“The Ghosts of Ukuthula” isn’t just any old historical fiction book. It deals with historical facts about Russia that continue to plague us even today. It shows us how our own inconsistent short term goal political system is beginning to fumble the world wide ball when met by the long term consistency of powerful dictatorships. The book revolves around a man very much like Russia’s current leader, Mr. Vladimir Putin.
Let’s use some quotes from the book to help us understand the differences. On p. 12, Russian Col. Victor Mikhail Petrov says: “Are you with us or not?” A direct question when faced with possible equivocation by a subordinate. Then on p. 34 we hear the pledge that his minions must follow: “If you are not for us, then you are against us!” A clear statement of how close to the party line one must stand. This is backed up by a very clear threat on p. 34 and 35: “…how many of you remember what happened on October 19, 1986…?” and “Ah Yes, I see that you all remember that tragic plane crash…”.
Obviously, Petrov is a man who knows how to deal in the ultimate currency of death and then also knows how to use just the threat of it in an effective manner to deal with politicians who step out of line with his way of thinking. Just in case you too have forgotten 1986?
History has already shown us the truth about Mr. Putin in this manner as well. You might want to read a couple of things to refresh your more recent memory: Connections to deaths attributes to Putin or Even a Russian ambassador is not safe if it furthers Putin’s goals.
In America our leaders couldn’t get away with this. Which is good for those of us who want to live in a free society with freedom of speech and that ability to express our thoughts about subjects we disagree with. But it does slow down the processes of dealing with problems that need immediate action.
Our American career diplomats, intelligence agents, and enforcement need to be shielded from the dictatorial powers of a leader who might decide to use lethal force to eliminate opposition or to use these agencies to further nefarious goals. Additionally, these protections need to be very clearly spelled out so that everyone in our country is aware of them and has no doubt that they are carrying out the laws of our country not the whims of one person or a secret committee.
You might be interested in reading about Intelligence Community Oversight in order to understand that we have the checks and balances that are needed to keep our intelligence agencies from being the pawns of one master as they would be in Russia.
American intelligence cannot afford to be jumping in and out of political trees. We need dedicated career persons filling these positions if we are to effectively run our intelligence agencies. Political Parties should not be the ones to be directing our long terms strategies every four years. See p. 28 in “The Ghosts of Ukuthula”: “We’re not paid to believe the party line, Abe. We’re paid to see through the crap and the spin.”
and now on p. 168: “…Every four years our government throws out any long term intelligence strategies for a new set of monkey bars. …We blink while Petrov’s focus doesn’t waver. That’s how it has been for the past thirty years.” Read the book! Learn about the opposition!
America needs to quit blinking and recognize a very human man who has come down through Russian history and who is now playing games with us, Mr. Vladimir Putin.