Farewell: The Greatest Spy Story of the Twentieth Century – Book Review

FarewellTheGreatestSpyStoryoftheTweinAuthor: Sergei Kostin and Eric Raynaud (trans. Catherine Cauvin-Higgins)

Publisher: AmazonCrossing, P.O. Box 400818, Las Vegas, NV 89140, Editions Robert Laffont, S.A., Paris

Copyright: 2009, [ISBN: 1611090261]

Reviewed by: Lynard Barnes, June 30, 2014


Summary: The man who undermined the corner-stones of the Soviet Union and allowed America to proclaim victory over an atavistic form of government. The familiar traitor versus patriot dilemma of history from the perspective of an individual life in the modern super-state. Edward Snowden anyone?

Prelude to the Decline

Since the end of World War II, American political discussion has been titillated by talk of America’s decline. Endemic of such discussions was the 1960’s presidential race in which the “missile gap” was the yardstick by which American power was measured—the superiority of the Soviet Union’s ballistic missiles versus the ballistic missiles of America. There was no missile gap. Even if there were, it only takes one to make a couple of square miles of any part of the terra firma a desert. Hitting the same area twice or thrice does not make it more of a desert. It would still be a radioactive desert. Politicians have always conflated power with force. As if power and force were equal. (For us non-physicists, power is all about potential, force is the application of power).

Before the “missile gap” yardstick it was the more generalized “weak on communism” canard bellied about with impunity by any politician lacking anything constructive to say on more pressing issues. The net result of using this particular indicator of potential American decline is that it forced otherwise rational men and women to make thoroughly irrational decisions. By the time America jumped into the Korean War and slid into the Vietnam War, the trajectory of American history was following the same path of every other “superpower” in recorded history. Hence, more fuel for discussion of America’s decline. In essence, what was once a world of opportunity for America has now become a world fraught with danger. When confronted with danger, as any politician will tell you, you must be cautious and circumspect. Hence, discussions of America’s decline.

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