.

2022 promises to bring with it a new slate of exciting books by noted authors and experts. Undoubtedly there will be the ubiquitous genre of those swiftly published books following whatever zeitgeist emerges in the new year, but there is a litany of books to which I’m eagerly looking forward about everything from China, warfare, Russia to people’s horrid online behavior. Of what is a fairly extensive and growing list, below are just ten of the books I’m most looking forward to reading in 2022.

Happy New Year!

Spies, Lies, and Algorithms, Amy Zegart (1 February, Princeton University Press).

Stanford professor Amy Zegart explores the history and changing nature and character of espionage in her forthcoming book “Spies, Lies, and Algorithms”. Looking at how intelligence has evolved and the challenges modern practitioners face especially with the emergence of new technologies like AI and machine learning, Zegart’s book couldn’t be timelier. Over the last 20 years, the focus of much of America’s intelligence machinery has been on counterinsurgency and terrorism. Naturally enough this made sense after 9/11, but the emergence of strategic competition demands yet another pivot for intelligence officers.

Weaponisation of Everything: A Field Guide to the New Way of War, Mark Galeotti (15 February, Yale University Press).

Mark Galeotti is one of the most prolific and insightful commentators on Russian affairs today. His Stakhanovite work ethic makes me question my productivity. Between a wildly successful podcast, “In Moscow’s Shadows”, books on Russian organized crime (“The Vory”), a literal “Short History of Russia”, and “We Need to Talk About Putin”, as well as smaller monographs on Russian political warfare and military-focused books for Osprey, there is very little that Galeotti doesn’t seem to do (and do exceedingly well). His forthcoming book “The Weaponisation of Everything” promises to be insightful about the scale and scope to which the concept of war has changed. Warfare is far from binary—either on or off—and is much broader than just bullets and bombs, yet the West’s conception of the character of war remains very limited, and maintaining this framework is very dangerous.

War Transformed: The Future of Twenty-First Century Great Power Competition and Conflict, Maj Gen Mick Ryan (15 February, Naval Institute Press).

“War Transformed” by Australian Major General Mick Ryan offers a timely look at how the nature and character of war has changed and continues to do so from a different perspective—Australia’s. This is particularly timely as, again, with the wars of Iraq and Afghanistan ending, and the character of war itself changing, getting a grip on the near- and long-term effects is more critical now than at any time in recent history. Australia is a critical frontline in strategic competition, and understanding how Canberra views war and how institutions need to adapt to these changes is of vital importance, especially as this alliance will be of paramount importance in the Indo-Pacific. Indeed, our very understanding of war and peace must fundamentally change in an era where the lines are not so clear—if existent at all.

Spin Dictators: The Changing Face of Tyranny in the 21st Century, Sergei Guriev & Daniel Treisman (8 March, Princeton University Press).

While authoritarianism is nothing new, how it is practiced, legitimized, and packaged around the world has fundamentally changed. Authors Sergei Guriev and Daniel Treisman, track how a new breed of media-savvy strongmen have emerged in Russia, Turkey, and Hungary, and use technology to distort the appearance of their regime to both their populace and the world at large. In contrast with “fear dictators” like Syria’s Bashar al-Assad and North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un, these new “spin dictators” are creating new political and social narratives, and new methods of survival, none of which augur well for the long-term growth and survival of democracy.  

The Bin Laden Papers: How the Abbottabad Raid revealed the Truth about al-Qaeda, its Leader and his Family, Nelly Lahoud (12 April, Yale University Press).

Osama bin Laden continues to fascinate the public and researchers alike and will undoubtedly continue to do so for the foreseeable future—especially as more and new information is released. Here, Nelly Lahoud, a senior fellow at the think tank New America, and a lead researcher on the treasure trove of information from the Abbottabad raid, offers a deeper look at the co-founder of al-Qa’ida in “The Bin Laden Papers”. Distilling some 6,000 pages of documents, Lahoud explores how and what bin Laden communicated with his followers through his own words.

How to be a Woman Online: Surviving Abuse and Harassment, and How to Fight Back, Nina Jankowicz (21 April, Bloomsbury Academic).

Nina Jankowicz is a leading expert on disinformation who brilliantly displayed in her previous book “How to Lose the Information War”, which explored the subject through the experiences of Central and Eastern Europe. She follows up this book with a much-needed exploration of the horrific abuse she experienced and other women regularly receive in online and virtual spaces in “How to Be a Woman Online”. The lines between disinformation, extremism, and online abuse are far from clear and, hopefully, her book will spark conversation about behavior online, civility, transparency, and accountability.

Beijing’s Global Media Offensive: China’s Uneven Campaign to Influence Asia and the World, Joshua Kurlantzick (1 July, Oxford University Press).

China’s “Wolf Warrior” diplomacy is ruffling feathers around the world and the Chinese Communist Party’s sensitivity to perceived slights has, perhaps, caused it to overplay its hand. Joshua Kurlantzick, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, explores how Beijing built a global communications and information network to spread the Party’s message and narrative, and shape global opinion in his new book “Beijing’s Global Media Offensive”. Understanding the Party’s efforts today will be critical to develop countermeasures and counter-influence efforts tomorrow to ensure free press and free speech around the world.

Red Arctic: Russian Strategy Under Putin, Elizabeth Buchanan (14 June, Brookings Institution Press).

Unsurprisingly, as with most things related to Russia, there is a breathless hyperbole based on misunderstandings and assumptions about Moscow’s interests and behaviors. This is as true in the Arctic as it is in Ukraine. The Brooking Institution’s Elizabeth Buchanan argues in her new book “Red Arctic” that a new cold war in the frozen north is anything but guaranteed, and that Putin’s interest in the region is more than just an effort to regain great power status. Rather, Russia’s behaviors in the Arctic are far more pragmatic than most believe and, in fact, its interests are more at risk if a new Cold War emerges in the north.

Sinostan: China’s Inadvertent Empire, Raffaelo Pantucci & Alexandros Petersen (14 July, Oxford University Press).

I’m quite partial to semi-travelogues that bridge cogent geopolitical analysis with tours of fascinating parts of the world. Here, Raffaello Pantucci and the late Alexandros Petersen offer a look at China’s reach and influence in Central Asia in their forthcoming book “Sinostan: China’s Inadvertent Empire”. Pantucci, a fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, finished the book after Petersen was sadly killed in an attack in Kabul, and it promises to provide an on-the-ground look at China’s backyard through the lens of people who live and work across the region. Understanding the reality of China’s activities in the region through such a field lens will offer vastly more insights than more DC-based policy analysis.

The Kremlin’s Memory Makers: The Politics of the Past in Putin’s Russia, Dr. Jade McGlynn (Autumn, Bloomsbury).

Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, has sought to use and misuse Russia’s historical memory for contemporary political purposes. Resurrecting the Soviet national anthem, albeit with new words, reusing tsarist iconography, lamenting the collapse of the Soviet Union, and even declaring war on “historical falsification”, and more. Putin has cloaked his activities and policies in the mantel of history. Jade McGlynn in her forthcoming book “The Kremlin’s Memory Makers” shows how and why memory has become such a potent political tool for Putin and Russia’s political establishment. This is an absolutely fascinating topic, and a book about which I’m very excited, particularly as she shows how Russia isn’t alone in this effort, but may just be on the leading edge of a worldwide trend.

About
Joshua Huminski
:
Joshua C. Huminski is Director of the Mike Rogers Center for Intelligence & Global Affairs at the Center for the Study of the Presidency & Congress. He can be found on Twitter @joshuachuminski.
The views presented in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of any other organization.

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www.diplomaticourier.com

10 Books to Look Forward to in 2022

Illustration via Adobe Stock.

January 1, 2022

Diplomatic Courier book reviewer Joshua Huminski presents forthcoming books he is looking forward to reviewing in 2022.

2022 promises to bring with it a new slate of exciting books by noted authors and experts. Undoubtedly there will be the ubiquitous genre of those swiftly published books following whatever zeitgeist emerges in the new year, but there is a litany of books to which I’m eagerly looking forward about everything from China, warfare, Russia to people’s horrid online behavior. Of what is a fairly extensive and growing list, below are just ten of the books I’m most looking forward to reading in 2022.

Happy New Year!

Spies, Lies, and Algorithms, Amy Zegart (1 February, Princeton University Press).

Stanford professor Amy Zegart explores the history and changing nature and character of espionage in her forthcoming book “Spies, Lies, and Algorithms”. Looking at how intelligence has evolved and the challenges modern practitioners face especially with the emergence of new technologies like AI and machine learning, Zegart’s book couldn’t be timelier. Over the last 20 years, the focus of much of America’s intelligence machinery has been on counterinsurgency and terrorism. Naturally enough this made sense after 9/11, but the emergence of strategic competition demands yet another pivot for intelligence officers.

Weaponisation of Everything: A Field Guide to the New Way of War, Mark Galeotti (15 February, Yale University Press).

Mark Galeotti is one of the most prolific and insightful commentators on Russian affairs today. His Stakhanovite work ethic makes me question my productivity. Between a wildly successful podcast, “In Moscow’s Shadows”, books on Russian organized crime (“The Vory”), a literal “Short History of Russia”, and “We Need to Talk About Putin”, as well as smaller monographs on Russian political warfare and military-focused books for Osprey, there is very little that Galeotti doesn’t seem to do (and do exceedingly well). His forthcoming book “The Weaponisation of Everything” promises to be insightful about the scale and scope to which the concept of war has changed. Warfare is far from binary—either on or off—and is much broader than just bullets and bombs, yet the West’s conception of the character of war remains very limited, and maintaining this framework is very dangerous.

War Transformed: The Future of Twenty-First Century Great Power Competition and Conflict, Maj Gen Mick Ryan (15 February, Naval Institute Press).

“War Transformed” by Australian Major General Mick Ryan offers a timely look at how the nature and character of war has changed and continues to do so from a different perspective—Australia’s. This is particularly timely as, again, with the wars of Iraq and Afghanistan ending, and the character of war itself changing, getting a grip on the near- and long-term effects is more critical now than at any time in recent history. Australia is a critical frontline in strategic competition, and understanding how Canberra views war and how institutions need to adapt to these changes is of vital importance, especially as this alliance will be of paramount importance in the Indo-Pacific. Indeed, our very understanding of war and peace must fundamentally change in an era where the lines are not so clear—if existent at all.

Spin Dictators: The Changing Face of Tyranny in the 21st Century, Sergei Guriev & Daniel Treisman (8 March, Princeton University Press).

While authoritarianism is nothing new, how it is practiced, legitimized, and packaged around the world has fundamentally changed. Authors Sergei Guriev and Daniel Treisman, track how a new breed of media-savvy strongmen have emerged in Russia, Turkey, and Hungary, and use technology to distort the appearance of their regime to both their populace and the world at large. In contrast with “fear dictators” like Syria’s Bashar al-Assad and North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un, these new “spin dictators” are creating new political and social narratives, and new methods of survival, none of which augur well for the long-term growth and survival of democracy.  

The Bin Laden Papers: How the Abbottabad Raid revealed the Truth about al-Qaeda, its Leader and his Family, Nelly Lahoud (12 April, Yale University Press).

Osama bin Laden continues to fascinate the public and researchers alike and will undoubtedly continue to do so for the foreseeable future—especially as more and new information is released. Here, Nelly Lahoud, a senior fellow at the think tank New America, and a lead researcher on the treasure trove of information from the Abbottabad raid, offers a deeper look at the co-founder of al-Qa’ida in “The Bin Laden Papers”. Distilling some 6,000 pages of documents, Lahoud explores how and what bin Laden communicated with his followers through his own words.

How to be a Woman Online: Surviving Abuse and Harassment, and How to Fight Back, Nina Jankowicz (21 April, Bloomsbury Academic).

Nina Jankowicz is a leading expert on disinformation who brilliantly displayed in her previous book “How to Lose the Information War”, which explored the subject through the experiences of Central and Eastern Europe. She follows up this book with a much-needed exploration of the horrific abuse she experienced and other women regularly receive in online and virtual spaces in “How to Be a Woman Online”. The lines between disinformation, extremism, and online abuse are far from clear and, hopefully, her book will spark conversation about behavior online, civility, transparency, and accountability.

Beijing’s Global Media Offensive: China’s Uneven Campaign to Influence Asia and the World, Joshua Kurlantzick (1 July, Oxford University Press).

China’s “Wolf Warrior” diplomacy is ruffling feathers around the world and the Chinese Communist Party’s sensitivity to perceived slights has, perhaps, caused it to overplay its hand. Joshua Kurlantzick, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, explores how Beijing built a global communications and information network to spread the Party’s message and narrative, and shape global opinion in his new book “Beijing’s Global Media Offensive”. Understanding the Party’s efforts today will be critical to develop countermeasures and counter-influence efforts tomorrow to ensure free press and free speech around the world.

Red Arctic: Russian Strategy Under Putin, Elizabeth Buchanan (14 June, Brookings Institution Press).

Unsurprisingly, as with most things related to Russia, there is a breathless hyperbole based on misunderstandings and assumptions about Moscow’s interests and behaviors. This is as true in the Arctic as it is in Ukraine. The Brooking Institution’s Elizabeth Buchanan argues in her new book “Red Arctic” that a new cold war in the frozen north is anything but guaranteed, and that Putin’s interest in the region is more than just an effort to regain great power status. Rather, Russia’s behaviors in the Arctic are far more pragmatic than most believe and, in fact, its interests are more at risk if a new Cold War emerges in the north.

Sinostan: China’s Inadvertent Empire, Raffaelo Pantucci & Alexandros Petersen (14 July, Oxford University Press).

I’m quite partial to semi-travelogues that bridge cogent geopolitical analysis with tours of fascinating parts of the world. Here, Raffaello Pantucci and the late Alexandros Petersen offer a look at China’s reach and influence in Central Asia in their forthcoming book “Sinostan: China’s Inadvertent Empire”. Pantucci, a fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, finished the book after Petersen was sadly killed in an attack in Kabul, and it promises to provide an on-the-ground look at China’s backyard through the lens of people who live and work across the region. Understanding the reality of China’s activities in the region through such a field lens will offer vastly more insights than more DC-based policy analysis.

The Kremlin’s Memory Makers: The Politics of the Past in Putin’s Russia, Dr. Jade McGlynn (Autumn, Bloomsbury).

Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, has sought to use and misuse Russia’s historical memory for contemporary political purposes. Resurrecting the Soviet national anthem, albeit with new words, reusing tsarist iconography, lamenting the collapse of the Soviet Union, and even declaring war on “historical falsification”, and more. Putin has cloaked his activities and policies in the mantel of history. Jade McGlynn in her forthcoming book “The Kremlin’s Memory Makers” shows how and why memory has become such a potent political tool for Putin and Russia’s political establishment. This is an absolutely fascinating topic, and a book about which I’m very excited, particularly as she shows how Russia isn’t alone in this effort, but may just be on the leading edge of a worldwide trend.

About
Joshua Huminski
:
Joshua C. Huminski is Director of the Mike Rogers Center for Intelligence & Global Affairs at the Center for the Study of the Presidency & Congress. He can be found on Twitter @joshuachuminski.
The views presented in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of any other organization.