Golitsyn is an ex-KGB officer who defected to the West back in 1961, in his own words to "warn the American Government about the adoption of the current grand strategy for Communism and the political role of the KGB and the use of disinformation and controlled political opposition which the strategy entailed, and...help the West neutralise KGB penetration of their governments."
Golitsyn's overarching thesis, the so-called "grand strategy," is laid out in painstaking detail over two books: "New Lies for Old" (1984) and "The Perestroika Deception" (1985), which can be summarized as follows:
The Soviets developed a long-range strategy to defeat the West back in the late 1950s based on a Leninist strategy of strategic deception and subterfuge, replete with a planned collapse -- including potentially tearing down the Berlin Wall (which Golitsyn first detailed in a 1978 memorandum embedded at the end of this post) -- in combination with perestroika and glasnost, words whose true definitions were far different than those the West ascribed to them.
These moves according to Golitsyn were designed to invite the West’s capital, technology and most of all gullibility/trust to Russia, which it could then use to build itself up, and, while the West moved leftward and intertwined itself inextricably with Russia and other socialist states, "converge" and dominate the West under a world government headed by none other than the Russians and Chinese.
Why pay attention to these 20- and 30-year-old books which put forth such an incredible conspiracy theory?
First, history has proven that Golitsyn was shockingly accurate in the explicit predictions he laid out in "New Lies for Old." As noted in Mark Riebling's 1994 title "Wedge: The Secret War Between the FBI and CIA," of the 148 falsifiable predictions Golitsyn put forth in his 1984 work, by 1993 139, or 94% were proven correct. Some of these predictions are detailed here.
A quick flip through "The Perestroika Deception" and the various memoranda that Golitsyn penned to the CIA (again, one such incredible 1978 document of which is embedded at the bottom of this post) simply jump off the page in an era in which Vladimir Putin who lamented that the breakup of the Soviet Union was a great if not the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century is leading Russia, wielding substantial power over Syria, Iran and now the Ukraine, in the face of U.S. opposition.
Second, regardless of whether there was ever a conspiracy and conscious grand strategy implemented perfectly for the last 50+ years (which is dubious given the fallibility of and self-interest guiding Soviet/Russian leaders, and an almost inhuman level of discipline required to execute it), it’s self-evident that the Russians and their Chinese, Arabic and South American allies have coalesced around socialism (or "state capitalism" if you prefer) and anti-Americanism, using strategies ranging from deception and subversion to terrorism to damage the West and counter America.
Meanwhile, the West continues to partake in negotiations with many of these countries around trade and security, and the Leftist ideological war of ideas waged prior to and during the Cold War continues unabated from college campuses to cable news.
Whether dealing with actors in Russia, China, North Korea, Arabia or Latin America, there has not been a substantive public discussion as to the tactics, strategies, goals and motivations of the foreign powers with which America must deal.
As a related aside, due to the explosion of the size of government in America and concomitant unsustainable spending, coupled with ill-conceived and/or ill-executed wars (due to political correctness, genuine strategic blunders, etc.) now we face a situation in which our military is being downsized, which is what our enemies always wanted. We do not know what the long-term effects of such a policy will be.
Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures after signing a treaty to incorporate Crimea into Russia in the Kremlin in Moscow, Tuesday, March 18, 2014. President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday signed a treaty to incorporate Crimea into Russia, describing the move as the restoration of historic injustice and a necessary response to what he called the Western encroachment on Russia’s vital interests. At right is Sevastopol mayor Alexei Chalyi. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
Third, and most importantly, the fact that any ex-KGB officers could present such a substantive case that this grand strategy was being applied, even if it was a totally false conspiracy designed to lead the West to make strategic mistakes or at the very least discredit anyone who could believe in such fantastic things alone gives you a sense as to the mentality of the Russian leadership specifically and military and intelligence apparati more broadly.
The KGB leaders and their comrades in the Soviet Union unlike the Nazis at the end of World War II were never put on trial to atone for their mass murders. They were never purged from their leadership positions. They are still running the country today under what the highest-ranking Soviet bloc intelligence officer to ever defect called "the first intelligence dictatorship in history."
Golitsyn's theory might be borne of complete paranoia, or it might be disinformation. We can never know. And even if the Soviet Union planned its own collapse, history shows that it was only after failing to compete with the West under the arms build-up of the Reagan era, a build-up that greatly damaged the Soviet strategic position.
[sharequote align="center"]There has not been a..discussion as to the tactics, strategies..and motivations of..foreign powers[/sharequote]
But it is undeniable that Golitsyn at one time had the ear of key U.S. intelligence officials, accurately predicted at an unbelievable rate dozens and dozens of Soviet actions, and in his works reflects a keen understanding of the mentality governing the people with which he worked in the KGB, consistent with all of the other evidence of Soviet strategy to seep out of the former Soviet Union -- a likely relevant mentality when trying to interpret Russian actions playing themselves out on the world stage today.
Read these books with a humongous grain of salt and all due caution that goes along with reading any materials written by intelligence agents, especially those who defected from enemy states. But if you read them with an open mind you may end up stunned with what you encounter.