4 Real Life Events Predicted by Tom Clancy

The thriller master seemed to have a knack for foreseeing the future

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Tom Clancy, who died Tuesday at the age of 66, was one of the most successful authors and media moguls in the country. His books like The Hunt for Red October and Rainbow Six were bestsellers that went on to spawn blockbuster films and video game franchises, but longtime fans have noticed that Clancy had knack for more than crafting a plot, as many of Clancy’s stories have had an eerie ability to foresee future. Here a few real life events that Clancy seemed to anticipate in his fictional plots. Have we missed any? Leave your suggestions in the comments section.

1. September 11th: In Debt of Honor, Clancy imagines a scenario where an economic dispute between the United States and Japan boils over into a military conflict. Though recurring hero Jack Ryan is able to outmaneuver the ruling Japanese cabal, the conflict results in the death of a Japan Air pilot’s son and brother. The pilot, driven insane with grief, flies his Boeing 747 into the U.S. capitol during a joint session of Congress.

2. Russia-Georgia War of 2008: One of Tom Clancy’s more successful video game “Ghost Recon” was released in 2001, but is set in 2008. The game begins with a conflict between Georgian rebel forces and Russian nationalists who have seized power with the intent of reestablishing the Soviet empire. Though many who study the region may have predicted that tensions between Georgia and Russia were likely to escalate into military conflict, Clancy’s game is strangely on target predicting the war’s start, as the game’s events take place in April 2008, just a few months before the real-world conflict began.

3. Osama Bin Laden’s Capture: For ten years, Osama Bin Laden was popularly imagined to be hiding in a cave somewhere in the border region in Southwest Afghanistan, though he was really living in relative comfort in Abbottabad, Pakistan. In Clancy’s Dead or Alive, which details the capture of a Bin Laden-like mastermind, known as “The Emir,”  the notorious terrorist has evaded the U.S. intelligence authorities, not by hiding out in South Asia, but Las Vegas. Still, the book culminated with the Bin Laden character brought to justice by special operatives and was published just a few months before the Abbottabad raid actually took place.

4. The Activities of the Joint Special Operations Command: Tom Clancy’s 1994 novel Clear and Present Danger tells the story of a desperate U.S. government and its attempt to quell the increasingly violent South American drug trade. The C.I.A resorts to intercepting mobile phone communications between drug cartels in South America, which it then uses to launch covert military actions – without the approval or knowledge of Congress – to pacify the drug cartels. As Geoffrey Ingersoll of Business Insider points out, the government’s use of phone tapping and secret military operations mirrors the acitivities of the NSA and JSOC in the years after 9-11 to suppress terrorism in the Middle East — activities which are just now being brought to the public’s attention through the Edward Snowden leaks.