My reading during lockdown


“American Betrayal – The Secret Assault on Our Nation’s Character” by American author Diana West was published in 2013. The book book exposes the impact of communist propaganda and successful penetration by Russian intelligence agencies of the US political establishment, pre and post second world war. The detailed research and journalistic investigation makes the book compulsive reading.

It is a fact that US president Franklin D Roosevelt authorised huge support in arms and materiel to the Soviet Union during the war and that this contributed significantly to the defeat of the Nazi regime. It facilitated, too, the advance of Russian forces on Berlin and the subsequent Soviet domination of Eastern Europe. This support was given clandestinely, and master-minded by a man whom Diana West argues convincingly was a communist agent.

The author has researched the records, written and oral, from the 1930s onwards and found accumulated evidence of political blindness to the activities of hostile agents. She identifies high-ranking government officials with ties to Russian intelligence services and singles out the particular role played by Harry Hopkins, President Roosevelt’s confidant and unconstitutionally empowered chief executive.

The president held the idealistic notion of ‘convergence’, whereby the capitalist system of the western democracies and the Soviet system of communism might be brought together into a world order of peace and co-operation. This could never succeed when treaties and undertakings were based on the expediency of gaining tactical advantage and were broken freely and without shame.

“America complicit in Soviet crimes”

The USA became a willing victim, she asserts, of Soviet maneuvering and deceit. She echoes strongly Solzhenitsyn in his ‘Warning to the West’ that the West was veering towards moral and spiritual bankruptcy, and with it the world’s one hope against tyranny and totalitarianism.

She argues that the conspiracy of silence inculpated America complicitly in the crimes of Soviet Russia – the great Ukranian famine and population displacement in 1932/33; the Katyn massacre of nearly 22,000 Polish military officers and intelligentsia in 1940; and Operation Keelhaul, at the end of the war in 1946/47 which saw the forced repatriation and summary execution by firing squad of thousands of allied prisoners, returned to Russia against their will.

The author has not succeeded in showing that the pro-Soviet strategy adopted by Roosevelt was detrimental to the interests of the USA at the time. It was rather the longer-lasting effect of truth decay (as the latest phrase has it) that disturbs her and ought to disturb us.

The repeated failure of whistle-blowers to unveil the truth is clearly documented and Senator McCarthy’s campaign was run into the ground in a storm of liberal condemnation. “Do you have no decency?” became the catchphrase. The Great Lie prevailed as the facts were inconvenient and might upset the Russians.

“Almost everybody started poor”

She accuses the US government then and later of a depth of immorality which has eroded the integrity of the American people and destroyed the American dream.

For an understanding of the American dream, read Janet Daly’s description which the author would endorse: “The American credo is that you should strive to succeed in whatever circumstances you find yourself: that is why you or your forebears came to the country. Almost everybody started poor.

“If you do not succeed by equipping yourself with whatever skills or personal characteristics are necessary or by moving across country to somewhere with better opportunities, then that is largely your own fault. Self-determination is not optional: it is a moral obligation. The American dream – the national spirit, the whole point of the country’s existence is as a refuge for those who want to make something of themselves.”

Diana West strikes a note of urgency in seeking to awaken the American people to the weaknesses of liberal ideology, with its tolerance for cultural diversity, where destabilising forces are allowed to fester and multiply unchecked.

In our post-truth era, moral relativism is the sophisticated norm, to the point that any one asserting a clear moral position is derided as reactionary and even prosecuted for political incorrectness. Facts are no longer self-evident in a post-truth world. They are a matter of opinion and my opinion is as valid as yours, whatever your knowledge, qualifications and experience.

Her views, in the final chapter of her book, on the threat posed by jihad are not for tender consciences. She takes very seriously to heart the ideological power of the Caliphate, whose adherents seek to subsume the whole world. However much one may disagree with her position, let no one say that we have not been warned.

Image Credits: J.Minter .

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  1. For anyone interested in medical history, and modern plagues in particular, I thoroughly recommend Mark Honigsbaum’s “The Pandemic Century: A History of Global Contagion from the Spanish Flu to Covid-19” (Penguin). It is depressing to realise that the same learning process (or sometimes lack of it) perpetuates itself from pandemic to pandemic, with wrong causal attributions, wrong treatments, governmental cover-ups and blame-casting in false directions. There is little excuse these days!

    Perhaps Rye News should have a section for books to be read during lockdown…


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