Deena Stryker, formerly Deena Boyer, is the woman who was so bold as to run against the anti-Castro current back in the mid-1960s. Having been privileged with access to the legendary Fidel Castro, Stryker- Boyer "When the Revolution Was Young," which revealed the truth about Castro's brand of communism. Stryker has become a kind of legendary political observer in her own right these days. Being the only political observer to predict the fall of the Berlin Wall, she's part visionary -- part geopolitical storyteller. Her latest book, Russia's Americans combine good narrative supported by historical fact in order to give readers a kind of clear quartz perspective on Putin's Russia.
Russia's Americans begin by relating a meeting in Moscow in between Stryker and Paul Goncharoff, an American now operating in Russia. In the telling of his story, Stryker hits on the quintessential rub for all Baby Boomers rethinking American history. I quote from Goncharoff's own admission of being brainwashed:
"Being a fan of the Lone Ranger, Superman, Gumby, and Bonanza, I teethed on us good guys always being right."
Carrying on the American influential Stryker sources represents us all. All Americans old enough to recall the deep chill at the height of the Cold War.
"McCarthy and his ilk were pansies compared to these ideological commie fighters from Czechoslovakia, Poland, and Russia."
Stryker tugs at the mind and memory of the aging consultant with deep effect. Her characterizations of Vladimir Putin are, for the most part, on the mark. Tthe woman who interviewed Fidel Castro absolutely knows the meat of the matter where US-Russia de'tente is concerned. She also has a rare grasp of how the American mission has not been one of democratizing Earth, but of guarding its controlling hegemony.
The author frames the significance of the 1992 Wolfowitz Doctrine, and the existential threat the world now faces because of unchecked American ambivalence.
"Until 2017, the Wolfowitz Doctrine had remained the Bible of the Neo-Conservative Deep State. Nothing the Russian or Chinese Presidents have said or done has or can alter its founding principles""
Deena Stryker skillfully navigates the history and theory of international policy that has led us to the current perilous point in time. But what the veteran analyst really succeeds at in ::::::: is bringing into the light the crux of international crises today, the notion of "unchallengeable superiority" the United States now hammers the world with. U.S. primacy, in the sense Stryker reveals, mirrors the Roman Empire just before she fell. The author of Russia's Americans does the grunt work of rehashing World War II and untold histories, while at the same time overlaying and unmasking the march of NATO toward the Russian steppe. Stryker excels at marching through history the way only someone who's lived it can. German
Chancellor Willy Brandt, Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Jimmy Carter, Reagan, even Charles de Gaulle are in a context like old friends and contemporaries. The book is a fascinating read, if for no other reason that catching a glimpse of our own world history. But Stryker doesn't miss a trick with her all-encompassing reportage and analyses of today's key issues. The energy war going on, pipelines and the armaments industry, my review cannot possibly frame the breadth of this work. Historian or political science student, you'll have to drink this far-reaching manuscript for yourself.
Ultimately, Russia's Americans is an indelible caution by someone who's lived and studied West-East relations her whole life. The book warns us of the essential crisis and friction we see causing fires all around Russia, and of the impending catastrophe bound to happen if America does not accept what Vladimir Putin termed a "multipolar world." Stryker's latest work is becoming as a relative discoursi on the definition of true democracy. She sums up by suggesting (aptly) that America's convoluted form of Athenian democracy should (perhaps) be supplanted by Putin's brand of "managed democracy."
The book reads out like a bit of a tour de force from an insider perspective. It's well worth a place on every political scientist's night table, if for no other reason than Stryker as a historical marker of time.