Monday, April 18, 2016

"Hybrid" Warfare. A Side (Irritated) Thought.

I don't know how this idiotic term came about but whoever invented this label should have known better. The reason for my irritation is simple--all warfare is "hybrid" by definition and widely known in narrow military-analytical circles as Gerasimov Doctrine is nothing more than further development of, to a significant degree, Marxist view on the warfare. Warfare is more than just application of military power and is fought in many fields simultaneously. Yes, you know all those fields such as propaganda, operations of influence, strategic diversionary operations, info operations, famous Soviet "maskirovka", economic warfare and on, and on, and on. Thankfully, there are many true professionals in US Armed Forces who cut the crap and get to the essence, such as Charles Bartles from Foreign Military Studies Office at Fort Leavenworth.

Getting Gerasimov Right 

And Bartles makes an absolutely correct conclusion:

Gerasimov’s position as chief of the General Staff makes him Russia’s senior operation-strategic planner and architect for future Russian force structure and capability development. In order to execute these duties,the individual in that position must have the foresight to understand the current and future operating environments along with the circumstances that have created those environments and will alter them. Gerasimov’s article is not proposing a new Russian way of warfare or a hybrid war, as has been stated in the West. Moreover,in Gerasimov’s view of the operational environment, the United States is the primary threat to Russia
Yet, we all are still treated to all kinds of journos' banalities such as "Stealth" or "Gerasimov" or "Powell" "Doctrines". Now this--"hybrid warfare". Even an amateur, curious enough to spend some time reading popular WW I and, especially so, WW II history, will easily find all evidence necessary to conclude that "hybrid warfare" is as old as a...well, I wouldn't go as far as the times of Sun Tzu, but Clausewitz is explicit in defining the principle of the maximum exertion of force. After all, Napoleon had no inhibitions to flooding Russia with counterfeit rubles prior to his ill fated invasion in 1812. That is as "hybrid" of a warfare as it comes. In the end, we see this "hybrid" warfare everyday on out TV screens and on radio in the stream of annoying commercials in which competitors are humiliated, lied about and simply trashed. There you go--element of a "hybrid" warfare at its best. And if we go back to Clausewitz we can not miss his definition of a war as an act designed "to compel the enemy to do our will". Enemies differ and so do means applied to them in order to make them submit, that is surrender. Nothing new here. Cold War, in essence, was one huge act of "hybrid warfare", however inconclusive, damaging and controversial results it produced.  
The incessant stream of all kinds of labels, often completely misleading or purely hollow, coming out of "communities" who are neither qualified nor capable of correctly generalizing complex trends and realities of the modern warfare is really troublesome. This becomes truly annoying for just about any field of human activity, i.e. "hot real estate market" means merely the fact of horrendous over-pricing of houses, but even more so when it is about a war. Some idiot, who didn't even bother to study both military and socio-cultural realities of Crimea prior to its referendum and return to Russia came up with this crappy label just by looking at Russian soldiers and we now have to live with it. Marxists, quite astutely, proposed that world's existence is in unity and struggle of opposites. All life on Earth is struggle, it is a conflict and we live this conflict every day, some while conversing with wives or friends, others throwing shit at their academic "colleagues", while defending, or debunking, some scientific theory, others--with AK-47s or in the cockpits of Su-35s doing the actual killing. One may disagree with Marxists, but it is impossible to deny the fact of this world being in a state of perpetual conflict. After all, even geopolitical realism of Hans Morgenthau, let alone of Zbigniew Brzezinsky, is as "hybrid warfare" as it could possibly be. In this case the only advice for all those magnificently ignorant pop-strategists is to abandon the catchy labeling and, instead, concentrate on studying the phenomenon of war itself.  

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