War and peace are separated from each other in international law and politics. In reality, however, the boundaries are often fluid. Many conflict scenarios can be described as “hybrid” because they contain a mixture of elements from classical definitions of war and peace.
From a historical perspective, such problems of definition are nothing new. Herfried Münkler argues that even the historical separation of war and peace is not so much descriptive of reality as it is prescriptive of how war should be declared and conducted. In consequence of the two world wars, the advent of “humanitarian” interventions and claims of individual powers to act as “world police”, established norms regulating conflicts have become ever more weakened.
According to Münkler, terms such as “new wars” and “hybrid warfare” illustrate that previously accepted ideas are no longer sufficient for understanding the reality of present-day conflicts. Yet the new terms do not offer any explanations which would help to manage these conflicts more effectively from a political and legal point of view.