Former NATO Commander Imagines Kinetic War Between US And China In New Novel
On March 9, 2021, the former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, Admiral James Stavridis, co-authored a fiction novel with Elliott Ackerman, another former U.S. military officer. The book, entitled 2034: A Novel of the Next World War, imagines a kinetic war between the United States and China.
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Given the pedigree of its authorship, the novel provides a compelling window into the psychology of NATO’s military leadership and, correspondingly, the foreign policy establishment behind it. To those familiar with said psychology, the events of the novel will not be surprising.
It begins with a Chinese ambush of a U.S. vessel in the South China Sea; an Iranian capture of a U.S. pilot; a full scale naval battle between the U.S. and China (resulting in a total U.S. defeat); and a Russian invasion of Poland. The novel concludes with a limited nuclear exchange between the U.S. and China.
Given the last few decades’ hawkish hand wringing about Chinese and Russian cyber capabilities, the tactics employed in the novel are similarly unsurprising. A Chinese cyberattack disables U.S. hardware, allowing the naval rout. The Iranians, as allies of Russia and China, similarly disable U.S. aircraft. For their part, the Russians slice underwater communications cables leading to a complete internet blackout in the West.
To an uncritical reader, the novel appears to be a “cautionary tale” and a “warning” against global conflict. The novel’s dust jacket states:
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Mainstream outlets were as successful in their attempts to paint 2034 as a “warning” as their reviews were cringeworthy.
Between Wired’s ham-handed COVID-19 vaccine analogy and the CIA Washington Post’s ironic Orwell reference, the mainstream marketing campaign clearly attempts to portray the novel as a cautionary tale.
It is impossible to gaze into the hearts of men, but we do have some clues. Those clues suggest that the co-authors really do seek to warn against war with China. However, in doing so, they advocate for it. Indeed, their warning is not against the folly of empire, but against a rising China.
On March 18, 2021, the pair were interviewed by NPR. Stavridis had this to say:
Ackerman embraces this view:
Further, the pair assert they do not believe in the American decline.
Indeed, a reader would be hard pressed to find any point where the co-authors suggest any strategy short of increasing military confrontation with China.
Instead, they warn that America must be more united against an outside threat. It must, by implication, build up its military force, and, oddly enough, confront Chinese technological advances with less reliance on our own technology.
Stavridis believes that the U.S. must continue to devote itself to entangling alliances, against which the founding fathers warned. The U.S. must also continue to press its presence in the South China Sea.
Despite resolutely warning against a war against China, Stavridis commits the U.S. to myriad tripwires that would ignite it.
These China policy positions parallel Stavridis’ positions on Ukraine. It’s always more, more, more.
More funding, arming, and training Ukrainians, more U.S. commitment to NATO, more U.S. weaponization of Big Tech, more money to the U.S. State Department, more interagency cooperation, and more silencing dissent. These positions are escalatory. At the very least, they flirt with making Washington a direct party to the War in Ukraine. They may give Russia reason to attack U.S. and NATO forces.
Given Russia’s nuclear footing, these policies pose an existential threat to humanity itself.
Indeed, it will always be a mystery how the hawks convinced the American public that the path to peace leads through war. Perhaps those of us who survive the inevitable result of this mantra can ponder the answer while painting on the cave walls.
Patrick MacFarlane is the Justin Raimondo Fellow at the Libertarian Institute where he advocates a noninterventionist foreign policy. He is a Wisconsin attorney in private practice. He is the host of the Liberty Weekly Podcast at www.libertyweekly.net, where he seeks to expose establishment narratives with well researched documentary-style content and insightful guest interviews. This article was originally published on The Libertarian Institute.
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