From the 1930s to the 1950s, under the direct supervision of Joseph Stalin, Communist parties around the world set up “front groups” — organizations under their own control but not publicly affiliated with them — to advance the interests of the Soviet Union. In the aftermath of World War II, America’s fledgling CIA, seeking ways to counter Soviet influence in Europe and elsewhere, took a leaf from the adversary’s playbook, covertly funding individuals and organizations that would advance the fortunes of the Free World. The CIA’s conduct in this period has been much vilified in recent years. Hugh Wilford’s “The Mighty Wurlitzer” leaves room, often inadvertently, for a very different view. Continue reading
Monthly Archives: January 2008
A “terrible choice at a critical time” were the words of dispraise offered by the New York Times when President Bush nominated John Bolton to be his ambassador to the United Nations in March 2005. One does not have to have shared that view to observe that the relentlessly conservative diplomat, a disciple of Barry Goldwater in his youth, much later of counsel to Senator Jesse Helms, has set off more than a few explosions in the minefields of Washington over the course of his career. Nor does one have to share the Times’s view to pick up Bolton’s memoir with trepidation.
The volume, with its belligerent title, Surrender Is Not An Option, flashing in embossed gold letters on a crimson dust jacket with a photo of its author draped in American flags as he addresses something called the Annual Conservative Political Action Conference, virtually screeches Hard Right. The package seems to suggest that a tirade might be coming between its covers.
Does it? Continue reading