Monday Jan 31, 2022
Monday Jan 31, 2022
On this edition of Parallax Views, Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould, authors of Invisible History: Afghanistan's Untold Story, Crossing Zero: The AfPak War at the Turning Point of American Empire, and now the novelized memoir The Valediction, join me to discuss their forty year journey investigating American Empire, the Cold War arms race, military Keynesianism and destruction of the civilian economy, covert operations, the rise of the peculiar ex-Trotskyites that came to be known as neocons, the politicization of intelligence vis-a-vis "Team B", the death of the SALT treaty, and the political maneuverings of the foreign policy heavyweight Zbigniew Brzezinski in the Jimmy Carter White House all through their attempts to understand the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
We begin the conversation by delving into Paul's work in the talk show business. Paul discusses how an anti-SALT (Strategic Arms Limitation Talks) treay documentary led him to make a documentary that was pro-SALT. This led him to speak with the well-known economist John Kenneth Galbraith, who told him about some key Cold War hawk figures like Paul Nitsze. Liz explains how many thought the end of the Vietnam War and later the Carter Presidency would lead to a new era that would lead to a reinvestment in the American civilian economy rather than the Wall Street and military economy. The SALT treaties were part of this hope as were talks of peace and détente. Paul then goes on to explain what Paul Warnke told him about peace talks going back to Lyndon Johnson's Presidency.
From there we jump into the topic of the neoconservatives and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Paul and Liz discuss the involvement of the virulently anti-Soviet Zbigniew Brzezinski in the Carter administration as National Security advisor. In this regard we talk about Paul and Liz's interview with Dr. Charles Cogan, chief of the Near East and South Asia Division in the CIA's Directorate of Operations (1979–1984), in which Cogan talked about asking Zbigniew Brzezinski about the "Afghan Trap", the idea that Brzezinski intentionally lured the Soviets into Afghanistan via covert operations, and Brzezinski's surprising response. This leads us to talk about Brzezinski's infamous interview with Le Nouvel Observateur in 1998 and the controversy surrounding it.
From there we delve into a number of different odds and ends including the death of Adolph "Spike" Dubs; explaining what the Afghan Trap was; the relationship between Trotskyism, game theory, and neocons; Team B and the politicization of intelligence, the mujahadeen, the neoconservative casus belli, Cold War political theater, Zbigniew Brzezinski ad a Dr. Faustus character, late-stage imperial dementia, and much, much more.