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1989: The Lost Year
November 5, 2009 11:02 AM   Subscribe

1989: The Lost Year. "Twenty years after the Berlin Wall came down, the end of the Cold War still inspires euphoria and triumphalism in the West. But even as we lift toasts once again to the victory of 1989, we should re-examine that momentous year. Documents, memoirs, and other evidence that have come to light suggest that for relations between the United States and the Soviet Union, it was also a time of missed opportunity." The first article in a series by Foreign Policy. Also, check out the National Security Archive's Electronic Briefing Books section to access "critical declassified records on issues including U.S. national security, foreign policy, diplomatic and military history, intelligence policy, and more."
posted by cog_nate (8 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
As Bush dithered, the window of opportunity in Moscow began to close. Gorbachev's power waned.

I've seen this argument before, that Bush and Co. failed to help Gorbachev, and that this is regarded as some kind of foreign policy failure.

The argument forgets that Gorbachez's goal was to preserve his leadership of the Soviet Union. Gorby was the head of the Communist Party of the USSR. You couldn't get that job without world-class arm-twisting and cajoling skills. And he didn't claw his way up through that particular nest of bad guys and party hacks with the goal of giving it all away once he reached the top. He was certainly planning on remaining in power until he died or could move safely aside.

Sure, he was pulling back troops, letting go of Eastern Europe and loosening up the economy. But these were moves to shore up the USSR. Peace, love and understanding were by-products at best.

And he sure as hell wasn't about to let go of Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Ukraine and Belarus.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:34 AM on November 5, 2009


ON the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Ukrainian-born Australian Irena Macri has created a multimedia special called 'I Was A Little Commie' about her childhood behind the Iron Curtain.
posted by Effigy2000 at 2:31 PM on November 5, 2009


The Gorbachev Version, circa 2009:

http://www.thenation.com/doc/20091116/kvh_cohen
posted by darth_tedious at 2:41 PM on November 5, 2009


Rather...

http://www.thenation.com/doc/20091116/kvh_cohen
posted by darth_tedious at 2:41 PM on November 5, 2009


“Sure, he was pulling back troops, letting go of Eastern Europe and loosening up the economy. But these were moves to shore up the USSR. Peace, love and understanding were by-products at best”
He had the Americans believing he was a nice guy.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:06 PM on November 5, 2009


Interesting Slate artcicle from July (discussing July 1989): The wink that changed the world.
posted by xorry at 6:20 PM on November 5, 2009


An artcicle is like an art icicle
posted by xorry at 6:20 PM on November 5, 2009


Interesting Times article: Was 1989 a revolution strictly for the boys?
The Western feminists from the 1980s were campaigning for equal job opportunities and the end of male-dominated professions. But in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and East Germany, women already made up half the workforce. They were in management positions. They were senior doctors, engineers, town planners. And they were on equal pay. There was universal childcare; the whole early education system was structured around the needs of working women.

...In a short time, women in Central and Eastern Europe found themselves beached by history. East Germans were merged into a supremely capitalist all-German state in which women were paid, on average, 23 per cent less then men. Within months of the fall of the Wall, 21 per cent of women were unemployed, there was a 25 per cent drop in marriages, 12 per cent fewer children were born.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 1:01 AM on November 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


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