“The End of the American Century”

The War in 2020 is a terrific read. I’ll bet I’ve read it every 4 or 5 years since it was published in 1991. Wikipedia classifies the novel as “military-adventure.”

“The novel begins in the year 2005, when the South African Defense Force, equipped and trained by Japan, seizes mineral-rich areas of Shaba Province in Zaire. The United States sends the XVIII Airborne Corps along with associated air and naval assets to repel the aggression. The American expeditionary force is defeated due to a combination of technological inferiority (the South Africans’ Japanese equipment has such innovations as onboard battle lasers,) lax security (a squadron of USAF B-2 Spirit bombers is destroyed on the ground by South Africans and local guerillas) and poor intelligence.

The American collapse is so swift that the XVIII Airborne Corps attempts to surrender. When the surrender offer is ignored, the American President orders a nuclear strike on Pretoria, forcing a cease-fire and a South African withdrawal from Zaire. The political cost paid by the United States is very high; post-war epidemics, and economic and political conflict with Japan reduces American power and influence. These events are summarized by a newspaper headline that reads: “THE END OF THE AMERICAN CENTURY”.

Author Ralph Peters tells a great story. If you’re digging Afghanistan and Iraq, you’ll love The War in 2020.