Moscow Memories

By Cockburn, Alexander | The Nation, September 27, 1986 | Go to article overview

Moscow Memories


Cockburn, Alexander, The Nation


Moscoe Memories

I know that the only thing one should be writing about these days concerning the Soviet Union is the fate of Nicholas Daniloff, but here's a defiant change of topic. Somewhat belatedly and in the course of my own voyages, the travel diary of my friend Lynn Turgeon has caught up with me. Lynn, a professor of economics at Hofstra University, is one of those admirable people who like to share the useful insights of explorations, and he therefore circulates an imposing slather of single-spaced pages to his pals. Because Lynn's specialty is the economies of Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, these pages are instructive, particularly on how people experience these economies day to day.

Lynn went all over Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union this year, and one of his entries concerns another F.M.--Richard Nixon:

By Tuesday, July 15, Nixon was displaying his virtuosity as a political scientist on his first visit to the prestigious Institute for the Study of the U.S.A. and Canada, headed by Georgi Arbatov. As fate would have it, I arrived at the institute in midafternoon the same day for an appointment with a brilliant young section head, whom I have known for at least a dozen years. Naturally, I was interested in the Soviet's reaction to Nixon's speech, as related to me by Arbatov's very intelligent and well-informed assistant.

The Soviets believe that the former President is playing a more important role in the Reagan Administration than most Americans realize. According to my source, Nixon sent a steady stream of foreign policy memos to the White House, and some of Reagan's talks or statements contain whole paragraphs lifted from the Nixon memos.

Nixon made it perfectly clear to his audience that his views are at odds with what he calls the "ultraconservatives," presumably people like Richard Perle. …

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