An interview with Admiral (Retired) James Stavridis and Elliot Ackerman
"What would a conflict with China look like? How will irregular warfare fit into a conflict before and during large-scale combat operations? Retired Admiral James Stavridis and Elliot Ackerman join this episode of the Irregular Warfare Podcast to discuss the theme of escalation to large-scale conflict, which they explore in their New York Times best seller 2034: A Novel of the Next World War. In answering those questions, they emphasize the nature of human behavior in conflict and how escalation can get out of control.
The novel follows the escalation of the next world war, beginning in the South China Sea. In the episode, the authors explain several key contributions that special operations forces would make in the type of conflict their novel imagines. They argue that a crucial advantage the United States has is its close relationships with partners and allies in the region—relationships that special operations forces foster before conflict—and that these forces’ direct-action capabilities will be invaluable during conflict. While both guests make clear that the book is a work of fiction, it is a cautionary tale for policymakers on how escalation could lead to a nuclear conflict."