Mr B?rzi?š outlines eight phases in this “new” kind of warfare (which to me seems rather like the tactics used by Hitler in the 1930s). First is to prepare the ground – or rather, to tilt the playing field – by a mixture of economic, political, diplomatic and psychological pressure. Next come operations to confuse the already weakened political and military leadership of the targeted country, with leaks and disinformation to degrade their decision-making abilities. Third comes intimidation and bribery so that state officials do not carry out their orders and duties. Fourth is destabilising tactics aimed at the population, using propaganda to whip up discontent among the population, and groups of trained provocateurs (who may be intelligence officers, private contractors, or political activists).
Fifth come blockades, perhaps in the form of no-fly zones, or on the ground with the siege and occupation (by contractors and disguised special forces – the “men in green” seen in Ukraine) of military bases and government buildings. Sixth are cyber-attacks, covert deployment of special forces, industrial sabotage, intense diplomatic pressure and propaganda aimed at the outside world. Only then does something close to old-style warfare break out, with (seventh) the use of precision munitions, but also those based on electro-magnetic radiation and non-lethal biological weapons. The eighth phase is to eliminate remaining points of resistance – identified by special forces and then attacked with advanced weapons and if necessary airborne assault.
NATO, on a good day, would respond to stages seven and eight if they were used against a member country. But not the first six. And if those have gone well, any outside military response will be too late.