Tuesday, October 11, 2011

An Idea for a Left-Wing Techno-Thriller

On my message-board this morning, a Turkish (I think) member posted the following link.

"China worried by U.S. Revolt."

Apparently the "Occupy Wall Street" movement, despite its rather small size, has gotten the attention of the Chinese government.  Although the Chinese government hasn't claimed it's an incipient sign of proletarian revolution or something like that--this isn't the 1960s anymore--they are actually endorsing the protesters.  They make the claim that if the problems the protesters are pointing out aren't dealt with, things would get worse.

However, someone on the board seized on some Iranian officer's comparison of "Occupy Wall Street" to the Arab Spring and suggested a scenario for a bad techno-thriller--the Chinese militarily intervene in the United States to stop the "American Spring," much like how the Soviets intervened in Hungary and Czechoslovakia to maintain Communist rule in Eastern Europe.

That gave me an idea for the rarest of all beasts--a left-wing technothriller.

Imagine a world where the United States, due to irresponsible spending, is extremely, EXTREMELY indebted to China, much more so than today.  The United States government has radically cut services and raised taxes severely, in order to pay off its foreign debt.

When protests break out and the U.S. is unable or unwilling to contain them, the Chinese intervene militarily...

(Let's say for the sake of the argument this is in the distant future where the Chinese are capable of a trans-Pacific invasion or it's more subtle, like importing Chinese police and soldiers to crush dissent in the same way the Iranian government has used foreign enforcers to crush the "Green Revolution.")

Ironically, this kind of thing has happened before, albeit typically a long time ago.  Various European powers occupied Mexico during the U.S. Civil War due to non-payment of debts, while the first U.S. military interventions in Latin America were designed to forestall such things.

More recently, due to massive Third World debt and consequent structural adjustment that leads to cutting education and the like in Third World countries, there have been calls by people like Bono of U2 for debt-forgiveness.

An overt Chinese military intervention to ensure debt payments continue is much more severe than anything done by the West in recent years, but it might take something more severe to make people think.  The "Republic of Gilead" depicted in Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale was far more monstrous than any realistic overreach of the American Religious Right would be, but I think Atwood's goal was to make a point, not depict a realistic American theocracy.

I've got enough on my plate these days, so I'm not going to be writing this.  If anyone wants to take this idea and run with it, have at it.  Although the economics involved are rather left-wing, the fact it involves the invasion of the U.S. by a nominally Communist power with the stated aim of repressing its population for the invaders' economic benefit, a publisher of "right-wing gun porn" might actually be interested in it. 

Acknowledgement of where the idea came from would be nice...


  1. I think there may be insurmountable problems here, old boy. First, you have retained the idea of the aggressor as an external force, which sits ill with the idea that people above are in control. One can have an external threat, but if the external is not a source of fear, where's the problem?. Second, ITTL America is financially weakened, yet retains her dominant global financial position, but without a military. This point contention is easily dismissed, if allegory is your intent, as your comparison to Atwood bears witness. It makes no sense for the globe's dominant nation to be invaded by others for "tribute" unless it is depressed and they are stong (cf. Roman Empire, volcanic eruptions &c ;-) ).

  2. For this scenario to work, we would no longer be the dominant power.

    And what do you mean by "people above"?

  3. You know, you may be right about left-wing technothrillers, I cannot think of a single one...

  4. Seconded. I'm not interested in expending the effort to write one when I've got so much going on, but it might fill a profitable niche.

    Most Baen products tend to be rather right-wing in their orientation, but look at "1632." That's incredibly successful.

    What do you do if you like military fiction but have left-wing economic and cultural views?