Sportswashing: The Newest Weapon in Influence Operations in Irregular Warfare

The mobilizing power of sports remains one of the strongest catalysts for international interaction, bringing people together to address issues, challenge social norms, and bond over shared goals. Sports, like most entertainment industries, tend to be adjacent to politics. Individual teams and players challenge, upend, and address social issues, such as racism and integration with baseball great Jackie Robinson and the T.C. Williams High School football team, or sexism with Billie Jean King’s famous “Battle of the Sexes” match. Still, involvement in external social issues was not the primary goal of professional athletics.

IW 101 Has Launched

The Irregular Warfare Center (IWC) has just launched its first openly available online course and it is called Irregular Warfare 101 or IW101. This course is meant for both military and civilians of all ranks and all grades, as well as our partners and allies. IW101 offers an introduction to the fundamental aspects of Irregular Warfare and it consolidates key […]

Russian Offensive Resistance Operations

Russian offensive resistance operations include the recruiting, training, and equipping of irregular forces abroad for the pursuit of national objectives. For example, in the Ukrainian province of Zakarpatia,  a right-wing Polish nationalist threw a Molotov cocktail into the window of the Hungarian Cultural Centre in Uzhhorod in 2018. In another example, Alexander Zakharchenko, a Ukrainian of Russian heritage in Donetsk, was so outraged by the 2014 Euromaidan protests in Kyiv that he went out to his garden, unearthed weapons that he had buried there, and joined the effort to found the Donetsk People’s Republic, a puppet regime controlled by Moscow.

Contrasting Chinese and American Approaches to Irregular Warfare

In the grand theater of global conflict, the strategic mindsets of the two world powers are often best summarized by the ancient board games of Chess and Wei Qi (Go). These games, emblematic of divergent cultural philosophies, illuminate the contrasting approaches to irregular warfare adopted by the United States and China. Chess, with its focus on the decisive defeat of a singular king, mirrors the direct, force-centric tactics of American military strategy. In stark contrast, Wei Qi, with its slow encirclement and control of territory, reflects the Chinese penchant for gradual, indirect methods and long-term strategic positioning.

Irregular Warfare in the Age of Technology

In our rapidly evolving technological age, the face of irregular warfare — historically characterized by asymmetric tactics and human-centric operations — finds itself undergoing a transformation. While technology promises amplified capabilities for those involved in irregular warfare, it also brings along its own set of unprecedented challenges.