Confused about what's been going on between Russia and Ukraine? You're not alone. And that's sort of the point — this conflict serves as a case study in the effectiveness of shadowy, "hybrid" warfare, which is hard to understand from the outside. And the effectiveness of this strategy means it could be the future of global conflict.
Hybrid war is not an entirely new concept, though it is being redefined and refined by Putin's Russia.
As an idea, it's closely tied to what foreign policy researcher Michael Noonan calls political warfare — the suggestion that there's more to war than just violence and lethal force. The political scientist George Kennan has also described it as "the employment of all the means at a nation's command, short of war, to achieve its national objectives."