Retired General Jack Keane spent over 37 years in the United States Army, serving in conflicts from the Vietnam War to U.S. engagements in the Balkans and Somalia. But he is perhaps best known as one of the individuals who helped develop President George W. Bush’s 2007“surge” — the deployment of over 21,000 additional troops to Iraq warzone.
If Iraq was a conflict defined by unconventional warfare, since the start of the war in Ukraine, public attention has shifted towards “hybrid warfare.”
Hromadske sat down with Gen. Keane to discuss this new buzzword and the disinformation that has characterized the conflict.
So my first question would be about hybrid war, about this notion and about what kind of hybrid war can you observe in Ukraine and Russia?
What we're seeing in Ukraine is a new generation of warfare, which has blurred the lines between peace and war. And the characteristics of it is ambiguity, proxy forces, hybrid forces, significant disinformation and psychological operations campaigns, an attempt to keep the United States and Ukrainian allies at a distance, to deter them from participating. This is a new kind of warfare and as a result of it the world has to make an adjustment to it.
What about disinformation? What's the role of disinformation in this new type of war we are talking about?
Disinformation is a major campaign along with psychological operations. To impact opposition forces on the ground, the Russians are using it for that purpose. Also to impact the people inside the country themselves. And also, the third audience is clearly Ukrainian allies; the United States. To force them to be a bystander as opposed to a participant. And largely, this campaign, particularly when it concerns the United States and allies has been successful. Also, disinformation is used by the Russians for their people at home. They are characterizing this aggressive activity in Ukraine as an absolute necessity to contain Ukrainian aggression that is being backed by the United States and its allies, and it's a necessity for the protection and security of the Russian people. And that's absolute rubbish. That is a bald-faced lie. And they use that lie to keep the support for Putin and his policies from the Russian people themselves.
/By Tetiana Ogarkova