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I don't have a machine, unless you want to list...

February 21 2003 at 12:25 PM
Lissa  (no login)
from IP address

Response to Again, do you have a "history machine"?

...history and policy information available one the web, in libraries, and other forums. I very much enjoy to look back at history and like to look at the plausible "what-ifs".

But the real reason I replied was, "Reagan's effect on the cold war was to end it sooner by a few years.". Maybe, maybe not. Maybe the USSR was doomed. Maybe it was just on the ropes and would have survived if given a breather.

A breather wouldn't have helped. Remember, Gorbachev came in in the early to mid-80s. By late '84, early '85, Gorbachev was enspoucing Peristroika and Glasnost and was openning up the Soviet Union to capitalistic ideals as well as more freedoms and it was being embraced by the populous. By the time the early 90s hit, Soviet hard line Communism was mostly dead as we can see how the people reacted to the coup attempt against Gorbachev. The coup may have ended Gorbachev as a leader for Russia, but, it showed that the old style of governing by Andropov, Breshnev, and Stalin was dead and gone. The tastes that Gorbachev gave the Soviet people was not going to be denied.

Also, Afghanistan helped in pushing the Soviets along the path with the amount of money that was poured into that conflict. The lives lost, the money wasted, it left a lot of the Soviet disenfranchised, much like we were here in the US after Vietnam.

You say "If Reagan had only made moderate build ups of the military, the Soviet Union would have only lasted 5 years at most more than it did." That may be true. But a lot can happen in five years. A new leader that the people will actually follow. A chance for the economy to become more consumer centered and alleviate many of the problems that brought the USSR down. Many things could have happened. Including the USA and USSR becoming friendly, becoming trading partners -- communism doesn't seem to be stopping us with respect to China.

They had that new leader though in Gorbachev. He instituted so many reforms that changed how the Soviet Union did business. He openned things up and allowed the Soviets a chance to dream about possibilities that just weren't there with the closed society that was the hard line Communists rule. If you look at the present situation in Russia, Communism is still there, it just isn't being handled with a mailed fist, but a velvet glove. Gorbachev threw the mailed fist away and the country openned up, but, it didn't kill Communism there, it only changed it.

We were already becoming a trading partner with the Soviets before the Soviet Union finally collapsed. If you went to Moscow in the late 80s, you have seen branch offices of IBM, GE, and a few other corperations. You would have found McDonalds, Coca-Cola, and other American businesses and this was while the Soviet Union still existed.

If the Soviet Union had survived, and some would argue it has, just under a different guise (CIS), it very likely would have become a relationship similar to the US and China. As it stands now, we are probably closer to the Russians and CIS than we are to the Chinese because of what Gorbachev did.

 Respond to this message   

  1. Like any war - Ochhi on Feb 21, 2:25 PM
    1. The Soviets got out of Stalin's mindset then... - Lissa on Feb 21, 2:35 PM
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