Did Reagan Defeat The USSR?
Jim Blair

Victory : The Reagan Administration's Secret Strategy That Hastened the Collapse of the Soviet Union
By Peter Schweizer, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution.
Atlantic Monthly Press, 1994.

William Casey had developed his skills in economic warfare during WW II when he was promoted from a junior officer to direct the OSS economic campaign against Nazi Germany.

He was appointed Director of the CIA by Reagan and was given support find the weak points in the Soviet economy and to take action to cripple the USSR.

Casey decided that the sale of energy was critical to the USSR. Oil provided half of the hard currency they needed to buy technology from the West. And they needed Western technology both to develop their energy reserves and to keep their military current in the face of new technology developed by the USA.

The USSR also faced unrest in Eastern Europe, especially Poland, and from Muslim minorities in many of the central Asian republics.

Casey immediately started taking action to exploit these weaknesses. In April 1981 he took a 3 week trip in a specially outfitted black C-141 Starlifter. First to Cairo to meet with Anwar Sadat about using Egypt to supply the Afghani mujahedin with more and better quality Soviet made weapons.

Next stop was Saudi Arabia to talk with members of the Royal family about the price of oil. He wanted the Saudis to pump more and thus lower the price. They were concerned about the protection of their air force. They knew from the 1967 Six Day War that a surprise air attack can destroy an air force in munutes, and wanted an airborn radar protection system. The US had what the Saudis wanted in AWACS. For Saudi Arabia, AWACS for more oil production was a win-win situation, since they also got more revenue from the greater volume, even at the lower price.

While a Saudi AWACS was more for protection against Iran than Israel, Casey knew Israel would voice strong objection to the US giving it to Saudi Arabia. And Casey also wanted a favor from Israel. The previous CIA director, Admiral Stansfield Turner, had stressed satellite and electronic intelligence and had permitted the US "on the ground" spy network to dry up. Casey wanted to tap into Israel's "ratline" network of spies that operated in Poland and Russia, because he didn't have the time to recreate a US spy network.

So how to get help from the Mossad ratline and sell Saudi Arabia the AWACS? He had to give Israel something that they valued enough to offset AWACS.

So his next stop was Israel, where he provided Mossad with something they wanted very much: detailed satellite photos of the exact location and state of development the nuclear facility under construction in Iraq. Israel was very concerned about the prospect of a Iraqi nuclear bomb, and soon sent an F-16 Falcon to bomb the Iraqi nuclear plant.

The US issued a formal protest of the bombing, but we were clearly not very unhappy about it.

Meanwhile, Casey was off to Rome to meet with Vatican officials. He wanted the Catholic Church to provide information on events in Poland, and now he had two sources of informtion: Catholic priests and the Jewish ratline. Casey knew that the government in Poland was going to crack down on Soladarity, and that communications would be critical to the survival of the movement. So he provided Solidarity with small portable radio and communication equipment, which proved very useful when the government declared martial law and tried to wipe the labor movement out.

This short trip indicated the general plan. Cut off the source of currency the USSR needed to buy technology by lowering oil prices (which also aided the US economic recovery), and also try to restrict the sale of US technology to the USSR. Meanwhile aid rebel groups within the Soviet block, like Solidarity and Muslims, and shift the Cold War to high technology, where the Soviets could not keep pace without the ability to buy US technology. This was the game plan but the book includes information on many of the details.

At the famous Summit Meeting in Reykjavik Iceland in October 1986, Gorbachev practically begged Reagan to drop the SDI project. He offered to give in to all of the US demands on arms control in exchange for a promise to end "Star Wars". But Reagan refused. And I think that is when Gorbachev knew the "Cold War" was over and that the USSR had lost. At the time the US press described the summit as a "failure". They thought the purpose of the meeting was to reach an arms control agreement with the USSR.

Reagan saw things differently. To him the point of the meeting was to convince Gorbachev that the USSR was a lost cause.

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