Three Dangerous Men: Russia, China, Iran, and the Rise of Irregular Warfare

Seth G. Jones. Norton, $28.95 (256p) ISBN 978-1-324-00620-6
The U.S. is “woefully unprepared” to wage the “asymmetric warfare” favored by its main adversaries, according to this well-sourced yet flawed account. Foreign policy analyst Jones (A Covert Action) claims that America’s “obsession with conventional war,” coupled with the Trump administration’s isolationist tendencies, has left the U.S. vulnerable to cyber espionage, disinformation campaigns, “economic coercion,” and other “gray zone” strategies used by Russia, China, and Iran to compete for global influence. Taking each adversary in turn, Jones identifies the architects of these tactics, including Gen. Zhang Youxia, vice chairman of China’s Central Military Commission; Russian military chief Valery Gerasimov, whose plans for seizing Crimea in 2014 drew from the playbook the U.S. used to overthrow Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011; and Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, who led the paramilitary Quds Force until his 2020 assassination in a U.S. drone strike. Unfortunately, the extended profiles of these officials come at the expense of a more complete assessment of the damage they’ve wrought, and Jones, who cites many former CIA and Defense Department officials, doesn’t fully reckon with the ethical and legal implications of his call for America to ramp up its irregular warfare capabilities. This one-sided account feels more alarmist than essential. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 06/10/2021
Release date: 09/07/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
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