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* EvenEvilHasStandards: Marvin Russell is under the impression that he, Qati, and Ghosn are planting a very large conventional bomb at the Super Bowl rather than a nuclear warhead. When the idea of nukes comes up, Marvin mentions that he's glad they're not using one because that would cause too much destruction for his tastes. This is a big part of why [[YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness Qati and Ghosn murder him after they've planted the bomb]].



* FalseFlagOperation: The terrorists' plan in the event of their capture is to implicate another country for the Denver bombing, to cause the expected revenge bombing by the US to cause a massive uprising [[spoiler:by the Arab world.]]

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* FalseFlagOperation: The terrorists' plan in the event of their capture is to implicate another country for the Denver bombing, to cause the expected revenge bombing by the US to cause a massive uprising [[spoiler:by the Arab world.]]]] On top of that, their original plan was to convince the US that [[spoiler:the Soviet Union nuked Denver]] in hopes of causing a war that would destroy both countries.

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* NarrativeFiligree: Chapter 35, 'Three Shakes', consists of several pages covering microseconds, describing the nuclear weapon's detonation step-by-step.


* BringMyBrownPants: Played almost entirely straight (he just barely manages not to need them) when the explosives specialist in the terror cell realises that the mysterious object found in a farmer's field is not in fact an electronic-jamming pod as he'd first thought, having established that it's not a conventional bomb, but is actually a nuclear warhead. Understandably, this is not in any way PlayedForLaughs.

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* BringMyBrownPants: Played almost entirely straight (he just barely manages not to need them) when the explosives specialist in the terror cell realises that the mysterious object found in a farmer's field is not in fact an electronic-jamming pod as he'd first thought, having established that it's not a conventional bomb, but is actually a nuclear warhead.warhead (that he had just spent the last few hours ''hammering''). Understandably, this is not in any way PlayedForLaughs.



** [[spoiler:At the very end of the novel, after stopping Fowler from launching a nuclear strike on Iran, Ryan decides to leave government service. It isn't until ''Literature/DebtOfHonor'', years later, that he recovers.]]

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** [[spoiler:At the very end of the novel, after stopping Fowler from launching a nuclear strike on Iran, Ryan decides to leave government service.service basically immediately. It isn't until ''Literature/DebtOfHonor'', years later, that he recovers.]]



** John Clark and Domingo Chavez qualify as well: with the CIA being downsized, Jack has both of them moved to the Diplomatic Protection Service to serve as his personal bodyguards, and to keep them in government service so their obvious skills won't go to waste. Clark takes it upon himself to help Jack stave off a nervous breakdown, and both of them also help save Jack's marriage (without his knowledge) by giving some classified information to Cathy Ryan. In recompense, Jack gets them in on an actual espionage mission (bugging the plane of the President of Japan, on his trip from Mexico to the US), [[spoiler: which inadvertently gets them in a prime position to capture Qati.]]



* {{Jerkass}}: Harry Ricks, newly minted commander of USS ''Maine'', is a hardcase engineer with a bad case of MilesGloriosus when it comes to actual command. Elizabeth Elliot, Fowler's National Security Adviser, is worse, attempting to ruin Ryan's life on the basis of a petty vendetta and driving Fowler to the brink of nuclear war through sheer paranoia.

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* {{Jerkass}}: Harry Ricks, newly minted commander of USS ''Maine'', is a hardcase engineer with a bad case of MilesGloriosus when it comes to actual command. His subordinate tries to rein him in, only to be accused of disloyalty. His ''superior'' officer then tries to gently break the news of his poor leadership to him, and instead gets backtalk and disdain.
**
Elizabeth Elliot, Fowler's National Security Adviser, is worse, attempting to ruin Ryan's life on the basis of a petty vendetta and driving Fowler to the brink of nuclear war through sheer paranoia.



* MyGodWhatHaveIDone: Both Fowler and Elliot go into full BSOD mode when they realize how close they came to starting WorldWarThree. [[spoiler:Fowler resigns his presidency immediately afterwards. Elliot, on the other hand, collapses into paranoic rambling and suffers a mind break, ultimately requiring hospitalization.]]

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* MyGodWhatHaveIDone: Both Fowler and Elliot go into full BSOD mode when they realize how close they came to starting WorldWarThree. [[spoiler:Fowler resigns his presidency immediately afterwards. Elliot, on the other hand, collapses into paranoic rambling and suffers a mind mental break, ultimately requiring hospitalization.hospitalization, and later books make it clear she never fully recovers.]]



* OhNoYouDidnt: When Admiral Mancuso is gently and patiently trying to tell Captain Ricks that his micromanaging, authoritarian leadership style is simply not working and is killing morale on his boat, Ricks brusquely throws it back in his face and says his career has been one of continual progression and he's not changing. Ricks instantly realizes he'd gone too far and tried to soften his comment, but the flash of anger that crossed Mancuso's face let him know it was too late. Mancuso reflected internally that one of his older relatives had been a Mafia Godfather on Sicily during the early part of the 20th century, and that man would have blown a hole in Ricks for being so insolent. Mancuso knew he couldn't do that, but he could make certain Ricks was never promoted again.

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* OhNoYouDidnt: When Admiral Mancuso is gently and patiently trying to tell Captain Ricks that his micromanaging, authoritarian leadership style is simply not working and is killing morale on his boat, Ricks brusquely throws it back in his face and says his career has been one of continual progression and he's not changing.changing[[note]]Likening the reports of morale issues to an "Alcoholics Anonymous" meeting: he doesn't have a problem because he gets results. If he had a problem, he wouldn't get results, and trying to get him to admit to a problem (alcoholism/morale) when there's just normal operation (drinking/results) is bullshit[[/note]]. Ricks instantly realizes he'd gone too far and tried to soften his comment, but the flash of anger that crossed Mancuso's face let him know it was too late. Mancuso reflected internally that one of his older relatives had been a Mafia Godfather on Sicily during the early part of the 20th century, and that man would have blown a hole in Ricks for being so insolent. Mancuso knew he couldn't do that, but he could make certain Ricks was never promoted again.


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** Even their reason for implicating Iran is an example: Iran had nothing to do with their attack, but if they can convince the US to launch a nuke at the Iranian capital, the US will become an enemy of every Muslim nation in the world, and their attempts at peace in the Middle East will be ruined.

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* OhNoYouDidnt: When Admiral Mancuso is gently and patiently trying to tell Captain Ricks that his micromanaging, authoritarian leadership style is simply not working and is killing morale on his boat, Ricks brusquely throws it back in his face and says his career has been one of continual progression and he's not changing. Ricks instantly realizes he'd gone too far and tried to soften his comment, but the flash of anger that crossed Mancuso's face let him know it was too late. Mancuso reflected internally that one of his older relatives had been a Mafia Godfather on Sicily during the early part of the 20th century, and that man would have blown a hole in Ricks for being so insolent. Mancuso knew he couldn't do that, but he could make certain Ricks was never promoted again.


* GeneralRipper: Deconstructed with acting chief of NORAD and the CINC-SAC. They both get really into countering the perceived Soviet aggression after the Denver attack, but they also come to realize just how bad things have gotten and try to calm down President Fowler. It doesn't work.



* JusticeByOtherLegalMeans: The German police detective handling Petra Bock's case deliberately [[DrivenToSuicide drives her to suicide]].



* PetTheDog: President Fowler and Liz Elliot's relationship demonstrates that, while they are assholes to Ryan, very deep down they are good people.

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* PetTheDog: PetTheDog:
**
President Fowler and Liz Elliot's relationship demonstrates that, while they are assholes to Ryan, very deep down they are good people.people.
** Subverted when Elliot makes sure her disgraced predecessor gets his deserved credit for bringing about the Jerusalem Treaty. The only reason she does so is to screw Ryan out of getting any recognition for all the work he did behind the scenes.


* WesternTerrorists: The Warrior Society, a group of Native Americans terrorists who had gotten into dealing drugs to fund their activities.

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* WesternTerrorists: VillainousFriendship: Gunther Bock, German Marxist, is friends with Ismael Qati, Palestinian terrorist leader. Qati even slept with Bock's wife without Gunther minding. Also Ghosn forms a friendship with Marvin Russell and regrets having to kill him to cover their tracks. Qati, on the other hand, doesn't care as Marvin was a "heathen".
* WesternTerrorists:
**
The Warrior Society, a group of Native Americans terrorists who had gotten into dealing drugs to fund their activities.activities.
** Petra and Gunther Bock were members of various Marxist terrorist groups operating in West Germany, such as the Red Army Faction.


* AllForNothing: It's revealed in ''The Teeth of the Tiger'' that all the effort to end the Israeli-Arab conflict will, once again, be nothing as the Jerusalem Treaty later falls apart.



* AssholeVictim: Marvin Russell gets murdered by Qati and Ghosn once they finish planting the bomb.



* DisproportionateRetribution: A sizable portion of the novel consists of Elliot trying to ruin Ryan's career and marriage because he objected to her bad manners in ''Literature/ClearAndPresentDanger''. It makes more sense when you figure out that she's a petty, vindictive bitch.

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* DisproportionateRetribution: DisproportionateRetribution:
**
A sizable portion of the novel consists of Elliot trying to ruin Ryan's career and marriage because he objected to her bad manners in ''Literature/ClearAndPresentDanger''. It makes more sense when you figure out that she's a petty, vindictive bitch.bitch.
** Qati's motivation for trying to spark a nuclear war between the U.S. and Russia is that he's angry the U.S. helped end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.


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* EvilCannotComprehendGood: Gunther Bock genuinely cannot understand why the East Germans overthrew their "perfect socialist state" to reunite with the evil, capitalist West.

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* ManlyTears: When Captain Rosselli relinquishes command of USS ''Maine'', his final act is to tour the ship and say good-bye to his men. By the end, he's openly crying. Admiral Mancuso is understanding, while Captain Ricks is [[EstablishingCharacterMoment disdainful and only cares about the condition of the sub's equipment]].

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* EarlyBirdCameo: Ayatollah Mahmoud Haji Daryaei has a small appearance at the end of the book. He would later be the main antagonist in ''Literature/ExecutiveOrders''.

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* ACupAngst: When Cathy suspects that Jack may be cheating on her, she begins to feel insecure about her physical appearance. While examining herself in the mirror she notes that, while she is slender and pretty, she does have small breasts.

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* AmbitionIsEvil: Two examples, National Security Advisor Elizabeth Elliot attempts to ruin Ryan's career in order to make the CIA her puppet. Capt. Harry Ricks is a BadBoss whose insistence that his crew follow his directions to the letter ends up destroying his boat.

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* HypercompetentSidekick: Deconstructed. Since DCI Cabot is an incompetent, lazy asshole, Ryan has to run the CIA by himself. The stress of having to do so and deal with a hostile presidential administration puts him on a path to a nervous breakdown which is only prevented, accidentally, by President Fowler asking for his resignation.


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* PetTheDog: President Fowler and Liz Elliot's relationship demonstrates that, while they are assholes to Ryan, very deep down they are good people.

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* ApocalypseHow: The US and USSR come within seconds of all-out nuclear war.
* AsianStoreOwner: Mrs. Zimmer.


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* EvenEvilHasLovedOnes: Petra and Gunther Bock are unrepentant WesternTerrorists, but they genuinely loved each other and their two daughters.


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* PoorCommunicationKills: Many of the problems surrounding the response to the nuclear attack on Denver are a result of this.
** Information from ground zero which proves that the yield was far below what NORAD estimated, and thereby couldn't have been Russian, almost doesn't reach those in the need to know because President Fowler ordered Denver to undergo a communications blackout to prevent a national panic.
** Ryan's inability to keep his cool results in Fowler cutting the CIA out of the loop. Shortly thereafter Ryan gets information that proves the Russians weren't involved in the attack but now the U.S. President will no longer listen to him.

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* CallBack: Jack is followed by reporters to a home where the mother and children greet him warmly. They accuse him of having a SecretOtherFamily. In truth, it's the family of one of the soldiers killed all the way back in ''Literature/ClearAndPresentDanger'', and Jack is honoring his promise to help the man's children.


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* VicePresidentWho: Discussed. Roger Durling, after delivering the state of California during the election, is relegated to backwater assignments away from the limelight. The sad part is Durling is a much nicer and more reasonable man than President Bob Fowler. [[spoiler:It's what makes him a pretty good successor when Fowler resigns.]]

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* TechnologyMarchesOn: To be expected from a novel based nominally in reality. Notably, the high-tech method used to bug an airplane, shown to take several hours, is now used in many noise-canceling headsets that cost less than 50 US Dollars.

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