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Re: A Reagan quote

From: jjustwwondering (jwasilewsky_at_hotmail.com)
Date: 06/11/04

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Date: 10 Jun 2004 18:48:34 -0700

"Paul F. Dietz" wrote in message news:... 
> jjustwwondering wrote:
> > As a matter of fact they were not.
> > In spite of an already near-crushing burden
> > of an outsized military-industrial complex,
> > they managed to have a *growing economy* -
> > until the mid-eighties.
> That's because they were dependent on oil exports, and the price
> of oil was inflated until it crashed in the mid 80s. Dropped to ~$8/barrel
> at one point from the peak of ~$40/barrel in 1979, IIRC.
You are quite right. This is a vital point that
I had omitted. Oil prices were essential. But
they did not just crash - they *were crashed*.
Among the barrage of body blows that RR
dealt the "Evil Empire" (some of which I had listed),
this one went to the solar plexus.
The miracle took years of preparation.
>From 1981 on, the Reaganauts kept courting the Saudi
royal family, granting them an astounding variety of
unprecedented security help and commitments - that went a
long way to assure the regime's survival against
external and internal threats.
By late summer 1985, the Saudis were ready to do
*their* part. They alerted Washington that they were
hiking oil production sharply. Oil prices dropped,
from $30 a barrel in November 1985 to $12 just five
months later. This sent Soviet economy, including military
industries, quite dependent on imported technology, reeling.
|| "The drop in oil prices was devastating, just devastating," said
|| Yevgeny Novikov [ a senior Central Committee official in Moscow].
|| "Tens of billions were wiped away."
|| "Dozens of large projects were brought to an end for lack of
|| funds. By July 1986 it took almost five times as much
|| Soviet oil to purchase a given piece of West German
|| machinery as it had taken a year earlier." (same source)
This (together with all the other pressures mounting in parallel)
induced the desperation that forced Perestroika inside,
"New Thinking" abroad to become more than empty slogans.
The rigid system, long incapable of real change,
was attempting real change anyway: the
avalanche was on its way.
Note something else: the tight connection between Soviet
economic fortunes and their geopolitical power - in
*both directions*.
The reason why oil prices had been inflated since
1974 was *also* geopolitical. The USSR had orchestrated the
Yom Kippur War that led to the oil embargo and the extended
oil crisis in the West, and provided *them* with a steady
influx of currency on which their economic and military
plans were based. At *that* time, the USA took it lying down.
If the Soviet leaders could have managed something similar
in the eighties, then their cash problem would have been solved.
But the very opposite happened, because
the "correlation of forces" (as they would call it)
had changed. The USA now had its oil price *revanche* - and that
tilted the "correlation of forces" further.
There are other threads to this story - for example,
the history of arms sales (Moscow's other cash cow),
the history of guerrilla wars at the empire's periphery,
the history of KGB's public relations campaigns
such as the Nuclear Freeze movement.
All the threads appear somewhat similar: they lost and
we won, because at last there was somebody in charge
on our side who played to win, was not afraid to win,
did not believe in coexistence or containment or detente.
I suspect it could have been done at any time since WWII -
precisely because of Communism's fundamental inefficiency,
rigidity, and paranoid obsessions.
But because the West had always been afraid to advance,
and sometimes afraid to resist or call a bluff,
the East (with all its weaknesses) had kept winning,
in a stop-go cycle, and was never contained.
Even if they *had* been contained somehow,
the Soviets were not doomed to implode *when* they did:
there is no reason why, given a respite, they could not have
weathered another crisis or several, and gone on for decades
- as Cuba still goes on, and North Korea...
Conclusion: destiny did not do it - Ronald Reagan did.
Next message: N:dlzc D:aol T:com \(dlzc\): "Re: Uses of Bulk Nano Materials (was beanstalks)"
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