Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Arnaud de Borchgrave, R.I.P.

Arnaud de Borchgrave, son of a Belgian count,
foreign correspondent extroadianire, author
of thrilling novels of international intigue,
and diehard conservative, died on February 15
at the age of 88 following a lengthy battle
with cancer.

De Borchgrave had a long and storied career
in journalism, specializing in reporting on
the international scene. The son of Belgian
Count Baudoin Borchgrave D'Altena, who
was head of military intelligence for Belgium's
government-in-exile during World War II,
it was said of him "De Borchgrave has played
a role in world affairs known to no other
journalist. He has been able to tap the thinking
of numerous world leaders ... despite his
intimacy with major policy makers, he has
never aligned himself with either side of a
dispute ... (He) has made significant contributions
to world peace and understanding." The afore-
mentioned quote was from Osborn Elliott,
the former editor-in-chief of Newsweek,
a publication de Borchgrave had long endeavored
for. No doubt he learned a few things about
his subject matter from his father!

While with Newsweek, de Borchgrave interviewed
both Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser and
Israeli Prime Minister Levi Eshkol when they
were their nations' heads of state in the late
1960s. In 1972, he conducted his most famous
interview with North Vietnam Prime Minister
and Politburo member Pham Van Dong.

In 1985 de Borchgrave was appointed Editor-in
Chief of the Washington Times, a position he held
almost to the end of his life. He also co-wrote with
Robert Moss, an Australian historian and journalist
the smash novel The Spike, in which they showed
in their story line how the Soviet KGB was influencing
the attitudes of a largely naive Western media more
interesting in outing CIA agents in the field than in
doing same with KGB agents. de Borchgrave followed
up this novel with Monimbo', a 1989 novel envisioning
race rioters in Miami as the pawns and dupes of Cuban
and Nicaraguan communists. Writing in a Roman a Clef
style, he was able to create fictionalized versions of
real people and organizations which added a sense of
realism to his stories which served as warnings to the
West about Cold War plans and activities of the Soviet
Union and its allies. Your intrigued Peasant purchased
the Spike and having begun reading it one evening I couldn't
put it down until I had finished reading each and every
word; I finally reached the ending at five in the morning!

A riveting journalist, an exciting writer, and a man of
courage, cool and grace, Arnaud de Borchgrave will
be greatly missed by people who appreciated getting
world news straight without left-wing sugar-coating,
omissions, or spinning of facts, as well as fans of
electrifyingly thrilling books about international
mystery and intrigue. R.I.P.


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