Follow TV Tropes


Literature / Debt of Honor

Go To

Debt of Honor is the seventh Jack Ryan book written by Tom Clancy. It is the eighth book chronologically, was published in 1994, and takes place around 1995.

Two years after stopping a nuclear war and leaving government service, Ryan is once again called to duty, this time by Bob Fowler's successor Roger Durling. Because the administration has failed to successfully deal with many global issues in the wake of the fall of the Soviet Union, Ryan is appointed as Durling's National Security Advisor in order to set things right.


However, unknown to him and the rest of the world, a Japanese conglomerate owner, Raizo Yamata, plots to destroy the United States and turn Japan into a global superpower in its place. Conspiring with powerful military and political figures in India and China, Yamata aims to bring ruin to the United States now that the US military has been greatly downsized due to the diminishment of the Soviet armed forces.

Debt of Honor is notable for being the first Tom Clancy book in which the Russian Federation acts as an ally, rather than as the primary antagonist, and where the Soviet Union is not the primary nation-state antagonist. It also introduces the "Northern Resource Area" plot line, which would be continued up until The Bear and the Dragon.


This novel contains examples of:

  • Action Duo: Continuing the tradition begun in Clear and Present Danger, John Clark and Domingo Chavez perform operations under Ryan and the Foleys' direction, playing major roles both prior to the beginning of hostilities and after.
  • Actual Pacifist: Prime Minister Koga. He even laments the death of Kaneda, despite the fact that Kaneda was under orders to kill him.
  • The Alliance: Villainous example with Japan, China, and India. Ultimately subverted in that while China and India are happy to be silent partners of Japan, they leave it high and dry as soon as it starts losing the war. Several characters at different points suggest that the Chinese/Japanese alliance was unlikely to last anyway, given the historic enmity between those two countries and the fact that they'll both be competing for the same territory and resources.
    • In a more traditional example, the Atlantic alliance between the United States and its European allies holds true, and is key to isolating Japan diplomatically and retaliating against it economically.
  • Apologetic Attacker: Sato apologises to the copilot he kills before executing his suicide run on Congress.
  • Artistic License – History: In-universe. Ryan points out that the Japanese claim to Guam and the Northern Marianas as their historical possessions is dubious, at best.
  • Advertisement:
  • Artistic License – Ships: One of the Japanese destroyers is named Mutsu after the World War II battleship. In reality, there's no JMSDF destroyer actually named as such, though there is a nuclear-powered merchant ship of that name, now renamed Mirai.
  • Author Tract: The book is Clancy's not-so-subtle commentary on the post-Cold War defense cuts by the US Military, America's unequal trading terms with Japan and fears of East Asian dominance.
  • Back from the Dead: Invoked by Clark. "Portagee" Oreza, who was retconned as being an old friend of John Kelly, is taken completely by shock when Clark shows up at his house more than twenty years after his "death" in Without Remorse.
  • Back in the Saddle: Jones has been retired from the Navy for years and was only at the Navy base in Honolulu to see his old skipper and try to sell him sonar interpretation software. When the war breaks out, he promptly heads down to the SOSUS control room and takes it over, pretty much single-handedly tracking the entire Japanese Navy so Mancuso's subs can hunt them.
  • Black Helicopter: The Comanche is depicted like this: a helicopter so stealthy that it can be used to assassinate major corporate figures in central Tokyo, and get away none the wiser.
  • Break Out the Museum Piece: Though not really bound for a museum, the Ohio-class nuclear submarines are all but decommissioned at the start of the book, due to the US destroying their nuclear missiles and rendering the nuclear-missile-launch-submarine obsolete. Bart Mancuso has a "Eureka!" Moment when he realizes that the Japanese have more attack submarines, but he has more submarines if he just sends out the Ohios. While they're not as fast as the Los Angeles class, they're much harder to detect, making them ideal for stealth operations.
  • Brick Joke: Of a somewhat morbid kind. In Clear and Present Danger, when Ryan had to brief then-presidential candidate Bob Fowler on intelligence matters, his brutally honest way of presenting facts makes Fowler joke that Ryan should never enter into politics. Sometime after resigning his own presidency, Fowler advised President Durling to appoint Ryan as his National Security Adviser which eventually leads to Ryan being appointed Vice President and, after Durling's death, becoming President. Meaning Ryan will be the one to actually finish out the term Fowler was elected to.
  • Buzzing the Deck: Near the end of the novel, US B-1 bombers buzz an Indian aircraft carrier and her escorts at near-supersonic speeds, causing damage to their superstructures, as a warning and show of force to prevent their moves toward annexing Sri Lanka. The Indians wisely back off, realizing that U.S. can sink their ships before their AA batteries can even warm up.
  • Cassandra Truth:
    • Early on, Ryan warns Durling not to press the Japanese too hard on the Trade Reform Act, citing Sun Tzu's advice that an enemy should always be given a way out. Durling refuses since going hard would benefit him politically, with unpleasant eventual consequences.
    • A US Air Force sergeant warns a colonel leading a flight of B-1s that, despite all indications to the contrary, his planes may already have been made and advises him not to test the Japanese air defences a second time. The colonel refuses, which costs him one plane, the lives of the four crew on board, and two of the engines on a second.
  • The Chessmaster: Yamata personally engineered the collapse of the US stock markets and the leaking of the rape case against Vice President Kealty, in a bid to attack the political center of the United States, as well as the attack on US Navy warships during a training exercise and construction of nuclear ballistic missiles in order to prevent retaliation against his later objectives.
  • Complexity Addiction: Leads to Japan's downfall.
    • The plan to crash the US stock market is brilliant, using the carefully designed but easily exploited automated stock traders to bottom out the stock market and cause economic chaos in less than 4 hours. However, the decision to then destroy the records for that period, by having the stock market records machines return garbage data instead of actual records, allows the exchanges to basically say "nope, didn't happen" and reset everything to what it was before the crash a week later, undoing the economic damage in short order. If they had just crashed the market, the plan would have gone off without a hitch.
    • The plan to capture the Marianas Islands is equally brilliant, with the takeover happening so quickly and without chaos that most people on the island and outside of it are too stunned to react in any way, and also providing a buffer for any attempts by the US to try to attack Japan directly. However, the action means that the smaller Japanese Navy suddenly has a much larger area to defend, and when the defenses are compromised, the situation quickly becomes untenable.
    • The decision to place their nuclear weapons in an isolated former lake bed means that the missiles are well-protected from any kind of attack, even by stealth aircraft, because the terrain dictates the axis of attack. However, they fail to realize the implications of it being a former lake bed created by a nearby dam, and that makes it vulnerable to indirect attack by flooding the valley.
  • Contrived Coincidence: The ending of the novel brings together most of the US government at a single time and place—something that is never done for exactly this reason—so that The Plot Reaper can wipe them all out and catapult Ryan into the Presidency.note 
  • Cool Plane: Numerous.
    • The Japanese E-767, an AWACS on steroids, is this for the Japanese. Not only is it superior to an E-3 in virtually all categories, it can actually direct missiles at targets for its fighters, effectively making it an airborne Aegis cruiser.
    • The YF-22 "Rapier" (later known as the F-22A "Raptor") makes its first debut in the novel as a prototype, with only four of them available for use.
    • Three prototype RAH-66 Comanche helicoptersnote  are secretly infiltrated into Japan to perform stealthy, surgical strikes.
  • Corrupt Bureaucrat: Christopher Cook, who sells government secrets so he can get a lucrative job as a lobbyist. Comes back to bite him in the ass when he gets arrested by the FBI on charges of treason for leaking secrets during wartime.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Yamata effectively is this.
  • Corrupt Politician:
    • President Durling is a very downplayed and sympathetic example. He interferes with the FBI investigation into Vice President Kealty and agrees to let Kealty quietly resign rather then face impeachment. The only reason he does so is because America can only handle so many national crises at once and he decides the economic meltdown and war with Japan are more important.
    • Ed Kealty is a straight example. He raped at least two of his aides during his time in the Senate and essentially blackmails President Durling into letting him off the hook.
  • Culture Clash: A lot of emphasis is placed throughout the book on how, like back in 1941, the inability of the Americans and Japanese to understand each other contributes to the disaster, diplomacy after the incident failing, and the escalating war between them.
  • Dating What Daddy Hates: A minor example, combined with a hint of Overprotective Dad and Like Father, Like Son. Chavez dates Clark's daughter, Patsy, starting in this novel, and while Clark doesn't actually object, he can't help but notice the similarities between Chavez and himself.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Debt of Honor is the first novel where the Russian Federation and United States start cooperating, both militarily and in espionage. The cooperation actually begins after all the ballistic launchers for both sides are destroyed, as a direct result of the previous novel.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Torajiro Sato crosses this near the end of the novel, after his brother and son are killed in the war's final battle and he has to fly defeated Japanese soldiers home from Saipan. In all his appearances afterward, he has an emotionless, mechanical demeanor. His despair and anger ultimately drive him to plow a Boeing 747 full of fuel into a joint session of Congress.
  • Dirty Business: The US does some ambiguous things to get the better of the Japanese, but several of the characters involved regret the necessity of it. Chavez in particular finds the mission to destroy two of the E-767 planes by making them crash on landing difficult, not because of the mission itself, but because of the consequences: he kills 60 people in the span of about 3 minutes, and it weighs on his conscience. Clark tries to help him out, but Chavez refuses out of a sense of duty.
  • Drugs Are Bad: Invoked in the death of Kimberly Norton, where drugs were used in her murder as a cover.
  • Endangering News Broadcast:
    • Torajiro Sato is a broken man at the end of the story. And then he notices a copy of USA Today, where the headline is showing that the majority of the US government is gathering at Capitol Hill to swear Jack in as vice president, and is inspired to take a course of action that will let him go out with a bang rather than a whimper.
    • Subverted with the news coverage of the repairs to the John Stennis. The American networks are persuaded to delay reporting that the ship has sailed until long after its departure; in fact, they go so far as to actively mislead viewers that the ship is still in drydock until it is in position to launch strikes on the Marianas.
  • Enemy Mine: The "Northern Resource Area" turns out to be a plot by historical enemies China and Japan to annex Eastern Siberia and its resources, while India uses the distraction to annex Sri Lanka.
  • "Eureka!" Moment:
    • Golovko explaining during the start of hostilities that Ryan was a fool not to activate the Thistle commercial spying ring soonernote  clues Ryan in to the fact that the war isn't being run by Japan's political institutions, but rather by its commercial leaders (though as the former officer that created Thistle explains early on, there's no real difference between the two). This results in drastically changing how Ryan prosecutes the war, as he realizes he's up against businessmen that he can easily mislead and intimidate, and that all he needs to do is cause enough damage to the Japanese objectives to oust the Prime Minister that's dancing to the warmongering businessmens' tune. And also assassinating businessmen is far easier and less politically dangerous than assassinating a head of state.
    • Jack remembering his wife's saying "if it isn't written down, it didn't happen", which inspires him to a solution for the financial crisis: since there are no surviving records of what stock trades happened after 12PM the previous Friday, they can just claim that the market closed early that day and use that as the start point when they reopen the market.
    • Admiral Mancuso is told that the Japanese have more submarines than the Americans, when he realizes that that's not true, inspiring him to send out the Ohio missile submarines as attack/special operations submarines to even the odds.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: Inverted: real cars don't blow up in normal crashes, and the fact that this happened during an otherwise normal traffic accident was a clue to a major safety defect in Japanese cars, or so various characters are led to believe, which was one of the major driving factors behind the Trade Reform Act.
  • Evil Colonialist: A rare case of this trope applying to nonwhite villains. The leaders of Japan, China, and India are all plotting enormous territorial expansion into neighboring states (Japan and China conquering Siberia, India conquering Australia), in search of territory for their overcrowded populations and resources for their growing economies. Both the perpetrators and their enemies compare the plan to the imperialist rush of the nineteenth century.
  • Fair Weather Friend: Once Yamata's plans completely unravel and he calls Zhang for help, the latter simply ignores him, allowing Yamata to be arrested and tried for his crimes.
  • Feed the Mole
    • The US news outlets are used to this extent. The Japanese believe that they have completely crippled both Enterprise and John Stennis, but Stennis is still able to conduct operations after some quick repairs; Ryan uses the news outlets against Japan to make them think that America has no carriers available when in fact they still had one. The news outlets eventually justify this by stating that they are, after all, American news organizationsnote .
    • Also used against the Japanese during negotiations, where the mole Chris Cook is tricked into giving the Japanese delegation false information that is used to place them at a tactical disadvantage for another US operation.
  • Foreshadowing: Midway through the book, a Japanese admiral gets annoyed at low-flying planes because they might damage his ship. See Buzzing the Deck above for what happens later.
  • For Want of a Nail: Somewhat downplayed since Yamata's scheming was still going on, but the trade sanctions against Japan were just the powder keg he needed to set off the main plot. And said trade sanctions were caused by a single malfunctioning wire causing several Japanese-made gas tanks to be poorly galvanized, which in turn led to the several deaths in the US that caused them to review their trading policies with Japan in the first place.
  • Get on the Boat: Once the three Comanches complete their mission in Japan, they fly out to the Pacific, where USS Tennessee greets them for an at-sea landing and refueling stop for their continued trip to the US battle group engaging Japanese forces at Saipan.
  • Godzilla Threshold: In an economic variation, in order to revive the US economy after the stock market collapses, the antitrust regulations are temporarily suspended.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: The Japanese use a joint military exercise with the US as cover to get their forces into position to begin the military phase of the attacks.
  • History Repeats: Several characters make In-Universe comparisons between the present situation and 1941. The same coded phrase, “Climb Mount Niitaka”, is even used here the same way as it was back then.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • The whole point of the Trade Reform Act is that any nation that hits the US with unfair import restrictions can be faced with the same restrictions when exporting their goods to the USnote .
    • Yamata's plan of wiping out the records of all stock trades past a certain point, intended to deplete the confidence of traders and add to the overall chaos, ended up working against him when the US government fiats that, because there were no records, none of the junk trades in question happened and they can just "reset the clock" to before the collapse.
  • Hollywood Law: The price Jack sets for becoming Vice President is a Presidential pardon for the crimes Clark committed during Without Remorse. However, all of those crimes were violations of Maryland state law, not federal law, so Durling shouldn't have been able to meet that price. In order to be valid, the pardon would have had to come from the Governor of Maryland.
  • Honest Corporate Executive: George Winston, who would later play important roles in future novels, was first introduced in Debt of Honor. He was the one who sold his controlling interest in his mutual-funds institution, the Columbus Group, to Yamata, allowing the latter to make his attack on the US economy. He later plays a major role in countering the attack.
  • Hot Sub-on-Sub Action: Besides the Japanese surprise attacks, Debt of Honor is the second novel in which an Ohio-class boat is used as an offensive platform (albeit because Pac Fleet had been stripped down to minimal reserves due to the closing of the Cold War).
  • Humiliation Conga: More or less what happens to Torajiro Sato at the end of of the novel. Not only content with having the Americans win at the end of the book, Clancy subjects Sato to several consecutive traumatic experiences, all in more or less the same day. First he watches his brother drown when USS Tennessee plants two torpedoes in his Aegis destroyer, then he has to identify his son's body immediately after the Americans destroy most of Saipan's fighters, then he watches as Robby Jackson lands on the island to request a surrender, then he has to fly his retreating countrymen back to Japan, including Yamata, who has been arrested, and then he comes to the realization that flying passengers to and from a Japan that has lost its honor in a war is all that remains of the rest of his life. This ultimately culminates with Sato parking his 747 on top of Capitol Hill, with most of the United States government in it.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Chavez is physically sickened by the part he played in downing Japan's E-767s since it involved killing 60 people whose only crime was them doing their jobs as AWACS operators. When Clark tries to comfort him, Chavez says that it was his duty to carry out the operation, even if it weighs heavily on him.
  • It's Personal:
    • It's revealed at the beginning of the novel that Yamata's reason for starting a war with the United States was because he was orphaned during World War II when his family chose to commit suicide during the invasion of Saipan rather than be captured by the Marines.
    • Ron Jones says this of his motivation for fighting against Japan, as the son of his mentor (when he was a sonarman aboard USS Dallas) was aboard USS Asheville when it was sunk.
  • It Won't Turn Off: Inverted — a zaibatsu watching his television in his apartment in Japan can't change the channel because the laser being used by a Comanche to guide a missile into his room is using a frequency that causes the television to stay on a certain channel.
  • Japan Takes Over the World
  • Karma Houdini:
    • Vice President Kealty, who drugged and raped at least two of his aides, escapes conviction due to a combination of political maneuvering, expediency in a time of war, and what is strongly implied is falsified evidence.
    • We never learn if the automobile factory worker whose negligence allowed the defective fuel tanks to be installed, directly causing five deaths and indirectly starting the war that led to hundreds more dead, was ever found out, much less punished.
  • Kavorka Man: Vice President Kealty, back when he was a Senator, to the point that he drugged and raped at least two of his aides.
  • Kicked Upstairs: At the end of the novel, Ryan gets nominated for Vice President as a gift from Durling, because he wants out of the government, and being VP means he can never be recalled to government service again. Naturally, that doesn't work quite as planned.
  • Leave Behind a Pistol: Inverted, then Defied. Yamata, with his plans un-done, asks his arresters to give him some time alone first. However, Koga, now Prime Minister again, explicitly gave orders that he be taken alive so that he could not escape from his punishment.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident:
    • An assassin shoves his target into traffic, causing him to become the victim of Car Fu.
    • Done on a larger scale when Clark and Chavez are tasked with neutralizing the Japanese E-767 fleet. Chavez uses a theoretically nonlethal weapon to blind - and panic - the pilots when the planes are on final approach, causing them to succumb to vertigo and crash. As there are no survivors and no physical evidence left behind, the crashes appear to be accidental. This is reinforced by the FAA releasing a safety bulletin on the aircraft, warning of an issue with the autopilot that could result in a catastrophic accident during landing. Undermined, however, by the unlikelihood of two aircraft having separate accidents within minutes of each other at the same airport.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Yamata and his fellow zaibatsu are the sponsors behind all of the ministers of the Japanese government, who largely act as puppets for them. In particular, Hirosho Goto, the Prime Minister who succeeds Koga, was chosen by Yamata mainly for his weaknesses so that he would be easy to manipulate.
  • Mole in Charge: Early on in the book, Golovko reveals to Jack that they have turned the Deputy Director of PSID, the Japanese counterintelligence service. This is crucial for allowing Clark and the Thistle network to operate safely in Japan, which in turn puts them in a prime position to act once the war begins in earnest.
  • Moral Myopia: One of the main arguments the Japanese make for the plan is that America has been gleefully making use of Japan to national All Take and No Give levels while never treating them with respect, and how would you like it if someone else did it to you?
  • My Country, Right or Wrong: As the plan gets underway, several Japanese characters struggle to decide if their loyalty should be to their nation as she is, even though that means going along with the crazy, or if it should be to Japan as she ought to be, even if working for the good of the nation may involve giving away secrets in a manner that might be deemed treasonous.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • In the beginning of the novel, Jones quips to Mancuso that USS Chicago is currently in the Arctic Ocean tracking whales. In Red Storm Rising, Chicago was the boat commanded by Mancuso's Expy Dan McCafferty, who at one point asks his sonarman to report some anomalous contacts as they are traversing the Arctic Ocean on their way to conduct attacks on Soviet air bases... which turn out to be whales.
    • Later in the same book, Jones talks about his past experience in an exercise against the USS Moosbrugger at AUTEC in a conversation when talking about how to defeat the Prairie-Masker surface sound-masking system, and briefly mentions that Moosbrugger's helicopter pilot was giving Dallas's crew fits. In Red Storm Rising, Ed Morris's helicopter pilot on Reuben James, Jerry "the Hammer" O'Malley, was formerly the chopper pilot for Moosbrugger.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Yamata is just a little too clever for his own good, see Hoist by His Own Petard above.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Mohammed Abdul Corp is effectively a stand-in for the Somalian warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid.
  • Nuclear Weapons Taboo: Exploited by Yamata. After the events of The Sum of All Fears, the U.S. and Russia destroy all their primary strategic platforms like ICBMs and missile submarines, leaving America no clear way to retaliate once Japan constructs her own version of SS-19 ballistic missiles. Unfortunately for him, he didn't stop to consider that while the missiles themselves were removed and disarmed, the submarines were still sitting around in perfectly-usable condition and were still very much effective machines of war even without their missiles. There's also the fact that the reformed Japanese government is very pissed at him after he essentially shatters Japan's own Nuclear Weapons Taboo for the sake of his failed conquest.
  • The Plot Reaper: Takes out the entire government of the United States at the end, setting up the next novel.
  • Pointy-Haired Boss: Brett Hanson, Durling's Secretary of State, is made out to be one of these. It's said that, as a former businessman, he expected that nation-states would make deals on the same principles that corporations would. He acts as an Obstructive Bureaucrat to Ryan in many instances up until the main plot of the novel unfolds.
  • Rare Vehicles:
    • The F-22 Raptor and RAH-66 Comanche, which depending on how loosely one interprets the "around 1995" setting, may or may not have actually flown at the time of the novel.note  Somewhat justified, as both aircraft are explicitly depicted as prototype, "the only ones in existence" planes, though it's notable that the novel has more Comanches taking part in the mission to Japan (3) than were ever actually built (2).
    • On the Japanese side, the E-767s are depicted as being essentially as rare as they are in real life, though their detection capabilities are heavily exaggerated.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: President Durling, continuing his characterization from his last appearance. If Ryan can come up with a plan with a chance of working, Durling will almost always give it a green light.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: Dutch Claggett after being XO of USS Maine when she was sunk in The Sum of All Fears. He's given command of a Ohio-class submarine. Said command involves babysitting her in dock until she's broken up for scrap.
  • Right Man in the Wrong Place
    • Ryan, effectively, is this due to his position as National Security Advisor. He took up the job only months prior to the action beginning, and as such was in the perfect place to orchestrate the war against Japan.
    • Clark is also this. Originally he entered Japan as part of a mission to re-activate Thistle, an old Japanese commercial intelligence spy ring, but once hostilities begin he and Chavez happen to be in the perfect place to conduct operations.
  • Stranger in a Familiar Land: One of the characters is Chester "Chet" Nomuri, a fourth-generation Japanese American serving as a CIA field officer in Japan. His narration comments several times on how different his ancestral homeland is from his place of birth.
  • Take a Third Option: After Japan's initial attacks on the US, Ryan finds a way to sidestep all of the problems through clever Loophole Abuse and special operations maneuvering. As President Durling noted when he gave Jack some advice, "I fought in a war where the other side made the rules. It didn't work out very well."
  • Tempting Fate: A senior executive receives a pager message telling him to call back as soon as possible. As his office is just a short walk away, he decides to just go there in person. He doesn't make it.
  • This Is My Name on Foreign: In his cover as a Russian journalist, Clark attempts to pass himself off as a Russian using the name "Ivan Klerk". When it's pointed out to him that "Klerk" is an extremely uncommon name in Russia, he explains that his grandfather was an Englishman who emigrated to Russia in the '20s and Russified his name.
  • Title Drop: "Debt of honor" is a recurring phrase throughout the novel.
  • Twenty-Fifth Amendment: With the death of Durling at the end of the novel and Ryan having been sworn in as Vice President only minutes before, Ryan becomes President of the United States at the setup for Executive Orders.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom:
    • A pair of improperly-galvanised fuel tanks explode when the Japanese cars they're in get into an accident, starting a series of events that lead to disaster. In a twist of irony, it was an American line assembly worker who noticed that there might be a problem but hesitated to act due to her junior position on the line and lack of experience.
    • Playing off of the improperly made fuel tanks, there is also the junior government official who ordered a full safety inspection of a wrecked car and discovered the bad tanks, and the US Congressman who had just been burned by Japanese officials refusing to use US made car parts in Japanese cars being sold in the US, who turned the issue into a matter of national significance and wrote the Trade Reform Act.
    • George Winston, who sold off the Columbus Group and unintentionally gave Yamata a vital foothold for his plan.
    • One of the zaibatsu leaders was having doubts about the plan until some random drunk hurls America-made beer at him and ruins his suit. This sends him into an unthinking rage and he throws his lot in with Yamata afterwards.
  • Vice President Who?: Invoked by President Durling when he appoints Jack as his new vice president. He knows Ryan has no interest in running for President, and since there will be no major legislation he will have to cast the deciding vote for in the Senate, Ryan will be barely remembered. Of course, this is actually a gift for Jack since, after serving as VP, he can never be recalled to government service. Too bad it didn't work out that way.
  • We Have Become Complacent: In chapter 27, the Secretary of Defense is terribly downcast because of the realization that the budget cuts he's been putting the US military through out of the belief that there was no longer a need for a large force meant it was horribly overstretched for the crisis.
  • Why We Are Bummed Communism Fell: It's discussed (and regretted by Bart Mancuso) that due to the demise of the Soviet Union, the United States Navy was greatly downsized and is incapable of most of the things it was able to do in the past, despite still being able to take on every other navy in the world single-handedly or at least until Stennis and Enterprise are crippled by torpedo attacks.
  • Yellow Peril: Sinister Japanese cabal, with Chinese backing, led by a vengeful businessman who schemes to cripple the world economy and launch a new war of aggression. Downplayed in that there's plenty of other non-Asian assholes in the book who make things complicated for the heroes, including several American politicians, and for the most part the general Japanese public remains mostly uninvolved. In fact, it's the Japanese government themselves who take the liberty of having him arrested in the end.
  • You Are Too Late: Clark and Chavez arrive too late to extract Kimberly Norton, only managing to find her raped and murdered corpse.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Subverted. The villain hires a programmer to create a computer virus for him to carry out part of the villain's attack against the United States. Once the programmer finishes the job the villain considers killing him, but ultimately decides against it because the hacker may have a contingency plan to expose the plot if he's killed.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: