I’ve just finished a disturbing book, 2034: A Novel of the Next World War, by Elliot Ackerman (decorated Marine, try not to hold it against him that he has written for The Daily Beast), Admiral James Stavridis (try not to hold it against him that he was vetted as a possible VP running mate with Hillary. Trump vetted him, too, for the cabinet.).
The book is intended as a cautionary tale. The driving impulse is an avoidable naval conflict in the S. China Sea between these USA and China. It unfolds into a global war with horrible consequences.
There are, perhaps, traces of other works (Top Gun?) threaded in the plot. When in a massive cyber-attack the Chinese completely hack US comms, one solution was to use more primitive means. I was reminded of Battlestar Galactica with no networked computers which the Cylons could take over. There are moments in the narrative when I had to set my face like stone and keep pushing forward over unlikely details.
The overarching messages are pretty clear and needed. Reflecting on the actual consequences of a peer-level war should be sobering to the point that people in charge (may God help us!) would want to avoid them. This nation (and military) isn’t what it could be and others are getting strong, fast.
These USA are becoming more and more open to attack, more and more like a target. That became far more apparent in January (may God help us!). In the books there is a passage which compares these USA, and lingering military dominance, to Athens with the Delian League. As Athens became powerful and yet decadent eventually Spartan made its move.
The threat surface of cyberattacks upon these USA is growing exponentially. An internet controlled aquarium thermometer was used as a gateway to attack a Las Vegas casino. True.
This is a pretty fast read, all in all. It isn’t very subtle. The writing… just keep reading. It does tackle big issues without getting too deep into the weeds of technical jargon.