Headscratchers / Jack Ryan

Patriot Games

  • This Commonwealth of Nations troper would like to know how in God's name Jack Ryan acquired a knighthood ... no, scratch that, why he's called by the title 'Sir John' in the United Kingdom, even though he can't accept the knighthood at all, despite Clancy's Hand Wave ... no, scratch that, what I really want to know is how Jack Ryan gets to be so bloody rude to a Captain Ersatz of Prince Charles and get away with it.
    • In fairness, Jack knew he was being an ass, and knew he'd be hip deep in shit if it backfired, but he was basically trying to use shock tactics to prevent said Captain Ersatz from slipping into a Heroic BSOD because of his failed I Just Want to Be Badass moment. It winds up working out well enough, but he does get called out for the rudeness later on, albeit comically.
    • As for how he acquired a knighthood in the first place — well, as mentioned in the story itself, its been a long while since an heir to the throne was single-handedly saved from certain death under such circumstances, and the Crown's dignity sort of requires an appropriate reward to be handed out when someone does.
    • Also, it's acknowledged in the book that while the knighthood is technically honorary, as a US citizen can't hold one under US law, it's treated as being a legitimate, full one as far as personal interactions in the UK are concerned, as a show of respect for Ryan. See also the knighthoods given to Nimitz, Eisenhower, and some other US flag officers of major commands during World War 2, plus other US citizens in Real Life who've been knighted.
      • If we're going by commonly accepted US law (or at least the current Constitutional interpretation), then Americans are allowed to accept knighthoods or titles from foreign dignitaries, but are not allowed to accept any of the more tangible benefits that come with such grants, like lands or incomes. So it's okay for Jack Ryan to accept a knighthood, maybe with a nice framed commission or plaque. But if Her Majesty were to offer him a lordship for whatever reason, then we'd be running into trouble.
    • She could technically only bestow the title and not the positions on him. Or she could give him an unused title.

The Bear and the Dragon

  • Exactly what was Zhang's position in the Chinese government between Debt of Honor and The Bear and the Dragon? When he's first introduced in Debt of Honor he gives off the vibe of being an intelligence officer, which would put him several levels below Politburo status. In Executive Orders, while presiding over the negotiations after the Airbus shootdown, the Foreign Minister seems to defer to him, giving the impression that he's at least Politburo level. But then suddenly, in The Bear and the Dragon he becomes a senior Politburo member with little to no explanation. Did Clancy just put him in some ambiguous category with no definition this whole time until it seemed convenient to have him become The Man Behind the Man in The Bear and the Dragon?
    • Pretty much. Clancy was very coy with his exact position in the Chinese government, except to make sure we knew it was very high up since Debt Of Honor. In fact, in DOH, Yamata tries to seek sanctuary in Zhang's country once things go south, and Zhang's level of prior assistance and the fact he doesn't want to help Yamata due to the political fallout tells us Zhang is very high up in the government, and since he shows up again in a position where the Chinese Foreign Minster defers to him (and he again is playing The Chessmaster), his position is made a little more clear. However, by TBATD, when the whole Myth Arc ends, he apparently saw little need in trying to conceal anything, especially since Zhang flat out confirms (in private to his associates and at second hand via spy intercepts) his role in the past two books, and in TBATD we learn he's been the string puller behind the mainland Chinese government's expansionist goals the whole time.
    • His stated title Minister Without Portfolio, which is usually a sinecure position. It is mentioned his involvement in politics dates back to Mao. I admit this is pure speculation on my part, but perhaps he managed, due to his lowly position, to "keep paddling" through the storms of Mao's fall, and simply used his considerable intelligence to accrue more and more power and influence throughout the subsequent Chinese governments.

Teeth of the Tiger

  • Teeth of the Tiger puts a big emphasis on being "post 9/11." This doesn't make sense to me because WAY WORSE THINGS HAVE ALREADY HAPPENED IN UNIVERSE! Denver was NUKED! It was so bad that they got rid of ICBM's. Why does 9/11 get attention in light of this?
    • This can be easily explained. Clancy has often gone on record with the fact his books are an allegory to the time they were written, and if given a choice between canon consistency and getting his point across, he often chooses the latter, though it doesn't diminish the validity of the argument 9/11 would be far less horrifying than the nuking of Denver or worse, the biological terrorism Daryaei used in Executive Orders, which does get referenced in TOTT.

Dead or Alive

  • Why would Clark be worried about the ADDO learning about the drug dealer murders he committed in Without Remorse? As of Executive Orders, he has a Presidential pardon for that signed by Jack Ryan. Said event could potentially end up being embarrassing to Ryan's reelection campaign (Which didn't exist at the time that this issue was brought up), depending on how Kealty attempts to spin it if he learns of it, but Clark can't be prosecuted for that.
    • Having not read DOA, this may have been addressed, but the President cannot pardon state crimes. Clark killing the drug dealers were all Maryland state felonies with no statute of limitations, so unless the Governor signed off on it (and a call from the President probably would have done that), he's still on the hook.
    • In the worst case scenario, he also has a very high chance of jury nullification.
    • If memory serves, John Kelly does try to flee on his boat in order to fake his death and become John Clark. This troper can't remember if it's mentioned, but it's entirely possible that this would make it a federal investigation, and covered under the President's jurisdiction.
    • John Kelly is also a government employee (for the CIA) during the time period he commits his crimes - they can assert federal jurisdiction on this basis.
    • In addition to the part where this entire case is a giant multi-jurisdictional mess once all the separate pieces are revealed to be part of one single crime spree (heroin is being imported from Asia by being smuggled in via the coffins of US military servicemembers killed in Vietnam, then processed and sold to a major "made man" of a Mafia family, then shipped across several states, and then witnesses are killed in multiple states as part of covering up this criminal conspiracy? How many separate agencies and police departments are potentially invited in by all of this? Ten? Twelve?), parts of John Kelly's own crime spree occurs onboard a boat in navigable coastal waters, which is the Coast Guard's jurisdiction.
    • It gets better. While the original police investigation wouldn't know about this, once John confesses to everything he does, that includes killing the guy in New Orleans and the dude he executes via pressure chamber on the island. At this point he's killed people in multiple states and on federal land.
  • At the beginning of Teeth of the Tiger, 56MoHa murders a Mossad agent in the men's room of a restaurant. At the end of the book, Jack Jr kills 56MoHa in the same restroom. The knife that 56MoHa used to kill the Israeli is found on his body, with some traces of the victim's blood still on it. Said knife was sent for DNA testing. That means that it is quite likely that the Italian public knows that an Israeli diplomat was murdered in a restaurant, and that his killer died of an apparent heart attack in the exact same room a couple months later. Why didn't anyone comment on this in Dead or Alive? Why didn't the Emir come to the conclusion that this was no coincidence and that the Mossad was sending him a return message?
    • Most likely because said Emir assumed that the killers weren't Mossad—the Israelis might have realized the identity of the COS's killer only after Mohammed Hassan al-Din died.
      • And nobody else came to the highly plausible conclusion that the Mossad had done it? If nothing else the Mossad would probably want the world to think that they had avenged the murder of an Israeli diplomat.
  • Is it me, or do parts of the novel itself have the feel of "events prior to Teeth of the Tiger?" Fa'ad living—himself having been shredded by a streetcar after being poisoned, Yuriy's execution—he was already dead in Tiger...
    • I can't speak as to the former, but the latter was never named explicitly in TOTT, so it could be another guy who got offed instead.