Book Write-Ups: Strike from Space, Ambush at Vladivostok (Phyllis Schlafly)

A. Phyllis Schlafly and Chester Ward. Strike from Space: A Megadeath Mystery. Pere Marquette, 1965.

This is a sequel to Gravediggers (1964) but gets into more territory.

—-Why was Khrushchev deposed? Was Brezhnev his designated successor because of his lack of involvement in the Cuban Missile Crisis? Schlafly and Ward answer “no.” That Cuban Missile Crisis explanation fails because Brezhnev actually was involved in that! Khrushchev was deposed because he could not keep his mouth shut. He continually bragged about Soviet military superiority and desire to conquer the world, and the Soviets wanted the U.S.S.R. to keep a lower public profile about its capabilities and ambitions.

—-Why is the U.S. embroiled in Vietnam? It let Laos fall to the Soviets! According to Schlafly and Ward, the Vietnam War is diverting the U.S. from pursuing nuclear superiority over the Soviets, by concentrating its resources on conventional warfare in Vietnam. Schlafly and Ward are critical of the Vietnam War, yet they also do not care for the peace movement. Schlafly and Ward even point to the Vietnam War as an argument against the view that getting tough on Communism will invite a nuclear retaliatory response from the Soviets. It hasn’t so far, they argue. The Soviets have blinked, plenty of times!

—-Schlafly and Ward are slightly unclear about whether the Soviets aim to rule the United States. They seem to argue in the negative: the Soviets lack the resources to rule the world, let alone the U.S. The Soviet desire is to nuke the United States, not to rule it. Yet, they also imply, at times, that the Soviets want to rule it. Here, and in Kissinger on the Couch, they say that the Soviets want American resources, and they cannot have that if they nuke the U.S. In any case, in speculating about the motives of the “gravediggers,” the U.S. government officials who work for nuclear disarmament on the part of the U.S., Schlafly and Ward state that these officials hope to have a high-ranking position once the Soviets take over the U.S., which these officials deem to be inevitable.

—-Religion is a theme that comes up in Strike from Space, and it had a brief cameo in Gravediggers. In Gravediggers, Schlafly and Ward call Bertrand Russell arrogant because he wrote a book entitled Why I Am Not a Christian. In Strike from Space, they are critical of liberal clergy who advocate nuclear disarmament. They quote one who even suggests that God takes no sides in the nuclear arms race. Of course God takes sides, they assert! The Soviets are godless despots trying to take over the world, so, naturally, God would oppose them and support the U.S.

—-Schlafly elsewhere argues that LBJ pursued nuclear disarmament because he wanted money for his social programs, without raising taxes. She repeats that argument here, only she provides quotes from LBJ to that effect.

—-In Gravediggers, Schlafly and Ward praise JFK for being willing to use nuclear weapons to defend West Berlin. They do the same in Strike from Space, but after a somewhat convoluted discussion. They deny that high-level nuclear weapons are necessary to resolve conflicts, preferring lower-level weapons. Then, they defend JFK.

B. Phyllis Schlafly and Chester Ward. Ambush at Vladivostok. Pere Marquette, 1976.

This is a sequel to Kissinger on the Couch. It focuses on the U.S.-Soviet summit at Vladivostok. President Gerald Ford attended that soon after getting off the plane, so, suffering from jet-lag, he was prone to poor decisions and gave away the store to the Soviets. Yet, Schlafly and Ward also believe that Ford received bad advice, particularly from Henry Kissinger. Part of this book is Schlafly and Ward saying that they were right in Kissinger on the Couch, and time has borne that out. They point out contradictions in Kissinger’s statements on disarmament, maintaining that Kissinger is deceiving the public about the details of the disarmament agreements. Schlafly and Ward also deem Donald Rumsfeld, who was Ford’s Defense Secretary, to be part of the pro-disarmament pack, and, if memory serves me correctly, there is also a brief disparagement of Dick Cheney, who served in the Ford Administration. Schlafly and Ford speculate about the 1976 Presidential election. They suspect that the Soviets support Ford, since he is a sucker, and that some of their small retreats from the world stage were designed to boost Ford in the eyes of the American public. This book gets into a lot of military technicalities and is not as enjoyable, as, say, Strike from Space, which also gets into politics, but it has its interesting insights, here and there.


About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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