National and International Issues

Economic Front of a Hybrid War

Normally we think that kinetic war is the final outcome of a conflict, but it is not true for all times. Sometimes it is fought through the existence of a proxy to develop political, social and economic disorder in other economies. Nowadays physical war is not commonly seen and has transformed itself into hybrid war, which is aimed at destroying the opponent’s will to fight by targeting various fronts including economy at the grassroots level.

We can say that hybrid war and economy are integrally related or have a direct relationship with each other. Proxy war has no dimension and the state needs to reallocate her economic resources to adjust with the dynamic changes in a proxy war without causing any damage to the organizational structure of the economy. A hybrid war affected economy must have the ability to adapt to the changing demand of production patterns under the directions that come from domestic and defense sides. A counter strategy against hybrid war cannot be established until or unless the economy is based on sound footings, and, when hybrid war morphs into kinetic domains, government should have a roadmap to transform their resources of all kinds from civil to defense side without having any drastic changes in the domestic needs of consumers.
There are two types of war: limited wars and unlimited wars. Limited war is where head-to-head collision exists, these conventional wars do not carry on for years unless and until it converts into a world war, whereas unlimited war is a proxy war and needs a lot of resources to carry on and also reflects the mindset of the opponent towards domestic economies.
One opinion about war is that it involves a shifting of resources from one economy to another economy or one country to another country. Under such type of wars, the first priority is given to the shifting of enemies’ resources into own domestic economy; the second option is to destroy their resources where they exist and, the third and last strategy is to support an environment in which your enemies cannot explore their resources and you don’t let them find any opportunity to strengthen their economies. This type of war is what we see in action nowadays, and is what we understand today to be hybrid war. Now we discuss the above strategies one by one with their examples. As we know, natural resources are scarce and even capital resources are limited in supply. It is because of the heavy capital cost which is involved in its production. England is the best example in these scenarios; Englishmen first captured other economies and then transferred the domestic resources to England to establish their economy. East India Company played a vital role in the Subcontinent, gradually it established itself as a power over there and finally, they were in a position to rule and did the same as it was expected from them. Approximately after a century they left when they realized that further stay was worthless after the transfer of domestic resources.
The second strategy can be advocated by United States of America’s action showed to Japan through dropping of “Little Boy and Fat Man” on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It destroyed their domestic resources and forced Japan to surrender. It was done because they were unable to beat Japanese in a conventional war. The attack on Karachi Stock Exchange last year is an example of this strategy; it was done to create uncertainty in the domestic economy through the exploitation of financial hub of Pakistan. This is an uncongenial and planned war against Pakistan. It was expected by the planner that the said attack would destroy the domestic and foreign investment channel, economic survival of firms and trust in Pakistan’s economy. A sluggish economic activity means least revenue collection through tax is expected therefore Pakistan would find it difficult to calculate the opportunity cost between civil and defense expenditure and negative opportunity cost on any end may put Pakistan in trouble.
The third strategy is not to let your enemies explore their resources which can prove the potential for their proposed economic growth or future prospects. It means that the domestic economy is unable to match with the increasing population and, as a result, pyramids of economic problems will arise, leaving the economy in disequilibrium. A chain of dissatisfaction and inefficiency will pass on to other sectors of the economy.  The best example of this strategy in the context of Pakistan is the Kalabagh Dam. The Kalabagh Dam was declared the backbone of Pakistan’s economy and the same was recognized by the enemies therefore they designed activities which explored misperception and misunderstandings among the stakeholders. For this purpose, they created the conflict at social, economic and political levels and the negative propaganda gained momentum as a result, stalling the dam’s progress. The Saindak Copper Gold project that was for the extraction of copper and gold from Balochistan is still under threat because of many untold stories and recent example of Kekra-I near Karachi. This was a project to extract oil from sea and official sources of Pakistan announced its success but after a few days they had to make another statement, the media told that it was because of international pressure and big fishes were not allowing Pakistan to be self-sufficient in oil production. We need to think why Pakistan is lagging behind in developing such strategies against her enemies, instead of being a victim of their plans against us? This question needs to be addressed at concerned quarters.
The world is now classified into different layers of development, we have to find the answer to this division. We need to have a look at the characteristics and strategies of the developed world. The developed countries are those which have adopted the above-mentioned strategies efficiently, captured the countries, economies, nations and finally transposed the valuable resources to their home countries. The developed countries like the British Empire, France, etc. captured the countries, converted them into colonies, stole their resources and became richer and richer. The countries that were colonies of such so-called developed countries are still underdeveloped or developing, no one can point to a single country that was declared a colony and is now a developed country.
The world has changed and has converted itself into mixed economies where the former practice of colonialism is not possible and now the developed world exploits the interest of the developing world through internal and external intervention. Some political players of other countries are sponsored by external players and sometimes the rulers themselves become a part of such games just to perpetuate their ruling era. The Arab Spring riots in the recent past are an example of these strategies. The U.S. is on top of playing with such strategies, the Iraq-Kuwait War was used just to flourish the weapon industry and to capture the oil resources in the said countries. Pakistan is the victim of such policies, where the external forces, particularly India, is hell-bent to damage economic interests of Pakistan. These countries have created few sleeping cells in Pakistan, whenever they want to create dissent and strife, the said cells become active. We need to be aware of this proxy war and to develop measures to save the physical and human capital to maintain the way of social, economic and political progress, otherwise it will be too late to save the national interest.
There are those who are of the view that an economist should develop an “Economic Model” to save the economy from the conventional and proxy war shocks. This model will define the independent variables by giving shock to such variables in the economic labs, elasticities of such variables can be calculated, and these elasticities may lead to identify the measurement and will be helpful in strategic decision-making for the nation. An economist’s major identification is “No one can be better off without having someone else worse off”, playing a vital role in strategic decision-making. This suggestion is not new; world’s planners have developed their think tanks to explore these ideas and we have to do the same to secure our national interest.

The writer is Director Sangar Campus, Shaheed Benazir Bhutto University, Shaheed Benazirabad. 
E-mail: [email protected], [email protected] 


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