The End of the Cold War
To the Editor:
Until its unconvincing effort to give principal credit for the collapse of Communism to the Reagan administration, I thought “The Cold War & the Intellectuals” by Owen Harries [October 1991] was one of the finest articles COMMENTARY has ever published. I agree that Gorbachev, though an important contributor to this collapse (nolens volens), must nevertheless be regarded somewhat more as a product than as a producer. But I cannot agree that the “obvious new, vital factor” was the Reagan administration.
Stagnation and disaffection were far advanced in the Soviet Union before the mid-1980′s. The true state of stagnation and unproductivity was well-known to the leadership and to the educated classes, but with increasing exposure to the West (a danger that Stalin had taken pains to avoid), disaffection grew and spread.
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