Skip to comments.Soviet Collapse Ruined the U.S.
Posted on 10/04/2010 3:16:00 AM PDT by vertolet888
In 2005, then-President Vladimir Putin called the collapse of the Soviet Union the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century. As time passes, I find myself agreeing with him more and more.
To be sure, my regrets are fundamentally different from Putins. Ive been a U.S. citizen for three decades, and my son is as American as they come. The United States is clearly my home, and I consider myself a patriotic American. This is why I decry the disappearance of the Soviet empire. Its demise may have dealt a potentially mortal blow to the United States.
The Soviet Union strained its resources and pauperized, exploited and oppressed its own people in order to compete with the United States, the embodiment of the bitterly adversarial capitalist system. Most Soviets didnt believe the authorities who told them that they were living and working in a workers paradise. It was a struggle that its leaders believed would prove the supremacy of communism. It was bad for the Soviet Union but a godsend for the United States.
The Soviet propaganda droned incessantly about how workers are impoverished and exploited under capitalism. It tried to flip the truth on its head: to deny that the U.S. government after the Great Depression implemented policies that helped raise incomes while drastically improving the work conditions and financial well-being of workers.
In the 1950s, things got even better for U.S. workers. The gap between the rich and the poor was the narrowest in U.S. history, and the U.S. middle class reached new levels of prosperity.
Soviet forays into post-colonial Africa and Asia and the revolutionary movements it fomented in Latin America forced Washington to pay attention to those countries and assist in their development. Even discounting support for the occasional tyrant, it did much good and helped spread U.S. influence and American values around the world. Even if they are not always followed in practice, democracy and free enterprise have become dominant political values globally.
To counter the Soviet Evil Empire, the United States willy-nilly had to go for the moral high ground and become a moral arbiter in world affairs. Now, China is gradually replacing U.S. influence the world over.
Finally, the Soviet Union strained its dysfunctional economic system to create a first-rate scientific and military complex. Sputnik, launched in 1957, galvanized the United States into action. A huge government effort to improve math, science and engineering followed. Funding for education and research was increased sharply, and the government and private universities expanded programs for the brightest students to go to the best universities, regardless of their parents ability to pay. The space race did little for the average Russian, but it did create a broad infrastructure for science and technology in the United States that set the foundation for U.S. supremacy in innovation, which the United States enjoys to this day.
After the Soviet collapse, Washington found a different adversary: al-Qaida. As a result, the leading 21st-century military and economic power is wasting its resources on a medieval war, gradually descending to the level of its new foe.
Osama bin Laden may be historys greatest military strategist. He made Washington abandon its lofty moral ideals, forced the United States into a sea of debt and played a key role in pushing the United States off its pedestal of being the worlds supreme economic power. But ultimately, it is the collapse of the Soviet Union that is to blame.
“Osama bin Laden may be historys greatest military strategist. He made Washington abandon its lofty moral ideals, forced the United States into a sea of debt and played a key role in pushing the United States off its pedestal of being the worlds supreme economic power.”
That is a bunch of baloney.
I would say when we tolerated atheists tossing God out of every institution and public sphere, we ruined our own nation.
When Russia fell that balance was thrown off kilter, so I think this there is something to this article, after a fashion.
Classic Russian revisionist history.
Socialism starting with Teddy Roosevelt (the RINO of his time) and then Wilson, FDR, Truman, Kennedy, LBJ, Carter and Democratic majorities in Congress have bankrupted the USA.
Communism brought misery and suffering to the world for about seventy years (now only paid lip service in China by the power elites).
Islam has beeing doing the same and worse for more than fourteen hundred years. Empowered by ill-gotten oil money, it’s far more dangerous than before.
Yes, it is sort of hokey to pine for the defunct USSR and to suggest that adversity alone is what builds the American character.
Kind of dumb, really. Wonder what this Russian immigrant thinks of the `New Russia’ under Vladimir “KGB” Putin?
Of course you do, you are a Russian communist posting in the Moscow Times."
"The Soviet Union strained its resources and pauperized, exploited and oppressed its own people in order to compete with the United States, the embodiment of the bitterly adversarial capitalist system."
"bitterly adversarial capitalist system" Sheesh. Capitalism is the most moral economic system in the world. We should have more of it not less, Comrade Alexei.
"It tried to flip the truth on its head: to deny that the U.S. government after the Great Depression implemented policies that helped raise incomes while drastically improving the work conditions and financial well-being of workers."
I see you have swallowed the Keynsian version of history wholesale, Comrade. You should read Milton Friedman and Hayek among others. The US Government's actions seriously prolonged the Great Depression.
" Now, China is gradually replacing U.S. influence the world over."
China's economy is one quarter the size of the US economy. The world's second culture is American. Just got back earlier this year from a trip to Africa. I don't think the Africans are going to be learning the four-tone Chinese language and using chopsticks very soon. But I can understand your being Russian where the Chinese will probably take over Eastern Siberia why you see it that way.
"After the Soviet collapse, Washington found a different adversary: al-Qaida. As a result, the leading 21st-century military and economic power is wasting its resources on a medieval war, gradually descending to the level of its new foe."
Let's see the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 and we scoured around to find a new adversary because the US always needs an adversary? Poppycock. We have defeated al-Qaeda everywhere we have engaged it and liberated 50 million Muslims from its clutches. Something the Soviet Union was unable to do.
"Osama bin Laden may be historys greatest military strategist."
He's at best living in a cave. He has not made a video or a verifiable appearance since 2003 and you think he's a great strategist? You do realize that he was building a magnificent villa for himself and his polygamous family on the outskirts of Kabul in 2001. Guess he got that bit of the strategy a bit wrong.
This article is a total joke, vertolet. Find better sources for your editorials.
Really. You have to wonder what some of these people are smoking to come up with conclusions like that one. Osama “forced the U.S. into debt?” Really? I think he meant OBAMA. And despite our problems, last I looked China was the economic equivalent of . . . CALIFORNIA, with all its troubles.
He had me until that last part about OBL.
When the first President Bush was running for reelection against Clinton he said something that can be paraphrased as: ‘The collapse of the USSR doesn't mean the world is now safe. The vacuum created by the collapse of the USSR in some ways led us to a new kind of danger and instability that requires more leadership and vigilance, not less’. Of course, the country didn't listen and bought into the ‘it's the economy stupid’ mantra of the Clinton campaign. The liberal press saw their opportunity, and helped push Clinton across the finish line (they painted a much worse picture of the economy than was true, and ignored a recovery that was underway, and subsequently credited to Clinton). Of course Ross Perot didn't help either.
Bush senior was right. The post-USSR period was a crucial one, and we wound up with a President who ignored foreign policy, and who after recovering from the disaster that was the Hillarycare attempt, rode the wave of the dot com economy to broad popularity. When we should have been even more focused on the direction the world would take after the collapse of the USSR, we ignored it. We woke up only briefly after 9/11.
Osama bin Laden? History’s greatest military strategist?
Think again, pal. No, wait!...STOP thinking, okay?
Bullshit... the dims caused ALL of this... progressives are ALL communists.
I don’t agree with the author that the collapse of the Soviet Union is primarily behind our current problems—but it is definitely a piece of the puzzle. More than anything else, I blame the rise of Entitlement/Nanny State and the Liberal takeover of so many institutions (schools, courts, MSM, even Churches).
IMHO, the fall of the Soviet Union removed a lot of barriers to stupidity. As long as the Soviet Boogeyman was there, we had to have a modern, ready military and maintain our anti-communist stance. Once it went away, the need for those things all but disappeared—basically, giving us a license to be stupid. Remember how eager the Dems were to spend the (non-existent) “Peace Dividend”. And our first President after the Cold War ended was Bill Clinton, the draft dodger. If you ask many young people today, they can’t explain what communism is or (more importantly) why is it bad.
9/11 sobered us up for a few years, but now I fear the previous trend has re-asserted itself and is accelerating. Can you say: Ground Zero Mosque?
We didn’t win the cold war. If we had we wouldn’t have the Socialistic mess we have today. The social engineering here,the positive propaganda for Socialism,Communism,Fascism,or whatever it is, was going on long before the Communist collapse in the USSR. That helped get us into this mess. Are we to believe that the Communists suddenly gave up their ideology?
This started a long time ago,it didn’t happen in the past twenty or thirty years.
Then he lists chronological coincidences to try to show a causal relationship.
The simple fact is that the US Government personnel made incorrect choices (with the exception of the forced destruction of the Soviet Union) in responding to international situations and national policies.
There will always be moral and ethical degeneracy on every level. Tolerate and allow it and you lose, punish and destroy it and you and everybody else wins.
It is interesting to remember that after his defeat at Waterloo, Napoleon I said: ‘That leaves Russia and the United States as the most significant nations in the new balance of power.’
What the United States needs are national goals (ratiotally chosen that we all agree on) . Then we need strategies to reach those goals. Then the costs gor each strategy needs to be determined. When the costs are determined, the acceptable strategies should be implemented.
Does anyone out there know what our national goals are? I don’t.
Absolutely not, and that's my point. The collapse of the USSR was just another chapter, not the end of the story. If anything it made the left more desperate and made them move up the timeline on the subversive efforts that were ongoing in the US for many years (as you point out). We did win the ‘cold war’ against the USSR, but not against communism.
Communism is fueled primarily by two factors: 1) ego, and 2) hatred/resentment. Marx was an egotistical jerk who hated ‘the system’. He's not unlike any other upper middle class university student who doesn't like what they envision as ‘authority’ and who have the luxury of being ‘intellectuals’ because someone else’s efforts are paying the bills. The best tools against communism are derision/humiliation and an economic war from the pocketbooks of those who would be the targets of ‘cultural revolution’ like the one in China. The first part targets the ego of the ‘progressive’ leaders who embrace ‘the cause’ as a way of elevating their importance in the world. It stokes their hatred/resentment to levels that causes them to implode (think Palin derangement syndrome). The second takes away their power to push their agenda.
The bigger ‘war’ of which you speak, the war against creeping ‘progressivism’ and ideological communism is real, and we have multiple enemies from within in this war. It's going to be a protracted and difficult war, but we will win, because socialism/communism is at its core idiotic.
When I was in the military I can remember commenting re: Russia—
That was a sophisticated game, this (fighting terror) is just a brawl
Not really. We ruined our society and culture by tossing God out.
The country was designed and built by men, not God. And the country is currently being destroyed by men.
I get tired of people trying to write the obituary of the United States. We’ll come back from our current troubles, and we’ll continue to be a major player on the world stage.
And for the record, LIBERALISM is responsible for our current decline, not some flea-infested cave dweller in Afghanistan.
They will never give it up. The left will continue to fight the war on capitalism until the end of humanity. They fully and 100% believe that communism must occur for human civilization to advance. They consider it superior to capitalism. And they consider communism the final destination in social-economic evolution.
You collapse a communist country, they simply move on to the next world power. You defeat them at the ballot box, they find a way to retool their propaganda (ie: hope and change) and will soon enough end up back in power eventually.
You just cant get rid of these people.
Perhaps not, but you can most certainly defang them and marginalize them.
Sure. I do know what our national goals are. One of our national goal is "to reduce dependence on foreign oil by restricting all means of domestic energy production and turning the US into an impoverished third world economy."
Another national goal is to "increase funding of education regardless of results and force everyone to attend public schools."
This guy does seem to have a good take on what was wrong with the Soviet Union, but he’s still too “Russia Centric.” Just because it’s still geographically the world’s biggest country doesn’t mean the rest of the world orbits around it.
While the liberal democrats are more destructive, the Republicans can share in plenty of the blame. They may have temporarily slowed down the expansion of gov't post-1994, but expand, it did. They talk a good fight, but when it comes to delivering....oh, well.
There has been and always will be wars between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’, only the uniforms change.
Ummm, no. But our actions since 9/11 has made Bin Laden look like a great strategist.
You are so right.
Right...It’s not as though we could’ve had a Space Race with an al Qaeda or the Taliban!
Thanks, I was hoping to get a little feedback from vertolet on his posting choices.
Does anyone out there know what our national goals are? I dont.
Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Maximum Personal Liberty.