Lifestyles of the KGB in China

November 04, 1991|By ANDREI CODRESCU

NEW ORLEANS — New Orleans. - It's no picnic being a spy these days. Look at what Robert Gates is going through: They are trying to make him tell the truth.

That's organically impossible for a spy. Contra Naturam. They train spies to fool lie detectors. If Mr. Gates says he tells the truth it means that he's lying. Only if he's lying (which he won't tell us) might we assume that he's telling the truth. Cretans were liars. Therefore they were spies. Also, spies talk in codes. They are codes. What do Watergate, Irangate, Contragate all have in common? They were all Gates, as the third-grader said. Frankly though, no matter how the CIA comes out of these Gates -- not very smartly, I assume -- its travail is nothing compared to that of the KGB.

The KGB has no more ideology. What in the word are its spies supposed to be dying for? If they are not spying for communism any longer they could only spy for cash. Our side has more cash. Therefore, and henceforth, the KGB will be spying for us. Therefore, the KGB is the CIA. After the failed coup in the Soviet Union thousands of KGB agents crossed the border into China. These were, one assumes, the believers, though after a few months in China they will no doubt change their minds. I will refrain from imagining the lifestyles of the Soviet KGB in China. Severe caviar rationing.

Under pressure from the truth and lack of ideology, many spies might just throw in the towel. Or pretend to. They might go back to school to enroll in fiction-writing classes for the novels they will write. They might go into presumably legitimate business like the former KGB clones in Eastern Europe who are buying cruise lines, body shops and corner bodegas wherever they can.

Like us, they will strive to take over the world overtly, not covertly, at night, on a road strewn with errors of judgment and faulty estimates. Of course, they may already have taken over and are just buying bodegas to make it look good. Ask them, they will all lie about it. Therefore, it must be true.

F: Andrei Codrescu teaches at Louisiana State University.

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