Tom Clancy – Op Center 6 State Of Siege

The United Nations Would Be Theirs. And Then The Third And Final Part Of Their Plan Could Commence.

Six New York, New York Saturday, 6:45 P.M.

The League Of Nations Was Formed After World War I, Conceived, In The Words Of Its Covenant, “To Promote International Cooperation And To Achieve International Peace And Security.” Though President Woodrow Wilson Was A Fierce Advocate Of The League, The American Senate Wanted No Part Of It. Their Key Objections Involved The Potential Use Of United States Troops To Help Preserve The Territorial Integrity Or Political Independence Of Other Countries, And Acknowledging The Jurisdiction Of The League In Matters Pertaining To North, Central, Or South America. President Wilson Collapsed And Suffered A Stroke As A Result Of His Ceaseless Efforts To Promote American Acceptance Of The League And Its Mandate.

Housed In A Spectacular, Six-Million-Dollar Palace Built For It In Geneva, The League And Its Noble Intentions Proved Ineffectual. They Were Unable To Prevent The Japanese Occupation Of Manchuria In 1931, Italy’s Taking Of Ethiopia In 1935, And The German Conquest Of Austria In 1938. It Was Also Notably Ineffective In Preventing World War Ii. It’s A Matter Of Ongoing Debate Whether An American Presence In The League Would Have Changed The Unfolding Of Any Of These Events.

The United Nations Was Formed In 1945 To Try To Ac Complish What The League Of Nations Had Failed To Do. This Time, However, Things Were Different. The United States Had A Reason To Be Actively Involved With The Sovereignty Of Other Nations. Communism Was Perceived As The Greatest Threat To The American Way Of Life, And Each Nation That Fell Gave The Enemy Another Foothold. The United Nations Chose The United States As The Home Of Its International Headquarters.

Not Only Had The United States Emerged From World War Ii As The World’s Dominant Military And Economic Force, But It Had Agreed To Provide One-Quarter Of The United Nations’s Annual Operating Budget. Moreover, Because Of The Despotic Tradition Of Many European Nations, The Old World Was Deemed Unacceptable As A Site For A World Body Promoting A New Era Of Peace And Understanding. New York Was Selected Because It Had Become The Hub Of International Communications And Finance And Was Also The Traditional Fink Between The Old World And The New.

Two Other Potential Sites In America Were Rejected For Very Different Reasons. San Francisco, Which Was Favored By The Australians And Asians, Was Vetoed Because The Soviet Union Did Not Want To Make Travel More Convenient For The Hated Chinese Or Japanese. And Rustic Fairfield County, On The Long Island Sound In Connecticut, Was Disqualified When New Englanders, Opposed To What They Perceived As The Onset Of “World Government,” Stoned United Nations Prospectors Who Were Looking At Possible Locations. A Large Parcel Of Land For The New United Nations Headquarters-The Site Of An Abattoir On The East River-Was Bought With $8.5 Million Donated By The Rockefellers. The Family Was Granted A Tax Exemption For Their Gift. The Rockefellers Also Benefited From The Develop Ment Of Land They Still Owned All Around The New Complex. Offices, Housing, Restaurants, Shopping, And Entertainment Came To The Once-Dilapidated Neighborhood In Order To Service The Thousands Of Delegates And Workers Who Staffed The United Nations. The Limited Acreage Made Available For The Project Caused Two Things To Happen. First, The Headquarters Had To Be Designed In Skyscraper Form. The Skyscraper Was A Uniquely American Invention Created To Maximize Space On The Small Island Of Manhattan, And The Look Of The Complex Would Make The United Nations Even More American. However, This Limitation Suited The Founders Of The United Nations. It Gave Them An Excuse To Decentralize Key Functions Of The Organization, From The World Court To The International Labor Organization. These Were Located In Other World Capitals. The Un’s Principal Ancillary Headquarters Was Established At The Old League Of Nations Palace In Geneva. This Was A Pointed Reminder To The United States That A World Peace Group Had Been Tried Once Before And Failed Because Not Every Nation Was Committed.

Paul Hood Remembered Some Of That From Junior High School. He Also Remembered Something Else From Junior High School. Something That Had Permanently Shaped His View Of The Building Itself. He Had Come To New York From Los Angeles For A Week During The Christmas Vacation With Other Honor Students. As They Drove To The City From Kennedy International Airport, He Looked Across The East River And Saw The United Nations At Dusk. All The Other Skyscrapers He Saw Were Facing North And South: The Empire State Building, The Chrysler Building, The Pan Am Building. But The Thirty-Nine-Story Glass-And-Marble United Nations Secretariat Building Was Facing East And West. He Happened To Mention That To James Lavigne Who Was In The Seat Next To Him.

The Thin, Bespectacled, Very Intense Lavigne Looked Up From The Mighty Thor Comic Book He Was Reading. The Magazine Was Hidden Inside A Copy Of Scientific American.

“You Know What That Reminds Me Of?” Lavigne Said. Hood Said He Had No Idea.

“It’s Like The Symbol On Batman’s Chest.” “What Do You Mean?” Hood Asked. He Had Never Read A Batman Comic Book And Had Only Seen The Popular Tv Show Once, Just To See What Everyone Was Talking About.

“Batman Wears A Bright Gold-And-Black Bat Symbol On His Chest,” Lavigne Said. “Do You Know Why?” Hood Said That He Did Not. “Because Batman Wears A Bulletproof Vest Under His Costume,” Lavigne Said. “If A Criminal Starts Shooting At Him, That’s Where Batman Wants Him To Aim. At His Chest.” Lavigne Returned To His Comic Book. The Twelve-Year-Old Hood Turned Back To The United Nations Building. Lavigne Often Made Bizarre Observations, His Favorite Being That Superman Was A Retelling Of The New Testament. But This One Made Sense. Hood Wondered If New York Had Built It That Way On Purpose. If Someone Wanted To Attack The United Nations From The River Or Airport, It Was A Big, Fat Target For A Cuban Or Chinese Secret Agent. Because Of That Vivid Childhood Impression, Paul Hood Always Thought Of The United Nations As New York’s Bull’s-Eye. And Now That He Was Here, He Felt Surprisingly Vulnerable. Intellectually, He Knew That Made No Sense. The United Nations Was On International Territory: If Terrorists Wanted To Strike At America, They Would Attack The Infrastructure-The Railroads, Bridges, Or Tunnels-Like The Terrorists Who Blew Up The Queens-Midtown Tunnel And Forced Op-Center To Work With Its Russian Counterpart. Or Monuments Like The Statue Of Liberty. When He Was On Liberty Island That Morning, Hood Was Surprised How Accessible The Island Was From The Air And Sea, Coming Over On The Ferry, He Was Disturbed To See How Easy It Would Be For A Pair Of Suicide Pilots In Planes Loaded With Explosives To Reduce The Statue To Slag. There Was A Radar System Located In The Administration Complex, But Hood Knew That The Nypd Harbor Patrol Had Only-One Gunship Stationed On Nearby Governor’s Island. Two Planes Coming From Opposite Directions, With The Statue Itself Blocking The Gunship’s Fire, Would Enable At Least One Terrorist To Reach The Target.

You Stayed At Op-Center Too Long, He Told Himself. Here He Was On Vacation, Running Crisis Scenarios.

He Shook His Head And Looked Around. He And Sharon Had Arrived Early And Gone Down To The Gift Shop To Get Alexander A T-Shirt. Then They Went Up To The Vast Public Lobby Of The General Assembly Building, Near The Bronze Statue Of Zeus, To Wait For The Un Youth Arts Representative. The Lobby Had Been Closed To The Public Since Four O’clock So Employees Could Set Up For The Annual Peace Reception. Because It Was A Clear, Beautiful Night, Guests Would Be Able To Eat Inside And Chat Outside. They Could Roam The Northside Courtyard, Admiring The Sculptures And Gardens, Or Walk Along The East River Promenade. At 7:30, The New Indian United Nations Secretary-General Mala Chatterjee Would Go To The Security Council Chambers With Representatives Of Member Nations Of The Security Council. There, Ms. Chatterjee And The Spanish Ambassador Would Congratulate The Members For The Massive United Nations Peace-Keeping Effort Being Mounted To Prevent Further Ethnic Unrest In Spain.

Then Harleigh And Her Fellow Violinists Would Play “A Song Of Peace.” The Composition Had Been Written By A Spanish Composer To Honor Those Who Died Over Sixty Years Before In The Spanish Civil War. Musicians From Washington Had Been Selected To Perform, Which Turned Out To Be Fittingeabecause An American, Op-Center’s Martha Mackall, Had Been The First Victim Of The Recent Unrest. It Was A Coincidence That Paul Hood’s Daughter Was Among The Eight Violinists Chosen. The Twelve Other Parents Had All Arrived, And Sharon Had Scooted Off Downstairs To Find The Rest Room. The Musicians Had Come Down To Say A Brief Hello A Few Minutes Before She Left. Harleigh Had Looked So Mature In Her White Satin Gown And Pearls. Young Barbara Mathis, Who Was Standing Beside Harleigh, Was Also Calm And Poised, A Diva In The Making. Hood Knew That Harleigh’s Appearance Was The Reason Sharon Excused Herself. She Didn’t Like To Cry In Public.

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