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.