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James Stavridis

Forfatter af 2034

14 Works 1,167 Members 29 Reviews

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Image credit: reading at National Book Festival By Slowking4 - Own work, GFDL 1.2, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=62180053

Værker af James Stavridis

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Book shows, at least to me, that although authors have military background that I do not question for a second, modern Western military has (or better yet had, they got a glimpse in 2022) no idea on what modern war between nations looks like. It seems that lessons from WW1 onward are completely forgotten.

Also, and I understand that this is more for fiction than fact presentation because this is not war game simulation (for which I truly hope they base more on reality), this book's way of presenting nations that West sees as a enemies is so full of cliches to the point of caricature. Because what Iranians do - they beat down anything they see using most-brute force because hey, it is what they are, right, brutes hugging anti aircraft guns (?) and trying to shoot down the invading airplanes (in area towards which attackers need to fly at least hundred's of planes over good portion (several hundred of kilometers) of Iranian territory? I guess missile defenses in these area are non existent? but they have electromagentic guns? Please....); Chinese you say, Fu-Manchu characters all, with tendency to kill off everyone involved in the embarrassing acts; and Russians, as always seen by West as drunks unable to even use appropriate amount of explosives not to mention follow the simple meteorological data and winds so entire airborne division ends up in the sea (and this is for army that predominantly uses helicopter air assaults (yes even with parachutes)) - I mean ridiculous.

Above is standard West's view of potential adversaries, Clancy followed the same recipe, Larry Bond also could not but portray the enemies as ultimately incapable. So no big surprise here.

When it comes to the side of "angels" US is the only force standing up, European forces are nowhere to be seen which says a lot [considering the author's credentials].

What I find most disastrous in this book is how they see inter-state escalation, which is pretty worrying considering the above mentioned authors' credentials and history.

Internet gets cut off and infrastructure falls, but after a while everything comes back online? How? I understand there are backups but level of destruction mentioned in the book is such that satellites are at least jammed if not outright fried down, no connection is possible and then physical link is blown up but it is just a few days' hiccup? I have lived through complete shutdown of electricity and believe me, when only distribution network is down, it is down, it takes months to bring everything up and this is only utilities infrastructure (pretty straight forward). Here computer network is cut in half and satellites are jammed and everything is back online after a week or two? Just electricity interruption would destroy substations that would take months if not years to bring back online. I like the fact that old good radios are back in use but this would open up communication to any opposing force and be sort of a double edged sword.

Interestingly no EMPs are used by any side. This would be most effective method of destroying ground communications but nobody uses it. Hmmmm, one would then expect that nuclear weapons are then also off the menu but no, in this book US chooses to strike with nuclear weapons almost immediately [triggered by Chinese invincible control of US military networked technology on sea and air, which is such a deus ex machina danger that truly sounds like magic, flip a switch silver bullet - I like these exaggerated views on possibilities of cyber attacks that just pull the wool over the eyes to avoid questions of good old fashioned ECM and missile weapons that can cause just as much mayhem but are more tangible issues - getting outranged by modern day missile and artillery might bring back questions on usage of certain types of weapons, which is something most technocrats in militaries all over the world just dont like even to hear about].

And then we get to the nuclear exchange and the way conflict ends.

So, US loses two cities - Galveston and San Diego, former is unknown quantity for me except it is in Gulf of Mexico area (I guess to show max radius of China' reach - which I am not sure it's true, but OK) and latter is known for military bases in Pacific - but obliterates Chinese military bases directly across of Taiwan and blows up Shanghai, and everybody is just saying, oh yeah, shoot, we better stop? In what fairy tale? I mean dont get me wrong, I wish this type of scenarios would end up like this but US is very strongly pushing for nuclear retaliation even in case of cyber attacks that cannot be fully attributed to anyone so to think they would just drop few nuclear bombs and stop is ridiculous. No strategic bombers using standoff missile launches, or battle cruisers firing cruise missiles using old navigation patterns to strike at continental bases? What.... Chinese not firing missiles across the Pacific targeting islands used as military staging points? I mean everything is so gentlemanly in this book that I can see commanders from both sides sitting with families on the hills and with binoculars watching the sporty fire exchange in the fields below. For some weird reason Korea's and Japan are neutral - in what world is this taking place? Last year showed that US is more than willing to mobilize its allies all over the world to take the beating if required (literal and economical) for the US' greater good and we are to think that Japan would end up untouched especially after Yokosuka naval base starts being used by US Navy? Philippines, Australia? Please....

You might think me picky but this novel was advertised as story of the next world war but ends up as backyard scuffle between two superpowers. Very similar books by Clancy and Larry Bond, while ending always with US victory over whomever, are more based when it comes to casualties and overall destruction. This novel ends up as a pretty clean and limited war which unfortunately I do not see as a possibility of ever taking place.

Just take the force that ends the war - author's could as just as easily introduced aliens as a force to bring peace to our world. To imagine that both US and China could not handle this external force is so idiotic (I mean planes are flying over Shanghai airspace uncontested, missiles are firing only around the city like entire airspace to it in time of war would be uncontested????) but I guess author's just could not allow for Chinese to be seen as winners (since US forces in the book are pretty much neutralized when it comes to South China Sea). Nevertheless ending was ridiculous.

I understand that authors wanted to show waning of US power and raise of Asia's power so they chose the only nation they (as representatives of US and West) could live with to be their successor. But truly? We are talking about the country that borders with two powerful countries that have waged war with it more than once. And to expect their interference would not be followed by missile strikes to urban and control centers is [as you hear me say so many times] ridiculous.

Authors have missed the goal in my opinion. Instead of showing risk of war with nuclear weapon use they have showed it as a chess game with effect only on a very small area of he world - in the area of the world where inter-state tensions are extremely high and therefore escalation and spreading of war very likely. Truly missed opportunity.

World events aside, rest of the novel is a thriller following diplomats and soldiers trying to understand and handle the situation and this part of the book is pretty well handled. Author's managed to bring that feeling of tension and dread without drowning the reader into the volumes of technical data about weapons and technology.

Interesting book, but borders on fantasy. Unfortunately truly a missed opportunity to depict the true horror of war and thus act as a warning.
… (mere)
Zare | 16 andre anmeldelser | Jan 23, 2024 |
Not the easiest read and a bit Americentric but I like the subject material. Probably a bit narrow and deep for most.
BBrookes | 4 andre anmeldelser | Dec 12, 2023 |
I read this as a cautionary tale, written by two highly qualified authors, to show how simple steps, and complex interactions, can move the world into deep war as countries escalate conflicts.
It was worth my time.
jjbinkc | 16 andre anmeldelser | Aug 27, 2023 |
The authors are a distinguished retired admiral and a distinguished veteran and accomplished writer. Their premise, and ax to grind, is that the computerized weaponry that makes the US military so powerful is actually their Achilles’ heel. They show this by imagining an undescribed black box invented by the Chinese that can completely inactivate all “cyber” systems without inactivating their own but does not affect traditional radio signals. The story is gripping, but ultimately unsatisfactory, especially when the plot further astounds us by requiring that the Indians have easy access to all of our White House communications and also have dramatic stealth capabilities of which we were completely unaware. Other disturbing peculiarities are present, the misunderstanding of what a tactical nuclear weapon is, and a Chinese character who launches the weapons that destroy Galveston and San Diego but who seems to be a closet American patriot. I suspect that the work is that of two paranoid personalities and it beggars the imagination. I can imagine that atomic weapons might be used as the waters rise around us, but not in this way.… (mere)
markm2315 | 16 andre anmeldelser | Jul 1, 2023 |



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