It’s a new year and that means I’ve been at my desk poring over 2018’s events to see how well I did at anticipating—and maybe even predicting—the things playing out in the news. The past year didn’t disappoint as technology moved forward and some shady world leaders returned to their old tricks. As always, there were days that the newspapers felt like the ultimate thriller novel.
Red War, My Latest Book
I grew up on Cold War thrillers and with Russia reemerging on the world stage, it was time for Mitch Rapp to turn his attention toward America’s age-old nemesis.
I stuck pretty close to reality when creating a scenario for the book. The Russian people admire strong leaders and Vladimir Putin is a prodigy at projecting that strength. With an economy similar to that of Texas, he consistently succeeds at staring down the world’s superpowers. And every time we blink, he gets a boost at home and knows he can push a little further.
In my scenario, he attacks NATO at the poorly defended borders of the Baltic States. How close was my story to what’s happening today?
Most people don’t know it, but Russia has an enclave on the Baltic Sea between Poland and Lithuania. It would be critical to an invasion of the Baltic States as it’s on the southern border.
This past summer, aerial images suggested that Russia was modernizing a nuclear weapons bunker there. By fall, a commercial satellite firm confirmed that there was work happening in four areas.
Shortly after the release of Red War Russia started flexing its muscle again with Ukraine, blocking shipping lanes and seizing ships. A similar tactic was used in my book by the Russian president to prop up his support at home and to divert the West’s attention when he moved on the Baltics. Fortunately for the world, the second part of my prediction didn’t materialize.
The Russian Navy
It’s really impressive that Russia continues to convince everyone that they have a world-class military. Their budget is less than that of Saudi Arabia’s and about one tenth of what the US spends.
In Red War, Mitch Rapp comments on this disconnect, mentioning the sad state of Russia’s Navy. A little over a month after the book was released, an icebreaker the Russians have been trying to get out to sea since 2012 burst into flames. And that comes on the heels of their biggest dry dock sinking while they were working on their only aircraft carrier.
Someone needs to slap down on Russia hard. Unfortunately, Mitch seems to be the only guy with the guts to put them in their place.
Many years ago, I tried to convince Tom Clancy to write a book about a high-tech war between Japan and China. Unfortunately, he didn’t want to do it and I felt like it was too far outside my wheelhouse, so I put the idea on the back burner.
By 2015, I’d finally thought about it long enough and put pen to paper, envisioning a highly advanced Japanese military industrial complex lurking just out of sight. In Patriot Attack, the Japanese were using their technological gifts to create a clandestine war machine built on the principles of fast, cheap, autonomous, and deadly.
Now, with friction in Asia escalating and China making increasingly aggressive moves in the region, I’m thinking about that book again.
In mid-2018, news broke about the activities of an ultra-secret spy agency that reports to the highest levels of Japan’s government. It turns out that my idea of a completely black weapons development directorate isn’t so far fetched.
In my scenario, the Japanese also create a bioweapon and secretly immunize their population against it. The idea was that any invading army would be severely sickened while Japan’s citizens would remain healthy and able to fight.
In late 2017, a defecting North Korean soldier was found to have antibodies against anthrax. Have the Kims weaponized anthrax and vaccinated their soldiers in a plan similar to the one I wrote about years before?