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New Book Foretelling Fictional Military Showdown Gets Grand Haven Residents Talking About Propaganda | Arts & Culture

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New Book Foretelling Fictional Military Showdown Gets Grand Haven Residents Talking About Propaganda
New Book Foretelling Fictional Military Showdown Gets Grand Haven Residents Talking About Propaganda

SPRING LAKE, Mich., Dec. 14, 2012 - In Fire of the Raging Dragon, bestselling author Don Brown presents a story as perfect as a three-sided triangle. China, Taiwan and the United States share the action in a fictional military showdown set in the not-too-distant future.  The book interweaves the use of propaganda with wartime sabre rattling, air-to-naval battles, plus a Chinese president’s desire to gain military super-power status.  Its themes give Lakeshore residents opportunities to express their own views on these timely wartime topics.

The book opens with the president of the People’s Republic of China ordering Chinese naval forces to attack Taiwanese forces on an island in the South China Sea that is rich in natural gas reserves.   This causes the U.S. president to send the Seventh Fleet into the area to attempt to get the two Chinas to stand down and stop a war.  From there, the military drama unfolds with crimes against humanity uncovered during the course of the battles.

“Propaganda is an effective means of getting ideas across to the public.  It’s just another wartime measure you use against the enemy to win your point of view,” said Ken Kelly, Grand Haven resident, retired Navy lieutenant commander, and former Navy Sea Bee who saw action in the Pacific Rim during World War II.

“Propaganda is a type of brainwashing—look at the political campaign just ended—candidates were trying to convince voters to vote their way.  It’s not as effective in wartime, although, if you’re strong enough with it, like in the Vietnam War, it was used to convince people that war was terrible and it caused people to treat veterans poorly upon their return,” said Don Lipfert, a Grand Haven resident, first responder in Saginaw and Missaukee counties, and Red Cross volunteer at Ground Zero in New York.

The book also presents the dilemma surrounding the U.S.’s trillion-dollar debt to Communist China, “because they’ve bought US treasuries to finance tons of government spending on social programs and bureaucracies we never could afford,” writes Brown. 

Though the book is fictional, the idea of the American economy being driven by products imported from the two Chinas and how this plays into the military maneuvering is a chilling reality of what may come about in real time.

Is the book a precursor to events that may unfold in the future, and if so, what is the greatest threat from China these days?

“We could be losing some of our military superpower status, but I would guess that the greatest threat from China these days is their expansion in the Orient and possibly taking over other smaller countries  south of China like Singapore or even a country like India, which doesn’t have great military forces,” said Kelly.

“I certainly don’t think China is in a position to take us over militarily, but perhaps economically.  Look at all the Christmas decorations made in China.  We are in debt to China and the trade balance is so skewed I don’t think we’ll ever get it back to where it should be,” said Lipfert.

During the course of the action in the book, the perspective of the U.S. president is to “do the right thing.”  Whereas, the communist Chinese president hopes to gain military advantage by threatening “military and economic retaliation, including a full reevaluation of China’s policy of holding U.S. Treasury debt in the short and long term.”

The book raises an important question about what constitutes military superpower status.  Is it “might” or “right”?

“We look up to our military leaders in the U.S. and in communist countries they have a commanding rule over the people and use propaganda to establish military leadership in order to survive.  That way, the people will go along with the supreme military leadership,” said Lipfert.

“I believe two things constitute military superpower status:  the size of the military forces and the qualities of the leadership.  The U.S. does have it; we deal with different countries all around the world.  During World War II, we dealt with Japan and during the Korean Conflict we dealt with China.  I think China is becoming a superpower in the present day because they are building their armed forces and expanding them,” said Kelly.

Readers will feel like they are in the driver’s seat during each mission in the book—from Operation Lightning Bolt to Operation Extract and on through to Operation Counterpunch in a drama that takes place above surface from the decks of the USS’s Vicksburg, Emory S. Land, Carl Vinson, Shiloh, and Georgia.  Below surface, readers will travel with the SEALs and the USS Boise nuclear sub.  Plus, readers can listen in to the conversations occurring on the Chinese freighter M/V Shemnong, the Shi Lang and the Taiwanese ship ROCS Kee Lung. Maps and military dialogue contribute to the jam-packed action throughout the book.

The dichotomy between the “raging dragon” megalomaniac and the propaganda-generated “Chinese Napoleon” military genius is central to the outcome of the book.  It is available in paperback, as a Zondervan ebook, and in an audio edition, published by Zondervan.  For further information, visit www.zondervan.com  Fire of the Raging Dragon is the second book in Don Brown’s The Pacific Rim series.

Author Don Brown also wrote Thunder in the Morning Calm and The Malacca Conspiracy.  He served five years in the U.S. Navy as an officer in the Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps, which gave him exceptional insight into both the Navy and the inner workings of “inside-the-beltway” as an action officer assigned to the Pentagon.  He left active duty in 1992 to pursue private practice but remained on inactive status through 1999, rising to the rank of lieutenant commander.

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