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John le Carre writes About Donald Trump.

March 26, 2020


The well-known writer of spy novels John le Carre in his most recent novel Agent Running in the Field has his characters comment on several contemporary world leaders.  In the novel, his main character Nat after 25 years of running agents in Eastern Europe,  is about to be retired. In his final efforts in the service, he discovers secret plans by two world powers to break up Europe. One of those two world powers is led by Vladimir Putin, and the other by Donald Trump. Although most of the characters Nat meets up with have a few redeeming characteristics,  two have none, Putin and Trump. At one point Nat sees Trump and Putin in Helsinki on television. le Carre writes:

“Trump, speaking as if to order, is disowning the findings of his own intelligence services, which have come up with the inconvenient truth that Russia interfered in the 2016 American presidential election. Putin smiles his proud jailer’s smile.”


Later, Nat engages in the following dialogue:

You know what Trump is?”

“Tell me.”

“He’s Putin’s shithouse cleaner. He does everything for little Vladi that little Vladi can’t do for himself: pisses on European unity, pisses on human rights, pisses on NATO. Assures us that Crimea and Ukraine belong to the Holy Russian Empire, the Middle East belongs to the Jews and the Saudis, and to hell with the world order. And you Brits, what do you do? You suck his dick and invite him to tea with your Queen.”
le Carré, John. Agent Running in the Field (p. 141). Penguin Publishing Group.


True it is the characters in the novel who are expressing the opinions, nevertheless, le Carre in a 2017 interview with the NY Times stated:

“For Putin, it’s a kind of little piece of background music to keep things going. The smoking gun might or might not be the documents exchanged about the Trump Tower in Moscow [which Trump is said to have been planning to build]. Then there’s the really seedy stuff in the Caucasus. There are bits of scandal which, if added up, might suggest he went to Russia for money. And that would then fit in with the fact that he isn’t half as, a tenth as rich as he pretends to be.”


In a recent interview with the BBC, le Carre said,

“It would be impossible to write at the moment without speaking from within the state of the nation — we’re part of it, I’m part of it. … I’m depressed by it. I’m ashamed of it and that, I think, communicates itself in the book.”

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