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Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The Scorpion's Gate

Government security expert Richard Clarke has a new book out. From his appearance on Air America Radio's Majority Report with Sam Seder, it appears that he intended it as a work of fiction set in the near future, but set off cautionary alarms as to what will likely happen in the next five years. One thrust of the book deals with China's increasing thirst for oil and how we will soon fight for table scraps in the Middle East.
It's 2010, and the newly established Republic of Islamyah;the former Saudi Arabia;is trying to destabilize Bahrain: the Diplomat Hotel has been bombed, and, as the first chapter of this intense debut thriller closes, the Crowne Plaza is "pancaking." Meanwhile, the deposed House of Saud is holed up in Houston; the Chinese are providing arms and training to Islamyah; the Iranians have the bomb. Secretary of Defense Henry Conrad thinks the time is ripe to invade Islamyah and seize its oil, for which the U.S. is locked in deadly competition with China. Cooler heads in the U.S. (and British) hierarchies are very, very alarmed. Sound familiar? Clarke's Against All Enemies delivered an apostate critique of the Bush administration's counterterrorism efforts, along with a vision of the future very much like today. The writing's nothing special; what is special is Clarke's passionate and deftly detailed version of the present, albeit one told in terms of its consequences. It's a brilliant conceit, and though it's sometimes drowned out by the din of various axes being ground ("It's 68 degrees [in Washington]on January 28 and the White House still claims that global warming isn't a problem?"), the story is crowded with terrific double crosses, defections and deceptions. They're icing, though: Clarke's dramatic micro explanations of how things "really" work; from a hand who served Nixon, Reagan, Clinton and both Bushes; are the true story. This is the first novel to shift all the way from Clancy's Cold War to the present war on terror.

Also at AAR, Al Franken's "The Truth (with jokes)" came out at #2 on Amazon. Check out the mockingly funny ad at the site featuring some of Al's colleagues meting out punishment (Ben Wikler yielding the bottle). But what may prove most funny, that Scott "SmallTrunk" Johnson at Powerline thinks the object of the pummelling, one "Scott from Colorado", refers to his own self. A really sad case of projection.

Scott Adams on Intelligent Design: Each of you is so intelligently designed that you can survive a Category 5 hurricane via a process known as running away.


Professor Blogger monkeygrinder said...

A potboiling near future political thriller that I might actually read...

10:25 PM  

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