democratist, March 8, 2012
It has been four years since Edward Lucas’ The New Cold War excoriated the Putin regime for its increased repression at home and aggression abroad. That book proved a success precisely because it crystalized a trend in Russian politics which had been becoming evident internationally since about 2003, but which no one had previously managed (or dared) synthesize and analyze in such damning detail in a single tome. The central message of the The New Cold War was a warning about western complacency in the face of a determined foe that was recovering its confidence and capabilities. In Deception: Spies, Lies and How Russia Dupes the West, Lucas seeks to update and deepen his original thesis with both historical and contemporary evidence.
Lucas’ main point is that while the end of the Cold War and the 2010 unmasking of the Russian “illegal” network in the US have been seen as great victories for western spy-catchers, historically it has often been the case that it was the Russians who had the upper hand. In this regard much of the book focuses on the very mixed western record of espionage and counter-intelligence targeted towards the Soviet Union, but launched from the Baltic States in the inter-war period (and again since 1991), as well as often short-sighted and disastrous western attempts at supporting armed resistance groups in the Baltics after 1945.
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Book Review: “Deception: Spies, Lies and How Russia Dupes the West.” By Edward Lucas