PROVOCATIONSThe Next World War, Liberals and Crime, and UFOs Mystery

Published 8 June 2021

A new novel — 2034: A Novel of the Next World War — ) imagines a future war between the United States and China that takes place in the eponymous year. Rapes, aggravated assaults and thefts from and of cars continue to increase across the United States, which is a problem not only for the victims, but also for advocates of criminal-justice reform. The current UFO-mania notwithstanding, the U.S. military began investigating UAP (unidentified aerial phenomena) in the summer of 1947: the military’s interest in UFOs – they were then called “flying saucer” – can be traced to the pilot and UFO godfather Kenneth Arnold’s ur-sighting in late June 1947.

1. 2034

Francis Fukuyama writes in the American Purpose:

2034: A Novel of the Next World War by Eliot Ackerman and James Stavridis (New York: Penguin Press, 2021) imagines a future war between the United States and China that takes place in the eponymous year, much like Peter Singer’s Ghost Fleet. Admiral Stavridis had a highly distinguished military career including command of a carrier strike group in combat, going on to be head of Southern Command and later the Supreme Allied Commander Europe, before retiring and becoming dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. The novel is a quick and gripping read, filled with the details of naval operations that give it a lot of color and plausibility.

It has worried me for some time that we have not adequately imagined how a future war with China might start. The prospect of such a war is so horrendous that it is natural that ordinary people in and out of the region choose to shy away from the subject. Nonetheless, if we want to prevent such a war, we need to think through these scenarios very carefully and plan against them. There is growing recognition of Taiwan’s vulnerability to Chinese military power, which few people have taken seriously until now. Over the past year, China has been behaving much more aggressively toward Taipei, and Chinese leaders’ rhetoric about using military action to force unification has grown more frequent and shrill. It would be foolish not to take this announced intention seriously.

2. Liberals and Crime Spikes

The Economistwrites:

As of May 16th, murders were up by 59% in Atlanta compared with the same period in 2020. Rapes, aggravated assaults and thefts from and of cars are also well above levels in 2020. Nor is this just an Atlanta problem. Nationally, the spike in murders that began in 2020—according to data from the Major Cities Chiefs Association, homicides in American cities rose by 33% from 2019 to 2020—shows no sign of abating. This is a problem first, of course, for the people living in the neighborhoods where much of this violence takes place. But it also poses a problem for advocates of criminal-justice reform…. Convincing people to back lighter sentences and decrease their reliance on police when murders are rising may prove more difficult.


Faced with a choice between more and less policing, people frightened of violent crime will rarely choose less.

In fact, the choice is not binary. Police play a crucial role in fighting crime and, in the near term, cities may require a more robust police presence than some reformers would like. They do not play the only role, however. A wealth of evidence exists that other institutions—anti-violence non-profits, drug-treatment programs, summer jobs for young people—also help. Politicians who want to reduce violent crime in their cities and states should remember that, just as activists should remember that reform is a harder sell when people do not feel safe.

3. UFOs Were Born Among America’s Cold War Fears

Kate Dorsch writes in Foreign Policy writes:

The current UFO-mania centers on a series of sightings made by U.S. Navy pilots or appearing on their sensors in 2004, 2014, and 2015, the video and reports of which were leaked by former U.S. Defense Department official Luis Elizondo. Elizondo’s alleged credibility derives from his claim to have served as director of AATIP [Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program].


Amid the breathless media reporting and calls for transparency, accountability, and the American people’s “right to know,” it is easy to get caught up in the excitement and mystery. Why are the Pentagon and the respective branches of the U.S. military investigating UFO/UAP sightings? Will we finally receive confirmation that aliens are real and visiting us? Or that we’re being surveilled by some advanced aerial Big Brother technology? What is the government hiding from us?


… the U.S. military complex has been investigating reports of strange aerial phenomena for almost 75 years…. [since] the summer of 1947 and the birth of the modern UFO. We can track the modern UFO or “flying saucer” to the pilot and UFO godfather Kenneth Arnold’s ur-sighting in late June 1947.


The pattern of public excitement about UFOs certainly repeats itself. But regardless of what the upcoming report holds, the U.S. defense and intelligence complex has always understood UFOs and UAPs [unidentified aerial phenomena] as a national security matter. In a world of aerial surveillance and drone warfare, this won’t change anytime soon.