The Soviets’ Secret Weapon to Defeat America
A review of Ion Mihai Pacepa and Ronald J. Rychlak's Disinformation: Former Spy Chief Reveals Secret Strategies for Undermining Freedom, Attacking Religion, and Promoting Terrorism.
December 18, 2013 - 10:15 am
In Kiev, they are partying like it’s 1989. Pro-western protesters even pulled down a statue of Lenin that had stood unmolested for decades.
Moscow’s effort to reassert its influence over its former client state has triggered wide spread public protests. In the process, sledgehammers have reduced leftover symbols of Soviet occupation to rubble.
The chaos in the Ukraine is sharp reminder that Russia has not foresworn its old ways. If the angry protesters jamming the streets of Kiev don’t convince you, flipping through the pages of Disinformation will close the case.
The Soviet Union’s Cold War arsenal bristled with arms from nuclear bombs, tank divisions, and backfire bombers to gulags, spies, terrorists and revolutionaries. But one of Moscow’s most prized, secretive and diabolical weapons was disinformation. Thorough a relentless campaign of political and psychological warfare, the Soviet Union planned to undermine the West with propaganda, rumor and lies. In Disinformation: Former Spy Chief Reveals Secret Strategies for Undermining Freedom, Attacking Religion, and Promoting Terrorism, Ion Pacepa, a former Romanian intelligence officer who defected to the United States in 1978, and Ronald Rychlak, a professor of the University of Mississippi, have collaborated to produce a saga of Soviet disinformation from the Stalinist era to the fall of the wall. Beyond that, they show how these tactics have been revived under the current Russian leader, Vladimir Putin.
Disinformation draws a good deal on the authors’ previous published works including Pacepa’s expose on his former boss, Romanian strongman Nicolae Ceausescu and a book on the Kennedy assassination. Rychlak wrote Hitler, the War, and the Pope, a defense against charges Pope Pius XII was a Nazi-collaborator. Each of these books argued that Moscow played a major role in playing the West–promoting the notions that Ceausescu was the “progressive” face of Communism, that the CIA was behind the killing of President Kennedy, and that the Pope cheer-led for the Holocaust. In this book they pull together these stories and more to produce a sweeping narrative of how the Soviets tried to shape public opinion as one of their chief instruments of dark diplomacy.
Disinformation is a page-turner from beginning to end. Every chapter offers history never heard in high school. Some will snap this book shut and cry “I told you so.” Others will slap their forehead in disbelief. No one will be neutral about Disinformation–and they’ll all have something to point to for arguing they are right.