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The Shadow War

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The Shadow War

Inside Russia's and China's Secret Operations to Defeat America


15 min read
9 take-aways
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What's inside?

The Cold War might be over, but the “shadow war” isn’t going away.

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It’s increasingly clear that the United States and Europe are in a “shadow war” with Russia and China. Thankfully, this new brand of conflict is less terrifying than the Cold War – no shots are fired, no nuclear holocaust looms. But the hostilities are real and the tensions are constant, journalist Jim Sciutto reports in this sobering dispatch. Sciutto, who works as a CNN anchor and chief national security correspondent, describes his trips to shadow-war zones in the South China Sea and the Arctic. This engagingly written overview offers yet another testimonial that leaders in Beijing and Moscow have little interest in Western-style democracy.


Russia is waging war against the United States and other Western democracies.

In 2018, Sergei Skripal and his adult daughter were found in an English park, barely alive and suffering neurological breakdowns. The mystery surrounding the event soon became clear: A Russian-manufactured nerve agent called novichok had poisoned Skripal, a former KGB agent, and his daughter. Intelligence agencies in the West quickly pinned the assassination attempts on the Kremlin and on Russian leader Vladimir Putin. The attack was notable in that it took place on British soil, but it wasn’t the first time that Putin had sought to execute an enemy who had fled Russia.

More than a decade earlier, Russian operatives succeeded in killing Alexander Litvinenko, a dissident living in London. The killers used a radioactive material so strong that investigators were able to trace its path from a plane bound for London to a hotel, a football match, a restaurant and, finally, to the murder site. Arguably, the assassination of Litvinenko and the attempt on Skripal’s life were part and parcel of the same message from...

About the Author

Jim Sciutto is CNN’s chief national security correspondent and the anchor of CNN Newsroom. His work has earned Emmy awards, the George Polk Award and the Edward R. Murrow Award.

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