The plot of Red Storm Rising doesn't make sense to me

Red Storm Rising is one of my most-favorite novels of all time, and most-fave Clancy work.

But - I don’t see how the dots connect.

An Islamic terrorist attack on a refinery leaves the Soviet Union facing a critical oil shortage - okay. The Soviets want Middle Eastern oil - okay. But they recognize that an invasion of Arab nations to take their oil risks a strong American retaliatory response (according to the novel, even a nuclear one.)

So…the Soviets must first attack and splinter NATO apart (thus says one of the Soviet leaders in the book.)

I…don’t follow this. How does a war against NATO improve anything as far as the Middle East is concerned?

You want logic? From Tom Clancy?

I think the “logic” was that if America and NATO got their butts kicked, they wouldn’t be willing to go nuke over a little thing like the Middle East.

So spake General Badenov:

Soft Americans have no stomach for a fight. So we start one where we the USSR have the better hand. That’s Europe where our tanks outnumber theirs 4 to 1. The squabbling weaklings in NATO and their US protectors will be utterly bogged down there while we still have freedom of action. Then we can pursue our Middle East adventure without those meddlesome kids and their talking dog.

Forget the oil - I still want to know what happened to that one Soviet armored division that was being held in reserve. Everyone sort of forgot about it. Maybe they’re still waiting.

I’m also not clear on what the Islamic terrorists goal was. The world isn’t going to revert to pre-industrial caliphate just because some oil got blowed up. So they make a mess, for nothing.

I imagine it’s directly based on Japan’s WW2 strategy, where in order to continue their war on China they had to invade the Dutch East Indies, but the West might respond in kind so in order to accompish that they have to first strike British and American interests first despite them having nothing to do with Dutch oil.

Which is a variation on “Attack the enemy at his root, so as not to need to attack all his branches.”

Unfortunately, that plan usually falls foul of a countervailing axiom of war: “Attack where your enemy is weakest, not strongest.”

It was long ago that I read the book but I don’t remember any talking dog… :wink:

Contrived methods of causing World War 3 is pretty common in Soviet War works, the video game World In Conflict despite me loving it has WW3 start in 1989 when instead of letting Eastern Europe collapse like IRL the Soviet Union threatens NATO with blackmail, demanding “economic relief” to keep them afloat or else they’d just invade Western Europe instead. NATO refuses so the Soviets invade.

The same could be said about the 9/11 attack on the WTO. Lack of strategic logic was not demonstrated there, either, so I don’t think you can fault Clancy on motives for the refinery attack.

IIRC, the whole story was inspired by Clancy & Larry Bond playing Harpoon. They probably forgot about that division as well.

The Islamic terrorist aspect makes sense, they’re oil workers in remote Siberia, they can only break what’s around them and the loss of production definitely hurt the USSR.

A direct invasion of the Middle East would have resulted in a NATO nuclear strike on the USSR. Thus the maskirovka and Operation Red Storm.

The Devil’s Alternative by Frederick Forsyth also features a contrived war plot; a chemical dosage mistake causes massive death of Soviet grain crops, thus leading to impending famine, which then leads some Politburo hardliners to propose an invasion of Western Europe to get good stuff. The war is averted, but the idea is similar to Red Storm Rising, just substituting food for oil.

Red Storm Rising is my second favorite of Clancy’s.
The Hunt for Red October is my favorite. The movie is pretty good, but the book is soooo much better!

Why didn’t they ever make a movie of Red Storm Rising?

Probably because it would be seven hours long and cost a billion dollars.

The funny thing is he recycled that plot with Arabian and German terrorist groups who blew up the super bowl in another book I forget the name of … the Germans were supposed to get Russia and nato fighting with each other as a distraction

I quit reading clancy after the one where very far-right Japanese people take control of the government and try to restart ww2 ,

As alluded to above, the centerpieces of the book are the Harpoon based naval battles and the rest of the text serves to bring about these scenarios.

The reality is that at the time of writing any of the battles depicted would have probably escalated into a nuclear exchange, so the series of events leading to an entirely conventional WWIII is necessarily very contrived.

The Sum of All Fears most likely.

OK, I can see assuming that the West is so trigger-happy that we’d use nukes in an Arabian war. And I can see assuming that the West is so soft that we wouldn’t use nukes even when our home nations are attacked. But how the heck do you assume both at once? Surely, we’d be more likely to use nukes in Europe than in the Middle East. And then, even if we did wage (and lose) a conventional war in Europe, how would that make us less likely to use nukes once the Middle Eastern war eventually started? More likely, the response would be “well, we tried tanks, and that didn’t work, and now nukes are all we have left”.

Probably by following the same mind-set the Japanese did leading up to WW2 - give the US a bloody nose and watch them sue for peace.

Didn’t work then, didn’t work in Clancy’s novel. But it’s not like his plots were coherent anyway. He wrote techno-porn, plain and simple.

While the US & the SU may have substantially the same attitude to nukes in the Mideast or in Europe, I can assure you the Europeans take those two scenarios very differently.