BOOK REVIEW

A Much Needed Strategy to Fight a Global Threat

winnable_062116Anyone interested in understanding the reasons for the ascendancy of global Islamic terrorism will find Dr. Sebastian Gorka’s book, Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War, truly informative. It is a clear, concise and persuasive analysis of the phenomenon of global jihadism and the American response to it. What is more, not only does it offer an analysis but it also proposes an effective strategy to defeat it.

Gorka is an internationally recognized authority on issues of national security, irregular warfare, terrorism and democratization, who has worked in government and the private and NGO sectors in Europe and the United States. Defeating Jihad reflects his wide-ranging expertise and scholarly mind. The book is well-structured, well-documented and bold in its analysis. Its reasoning has been based on the ideas of the most influential military strategists and the American experience of warfare against 20th century totalitarian regimes.nyone interested in understanding the reasons for the ascendancy of global Islamic terrorism will find Dr. Sebastian Gorka’s book, Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War, truly informative. It is a clear, concise and persuasive analysis of the phenomenon of global jihadism and the American response to it. What is more, not only does it offer an analysis but it also proposes an effective strategy to defeat it.

“To win, you have to know yourself and know your enemy,” one of the crucial tenets of military strategy formulated by a brilliant strategist Sun-Tzu provides the framework for Defeating Jihad. The book opens with a compelling prologue that presents a personal experience of totalitarian regime. Then parallels between the totalitarian ideology of communism and that of a global jihadist movement are drawn. America’s approach towards the war against international Islamist terrorism is analyzed, pointing to the reasons for the failure of American policy on the battlefield. Further chapters are devoted to explaining the nascence of Islam, its influence on all the spheres of life in theocratic Muslim countries and its main strategic thinkers who contributed to the international rise of the religiously inspired terrorist movement. The final chapters put forward a strategy based on American experience in past wars against violent states propelled by totalitarian ideologies. In short, Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War is an enemy threat doctrine analysis and a grand strategic response plan necessary to win the war against global jihadism.

The logical structure of the book makes it approachable to both military and civilian readers. Dr. Gorka relies on ample historical evidence and analysis of facts to prove his reasoning. He also recommends resources and further reading for those who would like to gain more expertise in the field. As a scholar practitioner, he insists that only unbiased perception of the phenomenon of global jihadism is going to enable the American policy makers to formulate a strategy allowing to fight it. The book is a mine of information about historic American policies in the face of global military threats, factors that have led to the present crisis, as well as the mysterious world of Islam. It introduces the Western reader to the complexities of theocratic regimes and the nature of the power struggle in the Middle East, whose most frightening product is the Islamic State – “the most dangerous irregular warfare organization,” that combines an archaic radical vision of the world with the most modern means of communication and international violent influence.

Dr. Gorka’s latest book can be considered an essential guide both for American foreign policy makers and readers seeking information on recent troubling developments in the Muslim world. Daring, honest and very well-informed, it explains the phenomena often obscured by the cultural, political and religious differences between Islam and the West. It also evokes an important truth about the United States itself. Namely, by virtue of its unique founding principles based upon respect for dignity of individuals and safeguarding their right to live in a free society, this country has been and shall remain a challenge to all totalitarian regimes aspiring to global dominance. To prevail against them, the United States has to know what it is and what it stands for.


Maria Juczewska is an MA candidate in international affairs at the Institute of World Politics in Washington, DC, where she is a research assistant to the Kościuszko Chair of Polish Studies. Ms. Juczewska is a contributor to SFPPR News & Analysis.

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