Red Storm Rising Video Cover

Long before the world woke up to an invasion of Ukraine by Russia, bestselling author Tom Clancy wrote a warfare thrillers with striking similarities.

Clancy’s 1986 “Red Storm Rising,” is a 725-page military techno-thriller about a global conflict provoked by the then Soviet Union.

The Book

In Clancy’s book, Azerbaijani ( at the time a constituent member country of the USSR)militants destroyed on of Russia’s major oil refineries, the USSR determines it must seize the oil supply in the Persian Gulf, which is protected by NATO. They keep the initial attack a secret and devise a false flag operation – an attack on the Kremlin – that they blame on NATO-affiliated West Germany.

Real Life

Russian officials repeatedly based their recent military attack on Ukraine on the false flag that a genocide was taking place in Ukraine and calling its government a Nazi regime, claims for which there is no evidence. A key difference between Clancy’s novel and the current Russian invasion is that Ukraine is not a member of NATO.

Clancy’s book is an action packed, multi-theater military procedural that, that was turned into a video game released on the PC, Atari and Commodore 64 platforms in 1988.

How Does it End?

In Clancy’s book, the crisis is resolved when a KGB-led coup usurps the fictional Russian leader before he is able to launch a nuclear strike on the Allied forces. The end seems eerily similar to the end called for this week by South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham. In a tweet, Graham called for the assassination of Putin.

“Is there a Brutus in Russia? Is there a more successful Colonel Stauffenberg in the Russian military?” the South Carolina Republican asked in his tweet.

Roman Emperor Julius Caesar was assassinated by Brutus and others in the Rome Senate on the Ides of March. Graham was also referring to German Lt. Col. Claus von Stauffenberg, who tied to kill Adolf Hitler in the summer of 1944.

“The only way this ends is for somebody in Russia to take this guy out. You would be doing your country – and the world – a great service,” Graham said.

While a happy ending such as this is common in Clancy’s America-first thrillers, it’s yet unclear that we’ll see a similar outcome in a war that’s already claimed hundreds of lives and forced 800,000 people to flee.

“Red Storm Rising” ends in a way we can only hope this horrific war concludes: the crisis is resolved before things get much, much worse. 

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