September 29, 2005

KGB Abroad

Via Mark Safranski, an interesting interview with Christopher Andrew, author of the newly-released The World Was Going Our Way: The KGB and the Battle for the Third World:
The thing that sticks out most in my mind is the big picture. Thanks to the Mitrokhin Archive we now understand for the first time how it is the KGB thought it could win the Cold War. They knew it wasn't going to happen by nuclear confrontation with the U.S. or Britain or any of America’s other allies. They knew it wasn't going to happen by coming to power in any of the NATO countries. Instead, they thought if the rest of the world did go their way it would leave the west isolated in the same way the U.S. was isolated in the third world at the end of the Vietnam War. It’s a great illusion. For 25 years the KGB was moving around the world living an extraordinary fantasy.
Although it's not clear, at least from the interview, how effective the KGB actually was. They certainly tried, as, for instance in India: "According to KGB files, by 1973 it had ten Indian newspapers on its payroll as well as a press agency under its control." Plus Salvador Allende in Chile and of course Catro received payments from the KGB, but Andrew suggests that the strategy was eventually destined for failure. Here's a NewsMax summary of the book (yeah, yeah, it's NewsMax, but the highlights seem decent.)
-- Brad Plumer 3:48 PM || ||