by Gary North
In December of 1979, the Soviet Union launched a lightning-fast military offensive against the backward nation of Afghanistan. It was after this invasion that President Jimmy Carter admitted publicly that it had taught him more about the intentions of the Soviets than everything he had ever learned. Never again would he kiss the cheeks of Premier Brezhnev before the television cameras of the West. The Democrat-controlled Senate even refused to ratify his SALT II treaty. (By the way, President Reagan has been honoring its terms unofficially, and he already has ordered the destruction of several Poseidon submarines, including the U.S.S. Sam Rayburn, the dismantling of which began in November of 1985,1 and which cost a staggering $21 million for the destruction of that one ship.2 The Nathan Hale and the Andrew Jackson are scheduled for destruction in 1986.3 To comply with SALT II, we will have to destroy an additional 2,500 Poseidon submarine warheads. "Good faith," American diplomatic officials argue. ("Good grief," you may be thinking.)
The invasion of Afghanistan was a landmark shift in Soviet military tactics. Departing from half a century of slow, plodding, "smother the enemy with raw power" tactics, the Soviet military leadership adopted the lightning strike. Overnight, the Soviets had captured the Kabul airfield and had surrounded the capital city with tanks.4
Tanks? In an overnight invasion? How did 30-ton Soviet tanks roll from the Soviet border to the interior city of Kabul in one day? What about the rugged Afghan terrain?
The answer is simple: there are two highways from the Soviet Union to Kabul, including one which is 647 miles long. Their bridges can support tanks. Do you think that Afghan peasants built these roads for yak-drawn carts? Do you think that Afghan peasants built these roads at all? No, you built them.
In 1966, reports on this huge construction project began to appear in obscure U.S. magainzes. The project was completed the following year. It was part of Lyndon Johnson's Great Society. Soviet and U.S.' engineers worked side by side, spending U.S. foreign aid money and Soviet money, to get the highways built. One strip of road, 67 miles long, north through the Salang Pass to the U.S.S.R., cost $42 million, or $643,000 per mile. John W. Millers, the leader of the United National survey team in Afghanistan, commented at the time that it was the most expensive bit of road he had ever seen. The Soviets trained and used 8,000 Afghans to build it.5
If there were any justice in this world of international foreign aid, the Soviet tanks should have rolled by signs that read: "U.S. Highway Tax Dollars at Work."
Nice guys, the Soviets. They just wanted to help a technologically backward nation. Nice guys, American foreign aid officials. They also just wanted to help a technologically backward nation... the Soviet Union.
Seven Decades of Deals
The story you are about to read is true. The names have not been changed, so as not to protect the guilty.
In the mid-1970's, the original version of this book led to the destruction of Antony Sutton's career as a salaried academic researcher with the prestigious (and therefore, not quite ideologically tough enough) Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace. That was a high price for Sutton to pay, but not nearly so high as the price you and I are going to be asked to pay because of the activities that this book describes in painstaking detail.
Lenin is supposed to have made the following observation:
"If we were to announce today that we intend to hang all capitalists tomorrow, they would trip over each other trying to sell us the rope."
I don't think he ever said it. However, someone who really understood Lenin, Communism, and capitalist ethics said it. This book shows how accurate an observation it is.
Antony Sutton is not about to offer the following evidence in his own academic self-defense, so I will. Perhaps the best-informed American scholar in the field of Soviet history and overall strategy is Prof. Richard Pipes of Harvard University. In 1984, his chilling book appeared, Survival Is Not Enough: Soviet Realities and America's Future (Simon & Schuster). His book tells at least part of the story of the Soviet Union's reliance on Western technology, including the infamous Kama River truck plant, which was built by the Pullman-Swindell company of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a subsidiary of M. W. Kellogg Co. Prof. Pipes remarks that the bulk of the Soviet merchant marine, the largest in the world, was built in foreign shipyards. He even tells the story (related in greater detail in this book) of the Bryant Chucking Grinder Company of Springfield, Vermont, which sold the Soviet Union the ball-bearing machines that alone made possible the targeting mechanism of Soviet MIRV'ed ballistic missiles. And in footnote 29 on page 290, he reveals the following:
In his three-volume detailed account of Soviet purchases of Western equipment and technology . . . [Antony] Sutton comes to conclusions that are uncomfortable for many businessmen and economists. For this reason his work tends to be either dismissed out of hand as "extreme" or, more often, simply ignored.
Prof. Pipes knows how the academic game is played. The game cost Sutton his academic career. But the academic game is very small potatoes compared to the historic "game" of world conquest by the Soviet empire. We are dealing with a messianic State which intends to impose its will on every nation' on earth a goal which Soviet leaders have repeated constantly since they captured Russia in their nearly bloodless coup in October of 1917.
Sutton identifies the deaf mute blindmen who sell the Soviets the equipment they need for world conquest. But at least these deaf mute blindmen get something out of it: money. Not "soft currency" Soviet rubles, either; they get U.S. dollars from the Soviets, who in turn get long-term loans that are guaranteed by U.S. taxpayers. Their motivation is fairly easy to understand. But what do the academic drones get out of it? What do they get for their systematic suppression of the historical facts, and their callous treatment in book reviews of works such as Sutton's monumental three-volume set, Western Technology and Soviet Economic Development? What was in it, for example, for C. H. Feinstein of Clare College, Cambridge Unversity, who reviewed Sutton's first volume, covering 1917-1930? He could not honestly fault Sutton's basic scholarship, nor did he try:
. . . he has examined a vast amount of information, much of it previously unknown to scholars, regarding the trading contacts and contracts between the U.S.S.R and the West, notably Germany and the United States. The primary sources were the fascinating and extraordinarily detailed files of the U.S. State Department and the archives of the German Foreign Ministry, and these were supplemented by a wide-ranging and multilingual selection of books and journals.
He even wrote that "Sutton's prodigious researches (and this is apparently only the first of three projected volumes) have provided students of Soviet economic development with a detailed survey of the way in which 'Western' technology was transferred to the Soviet Union, and for this we are indebted to him." But having admitted this thereby preserving the surface appearance of professional integrity Feinstein then lowered the academic boom:
Unfortunately, his attempt to go beyond this, and to assess the significance of this transfer and of the concessions policy, is unsatisfactory and overstates the extent and impact of the concessions as well as their importance for Soviet economic development .... the defects of Sutton's approach . . . a similar lack of understanding... Sutton exaggerates... He further indulges his fondness for exaggeration ....6
You get the basic thrust of the review. "Facts are fine; we are all scholars here." But even the mildest sort of first-stage conclusions concerning the importance and significance of such facts are anathema, for the facts show that the Soviet economy should have this sign over it: "Made in the West." Sutton's subsequent two volumes were never reviewed in this specialized academic journal the journal, above all other U.S. scholarly journals, in which it would have been most appropriate to include reviews of scholarly books on Soviet economic history. The information blackout had begun, and it was augmented by the publisher's own blackout beginning in 1973, a blackout discussed in this book.
Less than three years after Feinstein's review was published, Bryant Chucking Grinder Co. sold the Soviets the ball-bearing grinders that subsequently placed the West at the mercy of the Soviet tyrants. At last, they possessed the technology which makes possible a relatively low-risk first-strike by Soviet missiles against our missiles and "defenses."7 Until Bryant supplied the technology, the Soviets couldn't build such offensive weapons, which is why they had lobbied from 1961 until 1972 to get the U.S. government's authorization to buy the units. Within a few years after delivery, they had the missiles installed. Then they invaded Afghanistan. So much for Sutton's "exaggerations."
This book is not really designed to be read word for word. It is a kind of lawyer's brief, filled with facts that none of us will remember in detail. But if the facts were not included, the book's thesis would be too far-fetched to accept. He therefore includes pages and pages of dull, dreary details details that lead to an inescapable conclusion: that the West has been betrayed by its major corporate leaders, with the full compliance of its national political leaders.
From this time forward, you can say in confidence to anyone: "The United States financed the economic and military development of the Soviet Union. Without this aid, financed by U.S. taxpayers, there would be no significant Soviet military threat, for there would be no Soviet economy to support the Soviet military machine, let alone sophisticated military equipment." Should your listener scoff, you need only to hand him a copy of this book. it will stuff his mouth with footnotes.
It probably will not change the scoffer's mind, however. Minds are seldom changed with facts, certainly not college-trained minds. Facts did not change Prof. Feinstein's mind, after all. The book will only shut up the scoffer when in your presence. But even that is worth a lot these days.
From this day forward, you should never take seriously any State Department official (and certainly not the Secretary of State) who announces to the press that this nation is now, and has always been, engaged in a worldwide struggle against Communism and Soviet aggression. Once in a while, Secretaries of State feel pressured to give such speeches. They are nonsense. They are puffery for the folks out in middle America.
You may note for future reference my observation that Secretaries of Commerce never feel this pressure to make anti-Communist speeches. They, unlike Secretaries of State, speak directly for American corporate interests. They know where their bread is buttered, and more important, who controls the knife.
When it comes to trading with the enemy, multinational corporate leaders act in terms of the political philosophy of the legendary George Washington Plunkett of Tammany Hall: "I seen my opportunities, and I took 'em." Plunkett was defending "honest graft"; our modern grafters have raised the stakes considerably. They are talking about bi-partisan treason.
1Washington Times (Dec. 24, 1985).
2Howard Phillips, Washington Dateline (Dec. 1985), p. 6.
3Washington Post (Nov. 27, 1985).
4Edward Luttwak, The Grand Strategy of the Soviet Union (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1983), ch. 1.
5"Rugged Afghan Road Jobs Fill Gaps in Trans-Asian Network," Engineering ews-Record (Nov. 3, 1966).
6Review of Antony Sutton, Western Technology and Soviet Economic Development, 1917-1930 (Stanford: Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace, Stanford University, 1965), in The Journal of Economic History, XXIX (December 1969), pp. 816-18.
7Actually, the United States has no defenses. W. hat we have is an arsenal of retaliatory offensive weapons aimed at Soviet cities, not at Soviet military targets. This is the infamous strategy of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) which was implemented by former Secretary of Defense (!!!) Robert Strange McNamara. If Soviet missiles were to take out the bulk of our land-based missiles in a first strike, we would have little choice but to surrender, since our submarine-launched missiles are too weak and too inaccurate to destroy hardened Soviet missile silos, and the Soviets could threaten a second wave of missiles against our cities if we were to attempt to retaliate. On our present position of military inferiority, see Quentin Crommelin, Jr. and David S. Sullivan, Soviet Military Supremacy (Washington, D.C.: The Citizens' Foundation, 1985). This book was a project of USC's Defense and Strategic Studies Program.