Social media and new experts show change in war research

As Russian troops advanced on Kiev in late February, Katarina Jarembo finally decided to leave her home with her four children.

With the Times Higher Education logo, a red T, a purple H and a blue E.“I wanted to believe until the last minute that war would not happen,” said Jarembo, a senior lecturer at the National University of Kiev-Mohila Academy, now at the Technical University of Darmstadt in southwestern Germany. “We were told to pack our emergency supplies – dried fruit, matches and sleeping bags – in a suitcase ready to go, but we weren’t quite ready,” he said. “I now understand why we needed these things.”

These stories of family separation (Jarembo’s husband is in Ukraine) and children evicted from their homes are reminiscent of those who have moved out of other war zones in recent years, but logically there is an important difference: although scattered around the world, many educators, including Ukrainians Speaking directly to the world about their plight, foreign reporters and newsrooms often provide instant analysis and insights on social media before the opportunity to unpack events.

A recent example is the heartbreaking pop video, shot in the wreckage of Bucha and Irpin, released by the Kalush Orchestra of Ukraine shortly after his song “Stefania” won the Eurovision Song Contest in Turin, Italy. The video, where female soldiers are rescuing children, has become a viral sensation, with over 17 million views on YouTube alone, Zarembo Tweet How the pop group skillfully negotiated Eurovision’s strict “not politics” rule to bring the atrocities of war to a new global audience.

“Smart timing, courageous position and professionalism is a recipe for success,” he said, reflecting “asymmetrical tactics” that offer hope for Ukraine in other areas of conflict.

“As a policy analyst, I am accustomed to responding quickly and advising to events, but we are now bringing these insights to the wider public,” he said. Times Higher Education.

These instant reflections of the war through Twitter threads or long articles were not just for retweets or likes, Jarembo insisted. “Educators can provide strategic insights that really make a difference in what is happening,” he said, adding that recent articles by Yale University scholar Timothy Snyder and Copenhagen University analyst Maria Malksur have helped change Russia’s colonial ambitions and war structure. The political concept of conflict. “These things help change minds in Brussels and Berlin,” Jarembo stressed.

Insights from the Ukrainians are just one way that the field of war studies has changed over the years. The discipline has become much more collaborative as Twitter users jump on the thread of experts to add their own analysis, says Jenny Mathews, a Russian expert and senior lecturer in international politics at Everestwith University. “There was a whole thread on the tires of Russian trucks when someone noticed their discoloration and what could be the further down of this bad situation,” said Mathers, who said the input of non-combat experts was creating an unprecedented engagement with discipline.

“People are directly following the Ukrainians – a Kiev resident, known as’Tactical woman“Twitter has more than 100,000 followers because people want to see the day-to-day life of Ukraine,” he added.

It has helped to unravel some of the myths about the study of war that are somewhat behind current issues, Mathers said. “People might imagine that war studies is a sectional version of the History Channel, where people only talk about World War II. It’s still important research, but war studies from war economics or how war relates to culture, art, theater or music,” he added. Has done.

While war studies experts can run almost unlimited runs on television or radio if they wish, Mathers said there was also a new demand for more instant commentary, with some academics gaining thousands of followers on social media since February.

One of them is Phillips O’Brien, a professor of strategic studies at the University of St Andrews, whose nearly 2,000 pre-organized Twitter followers have now passed. 100,000 marks. “Thus, the war has brought a completely unexpected precedent to a wide group of war and tactical study scholars,” he said. Times Higher Education.

Furthermore, Russia’s aggression in Ukraine has revealed “significant errors” in public understanding of the military conflict, with war studies experts helping to provide some answers, O’Brien said.

“Going to war… Russia’s irresistible consensus that it would destroy Ukraine relatively quickly was based on praise for Russian weapons and bizarre contempt for the possibility of Ukrainian resistance, almost without any evidence beyond reluctance,” he said. I was confused about how confident people were about Russian success. “

There is always a risk in predicting Vladimir Putin’s next move — O’Brien admits he misunderstood whether Russia would invade — yet he believes that “although you believe you have evidence to support your point of view, there are some possibilities.” It is worthwhile to try and answer. “

“I felt that I had a good handle on the importance of air power and logistics in war-building, so I set myself up for those tests early in the war. Have I seen Russia capable of controlling the battlefield with air power and does Russia have an efficient, well-organized supply system? In the early days the answers seemed pretty clear – no. And since then I have felt that I have some handles in what we are seeing, “he said.

Traditionists may disagree on whether this daily pontification is successful, but “who knows?” O’Brien insisted that the response “does not involve political or military risks.” I said what I saw was when the evidence seemed to support that view. I let the chips read wherever they could, “he said.

Emerging star analyst

Lawrence Friedman
The official historian of the Falklands War, and Professor Emeritus of War Studies at King’s College London, has reached a new audience thanks to Twitter, where he 95,500 followersAnd a popular substack newsletter, managed with his son, Sam, a former education adviser to the British government.

Michael Kaufman
He mentored senior military and government officials while at the U.S. National Defense University and is now director of the Russia Studies program at the Virginia-based Center for Naval Analysis and a senior fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center in Washington. He is one of the most read war experts in the Russian military and through his blog 395,700 Twitter followers.

Rob Lee
Former U.S. Marine, now Ph.D. A student in the Department of War Studies at King’s College London and a Senior Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. He shared with him videos of artillery and bombings by Ukrainian and Russian forces 563,400 Twitter followers.

Maria Malksu
Senior researcher of Estonian descent at the Center for Military Studies at the University of Copenhagen The Politics of Europeanization: A Study of Polish and Baltic Post-Cold War Security Imagination And won acclaim for its recent research, published in Genocide Research JournalWhich explores Russia’s post-colonial mentality.

Timothy Snyder
Yale University History Professor Richard C. Levin is one of the world’s leading experts in Central Europe and a distinguished scholar. Author of Bloodlands: Europe between Hitler and Stalin And On Torture: Twenty Lessons of the Twentieth Century There is 328,100 Twitter followers And a substack newsletter. He has accused Vladimir Putin of “intent to commit genocide.”

Not everyone is so comfortable inviting some experts to the television studio to talk about Ukraine. Hamish de Breton-Gordon, the former head of the British Army’s Chemical Weapons Division, said: “There are now many armchair generals who are willing to say anything about the proliferation of fees and new outlets.” Iraq and Afghanistan before helping to expose atrocities in Syria. “I am one, but I only comment on what I really understand and like [chemical weapons] And Syria, ”said Visiting Fellow of Magdalen College, University of Cambridge.

Still, it would be important to keep Ukraine in the spotlight to ensure the country owns the narrative of the war, rather than Russia, de Breton-Gordon said. “Strategic communication has come of age in Ukraine and is much more focused than that [in any other conflict] On the structure of the narrative. If Ukraine and NATO can get the right message to the Russian people, then Ukraine will win. Although Putin appears to be concerned about parallel damage, civilian casualties and war crimes, they will eventually bring him down. “

And war studies experts can certainly help adapt to the changing threat posed by the Russian military, argues Breton-Gordon.

“It simply came to our notice then. “Some commanders are arrogant because they have not studied the art of war and believe that they are right because of the position they are in,” he said.

“So the study of war could not be more important at this moment.”

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