To start with, I’ve been talking about what 2034 on my youtube channel for many years, and to see someone from the US military pick this very specific year (2034) makes me suspicious that the idea was taken from my Youtube channel. Anyway, I had to read the book, to find out what it’s all about.
This book is set in a fictional future, Asia 2034, it’s written by a former admiral in the US navy (Admiral Jim Stavridis) which means that there is an agenda behind it, I’m not saying that in a bad way, just making a valid observation. In 2034 there is still a tense cold war between the USA and China, yet, in 2034 (12 years in the future) the balance of power is still pretty much where it is today (November 2021).
So, the writers of this book are clearly not trying to be as accurate as possible, because surely things will have changed dramatically by the year 2034. I’d bet that by 2034 we would have a clearer understanding on which great power is in the lead, in this current cold war.
The 2034 book starts in the South China Sea, the US navy is still doing those ”freedom of navigation” patrols in and around the south China sea in 2034 apparently lol, doubt that very much. There is still talk of China wanting to take back Taiwan too, as if nothing has changed between now and 2034, I’d bet that many things would change, just my opinion.
This fictional account of the future of Asia, has three main countries involved, China, USA and India. The Russians play a small part during the novel, but it’s irrelevant. Notably, no other European countries play a part, nor does Japan, Canada or Australia. Let’s just say that it’s a very simplistic story that totally ignores the complexity of the Thucydides trap we face.
China is the Bad Guy Of Course
The Chinese attack the US navy first, in the south China sea, they win a decisive victory. I guess this was supposed to have some similarities between this fictional future and how the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour. Hinting that the USA will emerge victorious, just like in the past. Again, this ignores the sheer enormity of dealing with China.
Throughout the book, there are many ways they depict China as a country that still thinks in old cultural revolution ways. There are old references to ”the art of war” and other ancient pieces of literature. Again, China is a totally different beast these days.
2034 USA Nuclear War With China
There is something her that most people ignore about USA, and I bet most people wouldn’t be able to see this problem. USA does a strike on Chinese cities, in retaliation, killing civilians, just like they did against Japan. This provokes a nuclear strike on the US mainland in retaliation from the Chinese.
At this point in the book, you have to question everything. Let me explain.
China is well aware of its history, I’d argue they know more about American history than most Americans know about their own history. Especially when it comes to warfare.
During the great wars in Europe, they had a pact to never attack civilian cities, only after Hitler accidentally bombed a British city, did the British retaliate with bombings on German cities. Back then, there was some type of agreement to avoid hitting cities, which makes the whole thing suspect from the beginning, but we can discuss that another time.
But, knowing how this was played in Europe, America went straight for the jugular of the Japanese, when they went to war. Are we supposed to assume that USA would behave differently in a future war? Come on.
The Chinese would be very aware of this, and if they are aware of this, why would they attack a fleet of destroyers in the South China Sea? That would be the last thing they would do, right? Because, if USA’s previous behavior was to be an indicator of future behavior, then a nuclear strike on a Chinese city would be one of the first things they would do.
What would you do, under these circumstances if you were leading the Chinese military?
MAD Mutually Assured Destruction
The strategy here is simple, all China needs to do is prove they have the ability to hit any American city with a nuke, then the Americans would never dare to strike China’s mainland. So, the premise of this book has been debunked, game over, finished.
This is why I have been mentioning the possibility of China nuking Sydney Australia. Imagine the destruction that would cause, but also, imagine how much of a serious warning that would be for the United States, to avoid nuking China. If military action is only avoided by deterrents, then nuking Sydney would be one of the best.
Admiral Jim Stavridis 2034 (Cyber Warfare)
Jim Stavridis makes it quite clear that his biggest fear is how far behind USA is in cyber technology, this book addresses his fears. There’s a point in the book where the US airforce has to remove anything that could be hacked by the Chinese, and these pilots are forced to fly manually. This is portrayed as a cool thing in the book, but imagine how easily the Chinese airforce would win that battle. With both hands tied behind their backs.
Will China Invade Taiwan?
I personally don’t think so, and have been saying this for years. Yet, in the book China does take Taiwan, and it was easy.
What did Japan do?
What did South Korea do?
There was a huge blind spot in this book, when we think about all the flow on effects of any action in Asia. It’s as if South Korea, Japan and Australia played no part in an Asian war that was purely between USA and China. This is by far the most unlikely of scenarios, in my opinion. Why would two superpowers destroy each other and allow the other countries like India and Russia to become the new hegemons.
India the Peace Keeper?
India was portrayed as the country that had the most powerful cyber capabilities, so powerful, the Indians knew everything the Americans were going to do. India, instead of allowing these two countries to destroy themselves (most rational move) the Indians step in between both of them, to try stop the war. Yeah right, I bet they would in reality, sit back and pick up the pieces afterwards.
To be brutally honest, this book was poorly thought out. Most of the scenarios that played out in this book didn’t make any sense to me. China and USA going head to head, instead of using proxies, was the most ridiculous one. The second one, was the fact that nothing happened to South Korea, surely if anything was to kick off, South Korea would be the front line. Not to mention what North Korea would do.
Good fiction for the masses I guess. But not even close to how this is being played out in reality.