Opinion: The Skripal case and common sense
There has been no shortage of analysis of the Skripal case and possible Russian motivations for poisoning the former spy. They all fall flat: the Kremlin had no motive to commit such a crime. A little common sense is all one needs to conclude that whoever did wanted to escalate the conflict between Russia and the West even further.
Opinion: Russia’s possible motivations in the Skripal case
It is widely accepted that Russia was behind the poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal. But the question remains why it should commit such an act, with so little to gain. Several explanations are plausible – that it was an attempt by President Vladimir Putin to show he is in control, or a gambit by his enemies to undermine him. Perhaps most worrisome, however, is the possibility that it was an escalation of Russia’s hybrid war with the West.
Energy cybersecurity: The need for effective resilience
Despite repeated warnings of a “digital Pearl Harbor,” advanced economies such as the United States and the European Union are more exposed to cyberattacks than ever. These vulnerabilities can be traced to the spread of new digital technologies, the electrification of transport and heating systems, robotics and artificial intelligence. That puts a premium on efficient cybersecurity strategies based on a layered defense in depth, focused on mitigating the effects of attacks and allowing faster recovery of critical infrastructure.
Wars no longer between states
Warfare has entered a stage where the parties engaged are no longer easily recognizable as states. Some security experts have even gone so far as to say that the era of war between states has come to an end and that this is a good thing. The latter is a very dubious claim.
Opinion: Do not underestimate Russia’s fear
Russia is at a dead end. Paralyzed by fear that the process of its disintegration that began with the collapse of the Soviet Union has not run its course yet, Russia’s ruling elite is uncertain of the country’s future and its own legitimacy. Hence the besieged fortress mentality, aggressive posture abroad and oppressive policies at home. Perceiving reforms as risky, the Russian civilization concentrates its waning energy on trying to maintain the status quo.
Opinion: Defense is essential
Every state above a certain size needs armed forces to defend itself. Methods for their use vary, ranging from the Swiss model of territorial defense to the blue-water navies, foreign alliances and overseas bases deployed by superpowers. The one common element – essential to any sort of effective deterrence – is the political will to fight.
The U.S. military’s skeptical response to hybrid warfare
Hybrid warfare has been a hot concept in the military and security community since the mid-2000s. But it has not made much of a dent on U.S. military doctrine, which is more concerned with urban warfare and its own theory of “multi-domain battle.” At the strategic level, American planners do not consider hybrid warfare as an operating principle – just one of a plethora of threats they must face.
The fog of cybersecurity
A worldwide surge of sophisticated cyberattacks has alarmed business, governments and experts alike. As long as it remains difficult to identify the attackers, while offensive cyber tools become more commonplace and easily available, one can expect such assaults to increase. Disruptive attacks on critical infrastructures have already crossed the “red lines” of past forecasts. Even so, we may still be underestimating the threat.