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Postscript To The Cold War

February 2024
1min read

Victory: The Reagan Administration’s Secret Strategy That Hastened the Collapse of the Soviet Union

by Peter Schweizer, Atlantic Monthly Press, 284 pages, $22.00 . CODE: ATM-1

Was Reaganism really a force behind the fall of communism in Russia? So proposes the author of this book, and he presents his case well enough to convince the skeptic. He doesn’t deny that the Soviet Union might very likely have crumbled without Reagan’s help, but he shows what a concerted, zealous, multifarious continuing effort the administration made to hasten the process. One star of the story is William Casey, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, who worked tirelessly to funnel communications equipment to Solidarity activists and arms to Afghani insurgents and to persuade the Saudis to keep world oil prices low to diminish a major source of Soviet income. Another is Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, who believed that American technological innovation could serve as a weapon to strain the Soviet economy—and made the Strategic Defense Initiative do just that. The author reveals several National Security Decision Directives that made the struggle official administration policy, and he shows how fiercely Reagan believed in it from the beginning—he said prophetically in 1981 that “the West will not contain communism, it will transcend communism. We will not bother to denounce it, we’ll dismiss it as a sad, bizarre chapter in human history whose last pages are even now being written.”

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