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Andrew Korybko reveals the strategic patterns behind Hybrid War, predicting the next theaters of conflict and the vulnerable geopolitical triggers within them.

Excerpt from Hybrid Wars by Andrew Korybko (Arktos, 2022).

Hybrid Warfare is one of the most significant strategic developments ever spearheaded by the US, and the transitioning of Color Revolutions to Unconventional Wars is expected to dominate destabilizing trends in the coming decades. Those unaccustomed to approaching geopolitics from the Hybrid War perspective might struggle to guess the next location of this strategy’s implementation, but it is not that difficult to identify the regions and countries that are most at risk of falling victim to it. The key to the forecast is in accepting that Hybrid Wars are externally provoked asymmetrical conflicts, predicated on sabotaging concrete geo-economic interests. Proceeding from this starting point, predicting where they might strike next becomes a simple matter.

Hybrid Wars are always preceded by a period of societal and structural preconditioning.

This series of articles begins by explaining the patterns behind Hybrid War, deepening the reader’s comprehension of its strategic contours. Afterwards, we will prove how the previously elaborated framework has been at play during the US’ wars in Syria and Ukraine, its first two Hybrid War victims. The next article reviews all of the lessons that have been learned thus far and applies them in forecasting the next theaters of Hybrid War and the most vulnerable geopolitical triggers within them. Subsequent additions to the series will focus on those regions and convey why they are so strategically and socio-politically vulnerable to becoming the next victims of the US’ postmodern warfare.

Patterning the Hybrid War

The first thing that one needs to know about Hybrid Wars is that they are never unleashed against an American ally or anywhere that the US has premier pre-existing infrastructural interests. The chaotic processes that are unleashed during this postmodern regime change ploy are impossible to fully control and could potentially engender the same type of geopolitical blowback against the US that Washington is trying to, either directly or indirectly, channel towards its multipolar rivals. Correspondingly, this is why the US will never attempt Hybrid War anywhere in which its interest is “too big to fail.” Such an assessment is, however, contemporaneously relative and could quickly change depending on the geopolitical circumstances. Nevertheless, it remains a general rule of thumb that the US will never intentionally sabotage its own interests unless there is a scorched-earth benefit in doing so during a theater-wide retreat. Saudi Arabia could conceivably fall into this context if the US is ever pushed out of the Middle East.

Geostrategic-Economic Determinants

Before addressing the geo-economic underpinnings of Hybrid War, it is important to state that the US also has geostrategic concerns as well, such as entrapping Russia in a predetermined quagmire. The “Reverse Brzezinski,” as the author has taken to calling it, is simultaneously applicable to Eastern Europe through Donbas, the Caucasus through Nagorno-Karabakh, and Central Asia through the Fergana Valley. If synchronized through timed provocations, then this triad of traps could prove lethally efficient in permanently ensnaring the Russian bear. This Machiavellian scheme will always remain a risk because it is premised on an irrefutable geopolitical reality. The best that Moscow can do is try to preempt the concurrent conflagration of its post-Soviet periphery, or promptly and properly respond to American-provoked crises the moment they emerge. The geostrategic elements of Hybrid War are thus somewhat inextricable from the geo-economic ones, especially in the case of Russia, but in making the examined pattern more broadly pertinent to other targets, such as China and Iran, it is necessary to omit the “Reverse Brzezinski” stratagem as a prerequisite and instead focus more on the economic motivations that the US has in each instance.

Once the US has identified its target, it begins searching for the structural vulnerabilities that it will exploit in the coming Hybrid War.

This template can clearly be seen in Syria and Ukraine and is the Law of Hybrid Warfare. The specific tactics and political technologies utilized in each destabilization may differ, but the strategic concept remains true to this basic tenet. Taking this end goal into account, it is now possible to move from the theoretical into the practical and begin tracing the geographic routes of various projects that the US wants to target. To qualify, the multipolar transnational connective projects being referred to could be either energy-based, institutional, or economic, and the more overlap there is among these three categories, the more likely it is that a Hybrid War scenario is being planned for a given country.

Socio-Political Structural Vulnerabilities

Once the US has identified its target, it begins searching for the structural vulnerabilities that it will exploit in the coming Hybrid War. Contextually, these are not physical objects to be sabotaged, such as power plants and roads (although they too are noted, albeit by different destabilization teams), but socio-political characteristics that are meant to be manipulated in order to attractively emphasize a certain demographic’s “separateness” from the existing national fabric and thus “legitimize” their forthcoming foreign-managed revolt against the authorities. The following are the most common socio-political structural vulnerabilities as they relate to the preparation for Hybrid War, and if each of them can be tied to a specific geographic location, then they become much more likely to be used as galvanizing magnets in the run-up to the Color Revolution and as preliminary territorial demarcations for the Unconventional Warfare aspect afterwards:

  1. Ethnicity
  2. Religion
  3. History
  4. Administrative boundaries
  5. Socio-economic disparity
  6. Physical geography

The greater the overlap that can be achieved among each of these factors, the stronger the Hybrid War’s potential energy becomes, with each overlapping variable exponentially multiplying the coming campaign’s overall viability and “staying power.”


Hybrid Wars are always preceded by a period of societal and structural preconditioning. The first type deals with the informational and soft power aspects that maximize the key demographics’ acceptance of the oncoming destabilization and guide them into believing that some type of action (or passive acceptance of others thereof) is required in order to change the present state of affairs. The second type concerns the various tricks that the US resorts to in order to have the target government unintentionally aggravate the various socio-political differences that have already been identified, with the goal of creating cleavages of identity resentment that are then more susceptible to societal preconditioning and subsequent NGO-directed political organizing (linked in most cases to the Soros Foundation and/or National Endowment for Democracy).

The most commonly employed tactic is sanctions, the implicit goal of which has always been to “make life more difficult” for the average citizen so that he or she becomes more amenable to the idea of regime change.

To expand on the tactics of structural preconditioning, the most commonly employed and globally recognized one is sanctions, the implicit goal of which (although not always successful) has always been to “make life more difficult” for the average citizen so that he or she becomes more amenable to the idea of regime change and is thus more easily shepherded into acting upon these externally instilled impulses. Less known, however, are the more oblique, yet presently and almost ubiquitously implemented, methods of achieving this goal, and this surrounds the power that the US has to affect certain budgetary functions of targeted states, namely the amount of revenue that they receive and what precisely they spend it on.

The global slump in energy and overall commodity prices has hit exporting states extraordinarily hard, many of which are disproportionately dependent on selling such resources in order to satisfy their fiscal ends, and the decrease in revenue almost always leads to eventual cuts in social spending. Parallel with this, some states are facing American-manufactured security threats that they are forced to urgently respond to, thus necessitating them to unexpectedly budget more money to their defense programs that could have otherwise been invested in social ones. On their own, each of these “tracks” is designed to decrease the government’s social expenditure so as to incubate the medium-term conditions necessary for enhancing the prospects of a Color Revolution, the first stage of Hybrid Warfare. In the event that a state experiences both limited revenue intake and an unexpected need to hike its defense budget, this would have a compound effect on cutting social services and might even push the Color Revolution timeframe forward from the medium- to short-term, depending on the severity of the resultant domestic crisis and the success that the American-influenced NGOs have in politically organizing the previously examined identity blocs against the government.

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Andrew Korybko

Andrew Korybko is a Moscow-based American political analyst, journalist and regular contributor to several online journals, as well as a member of the expert council for the Institute of Strategic Studies and Predictions at the People’s Friendship University of Russia. He has published various works in the field of Hybrid Wars, including Hybrid Wars: The Indirect Adaptive Approach to Regime Change and The Law of Hybrid War: Eastern Hemisphere.

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11 months ago

Nevertheless, it remains a general rule of thumb that the US will never intentionally sabotage its own interests unless there is a scorched-earth benefit in doing so during a theater-wide retreat.

The retreat from Afghanistan leaving behind a fortune in weapons at first seemed to violate this. Until you recall the Biden types long ties to Mujahadeen.

Now with border conflict emerging between the Taliban and Iran leaving those weapons behind may not have been an error at all.

11 months ago

Historically, Hybrid and 5GW seem to be the traditional elements of warfare extended into mass political-economic participation.
Sanctions and embargoes are latter day seige and blockade.
Propagnda simialry augments the scheming previously accomplished via diplomatic notes, treaties and conferences. Beligerants always isolated their enemies via diplomacy before hostilities or, at least, should try. Bismarck’s Ems Telegram might be seen as a sort of 5GW ploy, however inadvertant.
Color Revolution is just subversion and dirty poltics.
George Washinton had his spies and no few have accused Harry Hopkins of being a Soviet asset.
Of course, the patterns have changed with circumstances, but might this have produced merely a change in priorites rather than anything new?

19th Century politics was largely handled by aristocracy who declared war with less domestic concern than today, but more than duirng previous century. Mass armeis still largely obeyed conscription notices.
By the 20th Century, gov’ts had to arouse their own people to fight before even considering conscription but had little trouble doing it. People beleived their gov’ts.
America lost Viet Nam for failing to do just that.
Today, I doubt America could conscript while Russia still can despie Afghanistan.
Is this as much as to say that Amrica is really more suseptible to color revolution than Russia?

11 months ago
Reply to  sakovkt

Color Revolution isn’t just subversion and dirty politics, although that’s part of it.

If you want to study the concept start with Gene Sharp’s books. There are also some okay YouTube documentaries about him.

It’s always good to take our enemies ideas seriously.

Gene Sharp – Wikipedia

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