Lest We Not Forget the Few Who Knew

In a post at the American Thinker today, Vasko Kolmayer writes that CIA official Herb Meyer was one of few in the 1980’s who foresaw the fall of the Soviet Union. Kolmayer says:

"In retrospect it seems almost unbelievable that no one else had come to the same conclusion, since totalitarian regimes are invariably unstable and their lifespan limited."

Although I know that it is the conventional view that few, particularly at the CIA, were predicting the impending demise of the Soviet Union, it is simply not the case.

My favorite political science professor at the University of Denver (his name escapes me now) was one of a group of conservative academics who were predicting the downfall of the Soviet Union for the very reasons noted by Meyer – poor economic performance, minority demographics, and the inevitable failure of a corrupt political system.

My professor noted quite correctly in 1981 that the Soviet Union "would not last ten more years". He encouraged his students to prepare for a new world order. Ten years later I was in Moscow setting up an international freight company to move cargo freely between "Russia" and the rest of the world.

The conventional view of the years leading to the fall of the Berlin Wall is that few if any knew regime change was just around the corner. This, I believe, is a distortion of history propagated by those who would promote the notion that Reagan was inconsequential to the fall of the Soviet Union and that the CIA was and is hopelessly corrupt and clueless.

However, in denying the lively debate during the early and mid-80's, we also deny the credit due to those who bucked their contemporary’s notion that communist terror was inevitable, and that efforts to win the Cold War were “dangerous”.

Without their standing up to the accommodating policies of one Jimmy Carter or their support for the policies of Ronald Reagan, the Soviet Union might well have lasted beyond its natural expiry date.

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