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Ronald Reagan dead at 93

 
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Warren: Er, Gorbachev said perestroika - reduction in tensions - would have been impossible without Reagan.

Is that a common translation of perestroika -- reduction of tensions? If so, this is a bit misleading. Literally, perestroika means "rebuilding", and it refered to rebuilding the economic and political structure of the country. It's true that it resulted in reduction of tensions with the West, but it was a side effect of perestroika, rather than its primary goal.
 
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Mapraputa Is:

By the way, could somebody explain why did the Soviet Union had to keep parity with the US? Haven't both sides achieved the ability to annihilate each other more than once (actually far more than once), and I would say once is enough?

It depends on what you mean by "annihilate"....

In the 1960s, the theory behind strategic nuclear war was the theory of "mutual assured destruction" ("MAD"). The idea was that each side had enough weapons to destroy the other's entire industrial infrastructure - which basically required one warhead per "enemy" city, or maybe two or three in the case of really big metropolitan areas. Probably a hundred large warheads per side would have sufficed for this. The idea was that neither side would start a war, because in any war, both sides would lose a large majority of their population and economic base.

However, in addition to destroying cities, it's also possible to use nuclear weapons to attempt to destroy the underground silos housing the other side's missiles. These silos, being hardened against nuclear attack, are much more difficult targets. For a city, you only need to get your weapon within a mile or two of the target point; for a hardened silo, you have to be within a few hundred yards. Ballistic missiles didn't originally have that kind of accuracy, but eventually they got it. Even then, though, a 'kill' of the silo is not certain, and it's fairly easy to space the silos far enough apart that an enemy would need to use at least one warhead per silo, so it takes a lot of weapons to attack the enemy's nuclear weapon capabilities.

But this does mean that if one side gets enough warheads to destroy the other side's missile silos - with enough left over to destroy their cities as well - it can now 'win' a nuclear war in the limited sense that if it strikes the other side first, it can destroy the other side and make sure the other side does not have enough missiles left over to destroy it in a retaliatory strike. This is called "first strike" capability.

The strategy then became a game of making sure one had enough weapons to prevent the other side from having a first strike capability. The more weapons the other side has, the more one's own side needs to be able to absorb a postulated first strike by the enemy and still be able to strike back. Thus the need to maintain some kind of parity.

I don't think there's any contradiction between the position that Reagan's military buildup won the cold war and the position attributed to Gorbachev in that article. Gorbachev just felt that there could be massive disarmament without changing the balance of power, with both sides reducing their military expenditures but otherwise remaining the same. In this vision, the Soviet Union would have remained an authoritarian state, and, I suspect, would have retained control over the rest of eastern Europe. To me, that wouldn't have been an 'end to the cold war', as it might have been to Gorbachev, and it certainly wouldn't have been a victory for the free world; it would just have been a continued cold war at a lower intensity. Victories like the fall of the Berlin Wall would not have happened.
 
Warren Dew
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Eugene Kononov responding to me:

Is that a common translation of perestroika -- reduction of tensions? If so, this is a bit misleading. Literally, perestroika means "rebuilding", and it refered to rebuilding the economic and political structure of the country.

I'm drawing on fifteen year old memories here, so I'm probably wrong. What you say actually makes a lot more sense to me as something that was going on in the Soviet Union at the time, though I'm now confused as to why Gorbachev didn't think that could happen unilaterally as well.
 
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Warren: though I'm now confused as to why Gorbachev didn't think that could happen unilaterally as well.

OK, there are two arguments going on here based on what Gorbachev said. The article posted by Map seems to indicate that perestroika did happen unilaterally, and that Reagan actually prolonged the Cold War by his commitment to SDI even after Gorbachev's demonstration of good will. In the other quote (posted by Helen), Gorbachev said that he attrbuted perestroika's success to Reagan's support.

Well, both arguments are supported by facts and are valid. On one hand, if Reagan was more receiptive to Gorbachev's initial steps (withdrawal from Afghanistan and unilateral freeze on the deployment of missiles in Europe), the Cold War would have been ended sooner. On the other hand, Reagan did warm up after the Reykjavik summit, and that made it possible for the democratization in the Soviet Union to continue.

It seems to me that the real genius of Gorbachev was to break the firm mutual belief, by both the Americans and the Soviets, that the other side is determined to destroy them. That takes a lot of guts to change, and that's what really ended the Cold War. From that perspective, Reagan was just a facilitator, at best, and a reactionary, at worst. I personally would place him closer to the former, but again, I don't credit him as much with the end of the Cold War as American media does.

I guess one could still claim that if Reagan didn't help to bancrupt the Soviet Union, Gorbachev may not have been motivated to change things around. To this, I have a romantic and a pragmatic objections. The romantic objection is that although "winning the war without firing a single shot" is certainly better than invading and bombing the foreign countries, starving the people of the enemy country to death still doesn't seem like a decent way to resolve the cultural and political differences. The pragmatic objection is that North Korea is bancrupt and hostile, which puts into the question the theory that you can pacify the enemy by taking away his food and shelter.
[ June 07, 2004: Message edited by: Eugene Kononov ]
 
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Of course the USSR never accepted the US/NATO theory of MAD, and considered a nuclear war winnable if they could ensure that their own casualties would remain at acceptable levels (meaning under 10% or so of the civilian population).
The PRC thinks similarly, except for the permissible number of casualties which they put at closer to 25% (human life is valued very low in the PRC).

To achieve this, Soviet strategists calculated a correlation of forces that they would need to ensure victory. Had this correlation of forces ever been arrived at they'd have been ready to strike.
Lucky for the world that situation never happened.

Soviet strategists also calculated a minimum correlation of forces needed to defeat a hypothetical NATO attack (they were extremely defensive, understandable after being invaded by European countries twice with massive loss of life).
When the US under president Reagan began the massive modernisation program of their armed forces the USSR as a result did the same with the difference that their economy could not sustain that program at a time when the civilian population was just getting used to less hardship and was strained to the breaking point.
When the US then demonstrated the advanced state of their strategic defense initiative (which later turned out to have been a deliberate hoax, the laser weapons and space based interceptors never were more than drawings and schematics made by graphics artists, the demonstrations were faked by DARPA under presidential orders) they went overboard trying to mimmick and defeat such a system fearing it would allow the US to launch a first strike without retaliation and destroyed their economy in the process.
In the 1950s the people would have suffered through it in fear of the NKVD, in the more enlightened days of the late 1980s and early 1990s they rose up like they had in 1917 and deposed of the communists.
I doubt any president but one who had worked in the movie industry (which is after all dedicated to producing fakes meant to look real) could have come up with that masterstroke.
That is also the reason SDI was never accepted as a trading issue at the strategic arms talks. SDI was the ultimate weapon but of a quite different kind from what the Soviets thought it was and they never saw that until it was too late.
 
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Originally posted by Jeroen Wenting:
Of course the USSR never accepted the US/NATO theory of MAD, and considered a nuclear war winnable if they could ensure that their own casualties would remain at acceptable levels (meaning under 10% or so of the civilian population).
The PRC thinks similarly, except for the permissible number of casualties which they put at closer to 25% (human life is valued very low in the PRC).


Are these figures based on anything, or just guesses?


To achieve this, Soviet strategists calculated a correlation of forces that they would need to ensure victory. Had this correlation of forces ever been arrived at they'd have been ready to strike.
Lucky for the world that situation never happened.


I agree. Its lucky for the world that neither side thought that they had gained a significant edge, as it would have been extremely tempting to use that edge to their advantage by launching WWIII. Given that both sides may, at times, have thought that they had a slight tactical advantage, its amazing that they showed enough constraint to keep their trigger-happy instincts in check. When we look at events like the Cuban missile crisis, its frightening how close we may have come to disaster.


In the 1950s the people would have suffered through it in fear of the NKVD, in the more enlightened days of the late 1980s and early 1990s they rose up like they had in 1917 and deposed of the communists.


I thought it was more about internal fragilities within the Communist Party, and grabs for power by people like Yanayev and Yeltsin which caused the break up of communism in the USSR, rather that a mass uprising by the people. Of course it couldn't have happened without the support of the people, but it was more a popularly supported coup than a revolution.
 
Jeroen Wenting
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the CPSU was always fragile yet it never failed until Yeltsin stood up on a tank outside the Duma (a tank the CPSU had ordered into the city to quash the citizen protests b.t.w.).

I was in the USSR twice in the 1980s and the change was marked between the first and second visit.
First time the people were placid, not daring to even think of opposing the ruling elite.
Second time there were protestors on the streets (though in relatively small groups and only under cover of darkness in areas they could easily disperse without being caught) and our tourguides (government employees screened for their loyalty to the state) could be coaxed into admitting that the USSR wasn't perfect.

First time our guide was so afraid to accept a gift we wanted to give her because it might be seen by her superiors as treason (she was afraid she'd be branded as unreliable and a potential spy) we had to find sneaky ways to get it to her without being noticed.
Second time gifts were eagerly accepted, no secrecy needed.

The USSR was breaking up internally by then, the CPSU was loosing its power to reach anyone at any time and the people were making use of that to show their discontent with the way the country was being run.

Yes, the coup in Moscow could not have happened without the support of the armed forces.
But that support just a few years earlier (maybe even a few months earlier) would have been unthinkable. In fact noone would have dared oppose the CPSU out of fear for the KGB, the "Sword and Shield of the party" who were highly effective at rounding up suspected troublemakers and sending them off to the Gulag never to return.
 
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Eugene: To this, I have a romantic and a pragmatic objections. The romantic objection is that although "winning the war without firing a single shot" is certainly better than invading and bombing the foreign countries, starving the people of the enemy country to death still doesn't seem like a decent way to resolve the cultural and political differences.

I wish I could express it better. When I first read that supposedly decent people are so fond of a policy that was aimed to reduce level of living for 300 millions to zero, I was shocked. Call it "culture shock"... It's like you aimed into a homeland of democracy and ended up in a cannibal society. Evil Communists did have plans to "win" the competition by providing better life for their people, but I don't recall them ever saying they wanted to *destroy* the other side's economy. But perhaps cannibals way of living is really superior. After all, it probably tastes good, so I was told. And they won, so I was told, so they must be right!
[ June 08, 2004: Message edited by: Mapraputa Is ]
 
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Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
Evil Communists did have plans to "win" the competition by providing better life for their people



Better life for their people? Have you spoken with any East Germans, Poles, or Czechs about this? Or are we more likely only talking about a better life for a privileged few?

MI: And they won, so they must be right!

At least we can agree on this point.
 
Joe King
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Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
And they won, so I was told, so they must be right!
[ June 08, 2004: Message edited by: Mapraputa Is ]



Well they do say that history is written by the victors.
 
Mapraputa Is
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Well they do say that history is written by the victors.

That's what I mean.
 
Mapraputa Is
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Jason: Better life for their people? Have you spoken with any East Germans, Poles, or Czechs about this? Or are we more likely only talking about a better life for a privileged few?

What does that mean? That European's variant of Communism was determined to provide inferior life to their people?
 
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Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
What does that mean? That European's variant of Communism was determined to provide inferior life to their people?[/QB]



It means any variation of Communism including Communism itself is by concept designed to provide an inferior life. I have a Czechoslovakian
aunt and she fled from Czech to Canada about 15 years ago. She told me tales of how communists ruined their lives and their nation.
 
Jason Menard
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Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
What does that mean? That European's variant of Communism was determined to provide inferior life to their people?



It means that the Soviet Union was responsible for what happened behind the Iron Curtain, including in these countries.
 
Jeroen Wenting
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Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
Jason: Better life for their people? Have you spoken with any East Germans, Poles, or Czechs about this? Or are we more likely only talking about a better life for a privileged few?

What does that mean? That European's variant of Communism was determined to provide inferior life to their people?



EVERY variant of communism is determined to do anything to increase the power and wealth of the ruling elite whatever it takes.
 
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Originally posted by Jeroen Wenting:

EVERY variant of communism is determined to do anything to increase the power and wealth of the ruling elite whatever it takes.


It is possible that Communists in those countries did not understand Communism well as expecetd by founders.
 
Warren Dew
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Eugene Kononov:

I guess one could still claim that if Reagan didn't help to bancrupt the Soviet Union, Gorbachev may not have been motivated to change things around. To this, I have a romantic and a pragmatic objections. The romantic objection is that although "winning the war without firing a single shot" is certainly better than invading and bombing the foreign countries, starving the people of the enemy country to death still doesn't seem like a decent way to resolve the cultural and political differences. The pragmatic objection is that North Korea is bancrupt and hostile, which puts into the question the theory that you can pacify the enemy by taking away his food and shelter.

The answer to your "pragmatic" objection is that the U.S. has donated huge amounts of food aid to North Korea, something we never did for the Soviet Union; the Soviets always paid for their grain, so grain imports from the U.S. were still a drain on the Soviet economy. We look set to continue the subsidies to North Korea this year. Plus, Reagan took pains to demonstrate to the Soviets just what they were missing - for example the famous supermarket trip that he took visiting Soviet dignitaries on, demonstrating the ready availability of inexpensive, unrationed meat in the U.S. - something that we haven't done with North Korea and that might not work with them.

The romantic objection is a legitimate one. Balanced against it is the question of whether it isn't just as morally objectionable to provide food to starving people when doing so will only serve to perpetuate a system that keeps them on the edge of starvation. In the "give a man a fish and he eats for a day - teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime" dichotomy, I'm firmly on the teaching side, and I'm willing for him to go hungry for a bit if that's what it takes to motivate him to learn to fish for himself. But I can also understand how that view might be seen as extreme by some.

Finally, there's still the question about whether Gorbachev actually managed to change things around. Certainly the Soviet Union was nowhere near a free market economy by the time his government fell. I have yet to be convinced that Russia and some of the other former Soviet states are truly free market economies even now; from the english languages sources I read, which I admit to be limited, it seems to me that most of the economy is still controlled by de facto monopolies rather than by companies with serious competition. I would welcome evidence to the contrary.

Jeroen Wenting:

I agree. Its lucky for the world that neither side thought that they had gained a significant edge, as it would have been extremely tempting to use that edge to their advantage by launching WWIII.

Actually the U.S. did in fact gain a significant edge when the Soviet Union fell and many former Soviet nuclear weapon facilities ended up inadequately maintained. Almost instantly the U.S. was freely intervening in conflicts between unallied nations, such as when Iraq invaded Kuwait, where the U.S. would never have stepped in directly during the Cold War. I think it's quite likely the Soviets would have acted similarly had the positions been reversed. Nuclear superiority can be used to shield other activities even when the nukes aren't used directly.
[ June 08, 2004: Message edited by: Warren Dew ]
 
Warren Dew
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Ram Abdullah D'Souza:

It is possible that Communists in those countries did not understand Communism well as expecetd by founders.

It's more likely that they did their level best, and Communism simply didn't work as advertised. Marx is to be lauded for an early attempt to treat economics scientifically, but like many early theories, his have since been pretty convincingly disproven.
[ June 08, 2004: Message edited by: Warren Dew ]
 
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Originally posted by Warren Dew:
It's more likely that they did their level best, and Communism simply didn't work as advertised. Marx is to be lauded for an early attempt to treat economic scientifically, but like many early theories, his have since been pretty convincingly disproven.



Marx missed on two major points. First, the workers of the world will never unite. Workers in Germany were more than willing to pick up guns and shoot workers from France. Second, he failed to take into account the power of labor unions to improve the working conditions of the workers without the intervention of the government (or with only limited intervention).
 
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Originally posted by Thomas Paul:


Marx missed on two major points. First, the workers of the world will never unite.



At least on one occasion they did. Workers from cotton mills in Lancashire / Liverpool went on strike in support of the hardships suffered by cloth makers in India.
In the 1800's , vaguely recall reading somewhere.

1834 William Bentinck, India's governor-general, wrote to his superiors in London that Indian cloth-makers were suffering severe hardship due to the efficiency of the English textile industry.



TimeLine Labour

Consumer conscience is a powerful force as seen by reduction in whales slaughter in recent years - but not seals being clubbed to death it seems. A bit too two-faced of the Canadians.
[ June 08, 2004: Message edited by: Helen Thomas ]
 
Mapraputa Is
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Paul: It means any variation of Communism including Communism itself is by concept designed to provide an inferior life. I have a Czechoslovakian aunt and she fled from Czech to Canada about 15 years ago. She told me tales of how communists ruined their lives and their nation.

Jason: It means that the Soviet Union was responsible for what happened behind the Iron Curtain, including in these countries.


I agree. It wasn't my point. My point was that Communists didn't intentionally try to ruin anybody's economy.
 
Jason Menard
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Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
I agree. It wasn't my point. My point was that Communists didn't intentionally try to ruin anybody's economy.



How do you know this? There certainly were the corpses of ruined economies strewn throughout Eastern Europe. Aside from that though, how do you know it wasn't a Soviet plan to attempt to strain the economies of the opposition, as they were the economies of their "allies".
 
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How do you know this? There certainly were the corpses of ruined economies strewn throughout Eastern Europe.

After WWII?

Are you saying that Communists tried to demonstrate their superior way of living by ruining Communist countries? Let's not get ridiculous.

Western Germany got financial injections from the West. Eastern Germany had to pay contributions to the USSR. Why oh why didn't the USSR provide financial injections instead. Maybe because it itself didn't quite benefit from that war...
[ June 08, 2004: Message edited by: Mapraputa Is ]
 
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Mapraputa Is:

I agree. It wasn't my point. My point was that Communists didn't intentionally try to ruin anybody's economy.

Reagan didn't intentionally try to ruin anyone's economy, either. He just went through a military buildup that the Soviet Union would not be able to match without ruining its own economy. It was up to Gorbachev whether to fall behind militarily or ruin his economy (to the extent it wasn't already ruined).
 
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Originally posted by Warren Dew:

Reagan didn't intentionally try to ruin anyone's economy, either.


Well, no foreign economy, sure.
 
Mapraputa Is
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Reagan didn't intentionally try to ruin anyone's economy, either. He just went through a military buildup that the Soviet Union would not be able to match without ruining its own economy.

He just went through a military buildup for the pure joy of it?
 
Jason Menard
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Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
He just went through a military buildup for the pure joy of it?



Map, the Soviets and the Eastern Bloc had the vastly larger military. In fact, leaving the other Warsaw Pact nations out of the equation, the size of the Soviet military dwarfed that of the entire Western aliiance. We were playing catchup. Additionally, due to the veil of secrecy surrounding the USSR, I believe we were a bit surprised as to the true state of the Soviet economy during the 80's, just as we were surprised that their military capabilities had been eroding under its own weight.
 
Mapraputa Is
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Jason: Map, the Soviets and the Eastern Bloc had the vastly larger military

I can't comprehend what difference did it make since we joyfully surpassed the threshold after which our team of superpowers became able to blow up the whole globe. Why nobody celebrates that day, by the way?
 
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In fact, leaving the other Warsaw Pact nations out of the equation, the size of the Soviet military dwarfed that of the entire Western aliiance. We were playing catchup.

"Catchup" which the USSR was never able to match.
[ June 10, 2004: Message edited by: Mapraputa Is ]
 
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Originally posted by Michael Ernest:
Well, no foreign economy, sure.



The lowering of inflation and unemployment during his tenure were surely disasterous to our economy.
 
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Mapraputa Is:

He just went through a military buildup for the pure joy of it?

He wanted to erode the strategic position of the Soviet Union. That would in turn prevent the Soviet Union from interfering with our allies, and erode the Soviet Union's control over their own satellite nations, allowing some of them to escape into the "free world". That's in fact what happened, for example when East Germany shed communism and reunified with the west.

I don't know if causing the Soviet government to collapse was also an immediate goal, though it was certainly a long term goal. And that happened too.

Jason Menard:

Additionally, due to the veil of secrecy surrounding the USSR, I believe we were a bit surprised as to the true state of the Soviet economy during the 80's, just as we were surprised that their military capabilities had been eroding under its own weight.

Many of the people in the military establishment in Washington were not so surprised. While the Soviet tank count was several times ours, their actual fighting capability was not; a lot of the extra tanks pretty much served the same purpose as spare parts did for us, as they would simply replace entire tanks when we would repair them.

That said, I do agree we were at least initially playing catch up in conventional weapons, though we were not that far behind. On the nuclear front, though, SDI threatened to be a force multiplier that would give us an effective factor of two to five advantage, which was really what forced the Soviet Union to give up on military parity.

Map:

I can't comprehend what difference did it make since we joyfully surpassed the threshold after which our team of superpowers became able to blow up the whole globe. Why nobody celebrates that day, by the way?

Because it hasn't happened yet, and is far from happening. As I mentioned, destroying all the cities is easy, but it's a far cry from destroying the world. The total energy contained in all the nuclear weapons in the world is less than that released in one typical hurricane, and hurricanes haven't destroyed the world yet - though they're pretty good at flattening cities.
 
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The total energy contained in all the nuclear weapons in the world is less than that released in one typical hurricane, and hurricanes haven't destroyed the world yet - though they're pretty good at flattening cities.

Is is really true? How interesting

M
 
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Last I looked, no one knew how to attach a hurricane to the top of an intercontinental ballistic missile.

The aiming, that's the important part.
 
Michael Ernest
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Originally posted by Jason Menard:

The lowering of inflation and unemployment during his tenure were surely disasterous to our economy.


Arguable. Couldn't have come to a better conclusion that this link's author does: Reagan was lucky, not good.
[ June 08, 2004: Message edited by: Michael Ernest ]
 
John Smith
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Originally posted by Michael Ernest:

Arguable. Couldn't have come to a better conclusion that this link's author does: Reagan was lucky, not good.



That article seems to target the middle school dropouts who can't do the math:


Another major myth: Reagan cut taxes on all Americans, and that led to a great expansion.

Here's the truth: the total federal tax burden increased during the Reagan years, and most Americans paid more in taxes after Reagan than before.



What? Ah, they mean that Reagan cut the taxes by 25% over the three years, but the federal tax revenue increased, thereby fulfilling Reagan's intent? And they use it against Reagan?
[ June 08, 2004: Message edited by: Eugene Kononov ]
 
Michael Ernest
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Can you even hear yourself, Eugene? Even David Stockman has discredited that view.
 
Helen Thomas
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Reagan's sideline economics meant that the wealthy paid less tax and the poor more.

But he must have done something right.

Actress Bo Derek also paid her respects, saying she became a Republican when Reagan became president, citing his belief in smaller government and optimism.



Outpouring of respect continues
[ June 09, 2004: Message edited by: Helen Thomas ]
 
Jeroen Wenting
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Originally posted by Ram Abdullah D'Souza:

It is possible that Communists in those countries did not understand Communism well as expecetd by founders.



That would then mean that no communist understands communism as expected by Marx and Engels...

The THEORY of a classless society with no government where everyone works for the greater good of all without selfish motives sounds nice but is unattainable as communist practice shows all too well.
Marx and Engels probably knew that, Lenin certainly did (he knowingly used communist rethoric to sway the masses to his side with no intention at all to ever give up power).

The practice of a classless society (or as close to it as is possible given human nature) is in fact to be found in the western democracies so despised by communism, isn't it ironic?
 
Jeroen Wenting
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Originally posted by Warren Dew:

Jeroen Wenting:

I agree. Its lucky for the world that neither side thought that they had gained a significant edge, as it would have been extremely tempting to use that edge to their advantage by launching WWIII.

Actually the U.S. did in fact gain a significant edge when the Soviet Union fell and many former Soviet nuclear weapon facilities ended up inadequately maintained. Almost instantly the U.S. was freely intervening in conflicts between unallied nations, such as when Iraq invaded Kuwait, where the U.S. would never have stepped in directly during the Cold War. I think it's quite likely the Soviets would have acted similarly had the positions been reversed. Nuclear superiority can be used to shield other activities even when the nukes aren't used directly.



I didn't write that Warren...
The USA stepped into the situation in Kuwait on request from the Kuwaiti and Saudi governments and the UN, with approval from the USSR/Russia (officially CIS at the time).
Whether the old USSR would have given their approval for the operation remains to be seen, but I think so.
They were paranoid about a strong Islamic nation on their southern borders, which is why they played both cards in the Iran-Iraq war and helped keep it going for a decade.
As to the USSR stepping into regional conflicts, Afghanistan comes to mind.
But mostly they used proxies like Cuba and various eastern European nations to do their dirty work for them.
Prague, Bucharest, Budapest, all met with Soviet (or Soviet controlled) guns at some point between the end of WW2 and 1991 when they tried to loosen the noose around their necks from Soviet domination.
Cuba was highly active in several parts of Africa with direct support from the USSR (and now still is with support from probably the PRC and/or North Korea).
Vietnam acts in a similar role in SE Asia.
 
Jeroen Wenting
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Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
Western Germany got financial injections from the West. Eastern Germany had to pay contributions to the USSR. Why oh why didn't the USSR provide financial injections instead. Maybe because it itself didn't quite benefit from that war...



The USA didn't benefit from WW2 either.
They invested massive amounts of resources (both material and human) in fighting a war where only a few small islands owned by them were every threatened by enemy forces.
Then after the war was over they invested even more in helping the countries ravaged by the war to recover their own economies.
The USSR was one of the beneficiaries of the investment in the war effort the USA made by taking delivery of large amounts of military hardware "made in the USA", some of which was still sitting in storehouses for reserve troops trained to fight the USA 30 years later.

Instead of doing the same in their sphere of influence, the USSR elected to keep their satelite nations poor and reliable completely on the USSR for many core requirements so they could not brake away...
 
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