The Economist features Ghost Fleet, coauthored by Brent Scowcroft Center Nonresident Senior Fellow August Cole, a future-war fiction depicting what a conflict between the United States and China could look like:
Ghost Fleet is an entertaining new entrant into this tradition. Peter Singer, who has thought about military matters at various Washington think-tanks, and August Cole, a former defence reporter for the Wall Street Journal, spin a story of a war between America and China a decade or so hence that takes place mainly in the Pacific, but also in cyberspace and outer space.
The Pentagon, long used to dominance, currently worries a lot about China’s defensive prowess; Chinese targets may be so well protected by missiles and radars that it would be hard for America to attack them, if such a move seemed necessary in order to assist an Asian ally. To fit the form of the future-war genre, though, Ghost Fleet looks not at China’s ability to fend off America but at its means to attack. Moving to forestall any American claim on vast energy resources it has discovered in the western Pacific, a post-communist Chinese government uses new technologies and subterfuge to destroy America’s aircraft-carriers, submarines and surveillance satellites, cripple its computer systems and subvert weapons systems that depend on Chinese-made microchips. With some Russian assistance, China invades Hawaii and establishes its dominance across the ocean. America is forced to regroup and come up with a counter-attack, one that depends heavily on the USS Zumwalt, its capable, slightly-but-not-very conflicted captain, Jamie Simmons, and its master chief, Jamie’s estranged father Mike.