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Publisher's Summary

How three key figures in Moscow, Beijing, and Tehran built ruthless irregular warfare campaigns that are eroding American power.

In Three Dangerous Men, defense expert Seth Jones argues that the US is woefully unprepared for the future of global competition. While America has focused on building fighter jets, missiles, and conventional warfighting capabilities, its three principal rivals - Russia, Iran, and China - have increasingly adopted irregular warfare: cyber attacks, the use of proxy forces, propaganda, espionage, and disinformation to undermine American power.

Jones profiles three pioneers of irregular warfare in Moscow, Beijing, and Tehran who adapted American techniques and made huge gains without waging traditional warfare: Russian Chief of Staff Valery Gerasimov; the deceased Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani; and vice chairman of China’s Central Military Commission Zhang Youxia. Each has spent his career studying American power and devised techniques to avoid a conventional or nuclear war with the US. Gerasimov helped oversee a resurgence of Russian irregular warfare, which included attempts to undermine the 2016 and 2020 US presidential elections and the SolarWinds cyber attack. Soleimani was so effective in expanding Iranian power in the Middle East that Washington targeted him for assassination. Zhang Youxia presents the most alarming challenge because China has more power and potential at its disposal.

Drawing on interviews with dozens of US military, diplomatic, and intelligence officials, as well as hundreds of documents translated from Russian, Farsi, and Mandarin, Jones shows how America’s rivals have bloodied its reputation and seized territory worldwide. Instead of standing up to autocratic regimes, Jones demonstrates that the United States has largely abandoned the kind of information, special operations, intelligence, and economic and diplomatic action that helped win the Cold War.

In a powerful conclusion, Jones details the key steps the United States must take to alter how it thinks about - and engages in - competition before it is too late.

©2021 Seth G. Jones (P)2021 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Seth Jones is one of the world’s sharpest defense theorists. This is an invaluable guide to the coming era of geopolitical competition, which will largely take place off the traditional battlefield, and a timely warning that the United States is not doing enough to prevail against determined rivals." (Hal Brands, Johns Hopkins University and American Enterprise Institute) 

"Three Dangerous Men provides an unparalleled look at how Beijing, Moscow, and Tehran are competing with the United States - through their eyes. It is a cogently argued, well-researched, and elegantly written book on one of the US’s most important challenges ahead." (General Michael Hayden, US Air Force (ret.) and former director of the Central Intelligence Agency) 

"Seth Jones makes a compelling, riveting argument in Three Dangerous Men that the United States needs to reconsider significant aspects of the very concept of contemporary warfare.... This is a must read for anyone seeking to understand the present-day challenges facing the US and our allies and partners around the world." (General David Petraeus, US Army (ret.) and former director of the Central Intelligence Agency) 

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Flaming Liberal

some really great insights into what the three tyrannies are doing against us. it was so hard to learn anything through all the leftist propaganda and anti americanism. down plays our own capabilities and asymmetric activities. lacked academic rigor or even research it was really a book full of opinions on open source news.

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my review is on Goodreads

⁹ The title of this book refers to these three dangerous men : Gen. Zhang Youxia, vice chairman of China’s Central Military Commission, Russian military chief Valery Gerasimov, and Iranian general Qassem Soleimani. As noted elsewhere, the extended profiles of these 3 dangerous men come at the expense of a more complete assessment of the damage they are responsible for. The author cites many former CIA and Defense Department officials, but doesn’t fully reckon with the ethical and legal implications of the author"s call for America to ramp up its irregular warfare capabilities. Some effort is made to discuss the concept of irregular warfare, its origin, how it is applied along with the concept of active measures.
This one-sided account feels more alarmist than essential. In many ways, this book reminds me of a similar biased and myopic book which I recently read and left a short review; "Losing Military Supremacy: The Myopia of American Strategic Planning", by Andrei Martyanov.

You can read my reviews of this and other Audible books on my Goodreads account @DHMarks

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Excellent

I read tons of books like this one and I don't normally recommend anyone else read them. This book however is excellent. I highly recommend you give this a read if you want to have a better understanding of the power dynamic between the United States, Russia, and China.

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Awesome perspective of global competition

This is a very insightful book with great attention to key global players. Very informative and well researched. A must read for anyone interested in world politics and the global power struggle we are currently involved with.

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Outstanding

Jones offers a comprehensive, compelling, and essential text to understanding both our past 20th and guture 21st century national security challenges.

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Concise and constructive.

Learned quite a bit and was reminded of a lot Presentation of the pieces via historical profiles of three global actors provides a constructive whole...if you can stow your biases and political loyalties - no US administraition of the last 50 years avoids critique. Also well written and read for audio consumption (x1.55 worked well for me).