Victory: The Reagan Administration’s Secret Strategy That Hastened the Collapse of the Soviet Union by Peter Schweizer

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(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

This book provides compelling evidence that the Soviet Union did not fall merely because of its own weakness but was pushed. It maintains that secret policies pursued by the Reagan Administration designed to exploit Soviet economic and political weaknesses were a significant contributing cause in the demise of the Soviet empire.

One is immediately struck by the sources of which Peter Schweizer relies for his information. He acknowledges in his introduction some of the highest placed and most influential diplomats and politicians in the Reagan Administration as well as in the Soviet Union, the Middle East, and the Solidarity labor movement in Poland. Such a line-up gives the thesis of the book a great deal of credibility, although one wishes that the author had defended that thesis with more systematic analysis.

The bulk of the book centers on William Casey, who is identified as “the most powerful director of the CIA in history.” Casey devised a strategy that would bring economic ruin to the Soviet Union. Schweizer gives credit to Ronald Reagan for having the vision to recognize the weaknesses in the Soviet Union as well as the long-term commitment necessary to defeat the Soviet system. Casey was able to provide Reagan with the raw data the president needed to approve of actions that would bring the Soviet downfall.

The book provides an array of facts, inside conversations, and secret documents, including the national Security Defense Directives (NSDDs) that articulated Reagan’s policy of “neutralizing” and rolling back Soviet power by supporting anti-Soviet insurgencies such as the Afghan freedom fighters and Solidarity. It also notes the skill with which the Reagan Administration enlisted the cooperation of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and even the Pope to effect its policies.