Saturday, November 26, 2011

What Surprise?

By Philip Gardocki

The fall of communism in the Soviet Union in the late 1980s has been much ballyhooed as a "surprise". An ignorant press reported that the CIA failed to report on the eminent demise of the Soviet Union. I am sure that the CIA just grinned, accepted the criticism and went back to work, because, in the Intelligence game, it is better for you to be thought a fool and have your opponents lower their guard.

Berlin Wall Left
Our policy against the Soviet Union during the Cold War was one of "Containment". This basically meant confronting any expansion and suppressing any dangerous trade links. The Containment policy was formulated by George Kennan (1904-2005) in 1947, and was followed by all presidents up through George Bush Sr. George Kennan predicted that this policy would either cause the collapse of the Soviet Union or force them to change their policies.

In 1975, I attended a Christmas party with other military friends including one Air Force cadet. He told me that he had recently attended a lecture given by a CIA representative. The representative had predicted that the Soviet Union would economically collapse in about 6 years – the CIA was obviously wrong about the date but not the event or the cause.

With the creation of the so-called "Star Wars" program, Ronald Reagan opened a new avenue to spend money on the military. We could barely afford it but the Soviets definitely could not. They tried and failed to keep up with us.

There were many critics of the "Star Wars" program; some was just the usual knee-jerk reaction against anything military but much of the criticism was valid, because, first and foremost, "Star Wars" was a fraud. Its major purpose wasn't to protect the US and our allies from Soviet missile strikes, it was to push the Soviets over the economic brink. If anything good came out of the program itself, so much the better. This conclusion has been validated by the memoirs of both Margaret Thatcher and Alexander Haig.

I am sure there were more indicators than this but I wonder why I still hear that communism’s fall was a "surprise".

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