CIA won the Cold War.
Not the global shapers of Bilderberg and Trilateral; certainly not the vigilantes of the Pinay Circle.
The Soviet Division, or Russia House, the most secret of all within CIA's Directorate of Operations, had four strategies, which ran concurrently with one another, and the the harmony they created was worthy of Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young.
In fact, they worked so well, the Soviet Union collapsed ten years ahead of schedule.
Strategy One: Education & Infiltration
In the mid-1970s CIA embarked on a program to "educate" a new generation of Soviet leaders. Hope for ending the Cold War lay with Soviet boomers.
The old farts of the Politburo seemed to understand this, too, and that's why they were so intent on passing Soviet leadership to sick, dying men of their own wartime generation than tapping a younger man to take charge.
Leonid Brezhnev could hardly stand up for the last eight years of his life. The Soviet system stagnated under his leadership. The apparatchiks knew this, but were powerless to do anything about it.
Brezhnev's successor, Yuri Andropov (the KGB chairman), was already dying from liver disease and had to run eight time zones by telephone from his sickbed.
It was getting ridiculous.
Finally, at the urging of Foreign Secretary Andrei Gromyko, a younger man was chosen to lead the Soviet Union into the future.
Of course, by then, the dis-union didn't have one -- a future, that is. CIA had all its chess pieces in place when Mikhail Gorbachev became the Kremlin's top enchilada.
For a start, young Gorby's closest advisor had been working as CIA's secret agent since 1959 when he was recruited at Columbia University.
The Soviets sent their brightest brains to spy on the USA. And CIA recruited them.
Most of the Russians who came to the US to study and spy caught on real fast that it was a helluva lot nicer in our country than from whence they came; the difference between night and day.
They were smart enough to realize, despite their Leninist indoctrination, that their Motherland's communist cause was just a cruel fraud.
CIA's biggest problem was getting them to return to Moscow, where it wanted them to climb the professional ladder.
Slowly, CIA built a network of agents of influence in every professional arena: politics, banking, industry, scientific research, media, the arts and, of course, the KGB.
Slowly, in their respective fields, CIA moles chipped away at communism.
Gorby relied heavily on advice from Yakovlev on how to deal with the West and, of course, loved the adoration that Western folks heaped on him, even if his on citizens were booing and hissing.
Strategy Two: The myth of Star Wars.
Reagan's Strategic Defense Intitiative -- a star war defensive shield -- scared the Russians stupid.
They were already spending most of their money on their military-industrial complex instead of ensuring that their people were fed. And now the US was saying, Hey fellas, if you want to keep up, you're going to have to spend a whole lot more!
The Soviets didn't have a whole lot more to spend. They were scraping by, in a system of stagnation, just to sustain what they had.
USG knew it. They knew it. They knew USG knew.
The arms race was really over at that point, and with it, the Cold War.
And all based on a bluff.
The US wasn't spending anywhere near what the Soviets thought it was spending in the development of a defensive shield. But through tactical disinformation, CIA made them believe Reagan was capable of anything to whip their ass -- even a surprise attack.
It was not an accidental flub when Reagan announced into a live microphone, "We will start bombing (the evil empire) in five minutes."
It was deliberately staged.
CIA didn't want the Soviets to give up the arms race at that point; it wanted to bankrupt them.
After Reagan's carefully-orchestrated "joke," the KGB convinced itself it was only a matter of time before Reagan would really launch the missiles, and they created Operation RYAN -- a top priority mission to establish precisely when, not if, the attack would occur.
Their operatives scurried around in circles, trying to pinpoint something that didn't exist. It drove them nuts. CIA played them like a cello, serving up tasty morsels to keep the gambit going, while getting on with...
Strategy Three: Insurrection
CIA wanted a foothold i.e. an Eastern European country that would pull what Hungary attempted in the 1956, and Czechoslovakia in 1968.
Soviet leaders had grown old and weary and sick. Because of it, their system had become mired in bureaucratic ineptitude. And quagmired in Afghanistan.
Truth be known, CIA drew the Soviets into Afghanistan, knowing it would deplete their military and take their focus off the ball (Eastern Europe).
The only way the Soviets could have beat the barbaric Afghans was by nuking them. If they hadn't pulled out when they did, they'd still be fighting them today; they'd still be fighting them fifty years from now.
(This is what Afghans are like: Their national sport is a kind of polo that's played with sharp spears and a live sheep. During the war, the Afghans used captured Russian officers in place the sheep.)
CIA studied the possibilities, from the Baltic to the Black Sea. It settled on Poland.
The ingredients were all there: a patriotic, fiercely independent people who considered themselves the happiest of the socialist family, devoted not to communist atheism, but to Catholicism (92 percent); a dissatisfied intelligentsia; a labor force on the verge of rebellion.
CIA realized all it had to do was sit back and watch -- and be ready to jump when the volcano erupted.
It exploded in August 1980 at the Gdansk Shipyard, when a laborer named Lech Walesa punched an apparatchik and declared, "Strike for Freedom!"
They struck. Their Solidarity Movement paralyzed the country, and the intelligentsia jumped onto the bandwagon.
The government had no choice but to capitulate.
Solidarity turned the country upside down. In their enthusiasm, it tried to do too much, too fast. A military crackdown was inevitable.
But communications had come a long way since 1968. People around the world could now see on live TV the harsh, oppressive reality of communism.
Solidarity went underground. Through the Vatican, CIA channeled millions of dollars to the outlawed movement, giving it the technology to interrupt live military TV news programs with announcements like, "Don't believe these bastards -- they're lying through their ass!"
The Soviets, burdened with Afghan polo, were horrified.
They knew they were looking at the future.
Strategy Four: Secession
Under Reagan and Bill Casey, CIA chipped away at the Soviet federal structure in all the enslaved republics, from the Baltic region (Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia) to the Stans (Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan), not to mention Georgia and the Ukraine, firing up nationalist fervor.
As such, CIA destabilized the Soviet system and set the stage for mass secession.
The Russians roundly deserved this. Moscow had exploited all of these republics to the max, trading their natural resources for foreign currency banked in Moscow -- with only some of it trickling back to feed and clothe the natives.
Not only didn't Moscow care about the people it governed, it didn't care what happened to their environment.
For example, the Aral Sea in Central Asia became a desert because of an ill-conceived Soviet policy to maximize their cotton crop.
CIA merely pointed this out to their friends in all these weird-sounding places. The locals weren't stupid. They knew what was going down. They just needed CIA's secret reassurance in their quest for self-determination.
In a departure from the costive policies of the men in striped pants down at Foggy Bottom (the State Department), CIA took these guys seriously, accepting and respecting their national integrity.
The State Department wanted to deal with the republics solely through Moscow. Not only was it easier than, say, posting diplomats to Tashkent and Bishkek and capitals most Americans can't pronounce, but State did not wish to embarrass the Kremlin.
Through CIA efforts only, a whole new generation of local leaders came to like and respect the Agency, which even helped them establish their own intelligence services, independent of the KGB.
When things started to fall apart in Moscow, the republics were ready to bail.
So, no thanks to the State Department (nor the Bush Administration, which acted embarrassed about winning the Cold War), the Soviet Union imploded.
And the Gorbster didn't even see it coming until it smacked him across the face. (He still hasn't figured out what happened judging by long, boring memoirs that vainly attempt to rationalize his failure.)
CIA won the Cold War. In doing so, it broke the first rule of bureaucracy: never solve the problem -- it puts you out of a job.
CIA inadvertently created the impression -- Congress and the media took this ball and ran with it -- that the world was now safe; that the US no longer needed covert action and dirty tricks.
As James Joyce wrote: In moments of happiness, don't despair, tragedy lurks around the next corner.
Intelligence failures leading to 9-11 are rooted in the Clinton Administration's disinterest in the USA's intelligence services when it was thought their services were no longer needed.