The New Rules of War

Victory in the Age of Durable Disorder
Narrated by: Joe Knezevich
Length: 8 hrs and 1 min
4.5 out of 5 stars (240 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

"Stunning. Sean McFate is a new Sun Tzu." (Admiral James Stavridis (retired), former Supreme Allied Commander at NATO)

An Economist Book of the Year 2019

An urgent, fascinating exploration of warfare - past, present and future - and what we must do if we want to win today from an 82nd Airborne veteran, former private military contractor, and professor of war studies at the National Defense University.

War is timeless. Some things change - weapons, tactics, technology, leadership, objectives - but our desire to go into battle does not. We are living in the age of Durable Disorder - a period of unrest created by numerous factors: China’s rise, Russia’s resurgence, America’s retreat, global terrorism, international criminal empires, climate change, dwindling natural resources, and bloody civil wars. Sean McFate has been on the front lines of deep state conflicts and has studied and taught the history and practice of war. He’s seen firsthand the horrors of battle and understands the depth and complexity of the current global military situation.

This devastating turmoil has given rise to difficult questions. What is the future of war? How can we survive? If Americans are drawn into major armed conflict, can we win? McFate calls upon the legends of military study Carl von Clausewitz, Sun Tzu, and others, as well as his own experience, and carefully constructs the new rules for the future of military engagement, the ways we can fight and win in an age of entropy: one where corporations, mercenaries, and rogue states have more power and ‘nation states’ have less. With examples from the Roman conquest, World War II, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and others, he tackles the differences between conventional and future war, the danger in believing that technology will save us, the genuine leverage of psychological and ‘shadow’ warfare, and much more. McFate’s new rules distill the essence of war today, describing what it is in the real world, not what we believe or wish it to be.

Some of these principles are ancient, others are new, but all will permanently shape war now and in the future. By following them he argues, we can prevail. But if we do not, terrorists, rogue states, and others who do not fight conventionally will succeed - and rule the world.

©2019 Sean McFate (P)2019 HarperCollins Publishers

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  • M3
  • 01-18-20

Relevant/ Researched/ Verifiable Points

If the reader can get past the author's ego, there are some very salient points in this book. Highlights:

1. Western powers look at War as binary: either we are at war or we aren't.
2. With that binary outlook, western powers adhere to the Laws of War (large, defined force-on-force, defined endstate).
3. Other countries are running circles around the US, using non-conventional forces and methods to get to their own undeclared end states.
4. Best example: Russia, with its annexation of Crimea and continuing (denied) battle for Ukraine.

Conclusion: No bad guy wants to go toe-to-toe in all-out War with the US, so they find ways around our policies, doctrines, and weapons systems. YES, Sean McFate has some very good points here.

1 person found this helpful

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Revolutionary logic & observations!

This is a brilliant work that needs to be in the hands of citizens, journalists, leaders and politicians. McFate explains why we are trapped in quagmires born out of the collective failure of imagination among US defense leadership. With Chomsky-esque clarity and logic, McFate helps us see the trends and strategies we should have noticed decades ago. CC: potus candidates.

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Every voter should read this book

This book provides an excellent analysis of the repeated military failures of the West since WWII, and details how we have been subverted around the world despite military supremecy and international institutions like the UN. It provides a lense through which all modern conflict is best understood. Well written and thought out, from a very experienced writer, this book will change the way you think about war - a change long overdue among American public and military establishment alike.

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  • RH
  • 05-27-20

Important, serious information

Is this the world in which you want to live? If not, you need to contact your legislators right away and insist on action to end the role of mercenaries in war.

American wars should be fought by the American military, not mercenaries.

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Perfect timing read this now!

Sean’s book is spot on with the current way war has changed and the US needs to catch up. Beyond relevant this is essential for our leaders to adapt how they think now.

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new war equals total war

interesting ideas and perspectives, definitely opens up another front with opinions I had not previously considered, thus broadening my mind. good read and both interesting and easy to follow.

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Necessary Reading for Critiquing the MIC

The most significant, thoughtful, & concise book on the subject I have ever come across.

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Good

Some plans are a little far fetched but overall good. We...the US, need a new strategy when combatting enemies.

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Sage

Mr McFate reminds us there isn't much new under the sun, especially when it comes to warfare. In this controversial book, the importance of juggernaut, modern institutions are questioned and a new theory of future conflict is introduced that sounds oddly similar to those of yesteryear. Just summed up in ten tidy rules. No matter your stance, ultimately the author paints a picture of what COULD be the future of warfare and forces the reader to consider his validity and question modern paradigms. Thought will be achieved.

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really great.

This was an interesting book. I really enjoyed it. well structured as well. thank you