These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
Arming the Angry Mob. I am a horrible person for laughing at this.
The way Mig pilots scream "CHIIIIINNNNNAAAAAA!" when they crash never gets old, especially if they're trying it against massed EMP patriots (at which their plane shuts off.....Mid air).
Land mines upgrades for any Chinese buildings can be force fired upon by any explosive/cannon weapons, taking any units nearby with it...
Demonic Spiders: This is what GLA's Rocket Buggies are for. Especially for China players, which have no unit fast enough. They come, stay out of range of all of your weapons, drop of all their payload of rockets in one of your units (possibly killing it), and then run away like assholes. Then they repeat it. Grrr.
Game Breaker: Super weapons (the USA's Particle Uplink Cannon, China's nuke, and GLA's Scud Storm) can take down anything at any location once their timer counts down. Their timer is visible to everyone, but most people disallow them in multiplayer matches because unlike all other CNC games you can technically build as many as you want.
American Humvees full of Missile Defenders. Ask any competitive player.
Humvees full of Pathfinders (USA's snipers) may count for Chinese player. Think of it as putting 5 more machine guns on the Humvee, except that they all have insane range and One-Hit Kill. Now watch your Hackers fall like leafs as the USA shutdown your early-game economics...
Or all of those in US Airforce General Chinooks. Friggin built-in fireports!
Assault Godamn Crawlers, Overpowered Infantry+Self healing Transport with fire ports that comes with said infantry=GG.
Overlords counter everything, literally. Emperor Overlords do the same thing while healing faster than wolverine. Maybe massed artillery if you can gather them in time, and that's an if.
Nuke Migs can easily slaughter the entire game if it weren't for PDL (US) ECM (China) and good ol fashioned hiding (GLA).
ECM itself can basically render any missile moot, making half of the US and GLA's arsenal useless, unlike PD Ls, they have no limit.
Can't forget the USA's Aurora Bomber. Despite their high cost and requiring a Strategy Center, they can be a complete troll plane once you can amass enough funds to continually make them. The way they work is that they have one bomb that is extremely powerful, and fly too fast for any of the turrets to take them out before dropping the bomb. A single one can take out another USA player's power plant or supply drop. Continuous harassing can make it impossible for them to rebuild enough units to fight back against you. So, while you continue to stall them, you can build up an army big enough to wipe them out in no time. Yes, you do have to keep rebuilding the bombers since they can get hit after dropping, but it's still quite egregious.
Fast players can bring the troll further by repeatedly force their Aurora to attack the ground around enemy's defenses (but not letting Aurora drop it's bomb) to distract them from main attack group.
Maybe this is just a Game Breaker for the single player campaign, but with the Chinese it is possible to take the Black Lotus and her army of hackers and cripple the other side by leaching all their money and disabling their equipment.
GLA abilities to rebuild their structure when destroyed if left in 'tunnel' state may count as in-universe example. But in actual gameplay it doesn't matter that much except when using one-shot superweapon or support abilities.
USA Chinook is a supply helicopter that happens to be a troop transport as well, making for epic early-game harassment tool.
Harsher in Hindsight: The nuclear bomb blowing up in front of the Forbidden City in the intro? In October 2013 Uighur separatists attempted to detonate a car bomb in front of the Forbidden City. The bomb didn't explode, but the vehicle caught fire.
When the first game came out it was criticized for being more like a Blizzard RTS game than Command & Conquer. The game's lead designer Dustin Browder would go on to become the lead designer for StarCraft II.
Generals purports to take place in the 2020s, featuring a number of pricey high-end American units that were either in development, on the cusp of deployment, or already deployed. Fast forward a few years, and a number of them have been cancelled due to budgetary concerns (among other things).
F-117 Nighthawk: AKA the Stealth Fighter, it was retired in 2008 in order to free up a billion dollars for more F-22s.
F-22 Raptor: Originally meant to completely replace the older F-15 Eagle (of which there are 250+ as of 2010), but the cost of the program (and lack of a threat with a significant air force) caused the Department of Defense to end procurement at 187 fighters.
RAH-66 Comanche: Rather than replace the Apache entirely, the real deal was a stealthy scout helicopter meant to work in teams with Apaches. Also cancelled because of cost overruns.
In Generals, the Americans field a main battle tank called the Crusader, with a next-generation tank available named the Paladin. In fact, the U.S. Army did develop vehicles using these names ... but they are self-propelled howitzers. What's more, the real, Vietnam War-vintage M109 Paladin is the current howitzer fielded by the U.S. Army—it's the XM2001 Crusader that was intended to replace it, were it not for the fact that it too had been cancelled for neither being mobile nor precise enough.
Generals also depicted the Chinese air force of the 2020s as primarily using Mikoyan-Gurevich fighters—no model name given, but very clearly based on the MiG MFI, 1.44, and 1.42 series. This series was developed as a response to America's Advanced Tactical Fighter program (which resulted in the F-22), but didn't make a maiden flight until 2000 due to lack of funding for almost a decade—and by then the project had already been cancelled, since 1997. However ...
... As of 2012, China is working on its own domestic answer to the American F-22 and Russian PAK FA: the Chengdu J-20, which should be operational somewhere between 2017 and 2019, just before the time when Generals is supposed to happen. Experts have noticed the similarity in design between the J-20 and the MiG 1.44. Perhaps China's leaders have been playing Generals despite the ban?
And like the MiG 1.44, it hasn't had the chance to see the extent of its potential like the F-22 has although it likely won't share 1.44's fate of being cancelled.
Iron Woobie: The GLA Worker. Hungry, overworked, and bereft of shoes. Forced to build entire terrorist camps with just a hammer and his hands. One gets the feeling his heart may not be entirely in this whole war thing. Likely to get blown up or sent to blow himself up, set on fire, irradiated, sniped, or left gasping for breath as his skin melts off his bones. And that hammer is heavy.
Patriot Missile can be micro-ed into attacking multiple targets in one salvo. Normally this would not be of use if not for EMP Patriot exclusive to Superweapon General. One turret alone could keep an entire tank horde at bay.
One of common tactic China players uses against GLA is to send their Supply Trucks to run over every Workers they came across to stall early-game developments.
Moral Event Horizon: The ending of the 1st GLA campaign and in the first USA mission for the GLA.
The GLA Campaign itself is just one Moral Event Horizon after another. In the first mission, they launch an armored assault against a large Chinese force camped around a dam and fishing village. After wiping out two Chinese bases and contracting the help of the local village militia, they blow up the Dam, causing a massive flood that not only destroys the Chinese armored columns, but also the village. In the second mission, probably one of the most disturbing in a strategy game, they slaughter entire villages and steal the U.N. aid meant for them. In their third mission, they incite a riot in a Chinese held city and arm the mobs, leading to the slaughter of the Chinese garrison and the destruction of most of the city, all so they could loot it while it burns.
One cut mission had the GLA slaughtering villagers with anthrax.
They still do that in the game, only instead of villagers, it's two entire cities.
Another cut mission had them attack a Chinese embassy that also served as a makeshift hospital.
In yet another one they detonate a nuclear bomb in the middle of Beijing.