The Son of Jewish Immigrants Who Made $10 Million While a Soviet Mole

July 30 2019

“In the 1930s and ’40s,” David Evanier writes, “there were any number of American Communists so enamored of Joseph Stalin and the shining tomorrows he promised that they would do anything for the Soviet Union, disdaining payment of any kind.” David Karr wasn’t one of them. Yes, born in 1918, he was raised in the Jewish immigrant Brooklyn from which emerged many American Jewish Communists, and yes, he spent the early years of his adult life as a true believer, and yes, he may have been a Soviet mole—but he certainly didn’t disdain payment for his efforts.

Karr went on to amass a $10 million-dollar fortune from careers as varied as muckraking columnist to corporate raider. All the while, the one constant in his life seems to have been his involvement with the USSR. But what he wanted from the Soviet Union is hard to say. Reviewing a new biography of Karr by the historian Harvey Klehr, Evanier summarizes the matter:

Throughout it all, writes Klehr, “Karr cooperated with Soviet intelligence agencies, tried to act as a middleman between the USSR and the U.S. on several issues, and attempted to get close to American officials and politicians at the behest of the KGB.”

Was he a double agent? Whose side was he really on? Klehr would seem to have answered that question definitively with his title, “The Millionaire Was a Soviet Mole.” But no: The author’s final verdict is that while Karr began as a Communist true believer, he ended, at age sixty, as an amoral monster, an “unscrupulous and driven” man who in all his business dealings—especially those between Russian and Western parties—played both ends against the middle, using his connections mainly to enrich himself, no matter who got hurt.

Karr wasn’t entirely unusual, though. As Evanier’s own recent essay in Mosaic shows, that kind of cynicism turns out to have been normal for aging American Communists.

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Read more at Wall Street Journal

More about: Communism, History & Ideas, Soviet Union

How Israel Helps Uphold the U.S.-Backed Liberal International Order

Oct. 16 2019

Seeking to reverse decades of diplomatic isolation, and in response to increasing hostility from Western Europe, Jerusalem in recent years has cultivated better relations with a variety of states, including some with unsavory rulers—ranging from the Philippines’ Rodrigo Duterte to Russia’s Vladimir Putin. While such a policy has provoked sharp criticism in some quarters, Seth Cropsey and Harry Halem explain that a small country like Israel does not have the luxury of disdaining potential allies, and, moreover, continues to do much to support American interests and with them the “liberal international order,” such as it is. Take the fraught case of its relations with Russia:

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Read more at National Review

More about: Israel diplomacy, U.S. Foreign policy, US-Israel relations, Vladimir Putin