MARCH 5, 2022
- In 1986, author Tom Clancy published a novel about a global conflict provoked by the USSR.
- “Red Storm Rising” was one of two Clancy books that takes place outside the Jack Ryan-verse.
- President Reagan reportedly recommended the book to UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
Spoiler alert: The following article contains spoilers for Tom Clancy’s 1986 novel “Red Storm Rising.”More than three decades before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, bestselling author Tom Clancy imagined a scenario that shares similarities with the events that have ruled recent headlines.
Two years after publishing his blockbuster submarine warfare thriller “The Hunt For Red October,” Clancy (in collaboration with war game designer Larry Bond) penned “Red Storm Rising,” a 725-page military techno-thriller about a global conflict provoked by the then-Soviet Union.
The book’s plot: after one of its major oil refineries is destroyed by Azerbaijani militants, the USSR determines it must seize the oil supply in the Persian Gulf, which is protected by NATO. To justify their intentions while keeping the initial attack a secret, the USSR devises a false flag operation by planning an attack on the Kremlin that they blame on NATO-affiliated West Germany.
In real life: Russian officials including Russian leader Vladimir Putin repeatedly based their new military attack on Ukraine on the lie that a genocide was taking place in Ukraine. But a key difference between Clancy’s scenario and the real Russian invasion is that Ukraine is not a part of NATO, the world’s most powerful alliance that includes the nuclear powers the US, France and the UK.
What ensues in Clancy’s book is an action packed, multi-theater military procedural that, at times, feels like something out of a video game. In fact, the author subsequently developed one based on the book – the game was released on the PC, Atari, and Commodore 64 platforms in 1988.
In Clancy’s book, the crisis is resolved when a KGB-led coup usurps the fictional Russian leader before he is able to launch a nuclear strike on the Allied forces. While a happy ending such as this is common in Clancy’s America-first thrillers, it’s yet unclear that we’ll see a similar outcome in a war that’s already claimed hundreds of lives and forced 800,000 people to flee.
Russian forces attacked Ukraine on February 24, entering from several directions, with troops headed toward its capital, Kyiv. President Joe Biden and other Western leaders have criticized Putin, calling his country’s actions a violation of international law.
Putin brought the threat of nuclear activity to the forefront in recent days when he ordered Russian nuclear forces to shift to a higher state of alert he called “special combat readiness.”
Putin has also accused Ukraine of committing genocide and called its government a Nazi regime, claims for which there is no evidence. In “Red Storm Rising,” the Soviet invasion of West Germany is also based on a lie – in this case a staged terrorist attack engineered by the KGB, resulting in the deaths of Russian schoolchildren.
In the Clancy-verse, the Soviet invasion strategy was triggered by a “maskirovka” or false-flag operation intended to create the perception of a real crime it said was committed by a NATO member country in order to neutralize the organization so that it could move forward with plans to seize oil in the Persian Gulf.
A similar plot emerged in the real world in January, when US intelligence reports suggested that Russia may have been planning a false-flag operation to justify invading Ukraine.
“We have information that indicates Russia has already pre-positioned a group of operatives to conduct a false-flag operation in eastern Ukraine,” an anonymous official told The Washington Post, adding that “the operatives are trained in urban warfare and in using explosives to carry out acts of sabotage against Russia’s own proxy-forces.”
It’s unclear if a definitive false-flag incident devised by Russia ever occurred. A US official accused Russia of being behind a car bombing in rebel-held eastern Ukraine on February 18 that Russian media used to stoke concern that Ukrainian forces were targeting separatist leaders, and Putin’s plan to invade Ukraine forged on. In his speech last week, he justified his plan to invade based on claims about the nation that have been proven to be false. Putin said he was seeking the “denazification” of Ukraine, a country whose democratically elected leader, President Volodymyr Zelensky, is Jewish.
Another justification for Putin’s invasion: the Russian president’s concern over the expansion of NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, into Eastern Europe and former Soviet Republics, especially Ukraine, which asked to join the alliance in 2008. Putin said the invasion of Ukraine was an act of self-defense against NATO expansion. NATO is a political and military alliance that dates back to 1949 and consists of 30 member countries, including the US, Canada, the UK, France, Belgium, and many other European nations.
Putin has criticized NATO for expanding eastward since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. He has said NATO enlisting nations on Russia’s borders represents a provocation, though NATO insists it is a defensive alliance and not a threat to Russia.
NATO figures heavily into the complex plot of “Red Storm Rising.” Early in the story, the Soviet Union knows it cannot seize oil reserves in the NATO-protected Persian Gulf region without antagonizing NATO. Therefore, it neutralizes NATO by implicating member West Germany in the deadly terrorist attack staged in the false-flag incident.
In both the book and in the current war unfolding in Ukraine, the Russian government blamed NATO and NATO-affiliated countries for crises it created. According to NATO, it “suspended practical cooperation with Russia” in 2014, in response to Russia’s aggressive actions against Ukraine, subsequently deploying about 5,000 troops to the Baltic States and Poland in 2016.
“Red Storm Rising” ends in a way we can only hope this horrific war concludes: the crisis is resolved before things get much, much worse.
Courtesy/Source: Business Insider