I’m sharing the English version of the interview that I gave to Sputnik Brasil, which was originally published in Portuguese on 9 November under the title “Fração ‘liberal-globalista’ do PT pode ser usada em guerra híbrida dos EUA, alerta Korybko”.
1. Could you briefly describe what Hybrid Warfare is? How did you elaborate the concept? In your opinion, what are the textbook cases of Hybrid Warfare adoption in the 21st century?
The simplest explanation of Hybrid Warfare is that it’s the external manipulation of a targeted country aimed at coercing its leadership into unilaterally conceding on its objective interests with respect to whatever the aggressor is demanding. It can therefore take many forms, including sanctions, Color Revolutions, Unconventional Warfare, and information warfare, et al. For this reason, there exist many examples of it thus far this century, but the most dramatic ones where multiple forms of Hybrid Warfare were employed against the targeted state concern Russia, Ukraine, Syria, and Iran.
2. Is regime change always the ultimate goal of Hybrid Warfare, or can it be applied with other objectives?
There are generally three goals that are pursued through Hybrid Warfare: Regime Tweaking (specific policy changes); Regime Change (self-explanatory); and/or Regime Reboot (far-reaching constitutional changes that aim to “Balkanize” the targeted country). The US Government-backed protests organized by the “Open Society Foundation” against Hungarian Prime Minister Orban are an example of the first; the second was seen with respect to the Western-backed spree of urban terrorism known as “EuroMaidan”; while the last is actively being pursued as part of the West’s “solution” to the Syrian War.
3. Your book had a significant impact on Brazilian International Relations studies. Did you know that? Why do you think Brazilians embraced your theory?
Yes, I’m aware and very humbled that so many Brazilians have been so receptive to my work. I’m deeply grateful and appreciate it with all my heart. It means a lot to me that my insight could inform Brazilians about the complexities of Hybrid Warfare. I believe that the reason why my work is so popular is because it provides a frame of reference for understanding US meddling there over the last decade, which many had previously struggled to explain in a comprehensive way. Brazilians are also a very worldly people so I think that they appreciated how my work helps explain other foreign crises too.
4. Do you personally believe that the political crisis that led to the ousting of Dilma Rousseff from power was a result of Hybrid Warfare?
Absolutely, there’s no doubt that it was the result of the US’ Hybrid War on Brazil. Weaponized corruption scandals caused by US intelligence’s intervention in Brazil’s domestic politics catalyzed a sequence of events that Washington subsequently shaped in order to remove the Workers’ Party from power. This was done in an attempt to cripple Brazil’s strategic sovereignty that this party was responsible for strengthening during its time in office. The end goal was to turn this South American giant into a vassal state whose resources could be ruthlessly exploited for preserving US hegemony.
5. Your book divides hybrid warfare into three stages: Color Revolutions, mobilization of non-State armed groups and, finally, direct military intervention. The Brazilian case suggests yet another stage: lawfare. What is your opinion on the concept of lawfare? Is it another tool of hybrid warfare?
Lawfare is the exploitation of legal means to achieve political-strategic ends and was thus indisputably employed in the US’ Hybrid War on Brazil as explained in the preceding answer. The scandals brought about by US intelligence’s intervention in Brazil’s domestic politics established the pretext for protests whose optics were subsequently weaponized to discredit the Workers’ Party at home and abroad. In terms of Hybrid War theory, lawfare is a highly flexible tool because it can provoke Color Revolutions as well as provide a powerful boost to information warfare and regime change campaigns.
6. The concept of Hybrid Warfare seems quite open-ended and sometimes used as an umbrella to fit all non-conventional warfare tools. When does a Hybrid Warfare operation end?
Truthfully speaking, Hybrid Warfare is ubiquitous in modern-day life. At the very least, weaponized information warfare narratives from abroad can easily permeate targeted societies due to social media, and the enduring legacy of Western-centric globalization makes most states susceptible to economic warfare. Both can contribute to Color Revolutions, be it directly or indirectly, respectively. Going forward, most countries are expected to educate their people about the basics of Hybrid Warfare in order to reduce the chances that their citizens are misled through these means.
7. In the Brazilian case, the fact that Lula won the presidential elections and will bring the Workers Party back to power means that Hybrid Warfare was defeated in the country?
No, it just means that the US’ Hybrid War on Brazil will evolve into new forms. Particularly, the liberal-globalist faction within the Workers’ Party that’s most closely connected to the US’ Democrat Party poses the greatest internal threat at the moment. That’s because it’s ideologically driven to advance goals that contradict the socialist and pro-sovereignty ones that are officially pursued by the party. The US doesn’t even have to directly meddle in this respect since that faction is capable of derailing the Workers’ Party’s agenda on its own due to its Democrat-aligned vision even if it isn’t aware of its role.
8. In your opinion, how should a state like Brazil combat hybrid warfare?
All states should educate their citizens about the basics of Hybrid Warfare so that they become aware of how seemingly innocent interactions like those on social media and processes like globalization can be exploited by external actors to destabilize their society. At the same time, however, folks mustn’t feel pressured into eschewing their right to protest and conduct foreign trade. Ideally, the population will achieve a degree of “Hybrid War literacy” that’ll help them avoid being taken advantage of as “useful idiots” while still feeling comfortable exercising their rights.
9. In your book, you suggest that the US has adopted Hybrid Warfare as its preferential tool to achieve its political goals in the XXI century. Did this change at all after the beginning of the Russian operation in Ukraine? Is the new geopolitical context going to change the American toolkit?
Hybrid Warfare is always evolving, and considering that the basic concept thereof with respect to meddling in foreign states has been practiced since time immemorial, it’s predicted that these tactics and strategies will remain enduring no matter what happens anywhere in the world. Regarding Russia’s special operation, this served as the pretext for the US to impede Moscow’s agricultural exports to the Global South through sanctions. The resultant consequences could predictably create fertile grounds for waging Hybrid Warfare against those states as punishment for their leaders refusing to sanction Russia.
The interview was originally published in Portuguese at Sputnik Brasil on 9 November under the title “Fração ‘liberal-globalista’ do PT pode ser usada em guerra híbrida dos EUA, alerta Korybko”.