Still Seeing Red: How the Cold War Shapes the New American Politics

Still Seeing Red: How the Cold War Shapes the New American Politics

Still Seeing Red: How the Cold War Shapes the New American Politics

Still Seeing Red: How the Cold War Shapes the New American Politics

Synopsis

John Kenneth White explores how the Cold War moulded the internal politics of the United States, from civil rights and social welfare to education and defence policy, over a 50 year period.

Excerpt

Life is lived forward, but understood backward.

-Soren Kierkegaard

September 1968

The presidential race had begun in earnest. The major party nominees, Hubert H. Humphrey for the Democrats and Richard M. Nixon for the Re- publicans, were energetically making their appeals for public support. But behind closed doors another "campaign" was taking place. The powerbrokers in the Kremlin were taking their measure of the candidates, trying to determine which would best manage the superpower relationship. It was a difficult decision. Only one month earlier the Soviet Union had invaded Czechoslovakia, ending Alexander Dubcek's brief experiment with "socialism with a human face." After Dubcek's ouster, Communist party chief Leonid Brezhnev enunciated the "Brezhnev Doctrine," the fig leaf under which the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics could correct its fraternal neighbors by military invasion whenever they deviated from Moscow's hard line. The Czech invasion and the Brezhnev Doctrine met with wide- spread condemnation, and Oleg Kalugin, the KGB station chief in Washington, D.C., found that his informants were keeping mum. Instead of recruiting spies through ideological solidarity, the Soviets needed large sums of cold, hard cash to lure greedy Americans into snooping for Moscow--as was later disclosed in the subsequent spy cases involving John Walker and Aldrich Ames. Kalugin reported to his superiors that after the Czech fiasco publisher I. E. Stone would no longer let him pay for lunches, quoting Stone as saying: "I will never take money from your bloody government." With that, the two men never saw one another again. In Kalugin's view, U.S.-Soviet relations were at an impasse and something "drastic" was required to break the deadlock.

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