Arnold Beichman

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Truth Against the Grain
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Truth Against the Grain

“Zeus gives no aid to liars.”
—Homer

Richard Gid Powers’ history is a powerful, even brilliant, piece of scholarship which documents one of the most bizarre political phenomena of the 20th century.

While Soviet communism, in its 70-year dictatorship, was

Learned Liars
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Learned Liars

Let us at the outset dispose of one of the major criticisms of Sovietology and Sovietologists: their failure to predict the end of Soviet communism and the collapse of the Soviet Empire. It is one of the strange curiosities of

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Soviet Spies and Agents of Influence

Probably the greatest triumph in public opinion manipulation in modern history was the West’s elevation of the Soviet Union into a symbol of righteousness and a country beyond criticism. This triumph was all the more notable because from day one

A Pig in a Poke
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A Pig in a Poke

Never did I appreciate so much the genius of the Founding Fathers as after finishing this remarkable biography of President Clinton. The authors of the Constitution created a government which makes it impossible for the United States to be transformed

If Nixon Had Been Friends With Bob Woodward
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If Nixon Had Been Friends With Bob Woodward

For starters, I propose to say the unthinkable: the unnamed coauthors with Bob Woodward of this book are President and Mrs. Clinton. All the inside stories dealing with the first 18 months of the Clinton administration, the reported dialogue, who

Go Figure
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Go Figure

“A politician . . . one that would circumvent God.”
—William Shakespeare

In preparing my review of this riveting biography, I gathered samples of what has recently been written about Richard M. Nixon, and I must say they make a

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Playing Possum

Mr. Navrozov is a serious man and his political concerns, no matter how improbable they may appear, must be taken seriously. He believes, first, what has been happening in the Soviet Union since March 1985, namely its visible decomposition, is

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Willing Belief

William James was much concerned about “faith-tendencies,” which he defined as “extremely active psychological forces, constantly outstripping evidence.” The Gorbachev era fully confirms his apprehensions. The eminent psychologist even constructed a seven-rung “faith-ladder”:

1. There is nothing absurd in a

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Confirm An Appointment

In Moscow, several months ago, I telephoned an American friend to confirm an office appointment. Since I was going by taxi, I asked him how much I ought to pay for the ride. Moscow cabdrivers outside tourist hotels are no

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Filming an Execution

Filming an execution at San Quentin Prison is what San Francico’s KQED has asked the U.S. District Court in California for permission to do: it wants the unedited tape to run nationwide over the Public Broadcasting Service network.

KQED is

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Selective Amnesia

Selective pernicious amnesia is the endemic disease of Establishment politics. Its symptoms are evident whenever the Soviet Union does something awful—like delivering six sophisticated Su-24D bombers to Libya, as it did in March 1988, or excusing the sinking of an

Pire qu’un Crime . . .
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Pire qu’un Crime . . .

“Arts, Culture, Reverence, Honour, all things fade.
Save Treason and the dagger of her trade . . . “

—Oscar Wilde, “Libertatis Sacra Fames”

The Pollard treason case is so unusual that I want to start my review of this

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No Miracles This Time

Last year, when I was in Helsinki, I made a great discovery:, probably the best informed people on Soviet affairs are the Finns, whose Russian-watching goes back almost two centuries, long before the Bolshevik coup of 1917.

I was in

The President’s President
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The President’s President

“Politicians neither love nor hate. Interest, not sentiment governs them.” 
—Chesterfield

Richard Nixon’s second term as president ended over two years early with his resignation on August 9, 1974. Someday, when President Reagan’s papers and telephone logs are made public,

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Neither Law Nor Justice

A few weeks ago, I was listening to Radio Moscow’s Joe Adamov answering mail-in questions from his North American audience. One query came from somebody in Nova Scotia: How important was Stalin to the Soviet victory in World War II?

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Stopping the Long March Through the University

“A Leninist cannot simply be a specialist in his favorite branch of science. . . . He must be an active participant in the political leadership of his country.”
—Slogan of Moscow University

Substitute “professor” for “Leninist” and the quotation

A Soviet Psychosis
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A Soviet Psychosis

As Mikhail Gorbachev moves forward in his role as the new Vozhd of the USSR, he must take pride in a unique achievement. In a few years, he has managed to internationalize a Russian word—glasnost—and by its repeated

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Letter to Another Editor

“More and more, the categories we think by are forms of darkness. Yet we keep using them as if fearful of the deeper darkness we’d inhabit if we had to front this life without them.”
—Jack Beatty, “The Category Crisis,”

And the Kennedy KGB Handed Out Hot Soup
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And the Kennedy KGB Handed Out Hot Soup

It was now the beginning of the seventh year of the genocidal invasion of Afghanistan. To many Americans it appeared that the war would never end, not until the entire population of Afghanistan was either dead or in exile. Some