Lecture by Yuri Bezmenov
Transcribed and edited by Tao Steven Zheng (郑涛)
Subversion is the term — if you look in a dictionary, or criminal codes to that matter — usually is explained as a part of activity to destroy things like the religion, government system, political economical system of a country. And usually it’s linked to espionage and such romantic things as blowing up bridges, side tracking trains, cloak and dagger activity in Hollywood style.
What I’m going to talk about now has absolutely nothing to do with the cliche of espionage or KGB activity of collecting information. So the greatest mistake or misconception, I think, is that whenever we are talking about KGB, for some strange reason — starting from Hollywood movie makers to professors of political science and quote unquote “experts,” some on Soviet affairs or “Kremlinologists” as they call themselves — they think that the most desirable thing for Andropov and the whole KGB is to steal blueprints of some supersonic jet, bring it back to the Soviet Union and sell it to the Soviet military industrial complex. It’s only partly true.
If we take the whole time, money, and manpower that the Soviet Union, and KGB in particular, spends outside of USSR border we will discover — of course, there are no official statistics, unlike with the CIA or FBI — that espionage as such occupies only 10–15% of money, time and manpower. Fifteen percent of the activity of the KGB. The rest, 85%, is always subversion. And unlike a dictionary of English, Oxford Dictionary, subversion in Soviet terminology means always a destructive, aggressive activity aimed to destroy the country, nation or geographical area of your enemy.
So there are no romantics in there, absolutely no blowing up bridges, no microfilms and Coca-Cola cans. Nothing of that sort. No James Bond nonsense. Most of this activity is overt, legitimate, and easily observable if you give yourself time and trouble to observe it. But according to the law and law enforcement systems of the Western civilization, it’s not a crime exactly because of misconception, manipulation of terms. We think that a subverter is a person who is going to blow up our beautiful bridges. No. Subverter is a student who come for exchange, a diplomat, an actor, an artist, a journalist like myself was ten years ago.
Now, subversion is an activity which is a two-way traffic. You cannot subvert an enemy which doesn’t want to be subverted. If you know history of Japan, for example, before the 20th century, Japan was a closed society. The moment a foreign boat comes to the shores of Japan, the Imperial Japanese army politely tell them to get lost. And if American salesman comes to the shore of Japan, I’d say 60 or 70 years from now back and says, “Oh, I have a very beautiful vacuum cleaner for you, you know, with good financing.” He says, “Please leave us. We don’t need a vacuum cleaner.” If they don’t leave, they shoot them. To preserve their culture, ideology, traditions, values — intact. You were not able to subvert Japan. You cannot subvert the Soviet Union because the borders are closed. The media is censored by the government. The population is controlled by the KGB and internal police. With all the beautiful glossy pictures of TIME magazine and Magazine America, which is published by the American embassy in Moscow, you cannot subvert Soviet citizens because the magazine never reaches Soviet citizens. It’s collected from the newsstands and thrown in the garbage can.
Subversion can be only successful when the initiator, the actor or the the agent of subversion, has a responsive target. It’s a two-way traffic. The United States is a receptive target of subversion.
There is no response similar to that one from the United States to the Soviet Union. It stops halfway some way. It never reaches here.
The theory of subversion goes all the way back 2,500 years ago. The first human being who formulated the tactics of subversion was a Chinese philosopher by the name of Sun Tzu. Twenty five hundred years B.C. He was an adviser for several imperial courts in ancient China, and he said, after long meditation, that to implement state policy in a warlike manner is the most counterproductive, barbaric and inefficient to fight on the battlefield. You know that war is continuation of state policy, right? So if you want successfully to implement your state policy and you start fighting, this is the most idiotic way to do it. The highest art of warfare is not to fight at all, but to subvert anything of value in the country of your enemy until such time that the perception of reality of your enemy is screwed up to such an extent that he does not perceive you as an enemy. And that your system, your civilization and your ambitions look to your enemy as an alternative, if not desirable than at least visible. “Better red than dead.” That’s the ultimate purpose, the final stage of subversion after which you can simply take your enemy without a single shot being fired — if subversion is successful. This is basically what subversion is, as you see, not a single mention of blowing up bridges. Of course, Sun Tzu did not know about blowing up bridges. Maybe they were not that many bridges at that time.
But the basics of subversion is being taught to every student of KGB school in USSR and to officers of military academies. I’m not sure if the same author is included in the list of reading for American officers, to say nothing about ordinary students of political science. I had difficulty to find the translation of Sun Tzu in the library of a university in Toronto and, later on, here in Los Angeles. But it’s a book which is not available. It is forced to every student in USSR. Every student is who is taught to be dealing further in his future career with foreigners.
What subversion is, basically it consists of four periods time-wise. We start from here and go this way — time, right, this is the beginning point. The first stage of subversion is the process, which is called basically demoralization. It says for itself what it is. It takes from, say, 15 to 20 years to demoralize a society. Why 15 or 20 years? This is the time sufficient to educate one generation of students or children, one generation, one lifetime span of a person, a human being which is dedicated to study, to shaping up. The outlook, ideology, personality — no more, no less. Usually it takes from 15 to 20 years. What it includes? It includes influencing or by various methods, infiltration, propaganda methods, direct contacts — it doesn’t really matter, I will describe them later — of various areas where public opinion is formulated or shaped. Religion, educational system, social life, administration, law enforcement system, military of course, and labor and employer relations, economy. Okay? Five areas. I will not write them down because we’ll not have enough space.
Some sometimes when I describe all the methods, students ask me a question, “Are you sure this is the result of Soviet influence?” Not necessarily. Is it the tactic of subversion about which I’m talking is similar to the martial art, the Japanese martial art. If some of you familiar with that tactic probably you will remember that if an enemy is bigger and heavier than yourself it would be very painful to resist his direct strike. If a heavier person wants to strike me in the face, it would be very naive and counterproductive to stop his blow. The Chinese and Japanese judo art tells us what to do. First, to avoid the strike. Then, to grab the fist and continue his movement in the direction where it was before, right, until the enemy crashes in the wall. So what happens here? The target country obviously does something wrong. If it’s a free, democratic society, there are many different movements within the society. Obviously, in every society there are people who are against the society. They may be simple criminals, ideologically in disagreement with the with the state policy, conscientious enemies, simply psychotic personalities who are against anything. Right? And finally, there is a small group of agents of a foreign nation. Bought, subverted, recruited, right? The moment all these movements will be directed in one direction. Right? This is the time to catch that movement and to continue it until the movement forces the whole society into collapse, into crisis. So that’s exactly the martial arts tactic. We don’t stop an enemy. We let him go. We help him to go in the direction we want them to go.
So on the stage of demoralization, obviously, there are tendencies in each society, in each country, which are going in the opposite direction from the basic moral values and principles. To take advantage of these movements, to capitalize on them, is the main purpose of the originator of subversion. So we have religion, we have education, we have social life, we have power structure, we have labor relations, unions, and finally we have law and order. One, two, three, four, five, six. OK. These are the areas of application of subversion. What it means exactly in the case of religion: destroy it, ridicule it, replace it with various sects, cults which bring people’s attention, faith whether it is naive, primitive, doesn’t really matter. As long as the basically accepted religious dogma is being slowly eroded and taken away from the supreme purpose of religion, to keep people in touch with the supreme being, that serves the purpose. Therefore, replace accepted and respected religious organizations with fake organizations. Distract people’s attention from the real faith and attract them through various different faiths.
Education. Distract them from learning something which is constructive, pragmatic, efficient. Instead of mathematics, physics, foreign languages, chemistry, teach them history of urban warfare, natural foods, home economy, your sexuality, anything as long as it takes you away.
Social life. Replace traditionally established institutions and organizations with fake organizations. Take away the initiative from people. Take away responsibility from naturally established links between individuals, groups of individuals and society at large, and replace them with artificially, bureaucratically controlled bodies. Instead of social life and friendship between neighbors, establish social workers’ institutions, people on the payroll of whom? Society? No, bureaucracy. The main concern of social workers is not your family, not you, not social relations between groups of people. The main concern is to get the paycheck from the government. What will be the result of their social work? Doesn’t really matter. They can develop all kinds of concepts to show to the government and to the people that they are useful. OK. Away from the natural links.
Power structure. OK. The natural bodies of administration, which are traditionally either elected by people at large or appointed by elected leaders of society, are being actively substituted by artificial bodies. The bodies of people, groups of people who nobody elected, never — as a matter of fact, most of the people don’t like them at all — and yet they exist. One such group is media. Who elected them? How come they have so much power? Almost monopolistic power on your mind. They can rape your mind. But who elected them? How come they have the nerve to decide what is good and what is bad for the elected — by you — president and his administration. Who the hell are they? Spiro Agnew, who is hated by the liberal left, called them a bunch of enfeebled snobs. And that’s exactly what they are. They think they know. They don’t. The level of mediocracy in a big establishment like New York Times, Los Angeles Times, major television network, you don’t have to be an excellent journalist. You have to be exactly a mediocre journalist. That’s easier to survive. There’s no competition anymore. You have you good nice income. One hundred thousand dollars a year. That’s it. Whether you are better or worse doesn’t really matter anymore. As long as you are smiling for the camera and do your job. That’s it. No more competition.
Power structure. Slowly it is eroded by the bodies and groups of people who do not have either qualifications nor the will of the people to keep them in power, and yet they do have power. Together with that, there is another process.
Law enforcement. Law and order organization and structure is being eroded. For the last 20, 25 years, if you see old movies and new movies, you can see that in new movies a policeman, an officer of the United States Army looks dumb, angry, psychotic, and paranoid. A criminal looks nice, kind of. Well, he smokes hash and shoots the drug. But basically, he’s a nice human being. He’s creative and he’s unproductive only because society oppresses him, whereas a general of Pentagon is always by definition dumb, a war maniac. A policeman is a pig, rude policeman. He abuses his power. A generalization like that. The hatred, the mistrust to the people who are supposed to protect you and enforce law and order. Moral relativity. The Angelo Buono process lasted two years in Los Angeles and yet there are still some lawyers who say, “Look, he’s a nice character.” As a matter of fact, there was some witness, also a criminal, who said, “Well, he’s a nice guy. I asked him one day to burn a house of my enemy and he wouldn’t do it. Nice fellow.” A slow substitution of basic moral principles whereby a criminal is not a criminal, actually. He’s a defendant even if his guilt is proven. There is still a doubt. To kill or not to kill, to be or not to be. Thou shall not kill, yes. But this line may not necessarily be applicable to a murder. Thou shall not murder. That should be the presumption, not that thou shall not kill. OK.
Labor relations. At this stage, within 15–20 years, we destroy the traditionally established links of bargaining between employer and employee. The classical Marxist–Leninist theory of natural exchange of goods. Person A has five sacks of grain and Person B has five pairs of shoes. The natural exchange without money is when they bargain between each other. And only with the introduction of the third Person C, an entirely third, foreign stranger who says, “No, don’t give him five sacks of grain, give it to me. And you give me or five pairs of shoes and I will distribute it accordingly so that the economy will go.”
This is the death of natural exchange, the death of natural bargaining. Well, trade unions were established a hundred years ago. The objective was to improve working conditions and to protect the rights of workers from those employers who were abusing their rights because they had more money. Objectively at that time, initially, the trade union movement did work. What we see now is that the bargaining process is no longer resulting in a compromise which is leading objectively to the detriment of working conditions and increase of salary. What we see is that after each prolonged strike, the workers lose even if they have 10% increase of their salaries. They cannot catch up due to inflation and due to missed time. More than that, millions of people suffer from that strike because the economy now is interdependent. It’s intertwined like one body. Previously, steel workers, say a hundred years ago, could strike and nobody would suffer. Now, it’s impossible anymore. If a garbage collector strikes today, the rest of the multimillion city is stinking. I mean, there is no more service. In Quebec, for example, we had the electricians who were on strike in the middle of winter. You can freeze your bottom and they still were on strike. Did they catch up with the salary? No, they lost. Who benefited? The leaders of trade unions. What is the motivation for a strike? Improving a worker’s condition? No. Obviously, it’s not. Then what is it? Ideology. To prove to these capitalists and the obedient horde of workers like sheep, all of these people. And they cannot disobey. Why? Because if they do, you know what happens to them? Pickets, murders, shooting truck drivers by picketers. In Montreal, for example, I saw with my own eyes when I was a correspondent of CBC International — Canadian Broadcasting Corporation — when the workers of aircraft factory destroyed computers and the equipment in the factory. And the administration employed strike breakers. Their cars were turned upside down and burned. Their houses were burned. Their kids were intimidated. And some victims were there, of that we can be sure. Why? To improve conditions of worker? No. Ideology.
OK, so this is what happens basically. It may or may not happen without the help of the Soviet Union, but the natural tendencies are being greatly taken advantage of and capitalized on by the Soviet propaganda systems. How? Whenever a trade union strikes, we have an influx of propaganda, mass media, ideological dissemination, the “worker’s right.” And we repeat it like parrots. “Yes, workers’ rights.” Whose rights? Workers? No, the only freedom of the worker — to sell his labor according to his own desire and will — is taken away from him. By whom? By the trade union boss. Unlimited power is given indistinct… “I want to sell my labor not for $2.50 an hour, but for $2.00.” I don’t have the right. My freedom is denied to me. I know that if I sell my work for $2.00 an hour, not for $3.00 an hour, I will compete better with the other guy who is lazy and more greedy. I don’t need three dollars, I need only two dollars. No. I was made to believe by media, by business, by advertising agencies that I need more and more and more. Have you ever heard any advertising on TV to consume less? No, no way. Whether you need a six cylinder car or not, you have to buy it and hurry up.
When I was driving here on the local radio stations, an excited announcer said, “You, hurry up. Rush and save, save, save! There’s a pantyhose sale! Save — by buying more!”
Of course, of course, it would be too naive to expect the KGB makes that advertising agency to do such a crazy commercial. No, of course not. But what we did when I was working for Novosti Press, we would snowplow editorial offices, student organizations, religious groups with literature of class struggle. If not directly Marxist–Leninist propaganda, then propaganda of the legitimate aspirations of the working class: betterment of life, equality. Equality, mind you. President Kennedy once said, “We will make America believe that people are born equal.” Are people born equal? Is there any mentioning in the Bible or any other holy scripture in any religion, any religion — if you don’t believe me, go to the library and check it — there is not a single word about equality. Just the opposite. By your deeds, God will judge you. What you do is important, the merit of your personality. You cannot legislate equality. If you want to be equal, you have to be equal — you have to deserve it. And yet we built our society on the principle of equality. We say people are equal. We know it is false. It’s a lie. Some people are tall and stupid. Others are short, bald, and clever.
If we make them equal by force, if we put the principle of equality in the basis of our social political structure, it’s the same thing as building a house on sand. Sooner or later, it will collapse. And that’s exactly what happens. And we as Soviet propaganda makers are trying to push you in the direction which you go yourself. “Equality, yes, equality. People are equal. Land of equal opportunities.” Is it true or not? Think about it. Equal opportunities, should there be equal opportunity for me and for a lazy bastard to come here from some other country and immediately registers as a welfare recipient? I never received a single — sorry, I did receive once — but I never applied for welfare. For thirteen years I took any job. Security guard, journalist, taxi driver, anything. Well, I was restless but some people don’t like it. They admit it. So why should we be it? Why should we have equal opportunities? Why?
Woman: Equal opportunity to excel.
Equal opportunity in equal circumstances, yes. But we know people are different. To excel, yes. Provided we reach the same level of excellency, perfection — which is a hypothetical distant future — yes, maybe. But we know perfectly well that even with the best intentions, people could not be equal. Why should we have equality in the, say, legal system? Myself, I’m considering myself a law abiding citizen. And a person who comes here to rob and shoot… The United States administration under Carter imported thousands of Cuban criminals. There were known criminals, yet they were accepted. Do you think it’s fair if myself and my wife from Philippines who work like a, excuse me, horse as a lab technician in the hospital should have the same rights as a criminal came from Cuba? Why?
And yet we repeat as parrots, “Equality, equality, equality.” And the Soviet propaganda system helps us to believe that equality is something which is desirable. Democracy, as it was established by fathers of this country, of this system in the last century, is not equality. It is the system where different people, unequal people, have a chance to survive and help each other in constant competition and constant perfection. Not in equality, which is superimposed from from a godfather or nice person in Washington, D.C. And the absolute equality exists in Soviet Union, quote-unquote “equality.” Everybody’s equal in dirt. Except some people are more equal than the others in politbureau.
So the moment you bring a country to the point of almost total demoralization, when nothing works anymore, when you are not sure what is right or or wrong, good and bad, where there is no division between evil and good, when even the leaders of the church sometimes say, “Well, violence for the sake of justice, especially social justice, is justified in countries like Nicaragua, El Salvador — well, maybe Rhodesia.” And we listen to them and say, “Yeah, probably it’s true.” Is it true? No, it is not true. Violence is not justified, especially for the sake of quote-unquote “social justice” introduced by Marxist–Leninists. That is, my former colleagues from Novosti Press Agency. Okay, so we reached that point.
The next step is destabilization. Again, this word says for itself what it is. To destabilize all the relations, all the accepted institutions and organizations in the country of your enemy. How do you do it? You don’t have to send a battalion of KGB agents to blow up bridges. No, you let them do it themselves. The area of application is, again, it’s narrower now. Not like the previous case. The overt, legitimate actions of the of the KGB in this case would be hardly noticeable. There is no crime if a professor who recently went to USSR introduces a course of Marxist–Leninism in a Californian college, for example. Nobody is going to come to his doorstep and say, “Okay, mister, come. You are under arrest.” No, it’s not a crime. It’s not even considered a moral crime against your country. So the area of application here is narrowing down to economy, again labor relations, to law and order. Plus military. And again, the media, but wider scope, a little bit different. I’ll explain later. OK, basically three areas.
Economy. The radicalization of the bargaining process. If at that stage we still could achieve theoretically some positive compromise between the negotiating sides with, say, introduction of arbitrary judges, a third side objectively judging that the demands of both sides. Here, it’s radicalization. At this stage of destabilization we cannot come to a compromise even within a family. The husband and wife couldn’t figure out which is better: the husband wants his kids to eat the table and the wife wants the child to roam around the room and drop food all over the floor. They cannot come to compromise unless they start a fight. It’s impossible to reach a compromise, a constructive compromise, between neighbors. Some people say, “I don’t like you to watering your lawn at the time because exactly at that time I’m walking my dog and he’s getting nervous that he cannot pass his bowels.” They cannot compromise, they go to a civil court or something like that. Radicalization of human relations. No more compromise. Fight, fight, fight.
The normal, traditionally accepted relations are destabilized. The relations between teachers and students in schools and colleges. Fight. The relations between an economical sphere between laborers and employers are further radicalized. No more acceptance of the legitimacy of demands of workers. Unlike the Japanese, if you ever heard about it, when the workers are involved in the decision-making process, therefore they don’t have a moral incentive to fight their bosses. In United States it’s just the opposite. The harder the fight, the better. The more heroic they look. When the Greyhound network was on strike recently, the correspondence of local TV networks all over the United States were approaching the strikers and they say, “Oh, yes, we are doing something nice.” They looked like heroes and they were proud. There was some family, the husband was a bus driver. Now they decided in the protest against the bosses to camp somewhere in the forest. And they were presented to the audience as heroic, nice people. You see? The violent clashes between passengers, picketers, and the strikers are presented as something normal.
Ten, fifteen, twenty years ago, we would we would be where we would be angry. We’d say, “Why? Why? Why so much hatred?” Today, we are not. We say, “Well, it’s commonplace.” Radicalization, militarization sometimes, as I explained at that stage, I took a step little bit further. Shooting people.
Law and order now also is pushed into the area where previously people settle their differences peacefully and legitimately. Now, we are getting court cases in the in the smallest, irrelevant cases. We cannot solve our problems anymore. The society at large becomes more and more antagonistic between individuals, between groups of individuals, and the society at large. The media puts himself in the opposition to the society in general at large. Separate, alienated. At that stage — you remember I was talking a couple of hours ago about the sleepers — that’s when the students from, say, the United States, if they are trained in Lumumba University or developing nations — that’s the students I was dealing with — are being sent back from the Soviet Union to here. Or if they were already in the United States, in the country which is an object of subversion, they spring to action. The sleepers go up. They slept for 15–20 years. Now they become leaders of groups, preachers — I don’t know — public figures prominently. They act. They actively include themselves in the political process. All of a sudden, we see a homosexual. Fifteen years ago, he did his dirty job and nobody cared. Now he makes it a political issue. He demands recognition, respect, human rights. And he rallies a large group of people, and there are violent clashes between him and police, his group and ordinary people, no matter what. It’s black against white, yellows against green. Doesn’t matter where this division line goes. As long as these groups come into antagonistic clash, sometimes militantly, sometimes with firearms, that is the destabilization process. The sleepers, many of whom are simply KGB agents, become leaders of the process of destabilization. Doesn’t mean that Comrade Andropov sends Comrade Ivanov to the United States. The person who takes care is already here. He’s a respected citizen of the United States. Sometimes he gets money from various foundations for his legitimate struggle for, I don’t know, human rights, women’s rights, kid lib, prison lib, whatever. There are sympathetic Americans who donate their money to him.
Destabilization process usually leads directly to the process of crisis. In the case of developing nations — this is the area where I was active — the process starts when the legitimate bodies of power, the social structure, collapse. It cannot function anymore. So instead, we have artificial bodies injected into society such as non-elected committees. You remember I was talking about them here. Social workers who are not elected by people, media who are self-appointed rulers of your opinion, some strange groups which claim that they know how to lead society forward. They don’t, usually. All they care about how to collect donations and sell their own concocted ideology, mixture of religion and ideology. Here we have all these artificial bodies claiming power. If the power is denied to them, they take it by force. In the case of Iran, for example, all of a sudden we have revolutionary committees. What kind of revolution? There was no revolution yet. And yet they had the committees. They were the taking power of judgment. They had they had the power of execution, they had the power of legislation, and they had the power of judicial. All of them combined in one person who is half-baked intellectual, sometimes graduated from Harvard University or Berkeley. He comes back to his country and then he thinks that he knows the answer to all the social and economical problems.
Crisis is when society cannot function any more, productively. It collapses. Obviously, that’s the word for crisis. So therefore, the population at large is looking for a savior. The religious groups are expecting a messiah to come. The workers say, we have a family to feed. Let’s have a strong government, maybe a socialist government, centralized, where somebody will put the employers in their place and let us work. We are sick and tired of going to strike and missing overtime and all that stuff. We need some strong man, strong government. A leader, a savior is needed. The population is sick and tired of waiting. And here we are. We have a savior. Either a foreign nation comes in or the local group of leftists, Marxists — no matter what they call themselves — Sandinistas, a reverend of some sort, Bishop Muzorewa like in Zimbabwe. Doesn’t matter. His savior comes and says, “I will lead you.”
So we have two alternatives here: civil war and invasion.
See how it goes? Civil war, we know what it is. Lebanon is the best example. The civil war, which was artificially implanted in Lebanon by injection of force of PLO, Palestinian Liberation Organization. Invasion we had in many other countries like Afghanistan — and name any East European country, it was invaded by the Soviet army. But the result is the same.
The next stage is normalization. Normalization is a very ironic word, of course. If this borrowed from the 1968 situation in Czechoslovakia when the Soviet propaganda, and after them the New York Times, declared the country is normalized. The tanks moved into Prague, so there is no more Prague Spring, there is no more violence. Normal. Normalization.
At that stage, the self-appointed rulers of the society don’t need any revolution anymore. They don’t need any radicalism anymore. So this is the reverse from destabilization. Basically, it is stabilizing the country by force. So all the sleepers and activists and social workers and liberals and homosexuals and professors and Marxists and Leninists are being eliminated, physically sometimes. They’ve done their job already. They’re not needed anymore. The new rulers need stability to exploit the nation, to exploit the country, to take advantage of the victory. So no more revolutionaries, please. And that’s exactly what happened in a number of countries. You remember Bangladesh? This is the crisis in which I was instrumental. First they had Mujibur Rahman. In 1971, he was the leader of People’s Party, Awami League. With mustache like Stalin, he was in Russia many times. In five years he was shot by his former colleagues, Marxists. He fulfilled his function. In Afghanistan, it happened three times. First there was Taraki, then there was Amin, now there is Babrak Karmal. They killed each other successively, one after another, the moment he fulfills his duty. The first one demoralized the country, the second destabilized, the third one brought it to crisis. Goodbye, comrades. Babrak Karmal comes from Moscow and they put him into the seat of power. The same thing happened in Granada recently. Maurice Bishop, a Marxist, was killed by Austin — what’s his name, General Something — who was also a Marxist. So no more revolutions, please. Normalization now. From now on, no more strikes, no more homosexuals, no more women’s lib, no more kid lib. No more lib, period. Good, solid, democratic proletarian freedom.
To reverse this process takes enormous effort. When today, the United States had to invade Grenada to reverse the process of subversion. Some people say, “Boy, this is not good. It’s not kosher to invade the beautiful island country of Grenada.” Well, why didn’t you stop the process here when another was just approached by leftists? Why not prevent Maurice Bishop coming into power in the first place? Did Grenadans want him? Very questionable. They didn’t know who was Maurice Bishop in the first place. He came to power by coup de etat himself. No, we let the situation develop further and further and further until the crisis — and normalization very soon — and then the United States decided to invade the country, discovering that the country was absolutely a military base for the Soviet Union. Of course it’s a drastic measure, of course it’s a pity the Marine Corps has had to lose, what, seventeen lives? Very bad. Why not stop the process before it comes to crisis? Oh no, intellectuals will not let you. It’s interference into domestic affairs. They’re very careful not to let American administration interfere in domestic affairs of Latin American countries. They don’t mind the Soviet Union interfering in these affairs.
So to reverse this process from here it takes only and always military force. No other force on Earth can reverse this process at this point. At this point, it does not take military invasion of the United States Army. It takes strong action like in Chile. A CIA covert involvement to prevent the savior from outside to come into power, and to stabilize the country before it erupts into civil war. Support the right wing conservative forces by money, by crook — so what, doesn’t matter. Stabilize the country. Don’t let the crisis develop into into civil war or invasion. “Oh, no,” your liberals will say, “it’s against the law that Congress will not appropriate money for covert actions of the CIA.” Why not? Should we wait until the normalization comes Soviet tanks land at Los Angeles airport? Now, at that point, at the point of destabilization, also the process could be reversed. Again, easier than this. No CIA involvement at this point. You know what it takes here? Restriction of some liberties for small groups, which are self-declared enemies of the society. As simple as that. “Oh no,” the media and liberals will tell you, “this is against the American constitution. How can we by force deny the civil rights to criminals, for example? It’s not good.” So we allow them to. If you allow the criminals to have civil rights, go on, and bring the country to the crisis. This is a bloodless way to do: curb the rights.
I mean, not to put them in prison. No, no. I’m not talking about putting all the gays from San Francisco in a concentration camp. Do not allow them to take political force. Do not elect them to the seats of power. Whether it is municipality level, state level, or federal level, it has to be beaten in the heads of American voters that a person like that in a seat of power is an enemy. Do not be afraid of this word. It is an enemy. If he is not an enemy here, he will be here. Later on he will be shot, of course. But at this point, he is an enemy.
You’re doing great service by denying him a right to capitalize on his own crazy ideas and become a powerful man, a man who uses the seat of power. Restriction of certain freedoms and permissiveness at that point would prevent sliding into crisis and probably will return the process of destabilization. To curb unlimited power, monopolistic power of trade unions here, at that point, would save the economy from collapsing.
To introduce a law to stop private companies of raping public opinions, minds, in the in the direction of consumerism. No company must have a right to force you into buying more unless you want it. There must be a law. You want to advertise your car? OK, but not a single mentioning of buying it now and saving money. It must be against the law to force people to consume more. Self-restraint. Previously, before this process started, self-restraint was a business of church, religion, because our preachers, the fathers of church, would tell us material values are good but it’s not the prime function of a human being because you have to live with something… Obviously, the design for our life is not to consume more deodorants. There must be something greater. If such a complicated instrument, this human body was created, obviously there must be some higher purpose for that.
And it’s very easy to avoid destabilization by denying the greedy companies one little freedom, one little liberty, forcing you into turning yourself into processors of unwanted products and goods. They turn you into machines, like the worm. There’s inlet and outlet. How long an average appliance last these days? Less than a year. Why? Where’s workmanship? We want you to buy more.
Destabilization process could be easily overcome if, as I say, the society, by its own will or after persuasion by the leaders, will come to the idea of self-restraint. It’s so hard, we want to consume more, but you have to unless you will come to this stage when, as we say in Russia, “If Sahara Desert ever becomes a communist state, there will be a shortage of sand.”
You have to curb your expectations at this point before it’s too late. But no, we don’t want to do it.
Demoralization process. Again, it’s the easiest thing to reverse. First of all, by restricting import of propaganda, the easiest thing to do. Unlimited, unrestrained import of Soviet literature. Soviet journalists giving Soviet propaganda and ideological agitators equal time on American TV network. It has to be stopped. And it’s easy. They wouldn’t they won’t be offended. As a matter of fact, they will respect America more. But then my former colleague, Vladimir Pozner appears on Nightline and Ted Koppel asks him, “Well, Vladimir, what do you think about this?” And what can he think? He is an instrument of propaganda, he thinks what Comrade Andropov tells him to think. He’s just a nice, articulate mouthpiece of the Soviet subversion system. And Ted Koppel makes you believe that my friend, Vladimir Pozner thinks.
The process of demoralization may not have started at all at that point. The country which is a recipient of subversion actively, not violently but actively, prevents importation of foreign ideology. I don’t want America to follow the pattern of ancient Japan. You don’t have to shoot every foreigner when they approach the sacred borders of the United States. But when he offers you junk in the disguise of a very shiny something, you have to tell him, “No, we have our own junk.” If at that point, the society is strong, brave, and conscientious enough to stop importation of ideas which are foreign then the whole chain of events could be prevented.
Recently, I’ve been to the Philippines and I was shocked how in big cities like Manila, children listen to deafening music. A melodious nation with long traditions of good, nice ethnic music introduced by Spanish long time ago, maybe two centuries, three centuries ago — I don’t remember how long — all of a sudden listened to musical garbage blasting their radios at full blast, at full volume. Why?
In India, I spent many years watching the reactions of Indians walking out of movie theaters after seeing Hollywood productions. They couldn’t figure out why Americans are so wasteful, they smashed their cars, their shiny cars, every five minutes. How come they shoot each other for half a million dollars? Is it true that they’re so obsessed with sex? Can you imagine showing a movie where each five minutes there is copulation on the screen to a country like India with a long tradition of respect to this private matter, or to Pakistan?
And the United States expects these people to respect you? No way. Oh yes, they will see the movie. They’ll pay five rupees to see that garbage. But they walk out and will tell their kids, don’t respect Americans. Don’t be like Americans.
So the process of demoralization could be stopped right here, both as an export and as an import. And that takes one step, one very important thing to do. You don’t have to expel all the KGB agents from Washington, D.C. The most difficult and at the same time the simplest answer to the subversion is to start it here and even before by bringing back the society to religion, something that you cannot touch and eat and put on yourself but something that rules society and makes it move and preserves it. A Soviet scientist, Igor Shafarevich, who has nothing to do with religion — he is a computer scientist — did a very intensive research on the history of socialist countries. He called socialist or communist any country with a centralized economy and a pyramidal style of power structure. And he discovered — actually he didn’t discover it, he just brought to the attention of his readers — that civilizations like Mohenjo-daro in the River Indus area, like Egypt, like Maya, Incas, like Babylonian culture collapsed and disappeared from the surface of Earth the moment they lost religion. As simple as that. They disintegrated. Nobody remembers about them anymore. Well, distantly.
So the ideas are moving society and keeping mankind as a society of human beings. Intelligent, moral agents of God. The facts, the truth, the exact knowledge may not. All this sophisticated technology and computers will not prevent society from disintegrating and eventually dying out. Have you ever met a person who would sacrifice his life, freedom, for the truth like that? This is truth. I’ve never met the person who said, “This is truth and I’m ready to be shot to defend the truth.” But millions sacrifice their life, freedom, comfort, everything for things like God, like Jesus Christ. It’s an honor. Some martyrs in the Soviet concentration camps died, and they died in peace — unlike those who shouted “Long Live Stalin” knowing perfectly well that they may not live long. Something which is not material moves society and helps it to survive. And the other way around, the moment we turn into “two by two is four” and make it the guiding principle of our life, our existence, we die. Even though this is true and this we cannot prove. We only can feel and have faith in it.
So the answer to ideological subversion, strangely enough, is very simple. You don’t have to shoot people, you don’t have to aim missiles, Pershings and cruise missiles at Andropov’s headquarters. You simply have to have faith and prevent subversion. In other words, not to be a victim of subversion, don’t try to be a person who in judo is trying to smash your enemy and being caught by your hand. Don’t strike like that, strike with the power of your spirit and moral superiority. If you don’t have that power, it’s high time to develop it. And that’s the only answer. That’s it.