The Dragons and the Snakes|David Kilcullen
The Dragons and the Snakes : How the Rest Learned to Fight the West
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A counterintuitive examination into how, and what, opponents of the West have learned during the last quarter-century of conflict.

Just two decades ago, observers spoke of the US as a hyperpower--a nation with more relative power than any empire in history. Yet as early as 1993, CIA director James Woolsey pointed out that although Western powers had slain a large dragon by defeating the Soviet Union, they now faced a
bewildering variety of poisonous snakes. In The Dragons and the Snakes, the eminent soldier-scholar David Kilcullen asks how, and what, opponents of the West have learned during the last quarter-century of conflict. Applying a combination of evolutionary theory and detailed field observation, he
explains what happened to the snakes--non-state threats including terrorists and guerrillas--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. Within the world's contemporary conflict zones, state and non-state threats have increasingly come to resemble each other, with
states adopting non-state techniques and non-state actors now able to access lethal weapon systems once only available to governments. A counterintuitive look at a vastly more complex conflict environment, this book both reshapes our understanding of the West's adversaries and shows how we can
respond given the increasing limits on US power.


  • ISBN-13: 9780190265687
  • ISBN-10: 019026568X
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publish Date: March 2020
  • Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.4 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.35 pounds
  • Page Count: 336