Five books you must have on your reading list.
First, P.W. Singer’s Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century. Wired for War is the continuation of Peter’s study of the consequences in outsourcing conflict. A very interesting and compelling read. See also:
- Unintended Consequences of Armed Robots in Modern Conflict (Oct 19, 2007)
- The Strategic Communication of Unmanned Warfare (June 1, 2008)
- Combat Robots and Perception Management in the May/June 2008 issue of Serviam
- Noah’s interview of Peter at Danger Room
Second, Tom Barnett’s book, Great Powers: America and the World After Bush is a valuable contribution. See Mark Safranski’s (aka ZenPundit) Ten Questions with Thomas P.M. Barnett. Of the many passages highlighted in my copy is:
Grand strategy is like imagining the chess game from start to finish, except that, in today’s world of rapidly spreading globalization, it’s never quite clear how many players are involved at any one moment or which pieces they actually control. It may seem as though there are no rules, but that means it’s important to make explicitly our definition of the rules and realize that playing consists largely of making our rule set seem attractive to others, regardless of how the game unfolds.
Two related and also superb books are Parag Khanna’s The Second World: Empires and Influence in the New Global Order and Derek Chollet and James Goldgeier’s America Between the Wars: From 11/9 to 9/11.
The third book is Al-Qaida’s Doctrine for Insurgency: Abd al-Aziz al-Muqrin’s, translated and analyzed by Norman Cigar. I just started reading this. As the author notes, we must engage and explore the doctrine of our adversaries. It is an interesting read. They knew to read our Counterinsurgency Manual, it’s time to read theirs. This is far more important than reading Qutb. See also David Kilcullen’s The Accidental Guerrilla: Fighting Small Wars in the Midst of a Big One which I expect will be on this list once I see it.
Fourth up is also a new book, Threats in the Age of Obama, edited Mike Tanji. Lots of great ideas in it. Makes for an easy read (disclaimer or warning: I have a chapter in it).
Fifth is a what a relatively “old” book: Routledge Handbook of Public Diplomacy, edited by Nancy Snow and Phil Taylor. This is required reading for understanding the public diplomacy and its components (again, disclaimer or warning: I have chapter in this as well).