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About the Author

Seth G. Jones is Harold Brown Chair and Director of the Transnational Threats Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), as well as an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins University's School for Advanced International Studies (SAIS). He is the author of In the Graveyard of mostrar mais Empires: America's War in Afghanistan. mostrar menos

Inclui os nomes: Seth G. Jones, Seth G. Jones

Obras de Seth G. Jones


Conhecimento Comum



This book revealed a lot of background and reasons for constant demonization of Russia in last few years. What happened is that beside China (that controls majority of production for critical electronic and other advanced industry so is a big no-no at least for the moment) and rising militaries from the Arab world especially those influencing the North and East of Africa (and also control lots of oil and other resources so they are also a rather big no-no, unless they are "authoritarian state!" :)) and of course ever present West, Russia decided to step in and extend their influence outside of Euroasian sphere. How dare they!

So for all means and purposes nothing new - same old thing, major powers extending their sphere of influence and smaller countries paying the price, only difference being that today not anyone is allowed into this club any more (unless they hold the rest of the world by the short and curlies because rest of the world moved all strategic industry to their territory - in which case, let 'em play).

Authors (it is a group of authors involved with the book) have an approach that very easily translates to old Roman speech ending every so often with "And Carthage needs to to be destroyed" that it becomes ridiculous.

So in order of things.....

Good: Presentation of Russian PMC roles, their successes and blunders are short but to a point (this is after all 100-something page booklet). Approach used by PMCs, tasks they were given and how they managed to execute them (or completely mess things up as in Mozambique) are given very clearly. Relationships to the Russian state and security are also given in rather good detail.
Bad: Insistence on how Russian PMC work closely with Russian state (ominous music!). As far as I can see only truly apolitical (at least considering the fire it drew to itself) PMC outfit was South African Executive Outcomes because they played for the money and concessions - but they did their job. And due to their rather apolitical approach where highly criticized and [if I may say] forced to disband. Author talks about these links between PMCs and state government as if he never heard of East Indian Company, Sandline Intl, Keenie-Meenie (KMS), David Sterling's PMC (Aden anybody?), Bob Denard (and that same Madagascar and Africa) and as we come to current times Blackwater/Academy/, Triple Canopy, UAE army ran by Aussies etc. They are just patriots running businesses - right :D yeah, right :) MPRI on its own trained a whole army and guide it through very advanced reconnaissance methods to achieve the effect it achieved - happened by chance right ;) I mean ridiculous, very contracts with these PMCs were made through US DOD.
Funny: Russian PMCs only exist so that Russian oligarchs and certain individuals (ominous music!) get richer. I get Prince never took any money for Blackwater engagements, or EO, or Triple Canopy..... they shared their wealth with their immediate neighbors and communities :D:D:D I mean come on...... I am still trying to figure out what did authors meant with this....
Interesting: Years of pandemic and forced isolation... it seems they weren't inactive years as much as we might think. After seeing 2020 and 2021 mentioned so much in relation to various active battlefields from Africa to Europe to Asia truly makes one wander what did take place during those years.
Not so funny:Authors are not very clear how they see the Russian PMCs (effective, not, maybe, not sure) but final thoughts on creating friction and conflict on Russian end that might cause internal conflict with possibly catastrophic consequences for Russia (I have to admit that seeing Mark Galleotti quoted here was not a surprise, unfortunately) is a little bit to aggressive for any publication. Which explains why this book is not possible to found anywhere anymore - it just went swoosh! Gone! Level of response authors advise is very very confrontational and is something that should not be publicly written about IMHO. But this just speaks of general feelings and complete lost of touch with reality and what was usually called realpolitik. Unfortunately it brought the world into the situation it is in today.
Bloody ridiculous:Constant insistence on meddling with the 2016 and (what struck me the most) 2020 (!!!!) elections. This and constant talks about Russian "hybrid war" are so ludicrous and hilarious (no pun intended) statements that are today even ridiculed officially by mass-media I dont understand why did they even mentioned this in the book (I guess it will take few more years for authors/experts to acknowledge this though because hey this is gold mine with shady/gray kinetic appliances that need to be discussed and since it is a new main buzzword it needs o be milked to the max). Again authors' mentioning of "hybrid war" as something so new it is unbelievable - maybe reading books on (heh) election meddling in Italy, Iran to prevent communists (ominous music!) to get to power, then Angola, Congo, South Africa wars and Vlaakplaas (in 1990's hype was about the Third Force!), Asian wars (Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam), Latin America (Cuba, Argentina, Chile, Nicaragua, Operation Condor anyone) and do we need to mention Algeir and Iran in 1950's, Czech Revolt, Hungary........ only thing that changed is possibility to launch the missile from the remote command post and be safe from returning fire. This insistence on "hybrid war" gotta stop - it is just a way of using overwhelming effect to stupefy your enemy, and as can be seen above it is not Russia-only domain (as a matter of fact they are kind-of-a new kids under the spotlight in this category - everybody else screaming "hybrid war" has been waging it for at least five decades). I have to say use of the buzzwords irritate me beyond belief.

So as can be seen book has everything to make it an interesting read. I cannot but think that it was published to the public by mistake, especially considering the recommendations that are poised more against the Russia than their PMCs.

What comes out of this book is that Russian PMCs have struck the cord through their actions and resulting vibrations caused authors to call for retaliatory strike that is [to say the least] out of proportion and sounds very very much ominous and belligerent. From the conclusions I can only say that they are made sensational and with not much understanding of the opponent (which is the way Russia and Russian PMCs are seen by the authors). Which again, in light of this year's events, unfortunately does not surprise me at all. Authors seem to see themselves as Catos of our time - I hope they are more reasonable than that.

Interesting book, highly recommended, especially today.
… (mais)
Zare | Jan 23, 2024 |
Solid effort though obviously leaves you hanging with the situation utterly unresolved in about early 2009. So it does not deal with the Obama 'surge' or any of the political or military developments since that time. To my mind one salient point stands out above all else and that is the role of Pakistan in harboring and even helping the Taliban and other insurgents. One has to conclude that Afghanistan has next to no chance to succeed (on western terms) without Pakistan becoming serious about the border regions. And that seems utterly unlikely and in the end a depressing realization.… (mais)
PCorrigan | outras 7 resenhas | Oct 29, 2014 |
Jones starts In the Graveyard of Empires going back to Alexander the Great's march into Afghanistan. This is to put Afghanistan's tumultuous history into perspective. Readers shouldn't be worried a historical quagmire because Jones moves through the early bloodshed pretty quickly. Around the time of the Soviet invasion he slows the tempo down and goes into more detail. One of the things I appreciated about Jones's writing is that he manages to stay pretty objective, hardly inserting himself into the analysis, despite his personal ties to the region. He stays true to the subtitle, "America's War in Afghanistan" of which he had no military part. He served as advisor to the commanding general of the U.S. Special Ops Forces. His work is heavily supplemented by countless interviews and extensive research. You can read more of his profile on the RAND corporation website.… (mais)
SeriousGrace | outras 7 resenhas | Jul 14, 2014 |
I was all set for a heavy-duty session of eye-rolling when the author started this book about the U.S. military's involvement in Afghanistan with a short account of how tough a time Alexander the Great had in subduing Afghanistan (because you know, something that happened over 2000 years has so much relevance to the here and now) but luckily that particular folly only lasted a couple of paragraphs - just enough time to justify the title of the book I suppose - and then Jones swiftly moved on to the matter at hand (The book is subtitled 'America's War in Afghanistan' after all). Which is a good thing too because his knowledge of the actual topic and his insights are outstanding. This is all in all and excellent look at how the United States got involved in Afghanistan, what that involvement has entailed, the challenges the United States faces and some suggestions about how they might be approached. The account necessarily ends in 2010 and so its perhaps not the most up-to-date book out there, but I can't think of a better all-round book on America's war in Afghanistan than this one.… (mais)
iftyzaidi | outras 7 resenhas | Sep 1, 2012 |


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