History of communist collapse already being rewritten

Ugg

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Apr 7, 2003
1,985
15
Penryn
Guardian article

The deaths of the powerful elicit extravagant claims, and many of the tributes to the man being buried in Rome today have been little short of grotesque. Dumbing-down comes over obituary writers, and in their eagerness to define a clear legacy they often produce simplifications that take no account of how the world and people change.
John Paul also opposed liberation theology because he saw priests defy their bishops and challenge the church's hierarchical structure. Even while communism still held power in Europe, he had more in common with it than many of his supporters admit. He recentralised power in the Vatican and reversed the perestroika of his predecessor-but-two John XXIII, who had given more say to local dioceses.

With the fall of "international communism", the Vatican was left as the only authoritarian ideology with global reach. There was no let-up in the Pope's pressures against dissent, the worst example being his excommunication of Sri Lanka's Father Tissa Balasuriya in 1997, an impish figure who questioned the cult of Mary as a docile, submissive icon and argued that, as a minority religion in Asia, Catholicism had to be less arrogant towards other faiths.

The Pope could not accept that challenge to the Vatican's absolutism. So it is fitting that he will be buried in the crypt from which John XXIII was removed, symbolically marking the primacy of Wojtyla's conservative era over the liberal hopes of an earlier generation.

It makes me wonder why the world wants to see him as such a superhuman being. Is it because of his sense of theatre? The first pope to bring himself to the masses and appear human? Or is it because we need leaders to look up to?

Whatever the case, it's sad that he along with Reagan and Thatcher are being elevated to pedestals of greatness when they don't deserve it especially since their policies have done so much damage to the entire world.
 

mactastic

macrumors 68040
Apr 24, 2003
3,647
661
Colly-fornia
Let's see... As I recall, Ronald Ray-Gun, Jesus Christ, and JP the Two led an army of the faithful, marched into Red Square leaving a trail of dead commies in their wake, aimed their shoulder-fired-rockest-capable-of-destroying-a-fortified-building at the Kremlin and demanded that Gorby tear down this wall. The commies then all threw flowers and candy at the troops and vowed to become good freedom-loving servants of the Lord.

Close?
;)
 

Desertrat

macrumors newbie
Jul 4, 2003
2
706
Terlingua, Texas
"With the fall of "international communism", the Vatican was left as the only authoritarian ideology with global reach." may be factual, but the context implies equality of behavior. Barf. No, double-barf.

"(Reagan and Thatcher)...policies have done so much damage to the entire world."

That's BS of an extremely high order. There is no doubt that Reagan's policies hastened the bankruptcy and demise of the USSR. Quite a goodly number of millions of residents of what used to be "Iron Curtain" countries are quite pleased with the results of Reagan's policies.

Tell ya what, Ugg: There's a guy named Oleg Volk who's the "Boss" over at http://wwwthehighroad.org He was born and raised in the USSR. He got to the US as a teenager. Why don't you hunt him up and get his views about Reagan and Gorby, et al? From the horse's mouth, as it were. Oleg's a good kid. I've visited him in Nashville.

'Rat
 

takao

macrumors 68040
Dec 25, 2003
3,825
432
Dornbirn (Austria)
if find rather troubling as well how easy the people of the DDR and poland are overlooked and of course the members of other countries...like for example when Hungary opened it's borders and teared down their "Iron Curtian" towards austria (the sovjets in moscow weren't really informed about that) and made possible for thousands of DDR citizens to flee into westgermany taking the route over hungary/austria ... (the unified Germany later officially thanked Austria/Hungary for the help saying that there are no words discribing the thankfullness)... Hungary risked _a lot_ with that stunt... it could have ended with russian tanks attacking civilians like in the 50ties...and at that time Austria couldn't count on foreign help if russia intervened militaric,because at that time austria was still neutral/"block free" (we're still neutral ..but members of the EU)


the people on the streets shouting "Wir sind das Volk" (="We are the people") simply have to get more credit ....and of course a little bit of german politicians as well ;)

i would say that reagan gets way more credit than he deserves but that's just my opinion..perhaps i'm little spoiled because i neither lived in the warsaw pact or NATO countries...for us Austrians both sides were not that great because i nthe case of conflict we would have been the first to be screwed up by both sides(80% of all sovjets attack plans consisted of massive tank units spearheading through austrian territory and airborne attacks...i'm pretty sure the NATO plans were similiar)
 

miloblithe

macrumors 68020
Nov 14, 2003
2,076
28
Washington, DC
Desertrat said:
There is no doubt that Reagan's policies hastened the bankruptcy and demise of the USSR. Quite a goodly number of millions of residents of what used to be "Iron Curtain" countries are quite pleased with the results of Reagan's policies.
Actually, there's a lot of doubt. Lot's of scholars believe that Reagan's policies had fairly little to do with the demise of the USSR. One of the most convincing arguments is that the particular reform mechanisms chosen by Gorbachev cracked the system from inside. Pressure from the outside was more or less irrelevant.
 

LethalWolfe

macrumors G3
Jan 11, 2002
9,366
119
Los Angeles
Thomas Veil said:
In any case, though he was overall a good man, I do believe the praise for John Paul is a bit overblown.

That's to be expected is it not? Anytime some in the public eye dies they are typically remembered for the good things they did. After the emotion dies down a more critical/realistic view of their influence sets in.

It's like an extension of the polite thing to do at a funeral and honoring the dead. If your significant other's dad dies, and he was a dick, most people would not go on and on about about how much of a dick he was while attending the wake and/or funeral. Of course later though, after emotional wounds have started to heal, you can call the guy a dick and not be thought of as a dick yourself.


Lethal
 

Thomas Veil

macrumors 68020
Feb 14, 2004
2,436
5,531
OBJECTIVE reality
This is true. I hope the sainthood talk will die down after the election of the new pope.

And what takao says is true as well. People like Lech Walesa had a lot to do with Communism's downfall as well. People who point mainly to Ronald Reagan or John Paul are ignoring the fact that there was a multitude of causes, some of them internal.
 

Desertrat

macrumors newbie
Jul 4, 2003
2
706
Terlingua, Texas
Yeah, Walesa's strike led to Moscow regarding the Polish forces as "unreliable", and thus the threat of an invasion across Poland and East Germany really died out.

A close friend of mine was a full-bull Marine Corps colonel, and his Pentagon time in the late 1970s led to his telling me of the sincere concern about a Warsaw Pact summer maneuver turning into a "Right flank, ho!" across to the Bay of Biscay. That was part of the why of the shorter-range missiles for Europe during Reagan's tenure.

The strike at Gdansk put "paid" to that...

"...the particular reform mechanisms chosen by Gorbachev cracked the system from inside."

I agree. However, IMO, Gorby's decisions were caused by the severe economic deterioration brought about by the military spending necessitated by Reagan's policies, including "Star Wars". Granted, the USSR was already going down the economic tubes before Reagan, although that wasn't obvious to many in the US during the 1970s. Reagan put the last straw on that camel's back...

I've long held the view that Lech Walesa was one of the most important men of the 20th Century--and way, way too under-recognized...

'Rat
 

jefhatfield

Retired
Jul 9, 2000
8,803
0
Desertrat said:
"With the fall of "international communism", the Vatican was left as the only authoritarian ideology with global reach." may be factual, but the context implies equality of behavior. Barf. No, double-barf.

"(Reagan and Thatcher)...policies have done so much damage to the entire world."

That's BS of an extremely high order. There is no doubt that Reagan's policies hastened the bankruptcy and demise of the USSR. Quite a goodly number of millions of residents of what used to be "Iron Curtain" countries are quite pleased with the results of Reagan's policies.

Tell ya what, Ugg: There's a guy named Oleg Volk who's the "Boss" over at http://wwwthehighroad.org He was born and raised in the USSR. He got to the US as a teenager. Why don't you hunt him up and get his views about Reagan and Gorby, et al? From the horse's mouth, as it were. Oleg's a good kid. I've visited him in Nashville.

'Rat
reagan was a major historical figure who did a lot of good and bad, according to what some, or many will say

but please, don't attribute the fall of communism to him...that is so far off the mark

i can say 100 good things about reagan from my perspective, but it would make more sense to say that the moon is made of cheese than to say he hastened the fall of communism

it's the same as saying the major economic growth we had in the 90s was largely due to bill clinton or that al gore invented the internet
 

Dont Hurt Me

macrumors 603
Dec 21, 2002
6,056
6
Yahooville S.C.
There are a lot of factors that led to the Fall and Reagan was one. Lets not ignore that he was very hot on this issue. He did open up Russia if you will with dialogue with Gorby.
Communism isnt dead its only put on a disquise in Russia and in China, Dont be fooled by this open market crap and free trade, commies are still in charge in Russia and in China.
 

pseudobrit

macrumors 68040
Jul 23, 2002
3,418
4
Jobs' Spare Liver Jar
Desertrat said:
There is no doubt that Reagan's policies hastened the bankruptcy and demise of the USSR.
Do you know who Grishin is? Do you know how close the CP was to electing him (in reaction to Reagan) and what surely would have happened to the world if he were?
 

Dont Hurt Me

macrumors 603
Dec 21, 2002
6,056
6
Yahooville S.C.
skunk said:
More like the gangsters in Russia.
True, they arent close to a Democracy and the people are being bushwacked again by the rulers but come to think of it we arent really a democracy anymore with the special interest running washington we have something very different then our forfathers visioned. Heck just look at the attacks on our freedoms and libertys the past 4 years by our own govt. Putting people in jail with no trial??? Govt loves control and we the people should be very watchful of a overzealous govt ,ours and abroad.
 

jefhatfield

Retired
Jul 9, 2000
8,803
0
Dont Hurt Me said:
There are a lot of factors that led to the Fall and Reagan was one. Lets not ignore that he was very hot on this issue. He did open up Russia if you will with dialogue with Gorby.
Communism isnt dead its only put on a disquise in Russia and in China, Dont be fooled by this open market crap and free trade, commies are still in charge in Russia and in China.
reagan played a role but it was in the gop's interest to take too much credit for it...it's political spin

at the same time, however, the democrats took too much credit for the great economy of the 90s

the fall of communism in 89 and the economic growth spurt of the early to mid 90s happened while reagan and clinton were around, not because they were around

the pope is also a factor in the fall of communism, as is nixon (bigger factor than any one person) when he split the house of communism and made a truce, or even friendship, with communist china

the commies are out of commission, and if they are around, they are turning into us...forget it dude, our way of life and democracy won out

why do you think there was a berlin wall? it wasn't to keep westerners out...the communists wanted to come to our way of life

communism was already dead then, it just had to fall and implode on itself and reagan and the pope did not make it happen way faster
 

Xtremehkr

macrumors 68000
Jul 4, 2004
1,897
0
I wonder if Clinton is ever going to get his due for what he did for the economy. His degree was in economics and his policies designed to pay down the national debt were a huge success.

The stock market bubble is a cyclical event that tends to happen at the end of every decade to some degree. The bust was not nearly as bad as the crash that occurred in 1987.

Maybe the Dems need their own propaganda wing to hype the achievements of Democratic Presidents after they have left office. I have heard everything from Clintons economy being nothing more than accounting tricks or largely the product of Bush Seniors policies.

I can only hope that we get a President as fiscally responsible as Clinton again. Hopefully with the ability to deal with more social issues as well, health and education especially.
 

miloblithe

macrumors 68020
Nov 14, 2003
2,076
28
Washington, DC
jefhatfield said:
the pope is also a factor in the fall of communism, as is nixon (bigger factor than any one person) when he split the house of communism and made a truce, or even friendship, with communist china
Not that I don't think Nixon's visit to China wasn't important, but he did go in 1972. The Sino-Soviet split was pretty well done by 1962. They fought a border war in 1969. Nixon going to China did not in any way cause that split.
 

jefhatfield

Retired
Jul 9, 2000
8,803
0
miloblithe said:
Not that I don't think Nixon's visit to China wasn't important, but he did go in 1972. The Sino-Soviet split was pretty well done by 1962. They fought a border war in 1969. Nixon going to China did not in any way cause that split.
every us president opposed communism and did their part and just because regean died and some writers wanted to make him look special, a big revisionist history was drawn out on how "he" stopped communism :)

did reagan help capture the south for years to come after his tenure? yes. did reagan know how to compromise with democrats in congress and help stop the stalemate which was there when carter left office? yes. did he help rebuild the us military into one that did not resemble the vietnam era us military? yes

...and one can say he was a major factor in many things both democrats and republicans can agree on...but to say he was a major part of the fall of communism is pure fantasy

nixon, on the other hand, while not the nice man or happy man reagan appeared to be to much of the country and the world, simply got more things done for america...people don't like to attribute good things to unpopular or distasteful historical figures but it's important to see what people helped do for their party, their country, and for the world

when clinton faced some of his toughest foreign policy issues, the man he most trusted outside of his administration was former president nixon...one can also say unpleasant things about kissinger and his ego (or whatever), but the job he did as secretary of state is what he should be remembered for

when i watch crossfire, i usually agree with carville but i can't stand his mean spirited personality and style of debate...he comes across like a human pitbull but i am sure us democrats were happy when he was behind the scenes helping clinton reach the oval office

when it comes to getting the real work done, it's not about who is the nicest or works the media with the smoothest on air persona
 

pseudobrit

macrumors 68040
Jul 23, 2002
3,418
4
Jobs' Spare Liver Jar
I think we can all agree that there was no way possible for the Soviet Union to win the Cold War.

Due to their internal problems, all the U.S. had to do to "win" was outlive the Soviets.

Which is the only way we could have lost it.

That's right. There was no way for the Soviets to win, but there was one way that we both would have lost: global themonuclear war.

So, since no president can take credit for winning the Cold War (since victory was inevitable), who can take credit for almost losing it?
 

Desertrat

macrumors newbie
Jul 4, 2003
2
706
Terlingua, Texas
Pseudobrit, I don't know about the "almost losing it", but based on what I was told about Pentagon fears in 1979/1980, there was little we could have done at that time if the Soviets had decided to make a move into western Europe. That's why I emphasized the importance of Walesa's strike.

Long term, economic power wins wars of whatever sort--if in the short term the proper use of pure military power doesn't overwhelm. The US Civil War and WW II are obvious examples...

Just the fact that the US is some 30% of the total world economy makes us basically secure from any form of conventional warfare. If the US suddenly went on a WW II-era living pattern and spending style, the rest of the world would be bankrupt in months. Who needs an army? :)

'Rat
 

jefhatfield

Retired
Jul 9, 2000
8,803
0
Desertrat said:
Pseudobrit, I don't know about the "almost losing it", but based on what I was told about Pentagon fears in 1979/1980, there was little we could have done at that time if the Soviets had decided to make a move into western Europe. That's why I emphasized the importance of Walesa's strike.

Long term, economic power wins wars of whatever sort--if in the short term the proper use of pure military power doesn't overwhelm. The US Civil War and WW II are obvious examples...

Just the fact that the US is some 30% of the total world economy makes us basically secure from any form of conventional warfare. If the US suddenly went on a WW II-era living pattern and spending style, the rest of the world would be bankrupt in months. Who needs an army? :)

'Rat
there is no way the eastern bloc would have attacked western europe...heck, they could hardly feed themselves during those cold war years...the communists were spread out too thin

and armies travel on their stomachs...if you can't feed them, food and other necessary supplies, their mission is doomed

for a clearer example, look at world war II

in the pacific theater of war in world war II, let's say japan totally destroyed the entire us fleet including the yorktown, hornet, and enterprise aircraft carriers during pearl harbor...perhaps the war would have gone on into 1947 but the allies would have prevailed

the japanese, even with their hold on many countries and most of the pacific, were spread out too thinly in order to operate long term...even with their impressive fleet which would have still been too small to cover and protect such an area

the soviets put across a great myth into their status as a superpower...the only superpower (militarily, economically, etc) was the united states during the cold war

it must have been a great relief for russia to drop their communist burden and ally with the western powers
 

pseudobrit

macrumors 68040
Jul 23, 2002
3,418
4
Jobs' Spare Liver Jar
jefhatfield said:
there is no way the eastern bloc would have attacked western europe...heck, they could hardly feed themselves during those cold war years...the communists were spread out too thin

and armies travel on their stomachs...if you can't feed them, food and other necessary supplies, their mission is doomed
Who's talking about armies? We may have had the upper hand over the Soviets in conventional warfare, but when New York, DC, LA, Chicago, etc. are molten craters, haven't we already lost?
 

jefhatfield

Retired
Jul 9, 2000
8,803
0
pseudobrit said:
Who's talking about armies? We may have had the upper hand over the Soviets in conventional warfare, but when New York, DC, LA, Chicago, etc. are molten craters, haven't we already lost?
do you think for a second that mutually assured destruction was a viable option?

in a major, or even "minor" thermonuclear war, all are losers, including many who did not get directly hit by icbm missiles...nuclear winter would be a given even if we used one tenth of our weaponry

the only way to "win" was to outlast the opponent and due to communism's less perfect way of life, democracy won out...and i am not saying that's because our system of government is perfect or that there is not a lot of room to improve in the usa, japan, and europe ;)
 

mactastic

macrumors 68040
Apr 24, 2003
3,647
661
Colly-fornia
Jef, there's a third possibility beyond we win-they lose or they win-we lose in a nuclear exchange type of war; namely that we could both lose. I'm kinda guessing that's the kind of losing p'brit was refering to.