Schweizer, Peter 1964-
SCHWEIZER, Peter 1964-
ADDRESSES: Home—Florida. Offıce—Hoover Institution, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-6010.
CAREER: Writer, historian, 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.
(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 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.
Contributor to periodicals, including the New York Times, Foreign Affairs, Christian Science Monitor, National Review, Defense Nationale, Orbis, and International Herald-Tribune.
SIDELIGHTS: Peter Schweizer's books include several with cold war and Reagan-era themes. In his 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, and Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger in particular, raised military spending, thereby keeping the pressure on the Soviets to do the same, and also developed the Star Wars program. "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 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 games 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.
Orbis reviewer Mark T. Clark wrote that "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, revanchists, 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 have occurred since Michael Eisner took over as president and C.E.O. of the corporation in 1984. The Schweizers contend that the family-oriented enterprise is now 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 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 Schweizer's tribute to Reagan, in which he traces his 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."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Spectator, August, 1994, Fred Barnes, review of Victory: The Reagan Administration's Secret Strategy That Hastened the Collapse of the Soviet Union, p. 70.
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; February 3, 1997, Gregory M. Lamb, review of The Next War, p. 12.
Forbes, October 24, 1994, Steve Forbes, review of Victory, p. 26; September 16, 2002, Caspar W. Weinberger, review of Reagan's War: The Epic Story of His Forty-Year Struggle and Final Triumph over Communism, p. 37.
History, fall, 1997, Kenneth J. Campbell, review of The Next War, p. 47.
Kirkus Reviews, January 1, 1993, review of Friendly Spies, p. 51; August 15, 2002, review of Reagan's War, p. 1205.
National Review, August 29, 1994, Peter W. Rodman, review of Victory, p. 60.
New York Times Book Review, July 10, 1994, Alan Tonelson, review of Victory, p. 20; January 5, 1997, James Webb, review of The Next War, p. 23.
Orbis, winter, 1996, Bruce D. Berkowitz, review of Victory, p. 164; winter, 1998, Mark T. Clark, review of The Next War, p. 121.
Presidential Studies Quarterly, summer, 1997, Anthony J. Mohr, review of The Next War, p. 616.
Publishers Weekly, October 14, 1996, review of The Next War, p. 73; September 2, 2002, review of Reagan's War, p. 68.
San Antonio Express-News, November 1, 1998, Harry Thomas, review of Disney: The Mouse Betrayed: Greed, Corruption, and Children at Risk.
Security Management, July, 1993, Lisa Arbetter, review of Friendly Spies, p. 12; October, 1993, Michael J. Koshel, review of Friendly Spies, p. 98.
Video Age International, January, 2001, review of Disney, p. 14.
Wall Street Journal, March 11, 1997, Michael G. Vickers, review of The Next War, p. A20.
Peter Schweizer Home Page,http://www-hoover.stanford.edu/ (June 10, 2003).*