For more than a decade, America has been waging a new kind of war against the financial networks of rogue regimes, proliferators, terrorist groups, and criminal syndicates. Juan Zarate, a chief architect of modern financial warfare and a former senior Treasury and White House official, pulls back the curtain on this shadowy world. In this gripping story, he explains in unprecedented detail how a small, dedicated group of officials redefined the Treasury's role and used its unique powers, relationships, and reputation to apply financial pressure against America's enemies.
This group unleashed a new brand of financial power -- one that leveraged the private sector and banks directly to isolate rogues from the international financial system. By harnessing the forces of globalization and the centrality of the American market and dollar, Treasury developed a new way of undermining America's foes. Treasury and its tools soon became, and remain, critical in the most vital geopolitical challenges facing the United States, including terrorism, nuclear proliferation, and the regimes in Iran, North Korea, and Syria.
This book is the definitive account, by an unparalleled expert, of how financial warfare has taken pride of place in American foreign policy and how America's competitors and enemies are now learning to use this type of power themselves. This is the unique story of the United States' financial war campaigns and the contours and uses of financial power, and of the warfare to come.
In this lengthy memoir, Zarate, a former U.S. Treasury and White House counterterrorism official, recounts how his team worked to "uncover hidden or layered assets" in Iraq and helped fight the Bush administration's "War on Terror." He ably describes the sophisticated financial chicanery of enemy states, the ins and outs of money laundering, and the efforts of private banks and corporations to protect global trade and finance. However, readers should not expect to receive a complete picture of financial warfare, much less learn about the future. These windy recollections are crafted mainly for the purpose of finding a place for their author in recent history. Zarate's insider's account, which relies on diaries and personal experiences, offers no fresh insights into Middle East or global financial strategy, and the narrative contains more than its share of tedious "I sat down with U.S. Central Command" type moments. Zarate squeezes important topics such as systemic vulnerability, currency manipulation, and cyberwarfare into a few pages at the end. No doubt, as the author makes clear, dirty money from Iraq, Iran, Syria, North Korea, and other nations threatens to poison the entire global economic landscape. In spite of the book's limitations, those intrigued by international money laundering and the U.S. government's efforts to prevent rogue states from financing terrorism will appreciate Zarate's account.