After World War II, the term “war” as a term of international law gradually gave way to the term “armed conflict”. This is due, in particular, to the fact that from the point of view of international law, the state of war between the two states requires the formal declaration of war and allows the warring parties to apply the rules of war. This, in turn, is contrary to international law, in particular to the Geneva Convention (1949).
Analyzing recent publications by military conflict experts, they all agree that the traditional understanding of war as a military confrontation between two states or blocs with defined political goals needs to be reconsidered. In the early 21st century in American and German publications appeared a range of concepts: “4th Generation Warfare”, “political Warfare”, “neue Kriege”, “asymetrische Kriegsfuhrung”, “unkonven–tioneller Krieg”, “nonlinearer Krieg” “postmoderner Krieg”, which aimed to conceptualize changes in classical approaches to war. (Tamminga, 2005). However, the term “hybrid war” has become the most widespread. It first appeared in the United States in the 90s. The term “hybrid” means a combination of different elements in a single physical object or action. The term “war” became widely used to mean hybrid only with the beginning of Russian aggression against Ukraine.
The term “hybrid warfare” appeared in the US military, specifically in the Marine Corps. R. Walker defined it as a combination of ordinary war with special operations. He argued that the organization of the Marines was hybrid in nature. Later, the term hybrid warfare was used by V. Nemeth in the context of the Second Chechen War (1999-2009) to describe the tactics of the Chechen insurgents, who combined the methods of traditional and guerrilla warfare. (Walker, 1998; Nemet, 2002).
Hybrid warfare can be interpreted as a combination of traditional and irregular hostilities combined with terrorist operations in a combat zone to achieve political goals. Hybrid warfare blurs the line between state and non-state actors, changes the forms of warfare, and traditional conceptual differences between terrorism, traditional hostilities, crime, and irregular military groups lose their practical significance.
In his definition, G. Russell сlaims: “Simultaneous and coordinated use by the enemy of a set of political, military, economic, social, information means and traditional, irregular, terrorist, subversive, criminal methods of warfare involving state and non-state sub objects.” (Russel, 2009).
In July 2014, NATO officially decided to use the term “hybrid war”. This was due, among other things, to the nature of the Russian-Ukrainian war. In the case of a hybrid war, it is a question of extending hostilities to the sphere of civilian life. That is, it is about the coordinated use of diplomatic, military, humanitarian, economic, technological and information means to achieve not peaceful but military goals. However, the fundamental nature of the war has not changed. The war is politically motivated and has its own logic and purpose: to protect their own interests and force the enemy to carry out their own will. The phenomenon of hybrid warfare is neither a new nor a purely Russian phenomenon. (Schauer, 2015). At the same time, it should be emphasized that there is no international legal definition of the term “hybrid war”. Its participants operate outside the legal field and use hybrid means instead of traditional ones, thus avoiding responsibility to the international community. Thus, “hybrid warfare” is a combination of overt and covert, regular and irregular, symmetrical and asymmetrical, military and non-military means to blur the line between the concepts of “war” and “peace” enshrined in international law. (Schauer, 2015).
In other words, it is the inverse use of various means to control the course of the conflict by “militarizing” the spheres of civilian life.
According to O. Tamminga, hybrid warfare is a synthesis of military and non-military means (diplomatic, economic, technological, humanitarian, information) used by state and non-state actors for the purpose of systematic and coordinated destabi-lization and attack on previously identified enemy weaknesses. The aim is to control the course of the conflict by militarizing the spheres of civilian life. (Tamminga, 2015). What researchers of hybrid warfare have in common is that they all consider it necessary to first study specific cases of this war, identify similarities and differences between them, and only then formulate a general concept.
Hybrid warfare is generally understood as actions that combine military, quasi-military, diplomatic, informational, economic and other means to achieve strategic political goals. The specificity of this combination is that each of the military and non-military methods of hybrid conflict is used for military purposes and used as a weapon. Weaponization occurs not only in the media sector. (Pomerantsev, 2014). The war is therefore called hybrid, because it is widely used and non-military means. The complex nature of the concept of “hybrid war” necessitates the development of a comprehensive interdisciplinary analytical approach that would integrate the methodological and metho-dological achievements of various sciences: political science, sociology, communication, linguistics, jurisprudence. It should be borne in mind, however, that such a task is complicated by differences in the subject area of individual sciences that deal with the same object – with hybrid warfare.
The two main questions to which the representatives of various sciences seek answers can be formulated as follows: 1) has the nature of modern war changed?; 2) are hybrid methods of warfare a fundamentally new form of military conflict, or is it really just a matter of applying new combinations, techniques and methods of warfare known since ancient times? There is still no final answer to this question. Some military theorists categorically deny hybrid wars their essential specificity, while others insist that such specificity exists. The term “hybrid” is unacceptable to many experts, as a result of which it can be used so widely that it loses its meaning. Evidence of the vagueness and uncertainty of the nature of modern military conflicts is the existence of numerous terms to denote them: hybrid war, “gray zone conflicts”, “gray wars”. Using these terms, the authors seek to distinguish modern wars from traditional ones. This terminological instability “makes some experts doubt whether it is worth talking about the emergence of new forms of warfare? Or perhaps it is more correct to consider the latest conflicts as the use of classic force and strategies, the effectiveness of which is enhanced by modern advanced technologies and combined with the conscious use of vulnerabilities in the security structures of the Western world?
Thus, we argue that modern forms of warfare create new military-legal, social, moral and ethical problems that need to be addressed.
Therefore, it is appropriate to interpret the name “hybrid war” as the umbrella term, describing the complexity of this phenomenon and enables comprehensive analysis of methodological approaches. The role of such a term is to “find common features of hybrid warfare and …. stimulate the search for theoretically sound and effective practical solutions.” (Horbulin, 2017).
In addition to the search for common features, this makes it possible to categorize wars on the principle of variable sets of common features. Interpretation of the term “hybrid war” as a collective concept makes it possible to use different terms in parallel (“hybrid combat”, “hybrid threats”, “hybrid enemy”) as synonyms. (Yavorska, 2016). The basis for this is a combination of traditional, non-traditional, military and non-military methods: whether as threats, or during real hostilities, or as an attribute of a potential or real aggressor. Today we can talk about the process of expanding the meaning of the concept of “hybrid war” as a new type of global confrontation.
Despite the diversity of issues and disciplinary approaches, all authors emphasize that the media play a key role in understanding the phenomena of “security” and “conflict”. However, there are some difficulties in creating a methodological framework for analyzing the coverage of military conflicts in the media. These difficulties are due to several factors. First, it is the interdisciplinary nature of research and the multidi-mensionality of the links between political players, the media and society. Second, the existing set of methodological tools and methodological approaches does not always adequately and comprehensively describe the interaction between political players, the media and society. Third is the lack of ongoing dialogue between theorists and practitioners in the fields of security, military affairs, and media technology.
One way to overcome these difficulties is to take an interdisciplinary approach to the coverage of military and political conflicts in the media. It allows you to integrate theories of different fields – international relations, conflict studies, political communication and journalism. For example, the application of theories of international relations makes it possible to consider a political or military conflict in a theoretical and historical-cultural context. Conflict studies provide a methodological basis for the analysis of the main parameters of the conflict. Communication and media studies theoretically substantiate changes in communication technologies, media functions and the role of journalists in covering political and military conflicts.
This diversity of approaches is certainly an advantage, but it also necessitates the consolidation of research efforts and the systematization of knowledge, as well as the development of methodological guidelines. The first steps in this direction were the magazine “Media, War & Conflict”, founded in 2008, and the collective work “Routledge Handbook of Media, Conflict and Security”, which was published in 2016.
If we assume that every military conflict has a cultural dimension, it will make it possible to understand how mediatized culture affects the processes of armed conflict. Recently, the attention of researchers has shifted from the problems of interstate relations, conflict, strategic planning towards the so-called. “Soft power” or “smart power”: culture, identity, values (Nye, 2009; Rough, 2008]. This was facilitated by the so-called “cultural turn”, which strengthened the position of poststructuralist and constructivist approaches to the issue of conflict and security (Bachmann, 2006; Hammond, 2007).
This “cultural turn” means that culture in general and media in particular form a certain “background meanings”, stressing the importance of some and diminishing the importance of other events, and in that way a significant impact on the scope of policy. (Weldes, 2003).
At the same time, it is fair to note that these authors, emphasizing the importance of culture for the socio-political sphere, do not dwell in detail on methods that allow to analyze textual (verbal and nonverbal) means by which culture and media “produce” certain meanings other audience reactions. Since the media produce meaning through media texts (verbal and visual), placing them in a certain context (“background”), the features of media texts (design, content, structure) significantly determine the processes of their interpretation and understanding by the audience.
Research on the relationship between the media and security issues is based on three principles about the nature of communication. First, to describe media communication in general, the transport metaphor is most often used: “news has flown around the world”, “at the intersection of information flows”, “speed”. If we talk about news communication, it is more accurately described by the model of the ritual. This or that news or image can be attractive to the consumer, however, and this is much more important, given the power relations and social order, the news is a daily recurring rituals of consumption of multi-layered narratives. Ritual processes of consumption and interpretation of news narratives are in the center of attention of researchers of the relationship between media and security. Repetition is important because media rituals form standardized frames for news and, consequently, stereotyped audience reactions. This in turn poses security threats.
Second, the study of the relationship between the media and security issues involves not only an analysis of several leading media, but also media culture in general, as the concept of media encompasses actors, technologies and the environment. Politicians, journalists and media consumers live in a multimodal, multinational and multilingual media environment, in which local, regional and global narratives and visions circulate, competing with each other and determining the various reactions and behavior of the audience .(Deuze, 2012).
Theses on communication as a ritual and media culture as a medium of interaction lead to the third foundation: the vagueness and uncertainty of the concept of “media power”. Establishing the agenda and determining the importance of security issues is no longer the prerogative of political elites alone. Repetitive rituals that change their form are mechanisms in the process of communication, which is now also involved in social media. (Gillespie, 2017). If some subjects skillfully use these rituals to convey “correct” messages to the target audience, which often interprets the news media in an unexpected and unpredictable way, depending on the cultural and political context. In addition, the hybrid model of communication (one – to – many + many – to – many) leads to the individualization of mass communication.
In conclusion we claim that new methodological approaches are needed to analyze the relationship between the media and security issues. They should adequately respond to changes not only in social and political reality, but also in discursive practices, visual and verbal means of communication. This interaction between the subjects of politics and media is not linear, reflecting both continuity and variability of political system. Therefore, research methods on media interaction and national or international security issues should be sensitive, flexible, iterative and reflective. They should reflect the dynamics of this interaction and new ways of communication between social and political players, the media and their audience.
- Bachmann-Medick, D. (2006). Cultural Turns. Neuorientierungen in den Kulturwissenschaften, Reinbek b. Hamburg:
- Deuze, M. (2012). Media Life. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.
- Gillespie, M. & O’Loughlin, B (2017). The Media-Security Nexus. Researching ritualized cycles of insecurity. Robinson, R. Fröhlich (Eds.) Routledge Handbook of Media, Conflict and Security (pp.51-67). London: Routledge.
- Hammond, P. (2007). Media, War and Postmodernity. London: Routledge.
- Горбулін, В.П. (ред.). (2017). Світова гібридна війна: український фронт. К.: НІСД.
- Яворська, Г. М. (2016). Концепт «війна»: семантика і прагматика. Стратегічні пріоритети. Серія : Філософія, (1) 14-23.
- Nemeth, W.J. (2002). Future war and Chechnya: a case for hybrid warfare. Monterey: Naval Postgraduate Retrieved from https://calhoun.nps.edu/handle/10945/5865
- Nye, J.S. (2008) The Power to Lead: Soft, Hard and Smart Power, New York: Oxford University
- Pomerantsev, P. & Weiss, M. (2014). Menace of Unreality: How the Kremlin Weaponizes Information, Culture and Money. Retrieved from http://www.interpretermag.com/the-menace-of-unreality-how-the-kremlin-weaponizes-information-culture-and-money/
- Robinson, Piers & Fröhlich, (Eds.) (2016). Routledge Handbook of Media, Conflict and Security. London, New York: Routledge.
- Rough, W.A. (2009). The Case of Soft Power. Philip Seib (E). Toward a New Public Diplomacy: Redirecting US Foreign Policy (pp.173-194). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
- Schaurer, F. (2015). Alte Neue Kriege. Anmerkungen zur hybriden Kriegsführung. Retrieved from http:// erh-koeln.de/download_2017/weissbuch_2016/florian_schaurer.pdf
- Tamminga, O. (2015). Hybride Kriegsführung. Zur Einordnung einer aktuellen Erscheinungsform des SWP Aktuell, (27). Berlin: Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, Deutsches Institut für internationale Politik und Sicherheit. Retrieved from https://www.swp-berlin.org/fileadmin/contents/products/aktuell/2015 A27_tga.pdf
- Walker, R.G. (1998) SPEC FI: the United States Marine Corps and Special Operations. Thesis. Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California. Retrieved fromhttps://calhoun.nps.edu/bitstream/handle/10 945/8989/specfiunitedstat00walk.pdf?sequence=1
- Weldes, J. (2003). Popular Culture, Science Fiction and World Politics: Exploring Intertextual Relations. J. Weldes (E) To Seek Out New Worlds: Exploring Links Between Science Fiction and World Politics, (pp.1-27). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
* Department of New Media, Lviv University