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How Tom Clancy Reminded the World of American Exceptionalism

In the Hunt for Red October we were the good guys again.

Richard Fernandez


October 4, 2013 - 2:00 pm
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imgthe hunt for red october3

I related an anecdote many posts ago about flying into Jolo in late 1980s to attend a meeting on recent attacks by the MNLF on civilians. In the seat beside me on the plane was a European man, who introduced himself to me as a member of a well known humanitarian NGO. He announced his intention to travel to Patikul, or some such town. I told him, “that’s Indian country. If you try that you’ll be kidnapped before sundown.”

His answer was “nonsense. I have humanitarian status. They won’t hinder me.” He mentioned an affiliation with some other International agency as proof of his immunity. “Do you think they care about humanitarian organizations?” I retorted. “The bottom line is you’re a white man in Jolo and if you go ahead with your intentions … please reconsider your plans.” We parted ways at the airport and I continued on to my meeting. Sometime in the mid-afternoon the discussions were interrupted by someone with urgent news at the door. “A European has been kidnapped,” he breathlessly related, “and the marines are looking into now”. I checked the hour on my watch. He didn’t even make it to sundown.

More or less the same thing just happened to Greenpeace. AFP reports:

Moscow — Russian investigators said Thursday they had charged all 30 crew members of Greenpeace’s Arctic Sunrise ship with piracy over a protest against Arctic oil exploration, an offence that carries the risk of a lengthy prison term….

“All 30 participants in the criminal case have been charged over the attack on the Prirazlomnaya platform,” the Investigative Committee said in a statement.

“They are all charged with… piracy committed by an organised group.”

Piracy by an organised group carries a prison sentence of up to 15 years in Russia.

Investigators accused the activists of trying to seize property with threats of violence.

I guess Greenpeace got lulled into complacency by the fearful water cannons of the Japanese and the mild penalties which were formerly the price their protests. They didn’t count on the Russians who don’t seem to care too much about their NGO and environmental activist credentials. It’s interesting to read the comments on some sites by outraged Belgians or New Zealanders proclaiming their indignation against “outlaw Russia”.

But they miss the point. Who’s going to stop Russia from doing what it wants?  Will it be the Belgian Navy? Or the New Zealand Navy? Or the United Nations?

The great thing about the late Tom Clancy, who recently died at the age of 66, was that he reminded a cynical liberal American and European audience just what exactly stood between the world  and countries like Russia.

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PJM has begun double-posting. This has now been posted twice as has another I've noticed.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
We haven't begun anything. We've been cross-posting content from one blog to another for years. Not everyone reads everything on the site. Some people just read one section or one author. And some people just see individual stories. It's notated right there at the bottom that it's cross-posted. What's the problem?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I grew up before Tom Clancy. At 17 I joined the USMC. At 19 I was in Vietnam. Part of my time was working with the Vietnamese ARVNs, part of my time was working with the ROK Korean Marines. They and I never questioned the power of the United States. I'm sorry to say the Vietnamese got screwed but the Koreans still like us.

If our dear leader sends any Military to "save" these Greenpeace clowns it would just be to try to show off and regain a little bit of the prestige he has lost. It won't work and is not worth it.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
There is an anecdote from Beirut in the mid-80s, during the hostage taking: Supposedly a Russian national got rolled up by the local kidnapping ring, they mistook him for a Westerner. A few days later one or two of the kidnappers started appearing in pieces around the city, and the Russians asked for their man. He was released very soon thereafter, unharmed.
1 year ago
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