Professor Kilcullen will present a talk based on the topic of his latest book, The Dragons and the Snakes: How the Rest Learned to Fight the West. In 1993, a newly-appointed CIA director warned that Western powers might have ‘slain a large dragon’ with the fall of the USSR, but now faced a ‘bewildering variety of poisonous snakes’. Since then, both dragons (state enemies like Russia and China) and snakes (terrorist and guerrilla organisations) have watched the US struggle in Iraq and Afghanistan, and mastered new methods in response: hybrid and urban warfare, political manipulation, and harnessing digital technology.
Leading soldier-scholar David Kilcullen reveals everything the West’s opponents have learned from twenty-first-century conflict and explains how their cutting-edge tactics and adaptability pose a serious threat to America and its allies, disabling the West’s military advantage.
The Dragons and the Snakes is a compelling, counterintuitive look at the new, vastly complex global arena. Kilcullen reshapes our understanding of the West’s foes, and shows how it can respond.
David Kilcullen is Professor of International and Political Studies at the University of New South Wales, Canberra. A senior counterinsurgency adviser during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, he was one of Foreign Policy’s Top 100 Global Thinkers in 2009. His books The Accidental Guerrilla; Out of the Mountains; and Blood Year are all published by Hurst.