‘Does the US Have a Future?’

(Book review)


Patrick Fleming

Oct. 15, 2017


Doctorow appearing on the top Russian talk show ‘Special Correspondent’

We are very pleased to announce that longtime RI contributor Gilbert Doctorow has a new book out entitled, “Does the United States Have a Future?“, available now on Amazon. You can find an archive of his articles on RI here.

It looks at what the author describes as a ‘tug-of-war’ between the US and Russia, arguing that the US is slowly losing this struggle.

Doctorow spends part of each year in St. Petersburg, and has a deft sense of what is happening on the ground in Russia. Fluent in Russian, he is a regular guest on Russia’s leading political talk shows, as well as on RT.

This follows on his 2015 book, “Does Russia Have a Future?: Collected (Nonconformist) Essays on Russian, American and European Relations, 2013-15

Both books are collections of the author’s articles, some of which we have carried here.

Here are what some of the most respected people Russia watchers are saying about it:

Robert Parry. Investigative journalist and founder of Consortiumnews.com

Gilbert Doctorow offers powerful and insightful analysis of the crucial events unfolding in what is called the New Cold War, a dangerous, costly and largely unnecessary showdown between the world’s two nuclear-armed superpowers.

At the heart of these tensions is a propagandistic distortion of what Russia wants and how it operates. As an American who has lived in Russia, Doctorow strips away the exaggerations and shows you the real Russia.

Professor Robert English, University of Southern California School of International Relations.

This book will make most readers uncomfortable—and it should.  Russia is constantly in our news and commentary, yet understanding is scarcer than ever, so this most vital of our international relationships slides deeper into confrontation.  

Doctorow’s Russian experience is vast, his insights rare, and his judgments sound—whether exposing media pundits’ ignorance, political officials’ hypocrisy, or advising on remedies for all these follies.  The demonization of Russia reflects the pathologies of American politics much more than it does the realities of Russia, and few expose these delusions better than Doctorow.  A return to reason in US foreign policy is long overdue, and this book is an excellent place to start.  

Andrei Nekrasov. Independent film maker, Norway. Director of The Magnitsky Act: Behind the Scenes

Gilbert Doctorow’s sharp and profoundly independent mind makes the reading of this collection of his essays on American Russia politics an intellectual pleasure.

It’s a diary of a uniquely unbiased and knowledgeable observer that would help an open-minded reader to see through the clouds of prejudice and propaganda contaminating even some of the world’s most respected “quality media” today.

Doctorow’s evocation of McCarthyism seems chillingly fitting in the context of the neoconservative ideological authority giving short shrift to anyone daring to dissent. Spot on are quotations from Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina mirroring the jingoism of those who today, as one hundred forty years ago, risk nothing by sending others to kill and die.

The difference of course, we are reminded, being in the nuclear warheads, 90% of which are shared by America and Russia, capable annihilating each other and the whole world in a matter of days.

Ray McGovern. Former CIA Presidential briefer, co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity

Finally a lucid analysis, by an author with superb academic credentials AND life experience, addressing: “Does America Have a Future?”

The US Empire is being trumped by accelerating Russia-China entente and allies hedging their bets.  The post-WWII era is over – the new era marked by “goose pimples” at Trump’s “finger on the nuclear button.”  

Can new realities shatter the groupthink that now prevails and usher in, peaceably, the inevitable erosion of US power? This book could help that happen.

Here is a brief overview of the book:

In many respects, the United States has made the destruction of the Putin “regime” and of Russian power more generally, a test of its ability to direct the world according to its own preferences, without compromise or serious discussion with other powers. The articles in this collection guide the reader through the action-reaction between the US and Russia over the time covered as the USA arguably began losing the tug-of-war with the Kremlin.

The overarching genre of essays in this collection is reports on events and personalities in the news that the author saw firsthand. These essays are not a daily chronicle. The author did not join commentators on the scrimmage pile-up. He concentrated on impressions drawn from personal activism.

One of the greatest virtues of this collection is the details on how we approached a catastrophic military confrontation with Russia, especially in the final months of the Obama administration. We are still not out of the woods.

This would not have been obvious to most readers because of the blackout on Russian-sourced news imposed from Washington, working hand-in-glove with major media. A number of essays demonstrate this blackout and its tendentiousness very clearly.

There are always two or more sides to an issue, and the author has applied all of his talents and contacts to bring out what the other side has been saying and why, to separate out cause and effect.

Essays in this collection draw upon the author’s experience during a nine-month period of “stardom” from May 2016 to January 2017 as one of a handful of foreigners, and of Americans in particular, who were invited to appear on Russian political talk shows for the domestic television audience to comment on the American presidential campaign through the inauguration of Donald Trump.

The author’s time on Russian domestic television was more important for what he heard than for what he said. He was able to see up close some of Russia’s most articulate and impressive legislators, educators, think tank directors and television hosts. In these essays, he shares his impressions of what is a far more vibrant and sophisticated political and intellectual life than one might imagine.


Source: RI