Friday, 29 August 2014
I Have Seen the Future, and it Rohmers
I skipped ahead and read Massacre 747 last month. My copy arrived the same week Ukrainian separatists shot down a civilian airliner (with Russian weapons) and the coincidence was too eerie to ignore. Is life more like a Richard Rohmer novel -- repetitious and banal – than we care to admit?
Separation (1975) features a British prime minister named Margaret Thrasher four years before Margaret Thatcher takes office.
In 1980, Rohmer has PLO sappers in rubber rafts blowing holes in the sides of supertankers in Periscope Red. In 2000, Al-Qaeda uses a small boat to blast a hole in the USS Cole.
In Triad (1982) Iraq uses a nuclear weapon to stop Iran from taking Baghdad. In real life, Saddam starts using weapons of mass destruction against Iranian invaders in 1984.
In 1984’s Retaliation, Rohmer imagines Canadian banks buying American ones and making everyone crazy with awe. In 2004, Toronto-Dominion buys Banknorth, and then Commerce Bancorp in 2007. Although the Boston Bruins are compelled to play their home games in the TD Garden, war hasn’t broken out. Yet.
In Starmageddon (1986) Reagan builds Star Wars and it works. You can’t win them all.
In Red Arctic (1989) the Soviet Navy and the RCMP battle for control of Canada's far north. And that was before the ice started melting. Look, here’s the Economist, June 16, 2012:
“For half the 20th century the Arctic, as the shortest route between Russia and America, was the likeliest theatre for a nuclear war, and some see potential for fresh conflict in its opening. Russia and Canada, the two biggest Arctic countries by area, have encouraged this fear: the Arctic stirs fierce nationalist sentiment in both…
“Yet the melting Arctic will have geostrategic consequences beyond helping a bunch of resource-fattened countries to get fatter. An obvious one is the potentially disruptive effect of new trade routes. Sailing along the coast of Siberia by the north-east passage, or Northern Sea Route (NSR), as Russians and mariners call it, cuts the distance between western Europe and east Asia by roughly a third. The passage is now open for four or five months a year and is getting more traffic…
“For Russia, which has big plans to develop the sea lane with trans-shipment hubs and other infrastructure, this is a double boon.”
Spooky. He’s like that guy who could see the future. You know, Chris de Burgh. And here’s the kicker, from the Economist:
“There are risks in this, of dispute if not war, which will require management. What is good for Russia may be bad for Egypt, which last year earned over $5 billion in revenues from the Suez Canal, an alternative east-west shipping route.”
What’s good for Russia may be bad for Egypt? Not if snowshoe-wearing PLO assassins have anything to say about it.
Doe$ anyone el$e $mell a be$t seller?
If the major-general isn’t working on Red Arctic II, we may have to do it ourselves.