The Existential Threat

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Earlier this month, the international media “flooded the zone” with reporting about North Korea’s ballistic missile and nuclear tests and its expressed plan to develop ballistic missiles armed with WMD that could strike the United States. Most reporting suggested this was an achievable goal for the “Hermit Kingdom.”

All this reporting begged the question: Is North Korea – and particularly its leader – crazy or calculating? In a September 11, 2016 article in the New York Times, Max Fisher answered this question in an emphatic way: North Korea is completely rationale is doing things most of us in the west find crazy. His must-read article is here.

When Dick Couch and I came up with the high concept for our second book in the re-booted Clancy Op-Center series, we decided the focus of Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Into the Fire would be North Korea. While some at the time thought North Korea was, at worst, a nuisance, today’s events confirm that “life imitates art.”

If you want to see how life imitates art, read more about our New York Times best-selling Tom Clancy’s Op-Center series and our just-released Scorched Earth here.

Life Imitates Art

Out of the Ashes

Last month, the entire New York Times Magazine was devoted to one topic – the Middle East. The cover title, Fractured Lands, says it all. The reporting and photography are first rate.

You can read the full magazine here.

Dick Couch and I rolled the dice! When we came up with the high-concept for the first book of the rebooted Tom Clancy Op-Center series in 2011, the United States had committed to a national strategy of rebalancing to the Asia-Pacific region. The plan was to have the Middle East be “yesterday’s news.” We thought differently. We decided to center this new book on the Middle East, because we will be there for the foreseeable future. This is how we opened Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Out of the Ashes:

“The seeds of today’s East-West conflict were sown when Western nations took it upon themselves to draw national boundaries in the Middle East after the First World War. The infamous Sykes-Picot agreement, which clumsily divided the Middle East into British and French spheres of influence, created weak-sister countries such as Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon, all-but ensuring permanent turmoil. After the Second World War, Pan-Arab nationalism, the establishment of the state of Israel, the Suez crisis, the Lebanese civil war, and the Iranian revolution all drove tensions between East and West even higher. While the competition for oil and oil reserves remained a major stimulus, longstanding Muslim-Christian, East-West issues created a catalyst that never let tensions get too far below the surface. And then came 9/11.”

“The events of September 11, 2001 and the retaliatory invasions that followed redefined and codified this long-running conflict. For the first time in centuries, the East had struck at the West, and delivered a telling blow. Thus, from Afghanistan to Iraq to Yemen to North Africa and into Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and beyond, the struggle has now become world-wide, nasty, and unrelenting.”

If you want to read more about how life imitates art, read about our New York Times best-selling Tom Clancy’s Op-Center series, including our just-released Scorched Earth here.

Mideast Churn

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With great reviews and strong advance sales, our next Op-Center book, Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Scorched Earth is poised to live up to the expectations of our readers. The bar is high, since our first two books of the rebooted Clancy Op-Center series, Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Out of the Ashes and Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Into the Fire lived up to our expectations both were on the New York Times, USA Today, and Publisher’s Weekly best-seller lists. Here is what Publisher’s Weekly had to say:

TOM CLANCY’S OP-CENTER: Scorched Earth, George Galdorisi (Griffin): Galdorisi successfully goes solo in the suspenseful third entry in the Tom Clancy’s Op-Center reboot (after 2015’s Into the Fire, with Dick Couch). When the leader of ISIL, Mabab al-Dosari, beheads the American president’s envoy in Iraq, the U.S. launches an air strike that leaves the terrorist’s only son dead. Vowing revenge, al-Dosari recruits a homegrown terrorist cell to kidnap the man who orchestrated the attack, Rear Adm. Jay Bruner. When the FBI bungles Bruner’s retrieval, the National Crisis Management Center—Op-Center’s official name—steps up. Meanwhile, the admiral’s Navy SEAL son, Lt. Dale Bruner, attempts to extract his father on his own and lands in the clutches of ISIL. An Op-Center book is always a master class in military acronyms and hardware, and the ever-expanding cast fights to keep the reader’s attention through the abbreviations. Still, the simple hostage situations keep the tension cranked high and will satisfy Clancy fans old and new.

If you want to see how life imitates art, read more about our New York Times best-selling Tom Clancy’s Op-Center series and our just-released Scorched Earth here:

http://www.georgegaldorisi.com/blog/books-blog

Life Imitates Art

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Released just a month ago, the third book in our re-booted Op-Center series, Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Scorched Earth continues to receive positive reviews. Here is what the Defense Media Network had to say:

Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Scorched Earth is the third book of the rebooted franchise.”

“Although Galdorisi went solo in writing Scorched Earth, it contains all of the gripping action that distinguished the previous two books. In Scorched Earth, a fictional ISIS leader vows a personal revenge against an American admiral after a U.S. Navy airstrike results in the death of his only son. He orders ISIS sympathizers on American soil to kidnap the admiral and transport him to Mosul for an execution to be carried out live on television. Meanwhile, losing patience when the investigation and budding rescue seem to grind on, the admiral’s son, a Navy SEAL, goes on a one-man mission to rescue his father.”

“There is no doubt concerning the antagonists’ – the terrorists’ – murderous plans. The only questions revolve around the details of those plans and how quickly they can be carried out. Will the terrorists have the time to carry out their plans? Will the Op-Center team and its allies be able to win their race against the clock? Galdorisi artfully weaves a narrative that maintains suspense through to the final pages.”

“As usual in this series, beginning with Out of the Ashes and continuing with Into the Fire, Scorched Earth contains a potent mix of conventional military operations, from Navy airstrikes and special operations forces raids on terrorist bases, to operations in the United States by Op-Center’s own domestic strike force (a fictional component of the FBI’s Critical Incident Response Group Hostage Rescue Team). Underlying and informing the kinetic actions of these forces are the investigations undertaken by the organization’s “Geek Tank” on desktops and online.”

“The late Tom Clancy has been called the father of the techno-thriller, but he is perhaps best known for books like The Hunt for Red October and Red Storm Rising, that centered on a different, bi-polar world – a Cold War world. The original Op-Center series, created with Steve Pieczenik, was a nod toward a new world order. Scorched Earth is a satisfying and entertaining read and a worthy addition to the revived series, adding more members to the cast of characters – including, I was pleased to see, an Adm. Oldham – and giving more insight into a world of hybrid warfare not so far removed from our own.”

If you want to see how life imitates art, read more about our New York Times best-selling Tom Clancy’s Op-Center series and our just-released Scorched Earth here:

http://www.georgegaldorisi.com/blog/books-blog

The Caliphate

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The Islamic State wants to establish a caliphate. It’s that simple. That’s why we picked ISIS – or ISIL as the United States refers to this threat, as the focus of our newest Op-Center book. ISIL poses such a multi-faceted threat that it is sometimes difficult to get our arms around the scope of this scourge.

As part of our extensive research for the book, we uncovered a wealth of great material, and some thoughtful pieces bubbled right to the top. We wanted to share some of those with you.

One of the best-of-the-best was a short piece in National Defense University’s Defense Horizons. The title, “A Time to Tweet, as Well as a Time to Kill: ISIS’s Projection of Power in Iraq and Syria,” all-but says it all. But here’s more:

ISIS and its caliph, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, have learned lessons from past insurgents and leaders. In the implementation of its campaign, the group has used strategic tools to project military, economic, political, and informational power to the local, regional, and global community. From exploiting the sectarian divide to gain support, to manipulating political and social media to inflate its appearance of strength, to recruiting disaffected Sunnis and Muslim youth of the world through social media, ISIS has proved to be a new class of insurgency.

ISIS, however, has projected the most power and shown the most innovation with technology and media. It demonstrates a masterful understanding of effective propaganda and social media use, producing a multidimensional global campaign across multiple platforms. ISIS has used these platforms to exhibit intimidation, networking, recruitment, justice, and justification. It continues to spread its anti-Western, pro-jihadi messages to vulnerable populations using viral videos made to look like video games. Yet its skill is best displayed on Twitter where it has garnered tens of thousands of followers across dozens of accounts, eliciting feedback from average supporters.

Read more of this outstanding report here.

If you want to see how life imitates art, read more about our New York Times best-selling Tom Clancy’s Op-Center series and our just-released Scorched Earth here.

Life Imitates Art

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One of my best friends, Bill Bleich, is a fabulously-successful screenwriter. And he is generous with his advice. He once told me:

You can boil down the plot of anything – a Greek Tragedy, a novel, a movie, you name it – into this: “What do these guys want, why do they want it, and what’s keeping them from getting it?” If you think about just about anything you’ve read or watched, I’m confident you’ll likely reach the same conclusion about that story.

When we came up with the high-concept for Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Scorched Earth, we were firm in our decision that we’d focus intently on the Islamic State – also known as ISIS or ISIL.

The book was just released (August 2) as a trade paperback and if you read it – and we hope you will – you’ll see the sharp focus on the Islamic State.

Still, for many who feel whipsawed reading news reports or what the Islamic State is doing, it’s tough to understand what ISIL is doing and why they’re doing it. As we researched the subject we came across a wealth of material – some of it useful, some not so much. One of the great resources we uncovered was a March 2015 article in The Atlantic. Here is part of what it said:

The Islamic State is no mere collection of psychopaths. It is a religious group with carefully considered beliefs, among them that it is a key agent of the coming apocalypse. Here’s what that means for its strategy—and for how to stop it.

If you want to better understand “What do these guys want, why do they want it, and what’s keeping them from getting it?”   Read more of this outstanding report here.

If you want to see how life imitates art, read more about our New York Times best-selling Tom Clancy’s Op-Center series and our just-released Scorched Earth here.

Scorched Earth – iTunes’ Summer’s Biggest Books

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iTunes featured Scorched Earth as one of this “Summer’s Biggest Books”, in the Mysteries and Thrillers category. Get your copy today!

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Scorched Earth is Now Available!

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The third book of the rebooted Tom Clancy series was released today. Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Scorched Earth garnered great early reviews from Publisher’s Weekly and other venues and is an Amazon Summer Reading pick. It’s well-positioned to join the first two books of the new series, Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Out of the Ashes and Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Into the Fire on the New York Times, USA Today and Publisher’s Weekly best-seller lists.

Here is a sneak preview that will give you an idea of the motivating force for om Clancy’s Op-Center: Scorched Earth: It took President Obama only eight months to elevate ISIS from “a J.V. team,” to an organization that the United States was committed to, “degrade, and ultimately destroy.” And since the normal instruments of national power the United States can bring to bear cannot begin to degrade—let alone destroy—ISIS, this president, as well as future presidents, will have only one card to play. The president will need to call on the National Crisis Management Center, more commonly known as Op-Center, to protect American lives and freedoms.

So That’s It!

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Is there a more important question than this: “What is love?” It’s even the title of a popular song (Haddaway – 1993). Is love wile ecstasy – or flannel pajamas?

I think that for most of us, we’d pick the first answer. But then we’d think about it some more and wonder if that’s all there is to a relationship.

I just finished a great book, A Book About Love, by Jonah Lehrer. I decided to get the book – as I did for so many other books I’ve enjoyed – based on book review by David Brooks.

Here’s part of what David said in his review last month:

For Jonah Lehrer, true love is not usually like this. In “A Book About Love” he argues that this wild first ecstasy feels true but is almost nothing. It’s just an infatuation, a chemical fiction that will fade with time. For Lehrer, love is more flannel pajamas than sexy lingerie; it is a steady attachment, not a divine fire. For Lehrer, attachment theory is the model that explains all kinds of love.

He also sees marriage through the prism of attachment. Marriage itself, Lehrer argues, is not about finding a soul mate, or your mystical other half. It’s not even about finding someone like yourself. As he writes, “A 2010 study of 23,000 married couples found that the similarity of spouses accounted for less than 0.5 percent of spousal satisfaction.” It’s about finding someone with steady emotional tendencies and then being stubborn in the face of the nagging incompatibilities that will be there at the beginning and will never go away.

The book’s out there in most libraries. I’m all-but-certain you’ll enjoy it!

You can read the full review here

Life Imitates Art

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With great reviews and strong advance sales, our next Op-Center book, Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Scorched Earth is poised to live up to the expectations of our readers. The bar is high, since our first two books of the rebooted Clancy Op-Center series, Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Out of the Ashes and Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Into the Fire lived up to our expectations both were on the New York Times, USA Today, and Publisher’s Weekly best-seller lists. Here is just a taste of the forthcoming book ahead of its August 2 release date:

Few would argue against the statement that ISIS (or ISIL—the preferred term used by U.S. national security officials—the “L” standing for Levant,) presents a profound threat to the West. As President Obama said in widely-watched speech in September 2014, “Our objective is clear:  We will degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counterterrorism strategy.”

 Almost two years later, U.S. national security officials remain perplexed as to how to deal with ISIS. No one is talking today, in 2016, about defeating ISIS, only containing them. What is happening in the greater Mideast in areas where ISIS roams freely will not resolve itself in the next several years. For Western nations, and especially for the United States, today’s headlines are looming as tomorrow’s nightmare.

ISIS will remain a threat to the West—and especially to the United States—years into the future because America has not come to grips with how to deal with this threat. As Jessica Stern and J.M. Berger describe in their best-selling book, ISIS: The State of Terror, and as Michael Weiss and Hassan Hassan describe in their best-seller ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror, the very nature of ISIS makes attempts to deal with it by employing the conventional instruments of national power all-but futile. Here is how Michiko Kakutani framed the challenge ISIS presents in a Books of the Times review of these two books:

The Islamic State and its atrocities—beheadings, mass executions, the enslavement of women and children, and the destruction of cultural antiquities—are in the headlines every day now. The terror group not only continues to roll through the Middle East, expanding from Iraq and Syria into Libya and Yemen, but has also gained dangerous new affiliates in Egypt and Nigeria and continues to recruit foreign fighters through its sophisticated use of social media. Given the ascendance of the Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL), it’s startling to recall that in January 2014, President Obama referred to it as a “J.V. team,” suggesting that it did not pose anywhere near the sort of threat that Al Qaeda did.

In Scorched Earth, life will imitate art for years to come. We’re certain the challenge ISIS presents today will remain fresh and relevant for years. Indeed, the issues driving what makes the greater Levant the center of enormous strife today guarantee it will remain this way in the near- to mid-future. Simply put, from our point of view, as well as that of political officials, military leaders, historians and many others, the Mideast will remain a petri dish spawning and regenerating cancers like ISIS for years to come.

It took President Obama only eight months to elevate ISIS from “a J.V. team,” to an organization that the United States was committed to, “degrade, and ultimately destroy.” And since the normal instruments of national power the United States can bring to bear cannot begin to degrade—let alone destroy—ISIS, this president, as well as future presidents, will have only one card to play. The president will need to call on the National Crisis Management Center, more commonly known as Op-Center, to protect American lives and freedoms.

Our future blog posts on Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Scorched Earth will reveal more of what went into plotting this book.

Read more about our New York Times best-sellers, Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Out of the Ashes and Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Into the Fire (Now available in mass market paperback, digital and audio editions) here.