I own Red Storm Rising and Hunt for the Red October and plan on reading them (and possibly Cardinal) as frequently they're listed as "when Clancy was good." But I've only ever read Bear and the Dragon. Which as a China Watcher made me go Hrrrrrrngh essentially every chapter. Here's what I vaguely recall since reading it a few years ago.
1. China is apparently a "30 foot nation" where everything looks good from 30 feet away but shit when you get up close to it.
2. Apparently a million Chinese soldiers died in the Korean War. Interesting
3. Clancy thought it important to quite a few times paint the Politburo as unsympathetic old creepers, which might
be true but seems to me as increasingly unlikely where "not being an embarrassment" seems to be an important qualification to be picked by the Selectorate. And apparently Mao's a pedo, Clancy just felt like bringing that up; strange I've read at least three different books on Mao and I've never heard of that before, I guess Clancy is a better Chinese researcher than actual China researchers?
4. China has no concept of UAV's, or drones; they are "round eyed magic."
5. The Chinese government deliberately decided to give no fucks about a policeman killing a diplomat.
6. All non Christian Chinese are mindless automotons who will drive you automatically to the hospital instead of where the customer actually asked and paid you to bring them.
7. the PLAN sends their only(?) Boomer out in the middle of the ocean even though it should be obvious it would be easily sunk.
8. The PLA decides to just sorta mass all of their tanks and attack across a big open plains, even though by this point the PLA had I'm pretty sure reorganized into smaller 'brigades' for high tech war under local conditions.
9. The US could effortlessly sink most of the PLAN's surface fleet berfed in harbor and only lose 1 F-18.(?)
I'm going to agree with that web review I saw where it felt that the discovery of oil and gold in Siberia was the most realistic thing that happened in the novel.
Although I wonder, if an enemy is trying to disable your nuclear deterrent (another problem, doesn't China have road mobile ICBM's still capable of hitting the US mainland circa 2000?) it seems vaguely reasonable to me to use them or lose them if it seems like the enemy might be doing it to prepare for their own first strike? Otherwise why bother going after the Chinese silo's in the first place?