December 13, 2016

The United States and Russia Are Already at War

By Alex Velez-Green

The United States and Russia are already at war. At least, that’s what many in Moscow seem to think. This war is not fought like past conflicts. It’s prosecuted today primarily by non-military means. But, the secondary role of military operations does not lessen the danger it poses to U.S. strategic interests. Moscow is targeting the United States in ways that sidestep America’s traditional understanding of warfare. Its seeks to cripple the United States, shatter NATO, and fill the void left by America’s absence. President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration may offer opportunities to de-escalate the confrontation. But doing so successfully will depend on Washington’s ability to adapt to Moscow’s novel way of war.

U.S. policymakers tend to view war as being limited to the military arena. Their counterparts in Moscow increasingly see things differently. There is in Russia a rising awareness that non-military means can be used with devastating effect. These non-military tools range from cyber-attacks to information campaigns to economic sanctions. Russian strategists no longer define warfare solely—or even primarily—by the deployment, distribution, and maneuver of troops in the field. They see warfare instead as the combined use of political, diplomatic, informational, economic, and—to a lesser extent—military efforts to destabilize the enemy, undermine their ability to respond in a timely manner, and exploit asymmetries to nullify any adversary military advantages.

Read the full article at Small Wars Journal.

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