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Thanks for this diary; I learned a lot from it.

They believe instead, and for good reason, that three "subjective" factors broke it up: the way Gorbachev carried out his political and economic reforms; a power struggle in which Yeltsin overthrew the Soviet state in order to get rid of its president, Gorbachev; and property-seizing Soviet bureaucratic elites, the nomenklatura, who were more interested in "privatizing" the state's enormous wealth in 1991 than in defending it.

I'm way out of my depth here, but what the hell, here's how the above explanation strikes me:

Suppose the U.S. were to collapse in the next few years in a similar sudden fashion as the Soviet Union.  American conservatives might come up with a similarly convenient  theory to explain it that puts the blame on a handful of incompetents, rogues, and fools, while exonerating "The American Way" itself:  "It was because of the way Bush carried out his political and economic reforms and policies and the [some supposed future] chaotic aftermath they entailed."

But if such a collapse of the U.S. were really to happen, Bush (and associated misfits) could only be the proximate cause; the ultimate cause must be one or more systemic problems in the country emerging over the last several decades (massive current account deficit, excessive economic inequality, miseducation of the population, relentlessly growing dependence on energy imports, pension and healthcare systems unable to support growing number of retirees, etc.)

Only such long-term objective problems could create the conditions in which such huge and powerful nations as the U.S. and the Soviet Union become decrepit and vulnerable enough to an abrupt collapse triggered by such '"subjective" factors' as the buffoonery and corruption of a handful of people like Bush, Yeltsin, and their cohorts.

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Fri Jan 12th, 2007 at 01:53:29 AM EST

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