The Russian Peace Threat (by Ron Ridenour).
I am not good at writing reviews for anything, unless it is some kind of military or geopolitics related matter, but Ron Ridenour’s book The Russian Peace Threat: Pentagon On Alert is one of those cases when a review must be written. A very positive review at that. Ridenour book’s title is not sarcastic, it is a reflection of a reality of the nature of the Cold War 1.0 slowly transitioning to the Cold War 2.0 as was and is seen not only from within the Soviet Union, but was seen by many people around the globe who remembered horrors of WW II and were aware of the price Soviet people paid in ridding world of Nazi scourge.
Ridenour’s book to a large extent is about it. Not surprisingly, when writing about Yuri Gagarin he stresses the horror of war Gagarin and his family, as millions upon millions of Russian families, went through. He is also not surprised with the cynicism of modern Western mass-media which on the 50th Anniversary of Gagarin’s historic first, tried to, entirely expectedly, to downplay or ridicule achievement reducing it to merely propaganda coup. It is a well-established pattern today of US military-intelligence-media complex which goes out of its way to obfuscate or completely eliminate political, military, industrial and scientific realities of the world outside the borders of the United States and its vassals in Europe.
Ridenour goes in depth when tying together a significance, and not just scientific but humanistic too, of Gagarin’s space flight and Revolution in Cuba which was precipitated by conditions which forced Castro revolutionaries define Cuba as “the brothel of the Western hemisphere.” One, of course, can find himself debating this point but even radically anti-communist commentators, such as National Review’s own Andrew Stuttaford had to admit that “There was, to be sure, a great deal that was wrong—badly wrong—with Cuba before Castro’s revolution.” This is an important point, once one reads through Ridenour’s excellent summary of the American activity against Cuba under the pretexts so well known by now: American exceptionalism, also recognized around the world as American imperialism. At the time of Gagarin’s flight and Cuban Revolution American Imperialism “fought” grossly exaggerated threat of Communism.
In the end, Cuban Missile Crisis didn’t just happen as a result of the US’ anti-Cuban activity, it was precipitated by the chain of events, which today, bar some important technological difference, repeat themselves almost exactly—the United States thinking that it has the right to deploy its nuclear weapons anywhere without considering opinion of anyone. As the United States abrogating, first, ABM Treaty, then, recently, INF Treaty and now, in the words of national Security Adviser John Bolton, warning that the United States will not extend START, the pattern of recklessness remains unchanged throughout decades. Ridenour’s narrative of the events around Cuba more than 56 years ago gives an excellent insight into this self-replicating mechanism of terror and nuclear war threat.
I cannot remain impartial to Ridenour’s book, large part of which is dedicated to a man I had a privilege to know personally, however fleetingly under existing conditions of strict military regimen, and study under his leadership and command as Superintendent of my Naval Academy in Baku, Vice-Admiral Vasily Alexandrovich Arkhipov. At the time of Cuban Missile Crisis Arkhipov was Captain 2nd Rank, Chief of Staff of 69th Brigade of the Submarines of the Northern Fleet and he was not known to the world at all, unlike it is today, him being credited and not just by Ron Ridenour, with saving the world then, in 1962, through his professionalism and cool head under the extreme of conditions, from nuclear holocaust. Pages dedicated to Arkhipov bore an immense personal significance for me.
Ridenour’s documenting evolution of American Imperialism of 1960s, to its newer, much less competent and thus more dangerous modern-day version, from US unleashing the bloody war in Syria to a blatant neo-Nazi coup in Ukraine is excellent. It shows a continuity of American exceptionalist views, based, to a large degree on a complete ignorance of Russian history, culture and intentions. As one of the fathers of American “realist” (supposedly “better” than neoconservative) school of thought, Hans Morgenthau stated in 1957:
I would say, and I have said many times before, that if the czars still reigned in Russia, that if Lenin had died of the measles at an early age, that if Stalin had never been heard of, but the power of the Soviet Union were exactly what it is today, the problem of Russia would be for us by and large what it is today. If the Russian armies stood exactly where they stand today, and if Russian technological development were what it is today, we would be by and large confronted with the same problems which confront us today.
Ridenour does an excellent job showing that a whole post WW II period for the United States was not about Marxism, Communism or any other “ism” which could and often was misconstrued as a threat—it was about unrestricted Imperialism. It was also keeping people inside and outside the US completely oblivious to the facts “on the ground” which for the last 70+ years were about the effort of the Soviet Union and now Russia to maintain peace against all odds, and that is why Russia is clear and present danger to American military-political-industrial establishment.
Ridenour’s book is an excellent contribution to the field of real, only now maturing in the West, field of Cold War history, as well as an important contribution to the field of Russian studies and geopolitics. I highly recommend it. Get it at Amazon or at Punto Press.