with other technologies, so that it is part of them, and they are part of it, and this is precisely what is happening today.  
  • 'Non-professional warriors and non-state organizations are posing a greater and greater threat to sovereign nations, making these warriors and organizations more and more serious adversaries for every professional army,' Qiao and Wang state when discussing the impact of globalization in this age of information technology. 

According to the notion of unrestrained warfare, these two developments expand the importance of 'non-military' means and tactics of conflict, such as terrorism, cybercrime, and financial manipulations.  

These two observations led Qiao and Wang to develop the strategic concept of 'combinations that transcend boundaries,' based on the claim that modern warfare blurs 'technical, scientific, theoretical, psychological, ethical, traditional, customary, and other sorts of boundaries,' erasing 'the boundary between the battlefield and what is not the battlefield, between what is a weapon and what is not, between soldier and non-combatant, between state and non-sovereign, between state and As a result, the authors suggest four new sorts of combinations that, in their opinion, best characterize contemporary combat. 

1. The first is 'supranational combinations,' which bring together national, international, and non-governmental organizations to "assemble and mix together additional tools to fix the issue in a spectrum greater than the problem itself." 

  • As international organizations (multinational, non-state, commercial, religious, criminal, terror, etc.) increasingly affect modern countries, Qiao and Wang argue that modern conflict has transcended the nation-state boundary, and that there is "no better means for countering such threats than the use of supranational combinations."  

2. The second form of combination is known as "supra-domain combinations," which go beyond the battlefield's realms. 

  • As current information technology and globalization compel 'politics, economics, the military, culture, diplomacy, and religion to overlap,' new types of warfare, including as information warfare, financial warfare, trade warfare, and psychological warfare, have emerged in the sphere of conflict. 

Combinations of these domains of warfare are referred to as "supra-domain combinations," which focus efforts on certain dimensions that are most conducive to achieving a conflict's goals.  

'Supra-means combinations,' or a blend of diverse means within each area of warfare that delivers the best beneficial impact on an enemy, are the third sort of combination.  

  • The final and most essential sort of combination is'superior combinations,' which integrate all stages of conflict into a single campaign. 

Qiao and Wang argue that the line between tactics, operations, strategy, and grand-strategy has blurred in today's wars, which are characterized by "supranational powers" that deploy "supra-means" in "supra-domains."

  •  'Bin Laden used a tactical level method of just two truckloads of explosives and threatened U.S. national interests on a strategic level, whilst the Americans can only achieve the strategic goal of protecting their own safety by carrying out tactical level retaliation against him.'  
  • Qiao and Wang utilize a variety of historical instances to illustrate their theories, but the 1991 Gulf War of  is their major point of reference:  
    • 'When we try to utilize previous conflicts to examine what defines war in the era of technological integration and globalization, only "Desert Storm" comes to mind as a ready-made example.'  

The Gulf Conflict, according to Qiao and Wang, "finished one era and began a new one" because it was the first war to fully transcend the bounds of combat. 

  • There were 'supra-national combinations,' as the US was successful in forming a coalition of over thirty countries, including those that were antagonistic to one another, as well as garnering backing from virtually all UN member countries, as well as international and non-governmental organizations (e.g. the World Bank, the World Trade Organization). 
  • There were 'supra-domain combinations,' such as 'the 42 day military operation of Desert Storm was followed by eight years of military pressure + economic embargo + weapons inspections.'  Different means were used in each of the used domains, resulting in 'supra-means combinations' (e.g. the authors discuss the military and psychological domains in detail).  

While the writers do not present any instances of "superior-tier combinations" from the Gulf War, they are plainly identifiable. 

  • The finest example is the employment of reasonably accurate munitions, which, although tactical in nature, had a strategic influence thanks to information technology and live broadcasting of exploding targets, impacting the eyes and ears of the whole globe. 
  • The authors conclude that "although we are witnessing a relative decline in military violence, we are clearly seeing a rise in political, economic, and technical violence" as they examine geopolitical changes in the second half of the twentieth century.  

In other words, on the battlefields of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, unrestrained warfare is an endeavor to argue for the victory of nontraditional realms of violence (i.e. 'non-military' or 'non-war' activities) over strictly military methods to accomplish desired aims. 

Qiao and Wang suggest eight principles at the conclusion of their book that currently characterize modern warfare and will have a greater impact on the nature of future battles. 

  • The first is a concept known as 'omnidirectionality.' Future wars will be marked by a lack of distinction between what is and is not the battlefield, and will encompass not only traditional military domains (i.e. land, sea, air, etc. ), but also social domains such as politics, economics, culture, and the psyche of the nations involved, according to this principle (as well as neutral nations). 
    • Participants in these wars will be required to: Consider all aspects of 'this particular' war when observing the battlefield or a potential battlefield, designing plans, employing measures, and combining the use of all available war resources, to have a field of vision with no blind spots, a concept free of obstacles, and an orientation free of blind angles when observing the battlefield or a potential battlefield, to have a field of vision with no blind spots, a concept free of obstacles, and an orientation free of blind angles when  

  • The second premise is 'synchrony,' which means that future battles will need operations to be carried out in several domains at the same time. 
  • According to Qiao and Wang, technology integration and globalization will allow for not only more synchronized and simultaneous execution of diverse activities using different methods in different domains, but also more synchronized and simultaneous execution of these combinations. 
  • If goals had to be achieved in stages in the past "through an accumulation of battles and campaigns," they could be accomplished in the future "under conditions of simultaneous occurrence, simultaneous action, and simultaneous completion."  
  • According to Qiao and Wang, the third and fourth criteria that will characterize future conflicts are "limited aims" and "unlimited methods." 
  • The former emphasizes the significance of establishing precise and feasible aims for future battles, as "defining objectives that transcend the permissible bounds of the existing methods would only result in tragic outcomes." 
  • The infinite measures concept is founded on the premise that "to achieve certain specified aims, one may break through limits and choose among alternative ways."  
  • While none of these concepts adds anything new to the nature of warfare, their combination creates the central concept of unconstrained warfare: limited goals attained by infinite means. 

  • The sixth notion is 'asymmetry,' which entails exploiting an opponent's weak points. 
    • Although this principle adds little to the nature of war, Qiao and Wang believe that the shift of warfare from the traditional military domain to non-military domains (i.e. politics, economy, and culture) will increase the role of this principle, giving weaker actors more opportunities and exposing the vulnerabilities of stronger actors.  
    • The sixth concept is 'minimal consumption,' which is based on 'rational categorization of goals and rational resource usage.' 

In future conflicts, Qiao and Wang argue that the expanding number of conceivable goals and the many ways to achieve them would inevitably raise the risk of 'high consumption with poor performance,' and that it will be necessary (more than ever before): 

'To combine the superiorities of various types of battle resources in various types of places to build a totally new kind of combat that achieves the goal while minimizing consumption.'  

  • The seventh principle is 'multidimensional coordination,' which entails the coordination and collaboration of all necessary means and actions in all necessary domains in order to achieve the war's goal. 

    • Because unrestricted warfare assumes that any domain, not just the military, can be a battlefield, future war participants should be "inclined to understand multidimensional coordination as the coordination of the military dimension with various other dimensions in the pursuit of a specific objective."  
    • According to Qiao and Wang, the ultimate premise of future battles is "correction and control of the whole process." 
    • 'The ability of these factors to cloud the issues of war, and their intense influence on war, means that loss of control over any one link may be like the proverbial loss of a horseshoe nail that led to the loss of a whole war.'  

  • Finally, it is critical to concentrate on three key components of this theory. 

    • The first and most significant is the notion that human conflict extends beyond the conventional military domain, entering other areas of human interaction (such as politics, economics, and culture) at the subnational, national, and supranational levels. 
    • As a result, Qiao and Wang believe that "he who wishes to win today's war, or tomorrow's war, must "combine" all of the war resources [military and non-military] at his disposal and employ them as means of prosecuting war."  

The writers acknowledge that their concept of 'combination' isn't particularly novel, claiming that "Alexander the Great and the martial monarchs of the Zhou Dynasty never heard of cocktails [i.e. combinations], but they grasped the importance of the combined use of things."  

However, the key point is that in present and future battles, this ancient strategy of combining actions, means, and tactics that were not previously considered aspects of combat will be utilized. 

This leads straight to the third fundamental point advanced by unrestrained warfare: 

the technical and societal developments at the end of the twentieth century were the two primary forces behind the emergence of this "Warfare that Transcends Boundaries" (i.e. globalization). 

In response to these changes, the new principle of war is "using all means, including armed force or non-military force, military and non-military, and lethal and non-lethal means to compel the enemy to accept one's interests," rather than "using armed force to compel the enemy to submit to one's will."

~ Jai Krishna Ponnappan

You may also want to read and learn more about Global Geo Politics, Conflicts, And Conflict Resolution here.

Sources, References & Further Reading:

  • Hoffman, Frank, Conflict in the 21st Century: The Rise of Hybrid Warfare, Arlington: Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, 2007, p. 14.
  • For example: Nemeth, William, ‘Future War and Chechnya: A Case for Hybrid Warfare’, PhD diss., Monterey, Naval Postgraduate School, 2002; Morelock, Jerry, ‘Washington as Strategist: Compound Warfare in the American Revolution, 1775–1783’, in Huber, Thomas (ed.), Compound Warfare: That Fatal Knot, Fort Leavenworth: Combat Studies Institute, US Army Command and General Staff College, 2002, p. 78.
  • Qiao, Liang and Xiangsui Wang, Unrestricted Warfare: China’s Master Plan to Destroy America, Panama City: Pan American Publishing Company, 2002.
  • Scobell, Andrew, ‘Introduction to Review Essays on “Unrestricted Warfare”’, Small Wars and Insurgencies, 11, 1 (Spring 2000), pp. 112–13; Cheng, Dean, ‘Unrestricted Warfare: Review Essay II’, Small Wars and Insurgencies, 11, 1 (Spring 2000), pp. 122–9.
  • Thomas Moorer cited on the back cover of Qiao and Wang, Unrestricted Warfare.
  • Bunker, Robert, ‘Unrestricted Warfare: Review Essay II’, Small Wars and Insurgencies, 11, 1 (Spring 2000), pp. 114.
  • Luman, Ronald (ed.), Unrestricted Warfare Symposium 2006: Proceedings on Strategy, Analysis, and Technology, Laurel, MD: Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, 2006; Luman, (ed.), Unrestricted Warfare Symposium 2008: Proceedings on Combating the Unrestricted Warfare Threat; Integrating Strategy, Analysis, and Technology, Laurel, MD: Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, 2008.
  • Qiao and Wang, Unrestricted Warfare, p. 155.
  • Hoffman, Conflict in the 21st Century, p. 22.
  • Qiao and Wang, Unrestricted Warfare, p. xxi.
  • Bunker, ‘Unrestricted Warfare: Review Essay II’; Van Messel, John, ‘Unrestricted Warfare: A Chinese Doctrine for Future Warfare?’, Master’s thesis, Marine Corps University, Quantico, 2005.
  • Qiao and Wang, Unrestricted Warfare, p. 48.
  • Lind, William, et al., ‘The Changing Face of War: Into the Fourth Generation’, Marine Corps Gazette (October 1989), pp. 22–6.
  • Van Creveld, Martin, On Future War, London: Brasseys, 1991.
  • Huntington, Samuel, The Clash of Civilisations and the Remaking of World Order, London: Simon and Schuster, 1997.
  • For example: Terriff, Terry, Aaron Karp and Regina Karp, (eds), Global Insurgency and the Future of Armed Conflict, New York: Routledge Press, 2007; Hammes, Thomas, The Sling and the Stone: On War in the 21st Century, St. Paul, MN: Zenith Press, 2004; Benbow, Tim, ‘Talking ’Bout Our Generation? Assessing the Concept of “Fourth Generation Warfare”’, Comparative Strategy, 27, 2 (2008), pp. 148–63.
  • Echevarria, Antulio, Fourth Generation War and Other Myths, Carlisle, PA: Strategic Studies Institute, 2005.
  • Lind, William, ‘Understanding Fourth Generation War’, Military Review (September–October 2004), p. 12.
  • Echevarria, Fourth Generation War and Other Myths, p. v.
  • Hammes, Sling and the Stone, p. 16.
  • Rogers, Clifford (ed.), The Military Revolution Debate: Readings on the Military Transformation of Early Modern Europe, Oxford: Westview Press, 1995; Parker, Geoffrey, The Military Revolution: Military Innovation and the Rise of the West, 1500–1800, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988; Boot, Max, War Made New: Technology, Warfare and the Course of History, 1500 to Today, New York: Gotham Books, 2006; Murray, Williamson and Macgregor Knox (eds), The Dynamics of Military Revolution 1300–2050, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001.
  • Hammes, Sling and the Stone, pp. 17, 18.
  • For example: Rogers, Military Revolution Debate; Parker, Military Revolution.
  • Lind, ‘Understanding Fourth Generation War’, p. 12.
  • Lind et al., ‘Changing Face of War’, p. 23; also see Hammes, Sling and the Stone, pp. 22–31.
  • Lind, ‘Understanding Fourth Generation War’, p. 13.
  • Hammes, Thomas, ‘War Evolves into the Fourth Generation’, Contemporary Security Policy, 26, 2 (2005), p. 197.
  • Hammes, ‘War Evolves into the Fourth Generation’, p. 206.
  • Echevarria, Fourth Generation War and Other Myths, p. 16.
  • Huber, Thomas, ‘Napoleon in Spain and Naples: Fortified Compound Warfare’, in C610: The Evolution of Modern Warfare, Term I Syllabus/Book of Readings, Fort Leavenworth: Combat Studies Institute, US Army Command and General Staff College, 1997.
  • Huber, Thomas, ‘Compound Warfare: A Conceptual Framework’, in Huber, Compound Warfare, p. 1.
  • Roberts, Michael, ‘The Military Revolution, 1560–1660’, in Rogers, Military Revolution Debate.
  • See Morelock, Jerry, ‘Washington as Strategist: Compound Warfare in the American Revolution’ in Huber, Compound Warfare; Baumann, Robert, ‘Compound War Case Study: The Soviets in Afghanistan’, in Huber, Compound Warfare.
  • Hoffman, Conflict in the 21st Century, pp. 25–6.
  • Rumsfeld, Donald, ‘The National Defense Strategy of the United States of America’, Washington, DC, March 2005, p. v.

Future Warfare - The Rise Of Hybrid Warfare And Hybrid Wars.


The notion of hybrid warfare is most typically linked with US military strategist Frank Hoffman in Western literature. 

Hoffman began working on bridging the gap between the linear description of (regular or irregular) combat in the context of the twenty-first-century operational environment in the mid-2000s. 

'The blurring of modalities of combat, the blurring of who fights, and what technology are brought to bear, provides a vast spectrum of variation and complexity that we term Hybrid Warfare,' Hoffman said, drawing on the Israeli Defense Forces' (IDF) experience with Hezbollah in Lebanon in 2006. 

1. Hybrid warfare, according to Hoffman, may be carried out by both states and non-state actors and entails "a variety of distinct modalities of warfare, including conventional capabilities, irregular tactics and formations, terrorism, including indiscriminate violence and coercion, and criminal disorder." 

2. Hoffman was not the first to detect these changes; as he has noted, prior hypotheses and observations strongly informed his own. 

Indeed, a deeper look at the literature preceding Hoffman's notion of hybrid warfare reveals that the word 'hybrid' had previously been used to characterize the hazy border between regular and irregular troops and capabilities. 

3. Nonetheless, Hoffman's work is notable because it sparked a discussion in the West about modern hybrid threats, with the notion of hybrid warfare being seen as a new way to think about twenty-first-century wars. 

The following sections examine hybrid warfare as it was first thought of and understood in the West. 

  1. Unrestricted Warfare Theory And Meaning.
  2. Fourth-Generation Warfare Theory And Meaning.
  3. The Concept Of Compound Warfare.

Because the notion is a product of US military philosophy, it's vital to look at the environment in which it was created, as well as how it's been used by US academics and military personnel. 

As a result, this paper provides four major influences on the notion of hybrid warfare: unconstrained warfare, fourth generation warfare (4GW), compound warfare, and the objectives articulated in the 2005 US National Defense Strategy. 

~ Jai Krishna Ponnappan

You may also want to read and learn more about Global Geo Politics, Conflicts, And Conflict Resolution here.

Sources, References & Further Reading:

1. Lasconjarias, Guillaume and Jeffrey Larsen (eds), NATO’s Response to Hybrid Threats, Rome: NATO Defence College, 2015.

2. Tsygankov, Pavel (ed.), ‘Gibridnyye Voyny’ v khaotiziruyushchemsya mire XXI veka [‘Hybrid wars’ in the chaotic world of the twenty-first century], Moscow: Moscow University Press, 2015.

3. ‘Inside the KGB: An Interview with Retired KGB Maj. Gen. Oleg Kalugin’, CNN, 

4. For example: Andrew, Christopher and Vasili Mitrokhin, The Mitrokhin Archive: The KGB in Europe and the West, London: Penguin Books, 2000; Lunev, Stanislav, Through the Eyes of the Enemy: The Autobiography of Stanislav Lunev, Washington, DC: Regnery Publishing, 1998; Earley, Pete, Comrade J: The Untold Secrets of Russia’s Master Spy in America After the End of the Cold War, London: Penguin Books, 2007.

5. Von Clausewitz, Carl, On War, ed. and trans. Michael Howard and Peter Paret, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008, p. 13.

Hybrid Warfare & Conflict - Engineering Geo-Political Power, And Spheres Of Influence.


    The lack of centralized decision-making in Europe has been shown in a harsh light. 

    Putin, like Machiavelli, may believe that it is preferable to be feared than than liked. Putin can undoubtedly brag about his rise in power. 

    • He has put Americans and Europeans on the defensive, sparked a flurry of high-level talks, and even gotten a written response to his ideas from the US and NATO (proposals which he must have known to be totally unrealistic if not impossible). 
    • Nobody doubts, if anybody ever did, that Russia is still a major force. That much has been shown by its current set of actions in Ukraine. 
    • Respect for Russia, which seems to be a strategic goal in and of itself, is another matter. It's simple to instill fear, but respect must be earned. 

    Differences in ideas between EU Member States create a hole in the absence of EU integration in diplomacy and defense, rather than forging a nuanced but forceful unified perspective. 

    • However, a history of internecine fighting should have taught Europeans one thing: exaggerating the significance of status does not alter the circumstances on the ground. As a result, there's no reason to bemoan his triumph. 

    The United States must fill that power vaccum, with which everyone rallies in the face of Russian sabre-rattling. 

    We have to be concerned about the demise of the European security architecture as we know it.


    One may threaten Ukraine with a hundred thousand soldiers, but one cannot conquer a Unified Europe. 

    On a GDP the size of Belgium and the Netherlands combined ($1.483 trillion against $1.434 trillion in 2020), one does not begin a great power war against the EU and the US. 

    • Putin may be able to put the future of Europe's security architecture on the table, but he does not have the authority to reverse it. 
    • That can only be done by European leaders who are foolish enough to pull their own nation out of the EU or cynical enough to destroy democracy and the rule of law. 
    • They endanger Europe by fracturing the Union and playing straight into the hands of other forces (sometimes even voluntarily). 

    Natural resource dependency has both positive and negative consequences. 

    Both Moscow and Brussels may threaten each other with economic penalties as a deterrent. 

    • However, sanctions can only be employed once, after which nothing will happen save that both parties would suffer economic consequences, since neither party is likely to submit to penalties and modify its policy. 
    • Economic penalties may signify displeasure and serve as punishment if that is the goal, but they will not alter the reality on the ground, just as a gain of face will not change the circumstances on the ground. 

    Russia will have to negotiate if it wants to create an acceptable and sustainable change to the security arrangements on the European continent. 

    • Negotiations take longer than Russian forces can stay focused on their current action in Ukraine without losing their advantage. 
    • Further unilateral escalation by Putin's Russia will result in a prolonged destabilization of global security and peace that must be dealt with to avert a potential Humanitarian disaster.
    • And, in order to have a chance of meaningful progress, both parties must be ready to make compromises, failing which a military resolution will result in a test of Russia's present invasive  posturing and actions in Europe.

    If Putin was sincere and capable of honoring his public statements, Europeans and Americans would have had to negotiate, as they have said they are prepared to. 

    Because restoring the weapons control and confidence-building framework that has lapsed in recent years would be very beneficial overall to Europe's security. 

    Given Ukraine borders with EU/NATO member states, Any negotiations on the European Security Architecture must, without a doubt, involve all Europeans. 

    Present Russian military mobilization, offenses,  and actions against Ukraine, its invasive occupation, and entry into eastern regions is thus tantamount to an act of war against Europe.

    Only the supranational EU can be Europe's political center of gravity. 

    • Back in 2014, the EU made the strategic choice to give Ukraine a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA), to which Russia retaliated by invading the country. 
    • All of the rest, such as NATO deterrence, Normandy negotiations, and EU sanctions, stemmed from the initial decision taken by Europeans via the EU. 
    • Rather than introducing multiple forms, the EU must insist on a core trilateral arrangement if any peace is plausible, with the US and Russia, as a prerequisite for substantive discussions to begin. 
    • Refusing to do so would be siding with Putin, who has made a habit of minimizing the EU in order to undermine European unity. 

    However, it is improbable that sufficient mutual confidence can be developed to reach an agreement on the wider concerns given the unilateral violation of Ukraine's territorial integrity and its political borders. 

    Russia continues to engage in near-constant hybrid measures against Europe and the United States. 



    Can Putin back out now that the least of the risk events has occurred, and the stakes have been increased dangerously high, with no sustainable success in Ukraine to enhance his power other than a minor pro-Russian separatist victory? 

    All of  Ukraine, in its entirety, in its resilience, in truth, is a continuing defeat for Putin. 

    • He drove a divided nation into Western orbit by invading in 2014. 
    • He conquered Crimea but failed to achieve Russia's second goal of forming a sphere of influence throughout the former Soviet Union, despite its great power status (minus the Baltic states). 
    • He will not be able to reclaim Ukraine without launching a full-scale assault. 
    • But it seems to be the least probable scenario: the Ukrainian armed forces will fight with a Western backbone this time, and Putin will not want to lose some of his finest men in a stalemate. 

    It is thus very important for the EU and the US to ensure that Ukraine has the necessary weapons, equipment, and ammunition to fight. 

    • Furthermore, assuming that Russia does not want to blow Ukraine to the ground, it cannot wield its military superiority indefinitely. 
    • An invasion would, in any case, result in military occupation, similar to the annexation of the Baltic nations in 1940. The desire to sovereignty reasserts itself when the occupation is gone, as history has shown. 

    As a result, Russia's insistence that Ukraine not join NATO is damage control. 

    • It also falls within a centuries-old policy of capturing land or establishing buffer zones along Russia's western frontiers to reduce the country's susceptibility to invasion in the absence of natural barriers. 
    • If imposing neutrality on Ukraine is all it takes for Putin to finally acknowledge that it will not be part of any Russian sphere of influence, the West perhaps could have afforded to make the compromise prior to Russia's military actions. 
    • The decision by NATO in 2008 to allow Ukraine and Georgia to join but without a deadline was a poor compromise between an aggressive Bush administration and hesitant Europeans, and the latter are still largely opposed. 

    Neutrality may be seen as another face-saving move by Putin, but such 19th-century sensibilities should not guide European policymakers today. 

    Furthermore, NATO expansion is not a goal in and of itself: new members should be welcomed only when our security requires it; nations that would bring more expenses than advantages and for which we are unwilling to go to war in any case should not be requested. 

    Neutrality cannot be a unilateral compromise. Such an unrealistic expectation is a trigger and provocation for a larger widespread conflict that will be without bounds.

    • Other than dispersing its forces, Russia has failed to make a genuine surrender, since they may be concentrated again on a whim. 
    • Moscow has failed to stop supporting armed separatists in the Donbass and allow Ukraine's government in Kiev to reclaim control of the country's whole continental territory. 
    • That is true, but it says nothing about the Crimea along with the Donbass, which is the price Ukraine is having to pay. 

    That would not be fair, because, in the words of Bismarck, 

    "we are not operating a judiciary, we are establishing policy." 

    Putin, on the other hand, may be unwilling to make this compromise. 

    Furthermore, if he is unable to reclaim Ukraine, he may decide that he does not want it to function. 

    He will not want to see a well-functioning democratic Ukraine begin to exert any kind of appeal on his own populace, therefore this is a serious danger. 

    (And neutrality would have no bearing on the DCFTA.) 

    Russia may thus conclude that, despite its limited resources, it can get more out of a stable but (in its eyes) unsatisfactory deal by triggering another escalation when it sees fit, rather than a stable but (in its eyes) unsatisfactory deal, even if instability comes at the cost of additional sanctions. 

    Sanctions along with Hybrid War Operations must be activated and  implemented, notwithstanding the fact that sanctions are unlikely to compel Russia to recede beyond its dictates and  unpredictable volatile leadership. 

    • Putin may yet choose to restrict to a military effort, such as seizing the land bridge between Donbass and Crimea. 
    • Russia would suffer fatalities, but it would establish a permanent Russian military presence in the Donbass as a fait accompli. 
    • Another possibility is a repeat of the cyber-attack on 14 January. Both of these situations might result in extra severe retaliations. 
    • The standoff would persist in all three scenarios, and perpetual instability would rule, leaving little hope for effective discussions on the larger security architecture. 

    The Desperate and Blind Pursuit Of Obsolete Spheres Of Influence In an Increasingly Connected Globe. 


    •  In mid-January 2022, when the West was focused on Ukraine, In Kazakhstan, Russia interfered immediately and effectively. 
    • Some 2000 Russian forces, operating under the auspices of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) and at the request of President Tokayev, assisted him in maintaining his grasp on power. 
    • In November 2020, Russia dispatched 2000 soldiers as peacekeepers at the request of another CSTO member, Armenia, after brokering a cease-fire between its ally and Azerbaijan, ending another conflict over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh. 
    • In November 2021, Russian involvement was required once again to stop fighting that had broken the cease-fire. 
    • Georgia's predicament, on the other hand, is very comparable to that of Ukraine. 
    • Russia secured the separatist areas of South Ossetia and Abkhazia during the 2008 Russo-Georgian conflict, eventually recognizing them as republics. 
    • Approximately 10,000 Russian soldiers are now stationed there.  However, short of a full-scale invasion, the most Russia can hope for is a prolonged stalemate and the capacity to increase tensions anytime it wants. 

    The conclusion is that Russia continues to operate as a security guarantee in former Soviet countries when the government and military forces, with or against the populace, embrace a largely Russian orientation. 

    Belarus, for example, falls within this category. 

    However, once a nation has shifted its orientation to the West, Russia may make things difficult for it, such as stopping it from joining the EU or NATO (though membership is not on the table anyway), but it cannot force it back into the fold. 

    Meanwhile, China is competing with Russia, and in many cases has already surpassed it, as a trade and investment partner in practically all former Soviet countries. 

    In 2013, Kazakhstan hosted the launch of the Belt and Road Initiative. 

    There has formed a de facto division of labor that fits Beijing well, but one would wonder whether it really satisfies Moscow: when Russia acts as a security guarantor, it maintains the stability that enables it to no longer transform its military might into commensurate political and economic dominance. 

    As a result, an exclusive Russian sphere of influence in the former Soviet Union is a pipe dream in reality. 

    Russia doesn't have an option but to share power with China in a more or less Master-Junior Partner Bond. 

    Outside of the former Soviet Union, Russia has established a military presence, either directly or via the Wagner Group's mercenaries, in the Central African Republic, Libya, and now Mali. 

    The key success here, too, is continuing instability, which serves our goals. 

    For Russia, the eastern and southern edge of Europe is one theater in where it may exercise its nuisance power at a cheap cost. 

    Even in a nation like Mali, which is so reliant on European economic and military aid, Brussels should be considerably more concerned about its incapacity to prevent it from doing so. 

    But, although Russia may strive to entrench itself, it lacks a genuine alternative project to offer these nations, other than ensuring the regime's or claimant's security, which it opportunistically supports. 

    As internal politics change, such ties are prone to unravel. 

    The exception is Syria, where Russian assistance insured the survival of a long-time partner, but that relationship, too, is unlikely to outlast regime transition if it ever occurs. 

    Russia is also expected to fall farther behind the United States, China, and the European Union in terms of political clout and economic success. 

    It will continue to be quite simple to use its annoyance capability. 

    For the time being, Russia's military might has allowed it to punch above its political and economic weight. 

    However, keeping its limited friends, much alone acquiring new ones, will grow more difficult as other nations make more appealing political and economic proposals. 

    Will this encourage Moscow to consider a more cooperative grand strategy rather than a hostile one? Or will it continue to associate tremendous power with arrogance and aggression? 

    For its part, the EU must remain laser-focused on its most important goals: defending its own way of life while preventing instability from spilling over from either its eastern or southern flanks. 

    Stable neighboring nations that make their own sovereign decisions are a useful tool in achieving that critical goal. 

    The EU's use of nuisance power can never be an aim in itself; although it must consider how to respond against Russian neighbors, good neighborly relations must remain the ultimate goal. 

    Whatever course Putin and his successor choose, the EU must be open to conversation at all times, following the motto: cooperate when possible, but push back when necessary. 

    However, this will need the development of a much stronger European reflex in all EU member states. 

    If Europe's strategic center is a vacuum, neither collaboration nor pushback will occur, and the EU will be constantly unsettled by the next bold action from another state.

    ~ Jai Krishna Ponnappan

    You may also want to read and learn more about Global Geo Politics, Conflicts, And Conflict Resolution here.

    Sources & References:

    • Arild, S., NATIONAL RESILIENCE AS A TOOL TO COUNTER HYBRID THREATS Sunde Arild. У збірнику представлено матеріали ІІ Міжнародної науково-практичної конференції «Управління та адміністрування в умовах протидії гібридним загрозам національній безпеці». Матеріали подано у авторській редакції. Редакційна колегія може не поділяти думок авторів. За достовірність даних та унікальність поданого до друку матеріалу, p.217.
    • Coldea, F., 2022. Intelligence challenges in countering hybrid threats. National security and the future23(1), pp.49-66.
    • Панфілов, О. and Савченко, О., 2022. THE SOCIOLOGICAL ASPECT IN THE CONTENT OF THE MODERN HYBRID WARFARE. " Вісник НЮУ імені Ярослава Мудрого". Серія: Філософія, філософія права, політологія, соціологія1(52).
    • Solmaz, T., 2022. ‘Hybrid warfare’: A dramatic example of conceptual stretching. National security and the future23(1), pp.89-102.
    • Bhattacharya, I., 2022. Hybrid Warfare Teasing Security Concerns in Asia. In The Palgrave Handbook of Global Social Problems (pp. 1-15). Cham: Springer International Publishing.
    • Davies, L., 2022. A “hybrid offensive” in the Balkans? Russia and the EU-led Kosovo-Serb negotiations. European Security31(1), pp.1-20.
    • Hook, K. and Marcantonio, R., 2022. Environmental dimensions of conflict and paralyzed responses: the ongoing case of Ukraine and future implications for urban warfare. Small Wars & Insurgencies, pp.1-29.

    • Kurban, O. and Stadnichenko, O., 2022. Hybrid Conflicts in Modern Geopolitics: Based on Russian-Ukrainian Relations From 1991-2021. In Handbook of Research on Ethnic, Racial, and Religious Conflicts and Their Impact on State and Social Security (pp. 70-89). IGI Global.

    • Eberle, J. and Daniel, J., 2022. Anxiety geopolitics: Hybrid warfare, civilisational geopolitics, and the Janus-faced politics of anxiety. Political Geography92, p.102502.
    • Muradov, I., 2022. The Russian hybrid warfare: the cases of Ukraine and Georgia. Defence Studies, pp.1-24.
    • Magnuson, S., Keay, M. and Metcalf, K., 2022. Countering Hybrid Warfare: Mapping Social Contracts to Reinforce Societal Resiliency in Estonia and Beyond (Spring 2022). Texas National Security Review.
    • Gaiser, L., 2022. Chinese hybrid warfare approach and the logic of strategy. National security and the future23(1), pp.67-77.
    • Andersson, M., 2022. Russia's use of Hybrid Warfare against the European Union 2014-2020: A qualitative content analysis.
    • Kennedy, D., 2022. The Gun, the Ship, and the Pen: Warfare, Constitutions, and the Making of the Modern World by Linda Colley. Journal of Interdisciplinary History52(3), pp.430-431.



    The phrase "advanced persistent threat" (APT) refers to extremely skilled actors who use computer networks to carry out covert offensive activities, generally through the Internet.

    Any combination of espionage, financial gain, sabotage, or reconnaissance may be the purpose of such operations.

    Actors like this are often seen working on behalf of nation-states, usually under the command of military or intelligence organizations.

    They might also be commercial companies hired by governments or, more rarely, individuals seeking personal gain (i.e., sophisticated criminals).

    The line between criminal and agent of a nation-state may be difficult to establish in certain circumstances, with the same persons or organizations showing both traits at different periods.

    The term APT seems to have been in use since 2006, initially appearing in documents written by US Air Force officials, and was popularized by Mandiant's 2013 APT1 report.

    APTs have a variety of characteristics that set them apart from other harmful actors: • Mission Focus: APTs often have particular missions and objectives, which may include gaining access to certain networks or organizations.

    It may be more difficult to effectively breach such targets than it is to compromise a typical network or individual computer.

    This is in contrast to criminal actors, who are more likely to engage in opportunistic conduct, such as spear-phishing campaigns that are large (and hence loud).

    However, an APT's strategic goals can be broad (e.g., obtaining information about a technical area or technology from any available source), and the tactics used to target a large organization can resemble those used by a less sophisticated actor; this is sometimes a deliberate choice by the APT to avoid drawing attention to the attack or to sow confusion about the attacker's identity.

    Complexity: APTs frequently have proprietary tools that have been built over time, the skills and resources to build new capabilities when required, and the training and discipline to utilize such tools to execute large-scale operations while limiting cross-contamination.

    Although spear-phishing attacks appear to be the preferred method of initial compromise in the majority of publicly disclosed APT campaigns, APTs have been known to use a variety of other attack tactics, including watering hole, malicious advertising, credential theft, social engineering, SQL injection, and software exploitation.

    Resources: APTs often have the resources to carry out a variety of attack techniques against a single target over a lengthy period of time, including inventing or acquiring previously undisclosed vulnerabilities for which no known remedy exists and no forewarning is feasible.

    Furthermore, APTs may invest a substantial amount of time and money in establishing the attack infrastructure and tools required to undertake operations.

    APTs, on the other hand, will not always utilize advanced tools and techniques; rather, mission criteria such as risk profile, urgency, and target complexity (or "hardness") will govern how operations are carried out.

    Persistence: On the Internet, criminals are usually engaged in activities that result in a quick monetary gain but are also intrinsically loud, such as stealing bank information or installing ransomware (e.g., CryptoLocker).

    APT operations, on the other hand, often need a long-term presence on a target network, such as for the continual collecting of sensitive data.

    As a consequence, APTs must function invisibly in order to reduce the time it takes for them to be identified and to set up backdoors for regaining access once they are discovered.

    While completing the mission is the major priority of an APT, secondary goals include staying undetected to avoid exposing tools, techniques, and infrastructure, preventing the identification of a discovered activity with the particular APT, and avoiding linking the APT with the proper nation.

    The relative importance of these issues varies by APT and may alter over time and among missions.

    Firewalls, deep packet inspection, and attachment detonation chambers are examples of proactive measures that may help harden an organization's security posture, but they need more work to get started.

    However, given the size and complexity of contemporary businesses and the systems that make them up, creative and patient enemies should be able to get a footing.

    When other partners, resources, and services are involved, the situation gets much more complicated.

    These additional partners, resources, and services may be targeted by an APT to aid in getting access to its target.

    APTs have typically found it simple to extend their initial access and fulfill their aims via a mix of lateral movement, privilege escalation, and the inclusion of backdoors, while corporate security has historically concentrated on perimeter protection.

    Much work has gone into establishing tools and procedures for detecting such threats once they have progressed past the first phases of compromise, as well as forensic analysis of their actions.

    Such techniques have primarily focused on analyzing large volumes of logging data to identify potentially anomalous events; identifying anomalous or "known bad" communication patterns, both within an enterprise network and at its external boundaries (e.g., at the firewall); and generating, sharing, and acting on indicators of compromise (IOC), which are externally observable and, at least in theory, invariant elements of the APT tools.

    File hashes, Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, network protocol signatures, and Windows Registry entries are just a few examples of IOCs.

    Threat information sharing has the potential to drastically shorten the mean time to next detection (MTTND) and boost the ability of defenders to attribute an assault to the degree that an APT reuses tools and infrastructure (and hence IOCs) across successive operations.

    Related Topics:

    Cyber Attack; Cyber Crime; Cyber Defense; Cyber Espionage; Mandiant 
    Corporation; People’s Liberation Army Unit 61398; People’s Republic of China 
    Cyber Capabilities; Social Engineering; Spear Phishing.

    Further Reading:

    Brenner, Joel. America the Vulnerable: Inside the New Threat Matrix of Digital Espionage, Crime, and Warfare. New York: Penguin Press, 2011.

    Lindsay, Jon R., Tai Ming Cheung, and Derek S. Reveron, eds. China and Cybersecurity: Espionage, Strategy, and Politics in the Digital Domain. New York: Oxford University Press, 2015.

    Mandiant Corporation. APT1: Exposing One of China’s Cyber Espionage Units. Alexandria, VA: Mandiant Corporation, 2013.