Convergence and Psychological Warfare

Convergence and Psychological WarfareI am writing on Tuesday morning. Today’s papers in Brazil and the world are reporting still another change of nuance in the overall picture of the situation in Poland. The success of the various strike movements has forced the Communist Party there to sweep out the Premier. In view of the liberalizing agitation among Polish workers, Russia appears apprehensive, unhappy, and therefore, threatening. The news is giving more emphasis to the KOR movement, one of more defined anti-communist hues than Walesa’s Solidarity (that’s not at all difficult). There are rumors that the United States will toughen its attitude. So the hitherto dubious symptoms of tension between Warsaw and Moscow and consequently between Moscow and Washington are becoming more meaningful.

How is this panorama going to be a few days from now? While in this feminist era, the words of the well-known Italian play “La donna è mobile qual piuma al vento. Muda d’accento e di pensiero” may sound rather out of date, they still apply perfectly well to politics.

Indeed, how capriciously the course of events has been changing on the five continents and even inside that power, which by its very nature is nobly and majestically stable, the Holy Church! In this world which seems continuously given up to that mysterious process of self-demolition of the Church spoken of by Paul VI, in this world that plans excessively, builds hastily, and staggers under the weight of the ruins of what it has built, there is only one thing that keeps somberly on the way to its malign end. It is international communism. It ceases not even for an instant to use all its capacity, all its cunning, all its strength, all its dexterity, all its propaganda, bluffs, and blackmail to achieve world domination.

Some skeptical reader may object that Russia and its satellites lack the military and economic means to successfully oppose the West. He may say that the world behind the Iron Curtain is being eaten up by opposition movements that deprive it of any possibility of victory. All of this is probably true. But who says that that is where Russian power lies? If communism inexorably gained ground during the period 1945-1980, it was due to the most modern and efficacious of weapons: revolutionary psychological warfare. The policy of the extended hand, peaceful coexistence, political pragmatism, useful innocents, the dropping of ideological barriers, fellow travelers, salami tactics, ping pong diplomacy, danger of nuclear hecatomb, Yugoslavian-style socialism, neutrality between two systems, and detente are only some of the most notable artifices or slogans of the vast, worldwide psychological offensive that Russia has been developing in a West that is boobified, soft, inert, in a word, psycho-destroyed.

Here is a symptom of this psycho-destruction: If Russia is really so weak, why not let her fall? If this weak and hungry nation commits acts of aggression, why give it credits, send it foodstuffs, industrialize it while at the same time you retreat before every one of its onslaughts? The inexplicable conduct of the West, which the multitudes enslaved by propaganda watch like a flock of sheep has reduced us to the plight of dwarfs in retreat. This is the illogical and undignified posture to which Soviet psychological warfare has brought us. The strength of communism may not be so great behind the Iron Curtain, but on this side of the Curtain, it is immense, monumental, overwhelming.

This is the great Russian victory. However weak Russia may be, the entire West in its spirit — in this point led by the “Catholic left” — is weaker than she is.

In the Polish question — produced by internal factors including the socio-economic failure of communism — there is also Poland’s noble, obstinacy in maintaining its national identity. The more Russia lacks military power, the more we must admit as probable that it will employ its best resources of revolutionary psychological warfare such as propaganda, false leaderships, the adulteration of authentic movements, camouflage, bluffs, confusion, intrigue, and so on, to temporize with the internal outbursts of anti-communism in order to divide, undermine and exhaust them. In short, to do with them what Russia has been doing so successfully in the Free World.

However, international communism’s leaders would not be themselves if they failed at the same time to take advantage of all the chaos fabricated in Poland to frighten the West with the risk of a nuclear hecatomb.

This is a twofold maneuver of a colossal range, a maneuver whose link consists in a new formula: the Polish model. It is one more artifice to be added to the long list we mentioned.

Am I making an affirmation or raising a hypothesis? To a certain extent it is an affirmation, and to some degree a hypothesis; for both are indispensable ingredients of any political forecast.

In these sad days, people with good noses are much more numerous on the left than on the right. So while on the left many have already figured out what convergence will mean, on the right many pleasant, respectable people, but whose noses are not so keen, have perceived nothing. Maybe I’ll address the matter some day.

While reflecting on this subject my attention also turns to other fields. I am paging through foreign newspapers looking for information about something that I wish the Brazilian press would give much more coverage to: the American New Right.

But that’s another matter.

The preceding article was originally published in the Folha de S.Paulo, on February 12, 1981. It has been translated and adapted for publication without the author’s revision. –Ed.

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