Monday, April 04, 2005

Tea for Two 

Interesting piece from Debka, on how a discussion over tea, changed the Cold War:

Brzezinski’s 1976 tea with the Polish cardinal fathered American Cold War strategy which was, in a word, to prime the imperfectly-suppressed religious zeal pulsating in the Soviet Bloc masses as the West’s doomsday weapon in the Cold War. Pilgrimages by the Polish pope, with the help of secret agitators, were to rouse the multitudes to rise up against their atheistic oppressors. Once the Christians were on the march, Brzezinski proposed persuading militant Islam to join the mission of inflaming the Soviet Union’s teeming Moslems.

From the historical perspective, Brzezinski’s plan of operation was the most radical applied in the Cold War till then, short of armed conflict. In comparison, the Nixon-Kissinger detente policy was much less aggressive, confining itself to photographing a given situation and freezing the arms race, while letting the Cold War go on according to agreed ground rules. Brzezinski’s religious crusading offensive went outside those rules. It was moreover a form of combat in which the West held unbeatable cards. All Moscow Center’s national liberation and terrorist movements, Philby’s phenomenal double agents and moles and Yuri Andropov’s intelligence genius were useless to protect the USSR’s Achilles heel, the proletariat’s unquenched yearning for organized religion, in defiance of the most brutal efforts to stamp it out.

Brzezinski’s brainwave of harnessing religious zeal to beat communism had two extreme though opposite effects. The force of Christianity was a major factor in undermining Soviet communist domination of East Europe. Its lands turned around to embrace democratic change, a pro-Western orientation and a market economy in a still-evolving process. In Asia and the Middle East, Carter’s national security adviser resorted to fundamentalist Islam to defeat communism. The CIA-supported mujaheddin did indeed drive the Red Amy out of Afghanistan. But this same religious weapon eventually became a boomerang against America. It spawned Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda, the Islamic jihadist terrorist movement dedicated to destroying the West and its values,.

One of my former employers was previously a high ranking AFL-CIO member in the 80's, and he told me stories about how the AFL-CIO and the Vatican teamed up to help bring down the Iron Curtain. In what sounds like something from a spy novel, loads of fake TV sets stuffed with cash were sent to the Vatican, from the U.S., then delivered to Lech Walesa's Solidarity movement in Poland. AFL-CIO members would also wear money belts to smuggle cash into Poland to help organize strikes and protests. So, the next time you hear somebody call the AFL-CIO, or other Unions, "communists", you can tell them this anecdote.


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