Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Good points, but I'll extend it after a quibble. The quibble is that even the CIA estimate was an over-estimate (if I remember correctly, by 50%, while Team B pushed it to 200% - but don't take my word on it).

Now, the neocons do claim after-the-fact (rather dishonestly) that they pushed the Soviets out with the armament race they fomented. But the problem with this widespread view is that dictatures do not have to collapse due to economic crisis: witness North Korea. Or indeed, witness the Soviet Union itself in the thirties under Stalin, or for that matter, China during the Great Leap Forward, and again during the Cultural Revolution.

No, the implosion of the Empire, especially here in the Warshaw Pact countries that got free 1989-90, was more of a political nature. I think above all, it can be connected to Gorbachev personally. Without Soviet military support, the puppet regimes crumbled under much weaker attacks (with the exception of Romania) than say in 1956 here in Hungary.

However, I even encountered a neocon supporter who was not only aware of this, but pointed out that neocons even claim Gorbachev as their own success! They claim Reagan frightened the Politburo into choosing a reformist. Which is ridiculous - the wish for stability after the death of three gerontocrats in fast succession had much more to do with his accession, and besides, he was already considered before (I read of this recently).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Nov 7th, 2005 at 06:35:33 PM EST
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Reagan specifically put into place a strategy aimed at raising the stakes financially, thinking the empire would crumble.  He did, and they did.  he also took a much more confrontational stand on the issues with the leaders of the USSR.  In his own style of humor, he put the Cold War strategy as, "how about we win, they lose".

Now of course it's possible that this fall would have happened anyway.  And though I don't know the %'s, it is true that CIA estimates significantly overstated the economic power of the USSR.

I imagine history books will give Reagan credit, for at least hastening the fall.  But I doubt this is an argument that will be resolved in our lifetimes, though it certainly has been, and will be, argued strongly.

by wchurchill on Tue Nov 8th, 2005 at 01:17:20 AM EST
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