It’s what Lincoln said when told that Grant was imbibing: “find out what whiskey he drinks and send a barrel to all my generals”.

Reagan is said to have read Tom Clancy’s “Red Storm Rising while preparing for Cold War summit with Gorbachov. Naturally, Britain’s Independent weighs in in its oh-so-smug condescension.

The exact extent to which the Clancy thriller coloured the President’s thinking will remain unknown. But the Downing Street memo offers a tantalising suggestion that the former film star may have begun to conflate fact with fiction when it came to interpreting Mr Gorbachev’s actions. [emphasis added] 

Red Storm Rising, which describes a war fought to the brink of a nuclear conflagration, features a slick and duplicitous Politburo chairman who makes Washington a generous offer on arms reduction while all the time secretly planning for war.

Mr Powell wrote: “The President also showed deep distrust of Soviet motives. Their attempt to freeze US research into strategic defence was cover for them ‘to go ahead like crazy with their own missile defence plans’.”

While the apparent use of a work of fiction as a crib sheet for the delicate process of negotiating away weapons of mass destruction might not inspire confidence in Mr Reagan’s grasp of geo-political detail, [emphasis added] Mr Clancy was at least highly rated as an observer of Cold War technology.

Red Storm Rising was written with apparent expertise in sensitive military secrets such as America’s stealth bombers or the USSR’s Typhoon-class nuclear submarines.

When a senior Washington admiral read Hunt for Red October, his initial response is reputed to have been to shout: “Who the hell cleared this?”

So this unsophisticated  rube, this “former movie star” “conflated fact with fiction” yet somehow brought down the Soviet Union. If only our “former community organizer” would read any one of the Vince Flynn series, instead of memos from Valerie Jarrett; we’d be a safer nation today.

On the Beach

The movie that informed a generation of smug idiots

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5 responses to “It’s what Lincoln said when told that Grant was imbibing: “find out what whiskey he drinks and send a barrel to all my generals”.

  1. weakleyhollow

    Red Storm Rising was on the Navy War College reading list during the Cold War. It was quite plausible. It is worth remembering that post Cold War the public finally found out what our presidents did not want us to know. The Soviets had violated every arms control agreement that they had signed, and our intel people knew it.

  2. Babylon Sister

    Form what I can tell, President Reagan understood the Soviet threat better than any of his predecessors. JFK and Ike were the only ones who seemed to come close in my opinion, but they had different priorities. Also, by the late 1970s/early 1980’s, the complexity of the Cold War had evolved significantly. Moscow was gravely concerned about Reagan being elected, and rightly so.

    Another significant book that Reagan had recognized was “Red Horizons” by Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa (the highest ranking Soviet intelligentsia to defect to the West). Last year, Pacepa also published a book called “Disinformation,” with an identically-named highlights reel on DVD. I highly recommend, for those interested.

    Also, for fellow CF fans who don’t mind gratuitous sex and violence, the FX TV series “The Americans” is a somewhat historically-accurate throwback to the height of the domestic shadow war in the early 1980s. Written by a former CIA agent, even three decades post-facto, all scripts are intel-vetted prior to release. Seasons 1 and 2 are available on Amazon Prime… hopefully Season 3 will be out next month 😉