A couple of very unproductive days later, much of it spent reading Teeth Of The Tiger by Tom Clancy. Now I’ve finished it, it’s clear that it’s only the first part of what will be a longer saga, involving Jack Ryan Jr., the son of the main character of most of Clancy’s previous books. In Executive Orders, Ryan Sr. had promulgated the Ryan Doctrine, which indicated that the enemies of the USA will not be safe anywhere in the world, and underlined that with a missile strike on an Iraqi cleric. Teeth Of The Tiger is the continuation of the same policy, but by other means entirely, in the form of a “black” organization operating without congressional or presidential oversight. Set up by Ryan Sr just before leaving office, its existence is unknown to the current president. They are party to the intelligence gathered by other agencies, and use that to fund their operations, but the downside is that they can not call on any other material resources.
If anything, the events of the past few years must seem liberating to an author like Clancy; it’s now a decade since he suggested that an airliner can become a weapon of mass destruction – you have to wonder just who was paying attention to the fictional ending to Debt Of Honor – but reality has since blown past many of his maddest ideas.. The Cold War is over, the enemies of the USA don’t play by any civilized rules, so the gloves are off. It’s not all gung-ho, however, and Teeth Of The Tiger is replete with philosophical musings on the legality and morality of the path followed by the new black organization. At one point Jack Jr. even has the sense to ask “what if I become like them?“, and doesn’t have a neat answer to that question. Does he finds out later? We’ll see.