Has the war in Ukraine given rise to a new whole-of-society approach to warfare? Is it redefining the roles of governments, multilateralism, and non-state actors, such as the private sector and civil society? Certainly, we have witnessed a range of responses to the war, from economic sanctions and the withdrawal of business activities from Russia to private sector actors providing internet and digital support to Ukrainians on the frontline, and entrepreneurial alliances between hackers and cybersecurity experts to tackle disinformation and protect citizens.

On 27 October 2022, the think tank Friends of Europe will hold its annual State of Europe high-level roundtable in Brussels. In the run-up to State of Europe, Debating Europe is convening a series of citizens’ panels, with a mix of citizens and civil society representatives. Each of these citizens’ panels will be matched to a session at State of Europe.

Our first citizens’ panel in the series is on the topic of “Redefining the toolkit of modern warfare”. You can watch the panel in the video above. Taking part were:

  • Luca
  • Joanna
  • Simina

Does Ukraine represent a new “global whole-of-society” warfare? In which areas can the private sector and civil society groups have the greatest impact? Can the private sector and civil society groups reach audiences inside closed authoritarian societies to counter propaganda and disinformation? Where do governments encourage or discourage private sector and civil society initiatives, as they have done regarding foreign fighters, illicit financial flows or arms smuggling to conflict zones in the past? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Commission. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.

26 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. avatar
    EU-Reform Proactive

    Sorry, also a NO!

    It may be advantageous for some political architects and their supporters in the EU27 to make us believe that the “global whole- of society” might be involved in that (Russia/Ukraine) warfare- distinctively- not of their making!

    Our EU27 & the US “societies” have only a minute influence on wars- except to fight & lose their lives unnecessary. Paid mercenaries like Blackwater, the Wagner group or the French legion are limited in numbers & have no natural allegiance. An EU army should never come into existence!

    So- our EU27 & the US “societies” originally may have chosen the wrong political party or voted due to a lack of the right one. It is their political representatives and the ‘EU delegates’ (or one of the two US houses) who magnify our political decision-making and project them globally.

    That includes successful or failed diplomacy and the degree of risk-taking. War is failed diplomacy by all our ‘paid’ diplomats! Thank you! They all should be fired (“held accountably”)!

    As closer to the warzone, the greater the human tragedy and the greater the society’s natural willingness to assist spontaneously.

    After all, it is once again a European affair! Not made in Africa, India, China or South America. Therefore not a global war (yet)- but with severe global consequences- thanks to 4 basic factors:

    1) EU Enlargement- EU Article 49 & ‘free choice’

    2) NATO enlargement- Article 10 & ‘free choice’

    3) ‘ Mafia State Russia’ & Putinism

    4) Political miscalculations & dishonesties!

    Free choices by some- loathed by others and the UN is helpless. Boom!

  2. avatar
    catherine benning

    Does Ukraine represent a new “global whole-of-society” warfare?

    What you must address before you put this as a view to the population for a vote, is, what do you mean by, ‘global whole of society?’

    This strange and completely off the wall look at this planet, to try to convince rational people, all men function at similar united levels of expectation and aspiration of behaviour is reality, when that is an open fallacy is unable to float. All those who lead must take heart and live in the environment you are trying to create before forcing the dogma of it onto a hopeful and naive public. As you near this goal the more you destroy what has taken thousands of years to envision. Especially as any level of civil expectation is aggressively extinguished along the way. This mantra, to be civil, clean and worthy is too ‘elitist’ destroys any sense of ‘best.’ To be selective in preference as behavioural norms being floated as expecting too much of people, removes any sense of aspiration. To force on us that learning to accept the unacceptable as an every day requirement or be treated as a criminal is obscene. Along with refusal to address any of this openly and expose the horror of it, as you dig deeper into gross living styles for all, shows more than a lack of vision, it exposes a desire to destroy what man has achieved intellectually for the good of it’s species.

    Ukraine represents the worst in mankind, that of ‘tribal warfare.’ A lack of ability to negotiate a settlement for the good of the community you pretend to lead. Why, for goodness sake, do you not expose the true story of this so called War? It has been going for more than eight years, with US backing, when suddenly the British push it out further, to gain favour with the USA in a pretence of ‘see, we are virtue fighters,’ in order to cover a destructive motive of nothing but greed. Trying desperately to create a second world war sense of common spirit. Impossible in a disunited lead toward the scandalous disrepute we have now been threatened as the brave new world of tomorrow. There is no ‘virtue’ to fight for, or unify for, what no one wants being offered as the end result. In other words, no heart in the ideology as a concept. The end result is hell on earth seen today in our towns and cities of complete disunity of purpose.


  3. avatar
    Vasili Sofiadellis

    I would like to see peaceful protests / campaigns against the war across the EU and beyond, with earnest consideration given as to how the people in Russia could join the protest / campaign, putting pressure on Russian leaders to end the war.

    A truce should we agreed upon, through which citizen engagement takes place as to what solutions could be considered. No war should be decided upon by leaders- it showed be agreed upon by a special resolution by the people, who are fully informed.

    A referendum was done for BREXIT- surely a referendum can be adopted by all nations to decide if the people want to go to war, after due process and discussion are had?

    Unity and solidarity with all. Stop all wars.

  4. avatar
    JT HK

    Shame to those fuelling the conflict by sending weapons for the Ukrainian to die as we all know that Russia is the second military big power. Ukraine would have no chance to win Russia. You people are killing the Ukrainians.

    • avatar
      EU-Reform Proactive

      Hello JT HK,
      “You people”… to insinuate (all) the Ukrainians will die because “we all know”- (who’s we all?) that Russia is the 2nd greatest … …” need to be challenged!

      I wonder what kind of measure & logic- (or political madness?) – motivates you to (obviously) support “Putinism”?

      You dare to shame only the western world- except the BRICS Alliance- for not rolling over and submitting to Putin’s weird actions? A dictator, who took it upon himself to single handily destroys everything & kill everyone (“to the last Russian”) who dares to disagree with a former narrow-minded but deranged KGB agent?

      Blessed with oil, and gas, a huge country & dishonesty makes no one a great Statesman- except a ruthless villain.

      What other options besides failed diplomacies remain? As Chomsky said (sad, but hopefully not true) – “the West fights Russia to the last Ukrainian”.


  5. avatar

    Disappointing to see smart young people so indoctrinated by u s propaganda they debate only should we send more weapons .

  6. avatar

    This war would’ve been over back in March, if Bojo didn’t talk zel out of signing a peace agreement in Istambul. This war wouldn’t even have started if zel didn’t reject the Minsk 2 accord and agreed to neutrality status.

    • avatar
      JT HK

      It is nothing about zel, it is about the US. It would not allow the signing of a peace agreement before the death of the last Ukraine. The US is enjoying the capital flight from Europe. It is the Ukrainians and European suffering from the conflict.

    • avatar

      Zel is a very useful puppet, and the one who doesn’t care about his people’s lives. In fact, judging by his actions, I start thinking that he actively hates ukranians, which makes him a perfect puppet for the US and UK. Ironically all western leaders commit economic suicide, not just EU. US ruins its own economy too, althpugh, probably, at a slower rate than EU and UK.

    • avatar
      JT HK

      Those who has been repeating freedom and democracy of the media empire are puppets. I have independent thinking different from you puppets. Can’t you see the difference?

    • avatar
      JT HK

      Are you blind with those oil money earning by the I
      US, Russia and India? Can you not see the debt trap the US is building up for the Ukraine people who are fighting a war with the world’s second biggest military power? Zelensky government has refused to disclose the war death. Does anyone know how many Ukrainian people perished in the war? Shame on you people who are applauding while seeing the poor Ukraine people fighting and dying till the last man instead of pushing forward for peaceful settlement of the conflict!

    • avatar

      What on earth made you assume that I am blind to ukr deaths or applaud the west for puming Ukraine with weapons and preventing negotiations ? Please address your anger to where it belongs, not to me.

  7. avatar
    JT HK

    Ukraine is a poison wrapped in American freedom and democracy. European leaders are using it to poisoning the rational thinking of its people and enterprises. Europe is this moment is just like sleep walking into a second dark age. Even worse, Europe is destroying its own industry and technology, and more importantly, breaking up its social fibre holding people together, as we can see millions of vulnerable people are dying in the Covid, yet people are happy to have the retirement expenditure greatly reduced. This is how a civilization destroying itself.

  8. avatar
    JT HK

    Of course not, when Europe people are sending weapon for people to kill each other, and burning money in election campaigns, China is fighting to turn desert and the loess plateau into forest and agricultural land. This gives the reason why the Chinese civilization can last over 5000 years. Human resources should better work for sustainable development of man rather than dying in war >>>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CkiCbNBd9G0&t=609s

  9. avatar
    JT HK

    When the time this proxy war in Ukraine has ended, it would be the end of Europe too. In winter, European might not be able to afford burning wood neither. It appears that those upholding American values are representing American interest rather European ones>> https://apnews.com/…/russia-ukraine-putin-biden…

  10. avatar
    JT HK

    Rather than trapping yourself in the war between Russia and Ukraine, Europe should better wake up quickly and repick up its pace for post-Covid social and economic recovery. Without wealth, democracy can contribute nothing to benefit its people. Just look at the follow website, there is a long series of world trade fairs waiting for people all over the world to communicate and boost their economy through global trade activities. Why political leaders and media of Europe are all blind for such a huge reservoir of wealth and business opportunities for their people and their country and putting their people in great misery of poverty, even basic human rights on food, job opportunity all for a single stupid leader of Ukraine? https://www.jufair.com/

  11. avatar
    JT HK

    It can be considered a new form of warfare, politicians are sacrificing their own people’s wellbeing by ruining European post-Covid social and economic recovery, deindustrialization of Europe and forcing European enterprises to bankrupt or move to countries with more stable investment environment in China. Or to save the falling US economy with under temporary and unbinding heavy subsidy. As Emmanuel Macron had said, this is a unfair competition government policy against all international law established under the WTO. Unfortunately, the US has already handicapped the WTO dispute mediation and judgement process. EU has to stand up against such attack on EU member states. EU government for EU not for US and its proxy Ukraine.

  12. avatar
    JT HK

    It appears that the bombing of the nuclear plant is continuing. If the plant is finally destroyed. We shall see what you people have done by fueling the conflict. The US at the other side of the Atlantic Ocean would not be affected but Europe cannot escape. Think of those crazy Europe political leaders are doing to Europe and risking the life of citizens>>> https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-62602367

  13. avatar
    JT HK

    A new type of warfare by bombing a nuclear plant. Are citizens of EU aware of this? Have they asked their democratically elected government whether they are doing anything on this to prevent a nuclear accident?

  14. avatar
    JT HK

    Not new at all, it is just another old proxy war of the last century.

  15. avatar

    I think so. And it shall be clear for Russia that they have to pay for Ucrainans reconstruction!

    • avatar
      JT HK

      How about the whole NATO/EU which have been sending military aids for Ukraine people to fight at their home? Which country(ies) helping to bomb the Russian LNG pipes, the Crimean bridge to fuel the war? Any effort from EU to solve the Russia and Ukraine dispute and to hail the military conflict? EU and NATO as the two regional organizations established for peace and prevention of aggression have to be held responsibility costing such destruction in Ukraine and all the social and economic damage of EU citizens.

    • avatar

      Rusia is bombing Ucraina. Ucraina is just defending itself… NATO and the others have to help Ucraina and any state around the world in such situation!
      Be more in contact with the reality! Leave the conspiracy lies alone!

  16. avatar

    Compared to Ukraine, which is not yet occupied, Transylvania is occupied and looted by a much more primitive country, more backward than Russia, which is Romania!
    Independence of Transylvania to get rid of thieves and poverty!

  17. avatar
    JT HK

    Failed to find more updated and facts for media are sending fake news to confuse people>>>> https://www.lemonde.fr/…/ukraine-says-it-bombed-russian…

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