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!

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6 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”.


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