Somewhere in the late-1960s to early 1970s, the Soviet leadership and its KGB shifted its focus of covert operations in the U.S. from persuading the American public to prefer a government dedicated to socialist values to a much more cynical intervention based simply on weakening the nation’s existing governmental institutions and their democratic functioning.
It’s not that the earlier approach was predicated on good will, but this was seen as a more effective way of softening the role of the U.S. in the world in a way that would also make it less aggressive against Soviet expansionism in places like the developing sector.
This must be based on best guesses by me, hopefully close enough to how it actually was that with the help of ongoing corroborating investigations, a more accurate picture can be pieced together. Up until now, it has not been the posture of the U.S. covert intelligence establishment to show its hand on such matters, ever. But the Jan. 6 sacking of the U.S. Capitol may, hopefully, change this. That event came closer to a coup against the U.S. than many are willing to let on.
The operation will regroup and try again if the entire U.S. population is not brought in more directly on the effort to prevent it, not leaving it to the porous U.S. covert capabilities and their adjuncts which we found were deeply compromised.
Yes, the sacking of the Capitol was a Moscow-inspired operation, notwithstanding how violently the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers and other radical rightwing cult groups involved might deny it. To grasp how Putin, who was in the KGB shortly after the shift in the Soviet/Russian strategy began and now is its absolute dictator, has orchestrated his covert intervention into the fabric of U.S. culture, one needs to examine its roots.
Its essential core are two objectives. The first is the timeless tactic of “divide and conquer,” much less sophisticated than we might suspect. The centuries-old virulently racist and xenophobic Russian cultural mindset permeating the Moscow leadership has been unleashed into the U.S. following decades when it was considered a better strategic route to undercut America with progressivism.
The second, which is a key element in the execution of the first, is often subtle but relentless attacks on key democratic institutions by cutouts — namely, the free press, on the one hand, and fair elections on the other.
Where Moscow covert ops have it all over the U.S. is in the area of psycho-philosophical active measures that mature over time and provide an often overlooked framework for domestic interventions. Most notable among these is the proliferation of the sophisticated theories generally categorized under the rubric, “postmodernism,” which exploded on U.S. campuses in the 1970s not accidentally in conjunction with the Soviet KGB’s introduction of its ideological shift here.
Here is where student intellectuals intersected with the fringe political culture. “Postmodernism” is a philosophical system that its student recruits don’t realize is advanced to achieve a political impact. One of its main proponents was the late Michel Foucault, who lectured across the U.S. and in the mid-1970s singularly at the U.C. Berkeley campus during the decade of the great KGB transition I’m talking about.
In Foucault’s system, traditional western values like love and social solidarity are treated as fictions, and replaced with the only two truly operative forces, power and pleasure. The fringe culture absorption of this was among the first steps for the eventual QAnon rejection of rational truth and its substitution with a smorgasbord of bizarre claims.
I know this because I was involved in the San Francisco Bay Area socio-political fringe myself in those days. From my graduation from a prominent graduate theological seminary there, I became steeped in the anti-war movement and the gay liberation movement. I became involved in a politically-leftist group that, unbeknownst to me, was a foreign intelligence (predominantly KGB) cult.
From there, I watched from the inside the KGB’s cultural shift operation in the U.S., turning the “left” into the “right” over a number of years in the mid-1970s.
(To be continued).
Nicholas Benton may be emailed at [email protected]