cover image The Shadow War: Inside Russia and China’s Secret Operations to Defeat America

The Shadow War: Inside Russia and China’s Secret Operations to Defeat America

Jim Sciutto. Harper, $27.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-06-285364-6

America’s Cold War adversaries are challenging it by conventional and unconventional means, according to this sometimes alarming, sometimes underwhelming exposé. CNN national security correspondent and anchorman Sciutto surveys a grab bag of initiatives that, he contends, undermine America’s global dominance. These include Russia’s disruption of Estonia’s internet in 2007, its 2014 annexation of Crimea and support for pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine who accidentally shot down an airliner, and its development of submarines and missiles that could target America. Beijing, meanwhile, has stolen blueprints for American warplanes, built artificial islands to cement its claims to the South China Sea, and created an advanced navy. Sciutto discusses these matters with Western intelligence officials who deplore Washington’s dithering and rides along on a U. S. surveillance flight and an American submarine to provide colorful front-line reportage. Sciutto’s case lumps together trivial concerns with important ones: he explores some developments that pose real danger, such as Russian and Chinese space weapons that could destroy American military and telecommunications satellites, but also rehashes discredited claims about Russia’s collusion with the Trump campaign. The result is a muddled hodgepodge of geostrategic anxieties. Agent: Gail Ross, Ross Yoon Agency. (May)