From The Shadows: The Ultimate Insider's Story Of Five Presidents And How They Won The Cold Warby Robert M. Gates
The only person to rise from entry-level analyst to Director of the Central Intelligence Agency and to serve on the White House staffs of four Presidents, Robert M. Gates knows firsthand the deepest secrets of the Cold War. Drawing on his personal experiences in the CIA and on the National Security Council staff in the White House, as well as on intimate knowledge of… See more details below
The only person to rise from entry-level analyst to Director of the Central Intelligence Agency and to serve on the White House staffs of four Presidents, Robert M. Gates knows firsthand the deepest secrets of the Cold War. Drawing on his personal experiences in the CIA and on the National Security Council staff in the White House, as well as on intimate knowledge of CIA documents and activities never before revealed, Gates tells how the Cold War was really fought. From Nixon's detente policy to Reagan's arming of the Mujahedin in their war against the Soviets in Afghanistan, he tells the true story of American policy toward the Soviet Union, placing special emphasis on the White House and the CIA. Gates shows that, contrary to conventional wisdom, there was extraordinary continuity of policy from one President to the next, most strikingly from Carter to Reagan: the former laid the foundations for many of the latter's policies, including CIA covert action in the Third World, efforts to undermine the legitimacy of the Soviet regime at home, continued strategic modernization, and the conduct of economic warfare against the USSR - policies all dramatically expanded and pursued with enthusiasm by Reagan. Brimming with eyewitness accounts of historic meetings, epic internal battles over policy, secret missions, covert operations, and other intelligence activities, From the Shadows challenges much of the conventional wisdom about the events and personalities of the period. Among Gates's revelations: Carter's covert program to encourage the dissident movement and provoke ethnic unrest in the USSR, and how the State Department and the CIA secretly collaborated to block the effort; CIA predictions of a conservative coup against Gorbachev and the collapse of the Soviet Union, two years before these events occurred; CIA and KGB "black operations" against each other; the secret relationship between Pope John Paul II and the Kremlin; the three secret CIA-KGB "summits."
Focusing on the undeclared conflict that pitted the US against the USSR and its client states in venues ranging from Afghanistan to Poland, the author offers a notably candid chronological evaluation of what his agency contributed (or did not contribute) to the last 25 years of America's war against Communism. He also provides telling detail on the homefront hostilities in which CIA officials battled their counterparts at other agencies, justifiably wary lawmakers, and investigative reporters to remain in the good graces of the White House. Gates also explains that détente was the Nixon administration's pragmatic response to the CIA's failure to foresee the Soviet military buildup that began during the late 1960s, producing a singular shift in the global balance of power. He goes on to show that there was appreciably more continuity than is generally perceived between the Carter and Reagan eras, as far as effective challenges to Moscow's zeal for geopolitical adventurism were concerned. Covered as well are the CIA's prescient take on Mikhail Gorbachev's ouster, the agency's surprise at the overnight success of the Velvet Revolution that signalled the end of the Warsaw Pact, the cost of institutional lapses (including the treachery of Aldrich Ames), and the several secret CIA-KGB summits. The vetted text delivers a surprising measure of jocose particulars and tricks-of-the-trade disclosures. Nor does Gates neglect to settle some scores with out-of-office mandarins (George Schultz and others) who beat him into print.
A silent-service veteran's genuinely engrossing from-the- inside-out appraisal of an eventful period in the history of the US and the wider world.
- Simon & Schuster
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