The start of a new presidential administration is always a good time to sneak things through, and President Thomas Nathaniel Thorne isn’t exactly known for having the sharpest eye in Washington. The former “boy-governor” of Vermont, Thorne is a thoroughgoing isolationist, elected in part for his promise to disentangle American foreign policy from “foreign conflicts.” This is all the encouragement needed for Pavel Kazakov, Russian oilman and Mafioso, to hatch his grand plan for a Balkan pipeline. It’s a mad scheme on the face of it—in the Balkans, today, you practically need a UN mandate to get telephone service—but Kazakov thinks that he might be able to smooth over his difficulties (and NATO’s objections). But US Air Force General Patrick McLanahan has other ideas. On a secret mission inside Russian to rescue an American spy, McLanahan finds himself getting pulled deeper than he expected into the miasma of international intrigue, and soon lands in the middle of the Balkan plot. The usual sonic booms and jet-stream rushes fail to liven a pretty transparent plot, but there are a few good moments here.