Our Summer reading programme this year is re-reading the Tom Clancy novels which now go back over two decades starting with "The Hunt for RED OCTOBER" in 1994. Of course there are his other books on personalities and equipment of the United States military.
It is remarkable in reading the older novels how the same adversaries and problems are still with us in 2012 together with the shifting alliances of the United States such as the Republic of China (ROC), Israel, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. The adversaries remain the former USSR now Russia once again under an "elected" Czar rather than the Romanov's, The Peoples Republic of China (PRC), Islamic Republic of Iran, and Iraq. Together with other troublesome areas such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and the Arab nations of the Middle East and North Africa. NAUTICAL LOG has over the years visited all these countries so has seen the peoples and cultures at firsthand.
The issues today are quite similar to those Clancy wrote about fifteen years ago, all told a very astute, well informed and prophetic writer.
Currently, as we have been writing about ourselves, the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) sensing a weak U.S. Administration is flexing its muscles in the South China Sea and sailing close to the wind. Also sailing a little to close to the islands it is forcing its claim on by grounding one of its frigates in the Spratly Islands last week. Such things can happen all too easily when nations get over confident and their military gets cocky - a simple incident can become warfighting.
Clancy has a cast of characters that move through life and their careers from novel to novel. The various persons of the various Administrations over the years are cleverly brought into the stories and it does not take to much effort to identify whom is based on whom in real United States politics.
Therefore it might just be that the current U.S. Administration could benefit from reading the Tom Clancy novels themselves because it has become fairly clear over the last three and a half years that members of this Administration are not grasping the big international picture at all. Our current SecState is send - one must presume by the White House - to stamp out all the firestorms in the Middle East and Asia with little success. Instead of a clear message of what is expected of these nations there are just weak remarks on behalf of what sounds like a confused and defeated Administration - most particularly to those being spoken too. This apparent weakness is of greater danger to the United States than the current aims of certain Middle East and Asian nations which remarkably match those of a Tom Clancy novel written over fifteen years ago. The actions of one of its participants are taking place in the South China Sea and East China Sea in real life of 2012.