Schweizer, Peter 1964–
Schweizer, Peter 1964–
ADDRESSES: Home—FL. Office—Hoover Institution, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-6010.
CAREER: Writer, historian, documentary producer, public speaker, and consultant. Sandia National Laboratory, member of Ultraterrorism Study Group, 1999–2001; Hoover Institution, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, research fellow. Former consultant to NBC news; guest on nationally broadcast television and radio programs on networks such as ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, and the BBC.
(Editor, with James S. Denton) Grinning with the Gipper: A Celebration of Wit, Wisdom, and Wisecracks of Ronald Reagan, Atlantic Monthly Press (New York, NY), 1988.
(With Ronald Roy Nelson) The Soviet Concepts of Peace, Peaceful Coexistence, and Detente, University Press of America (Lanham, MD), 1988.
Friendly Spies: How America's Allies Are Using Economic Espionage to Steal Our Secrets, Atlantic Monthly Press (New York, NY), 1993.
Victory: The Reagan Administration's Secret Strategy That Hastened the Collapse of the Soviet Union, Atlantic Monthly Press (New York, NY), 1994.
(With Caspar Weinberger) The Next War, Regnery Publishing (Washington, DC), 1996.
(With wife, Rochelle Schweizer) Disney: The Mouse Betrayed: Greed, Corruption, and Children at Risk, Regnery Publishing (Washington, DC), 1998.
(Editor) The Fall of the Berlin Wall: Reassessing the Causes and Consequences of the End of the Cold War, Hoover Institution Press (Stanford, CA), 2000.
Reagan's War: The Epic Story of His Forty-Year Struggle and Final Triumph over Communism, Doubleday (New York, NY), 2002.
(With Rochelle Schweizer) The Bushes: Portrait of A Dynasty, Doubleday (New York, NY), 2004.
(Editor, with Paul Kengor) The Reagan Presidency: Assessing the Man and His Legacy, Rowman & Littlefield (Lanham, MD), 2005.
Do As I Say (Not As I Do): Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy, Doubleday (New York, NY), 2005.
(With Weinberger) Chain of Command (novel), Atria Books (New York, NY), 2005.
Producer, In the Face of Evil (documentary film). Contributor to periodicals, including the New York Times, Foreign Affairs, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Christian Science Monitor, National Review, Defense Nationale, Orbis, and International Herald-Tribune. Author's works have been translated into eleven languages.
ADAPTATIONS: Schweizer's book Reagan's War was adapted as a film by Stephen K. Bannon and Julia Jones, released in New York by American Vantage Media/Non-Fiction Films, 2004.
WORK IN PROGRESS: Editing a volume of conservative speeches for Texas A&M Press.
SIDELIGHTS: Peter Schweizer's books include several with cold war and Reagan-era themes. In Friendly Spies: How America's Allies Are Using Economic Espionage to Steal Our Secrets, Schweizer writes that while the United States was busy fighting Communism, our allies, including Japan, France, Germany, Israel, and South Korea, were sustaining espionage campaigns to enable them to catch up with us economically, sometimes using the Freedom of Information Act to access information. Schweizer names names—those of the pirates and those of the victimized companies, including General Electric (GE), International Business Machines (IBM), and Texas Instruments, and states that U.S. intelligence knew of these activities. Christian Science Monitor reviewer Richard Ryan wrote that Friendly Spies "leaves one feeling that perhaps Len Deighton and Robert Ludlum were never quite paranoid enough."
Victory: The Reagan Administration's Secret Strategy That Hastened the Collapse of the Soviet Union contains a list of the National Security Decision Directives (NSDDs) signed by President Reagan to weaken the Soviet Union and exploit that country's vulnerabilities. National Review contributor Peter W. Rodman wrote that Schweizer provides the history of these policy decisions, anecdotes, and accounts "vividly, with rich detail…. There was for example, the collaboration with Pope John Paul II on covert programs to assist Solidarity in Poland, and there was the collusion with the Saudis to drive down oil prices, which had the effect … of depriving the Soviet Union of foreign exchange on which it was counting for its economic recovery…. There was the stepped-up Afghan program, which included not only an escalation of arms aid to the Mujahedin, but also the formation of specially trained guerrilla units that regularly cross the border from Afghan territory to launch raids inside the Soviet Union itself."
The Reagan administration raised military spending, thereby keeping the pressure on the financially unstable Soviets to do the same. The Strategic Defense Initiative, also known as the Star Wars program, was also developed during Reagan's presidency. "Much of the effort aimed at deepening the costs of empire to the Soviet Union was covert," commented Bruce D. Berkowitz in Orbis. "Indeed, the Iran/Contra affair was a direct byproduct of this program, however much a zealous CIA director (William Casey) and loose cannon in the National Security Council (Oliver North) may have struck out on their own. And the administration was perfectly clear about its intentions." Berkowitz continued: "Ergo, the hawk interpretation of the cold war: the Reaganauts' strategy worked. After all, they proposed a military buildup and hardline policy, followed through with them, and—just as they predicted—saw the Soviet Union consigned to 'the ash heap of history,' to use the phrase that President Reagan borrowed from none other than Lenin."
Schweizer and former Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger wrote The Next War, a set of five possible scenarios for regional conflict in the world. They argue that the United States is wrong to assume peace will last forever and worry that, with the quick victory in Operation Desert Storm, false confidence in the technologically advanced U.S. military system would lead to depleted defense resources. The book was written and published during the Clinton administration, as Schweizer and Weinberger watched liberal social programs funded at the expense of the defense budget, rendering the United States less-than-ready in time of emergency.
The five scenarios are written as short stories and note all aspects of the possible scenario without character development. The first scenario portrays a 1998 Korean war, in which China takes advantage of U.S. involvement to attack Taiwan. The second is in 1999, with an Iran that has produced weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles. The third is a Mexican crisis in 2003, when the United States must intervene and install a provisional government to replace a drug-controlled one, and the fourth is a 2006 power play in Russia that threatens America with nuclear weapons. The final war, in 2007, is with a Japan that has crashed economically, and in which cyber warfare plays a part.
In Orbis Mark T. Clark wrote: "What makes these assessments valuable is that they are not focused on one or two programs, strategies, or policies. They include everything from balance of power politics to trade wars, gaps in strategic intelligence coverage and the need for more robust human intelligence, vulnerability at the strategic nuclear level to theater programs to alleviate the threat of regional uses of weapons of mass destruction, major regional conflict between adversaries, outbursts of local anarchy, migration crises, revan-chists, and hardline nationalists merging in unstable states."
With his wife, Rochelle, Schweizer wrote Disney: The Mouse Betrayed: Greed, Corruption, and Children at Risk, which notes the changes that occurred after Michael Eisner took over as president and C.E.O. of the corporation in 1984. The Schweizers contend that, since then, the family-oriented enterprise has been run with no regard for anything but financial profit and that in a matter of years, the entrance fees at the theme parks rose by more than fifty percent. They point out that Disney expanded into the production of edgy rock music and adult content films. The hiring of employees with criminal records (skimping on background checks) and lessening of safety standards, they say, has led to increased crime and injuries which are frequently covered up by Disney security. A Video Age International reviewer noted that while the authors succeed "in highlighting some serious problems, there is no rhyme or reason for covering other issues except to reveal the authors' conservative values. An entire chapter is devoted to the presence of gay people at Disney."
Reagan's War: The Epic Story of His Forty-Year Struggle and Final Triumph over Communism is Sch-weizer's tribute to Reagan, in which he traces the president's crusade against Communism, from Hollywood in the 1940s to his presidency in the 1980s. Curtis Edmonds, who reviewed the book for Bookreporter.com, noted that some details are omitted but concluded that the purpose of the volume "is not to criticize, but to celebrate a great victory and the great leader who is responsible."
Schweizer again turns to assessing the legacy of Ronald Reagan, this time as an editor, with The Reagan Presidency: Assessing the Man and His Legacy, in collaboration with Paul Kengor. The editors present a selection of original essays from scholars, educators, and researchers in the history and accomplishments of the Reagan presidency. They cover a wide variety of topics and Reagan's place within them, including economic policy, management of government, the Iran-Contra scandal, the controversy over abortion, and, perhaps largest of all, the Cold War and Reagan's signal achievements toward its end. Although the book is presented as an objective evaluation of Reagan's presidency, a reviewer in Reference & Research Book News noted that the editors' introduction, and many of the papers, are "consistently admiring."
Do As I Say (Not As I Do): Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy presents what reviewer Eric Wasserstrum, writing in the Weekly Standard, called an "entertaining exposure of the hypocrisy among some prominent liberals." Schweizer contends that "the most vocal liberals do not practice what they preach," Wasser-strum noted. Among Schweizer's targets are Ted Kennedy, Hillary Clinton, Michael Moore, Noam Chomsky, and Al Franken. He cites, for example, leftist filmmaker Michael Moore's chastisement of whites for denying executive positions to minorities while the filmmaker hires very few minorities for his own projects. Schweizer also notes that Democrat congresswoman Nancy Pelosi supports worker unionization while hiring only nonunion labor at a hotel she owns. However, a Publishers Weekly reviewer pointed out that "many of his charges are egregiously hyperbolic," and that "Schweizer employs a double standard" when it comes to holding conservatives accountable for their own hypocrisies and prevarications. Despite some interesting revelations—such as the fact that Noam Chomsky, notable for his criticism of the military, wrote his first book with grant money from the Army, Navy, and Air Force—the Publishers Weekly critic felt that Schweizer was well aware of the "limitations of his argument" against the often-targeted liberals in his book.
Schweizer turns his hand to fiction, in collaboration with a previous coauthor and Ronald Reagan's former defense secretary, in Chain of Command, a thriller written with Caspar Weinberger. When the U.S. president is assassinated and the vice president gravely wounded while on retreat at Camp David, suspicion immediately falls on Secret Service Special Agent Michael Delaney, whose service weapon was used to commit the grisly deed. Delaney is a longtime member of the president's security detail who insists that his Beretta was switched without his knowledge, but he is forced to flee before he is imprisoned for the crime. Multiple coordinated terrorist attacks follow on the heels of the shootings, and when the vice president ascends to the presidency, he immediately declares martial law and prepares to dispense justice to a militia group he thinks is responsible for the shootings. In a naked grab for power, the new president attempts to suspend national civil liberties and assume total control of the country. Meanwhile, Delaney, still on the run, attempts to forestall the president's actions while finding out who was actually behind the assassination. After some difficult interactions with the militia members, Delaney finds critical evidence and returns to Washington with it, where he finds himself in conflict with the man who has become the most powerful person in the country. "This formula boasts no literary pretensions, just entertaining suspense that will please action-seekers," commented Gilbert Taylor in Booklist. A Publishers Weekly contributor concluded that the authors "have delivered a superbly paced, tightly plotted winner."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, May 15, 2005, Gilbert Taylor, review of Chain of Command, p. 1614.
Christian Science Monitor, February, 1993, Richard Ryan, review of Friendly Spies: How America's Allies Are Using Economic Espionage to Steal Our Secrets, p. 14.
National Review, August 29, 1994, Peter W. Rodman, review of Victory: The Reagan Administration's Secret Strategy That Hastened the Collapse of the Soviet Union, pp. 60-61.
Orbis, winter, 1996, Bruce D. Berkowitz, review of Victory, pp. 164-171; winter, 1998, Mark T. Clark, review of The Next War, pp. 121-130.
Publishers Weekly, May 30, 2005, review of Chain of Command, p. 39; August 15, 2005, review of Do As I Say (Not As I Do): Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy, p. 46.
Reference & Research Book News, August, 2005, review of The Reagan Presidency: Assessing the Man and His Legacy, p. 69.
Video Age International, January, 2001, review of Disney: The Mouse Betrayed: Greed, Corruption, and Children at Risk, p. 14.
Weekly Standard, September 26, 2005, Eric Wasser-strum, review of Do As I Say (Not As I Do), p. 43.
Bookreporter.com, http://www.bookreporter.com/ (December 10, 2002), Curtis Edwards, review of Reagan's War.
Hoover Institution Home Page, http://www.hoover.org/ (April 8, 2006), biography of Peter Schweizer.