Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
There is actually a case to be made that it was the runaway arms race that destroyed the Soviet economy. If it hadn't had to commit an ever-incresing proportion of its (slowly-growing) GDP to military expenses to compensate for the military budget of the US which, having faster GDP growth, could do more comfortably.

Then you investigate a bit and find that in the 1970's the CIA had an accurate assessment that the USSR was not a very potent threat and was economically overstretched. Then the neocons (yes, the same people now calling the shots) got Bush the Father to authorize an exercise in "competitive threat assessment" called "Team B". Team B fabricated data and used Rumsfeld's rule that the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence to argue that the USSR was far, far ahead of the US militarily. Ford increased the military budget accordingly. The Carter administration continued this and (through Zbigniew Brzezinski) played a key role in miring the USSR in Afghanistan. The US bounced back from Vietnam, but the Soviet system was too rigid to recover from Afghanistan. When Reagan won the presidency the neocons set to work on closing the "missile gap" and started working on "Star Wars".

So, actually, one could argue that the neocon strategy of exaggerating external threats and cooking intelligence if necessary worked against the Soviets. It forced them into overdrive and they collapsed under their own weight.

I may sound conspiratorial, but these are the same people, Perle, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Bush the Father... Their names keep cropping up, they have been in control of various branches of the US government most of the last 30-35 years, and have succeeded in subverting the Pentagon, the State Department and the CIA. Quite an accomplishment.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Nov 7th, 2005 at 06:03:48 AM EST
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