Former NATO Commander Jim Stavridis’ ‘Book – 2034: A Novel of the Next World War’ – The Good and Bad

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Gary Granger Jr./Released

Below are excerpts from an excellent review of the new techno-thriller 2034: A Novel of the Next World War (2034) by retired four-star admiral James Stavridis, a former supreme commander of NATO, and Elliot Ackerman, a lauded author and Marine combat veteran of Afghanistan.

The review is by Matt Brazil, a Contributor to the Center for American Defense Studies (CADS), and the co-author, with Peter Mattis, of Chinese Communist Espionage, An Intelligence Primer, which I wrote about earlier. Brazil’s review, titled – A Wild Ride into a Future War With China appears in full in SpyTalk.

A worthwhile read, my biggest issue with the 2034 book, beyond Brazil’s critiques, is Stavridis’ noted goal for writing the book – to show the danger of nuclear war with China and avoid it ‘at all costs.’ This, per a LinkedIn post where Stavridis promotes his new book.

While avoiding us stumbling into a nuclear war is of course critical, creating a false ‘appease or die’ dichotomy has long been a tool of demagogues and dictators striving to scare their enemies into submission. Stavridis should not be aiding the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in their propaganda goals.

Still, the possibility of a future clash between American and Chinese forces, and how to avoid another disastrous world war, are among the most debated issues in Washington, and here are some of Brazil’s takes on the 2034 book:

The story tackles the prospect of a future war head-on in a rapid-fire narrative that, in the mold of Tom Clancy’s best military techno-thrillers, features present and soon-to-come cyber combat as a key weapon in a military showdown between the U.S. and China…

The persuasive realism of 2034’s well informed narrative has brought it wide, well deserved acclaim. From its foreboding opening pages to its shuddering, frightening, and all-too-believable finish, it’s a heart stopping rush. The authors show many strengths in relating how devastating a Sino-American war would be to both nations.

But the novel contains an important blind spot in its uninformed depiction of how the Chinese side actually works.

…in 2021, the technology gap between Chinese and American forces has dramatically shrunk. Rapid Chinese advances in artificial intelligence, computing, aerospace, precision machining, missiles, and telecommunications technology, to name a few, make American planners wonder how long they can maintain a lead on the battlefield… 

In the world of 2034, Chinese forces seem almost invincible, and the Americans appear not to have made a single solid technological and military advance since 2021…

More importantly, the authors also do not mention how China would have overcome its own internal political and economic problems and mediocrity in joint force operations. Nor do they describe how Chinese forces defeat Taiwan’s considerable, U.S.-supplied defenses…

And yet 2034 succeeds on many levels. The novel’s greatest strength is its convincing depiction of how both sides slide toward mutual destruction. With a great advantage in the cyber realm, the Chinese start by paralyzing U.S. forces, exploiting America’s “worship of technology,” portrayed as a crippling addiction.

American Navy communications and navigation equipment fail across the Pacific. Ships are sunk. Fighters are shot down. Thousands of sailors go down in the South China Sea… 

…the book does a great service by dramatically presenting the reality of growing Chinese power, especially along its periphery, amid the chilling prospect of American decline…the authors are excellent at depicting force structures, notional technological advances and inadvertent escalation leading toward unintended disaster.

Read the entire review in Spy Talk ADN

Paul Crespo

Paul Crespo is the Managing Editor of American Defense News. A defense and national security expert, he served as a Marine Corps officer and as a military attaché with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) at US embassies worldwide. Paul holds degrees from Georgetown, London, and Cambridge Universities. He is also CEO of SPECTRE Global Risk, a security advisory firm, and President of the Center for American Defense Studies, a national security think tank.

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TheMadMan
TheMadMan
2 months ago

There will be no world in 2034 because with Biden at the helm we are all doomed.

glenn edward davis
glenn edward davis
2 months ago
Reply to  TheMadMan

That doesn’t mean that there won’t be “no world”. There just might be a world without the Nation State currently abbreviated to USA. We will quite possibly be a monetary colony of the Globalist Empire run by the European Elite aided and abetted by Bill Gates, Bezos, Zuckerburg, and other Big Tech oligarchs.

merryinfidel
merryinfidel
2 months ago

When you consider all of the advances China is making in military technology and the declining and degenerate state of the US military, due mainly to the LGBT/Woke nonsense that has infected the leadership, US forces will more than likely be soundly defeated.

Peter K Baker
Peter K Baker
2 months ago
  1. You really think we are going to wait to 2034 to have a nuke war with Red China . Have anyone been paying attention for the last couple of years . Big war number four is gearing up right now and the last two big wars happened with a year with a two in it so 2022 is most likely going to be a big event year with nukes on the table and human beings are not one inch away from the dark ages when they are threatened enough so when the time comes most likely both sides firing will escalate quick hold off for a moment when it’s time to go nuclear but when one side figures that it is clearly losing and will lose long term the leaders will get in their nuclear or at least thought of nuclear proof bunkers and then start firing nukes and when one side with nukes fires nukes at another sides with nukes all hell breaks loss and I expect that point gets reached well before 2025, that all the first and second world countries could nuke each other to near annihilation to where it takes a decade to get back on their feet and power project and while the first and second countries are out the third and fourth world countries start making there break out grabs for power to be the next top dog . So I can see the world going from Twenty first century warfare down to WW2 and WW! type warfare when the various modern Rome’s and Carthage’s are out cold. This novel is cute and fun compared to what we are walking into and guess which country looks like it has it’s leadership compromised with a possible compromised Chinese asset on the intelligence committee to feed important information to Red China emboldening them to be aggressive and push that war.
Dane
Dane
2 months ago

We are already at war with China… we are too stupid to recognize it…

Joe from Georgia
Joe from Georgia
2 months ago
Reply to  Dane

China is going to invade Taiwan and we will have to respond. Biden is too weak to stand up to China, Russia or North Korea. Democrats like to send us to a war. China will no worry about loosing a dew million people and we will have all of these woke people. What a mess


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