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The Increasing Importance of Hybrid Politics in Europe: Cyber Power Is Changing the Nature of Politics

Strategic Security Analysis - 2018

Author(s):

Prof Jarno Limnéll

Mr Aapo Cederberg

Release Date:

March 2018

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Europe is becoming increasingly digital – and the development of digitalisation and emerging technologies is accelerating. Cyberspace has become an indispensable area of human activity, a sphere of regular security breaches and data threats, and an arena for inter-state conflict. 

This paper examines the concepts of cyber politics and cyber-enabled hybrid warfare. It pays specific attention to the vulnerabilities of modern Western societies from a strategic-political perspective. The paper concludes that instead of cyber politics as such, a new kind of politics is needed – hybrid politics. Hybrid politics will be presented as a potentially winning concept for European security.

Key Points

  • Issues related to cyberspace and its uses have risen to the highest levels of international politics, creating an area and discipline known as cyber politics.
  • Protecting critical infrastructure and services from cyber threats is a complicated matter.
  • The cyber domain is a central part of modern hybrid warfare, and malicious cyber-technical and cyber-psychological threats have both increased.
  • Hybrid politics is a useful concept to describe both the importance of a holistic approach and the nature of high politics in the modern security reality.
  • Hybrid politics is constantly changing the modern political process.
  • The European Union (EU) should primarily understand hybrid politics as a potentially “winning concept” and take active steps to implement and sustain this understanding.