The Mirror-Image Fallacy: Understanding the Soviet Union

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The Mirror-Image Fallacy: Understanding the Soviet Union

June 29, 1982 30 min read Download Report
Charles Baroch
F.M. Kirby Research Fellow in National Security Policy

(Archived document, may contain errors)

193 June 29, 1982 THE MIRROR-IMAGE FALLACK UNDERSTANDING THE SO VIE T UNION INTRODUCTION As a result of World War 11, the United States was thrust into a position of leadership of the IlWesternIl world, a role which has come to c onsist mainly of formulation and reformulation of policy toward the USSR. The early IlWorld War I1 alliancell euphoria gave way to the cold war of the 1950s, only to be replaced by the equally unrealistic expectations of the 1960s convergence myth and the n the 1970s detente illusion. The Soviet llinvasionll of Afghanistan in 1980 and President Carter's surprised indigna tion have revived the Ilcold war.rhetoric,'I at least on the surface and prompted certain retaliatory measures on the part of the U.S been undergoing yet another of its periodic somersaults in the evaluation of Soviet intentions and aims. Abrupt changes in evaluating Soviet-Communist moves in critical strategic areas are obviously caused by basic misperceptions of Soviet standard behavior Th u s, in response to recent events, U.S. foreign policy has With the United States entering into new negotiations with the Soviets under START, it is imperative that our diplomats have a much better understanding of the nature of the Soviet Union than in the past and avoid the mirror image fallacy outlined in this study.

POLAND AND U.S.-SOVIET RELATIONS Events in Poland as well have prompted serious rethinking about U.S. policy toward the Soviets, especially since December 13, 1981, when General Wojciech Jaru zelski, Secretary General of the Polish United Workers (Communist) Party (PUWP), placed Poland under martial law, or, as it is called under that republic's 2 I constitution, a state of war, allegedly in order to avoid chaos and anarchy and restore public order.

The reaction in this country to events in Poland serves to illustrate the basic fallacy in U.S. policy vis-a-vis the Soviets.

Throughout 1981, thousands of words in all the various media were devoted to Solidarity and its opposition, supported by t he Catholic Church, to PUWP's political and economic monopoly. Most failed even to approach the core of the dilemma for either the West's free enterprise democracies or the East's Communist controlled states, albeit the rather simple explanation. I I A Ma r xist-Leninist socioeconomic system imposed upon a people, whether Russian, Polish, Czech, Slovak, Bulgarian, or Chinese, is unworkable. Sooner or later an economic and political crisis develops leading to confrontration between the population as a whole a n d the Communist Party which controls it. The inde pendent labor union movement within the Polish People's Republic marks the third time in the last thirty years (after the Hungarian People's Republic in 1956 and the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic in 1968 ) that the people have had to be crushed by armed force It is gratifying to note that an editorial in the New York Times in commenting on the Polish rebellion against of all things Ithe dictatorship of the proletariatll in 1956, 1968, 1970 and 1976, reluct a ntly accepted the opinion of Ifan unnamed Polish Communistf1 that "There can't be communism without tanks It went on to say not much can be said for Communism with tanks. From Berlin to Peking, it has failed to produce the bread that was supposed to justi fy tyranny and conquest.

From Lenin to Mao, it has made a mess of apportioning the bread it has. Gangs of one, four or a million the leaders of Djilas's "new class have misappropri ated the rights and produce of their people, always blaming failure on the gang that went bef0re.l Djilas's "new class,Il a household word among Sovietologists is the ruling group in the Communist controlled party-states (the leading party members, industry, agriculture, scientific, artistic leaders the nomenklatura It would be e rroneous to identify the !'new classll with the Communist Party in those states, since these parties have become mass organizations. Of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) of 17 million members, only 750,000 can be considered nomenklatura. In f a ct, this small percentage of the membership exercises "the controlling and leading rolell of the Party, i.e., has a monopoly of political and economic power, which puts it in conflict with the overwhelming majority of the population. There is little resem b lance to the See New York Times, January 3, 1982, p. 18E. 3 class structure of the so-called capitalist or free enterprise states, where private ownership of the means of production is widely disseminated and those who sell their labor are well organized.

A similar situation exists in all other Communist controlled states. Zygmunt Nagorski, member of the Aspen Institute for Humanistic Studies, commented on the true nature of the crackdown in Poland by the !!military junta" (as it was misleadingly referred to by most of the media until recently The world is concentrating on Soviet involvement in Poland, but what we are witnessing is, in fact, a counterrevolution, staged and brutally implemented by the Polish "new c1ass.I He described in detail the exDloitat i ve nature and Drivilecres of the Polish Communist nomenklatuka, which led to the sippression of Solidarity with its ten millon working-class members and speculated that historians are bound to view the Polish counterrevolution as an ultimate sign of the p erfidy and bankruptcy of the Communist system In spite of the availability of such realistic appraisals the overwhelming majority of media reports viewed the Soviet behavior as that of a conventional l1super-powerIt defending its llstatell interests.

Dusko Doder, The Washington Post Moscow correspondent, for instance, reported: seen from MOSCOW'S point of view, the Soviet motiva tions appear a result of desperation and self-defense.

In a country where preoccupation with security is a pervasive fact of life , the Polish unrest was threatening not only to weaken fatally the East European bloc but also posing a direct challenge to Soviet ~ecurity Considering that all of Western Europe is within range of the new, powerful Soviet sS-20 missiles, not to mention S oviet superiority of conventional forces over those of NATO, it is di fficult to imagine the presence of I'historic Russian fears.

Similarly, the well-known Soviet expert Robert G. Kaiser maintained that the Soviets' sphere of influence in Eastern Zygmunt Nagorski Counterrevolution The New York Times, December 30 1981, p. A-15.

Dusko Doder, "Soviets Were Motivated by Desperation The Washington Post January 2, 1982, pp. Al, 13. 4 Europe, created at Yalta was still valid to protect its "legitimate long-term security interests Communist control there, however failed to produce desired stability, as cyclic economic and political upheavals demonstrate, creating dangerous tensions in this nuclear era. For their cure Kaiser borrowed the suggestion of "one of the c ountryls leading Kreminologists, Professor Seweryn Bialer of Columbia.11 The U.S. should tell the Soviet leaders We recognize the strategic interests you have in Eastern Europe you need a cordon ~anitaire In exchange, we should ask them to tolerate "socia l and political change" to make these countries Ifat least the most liberal in the Communist world We .have great sympathy for those interests Such an approach would never satisfy the security requirements of the CPSU or, for that matter, the PUWP nomenkla tura for total control over those societies. Even under the llgoulash socialismn1 of the Hungarian model, there are no independent labor unions.

L I. Brezhnev has recently published a treatise on labor unions, "The Soviet Trade Unions Under the Conditions of Developed Socialism.Il In a review article, Pravda stresses his conclusion Our party's [the CPSU] history has demonstrated with utmost clarit y the absurdity of the concept of I1indepen dent trade unions,Il the unviability of anarcho-syndicalism which tried to present the trade union associations as the leading force of society, to substitute them for the state and to confer on them the function s of a political party.5 Brezhnev could not have been more specific, yet the conflict ing evaluations that have dominated U.S. reporting of the historic events in Poland continue to contribute to serious misreading of communist aims and motivations THE MIR R OR-IMAGE FALLACY It would seem that the failure of the U.S. and other Western powers to formulate consistently effective policy toward the Soviet Union stems from their failure over time to take the first step, that of seeing the Soviet Union for what it really is, no matter how unpleasant the sight Robert G. Kaiser Yalta, 1945: A Historical Bell Still Tolling Over Eastern Europe The Washington Post, January 12, 1982.

Pravda, December 25, 1981, pp. 2-3. 5 The basic reasons for this failure are two. The first is the Western inclination to assess USSR motivations and aims according to the standards and behavioral expectations of typical Western states.

This mirror-image fallacy that has prevented the West's understanding of the nature of Communist controlled states and the Marxist-Leninist ideology the motive force behind their behavior has been compounded by the second reason, widespread confusion in the semantics of politics. Sometimes this arises from a systematic lack of understanding in the West, at oth ers it is due to deliberate infiltration of our vocabulary by the Soviets with terms having dual meaning but formal identity (a technique known as disinformation Over the years, they have exploited the advantages to them of U.S. misconceptions.

This is not to say that the non-Communist world has not been warned of the grave results of this intellectual and moral failure.

Time and again during the post-World War I1 years, men of experi ence and learning have differentiated Communist controlled states as "st ates unlike any other,116 with whom conventional methods of foreign policy will not work. They have pointed out the obvious that we are not living in the nineteenth century with its more homogeneous international order of nation-states, large and small, w h ich in peace or war shared certain basic notions about human nature and man's political and social ends here to review these Western sources dealing with the mirror-image fallacy and its serious consequences It is the aim A CIA report lists as among the o bjectives of Soviet propa ganda operations targeted against the United States g) to confuse world public opinion regarding the aggres sive nature of certain Soviet policies h) to create a favorable environment for the execution of Soviet foreign policy.

To achieve these objectives, the USSR seeks to affect Ameri can policymakers' perception Qf its intentions by camouflaging itself as a conventional great power. This theme is disseminated not by mass media but rather in one-on-one conversations, through dip l omatic channels and "agents of influencell (newspapermen politicians, scientists, etc The Report supports this evalua tion by quoting Lord Gladwyn, former British foreign minister the Soviets are attempting to persuade the West that Russia is just an ordi n ary great power with certain legitimate interests!8 See A. Besancon, The Soviet Syndrome (New York, 1977), p. 41 Hearings before the Subcomittee on Oversight of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, House of Representatives, 95th Congress Washin gton, 1978 (Excerpts of April 20, 1978 p. 8.

See Lord Gladwyn's article, "Kennan Misreads the Kremlin," Encounter, May 1978, pp. 93-95. 6 As the CIA Report reads it, Soviet propaganda is promoting the concept that the USSR is'in many ways the mirror imaqe [emphasis added] of the USA. A variation on this theme which we have noted in certain channels is that the leadership of the USSR as in the United States is composed of llmoderatesll and "hard-liners It Soviet llhawksll and lldoves.nt Brezhnev emerges as a leading dove committed to detente and willing to oppose the Soviet military establishment's demands for an expanded share of the budget.

The Report then makes the following conclusion Our belief that this theme may at times be deliberate Soviet propagand a is reinforced by the fact that the Soviets could clearly see themselves as gaining diploma tic advantages by American acceptance of such a line.

For example, if we grant that Brezhnev is a Itdove,lt then we must accommodate ourselves to his demands in o rder to encourage the more moderate elements in the Soviet leadership; moreover, we must expect that the deal Brezhnev offers us is the best we can expect to get from the soviet In all fairness to George Kennan, it should be said that he has been neither the originator nor the most prominent promoter of mirror-image perceptions. They are unfortunately, and have been for many years, prevalent among Western foreign policy experts and policymakers as well.

Nevertheless, Mr. Kennan's advocacy of such a view an d his recent reaction of appeasement concerning the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan have reinforced his image as typical of the self delusion fostered by the mirror-image fallacy. Norman Podhoretz editor of Commentary, in reviewinglo U.S. policy toward the USSR since 1947 the beginning of the cold war blames Mr. Kennan for forgetting in 1980 what he wrote in 1947 about the unremitting Soviet pressure against the institutions of the free world."

NORMAN PODHORETZ Mr. Podhoretz goes much further as he seeks ou t causes of the present danger threatening our country. He welcomes the recent resurgence of American self-respect and resolution to protect U.S. national interests. He feels, however, that llsome thing is still missing from the new nationalism," namely, t he recognition of the political as well as the economic dimension in this crisis Hearings, op. cit p. 12 The Present Danger," Commentary, vol. 69, No. 3, March 1980, pp. 28-40 lo 7 The problem is that a key term has quietly disappeared from the discussion of Soviet-American conflict. it is the term communism.

Podhoretz then identifies the key problem created by this semantic confusion.

One would think from what has been said in recent months that the Soviet Union is a nation like any other with which we are in competition.

As he sees it, however, it is a revolutionary state in the sense that it wishes to create a new international order.

Then he continues to expose the dangerous mirror-image fallacy In short, the reason Soviet imperialism is a threat to us is not merely that the Soviet Union is a superpower bent on aggrandizing itself, but that it is a Communist state armed, as Solzhenits y n says, to the teeth and dedicated to the destruction of the free institutions which are our heritage and our glory It is to Mr. Podhoretz's credit that he has so realistically sized up the widespread intellectual failure to grasp the true nature and aims of our adversary as a major cause for the Western inability to meet the communist threat.

This review is among the most recent delineations of the mirror-image fallacy and the foreign policy based on it, but even in the 1960s and 1970s, the years when con vergence and detente were the going policies, quite a few voices were heard warning about the consequences.

SOLZHENITSYN Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn has been the most eloquent of these voices advising the West "in an hour of extremityi1 about the actual identi ty of our ilpotentialil adversary. Ever since his expulsion from the USSR, he has devoted his considerable talent to expounding that it is communism as a doctrine and the socio political system inspired by it that threaten democratic society In one of his public statements,ll he warned that ilCommunism is unregenerate He sees communism not as a political system serving the national Russian) or even multinational aspirations that modify it, but as a supranational philosophy that has forged a power system it will always present a mortal danger to mankind l1 Time, February 19, 1980, pp. 48-49. 8 Ilinimical and destructive of every national entity," bent on pursuit of universal hegemony.

Solzhenitsyn ridicules Western Sovietologists and diplomats who "depend on unsound hypotheses that involve supposed 'left and 'right' factions of the Politbureau,Il when in reality "all of its members are united in seeking world conquest and are undiscri minating in the means they use.t1 He calls on the West to form a Ilwall of resolvell to stop communism and to unite with all the oppressed peoples, including the Russians and 'other nationalities of the Soviet Union. He points out that this would require Ita new strategy entailing radical conceptual changes and the rethink ing o f tactics on the part of Western politicians, diplomats, and mi1itary.I' In the light of President Carter's shock and surprise at the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Solzhenitsyn's charges of Itfantastically rosy notions about communismIt seem quite credib l e and his appeal for radical conceptual changes in dealing with it quite necessary. That widespread Western misconceptions about the I1adversarylt are in themselves beneficial to Communist govern ments and the Communist movement as a whole is all too obvi ous.

What is more, the Soviet propaganda apparatus never stops working to maximize the benefits of these misconceptions RAYMOND ARON The well-known French philosopher and sociologist, Raymond Aron, wrote frequently of these misconceptions. He emphasized th at the basic characteristics of the Soviet system, especially the unrelenting attempt to make civil society subject to the law of the Party," should prevent Westerners "from thinking that they are face to face with a regime like any other."

They are confr onted by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and not, as De Gaulle pretended to believe by Russia In another passage he castigates Westerners for wanting to forget about ideology, i.e., the Marxist-Leninist doctrine, as the guiding force behind the be havior of Communist leaders every where.

First Solzhenitsyn, then Besancon, in his Soviet Syndrome reminds us each in his own way that we can under stand nothing about Lenin or Stalin or even Brezhnev if we overlook the doctrine (or the dogma or faith the exact word is unimportant) in the name of which a Marxist sect seized power and undertook the reconstruc tion of the world or the construction of socialism.12 12 See Aron's foreword to A. Besancon's The Soviet Syndrome, 1977, p. xi. 9 GERHART NIEMEYER Ano t her brilliant scholar, professor at the University of Notre Dame, Gerhart Niemeyer, has analyzed morality in foreign policy. Communist controlled regimes are intrinsically evil, he states, since they are inspired by an ideology Marxism-Leninism which aims at remolding human nature not according to standards based on experience and determined by human limits but according to a perversion of speculative reason, embodied in an official and all-pervasive plan, defended by no tradition but by destructive belief s that are daily renewed by the Communist party.13 He therefore strongly argues for a Western foreign policy based on selective moral condemnation of communism as a doctrine and as a sociopolitical system. He naturally rejects the inter pretation of Commun i st behavior in the international arena, which is based on the mirror-image fallacy A largely phoney concept presuming to supply an objective criterion for an answer is the notion that the Soviet Power has no ideological character but rather moves on a I1t wo-tracklf course, switching deliberately from ideology to Russian national interests and back. The notion is unrealistic, implausible and begs the question.

He criticizes the return to Itan amoral foreign policyll toward the Communist controlled states, b ased on llpragmatismll or llrealismll and reflected in the currently dominant assertion that the former tlCommu nist threat" has been superceded by a tlSoviet threat i.e that we have to deal with nothing else but a great power waxing too strong too fast.

He insists that the Soviet Union is radically different from other conventional states, since the evil there comes not in the form of transgressions of particular persons. Rather it has taken the form of the entire Soviet system of power itself.

He makes a clear distinction between the subjugated people (Russians, Ukranians, etc and the CPSU controlled institution sui qeneris the "socialist state l3 Foreign Policy and Morality" in East-West Digest, vol. 16, January 1980 no. 1, pp. 3-

12. For a more detail ed analysis consult his book, Deceitful Peace A New Look at the Soviet Threat (New Rochelle, New York, 1971). 10 The pattern can be described as ltmoral man immoral regime." I do not say itmoral man-immoral society1 because in addition to the communist re gime there is a society, Russia, which as such is not the source of the evil ABDWUU" AVTORKHANOV One of the most outspoken critics of Western policy is A.

Avtorkhanov. A 1937 graduate of the Moscow Institute of Red Professors (then a top Bolshevik institution of Marxist-Leninist learning he left the USSR in 19

43. As a member of a small nationality living in the Caucasus, he can hardly be accused of Great-Russian chauvinism An article written b y him in 1977 is an outstanding expos6 of the principles and aims of Soviet foreign policy and should be translated in full into English. The intro ductory paragraph pinpoints the mirror-image fallacy, as follows For two decades already an idiotic theory h as been widely disseminated in the classrooms of Western univer sities which asserts that the foreign policy of the Kremlin is not based on the global ideology of communism, but on a factor traditional with all great powers the factor of national-state in t erests. Since the promoters of this theory are at the same time advisers to Western governments in the formulation of the llOstpo litik the results of such policy are well known false diagnosis false prescription and ultimately communism triumphant in the most varied areas of the globe CHARLES BOHLEN Last, but not least, we should consider the views of Charles Bohlen, a career U.S. diplomat. His experience began in 1934 when as a young Russian-speaking foreign service officer he was assigned to our newly o p ened embassy in Moscow under Ambassador Exllitt. Later he was involved in the World War I1 dealings with the Soviet Union, including the ill-fated Yalta and Teheran conferences In 1953, he was appointed by President Eisenhower as ambassa- dor to the Sovie t Union, and he served for three years his retirement in 1969, he published his memoirs (1973). His After views expressed in the Afterword are hardly those of a the mirror-image fallacy l4 "Global Strategy of the Kremlin in Russian), Nom Zhurnal New York, N o. 126, March 1977, pp. 198-217 victim of New Review), 11 Nearly twenty years after Stalin's death the political philosophy of the Soviet Union remains virtually unchanged. The fact of the matter is that ideology [Marxism-Leninism is just as important in M oscow today as it was in 1934 when I first stepped on Russian soil. That is why the word ltBolshevikl1 describes the Soviet rulers as accurate ly today as it did in the 1930s and why I have used the term throughout the b00k.l Ambassador Bohlen considers I t the ideolosical element of Soviet policy of vital importance for the United States the ideology is revolutionary and global in character Since it means that there can be no harmonious relations with Moscow in the customary sense of the word Moreover the l e aders in the Kremlin still regard every government of a non-communist state as in a transition phase on the way to achieving a Soviet status. Thus all settle ments with such countries are temporary, to be altered when the correlation of forces in the worl d is more favorable to Moscow.

Bohlen's view of Soviet ideology as proscribing adherence to any objective standard of morality and his skepticism about the use of the IlChinaIl card because of the Sino-Soviet split are also worth noting While the dispute i s real it would be sheer madness for the United States to count on a permanent split between Moscow and Peking involved in a controversy with the United States I believe the other would side with its sister Communist state In case either country became Af t er discarding the notorious "convergence theory" as Iltypical of the wishful thinking that the West has periodically indulged in regarding the Soviet Union Bohlen concludes his Afterword with a call for a strong U.S. defense to deter the Soviet Union, add i ng a rather pessimistic last note I do not think we can look forward to a tranquil world as long as the Soviet Union operates in its present form. The only hope, and this is a fairly thin one, is that at some point the Soviet Union begins to act like a co untry instead of a cause.

During the post-World War I1 period, numerous other experts have warned explicitly against the mirror-image fallacy, including Charles Bohlen, Witness to History: 1929-1969 (New York: W. W. Norton and Company, Inc 1973 p. 537. 12 James Burnham, Louis Michael, and Richard Budenz, Frank Meyer, Igor Bogolepov, Franz Wraga.

U.S. ILLUSIONS The United States has systematically disregarded warnings about the global, revolutionary character of Soviet foreign policy. And instead we have co ntinued to consider the Soviet Union a conventional state motivated by legitimate concerns of national security. This false diagnosis is at once compounded and typified by the continued interchangeable use of the terms Russian and Soviet Union. If the ter m Russian, with all its positive connotations of an ancient people engaged in the legiti mate pursuit of national interests, is used to denote the Soviet Union and its policy, it only serves to obscure or confuse the true nature of the USSR.

And yet the tr ue motivation and aims of Soviet foreign policy have always been there and never more clearly than in the new 1977 Soviet constitution, which contains for the first time constitutionally sanctioned principles of "Leninist foreign policy.Il Article 28 comm i ts the. Soviet Union to 'Isupport the struggle of peoples for national liberation and social progress This duty known in all Marxist-Leninist ideo-semantic glossaries as the Party principle of proletarian internationalism designates the Soviet Union as th e main promoter of the international revolu tionary movement with the ultimate aim of liquidation of the remaining free enterprise system and its replacement by a world wide Communist controlled system.16 Nonetheless, the West sees only its own mirror imag e, and consequently misreads real Soviet intentions. This has resulted in the constant erosion of the ability of the non-Communist world to resist Soviet expansion the only change has been in U.S. efforts to cope with that strategy.

Soviet strategy has nev er changed Long-range Soviet Communist strategy has always been the revolutionary transformation of the world along Marxist-Leninist lines. When stymied temporarily by more effective resistance or internal weakness, the USSR has resorted to periods of tac tical respite, called peredyshka, "peaceful coexistence," by Lenin or detente, as it is known in the West.

This tactical respite was quite correctly defined by Henry Kissinger some fifteen years ago, when he was still a Harvard professor: l6 C. T. Baroch, "The New Soviet Constitution," Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No 68, November 1, 1978 13 peaceful coexistence is never advocated for its own sake. It is justified primarily as a tactical device to overthrow the West at a minimum cost.17 Such a tactic is clearly part of Soviet propaganda strategy that has actively tried to obscure Communist long-range aims and intentions with considerable success.

SENATE INVESTIGATION OF DISINFORMATION I Yet from early in the post-World War I1 period, there have been othe r sources of information. Thirty years ago, a subcommit tee of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee spent almost a year investigating allegations of disinformation and its dissemination by the Soviet government in the United States via the Institute of Pac ific Relations (IPR One of the dozens of witnesses called before the subcommittee was Igor Bogolepov, an actual defector from the Soviet Union.

His credential were impressive. Born in Russia in 1906, the son of a prominent economics professor and graduate of the Univer sity of Petrograd (Leningrad), he became an expert linguist at the Soviet Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He served as interpreter and secretary at the Geneva Disarmament Conference and with the Soviet military I1advisers1l in the Spanish Civil War. During his foreign service career he came into contact with a number of Western "innocentsI1 or "trusted personsll who, in visits to the Soviet Union were fed the official Soviet-Communist line, which llnonsensell (Bogolepov's term) they duly reflect e d in their writ ings, speeches, and other activities after they returned to their native countries. Because of this, his testimony, as it emerges from the subcommittee's records, sheds a great deal of light on the vast Soviet disinformation operation in t he West.

As an example, he quoted Mission to Moscow, the well-known book by Joseph Davies, American Ambassador to Moscow in the late 1930s. Davies's presentation of the famous 1937-38 Moscow trials according to'Bogolepov, reflected the Soviet Foreign Affai rs Ministry directive that these trials Ilshould be considered by Americans in a favorable light, because Stalin got rid of the fifth column,1118 that is, Nazi sympathizers within the Soviet Communist apparatus.

The final Senate report also quoted Mr. Bog olepovls descrip tion of what he called l7 l8 The Troubled Partnership: A Reappraisal of the Atlantic Alliance (New York, 1965), p 198 Hearings before the Subcommittee to Investigate the Administration of the Internal Security Act and Other Internal Secur i ty Laws, the Committee of the Judiciary U.S. Senate, Part 13, p. 4513. 14 ideological infiltration, the creation of fellow-travelers inducing the West's intelligentsia to write books and articles which were favorable to the Soviet Union.l9 This is how he described the machinery used by the Soviet government for that purpose In the Foreign Office we had a special I think you call it joint committee, where representatives of different branches of the administration were present.

In this joint committee were the members of the Foreign Office, of military intelligence; the executive committee of the Comintern and a representative of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

This important body was responsible directly to the political c ommission of the Politburo for carrying out the infiltration of ideas and men through the Iron Curtain to Western countries I have to make the point that the problem which we are discussing right now with you, the problem of the Institute of Pacific Relat ions to me in Moscow was only a small and not a greatly significant part of the activities It was a very big business of ours.

The Senate Judiciary Committee singled out as most important Bogolepov's statement that operation infiltration consisted of selling nonsense about the U.S.S.R. to Westerners and added: if you learned the wrong things about the Soviet Union, II said Mr. Bo g olepov, llyour thoughts are also wrong. I The subcommittee has given the gravest consideration to the thought that with these words Mr. Bogolepov may have put his finger on the spinal nerve of recent world history. If it is true that the Western world lea r ned the wrong things about the Soviet Union, then it is certainly true that its thoughts were also wrong, the actions it took in dealing with the Soviet Union, the agreements it signed, the compromises it agreed to, the concessions it allowed were wrong, too.20 This prophetic statement issued thirty years ago by a U.S. Senate Subcommitee, now abolished, has certainly been ignored for all those years.

The proliferation of llnonsensicalll doctrines about Soviet Communist behavior throughout those years reach ed astonomical proportions, which testifies to the colossal success of the l9 2o Ibid p. 31 Report of the Committee on the Judiciary, Eighty-Second Congress, Second Session, July 2, 1952, p. 32. 15 disinformation operation in the West. This was reflected i n the conflicting statements made by President Carter about U.S.-Soviet relations. In a major foreign policy speech four months after his inauguration in 1977 he proclaimed We are now free of that inordinate fear of communism which once led us to embrace a ny dictator who joined us in that fear We hope to persuade the Soviet Union that one country cannot impose its own social system upon another, either throuqh direct military interven tion or through the use of a client state's military force 2 At just abo u t this same time, a novel The Spike by Arnaud de Borchgrave and Robert Moss provided a rich description of Soviet disinformation techniques. The material is so consistent with actual Soviet behavior that it must surely be based in fact and created as a fi c tion only to avoid libel In the novel, the authors listed three types of agents and informants used by the KGB; this analysis perfectly parallels reality First, the principal agent (osnovnoy aqent) deliberately recruited and trained, who may be running a n etwork of lesser agents or providing vital information; Secondly, there is the so-called trusted person (doveren noye litso), who knowingly carries out Soviet instructions but has not been formally recruited by the KGB Thirdly, a contact who is "an uncons c ious sourcell or tyomnaya verbovka) literally, a recruit who is Ifin the .darkt1 or ItinnocentI1 about Soviet aims and methods It is the second and especially the third types of agents who are most valuable in promoting the mirror image fallacy and spread misinformation about the U.S.S.R ICA MISINFORMATION In 1980, two years following the CIA Report noted above another government agency, the International Communication Agency, issued a research memorandum entitled tlSoviet.Perceptions of the U.S Results of a Surrogate Interview Project.Il It is safe to assume that even the most sophisticated profes sional disinformers of the CPSU apparatus did not imagine that such a memorandum, shot through as it was with misinformation and ttnonsenself about Soviet polici e s, would be widely distributed in New York. Times, January 24, 1980. 16 U.S. governmental and professional circles, including many in policymaking positions. This Ilsurrogate interview project,ll a result of questioning seventy knowledgeable Americans sel e cted in cooperation with Ambassador Shulman's office in the State Depart ment and the American Embassy in Moscow, about the attitudes and views of the Soviet elite (the apparatchiki, for the most part has a misleading title. It does not reflect ItSoviet p e rceptions of the U.S but rather American misperceptions of the USSR artificially induced by refined disinformation techniques that have been used successfully for decades c I r The seventy American participants included most of the leading American specia l ists on the Soviet Union who have continu ing personal contacts with Soviet officials. About half of the interviews were with current American diplomats; 19 were academic specialists, among whom were some former American diplomats, nine were persons from b usiness and banking who had contacts at levels normally unreachable by other specialists and nine others were from the journalistic community. Since all interviewees were promised anonymity, and the memorandum reveals considerable diversity of opinion amo ng them, it is only fair not to criticize the group as a whole. But clearly many of the respondents belong to the category of recruits and were used by their Soviet counterparts to implant false ideas about the USSR in American minds.

The memorandum never mentions the fact that most of the Itso-called middle and upper-middle levels of the Soviet elite8 are members of the CPSU apparatus and thus committed to the Communist controlled system with all its global implications Who can believe that Mr. Arbatov (h e ad of the Soviet Institute for the Study of the U.S. and Canada), or any other "upper-middle level" apparatchik, feels that the U.S. and the Soviet Union are natural allies who should work together to stabilize a tension-filled and chaotic world.22 Since, according to the new Soviet Constitution, the USSR is committed to world peace, all Soviet apparatchiki will naturally perceive Soviet foreign policy as defensive In an argument that sounds rational enough to Western ears, the memorandum maintains given t h eir World War I1 experience, they would never attack first and therefore are not a threat to others.23 The seventy interviews condensed on sixteen pages contain many more gems of Soviet misinformation skillfully fed to the 22 USICA Research Memorandum, Ju n e 27, 1980, Summary p. i 23 Ibid. 17 American respondents. In view of recent Soviet successes in aggression it is hard to understand their complaint that they are disappointed that the perceived mutual benefits of detente were never realized, but they see this as the fault of the American side.24 They continued to stress to their American contacts the worn-out argument of "basic hostility of the U.S. toward the Soviet experi ment even from its beginning.11 To camouflage worldwide Communist revolutionary ai m s, they stress the Soviet desire to establish a Soviet-America co-dominion to stabilize a frightening world and avoid what is most feared: a third-party problem escalating into a super-power c~nfrontation In this context, the Soviet military intervention i n Afghani stan is naturally not described in terms of the so-called Brezhnev Doctrine or "defense of socialist conquest" by supporting, even militarily if necessary, an established Communist controlled government. The memorandum reports Their own views of Afghanistan are not very troubled by changing official explanations of how the U.S.S.R became involved. Rather, most see it in direct national interest terms a friendly regime on their border, in jeopardy of dissolving into chaos, with the spectre of Chin e se involvement.26 The Soviets' extensive playing of the "China card" in talks with their American contacts is visible throughout the ICA memoran dum. The Summary states Nothing more unites Soviets, particularly Russians than fear of China, which is percei ved in the long run as enemy number one They are disturbed that Americans will deal with the Chinese when America's I'natural allies1' are the l'Russians.

This policy directive, obviously issued at the highest level, is conspicuously transmitted to Western ers by Soviet academics and journalists. For instance, a New York Times Moscow dispatch reports 24 25 26 27 Ibid Ibid Ibid 9 Ibid 9 p. 4 p. 5 p. 11 I I I I 18 A Soviet commentator suggested today that fear of Chinese power sweeping into Afghanistan was a m ajor factor in the Soviet decision to intervene militarily.28 The same dispatch concedes that most of the Soviet arguments are llaccepted by Western diplomats, including "the sincerity of the fear that the United States and China might exploit a volatile situation for their own ends."

One of the most perplexing passages in the memorandum is its discussion of Soviet curiosity about the American economic system based on private ownership of the means of production It is no secret that the ultimate aim of the CPSU apparatus in control.of the Soviet government is the revolutionary abolition of that system on a global scale, and indeed, most of the contacts Ameri cans have in the Soviet Union belong to that apparatus. In view of the Soviet living standard, it i s understandable that they may be fascinated by the material products of American society and] the desire to acquire them, which extends even into the upper ranks, where professional travel is prized in large part because it provides a unique shopping oppo rt~nity What is baffling is the memorandum's conclusion about the well-known Soviet infatuation with products made in America.

Even those who are hostile to the U.S. see it as their standard of comparison. For many the U.S. is in several respects the model of the future, particularly in the adaptation of technology to economic processes ly, if the American dream is still believed anywhere it is in the Soviet Union.30 Apparent To make this assumption is so far-fetched that it indicates a high degree of succ ess on the part of the !'Soviet elitel' in their effort to confuse and misinform their American counterparts especially by exploiting their addiction to mirror imaging.

PRESENT AND FUTURE POLICIES It is reassuring that the Reagan Administration without suf fering from "an inordinate fear of communism,Il is instead aware of the Soviets' worldwide threat and able to avoid the mirror-image disinformation trap. Unlike his predecessor, Presi dent Reagan does not have a problem reading Soviet intentions.

In his first press conference, the President was asked 28 29 30 Ibid See New York Times, March 13, 1980, p. A3.

ICA Memorandum, op. cit p. 12. 19 Mr. President, what do you see as the long-range inten tions of the Soviet Union Do you think for instance the Kremli n is bent on a world domination that might lead to a continuation of the cold war? Or do you think that under other circumstances detente is poss ible?

His answer was as follows Well so far detente% been a one-way street the Soviet Union has used to pursu e its own aims. I don't have to think of an answer as to what I think of their intentions are: They have repeated it I know of no leader of the Soviet Union, since the revolution and including the present leadership, that has not more than once repeated i n the various Communist Congresses they hold their determination that their goal must be the promotion of world revolution and a one world Socialist or Communist state whichever word you want to use.

Now, as long as they do that and as long as they, at the same time, have openly and publicly.declared that the only morality they recognize is what will further their cause: meaning they reserve unto themselves the right to commit any crime; to lie; to cheat, in order to obtain that, and that is moral, not imm o ral, and we operate in a different set of standards I think when you do business with them even at a detente you keep that in mind.31 This sober and factual evaluation by President Reagan of Soviet aims and intentions is not based, as some assert, on a co nfrontationalist attitude, but rather on accurate reading of what the Soviet Communists openly proclaim about themselves in innumerable statements, beginning with Brezhnev and Arbatov and ending with Zagladin.

Nonetheless, the Tass News Agency indignantly accused the President of deliberate distortions and slander when he spoke of Soviet promotion of world revolution by any means at its disposal moral or immoral.

This feigned indignation is just another ploy in the arsenal of Communist disinformation. Ever y Soviet-Communist apparatchik knows that, in the words of the 1977 Constitution, the USSR is committed to !'the Leninist foreign policy of peace He also knows, as the West's "useful innocentsIf do not, that this policy is governed on the principle of pro l etarian-socialist internation 31 Transcript, New York Times, January 30, 1981. 20 alism, reflecting its revolutionary class nature. To be an internationalist, according to Lenin' s enjoinder, is Itto do the utmost possible in one country for the promotion , support and stirring up of the revolution in all countries.It3 It may be of interest to note that this.most famous Lenin definition of an internationalist and his permanent commitment to world revolution has been included as a coded message in virtually a ll important Soviet publicatons dealing with foreign policy and international relations, as well as-in'many speeches made by Brezhnev, Suslov, and other prominent members of the high party organs during the last fifteen to twenty years revolutionary strug g le, every apparatchik also has Lenin's own rejection of conventional morality As for the guidance on and methods to use in the world We say that our morality is entirely subordinated to the interest of the class struggle of the proletariat We say that mor a lity is what serves to destroy the old exploiting society and to unite the toilers around the proletariat which is building a new Communist society.33 If the USSR, in the view of Lord Gladwyn, is not Itan ordinary Great Powerit or, in Raymond Aron's view, is a "state unlike any other1' in the community of nation-states, then an effort should be made to establish the true nature of this political institution sui qeneris. Under the general heading of the Marxist-Leninist theory of the state, the topic with a ll its implication for constitutional and international law, has been scarcely treated in recent English-language sources, despite the existence of ample literature in Russian and other languages.

President Reagan seems to have recognized the Soviet Union's true aims. And he has not forgotten the West's moral obligations to arms control. Adopting a moderate approach in a major foreign policy speech on November 18, 1981, he proposed strategic arms r eduction talks (START a method of resuming not only limitation but reduction of arms, to begin this year.

However, genuine progress can be achieved only under the con- ditions weeding It Dr.

Relations of completely ireevaluating policy vis-a-vis the Soviet Union out disinformation, and breaking the mirror-image fallacy.

Prepared at the request of The Heritage Foundation by Charles T. Baroch Baroch received his M.A. and Ph.D degrees in International Law and from Harvard University and a J.D. degree from Charles University Law School.

Scholar in Residence with the American Bar Association.

He has served as an-advisor to Members of Congress and has been a 32 33 Complete Collected Works, v. 37, p. 304.

Morality As Understood by the Communists (in Russian), Moscow, 1977, p. 111.


Charles Baroch

F.M. Kirby Research Fellow in National Security Policy