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Have you ever felt on that rare occasion that watching a movie before reading the book was helpful? No? Have you ever read a book by John Le Carre?
First, there’s that British humor and language, like ‘bob’, instead of meaning @kentforrester‘ s dog, it means moolah, money. It dives from there into the deep, dark, dangerous cavern of espionage. I love spy stories, especially non-fiction. I have several Robert Baer books, and others from the cold war to the present time. Yet I’ve noticed Le Carre books everywhere lately, library sales, book store discount tables and movies popping up. I try reading them and my brain starts to whirl. In “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”. the reviews warn “this is not for the quick action reader”. He slowly builds the characters to where they become personal, and then methodically unfolds the plot, shifting from present to past and back again (from that quirky British perspective). A third of the way through I shelved it, frustrated. Then the movie was on last night…
The movie version boasts a stellar cast with some of my favorites like the great chameleon, Gary Oldman, playing the veteran spy and main character, George Smiley. He’s supported by Colin Firth, Benedict Cumberbatch, and others.
My husband sat down and said, “After twenty minutes of watching the movie, I still have no clue what’s going on.” That’s what I thought about the book, then the movie began to cohesively come together. I grabbed the book off the shelf and took up where I left off and read these words:
“Operation Witchcraft No. 4 – source Merlin – 60 pages: It was an immensely technical Soviet Foreign Service appreciation of the advantages and disadvantages of negotiating with a ‘weakened’ president. The conclusion, on balance, was that by throwing the president a bone for ‘his own electorate’, the Soviet Union could buy useful concessions in forthcoming discussions on multiple nuclear warheads. But it seriously questioned the desirability of allowing the United States to feel ‘too much the loser’. If Merlin maintains the standard, I would venture to predict that we could buy anything there is to have in the American agency’s shop.’
The Clinton-Lewinsky scandal instantly came into mind, followed by Uranium One…
Not to ruin the story, but the top echelon of the British spy agency become suspect. Only a few old souls, including resurrecting veteran retired spy George Smiley, can be trusted. Mueller investigation anyone?
La Carre was an actual spy. It’s been said he coined the term “mole” to describe a person who infiltrates and steals government secrets. Headlines are warning of deep fake news from foreign sources to influence our country’s elections and stability, socialism is the new talking point from the former Democratic Party, upcoming European elections with populists are running hot, China is tightening the noose of control around the world… we only have scratched the surface of seismic world events now unfolding.
From the book: “Divide and rule, that’s the principle at work these days. Personalities who should be helping to fight Communism are all at one another’s throats.”
I don’t think John LeCarre, after reading his bio, is a conservative from an American perspective, or understands the challenges that our current president inherited, and is facing on the global stage. Fascism is a statement that he used in a recent comment to describe Trump as well as to the current political tremors in Poland and Hungary. The traditional hard red line with socialism, fascism, communism on one side and democracy with true freedom on the other have become blurred. In fact, the definition of many things that have become inverted. How big a leap is it from socialism to fascism to communism?
Is love of God and country by defending traditions, borders, creating prosperity through free enterprise, and seeking to share these with a world the definition of a fascist country? Do identity politics usurp reason and compromise, causing further division? Divide and rule. Paging George Smiley…
Have you read John Le Carre? What is your favorite spy novel or author? Is truth mimicking fiction these days, as in “I never thought I’d live to see the day when…”, and how so? What do you see on the horizon politically in 2020?Published in