My crampons dug into the ice as Nick belayed me up the summit ridge of Mount Elbrus. If I slipped, and Nick failed to arrest me, I would fall into a cluster of large rocks bulging out of the glacier a thousand feet below. As I carefully made my way up to him, over 18,000 feet in the sky, it never occurred to me that my life was connected to and dependent upon a Russian. The man above me, whom I was counting on to save my life if need be, was Nikolai Chernyi—a Soviet Communist, whose government is the sworn enemy of my country and has countless megatons of nuclear bombs aimed at my home. But in that moment, he was simply Nick, a fellow mountaineer whom I trusted on the mountain without reservation, as he did me.
When we reached the summit and stood on the very pinnacle of Europe (Elbrus, which lies in the Caucasus Mountains between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, is the highest peak in Europe), we did so as fellow human beings experiencing a bond of spiritual exultation that only a shared victory in the sky can bring. The thought that we were, or should be, enemies would have been absurd.
Some days later, I found myself in a disco bar late at night on the 22nd story of a new Moscow hotel. It was filled wall-to-wall with Muscovite teeny-boppers boozing and boogying to the throbbing beat of Western rock 'n' roll.
I was dancing and talking with a young girl named Tanya, who bubbled over with youthful energy, gaiety, and innocence. As I talked with her and her friends—they all spoke some English—I was once again struck by the fact that despite their almost total isolation from the outside world and the government's continuous barrage of hate-filled propaganda against America, most Soviet citizens not only do not hate Americans but are fascinated to meet one.
"You are really from America?" they asked excitedly.
"I sure am," I happily replied.
"Are you a socialist or a capitalist?" Tanya wanted to know.
A grin spread across my face as I looked right at her to announce proudly: "I am a capitalist!"
"You are? Really?" was the wide-eyed, shocked, incredulous response. I had actually admitted it in public.
"And what, Tanya, do you think you and your friends are by being here?"
They all looked at me with puzzlement. "What do you mean?" she asked intently.
"Tanya, I know this is all new to you, just since the last Olympics, but here you are drinking English gin and bopping around to Pink Floyd and Blondie. How decadent and bourgeois can you get? Where do you think all this came from?"
The multicolored disco lights started to flash, and the music began to blast through the room again, so we all got up to boogie some more. As I watched the young gyrating bodies around me, I knew there was little difference between these kids and those in the West. It was impossible, a bad joke, to look on them as enemies.
At various times in its history, America has been at war with the English, the Spanish, the Germans, the Italians, the Mexicans, and the Japanese. All are today our friends. There is nothing in the nature of things that makes it impossible for such a turnaround to occur someday with the Russians, as well.
There is only one basic requirement for this to happen. If the Soviets want peaceful coexistence, detente, disarmament, it is really very easy—all they have to do is stop trying to rule the world.
With his clenched fist raised in fury toward America, Nikita Khrushchev thundered the famous threat, "We will bury you!" And from Lenin to Andropov, the Soviet Union has unwaveringly proclaimed its aim of overthrowing political democracy wherever it may be. Khrushchev's words were those of Lenin and Stalin, and today their threat remains a firm goal of every member of the Soviet Central Committee, for whom Tanya's father works. Like it or not, against its will, America is engaged in a life-or-death struggle with the Soviet Union. The vast majority of the people of the Soviet Union may not be deadly enemies of our country, but the government of the Soviet Union is.
If a peaceable citizen is attacked by a thug in an alley, he is morally entitled to take whatever measures are necessary, including injuring or even killing the thug, to protect himself and his property. The right to self-defense in the face of aggression is an evident moral given for human beings individually—and collectively, as entire nations.
How to best defend ourselves against the Soviets' grand design is a question that has puzzled American administrations and citizens for decades. Answers to this question have by and large failed to observe a basic strategy of defense against any enemy: discover his weakness.
Since the founding of the Grand Duchy of Muscovy in 1462, the Russian state has on the average increased its territory by the size of Denmark every single year, or by the size of the entire country of Italy every seven years. Today, the Soviet Union contains over 100 separate ethnic groups and cultures. Since 1917 it has swallowed several entire nations, bit off large chunks of others, and violently subjugated into colonies 8 of the 13 countries on its border, as well as numerous others around the world.
Within the past decade, the Kremlin has added more than a dozen other nations to its sphere of influence. What was once French Indochina should now be considered Soviet Indochina—Laos, Kampuchea (Cambodia), and Vietnam. The USSR and its clients are now in control in Angola, Mozambique, Ethiopia, South Yemen, Benin, the Congo Republic, Grenada, and Nicaragua. The latest addition is Suriname. The genocide and chemical warfare being conducted in Afghanistan is only a dramatic variant of the ubiquitous hunger, bloodshed, and brutal dictatorship that always accompany Soviet colonization.
In the turmoil of the Bolshevik counterrevolution (which fascistically overthrew the real revolution of Kerensky, who had replaced the Czar's autocracy with a parliamentary democracy), enormous portions of the Russian empire declared themselves independent of Great Russian rule. In 1920, Finland, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Belorussia, the Ukraine, Georgia, and Azerbaijan were all independent sovereign nations. All were subsequently conquered by Soviet military force, their borders subsumed within the borders of the USSR. Only Finland managed finally to escape.
When Hitler's troops marched victoriously into Kiev, the capital of the Ukraine, in September 1941, the Ukrainian people welcomed them as liberators, deluging them with flowers. Millions of people in the Soviet Union joined the Nazis to fight against Stalin. It was only after Hitler began butchering and enslaving them as much as did Stalin that the latter was able to appeal to patriotism and launch a counteroffensive.
The history of Russia and the Soviet Union is filled with the Great Russians' subjugation of other peoples and cultures—the Little Russians, or Ukrainians; the White Russians, or Belorussians; the Georgians, Balts, Moravians, Poles, Ruthenians, Slovaks, Bessarabians, Crimea Tatars, Volga Germans, Tadzhiks, Turkmen, Armenians, Mongols, Azerbaijani, Uzbeks, Kazakhs, Kirghiz, and Afghans. The Kremlin has been occupied since 1917 by men obsessed with missionary Marxism and imbued with the ancient Great Russian desire for empire.
Because of this virulent synergy of missionary Marxism providing a religion-like justification for Great Russian imperialism, the principal purpose of the Soviet economy is the manufacture of weapons. It is correctly noted that while the United States has a military-industrial complex, the Soviet Union is one. Engaging in the most massive military build-up in history, the Soviets have achieved strategic superiority over the United States. The Soviet Navy is now acknowledged to be our equal in many areas, and a vast outpouring of tanks and conventional arms from Soviet munitions factories continues unabated.
Wherever in the world—particularly now in our very backyard in Central America—there is a chance to destabilize America and the West using terrorists, guerrilla war, subversion, propaganda, or whatever, the Soviets are there with guns and money. Moreover, the United States faces nuclear extinction at the hands of a state that has issued apocalyptic threats.
It is thus with good reason that the Reagan administration wishes the United States to take action. Its solution, however, is that the government vastly increase US military spending. This is quite curious, because "conservatives" constantly condemn "liberals" for always wanting to solve social problems by the government throwing billions of tax dollars at them.
What neither the conservatives nor the liberals see is that the Soviet Union is in reality utterly weak and vulnerable. It is this failure that, ironically, assures the Soviets a continued existence. Once the world recognizes the powerlessness of the Soviet Union—that the emperor has no clothes—the Soviets are through, the game is up.
Everyone knows of the outer colonies of the Soviet empire—the "satellites" of eastern Europe, Outer Mongolia, Cuba, etc. But it is less well recognized that the Soviet Union is itself a collection of inner colonies—the Ukraine; the Baltic countries of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia; the Transcaucasian countries of Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia; and the Islamic-Turkic countries of central Asia. Soviet imperialism is practiced first and foremost on its own people within its own borders. And, like Humpty Dumpty in the children's rhyme, if the Soviet Union is ever broken up in any way, it can never be put back together again.
One of the most potent forces for political change in this century, especially since World War II, has been anti-imperialist nationalism. Accordingly, we should not seek to promote individual freedom in the Soviet Union so much as tribal freedom, that is, anti-Soviet, anti-Great Russian ethnic nationalism.
The best defense is a good offense. America and the West are under attack by the most dangerous imperialist power in history. It is about time Americans started doing to the Soviets precisely what they have been trying to do to us, employing a strategy of quid pro quo in subversion and propaganda. For the Kremlin is far more vulnerable to its own medicine than we are.
And the way to do it for real entails, interestingly enough, no massive arms race or increases in the defense budget. It means spending money with a great deal more effectiveness, such as on developing and supporting a number of national liberation movements within the Soviet Union itself.
The goal of such a strategy would be either to establish a genuine peace with the Soviet Union such as America enjoys with former enemies like Japan, West Germany, Spain, and England, or to render the Soviet Union incapable of being any sort of real threat to the United States, up to and including by dissolution of the USSR as a political entity.
The Kremlin must be driven to the conclusion that it cannot conduct a war with the West—nuclear or conventional—without a civil war breaking out among the USSR's inner colonies. The risk of war must be made so great for Moscow that this equation becomes inescapable: war with the West = dismemberment of the Soviet Union.
To achieve this, the US government must define a foreign policy whose goal is to secure from Moscow the realization that there is no exit from this equation: that the USSR's only alternative to political extinction as a nation-state is to abandon its strategy of global domination and its support of terrorist and subversive groups around the world, concentrating instead on developing the Soviet economy.
Such an alternative entails major, radical disarmament. The message to Moscow must be clear: disarmament or dismemberment.
When we look at a Mercator projection world map on which the globe's curved lines have been straightened out on a flat surface, the USSR appears as a vast, seamless, monochrome blob, dwarfing the rest of Europe and Asia. But this is an illusion. Africa, for example, which looks smaller than the USSR, is much bigger: the entire Soviet Union plus the entire continental United States could be fit into Africa with room to spare.
Moreover, private mapmakers should be encouraged and government cartographers should be mandated to depict the Soviet inner colonies in separate colors with each designated "Soviet occupied." It is vital that the world change its perspective on the Soviet Union: it is not a monolithic, impregnable giant but a glued-together, imperialist empire that must some day come apart at its many seams.
The greatest potential weapon we have at our disposal against the Soviets is not the MIRVed ICBM, the Trident nuclear submarine, or even the incredible cruise missile. It is the CIA and a multitude of private, voluntary organizations. The most cost-effective move we could make in defense spending would be to shift the focus of CIA operations, giving this agency the directive to make trouble for the Soviet Union. At the same time, the government should make it clear that the neutrality laws will not be interpreted in such a way as to prevent private organizations from playing an active role in such activities.
A program to undermine the Soviet empire should not waste time on grandstand plays like assassinations and coups d'etat. It should instead concentrate on taking tiny bites, causing small, irritating problems all over the place—worker unrest, ethnic unrest, complaints and moanings in three dozen places. In other words, make the Kremlin suffer, as the Mongols say, the death of a thousand cuts. Here are a few examples of what could be done.
There are over 47 million Moslems in the Soviet Union. While the elite of the Moslem clergy have been accorded power and privileges, the Moslem laity and the rank-and-file clergy have little freedom to practice their religion. In czarist Russia there were over 26,000 mosques; today there are only 200 in the entire USSR. With the resurgence of fire-breathing Islam throughout the Middle East, it should not be difficult to stimulate an Islamic revival among Soviet Moslems.
Such a revival would encourage the already-proliferating secret Moslem brotherhoods that have led recent large-scale anti-Soviet riots in Tashkent, Dushanbe, and Chimkent. It would spark a resurgence of the famed "Basmachi" guerrilla movement among the Kazakhs and Kirghiz in the '20s and '30s. It would help bring to Soviet Moslems the true story of Soviet genocide being perpetrated upon their fellow Moslems in Afghanistan. And it would spark demands for greater religious freedom, the construction of more mosques, and most especially the freedom to make a hadj, a pilgrimage to Mecca. (To make a hadj is one of the five "commandments" of Islam, but only the political hacks among the Moslem clergy in the USSR are allowed out of the country. A hue and cry should be raised throughout all of Soviet Central Asia demanding equal rights for Soviet Moslems.)
A network of underground ethnic newsletters could be developed by teaching ethnic groups throughout the Soviet Union how to make pan-hectograph printing presses (see sidebar, page 37).
Sabotage and Harassment
Militant resistance groups could be organized in the European inner colonies—Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Belorussia, and the Ukraine. These would be similar to the French Resistance during World War II but updated for the '80s, trained to commit sophisticated acts of political sabotage against government and military facilities, records, and equipment. The publicly announced goal of these inner-colony national liberation movements would be outright national sovereignty and political independence à la Finland.
The Soviet Union, for example, is dependent for its functioning on computers, just as the West is. But Soviet computers are primitive compared to ours and are thus more vulnerable to sabotage.
America is home to many talented computer experts who are from Soviet-bloc countries and could be recruited to disrupt the functioning of Soviet computers. They could indulge, say, in "the entropy defense," adding extraneous, made-up data to important records. Adding millions of fake names to the government's lists of dissidents, workers under suspicion, and so on, would make such lists useless.
Scrambling citizens' identification numbers on computer files would generate awe-inspiring chaos in virtually every government agency. Computer "virus" programs could be introduced into a system; these eat and destroy other files in the entire system.
Military phone networks in the USSR are connected to the military computer systems and to the public phone system as well. An ingenious computer manipulator could figure out how to gain access via public phones to the military's own computers. Of course, the cooperation of inside informants and accomplices is necessary, but given this, the possibilities for the most delightfully catastrophic computer sabotage are endless.
Handbooks on harassment techniques should be prepared and distributed, describing how to squirt epoxy glue into door locks, make antigovernment stickers with adhesives that etch the message into glass and can't be removed, get government officials to think their phones are tapped by other officials, and make homemade napalm from soap suds, egg whites, and gasoline. All such techniques of sabotage and harassment should be directed to impairing the government's ability to intimidate and control, while avoiding endangering the lives of private citizens.
Agents provocateurs could be used within all the inner colonies to foment worker, student, and ethnic unrest: complaints, demands, small strikes and demonstrations, in dozens of factories and universities. Workers would be encouraged to demand independent unions; students, less ideology and an end to compulsory courses on Marxism; ethnic groups, more autonomy and a return to their own cultural and legal traditions; and people everywhere, an end to the hated "internal passport," so they could travel throughout the country as they please.
This all must begin very slowly, sporadically, building up over time. Outbursts in one area that may die down as soon as the government cracks down will break out all over again in another, then another, then another, so that reports such as this one from the Los Angeles Times in October 1981 begin to appear commonplace:
Dissident sources in Moscow reported the arrest of the leading nationalist figure in Soviet Georgia, Zviad Gamsakhurdia, after a human rights demonstration two weeks ago. Gamsakhurdia, 41, spent two years in prison in the 1970's on anti-Soviet slander charges. The latest demonstration reportedly took place Oct. 12 in a suburb of Tbilisi, the Georgian capital. A dissident source said about 200 people gathered to protest Soviet controls over the Georgian national language and literature.
The black market, the "second economy" in the Soviet Union, is already so large that the value of exchanges there may very well equal or exceed the official gross national product. Every ruble siphoned off from the state is one ruble less that can be spent on armaments and one ruble more that contributes to the collapse of governmental control over the economy and people's private lives.
A program could be developed to finance and assist promising black marketeers and entrepreneurs in setting up clandestine consumer-goods factories and in moonlighting private services—on state time and using state materials, of course. Underground distilleries for samogon (moonshine) offer great possibilities. Sovietologist Murray Feshbach of Georgetown University reported in 1982 that urban Soviet families devote nearly the same proportion of their weekly budgets to alcohol as American families do to food.
Since its inception, the Soviet government has maintained an information barrier around its citizenry, a monopoly on all forms of media reaching the average Soviet citizen. The only systematic and effective breach of this barrier is international radio: the Voice of America (VOA), Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Deutsche Welle, and RIAS (US-funded, from West to East Berlin).
This breach can and should be widened by the improvement of programs currently directed toward the major non-Russian ethnic minorities, which are broadcast in their own native languages. They should operate with the explicit purpose of encouraging liberation-secessionist activities and various other modes of rebellion against the rule of Moscow.
While the recent proposal for a "Radio Free Cuba"—Radio Martí, named after a Cuban patriot—is a welcome step in the right direction, this is an attack on the periphery. There should be a "Radio Free X" station not only for all of the outer Soviet colonies but for the inner colonies as well—a Radio Free Ukraine, Radio Free Georgia, Radio Free Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belorussia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan.
Each should broadcast programs providing information about the lives and traditions of its people, helping to preserve its cultural heritage and national identity; historical episodes of its resistance to Great Russian domination; news reports embarrassing to the Soviet government such as crime and corruption statistics, details on the latest crop failure, and juicy gossip about the Kremlin elite; and bulletins on the latest activities of emerging national liberation movements within the inner colonies.
Moreover, the VOA—or, better yet, a group of private individuals—could build an additional station with a transmitting power on the order of, say, a million watts, direct it toward all of western Russia, and operate it just like a big-city, DJ-hip, 24-hours-a-day, eat-to-the-beat rock 'n' roll radio station in the United States. It could be laced with news breaks, tips for teens, gossip on rock stars and groups (particularly emerging Russian ones like Time Machine, the latest heart throb of Moscow teeny-boppers), hip commercials for various popular contraband items available in the black market, and songs played by special request.
Tanya and millions of her fellow Soviet teenagers are ready to be corrupted by good old decadent bourgeois rock 'n' roll. It becomes increasingly unappealing to listen to Yuri declaiming how you should slave and sacrifice your one life for the good of the masses when you can instead listen to the Stray Cats. And you're unlikely to develop a murderous hatred for America when you're dancing to its music and it makes you feel so good.
As effective and influential as radio can be as a device to disseminate information and foment unrest, there is another available medium that is even more powerful—television. The technology exists to broadcast TV programs via satellite directly into private homes throughout the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. To see actual events that the Soviet government desperately suppresses or distorts on its "news" would strengthen the profound cynicism and rage that so many average Soviet citizens already feel toward their government media. (There are bitter jokes that everyone in the USSR knows. Q: Why do Soviet televisions come with windshield wipers? A: To wipe the spit off.)
The two alternatives for direct broadcasting involve either a very-high-powered geosynchronous satellite, capable of beaming a continuous signal receivable by normal home-TV antennas, or multiple low-orbit satellites of lesser power, each providing about 10 minutes' worth of signal. The former would be about 10 times more costly; its signal, however, would be uninterrupted and harder to jam.
When it comes to the print media, there is no breach whatsoever in the information barrier that the Soviet-government has thrown up around its citizenry. In the Soviet Union, you can read only what the government lets you, and it's all their side of the story.
That is why copies of Playboy magazine can go for 100 rubles (about $30) or more in Moscow. When we gave the latest Playboy and Penthouse that we sneaked past customs to our guides on Elbrus, they smiled so much that they might have had lockjaw.
Certain Christian groups in the United States have become skilled at smuggling Bibles into the Soviet Union. Equally subversive would be a program to smuggle in thousands of copies of Playboy, as well—for the average Russian to see the hundreds of pages of ads celebrating the vast cornucopia of goods available to the magazine's American readers would be demoralizing enough, not to mention the departures from socialist realism for which the magazine is well noted.
Also, if the anti-Communist, Bible-smuggling Christians were really smart, they would cooperate with Moslems to smuggle Korans into Soviet Central Asia.
In addition, people interested in getting more information to Soviet citizens could work to distribute throughout the Soviet empire vast numbers of Lippman-emulsion microdots (a quart jar would contain over 100 million) encoded with the texts of various books, current magazines, and newspapers. Microdots are pinhead-sized pieces of photographic film on which a large quantity of information (for example, the Bible on one microdot) can be put; Lippmann-emulsions, discovered in the 19th century, are particularly easy to make. These microdots can be read with a simply-made glass-bead microscope (see sidebar, page 37).
The pen is mightier than the sword, but the sword still has its place. For example, the Afghan rebels (more accurately, the patriots) should be supplied with Redeyes—handheld, shoulder-launched, heat-seeking missiles—to neutralize Soviet helicopter gunships. And in retaliation for the Soviets' widespread use of chemical warfare in Afghanistan, show the patriots how to make an "Afghan cocktail" (see sidebar, page 37).
The Afghans could also be encouraged and enabled to expand their activities across the border, attacking military targets in the three Soviet Moslem republics adjoining Afghanistan—Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tadzhikistan. This would deny the Kremlin a sanctuary from which to launch its campaign of Afghan genocide.
Beyond any doubt, the Kremlin easily has the might to squash any single small disruption or movement, just as a person can squash a bee whose single sting is only a minor annoyance. But several dozen stings by a swarm of bees is another matter. By giving the Soviet government so many problems of so many different varieties in so many different places throughout its empire, the USSR's might would be rendered impotent.
All of these offensive strategies are the sticks, designed to take advantage of the Achilles heel of the Soviet Union, to take it out of the game. But where there is a stick, there should also be a carrot, an enticement to play the game on our side. Diplomatic strategy should provide the carrot.
The Russian people and their leaders are not some crazed, bloodthirsty horde like the Mongols under Genghis Khan. Russians have made great contributions to Western civilization. Cultural greats, for example, include such Russians as Tchaikovsky, Rimski-Korsakov, Dostoyevsky, and Tolstoy.
The Russians have clearly demonstrated their capacity to behave barbarically, as have the Germans. Nonetheless, today there is an affinity between Germany and the other cultures of the West, certainly including America—and reasonably so. Russia and the Russian people also can become an ally of America's, and not as in World War II, when there was a marriage of cynical convenience to fight a common enemy, but on the basis of cultural affinity, trust, and friendship.
There do not have to be adversaries in the world, as the Marxist, fixed-pie view of reality suggests. The nations of the world can grow and prosper together.
So why does the Soviet Union look upon the United States as an adversary? It certainly isn't because we are capitalists rather than socialists or communists. After all, the Soviet Union's greatest adversary is China, yet China's government spouts nearly the same Marxist-Leninist line as the Kremlin does.
Let's face it: America really isn't a belligerent, warlike country. There is more compassion, honest concern, and actual cash on the barrelhead given away by Americans for the well-being of mankind than by any other nation on earth. America simply isn't an imperialist power. It gave back Cuba and the Philippines and Okinawa and isn't trying savagely to colonize all over the world.
America's diplomatic attitude and operating principle toward the Soviets should be: don't attack us, and we won't attack you—morally, ideologically, subversively, economically, or militarily. Stop acting like an imperialist power, stop trying to foment disruptions and rebellions, stop trying to make trouble. Get the Cubans and East Germans out of Angola and Ethiopia and South Yemen and Nicaragua, and get yourselves out of Afghanistan. Cease the constant outpouring of lies and childish propaganda about us. If you do, we'll leave you alone. If you don't, we'll dismantle you as a political entity.
The only way to negotiate with the Soviets is through strength; the only viable diplomacy is to make them an offer they can't refuse. As the son of Don Corleone reported in the movie The Godfather: "My father placed a gun at the man's head and told him that either his signature or his brains would be on the contract." Likewise, it must be made breathtakingly clear to the old men in the Kremlin that either their signature or their brains will be on a verifiable disarmament treaty.
It is true that the Kremlin is between the proverbial rock and a hard place: either it continues its massive military build-up and constant expansionist foreign policy, or the entire system of oppression and control starts to disintegrate. So it seems that if the Soviet Union disarms, the Soviet Union dissolves. But there is an out—the path chosen by China.
For the choice is not limited to being our friend or our enemy. What is necessary is for the Soviet Union to understand that its very survival requires its becoming, at the very least, nonbelligerent toward America and the West, as China has done.
China poses little threat to us. Its government is not aggressively imperialist and isn't voraciously colonizing all over the world. With the insanity of the Cultural Revolution behind them, the Chinese are concentrating instead on developing their own economy—without going on a credit binge and with a panoply of semicapitalist, private-incentive measures.
The Soviet Union should be in the same boat. At the very least, the Soviets must concentrate on keeping theirs afloat and must refrain from trying to sink ours. If they do not, the task of our diplomacy should be to explain to them that we can no longer refrain from simply pulling their plug.
We live in a risky world, perhaps the riskiest ever. All military graveyards are full of dead heroes. This is no time or place for rash moves, for a political charge of the light brigade leading us all into a nuclear Balaklava.
Yet America is in a fight for its life. Either we give up, lie down, and culturally die, or we figure a way to win, a way to take the bastards out.
Of course "the Commies" have enough nuclear weapons to blow us all off the map many times over. But we do not need to immobilize ourselves with panic over the prospect of nuclear war any more than, say, germ war. All-out biological germ warfare, for which the Kremlin is actually better prepared than we, would wreak just as much of a holocaust. It is fully as frightening as a nuclear war, and yet we single out the latter in which to wallow in fear-stricken anguish.
The Soviets do have immense military power, unimaginably horrible power. But they also have a problem. They can't use it. For them to use the bomb would be an act of suicide—not because of the physical destruction that would be wrought by a retaliatory attack, but because of the political devastation that would result.
The Soviet Union really is Humpty-Dumpty. The "union" is not voluntary: the strong centrifugal forces within its borders are kept in check only by constant oppressive force. Today, with major demographic shifts, economic decline, disillusionment with Marxism, and the Polish situation, these centrifugal forces are coming into sharper and sharper focus—making the present a most propitious time for programs and policies that heighten the USSR's mortal ethnic problem.
A major purpose of such programs is to ensure that no matter what futile and hypocritical appeals to a nonexistent patriotism the Great Russians make to the other nations and cultures under their sway, no matter what precautions the Soviets take for a nuclear attack upon them, the vast destruction of such an attack would chaotically disrupt and break lines of communication and control between the Kremlin and a great many places throughout its empire. And once that empire is literally broken up into isolated, separate pieces, it can never be put back together again.
Once the Kremlin loses control—even if only for a matter of days—of several portions of what previously was the USSR and its outer colonies, it will be unable to regain that control. The centrifugal forces will be unleashed; the inner colonies as well as the outer will say, "Do svidanya, Yuri!" The Soviet Union will simply vanish as an intact political entity; and whatever political structures arise in its place, there will be many of them, and they won't be taking orders from the Kremlin.
This is why, for example, the Warsaw Pact, and the possibility of its being a coordinated offensive threat to Western Europe, is such a fraud. NATO needs to develop its capacity for subversion, not its capacity to repel hypothetical attack by Eastern Europeans eager to conquer or die for the glory of Great Russia.
None of this means that anyone should consider for a picosecond calling the Soviets' bluff or a preemptive first strike against them. It means, rather, that the US government should be doing hardball negotiating with the Kremlin.
We can decisively put the Kremlin on the defensive in such negotiations. The particular techniques I've suggested for a subversive strategy of promoting ethnic nationalism within the Soviet Union are illustrative examples only. The employment or rejection of any one of them is not in itself important. What is vitally important is that the United States and the rest of the West go on a quid-pro-quo offensive against the Soviet Union and begin at last to exploit resolutely and confidently the USSR's mortal weaknesses.
There is enormous risk to us and the world no matter what we do. The Soviet Union is a society in a serious state of decay. There may well be more risk, however, in a policy of apprehensive, apologetic timidity than in trying to hasten and control to our benefit the Red empire's dissolution.
The course suggested here—to go for the USSR's jugular, to take advantage of the Soviet Union's Humpty-Dumpty vulnerability—is no more inherently risky than any other. It will require liberal doses of courage, caution, patience, skill, cool nerves, conviction, and self-confidence. But these are requirements for success and survival, both for individuals and entire cultures, in the first place.
America need have no fear of the Soviet Union. The state whose leaders have promised to bury us can be made to suffer the death of a thousand cuts—unless it chooses peace.
Jack Wheeler has a Ph.D. in philosophy. He is currently traveling around the world gathering information on Third World anti-Soviet guerrilla insurgency movements, a project of the Reason Foundation Investigative Journalism Fund.
Recipes for Revolution
Following are recipes that could be easily taught to anti-Kremlin guerrillas and would most certainly give Yuri Andropov a bad case of heartburn.
UNDERGROUND PRINTING PRESS TARTARE
To make a pan-hectograph printing press, boil gristle and bones down to a gelatin. Paint a sheet of paper with coal-tar dye made by boiling coal (one kilo good for 100,000 dye sheets). Let dry. Place a second blank sheet over the dye sheet and type message on it. Separate the second sheet (now a "ditto master"); dampen with alcohol. Press onto gelatin for 30 minutes. Peel off. Dye image on gelatin is good for about 200 copies.
CAMPFIRE GLASS-BEAD MICROSCOPE
Hold two small pieces of clear broken glass together over a flame. When melting starts, spread the pieces apart quickly, forming a thin glass thread between them. Break the thread in two. Put a tip of the broken thread back in the flame until it melts into a globule. Remove. Wait until cooled. This produces a microscope that can be used to read Lippmann-emulsion microdots with texts of books and magazines encoded on them (a quart jar can contain over 100 million microdots).
Fill an old bottle with hydrochloric acid. Fill another old bottle with a certain inexpensive industrial solvent. Wrap them together with wire and blasting cap. Upon impact, the contents of the bottles combine to form a lethal mustard gas, notably effective on foreign armies occupying mountainous Asian countries.
This article originally appeared in print under the headline "How to Dismantle the Soviet Empire".