The Great Polish Experiment
Contrary to some of the more exuberant expectations bubbling in the wake of the Revolution of 1989, history has been going full blast in Central and Eastern Europe ever since the breaching of the Berlin Wall marked the demise of Stalin’s external empire and opened the death watch for Marxism-Leninism in Europe. And despite the best efforts of the fourth estate in the developed democracies to portray the old Warsaw Pact as a political and economic basket case in which great masses of people now look with fond nostalgia on the Communist past, there has been considerable progress toward fulfilling the great expectations of four years ago.
Politically, the turn toward democracy seems secure in Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and the former East Germany. Not only have the basic institutions of democratic governance been established in these countries; they have proven their tensile strength through a series of elections in which power has been peacefully transferred between contesting parties.
About the Author
George Weigel is a senior fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C. and the author most recently of God’s Choice: Pope Benedict XVI and the Future of the Catholic Church (HarperCollins).