The Dragons and the Snakes: How the Rest Learned to Fight the West
A wine reception will follow the talk
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.
Date: 3 March 2020, 17:15 (Tuesday, 7th week, Hilary 2020)
Venue: Pembroke College, St Aldates OX1 1DW
Venue Details: Pichette Auditorium
Speaker: David Kilcullen (University of New South Wales, Canberra)
Organising department: Department of Politics and International Relations (DPIR)
Organiser: Changing Character of War Centre (CCW)
Organiser contact email address:
Host: Dr Rob Johnson (CCW, Oxford)
Booking required?: Not required
Cost: Free
Audience: Public
Editor: Elizabeth Robson