* AcceptableEthnicTargets: Clancy doesn't pull any punches in the novels, but the film adaptation of ''The Sum of All Fears'' conveniently replaces the Arab terrorists with Neo-Nazis. Also see YellowPeril below. That being said, he also treats ethnic groups, especially traditionally vilified ones, with a great deal of respect. He makes it pretty clear that it's just the extremes of each groups that tend to be problematic. This he even applies to his own countrymen.
* FranchiseOriginalSin: Clancy's work has always been a partial soapbox for his own libertarian and personal views, but up until ''The Sum Of All Fears'', he was able to keep this in check, not to mention his plots were usually grounded in fairly plausible sociopolitical possibilities, such as terrorist groups proving they can operate successfully in the US. Unfortunately, after a borderline AssPull involving instant peace in the Middle East in said book (which later gets retconned as a failure), his subsequent books get far more preachy and AuthorTract like, and his plots start getting more and more implausible, including such thing as Japan launching a serious bid for superpower status via a war with the US, Iran doing the same, and in his most extreme example, Russia joins NATO to stop Red China from invading them.
* HarsherInHindsight: A number of Clancy's plot points have run into this, largely due to his use of contemporary topics.
** In ''Debt of Honor'', [[spoiler:the U.S. Capitol Building is destroyed by a kamikaze Japanese Airlines pilot]].
** Similarly, ExecutiveMeddling forced the film version of ''The Sum of all Fears'' to feature [[spoiler:Neo-Nazis as the antagonists rather than Arabs]], as they thought [[spoiler:Arab terrorists]] wouldn't be able to pull off something that dramatic.
** There is a bio-terrorism subplot in ''Executive Orders'', years before the Anthrax scares, and a similar one in ''Rainbow Six''.
** Robby Jackson, Ryan's best friend and [[spoiler:Vice President]] in ''The Bear and the Dragon'', is [[spoiler:[[DroppedABridgeOnHim assassinated off screen]]]] between ''The Bear and the Dragon'' and ''Teeth of the Tiger''. Note [[BarackObama who got elected President in 2008]].
** China is portrayed in ''The Bear and the Dragon'' as a backwards country that doesn't understand economics or capitalism, with only its strong army to rely on. Fast forward ten years, and they've proven themselves to be better capitalists than the US...
** ''Debt of Honor'' has a major international crisis caused by faulty gas tanks in Japanese cars. In 2010, we have the Toyota safety issues.
*** Made even harsher in that the car involved in the car accident was a Cresta. Cresta ''was'' a Toyota model.
** Likewise, Patriot Games dealt with America's vulnerability to foreign terrorist groups long before any actually operated over there.
* HilariousInHindsight: In ''Locked On'', Jack Jr discovers that terrorist cells are sending information via data embedded in pornographic images. It has been recently been revealed that Al Qaeda has been hiding information by digitally embedding it into pornographic videos.
* HoYay: Apparently, President J. Robert Fowler and his Chief of Staff Arnie Van Damm have a 'history', according to the in-house newspaper for the White House. When Liz Elliot gives Fowler a call regarding something 'potentially damaging', Fowler comments that "It's not the rumor that we're...", at which point, Liz cuts him off saying, "No sir, not that. I'm not kidding."
* IdiotPlot: ''The Bear And The Dragon'' revolves around this to an absurd degree. The Chinese government (with the exception of one OnlySaneMan with no real power and one bright but amoral [[PragmaticVillainy pragmatic villain]] who also has a degree of sanity and ability to contemplate his actions yet has a tenous grip on power) are portrayed as backwards, corrupt and incompetent, relying on the rule of arms to make sure their people stay in line (disregarding the Internet as something they need to regulate to maintain this, which IRL China has addressed). They also launch a war of aggression in much the same way as the Soviets did in ''Literature/RedStormRising'' with even less foreplanning, are so inept at security they don't even notice a hacking scheme any reasonably effective hacker could unravel is handing the USA a copypasta of their Politburo meeting minutes, thus allowing America to read their every move, and as the cherry on top, they prove unable to show any intelligence regarding international relations, and this idiocy puts their world trade in the shitter because they can't do something as simple as apologize for the murder of a diplomat and a missionary even when objective reality explicitly demands it.
* MagnificentBastard: [[spoiler:Felix Cortez]] in ''Clear And Present Danger''. Even admitted by {{Word of God}}. Subverted in the end of the book, with a gleefully ironic HoistByHisOwnPetard moment.
* MisBlamed: Clancy's entire involvement with the "Op-Center" series is suggesting the most basic premise and being paid for showing his name on the covers.
* NamesTheSame: Particularly {{egregious}} in some cases, when Clancy uses the same names for characters that either die or are separated by years. The most notable examples include:
** Anne Pretloe, a doctor who helped to treat John Kelly[[spoiler:/Clark]] in ''Without Remorse'', and a girl who was kidnapped and murdered by [[spoiler:Horizon Corporation's Project]] in ''Rainbow Six''.
** Dmitriy A. Popov, a Soviet diplomat present during the Middle East peace agreement in ''Sum of All Fears'', and a former KGB terrorist liaison in ''Rainbow Six''.
** Tony Wills, a star football player [[spoiler:who was killed in the nuclear explosion in Denver]] in ''Sum of All Fears'', a Secret Service agent looking after the children of Roger Durling in ''Debt of Honor'' and ''Executive Orders'', and a former CIA intelligence analyst who mentors Jack Ryan, Jr. in ''Teeth of the Tiger''.
* OffscreenMomentOfAwesome: A single throwaway line buried in ''Debt of Honor'' mentions that [[spoiler:North and South Korea had recently been reunified]]. Which is exactly the kind of major event that Clancy usually takes a whole book to cover.
** Clancy's one-time collaborator Larry Bond covered this: Red Phoenix. Clancy may have more or less "incorporated it by reference."
* ProtectionFromEditors: It is widely believed that the [[{{Doorstopper}} length]] of many of Clancy's later novels is due to this.
* StrawCharacter: Several media pundits (usually liberals) are portrayed as this. Ed Kealty, widely regarded as being a TakeThat directed against Ted Kennedy is a very Democratic one, although this may be a subversion: Arnie Van Damm notes that Kealty has no real principles, holds liberal views only in order to get himself elected, and would "fuck a snake," in order to get what he wants.
* ViewersAreMorons: Taken to relative length in ''Rainbow Six'' and ''The Bear and the Dragon'', where certain important points are explained multiple times, in depth; one would assume that John Clark's meeting with Golovko in ''Executive Orders'' would be important enough for everyone present at Rainbow HQ to at least know of.
* UnfortunateImplications: In ''Teeth of the Tiger'', Dominic says this to his twin Brian:
-->"You always were the altar boy in the family."
:: Cue the recent [[PedophilePriest clerical sex scandals.]]
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