Fidel Castro is dead. Yes, the communist sultan finally expired yesterday evening, November 25, 2016. The news was ushered with an excellent editorial by the Miami Herald that argues Fidel Castro (photo, left) had become irrelevant. The editorial is a concise recapitulation of his life and influence for seven decades.
He [Trump] would have loved Stalin. — Vice President Joe Biden
Although it is difficult to fathom what causes Mr. Biden to make his trademark offhand comments, we can at least try to understand this defamatory remark. Here are two possible explanations for Biden’s latest episode of verbal flatulence:
A close friend, with whom I frequently hold discussions on the subject of the Cold War and communism, told me that we are still being deceived by the Russians, that the Cold War is not over, and that “…We have convinced ourselves that ‘communism is in the dustbin of history,’ which is exactly what the Soviets wanted us to think — just as Golitsyn disclosed in his book, New Lies for Old.” Furthermore, he asserts his friend, the author Joseph D
Green Perry's mellifluous language and arguments in his letter almost makes one hope socialism does triumph globally and stops all the evils of capitalism. What a soporific. The top six countries he mentioned, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Australia, New Zealand and France, first of all, started from a higher base than most of the world — part and parcel of European Western civilization — before they embraced social democracy.
I read with interest the recent Telegraph op-ed, “The ‘Enlightenment’ keeps on winning, ” and frankly I was astounded at the mischaracterizations alluded to by author-journalist James A. Haught attempting to force through his thesis. Where do we begin?
In a recent op-ed entitled, “The ‘Enlightenment’ keeps on winning,” James A. Haught, an editor emeritus of a West Virginia newspaper, asserts in his latest column that since the advent of the Enlightenment, for three centuries, liberals have scored a string of historical victories over conservatives, and he “hopes the progressive pattern keeps rolling forever.”
Genocide is defined as the systematic extermination of a racial, ethnic, religious, or national group by government. Democide was defined by Professor R.J. Rummel as the political killing of people by their own government. The terms though are related by infamy and cruelty, and at times are difficult to differentiate. The Nazis, for example, conducted genocide against the Jews (who had lost their German citizenship), as well as democide against their own disabled German citizens (“useless eaters”) via the Nazi euthanasia programs before the war.
A Review of The Other Solzhenitsyn: Telling the Truth about a Misunderstood Writer and Thinker by Daniel J. Mahoney (2014)
Faustino Oramas (1911-2007), known as "El Guayabero de Cuba," was a composer, singer, troubadour, and Cuban national treasure from Holguín, Oriente, Cuba. This little tribute contains the lyrics to his son "Ritmo Suave." The son, which gained popularity in Cuba in the 1930s, "combines the narrative Spanish canción and Spanish guitar with African rhythms," usually drums and other percussion instruments. The modern salsa is derived from the son.
Recently, I purchased a firearm at a gun show and had an experience that once again solidified my distaste for collectivist bureaucracies. I often tell my wife and my sons, Ron and Damien, the three people I most often share ideas with, that you would think Americans have had enough experience dealing with bureaucracies at different levels in society that they would see the folly of the greatest bureaucratic scheme of all — socialism/communism.
After talking with young neurosurgeons and residents around the world, they often ask "How do I know what I read is the truth?" I answered that question in a recent editorial.(1)
If the errors committed in the building of the edifice of Western civilization are compared with Plato’s ideal Republic and the perfect State, protected by intelligent but disinterested Guardians and ruled by equally disinterested and totally just Philosopher-kings, then Western civilization loses hands down.(1) But as Aristotle pointed out in his Nicomachean Ethics and Politics, man is subject to errors and thus such ideal utopias created by real men are unworkable and nonexistent.(2) Despite over two millennia of history, no such state has ever been created, and the half-baked facsimiles
Sun Shuyan, author of The Long March — The True History of Communist China's Founding Myth, was born in the 1960s, reared and schooled in communist China, as well as at Oxford, England, where she won a scholarship. Sun Shuyun is now a documentary filmmaker who "for the last decade divided her time between London and Beijing." This short biographical vignette of the author is essential because it parallels her "divided," and seemingly ambivalent, views on Mao and his legacy — viz-a-viz, the People's Republic of China (PRC).
The author of The Long March: The Untold Story, Harrison E. Salisbury (1908-1993), was an American journalist and an eloquent writer, but he had a romantic, softspot for young, "idealistic" communist revolutionaries. This infatuation persisted even though these revolutionists ultimately showed their true colors when they attained supreme power, discarded their sense of justice, imposed communism and totalitarianism, and used terror to
Preliminary Note: The article that follows is a review of Mao — The Unknown Story by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday. However, I have chosen to include this Preliminary Note before the formal review for reasons that will soon become apparent to the reader. This authoritative biography and history comes in a hefty tome illustrated with many rare photographs as well as detailed Maps of specific areas discussed in the text, which actually ends on page 631.
Just as I was beginning to warm up to Vladimir Putin and the new emerging "democracy" in the Russian Federation (which like a phoenix rose out of the ashes of the communist Soviet Union), the Russian President and his minions in the Ukraine invade the Crimean peninsula and threaten to foment a second cold war! Who is Putin trying to imitate?
Stalin's Secret Agents — The Subversion of Roosevelt's Government was written by two experienced authors and recognized authorities on the Cold War, M. Stanton Evans and Herbert Romerstein. Evans is a veteran journalist and former broadcaster, as well as the author of Blacklisted by History (2009), a biography of Senator Joseph McCarthy, and other momentous books. Romerstein was the former head of the Office to Counter Soviet Disinformation at the U.S. Information Agency and a congressional staffer of the House Intelligence Committee.
In the noted biography, Flawed Patriot (2006) by former CIA agent and author Bayard Stockton, CIA legend Bill Harvey, was introduced to President John F. Kennedy as "America's James Bond."(1) Harvey was indeed a charismatic legend in the CIA, but two other, almost equally unknown American heroes, could also vie for the title. One of them is Feliz Rodríguez Mendigutía, the indomitable subject of the book, Shadow Warrior, who, among his many other accomplishments, helped track and capture Che Guevara in the jungles of Bolivia in 1967.(2)
In his book, After Fidel — The Inside Story of Castro's Regime and Cuba's Next Leader, author Brian Latell, a National Intelligence Officer (1990-1994) and the top analyst for Cuba and Latin America for all the U.S intelligence agencies, describes in persuasive detail the personal relationship between Fidel and Raúl Castro. At the time this book was written, Raúl Castro was the anointed successor to the Maximum Leader.
The disintegration of the USSR is inextricably entwined and intimately related to the life and times, failures and accomplishments, paradoxes and contradictions of the courageous Russian who is the subject of this book — a man with tenacious clarity of purpose and the steely determination to carry on through and accomplish his goal at any price.
The Encyclopedia of Cold War Espionage, Spies, and Secret Operations by Richard C. S. Trahair was published by Greenwood Press, (Westport, Connecticut) in 2004. It is 473 pages. It consists of nearly 300 A to Z entries of both spies and secret operations as the main text in 350 pages. There are the usual introductions, as well as a useful Chronology (1917-2003), Glossary, and Index, contained in pages 351 to 473.
Recently I read the book Tiger Trap (2012) by espionage writer David Wise. It is a scary but at the same time an astounding and critically needed book, as Americans know very little about the espionage activities of China in the United States.
Stalin — Breaker of Nations by Robert Conquest (1991) covers the life of Joseph Stalin, from his childhood in Gori to his death at his Nearer dacha (Kuntsevo) near Moscow on March 5, 1953. This book is 346 pages, including bibliographical notes and index. The book is easy to read, well-organized, and ideal for the beginning student of Soviet history and Stalinism.
KGB — The Secret Work of the Soviet Secret Agents by John Barron (Reader's Digest Press, 1974) is a classic KGB espionage saga set during the Cold War!
This is a seminal book and monumental work on the history, the (then) current methods, organization, goals, of Soviet espionage — i.e., KGB foreign intelligence with its First Chief Directorate — and internal security operations — i.e., the Second Chief Directorate.(1)
Passport to Assassination: The Never-Before-Told Story of Lee Harvey Oswald by the KGB Colonel Who Knew Him by Oleg Nechiporenko is a disappointing book for an intriguing subject!
In the book, Castro's Secrets — The CIA and Cuba's Intelligence Machine (2012), author Brian Latell, a professor, scholar, and retired CIA officer who had been active in foreign intelligence for 35 years, relies extensively on information provided by half a dozen Cuban defectors and several retired CIA officers.
Young Stalin by Simon Montefiore is a well-researched, well-written, absorbing, and authoritative biography of Joseph Stalin's early years. Following the usual formalities, the book begins with a tantalizing "Prologue," the audacious robbery and bloody bombing at the festive Yerevan Square in the center of the town of Tiflis (now Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia).
The State by Franz Oppenheimer (1864-1943) was recommended to me years ago by friends as a Libertarian classic of political science. However, having just finished this tome, I now suspect that some of them did not actually read the book, but instead only read passages from it.