The chief national security correspondent for CNN, journalist Sciutto explores a variety of dangers to the standing of the United States in the world order, with an emphasis on the dastardly plans of Russia and China.
Sciutto (Against Us: The New Face of America's Enemies in the Muslim World, 2008) focuses on threats to the U.S. military on the ground, in the air, and on the sea, and he also devotes chapters to cyberattacks and industrial espionage targeting American corporations. “This is a book about what happens when the enemies of the West realize that while they are unlikely to win a shooting war, they have another path to victory,” he writes. Throughout, the author’s tone is largely alarmist in nature, as he explains why he believes naïve and/or incompetent U.S. policymakers are ceding influence to the increasingly aggressive Chinese and Russians. Sciutto views the nationalism around the globe as a deadly game of winners and losers, with few shades of grey. He rarely portrays the U.S. government and military as the perpetrators of unwelcome aggressions across national borders. Rather, he suggests the U.S. is almost always the victim of an increasingly desperate Russia and a surging China. Sciutto portrays each non-American nation as a monolith lacking a substantial minority of dissenters. Some of the scenarios he examines will not be familiar to a broad swath of Americans—e.g., Russian cyberwarfare against its former state of Estonia. Many readers will be interested in Sciutto’s account of Russian hacking during the 2016 presidential election. However, while his review is useful, it contains no stunning revelations and is certain to be out of date by the time the book publishes.
A hawkish book that will likely please “America Firsters” and xenophobes but might seem unbalanced to those who decry several centuries of U.S. aggression around the globe.