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Whose Cold War Victory?

July 03, 1994

Jonathan Kwitny is certainly entitled to his opinion of my book ("How Our Guys Won the Cold War," Book Review, June 12). But the review, by failing to check my quotes against the finished book, failed to catch important revisions. For instance, Kwitny writes about the death of Leonid Brezhnev: "Was Soviet Premier Leonid Brezhnev murdered by agents of his successor, Yuri Andropov? That's how Schweizer writes it, with a footnote to a vaguely identified publication and one former KGB official." Had Kwitny looked at the final version of the book, he might have noticed that one source for the story are two well-known Soviet journalists, Vladimir Solovyov and Elena Klepikova.

What most disappoints me about Kwitny's review is that he never deals with the substance of the book, showing a greater interest in a few trees that catch his eye, never looking at the entire forest. He is more concerned about Central America and Iran-Contra and why Al Haig left the administration than the fundamental questions raised by the book: Did the Reagan Administration conduct a secret economic war against the Kremlin? Did the cumulative effect of Reagan policies act as a catalyst for the collapse of the Soviet Union, as several former Soviet officials quoted in the book believe? Caspar Weinberger, Bill Clark, John Poindexter and others go on the record on dozens of points and make a very convincing case. But Kwitny never mentions any of this.

As I stated in the introduction of "Victory," it is not intended to be a diplomatic history. Rather, it is an attempt to piece together the policies that hastened the collapse of the Soviet Union. Kwitny doesn't seem to have much interest in these policies.

PETER SCHWEIZER, McLean, Va.

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