: Peter Schweizer R eagan's War: The Epic Story of His Forty Year Struggle and Final Triumph over Co

by Jeff Stats - Date: 2007-03-02 - Word Count: 1317 Share This!

Peter Schweizer in his book Reagan's War: The Epic Story of His Forty Year Struggle and Final Triumph over Communism portrays Ronald Reagan as honorable anti-communist. Every action that Reagan performed Schweizer interpreted as another step against the Soviet Union. Schweizer draws upon "Reagan's private correspondence over the course of forty years, classified documents from six different countries, formative life events largely hidden from the public, [and] his own ideas and words uttered over the course of a half a century" to show that he did in fact "have a well-developed plan and "won the Cold War."
Although, Schweizer had not covered all the issues of Reagan's "interaction" with the Soviet Union and thus demonstrated only his subjective view of the situation. This book is very controversial in terms of how to interpret it. Some people think that it is a well-written masterpiece that shows how a man by his actions was able to result the end of the Cold War. Others think that Reagan was just around when the Cold War came to its final destination. In my opinion, everyone should find his or her personal position about this work only by critical thinking and reasoning.

Now back to the book, Schweizer mentions in the book Reagan's first visit of Moscow that took place during spring 1988. He presents the facts that support his main idea, particularly, how Reagan instructed Gorbachev like "a parent trying to reason with a child." For some reason, Schweizer lefts out Reagan's response to the query if he still considered the Soviet Union to be the Evil Empire that time Reagan replied negatively, explaining that he was talking about some other time, other era. Schweizer lefts out such a weighty evidence for purpose, it simply destroys its main idea. Instead, he likes to mention Reagan talking about the Kremlin as the criminal immoral place. Schweizer is really biased about everything that Reagan said.
The author gets greatly upset about any situation that he thinks the U.S. concedes to the Soviet Union, for instance, when Henry Kissinger approved the sale of advanced computers to Moscow. He says that the U.S. gave up to much to Moscow when the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty and the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty were signed. For Schweizer those were significant steps back in destroying the communism that he is so obnoxious about. It really seems that he just is not able to forgive American Government such mistakes.

Schweizer intensely gets into showing how great is Ronald Reagan in fighting the communism that he does not even recall the obvious evidence of troubles for the U.S. For instance, Schweizer mentions invasion of Grenada as the shocking setback for the Soviets and Reagan's ability to use military when needed. However, there is not a spot in the book where the author mentions the bombing of the Marine camp in Beirut that took lives of American soldiers. Facts like that significantly decrease the credibility of the author and at such points the assumption of the author's objectivity starts equaling to zero along with the desire to trust the whole book. I once heard some of my teachers say "Never trust the author." and this book appears to be the best example when the author can not be trusted and only critical thinking and evaluation of particular facts and their outcomes would generate fair view of the issue.
The worst in Schweizer's writing is that he tries to refuse that Reagan increased the military and careless talks that almost caused the Soviets to launch the nuclear attack on the U.S. to prevent the nuclear attack that they thought Reagan was going to fire at them.
Very interesting thing happened when one of the professional book reviewers checked the trustfulness of some endnotes that Schweizer used. It actually turned out that some of them simply do not exist. For example, Schweizer asserts that "Likewise, Foreign Minister Gromyko dismissed such paranoia, explaining that the Americans would never strike first, but only in response to aggression." To prove that it is Gromyko's quote, Mr. Schweizer cites a reference to pages 522-23 of Anatoly Dobrynin's memoir that is called In Confidence. When checked, there is no Gromyko or his quote. There is, however, Dobrynin's claim that Ustinov (Soviet Minister of Defense) believed "that Reagan administration was actively preparing for war." That really destroys the credibility of the author that he tried to establish with the reader.
It is now obvious that both leaders, Reagan and Gorbachev, began to fear opposition's and own nuclear weapon. First move made the Soviet leader when started to greatly reduce the number nuclear weapons; however, Reagan's administration followed up and got engaged in collaboration with the Soviet Union. Both governments were greatly concerned about the possibility of unintentional use of the weapon that could simply result the disaster. If one side had even unintentionally used the weapon, another side would immediately respond with the attack. I think that it was just good reasoning and vision of possible greatly unwanted outcomes. Schweizer obviously had a completely different view of this particular situation. He fully rejects the possibility of basic reorientation of the American Government towards the Soviet Union; instead, he indicates the slightest change in "diplomatic tone" that has nothing to do the strategy against Moscow.

According to Schweizer, when the "aging lion" first encountered the "young tiger" in Geneva in 1985, Reagan "established the high ground." The Soviet leader soon began "zeroing in on Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative," because it "provoked passions of fear in Gorbachev." Missing in Schweizer's book the actual Gorbachev's words to Reagan about SDI, reported in his Memoirs: "I think you should know that we have already developed a response. It will be effective and far less expensive than your project, and be ready for use in less time."
Reagan's War: The Epic Story of His Forty Year Struggle and Final Triumph over Communism is full of errors that for some reason the author has allowed to be in the book in the first place. It has only two logical reasons: the author unintentionally made some mistakes (but I think it is very close to impossible to be mistaken when writing a book like that) or he simply made up some endnotes to support his idea in order to make ideologists happy (or maybe he thought that leaving out some facts will make his book more popular among people and make sales better because a lot of people read and learn only what they want to know but not the actual truth).
My another concern is how could Schweizer access the Soviet archives? I think even now, fifteen years after the fall of the Soviet Union even the Russian scholars do not have a complete access to the materials of the Soviet archives, nevertheless, Schweizer uses many of sources from Soviet archives for his book. Personally I think that Russians do not want any outsiders to look in their in their "trash can" because there are probably a great number of references that can impact even modern relationship of two countries.

As I have mentioned in the beginning of my paper, different people have different opinions about Mr. Schweizer's book. It is up to every single person what position about the book to take. The matter of choice is all that matters: some may choose to simply believe in what they just read and not even question that but some will choose to doubt and try to find counter-arguments and generate personal opinions about the topic. Now it is very popular to question everything. We have a number of scholars that question Bible for example and still have not achieved some consensus what is the right way to interpret it and actually look at the book. I believe, that in any case, with any book, we have to look at both sides of the coin and choose the one that best suites us.

Related Tags: cold war, history essay, peter schweizer, world history, soviet union

Your Article Search Directory : Find in Articles

© The article above is copyrighted by it's author. You're allowed to distribute this work according to the Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs license.

Recent articles in this category:

Most viewed articles in this category: