The latest highly anticipated entry in the “Call of Duty” video game franchise seems to center around a rather anti-communist narrative — and it’s got modern American “Reds” running scared.
Not set for release until Nov. 14, “Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War” has already caused quite a stir on the pages of progressive video game publications and among radical left-wing social media users.
Everything from the upcoming spy thriller’s depiction of true-to-life Cold War tragedies to its inclusion of beloved Republican President Ronald Reagan has seemed to generate laughable controversy for one reason or another this past month.
One particular criticism leveled against the game, however, takes the cake with ease.
— Kotaku (@Kotaku) August 27, 2020
In a nearly 1,500-word article published Thursday, the video game-focused news site Kotaku accused Activision Publishing, Inc. of “recklessly” giving voice to a “far-right conspiracy theory” by including Soviet defector Yuri Bezmenov in newly released promotional material for the latest installment of its 17-year-old blockbuster.
“Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War’s debut trailer — which has already attracted controversy — gives a lot of airtime to Soviet defector Yuri Bezmenov and his views,” Kotaku wrote.
“Views which have, in recent years, become a dangerous rallying cry for far-right conspiracy theories and the people who peddle them.”
The debut trailer in question, which was released Aug. 21, presented an ominous interview given by Bezmenov in 1984, punctuated by cathode-ray television static and frequent cuts to aged video of Cold War-era combat, military demonstrations and civil unrest.
A former KGB informant who had defected to Canada in 1970, Bezmenov made waves across the Western world for widely publicized claims that the Soviet military and intelligence community often dealt with its enemies not through open warfare, but by infiltrating foreign governments and political movements for the purposes of subversion and spreading communist ideology.
“Understand what’s going on around you,” Bezmenov said at the time. “You are in a state of war and you have precious little time to save yourself.”
“It’s a slow process which we call ‘active measures,'” he added.
“The first stage being demoralization. It takes from 15 to 20 years to demoralize the nation. The next stage is destabilization. What matters is essentials — economy, foreign relations and defense systems.”
“The next stage is crisis, with a violent change of power, structure and economy,” Bezmenov continued.
The final stage, he said, is a “period of normalization.
“This is what will happen in the United States if you allow all these schmucks to put a big brother government in Washington, D.C. They will promise lots of things, never mind whether the promises are fulfilled or not.”
“The time bomb is ticking, but every second the disaster is coming closer and closer, the danger is real.”
Now, considering we are talking in the context of a video game about globetrotting paramilitary special operatives tasked by Reagan with neutralizing a Russian spy bent on destroying the free world, one might think the use of these statements — whether they be true or not — is relatively innocuous.
After all, countless works of Cold War spy fiction are based secret plots, conspiracies and intrigue-laden moments in our history.
For Kotaku, however, silly spy plots and harmless fun this was not. Instead, it was an effort to prop up supposed right-wing theories that the civil rights movement was actually a secret Soviet plot to overthrow the United States government with communist uprisings.
According to the outlet: “Bezmenov’s suggestion in the full interview is that extending equality to the United States’ non-white, non-male population made it ripe for Soviet invasion.”
Mere inclusion of the defector’s words in the trailer, Kotaku argued, was a “dog whistle to legions of reactionaries who consider attempts at establishing social equity to be proof of a far-right conspiracy theory known as ‘Cultural Marxism.'”
Of course, this is all a massive oversimplification — heck, an outright misrepresentation — of Bezmenov’s claims.
The defector did not believe the battle for minority civil rights and equal protection under the law was a mere cover for the spread of communism.
He merely warned Western nations that the infiltration of foreign governments, political movements and revolutions was the modus operandi of opportunist communist regimes during the Cold War — a fact undisputed by the post-war historical record.
Following the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, numerous sources and leaks — including the famed Mitrokhin archives — revealed “active measures” ranging from propaganda campaigns to assassination were standard practice among the Soviet secret police and security agency known as the KGB.
Heck, NPR itself — hardly a bastion of conservative reporting — referred to Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election as modern “active measures.”
And let’s be fair: The U.S. has engaged in “active measures” of its own in the past, with leaders and intelligence agencies supporting rebellion against Middle Eastern and South American regimes repeatedly in recent decades.
For better or worse, every world power with a modernized military and intelligence community has covertly meddled in foreign political affairs in order to undermine its enemies and shift the balance on the international stage.
Of course, Kotaku could not be bothered to present or even research such things.
The outlet instead decided to bounce from allegation to allegation, from fringe right-wing figure to fringe right-wing figure, in order to distract from the patent irrationality and dishonesty of its reporting.
Its insane narrative — the notion that communism wasn’t so bad and the modern cultural complex is dominated by the oppressive ideology of straight, white, far-right men — was apparently too precious for leftists to let facts get in the way.
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