“Threat Vector” by Tom Clancy
The novel “Threat Vector” by Tom Clancy focuses on the power play between the US and China, which includes the use of espionage, hacking and the potential escalation into an all-out nuclear war. With the potential instability of the modern political landscape, from Trump and his administration’s reckless spending, to the worldwide Wanna Cry cyber attacks, the situations faced by the main characters does not seem all that far-fetched.
The fictional Head of State of the USA, John ‘Jack’ Patrick Ryan, has featured in previous Tom Clancy stories, and along with his son, Jack Ryan Jr, are portrayed as the heroes in this fictional arena, defusing potential catastrophes and setting the world to right. Fighting alongside Jack Jr are a black-list team of highly trained US operatives from a group known as the Campus, aim to take down the culprits of the crippling cyber attack on the US, affected everything from military battle readiness to the local power grid. The at-the-time leadership of the US has proven itself most capable to the world, defusing disaster after disaster, swiftly countering any form at domestic terrorism, and efficiently dealing with those behind any attempt to harm his people.
This contrasts sharply with the character of the current incumbent (Mr Donald J. Trump) who seems bent on divisiveness, provocation and bluster. Where will his inexperience and subsequent actions lead the US? His ‘friendly’ relationship with Putin and Russia are only putting Europe, Eastern Europe specifically, at much greater risk of a Russian annexing, and the rest of Europe on the brink of war. As well of this, his ability to double the US’ national debt to a unreal $20 trillion, more than the entire countries’ GDP, it is incredible that there haven’t been more serious repercussions for Trump and his administration. On the contrary, ‘Threat Vector’ shows a time where a national leader is not only able to save the lives of thousands of his own countrymen, but potentially millions of others from nuclear devastation. Based on how the current US president is handling both national and international situations, I believe the best idea might be to find another, more suitable candidate to deal with the potential opening salvos of world war three.
The storyline featuring hacking could not be more relevant at current times, due to the potentially disastrous proliferations of the Wanna Cry cyber attacks, which are being linked to aggressive nations rather than the work of independent black-hat hackers. On top of this, the recent events involving the US and North Korea’s nuclear ICBM tests have only upset national leaders, and if taken further, could lead to very serious repercussions for the whole world. So many aspects of the fictional world mirror what is currently occurring in the real world. It’s almost as if the author is warning us, and our heads of state, that in the event of such severe circumstances, not to lose their nerve, and to use every reasonable mean to reach a peaceful conclusion, as Jack Ryan manages to, along with the help of his son.
The book does come to a peacefully resolved conclusion (after some intense fighting and further cyber-attacks), but as for where our reality will lead us, who knows? Trump may be impeached for some of his more extreme, and more unsuccessful, actions, or perhaps he will lead the world to a second Cold War. We will all have to hope that if things turn sour, a non-fictional Jack Ryan comes to the rescue, too.