The recently deceased Tom Clancy, who was born on April 12th, 1947 and died recently on October 1st, 2013, was a famous author of political and military-themed thriller novels, some of which have since been turned into successful movies such as The Hunt For Red October. However, as some have pointed out Tom Clancy’s novels have sometimes appeared to almost predict events despite being written years prior. While some situations are only relatively similar, there are others that closely mirror actual events that deserve recognition.
Red Storm Rising, a novel written by both Tom Clancy and Larry Bond, depicts possibly the most accurate and detailed scenario for a NATO-USSR conflict set during the 1980’s over West Germany. However, the novel does not end with an obvious NATO or Soviet victory, but rather a successful Soviet general decides the Politburo (The political body in charge of the USSR) does not have the nation’s best interests in mind, and leads a coup inside Moscow that overthrows the Politburo. He accomplishes this by using a Red Army detachment to attack the Kremlin using armored vehicles (Described as BTR’s) and removing the Politburo by force. The novel was first published in 1986, and is very similar to the event that essentially ended the Soviet Union. In 1991, the State Committee on the State of Emergency (Abbreviated GKChP) attempted a coup against General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev in response to his attempted reforms, by having multiple units of tanks, armored personnel carriers and soldiers surround the White House. Although the coup failed, it is ultimately what caused the dissolution of the USSR.
A second example would be the novel Rainbow Six, which has since spawned numerous videogame adaptations and sequels. The novel depicts an anti-terrorism unit comprised of members from multiple NATO countries and Israel codenamed “Rainbow” (The “Six” would refer to the commander of the organization in military terms) that are formed to combat terrorism. The reason Rainbow was deemed necessary (In the novel) is that the collapse of the USSR and the Warsaw Pact would leave multiple weapons and personnel free for the taking by “free agents” who would use terrorism to seek their goals in a world without a Cold War dividing the world between democracy and communism. Essentially, the world post-Cold War would see a huge rise in terrorism. The novel Rainbow Six was published in 1998, prior to the attacks of 9/11 and the subsequent War on Terror, which has seen a significant rise of terrorism both in the Middle East but also in Africa, as seen by the recent shooting in the Westgate Mall in Kenya in September.
Another example, and probably the most mainstream one is a situation from the novel Debt of Honor written in 1994. Despite presenting an incredibly unlikely (Albeit interesting) concept of a war between Japan and the United States, the novel ends with a Japanese Boeing 747 airliner pilot flying his aircraft into the U.S. Capitol building, which kills many people people including the US president and most of Congress. This scenario has frequently been compared to the attacks of 9/11 in which Al-Qaeda used Boeing 767’s to attack the World Trade Center in 2001. While there is an obvious similarity to how both attacks were carried out, planes have historically been a target for terrorism in the past and there are already multiple other sources people claim predicted 9/11.
Perhaps the least-known but most interesting scenario comes from one of Tom Clancy’s latest novels Dead or Alive published in 2010. The main plot revolves a hunt for a terrorist called “the Emir,” the head of a terrorist group called “the Umayyad Revolutionary Council” or URC, who is the equivalent of Osama bin Laden. However a subplot of the novel involves Rainbow being sent to Libya in response to an attack on the Swedish embassy in Benghazi. It involves the attackers not clearly being identified as URC, but rather an allied group located in Libya, and the attack on the embassy involves the deaths of four Fallskarmsjagares, which is Swedish for Parachute Rangers, highly trained special forces of the Swedish military. This is similar to the attack on the US embassy in Benghazi, Libya in 2012 in which the attackers were not clearly identified as Al-Qaeda or an affiliated group, and during which four Americans were killed, two of which had formerly been US Navy SEALs.
While Tom Clancy could obviously not predict the future, it seems that he understood politics and the global situation well enough that he was able to predict events that could happen relatively accurately, further highlighting his abilities and his deserved status as one of the best writers in recent American history.