Roberta Goren's book should be compulsory reading in every course of peace studies. It explains in great detail how the USSR after Stalin's death adapted to the nuclear age its strategy for achieving hegemony in a world dominated by the mass media and by weapons of mass destruction. It was a dual strategy, with an upper and a lower face. The brightly-lit upper face comprised the campaign for peace and disarmament, promoted by Communist 'front' organisations; the darkened, lower face involved the use of very different means to achieve the same end without provoking nuclear war. One of these means was the employment of surrogate forces to support movements of so-called 'national liberation' without the direct involvement of the Red Army. Thus in Africa Cuban intervention was subsidised - with East European satellites, chiefly East Germany and Czechoslovakia, providing arms and advisers. Meanwhile, at a subterranean level and through devious channels, the USSR was cautiously trying out the usefulness of what Dr Goren calls 'sub-revolutionary' forces, which did not aim in the immediate future to overthrow the state, but could be employed to destabilise it. The IRA, the Basque ETA, the Italian Red Brigade and the Baader-Meinhof gang are examples of this activity.
LRB 4 April 1985 | PDF Download