Security analysts today warn that domestic extremism in the United States poses as much risk today as it did in 1995, when the bombing of Federal government offices in Oklahoma City produced the most deadly domestic terrorist attack in US history. Military strategist and counter-insurgency expert David Kilcullen believes the risk of organised, civil violence in the United States in 2020 is far more widespread and potentially more dangerous than commonly thought. Potential triggers and grievances abound, ranging from coronavirus and its economic costs, protests against police violence and opportunistic looting and vandalism, counter-protests and waves of domestic and foreign disinformation, all set against the upcoming US elections. What are the historical parallels to the situation the United States finds itself in?

To discuss these issues, USSC hosted a webinar event featuring Dr David Kilcullen, author of the new book The Dragons and the Snakes: How the Rest Learned to Fight the West, in discussion with United States Studies Centre’s CEO Professor Simon Jackman.

Dr David Kilcullen is Professor of International and Political Studies at University of New South Wales, Canberra and also serves as Professor of Practice in global security at Arizona State University. Kilcullen is a former soldier and diplomat, and a scholar of guerrilla warfare, terrorism, urbanisation and the future of conflict, who served 25 years for the Australian and United States governments. During the Iraq War, he served in Baghdad as a member of the Joint Strategic Assessment Team, then as Senior Counterinsurgency Advisor, Multi-National Force Iraq in 2007, before becoming Special Advisor for Counterinsurgency to US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in 2008. Kilcullen was named one of the Foreign Policy Top 100 Global Thinkers in 2009.