Saturday, August 02, 2008

Half caff skinny rabbit with no whip

There is a further anachronism in Red Rabbit (set in 1984, published 2002) beyond everyone knowing that the Soviet Union is about to collapse.1 Jack Ryan loves the coffee of this little company in Seattle. Thinks they're going places. Wants to buy a lot of it and bring it over to England. Going to buy stock. Everyone's going to want to get into coffee. What's the chain? (hint: look at the title)... Starbucks.

I'm gagging again.

1. Apparently there's some controversy about this. The common belief is that the CIA and U.S. Sovietologists were completely surprised. The CIA defends itself, saying that its reports clearly showed the drop in Soviet GDP that caused the ultimate failure. As to resolving the situation, I quote one of the KGB officers in Red Rabbit, "The Americans have a saying which I have learned to respect, 'that is above my pay grade.'"2 But I'll go for it anyway... I look at America in 2008, I see political unrest against the ruling party, a draining war in central asia, and economic stagnation, emphasized by fluctuations in commodity prices. Yet, the ruling party has a decent chance to hang on to the presidency. On a rhetorical level, CIA protestations that they penciled in the dots are an admission that they failed to connect them. See, for instance, the CIA's failure to predict 9/11 (yes, I went there. If the CIA isn't for predicting 11/9 or 9/11, what is it for?).

2. Translation: lazy author. Note that later in the book an American does say just that.

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