GRAVE NEW WORLD by Michael Ledeen


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The cutesy title, which could signal almost anything, paves the way for a conventional conservative assessment of the state of world politics. Ledeen, a senior fellow at Georgetown U.'s Center for Strategic and International Studies, advised Alexander Haig when he was Secretary of State; and he too sees the world divided up into the forces of good (the US) and evil (the USSR). The reason why things have gotten so bad lately--an unsubstantiated proposition involving an alleged increase in international crises--is that both the Soviets and the Americans have lost their bearings. The Soviets are in the grip of internal problems: modernization hasn't worked out well; the general unattractiveness of communism has thrown those who benefit from it (the much-publicized nomenklatura) on the defensive; nationalism at home and within the ""empire"" is troublesome; etc. Our problems, not surprisingly, are failures of will; and most of them are laid at Jimmy Carter's doorstep, since his administration is seen here as representing a New Left foreign policy. (Cyrus Vance holds ""fashionably leftist"" views, while Andrew Young's are ""even more radical."") The news media are hauled in on the same charges. Journalists, lawyers and judges all come from the same universities--where they get a politically biased and generally shoddy world-view. Journalists don't apply the same standards to the rest of the world that they apply at home. (Given the constraints on investigative reporting abroad, what he seems to want is to lower the domestic standards.) So the media are taken to task for refusing to believe in the so-called Bulgarian connection to the assassination attempt on the Pope (Ledeen is upset that the media still won't go beyond Sofia to Moscow); the media, he says, were committed in advance to proving wrong Haig's notions about Soviet-controlled international terrorism. The ""crisis"" in our policy elite would be soothed by involving our allies more, since they have a clearer view of what we're supposed to stand for: indeed, why not bring in a top-notch foreigner as National Security Advisor? Such a person--say former Spanish prime minister Suarez--would be ""politically neutral,"" says Ledeen, betraying his own simpleminded view of the world. A poor show.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1985
Publisher: Oxford Univ. Press