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The Dragons and the Snakes (E–book)


The primary national security challenge for the United States in the coming decades will be to manage its relative decline following the brief moment States in the coming decades will be to manage its relative decline following the brief moment superpower primacy it enjoyed at the end of the Cold War To manage a new reality first of all reuires a realistic accounting of threats and capabilities This is something that is surprisingly hard to find as there are reat political benefits to exaggerating both This book is a refreshingly sober and informed overview of the national security environment that has emerged since the end of the Unipolar Moment What Makes moment What makes especially uniue however is that this analysis is done from the perspective of someone who is both a military expert and an anthropologist applying tools from the latter field to understand the formerIt used to be that non state actors and states fought in ways that were clearly different Over the past three decades however there has been a convergence Today states often fight asymmetrically utilizing stealth deniability pinpoint operations and various ambiguously violent means of shaping the environment as opposed to marching large columns onto a battlefield Meanwhile militant roups have been adapting many of the tactics and practices of states learning from fighting the United States and other countries and copying some of their tactics and Military AdaptationGreat read on how societiesmilitaries take steps to defend themselves but freuently adapt from stress or observations Without stress they become complacent and risk being outclassed Too much stress and they risk organizational collapseTake the model and observe how the United States Russia and China perceive each other and attempt to adapt Always insightful writing from David Kilcullen An easy read with very interesting concepts that are very ermane to the current security environment the west find itself operating in This book is a must read David does an amazing job of synthesizing the surprising effects of Western battlefield dominance in a book that straddles evolutionary biology and Boggs: A Comedy of Values geopolitical strategyIt includes deep dives on Russia China Iran and North Korea as well as shorter case studies on non state actors I personally loved the case study on Hezbollah completely fascinatingThe book is really a three for one deal it s a short survey of conflict since the Cold War it s a primer on the competitive landscape for the West and it s a piece ofuidance for forward looking policy with regard to both the metaphorical snakes smaller non state adversaries and the dragons l A compelling and insightful argument about modern warfare Kilcullen whose book the Accidental Guerrilla I absolutely loved uses evolutionary theory to explain how non state actors and states have adapted to an environment defi Disturbingly brilliant David Kilcullen ever the thoughtful observer of wars and the people who wage them captures the changes in warfare that already confound and threaten to overwhelm us He correctly shows that we are mentally and physically unprepared for the new nature of conflict and will likely pay dearly for itStan McChrystal partner at McChrystal Group David Kilcullen has produced another thoughtful important book At a time when some believe that the return of competition with reat powers ie dragons might serve as an emotional cathartic to help forget the long war against jihadist terrorist organisations ie snakes the author exposes and transcends that false choice His ideas about how to fight for peace in a dangerous world should be read and discussed not only by diplomats defense officials and military officers but also by citizens concerned about securing a better future for their. Just a few years ago people spoke of the US as a hyperpower a titan stalking the world stage with relative power than any empire in history Yet as early as 1993 newly appointed CIA director James Woolsey pointed out that although Western powers had slain a large dragon by defeating the Soviet Union in the Cold War they now faced a bewildering variety of poisonous snakesIn The Dragons and the Snakes the eminent soldier scholar David Kilcullen asks how and what opponents of the West have learned during the last uarter century of conflict. ,
The Dragons and the SnakesAssigning your assumptions to those of your adversary We are at war we just don t KNOW IT WHERE KILCULLEN WROTE AN it Where Kilcullen wrote an analysis on the rise of ISIS in 2014 and 15 this work provides an even interesting framework understanding state and non state actors and the changing eo political scene He intertwines key historical lessons with an understanding of strategy which is amazingly insightful borderline humourous at points and unpacks these with ease Worth a read for both these

Frameworks Which Can Be Broadened 
which can be broadened look at wider society and for the examination of the idea Just because we see something one way does it mean it is true Every soldier and every person at all interested in national security and strategy should read not only The Dragons and the Snakes How the Rest Learned to Fight the West by David Kilcullen but they should read everything that he writes from his regular contributions to The Australian and his earlier books Accidental Guerrilla Out of the Mountains and Blood Year In his latest book which has been many years in the writing Kilcullen posits a thesis that adversaries especially those that have recently been defeated adapt their warfare to improve their chance of success in the next battle This is not a new or revolutionary idea Whilst reading the book I was reminded of the aphorism of Don t fight the last war and Surfaces and Berlioz and the Romantic Century gaps from manoeuverist warfare theory He uses examples from the fall of the Soviet Union through to the present day to support his argument The title Dragons and Snakes makes reference to a metaphor that former CIA Director James Woolsey described in Senate confirmation hearings in 1993 The Dragons are thereat power adversaries such as Russia and China and to a lesser extent Iran Ira and North Korea While the snakes are typically non state actors such as Al aeda ISIS and Hezbollah According to the metaphor both dragons and snakes are dangerous but they will do you harm in different ways Kilcullen describes how the dragons have looked at the US military successes in the 1991 Gulf War and the initial invasion of Ira in 2003 and have concluded that they have neither the hardware nor the expertise to defeat the US in a head to head battle On the other hand they have observed how the US and its allies have struggled in warfare where the overmatch in technology is less effective such as in Afghanistan and during the post 2003 phases of the Ira War The key message that I took away is the need to constantly adapt and that counter intuitively success doesn t necessarily breed success but it can in fact breed failure Success in this war is punished in the next if the enemy adapts and you fail to adapt As with all Kilcullen s work the clarity and flow of the writing make for easy reading and a ready comprehension of the argument being put forward He does not shy away from criticism of politicians and political decisions war is after all an extension of politics but he has a brilliant capacity to avoid perceptions of partisanship and this is well managed in The Dragons and the Snakes Even in the bipolar world that we occupy I challenge anyone to read this and label it liberal or conservative David Kilcullen is smart he did a PhD in anthropology whilst serving as an infantry officer in the Australian Army he is experienced he has seen warfare as a participant or observer in Timor Ira Afghanistan Somalia amongst others and he is educated he applies the historical context to contemporary events In my view David Kilcullen is emerging as one of the superior thinkers on strategy and warfare in the early 21st century Very well written a must read in my humble opinion I Building Ideas: An Architectural Guide to the University of Chicago give it 5 stars. Within the world's contemporary conflict zones Kilcullen argues state and non state threats have increasingly come to resemble each other with states adopting non state techniues and non state actors now able to access levels of precision and lethal weapon systems once only available toovernmentsA counterintuitive look at this new vastly complex environment The Dragons and the Snakes will not only reshape our understanding of the West's enemies' capabilities but will also show how we can respond iven the increasing limits on US powe. .

David Kilcullen ´ 2 Review

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ChildrenHR McMaster author of Dereliction of Duty and the forthcoming Battlegrounds To absorb Kilcullen s insights is to be forced to rethink national and international security in this new century and to adjust military and nonmilitary institutions to a host of new realities Senior policymakers have no choice but to do soGary Hart member of United States Senate Armed Services and Intelligence Committees An eye opening look at the state of strategic balance between the United States and its rivals large and small The author delivers a detailed and unsettling analysis of how America s rivals have adapted to the modern strategic landscape and how THEY HOPE TO DEFEAT ESSENTIAL hope to us Essential for anyone concerned with America s future on the world stage STARRED REVIEW Kirkus Reviews This book should be read by everyone in uniform The Times An impressive expos on how terrorists and non state actors outmanoeuvre conventional militaries At the heart of The Dragons and the Snakes is a Darwinian dialectic between the mighty dragons and the snakes that seek to subvert and outflank them The Dragons and the Snakes is based on a formidable array of military and political sourcesMalise Ruthven The Financial Times Interesting and provocative The Sunday Times Kilcullen is a welcome uide offering a neat summation of how both nation states and terrorist Building the Cold War: Hilton International Hotels and Modern Architecture groups alike learned to cope with America s conventional military primacy Kilcullen s approach offers readers accessible insights into what are complex and dynamic trends Diplomatic Courier David Kilcullen offers a wide ranging analysis of the strategic environment since 1993 compellingWill Leben Australian Outlook A dazzling performance This is a book that will keep you on your toes It paints a breathtaking danger laden picture of a world perennially at war and of the strange and mesmerising process by which a snake eventually rears up as fire filled as a dragonPeter Craven The Saturday Paper Kilcullen argues persuasively that while the United States has been mired down in forever wars in Afghanistan and Ira our current and potential adversaries haveotten the jump on us His book offers readers a skilfully annotated road map of contemporary conflict describing in clear measured prose how and why the days of American strategic and military preeminence are now behind us Daily Beast Kilcullen s The Dragons and the Snakes is a timely invitation for the West to et its strategic house in order with some new thinking The Bridge A perceptive work that is rather worrying and alarming for our current world Indeed the chapter on non state actors adapting akin to species under threat was fascinating as were the chapters on Sino Russian moves to adapt and cherry pick the most effective methods employed by non state actors coming into contact with the West Incredibly well written and accessible even if there was a fair undercurrent of foreboding with the conclusions made An engaging and enlightening read from Australia s own warrior scholar Typical of his other books it s the small but significant details which makes this so valuable His personal connection to the people doing the fighting is on display as is his access to those in the high seats of power It s a rare combinationKilcullen puts three decades of military and political history into an interesting context we see the USA as the dominant world power but he argues that they are only dominant in a very narrow military space Adversaries have either by direct conflict or observation sought to compete in different spaces rendering the military advantage space Adversaries have either by direct conflict or observation sought to compete in different spaces rendering the military advantage importantThe climax of the book is worth waiting for and underscores the danger of. Applying a combination of evolutionary theory and detailed field observation he explains what happened to the snakes non state threats including terrorists and uerrillas and the dragons state based competitors such as Russia and China He explores how enemies learn under conditions of conflict and examines how Western dominance over a very particular narrowly defined form of warfare since the Cold War has created a fitness landscape that forces adversaries to adapt in ways that present serious new challenges to America and its allies. ,

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