Unconquerable Nation: Knowing Our Enemy, Strengthening Ourselves

Unconquerable Nation: Knowing Our Enemy, Strengthening Ourselves

Unconquerable Nation: Knowing Our Enemy, Strengthening Ourselves

Unconquerable Nation: Knowing Our Enemy, Strengthening Ourselves


On the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Brian Jenkins, one of the world's leading experts on terrorism and counterterrorism strategies, presents a concise and compelling overview of where we are today in the struggle against terrorism. He offers personal reflections on how some of our recent approaches to counterterrorism have been counterproductive. He presents an overview of the jihadists, particularly al Qaeda, and their operational code. He proposes strategies to counteract this adversary and to avoid reinforcing it further. Finally, he clarifies the American and Western values that we must strive to uphold, as well as ways that we might do so today and in the future.


In this book, Brian Michael Jenkins draws on 40 years of research on terrorism, most of it conducted at the rand Corporation. He has played numerous leadership roles at rand over those years and is today my senior advisor. But his most enduring contributions have been the fruits of his research efforts.

In Brian’s early days at rand in the 1960s, he focused on the insurgencies in Vietnam and Cambodia, on Vietnamese military institutions, and on the styles and techniques of conflict.

In the late 1960s, Brian began drawing parallels between the rise of urbanization in the war in Vietnam and trends taking place in other parts of Asia and Latin America. the theory of guerrilla warfare as a strictly rural activity was being challenged as the guerrillas were taking their struggles to the cities. By outlining a five-stage process by which urban guerrillas could take over a city, he was able to make recommendations for government countermeasures.

In 1972, in the wake of the murder of Olympic athletes in Munich and the random carnage at Tel Aviv’s Lod Airport, Brian circulated an internal note at rand setting forth an agenda for the study of international terrorism. in that document, Brian cited terrorism as being a new element in international relations that to date had had little systematic examination. He recommended that rand undertake a study of international terrorism as a potential nonmilitary threat to national security and suggested the following as possibly useful studies: the nature of the threat itself, probable future trends, the feasible limits of providing protection beyond national borders for . . .

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