The main weapon of a hybrid warfare is a deception, and one of the main tasks of this deception is to convince the enemy that there is no war.
There are many articles describing the aggressor’s ability to deny their own involvement in hybrid aggression, but the highest level of this art is to deny aggression itself. The art of conducting a special operation in such a way that it looks like a natural internal phenomenon of the society against which it is applied.
In the hybrid war, there are certain parameters that determine governments’ ability to use their own resources effectively to wage this war. As it is a multidimensional war, its conduct requires clear interagency cooperation of all governmental structures. Such interaction, in turn, requires strong and recognized leadership of the head of state, which should ensure overall coordination of all agencies. Hybrid war is a war in human dimension, so the public’s trust in the government, the unity of the nation around the protection of national interests are critical for building national resilience. Hybrid operations are cross-border and require international cooperation to identify and counteract them.
These parameters are the basis of immunity that cannot only withstand hybrid attacks, but also to respond. The weakening of such immunity in the country of the enemy is the primary task of the hybrid war.
For several years, the United States has been in a state of political crisis, which, unfortunately, has significantly weakened the aforementioned features. Despite the global challenges in the form of attempts by the Russian Federation to restore positions lost after the collapse of the USSR, despite the new Cold War being waged by Russia and its allies against the West, the focus of American society and its political establishment is focused on internal political confrontation.
The provocation and support of internal strife, the deterioration of relations with strategic allies has been a traditional field of activity for Russian special propaganda since their Bolshevik predecessors of World War I. The Bolshevik slogan “turn imperialist war into civil war” is essentially an adaptation of the famous Roman maxim divide et impera — “divide and conquer” — or no less known Sun-tzu stratagem for fomenting conflicts between citizens of a hostile state.
Watching U.S. politicians use kompromat against each other begs the simple question of “who really benefits from this?” After all, mutual accusations of corruption, abuse of power and cooperation with foreign governments undermine confidence not only in specific politicians, but also in democratic institutions as a whole. Such a confrontation weakens the government as a whole, divides American society, undermines the confidence of U.S. international allies.
Of course, mutual accusations and the use of kompromat in political struggle is a natural phenomenon, just as the use of weapons is a natural phenomenon in armed conflict. It is well known that in order to escalate and support such a conflict, it is sufficient to provide weapons to the warring parties in a timely manner, and not to forget to further replenish their ammunition stockpiles. Russia has been using this tactic to support the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict since 1988. Despite its status in the OSCE Minsk Group on Conflict Resolution, Russia is the largest arms supplier to both countries. The continuation of the conflict allows the Russian Federation to justify its military presence in Armenia, despite the negative attitude of the Armenians to the Russian military base in Gyumri and numerous conflicts between the Russian military and the local population. Despite Moscow’s assurances that it has nothing to do with the Karabakh war, the origin of the weapons that Armenians and Azerbaijanis have been killing for more than 30 years says otherwise.
What can the origin of the kompromat used by American politicians against each other tell us? Much of this kompromat is kindly provided to American politicians by controversial individuals with close ties to pro-Russian politicians and businessmen. What is the true motivation of these individuals? Do they not only act as a front for Russian special services in their operation to neutralize the U.S. in the geopolitical arena?
The answers to these questions are very important today, as the future of not only the United States, but the world, depends on them. And in order to answer these questions, American politicians must unite and put national interests above the interests of their parties.
Oleksandr Danylyuk, chairman of the Ukrainian Center for Defense reforms, is senior fellow in the Potomac Foundation, a former chief adviser to Ukraine’s Minister of Defense, a member of Ukrainian government inter-agency platform for countering hybrid threats and one of the leaders of Ukrainian Revolution of Dignity.
Editor’s note: This is an Op-Ed and as such, the opinions expressed are those of the author. If you would like to respond, or have an editorial of your own you would like to submit, please contact Military Times managing editor Howard Altman, email@example.com.