“Drone Command” by Mike Maden draws readers into the main character’s world. Troy Pearce, a former CIA operative is now CEO of Pearce Security Systems, a firm that develops drone systems. This book explores the geo-political world between China and Japan, with the US positioning itself in the middle of the conflict.
The plot has China staking a dubious claim in the hotly disputed waters of the East China Sea, with the desire to dominate the region, while the prime minister of Japan threatens to dispatch the country’s naval assets and tear up its antiwar constitution unless the Americans forcefully intervene. Although war-weary, American treaty obligations would draw the US into a fight with the Chinese navy. President David Lane sends former US President Margaret Myers and Troy to decrease tensions and defuse the situation. But they are up against both Chinese and Japanese hawkish politicians, nationalistic fervor, special interests with their own hidden agendas, and a great military threat. The action increases as Myers and Pearce must discover China’s new weapon systems and to demonstrate the US drone capabilities to the Japanese as they hope to avoid war.
It is Maden’s opinion that “China wants to dominate the region and become a global naval power in a similar way we imposed the Monroe Doctrine. They spend three times as much as Russia on defense and have doubled the money spent since 2008 to build a blue water navy. They are attempting to do this through ‘centric missiles,’ which are a lot cheaper than building aircraft carriers and can upend US navy capabilities.”
Troy and Myers are characters that readers wish exist in the real world. These two heroes put country ahead of their career, having a sense of duty. They believed in the Inaugural words of JFK, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” The only part that distracts from the suspenseful plot is the backstory on Troy. It is a bit confusing regarding what is happening and readers long to return to the storyline and the technologies used from the WU-14 Chinese weapon to the various drones.
Current events are used to alert readers to the economic situation. A powerful quote, “China’s trade surplus with the US was on the order of hundreds of billions of dollars annually. China used those billions to buy American CEOs. Nothing mattered more to American executives than profits. They were more than happy to sacrifice American national interests.” Throughout the book he shows how the characters want to wake up Americans to the Chinese practices of unfair regulations, manipulating the Yuan-dollar relationship, cheap Chinese labor, and bad American tax laws.
Maden commented to blackfive.net, “I wonder if Washington DC is acting in the best interests of Americans as a whole. US corporations show no loyalty to American workers because their profits are at the expense of American society and the workers. I hope that with all my books readers question how the US can find security in a highly insecure world, and what role should America play? I discuss this more in my next book where drone terror comes to the US and anti-drone technology comes into play.”
With “Drone Command” Maden is able to demonstrate that he has done the research regarding drones, and has a clear understanding of the delicate political balance that exists between Japan, China, and the US.