(This is a series, here is Part 1)
Russia has created a lot of confusion and interest via their use of “hybrid warfare.” They know in a confrontation with the West, they’re outgunned. They know military confrontation with the United States is extremely dangerous and would prove devastating. In fact, every nation fears and avoids overt military confrontation with the United States. We do have the most powerful and destructive fighting force in the world. But that golden hammer is meant for nails. Russia is working with the hammer and avoiding presenting a nail.
Russia is presenting problems different and new. The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) wrote this about Russia’s tactics: “Russia has been using an advanced form of hybrid warfare in Ukraine since early 2014 that relies heavily on an element of information warfare that the Russians call “reflexive control.” Reflexive control causes a stronger adversary voluntarily to choose the actions most advantageous to Russian objectives by shaping the adversary’s perceptions of the situation decisively. Moscow has used this technique skillfully to persuade the U.S. and its European allies to remain largely passive in the face of Russia’s efforts to disrupt and dismantle Ukraine through military and non-military means. The West must become alert to the use of reflexive control techniques and find ways to counter them if it is to succeed in an era of hybrid war.”
ISW went on to detail key elements: