Version 2 (modified by bhook, 13 years ago)

Tom Clancy's "The Bear and the Dragon"

by Robert Trickey

NOTE: This review is FULL of spoilers. Stop reading, or deal.

Well, I had jury duty today, which meant sitting in a chair from 7:30am to 4:00pm. This gave me time to read a Tom Clancy book I'd picked up like six months ago. I picked it up because a) I liked "No Remorse" and "Rainbow Six", b) it was hardcover, and most importantly c) it was $5 in the bargain bin.

The book is "The Bear and the Dragon". It is the story of China, which is led by psychotic brain-damaged panda bears, and the United States, which is led by Jesus Reagan (his name is actually Jack Ryan, but it's more fun to think of him as Jesus Reagan, since that's who he's modeled after). Russia's also in it, but only to serve as the "good foreigners" that get attacked, giving the USA moral justification to kill fucking everyone and his brother.

Here's the loose plot summary.

Russia discovers it has the world's largest oil reserves and gold mine on the same day. This is the most realistic event in the book.

China's leaders, who to a one are all 60+ year-old perverts with acute brain damage, are plotting to invade Russia to take these valuable reserves. This is their latest of genius plots, the previous ones being getting Japan to go to war with the USA, and getting Iran and Iraq to team up and invade Saudi Arabia. I'm pretty certain that Destro or Major Bludd has influence with the Panda Council.

By the way, don't think about how the Chinese expected to get away with this. We're in the Clancyverse now, the laws of reason operate differently here.

Anyway, back to the plot. Somehow, the moronic pandas don't notice that without American trade, China will be bankrupt in four months. Very troubling, especially since they've just repeatedly (and I mean REPEATEDLY, OMG REPEATEDLY) told the USA, "Fuck you round-eye! You do as we say! We master race! You round-eye slave!" I'm not paraphrasing very much here, he really drives the "Chinese are fucking arrogant morons" nail into the ground and then some. Anyhoo, so after taking this moronically hard stance they find out they're going to be bankrupt if the USA embargoes them. In literally about five pages they go through these leaps of reason: "Holy shit, what do we do?" -> "Let's apologize! No, fuck that, screw the white devils!" -> "Hey, Russia's got lots of stuff, let's take it! They're pussies!" -> "Ok! Go Iron Dragon! Hi-ya!" I'm not even sure it was five pages. And yes they actually used the phrase "white devils". Of course this is doomed to absolute failure, but Cobra Commander assures the pandas that China is unbeatable, so they charge ahead.

What the pandas don't know is that the CIA is aware of all of this, because one of their operatives gets one of the Minister's secretaries willing to do anything for his amazing "Japanese sausage". Regrettably, I did not make that phrase up. Clancy, with his keen grasp of the female psyche, inexplicably writes the quiet, highly-educated secretary as being totally cock-addicted, and she uses the "sausage" phrase like ten times. It's pretty fucking weird actually.

There's an assassination subplot (that's actually how the book begins) but that could have been completely left out, as 700 of this 1000 page wankfest should have been.

So as I was saying (and I'm skipping a lot here, the invasion actually takes place around page 600), the Chinese general -- who I'm guessing was put into cryosleep after the Korean War, with strict orders only to be woken up when the nation needed a disastrous defeat -- decides to storm 2000 tanks into Russia to take the gold mine and oil field. Apparently, he thought once tagged, the fields would never need to be defended again, like an RTS checkpoint. Also, for some bizarre reason that only makes sense in the Clancyverse, the Chinese are certain that the USA will not help Russia (they actually use the phrase "paper tiger", which makes me think of Leslie Nielsen at the beginning of "Naked Gun"). At this point, the book is so amazingly fucking outside reality that I'm seriously thinking that the book will end with Jesus Reagan donning a commando suit and single-handedly rappelling into Beijing to kill the Panda Council.

China invades Russia, and of course the USA uses advanced technology to completely obliterate them. This is the "money shot" part of the book, the part that Clancyverse fans wait for, where the primitive evil-doers cluelessly mass in the open and the USA kills them all in some novel new fashion. Clearly China was busy during the Gulf War, because for some reason they think the USA's air power will be useless against their massed tanks in the open. I was trying to figure that out, but then I realized that was the least stupid assumption they'd made in the book, so I surrendered thought and pressed on.

China gets their ass predictably raped. So their obvious reaction is to launch all their nukes at the USA and Russia. Clancy muddles through some tortured logic here to get to the inevitable launch...the sad thing is that it's the most coherent moment for the pandas. Special forces takes out all the nukes but one, which of course is aimed at Washington, and of course Jesus Reagan bravely stays behind, and of course the US shoots it down at the last second. And of course the children in China successfully revolt. To encourage the budding Chinese democracy, Jesus Reagan gives every Chinese citizen one share of an S&P 500 stock and a King James bible. Ok, I made that last part up -- but you didn't even blink an eye at this point, did you?

Book over. Thank God.

Now let's try to make sense of the Clancyverse. These are the lessons I gleaned from it:

  • Non-ally foreigners are really, really fucking stupid. Like nonsentient stupid. Like monkey-fucking-footballs stupid. Mouth-breathing, shitting-their-pants stupid. It's just fucking silly.
  • Ally foreigners are smart, but inevitably kept down by their government's flaws, which always stem from not being capitalistic or Christian.
  • The media are idiotic to the point of treason; upon receiving any confidential news that could put American lives in danger, they trip over each other to get to the phone.
  • Republicans are near perfect, their only fault being that they have trouble reigning in their righteous anger at all the fucking bleeding-heart liberals around them ruining everything.
  • Jesus Reagan is perfect, not just near perfect. That's how you tell him apart from the other characters. In fact, that's the only way you can tell him apart.
  • There are only three types of Americans: fucking moron pansy-ass liberals; foul-mouthed ass-kicking street-savvy Republicans; and clean-mouthed ass-kicking street-savvy Republicans.
  • There are only two types of enemy foreigners: evil nonsentients and evil genius subordinates kept down by their non-capitalistic and/or heathen evil nonsentient leaders
  • Women talk just like men, and somehow work their insatiable sex drive into almost every conversation. Just like real life.
  • Women are always described as being uber-skilled and competent, yet their only use in the Clancyverse is to show that when not killing shit, their husbands are gettin' it left and right.

Note that I assume that all the heroes are Republican, even though this isn't explicitly mentioned in the book. For some reason Jesus Reagan ran as an independent, even though he shares every and I mean every Republican view. It's really pretty amazing how Clancy managed to preach on every single issue that separates Republicans and Democrats. After the first few issues were brought up I started thinking, "wow, he's gotta work gun control in here -- whoop, this is it" and so on. It's like a goddamn Republican grocery list -- Clancy manages to push the party line on every fucking issue imaginable, and of course the counter argument is always represented by some fucking strawman idiot liberal. This is so fucking blatant it's insulting. Not only does he promote every part of the RNC's agenda, he also makes sure to bash every other pussy liberal cause/organization he could think of.

So I've decided that a new category is needed in Barnes & Noble for the Clancyverse books: "Republican Revenge Fantasy". The basic theme is this: every Republican is a straight-shooting, money-making, ass-kicking, God-fearing, cock-swinging superman who could fix the whole damn world with a Bible and an M16 if only those fucking traitorous, hypocritical, adulterous, perverted, lying, dodge-drafting, atheistic, pussy-ass liberal Democrats/Socialists weren't in the way. Or more succinctly put: "Jesus Reagan Unleashed".