A 2015 publication out of the gestalt of war-related institutions (Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory Asymmetric Operations Working Group, Asymmetric Warfare Group) is alleging that “Russia’s strategic objectives in the Baltic region do not focus on the Baltic States as final targets, but on using the Baltic States to discredit and dismantle the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and undermining the European Union (EU) by using the Baltic States.” The publication, titled Ambiguous Threats and External Influences in the Baltic States Phase 2: Assessing the Threat, makes direct allusions to the reality of 4th Generation Warfare methodologies as being common components to modern conflict. For example, in answering the question of Russian aggression in the Baltics, the document asserts that Russia isn’t likely to engage in an open conflict with NATO but rather will attempt to use sociopolitical and economic “levers” to destabilize the region.
Why does this matter? Well you see, 4th Generation Warfare by definition includes the civilian sector as a component of 4GW in that it may come to serve an active role in aiding or thwarting an enemy. Sociopolitical and economic means of aggression (aka war by proxy) means that the common citizen is subject to be a target of state and foreign propaganda.