A former CIA officer and the creator of the hit TV series The Americans makes the case that America’s policy towards Russia is failing—and that we will never fix it until we rethink our relationship.
Coming of age in America in the 1970s and 1980s, Joseph Weisberg was a cold warrior. After briefly studying Russian in Leningrad, he joined the CIA in 1990—just in time to watch the Soviet Union collapse.
But less than a decade after the first Cold War ended, a new one broke out. Russia changed in many of the ways that America hoped it might—more capitalist, more religious, more open to Western ideas. But US sanctions have crippled Russia’s economy; and Russia’s interventions have exacerbated political problems in America. The old paradigm—America, the free capitalist good guys, fighting Russia, the repressive communist bad guys—simply doesn’t apply anymore. But we’ve continued to act as if it does.
In this bold and controversial book, Weisberg interrogates these assumptions, asking hard questions about American policy and attempting to understand what Russia truly wants.
Russia Upside Down makes the case against the new Cold War. It suggests that we are fighting an enemy with whom we have few, if any, serious conflicts of interest. It argues that we are fighting with ineffective and dangerous tools. And most of all, it aims to demonstrate that our approach is not working.
With our own political system in peril and continually buffeted by Russian attacks, we need a new framework, urgently. Russia Upside Down shows the stakes and begins to lay out that new plan, at a time when it is badly needed.
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“Putin and Biden can find common ground if they don’t let outdated biases and antagonisms get in their way. Sign me up, Joe, for not wanting a Second Cold War. The first one was bad enough.”
James M. Olson, former chief of CIA counterintelligence and author of To Catch a Spy: The Art of Counterintelligence