This article is about the American political commentator. For the expert on breastfeeding issues, see Diana West (lactation consultant).
|Born||November 8, 1961
|Education||Yale B.A. English|
|Occupation||Author and columnist|
Diana West (born November 8, 1961, Hollywood, California) is a nationally syndicated conservative American columnist and author. Her weekly column, which frequently tackles controversial subjects such as the impact of Islam, the failures of counterinsurgency strategy (COIN), and the questions about President Obama's eligibility, is syndicated by Universal U-Click and appears in about 120 newspapers and news sites. She is the author of the books The Death of the Grown Up: How America's Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization (St. Martin's Press, 2007) and American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation's Character (St. Martin's Press, 2013).
West has contributed essays and features to many publications including: The Wall Street Journal, The Weekly Standard, The Washington Post, The New Criterion, The Public Interest, and Women's Quarterly. She has also been a columnist for The Washington Times, Scripps Howard News Service and United Media. As a former CNN contributor, West frequently appeared on the former CNN Lou Dobbs show. She blogs at dianawest.net.
On May 28, 2013, St. Martin's Press published Diana West's second book, American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation's Character. With the fall of the Soviet Union and access to files and archives, historians have had ample opportunity to explore the scope of Soviet spying but have fail to "adjust the historical record." West explores the extent of Soviet influence during the Roosevelt and Truman Presidencies. She argues that infiltration of the American government by Stalinist agents and fellow-travelers had significantly altered Allied policies in favor of the Soviet Union during the Second World War. Frank J. Gaffney Jr. finds that West "painstakingly documents how America's government, media, academia, political and policy elites actively helped obscure the true nature of the Soviet Union." West finds there is a parallel with the failure to face the dangers of communism in the 1930s and the failure to face the threat of radical Islam today.
Frank T. Csongos argues that West is right "up to a point." He notes that West rejects the standard narrative that Franklin Roosevelt, like George W. Bush, took drastic steps to "save capitalism." Unlike West, he believes that Roosevelt was merely naive when trusting Stalin. A Kirkus review finds that she has a number of valid points but ends with the warning: "A frustrating mixture of incontrovertible facts and dubious speculation. Proceed with caution." West's book received praise from historian Amity Shlaes, author M. Stanton Evans, Fox commentator Monica Crowley and a host of conservative blogs and websites, including Frontpage magazine, whose reviewer Mark Tapson wrote on July 8, 2014:
"With her characteristic fierce passion, West argues in her new book that the Communist infiltration led to a successful 'assault on our nation's character' during the Cold War that left us the 'heirs to a false and hollow history' and 'unwitting participants' in 'a secretly subverted pageant.' In other words, perhaps we didn't win the Cold War after all. ... West argues that the impact of this 'deep occupation' did not simply fall away with the collapse of the Soviet Union. It lives today in our embrace of the Communists' false historical narrative, exemplified in our 'denial of the Soviet regime-engineered Famine in the Ukraine ... a seminal moment in the history of the world. The seminal moment, perhaps, of the twentieth century.' It lives also in our weakened resistance to their ideology. 'Americans are not equipped,' West notes, 'not prepared, to regard anything resembling Communism ... as an existential threat to liberty.' Instead, we still romanticize Moscow's agents as 'idealists' and 'are continually conditioned to embrace Communistic principles, all serving to expand the power and authority of the state over the individual.'"
On August 7, 2014, Ronald Radosh published what he called his "take-down" of American Betrayal at Frontpage, "McCarthy of Steroids." This essay of roughly 7,000 words launched a long series of posts by Radosh, Horowitz and others based on Radosh's charges. Some writers, such as American Thinker's Clarice Feldman, admitted repeated Radosh's charges while admitting they had not read the book.
West, according to Nicholas Goldberg, "believes she has exposed 'the Communist-agent-occupation of the U.S. government' during the Roosevelt and Truman eras." He describes West as the conservative counterpart to Howard Zinn in terms of faulty scholarship and exaggerated narratives. Ronald Radosh, "a well-known conservative scholar," has criticized West's methodology and her conclusions in his FrontPage Magazine article. Michael J. Totten also praises Radosh's "masterful takedown." Jonathan Chait says that West's "thesis that American foreign policy under presidents Roosevelt, Truman, and Eisenhower was secretly controlled by the Soviet Union" has found supporters at the Heritage Foundation and the American Spectator.
A hot war over American Betrayal continued online throughout the late summer and fall of 2013, much of which is archived and chronicled at the counter-jihad website, Gates of Vienna, a defender of West, here.
John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr, scholars of Soviet espionage, came to the defense of Radosh. They wrote an article in FrontPage Magazine disputing a crucial contention that Roosevelt's right-hand man, Harry Hopkins, may well have been a Soviet spy. Vladimir Bukovsky, a Soviet dissident forcefully rejected Radosh's criticisms of West's book, condemned the attempt to portray West as a deluded and historically inept conspiracy-monger, and supported her conclusions about the infiltration of the Roosevelt government by Stalinist agents and fellow-travelers.
M. Stanton Evans, author of Blacklisted by History: The Untold Story of Sen. Joe McCarthy and His Fight Against America's Enemies, and co-author most recently with the late Herbert Romerstein of Stalins' Secret Agents: The Subversion of Roosevelt's Government, also wrote in support of West. On September 13, 2013, Evans wrote an essay called "In Defense of Diana West". In it, Evans strongly backs American Betrayal and specifically West's contested metaphor that Washington was, in effect, "occupied" due to the influence on policy-making and US actions by hundreds of agents working on Moscow's behalf inside the federal government and related institutions, some of whom actually reaching the inner sanctums of the White House, the State Department, the Treasury, OSS, and elsewhere. Evans writes:
"By using the 'occupied' image, Ms. West is of course not saying Soviet tanks were patrolling the streets of Washington, or that Red martial law was imposed on its cowering citizens. What she is arguing instead is that Soviet agents, Communists and fellow travelers held official posts, or served at chokepoints of intelligence data, and from these positions were able to exert pro-Soviet leverage on U.S. and other allied policy. Though ignored in many conventional histories, the evidence to support this view is overwhelming."
Responding to her detractors' many charges, West published a rebuttal of 22,000 words at Breitbart News in three parts (See Part One here, Part Two here and Part Three here.) In October 2013, West published the complete rebuttal along with selected commentary generated by the controversy in The Rebuttal: Saving American Betrayal from the Book-Burners
On November 27, 2013, Bukovsky and Stroilov published their second essay in defense of West called "West's 'American Betrayal' Will Make History."
Soviet expert Jeff Nyquist also came out in support of West, publishing a strategic analysis of the controversy called "In Defense of Diana West". In it, he calls American Betrayal "the most important anti-Communist book of our time."
Andrew C. McCarthy also came to West's defense in a review-essay in The New Criterion, where he writes West relies on M. Stanton Evans book that comes to the defense of Senator Joseph McCarthy and cites the "groundbreaking scholarship of John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr" to back up Evans' claims. Klehr responds that Andrew McCarthy is mistaken about the Senator who was "correct about the larger issue of Soviet infiltration of the government [but] reckless errors and unsubstantiated charges." Klehr argues that West's reckless and sloppy research has led to "serious historical interpretive errors."
West responded to Haynes and Klehr here, writing: "Notice they do not claim American Betrayal makes serious historical errors. According to [Haynes and Klehr], American Betrayal makes serious interpretative errors. If you are wondering who sets the standard of interpretation, who deems what is in alignment or out, what is "incorrect" or correct, so am I."
- The Death of the Grownup: How America's Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization / Diana West (St. Martin's Griffin, 2007) ISBN 0-312-34048-6
- American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation's Character / Diana West (St. Martin's Press, 2013) ISBN 978-0-312-63078-2
- The Rebuttal: Defending 'American Betrayal' from the Book-Burners /Diana West (Bravura Books, 2013) ISBN 978-1-4928-8453-8
- "Conservative Columnist Diana West". C-span. January 22, 2012. Retrieved January 19, 2014.
- "Diana West". MacMillan.
- "American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation's Character". Kirkus. April 28, 2013.
- Frank J. Gaffney Jr. (August 6, 2013). "Willful blindness, mortal peril: Fantasizing that enemies are friends is a dangerous pastime". Washington Times.
- Andrew C. McCarthy (December 2013). "Red herrings". The New Criterion 32 (4).
- Frank T. Csongos (June 19, 2013). "BOOK REVIEW: 'American Betrayal'". Washington Times.
- Nicholas Goldberg (August 8, 2013). "Why scholars are challenging Howard Zinn and Diana West". L.A. Times.
- Michael J. Totten (10 August 2013). "Diana West's Junk History". World Affairs.
- Jonathan Chait (August 8, 2013). "Conservative Historian Has Interesting Ideas". New York Magazine.
- John Earl Haynes; Harvey Klehr (August 16, 2013). "Was Harry Hopkins A Soviet Spy?". Front Page Magazine.
- Harvey Klehr (January 2014). "American Betrayal, an exchange: Harvey Klehr & John Earl Haynes". The New Criterion 32 (5).
- Vladimir Bukovsky; Pavel Stroilov (September 28, 2103). "Why Academics Hate Diana West". Breitbart.
- Personal website
- Feature Bank Diana West Profile
- Biography and links to syndicated columns at Townhall.com
- C-SPAN Q&A interview with West, January 22, 2012