This is a comment on article written between the collapse of Leninism in Eastern Europe in 1989, and its collapse in the Soviet Union in 1991.
In 1990, when these pieces were written, the world was about to undergo a sea-change. Russian-style Communism was about to collapse-and Ireland was about to take off as a European economy.
With the benefit of hindsight, we now know that Cold War aggressiveness was instigated by the Americans, who took subversive hostilities so far as to subsidise Moslem militants to start a guerrilla war against a progressive Government in Kabul that was disliked because it looked East rather than West. The intent-to draw the Soviet Union into committing troops in Afghanistan and draw it into a Vietnam-style intervention-was successful. But, in achieving its purpose, America has created a political development of seismic proportions. The Americans may have found the lever for tipping the Soviet Union over the edge, but the effects of turning Moslem activists into a political and military force continue to be felt with increasing, rather than diminishing, force today. There is no knowing when that chain reaction secretly detonated by the American political and intelligence establishment will peter out. At present it continues to gather force and Western-style ‘progress’ begins to look increasingly insecure.
In 1990 Gorbachev was taken to be immensely far-seeing, a skilful politician. It is now clear that he lacked the skills of a statesman. Fooled by the false promises of NATO that it would not threaten the Soviet Union by establishing outposts in areas adjacent to the Soviet Union, the Russian President dismantled much of the defensive apparatus he had inherited and broke up the Warsaw Pact.
He set off a series of events in Europe that are still being played out, both in the former Communist countries and the European Union-not to speak of drastically diminished living standards of the plain people of the former Soviet bloc.
This article appeared in 2010, in Issue 5 of Problems magazine. The magazine republished articles that appeared in Irish Political Review in 1990.