Though still best known as a master chess player, Kasparov (How Life Imitates Chess: Making the Right Moves, from the Board to the Boardroom, 2007, etc.) continues his campaign as an anti-Putin warrior.
By his own admission, “I’ve made well over a thousand media appearances in the last ten years, nearly all of them to discuss Russia and Putin,” writes the author, so much of his argument will be familiar to those who have seen him with Bill Maher or read his op-ed columns in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. “Avoiding a new Cold War sounds like an admirable goal, but what if we are already in one?” asks Kasparov. He maintains that any sort of illusion of a thaw should have ended with the ascent of Putin, who followed the corruption of the Yeltsin regime with a dictatorial ruthlessness. He alternates between convincing analysis of Putin’s malfeasance and hard-line assessments of American foreign policy, which he believes has suffered from a rudderless lack of leadership since Ronald Reagan. He can barely bring himself to name Bill Clinton, “a man with no foreign policy experience, a man whose slogan, ‘It’s the economy, stupid,’ efficiently discarded foreign policy and the Cold War from the campaign.” The author thinks the country and the world would have been much better served by John McCain or Mitt Romney presidencies. His disparaging references to Hillary Clinton leave no doubt where he stands on the campaign to come, which a book like this is an attempt to influence. “If the road to Hell is paved with good intentions, compromises on principles are the street lights,” he writes, in a book that finds compromise synonymous with appeasement and consistently finds parallels between Putin and Hitler, because, early on, “Hitler was no Hitler either!”
American readers might not be as eager as Kasparov to return to Cold War policies or commit the troops that might heat it up.