Departures Podcast with Seth Jones, author of ‘Three Dangerous Men: Russia, China, Iran and the Rise of Irregular Warfare’

Forget tanks, missiles, and soldiers. The forms of warfare predominantly being used against the United States today are much more often unconventional and irregular, such as large-scale offensive cyber actions, disinformation campaigns, spying, economic subversion, and smaller armed conflicts via proxies. 

This is a deeply worrying trend, argues Seth Jones, author of the terrific book “Three Dangerous Men: Russia, China, Iran and the Rise of Irregular Warfare,” because the United States is very poorly prepared to defend itself and is instead still stuck in the old world and over-invested in the means of traditional military conflict.

In this conversation with Robert Amsterdam, Jones discusses the main findings of his book, exploring various similarities from China to Russia to Iran in terms of how irregular warfare is used and deployed in support of their interests on a daily basis, and how response and countermeasures from Washington have been uninspiring.

Jones and Amsterdam also discuss the problematic disregard the United States has shown toward its allies in recent years and the waning influence of its soft power. Jones argues that there has been a corresponding impact on the challenges of forging successful partnerships to withstand the onslaught of irregular warfare tactics, and the many areas in which the US should look to improve to address these security gaps.