THE TRANSPERSONAL WAR –
CONSTITUENT OF THE HYBRID WAR1
“The empires of the future are the empires of the mind.”
Abstract. The study highlights aspects of the hybrid war waged by the Russian Federation in order to maintain, strengthen its areas of influence, penetrating areas inaccessible by classical means. The paper brings to the fore the nationalist interests, characteristics, objectives, tools and means used by the Russians in the current hybrid war. Using a reflective logic regarding the fact that there is a current of opinion in the US Armed Forces that argues that the real challenge for the United States is not the asymmetric war but the Transcendent War, I express the opinion that the Russian Federation also considers this issue. In this context, I draw attention to the research conducted in Romania on Distal Psychoinformational Influence as an offensive-defensive weapon that manifests itself without material support and acts subliminally, transcendently, in operations of knowledge, influence, domination and control of the opponent, both psychoemotional as well as somatic.
“…a hybrid war is a confrontation between States, where one of those States are trying to subordinate the other by various means: economic, informational, historical memory… that is a war in which military actions are not the priority, but only have the role of a catalyst.” (Mahda, 2016).
The belligerent action is not carried out to conquer territories but is a struggle for the minds, thinking, attitudes and behaviors of the inhabitants of the States concerned.
Regarding the war phenomenon from the perspective of military strategy we can show that “there will be no more wars similar to those in the past, but there will be a new type of war. The new type of war will differ from the others, so its internal elements will be based on principles much different by the previous ones, which need to be identified and defined.
The third-generation wars put in operation the principle of maneuver, given by technological power and speed. ”
“Wars of the FIFTH generation…?” (Frunzeti, T.)
As it is foreseeable – and reality tends to confirm – future wars will not resemble those of the past. Hybrid Warfare is the new type of war, quasi different from the other known armed confrontations.
Its principles are different, are much changed from previous ones, its basal, internal elements define an expanded war in all known areas: political and economic, as well as social and cultural, military but also – especially – mental.
The trend that is currently manifested is to generalize the definition of the Hybrid Warfare with reference to certain manifestations that characterize the new conflicts that awaken the concerns of the West, all in temporal and geopolitical specificities, not always well delimited.
There are opinions that, in substance, there is no “war” in the true sense of the word but specific forms of diversions carried out to prepare the ground for future armed actions.
After Chivvis (2017), Hybrid Warfare has as the main actor Russia, which uses a diverse range of subversive elements which, in the overwhelming part, are non-military.
Moscow’s nationalist interests are promoted using hybrid warfare for:
Undermine pro-Western governments.
Create new war pretexts.
Access the European Economic Area through specific methods.
Hoffman (2007) inspired from the specifics of the Lebanon conflict in 2006 between Israel and Hezbollah to define the hybrid warfare. He defined a Hybrid adversary as: “Any opponent who simultaneously uses and adapts a mixture of conventional weapons, irregular tactics, terrorism and criminal behavior in the battle space in order to achieve the desired political goals.”
In turn, McCuen (2008) started defining the hybrid warfare from the internal conflicts characteristic to the “torment of birth” of Iraq and Afghanistan. More recently, phenomenon of hybrid warfare was highlighted by the specifics of Russian activities in Donbas and Crimea.
Recognizing that Russia would have little chance of winning by prolonging the conventional conflict with NATO, Moscow seeks to pursue its interests without using, if possible, military power.
2. Is persistent
Hybrid warfare breaks down the traditional binary delimitation between war and peace.
The reality of the hybrid war is constantly changing the intensity of the conflict.
Hybrid warfare strategies are always in progress, although at certain times they can become more acute and more intense or more crucial than conventional combat operations.
3. Is oriented towards the population
The Russians have realized the importance of an approach aimed at influencing the population of target countries through information operations, proxy groups and other influence operations.
The annexation of Crimea in 2014 was largely based on Russian Special Forces – green little people, on the pursuit of the Russian proxies’ campaign, created circumstances for the takeover of Crimea.
Russia used similar tactics before 2008 in the invasion of Georgia. The results of the frozen conflicts in Ukraine and Georgia have prevented these countries’ efforts of integration in Western Europe.
In an allocation of modern warfare, the Head of the Russian General Staff, Valery Gerasimov claimed that in modern conflicts the non-military means are used 400% than conventional military measures (Voyenno-Promyshlennyy Kurier, February 26, 2013).
2. Production of pretexts for direct and conventional military actions
The annexation of the Crimea Peninsula by Russia has caused concern that the Kremlin could try to use a hybrid strategy to create a pretext for military action elsewhere, such as the Baltic States. Russia could seek, on the basis of the disagree-ment between the Russian minority and the majority population in a country like Estonia, to create a narrative describing the Estonian government as a repressive one. Exploiting this narrative would justify Russian military intervention on behalf of the Russian minority.
Most likely, this type of operation would be accompanied by cyber and media operations to amplify tensions or complicating national and NATO responses. These actions will be accompanied by efforts to influence European and global opinion in ways that would favor Russia’s intervention. In the field, it would involve the use of Russian secret agents and proxy groups.
3. Influencing policies and politicians in Western and other parts
of the world through hybrid processes
It is the most pressing challenge for Western governments, including the United States. The Kremlin does not attempt to use hybrid strategies as replacements of military actions or as precursors of war, it seeks to ensure that policies in the countries concerned serve Russia’s national interests.
Russia has become much more effective in using the communication strategy to shape political narrations in many countries. Russia Today and Sputnik News are among the most prominent vectors for this strategy.
The objective of these information operations is, in the first place, the distur-bance of the waters and questions the objective truths, aiming at shaping the political discussion in ways that will benefit the Kremlin.
Russia uses advanced cyber tools to directly manipulate or affect in different ways the information systems on which Western political processes are based. The Kremlin is increasing the number of cyber warriors, which allows it to penetrate Western intelligence systems to collect valuable information such as those used in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign.
Proxies are groups that have a wide sympathy towards Russia’s goals.
A typical Kremlin proxy is the Night Wolves, a biker club and an ultranatio-nalist, anti-American band whose leader is President Putin’s close friend. The exact role of Night Wolves is uncertain, although it can be used to intimidate the population and can facilitate a number of hybrid activities behind the scenes.
Russia is also trying to exploit European protest movements. For example, it supported the anti-European groups in Holland in the 2016 referendum on trade with Ukraine.
The Kremlin is suspected for supporting the movement against shale gas – the anti-shale gas – and other protest movements in Bulgaria that have complicated Bulgaria’s efforts in reducing dependence on Russian energy sources.
Russia uses direct and indirect economic influence to affect European policy.
Moscow used energy as a foreign policy tool when it closed gas supplies to Ukraine in the winter of 2006 and 2009. This obviously constrained Ukraine to reach a profitable agreement with Moscow on the price of natural gas.
Russia has also provided large-scale investments to build energy pipelines and other infrastructures in the European countries, which depend on the provision of Russian energy as a means of increasing influence – often by means of obscure transactions.
Taking advantage of the vast natural network, gas pipelines built in Soviet times, the Gazprom colossus exerts its influence on the policies and the economy of many European countries.
In order to sustain their interests, Russia uses traditional espionage as part of hybrid methods, bribing and scamming or racketeering in an attempt to influence vulnerable policies.
Russia has invested in strengthening its special operations’ forces for infiltrating other countries and promoting hybrid warfare there.
Russian military intelligence’s services instigated in 2016 the plot to overthrow Montenegro’s pro-NATO government.
Special Russian forces were crucial in the confiscation of Crimea and the support of the separatists in Donbass and probably operating in several NATO allied countries.
Russian leaders use traditional diplomacy to support political parties and can-didates, offering high-level visits to Moscow and other facilities, trying to sustain their assertions, while strengthening the positions of political leaders which criticize Moscow.
Behind these levers lies the traditional Russian default threat, and last but not least, the nuclear force, Russia’s top military capabilities are the backdrop to which the hybrid war is being conducted.
In the US Armed Forces is a current of opinion that argues that the real challenge for the United States is not asymmetric warfare, but the Transcendent Warfare (Transpersonal Warfare), a new form of war that “transcend” all known models and it is claimed that the first nation or group or entity, which updates the requirements of transcendent warfare, will possess a strategic advantage, which might prove insurmountable!
At this point, Transcendent Warfare / Transpersonal war seems inconceivable or even impossible because the concept is somehow outside the usual parameters of the daily reality. Despite these appearances, the concrete observations and scientific research carried out, through the irrefutable results achieved penetrate the barrier of the daily existential reality and the known and quasi-unanimous accepted principles of knowledge in the current scientific knowledge.
The Transpersonal war is accomplished by what we have called the Psycho-Informational Distal Influence (PsiDI) (Manolea, 2013) acting kinetic as subliminal mental influence without material support and can be regarded as an extension of human communication. It is a real weapon used both in the offensive battle for the knowledge, influence, control and domination of the opponent, and on the defensive for the protection of their own troops at all the echelons. This weapon is used against the enemy influencing it both on the psycho-emotional and somatic plane.
As a functional way, the Psycho-Informational Distal Influence (PsiDI) (Manolea, 2015) is explained by terms of mental quantum coupling that emphasize that cerebral activity, so also the emotional, somatic state and behavior of a person can be under the mental control of another person specifically prepared to perform this action without the need for a somatic-sensory contact.
Influencing the enemy – especially at the command level – in order to alter the decision-making capacities.
Weakening of the enemy’s fighting capacity.
Protection of own troops from enemy influences.
The characteristics of the Psycho-Informational Distal Influence (PsiDI) actions according to the taxonomic of military actions, as well as in the context of the action areas system in the armed struggle, are as follows:
Acts at the level of the fighter’s psyche.
Does not require material interventions in the operational field.
Targets are remote to (PsiDI) operators – they are spatial and sensory insulated from the enemy’s combative force.
Electronic warfare has no influence on actions taken that cannot be jammed.
The secret of combat actions is ensured throughout their activities.
Military offensive / defensive actions of distal psycho-informational influence have a specific operation mode.
This paper we consider to be a continuation of our own efforts to be able to give way to the possible direction of action in the future, in order to make it possible to identify practical ways of action with valences yet unexploited and which are less known and even unsuspected about the possibilities of the military actor in the Trans-personal War using Psycho-Informational Distal Influence (PsiDI) (Manolea, 2016). Perhaps it will be a first step towards managing an organized and efficient framework both for protection against this aspect of the hybrid war that poses a real threat and for the specific preparation of PsiDI operators to create a valid operational structure.
1. Chivvis, C.S. Understanding Russian “Hybrid Warfare” and What Can be Done about It. The RAND Corporation2 Before the Committee on Armed Services United States House of Representatives March 22, 2017.
5. Manolea, A. „Cercetarea experimentală a influenţei psihoinformaţionale distale, The Inter-national Conference STRATEGII XXI: Complexitatea şi dinamismul mediului de securitate, Centrul de Studii Strategice de Apărare şi Securitate, Bucureşti, 11-12 iunie 2015.
7. Manolea, A. The Possible War of the Future: Transcendent Warfare, at The 9th International Conference Strategies XXI, ‘Technologies – Military Applications, Simulations and Resources’ Bucharest, November 14-15, 2013.
8. Mc Cuen McCuen, John J. Hybrid Wars. Military Review. Mar/Apr 2008, Vol. 88 Issue 2, pp. 107-113.
9. Voyenno-Promyshlennyy Kurier, February 26, 2013.
1 This paper is made under the auspices of The Romanian Academy of Scientists, Splaiul Independenţei nr. 54, sector 5, 050094 Bucharest, Romania
Major (res), PhD in Psychology, PhD in Military Science, D.Sc. in Complementary medicine, Associate Member of Romanian Academy of Scientists, Associate Professor of Hyperion University