New Adventures in Historical Revisionism



Will writes from Washington, D.C. (well, Arlington, Virginia). You can reach him at willblogcorrespondence at gmail dot com.

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11 Responses

  1. Avatar greginak says:

    Solidarity was a union, so a conservative is programmed to never want to give them much credit.Report

  2. Avatar Dave S. says:

    There is a difference between being “revisionist” and being “spectacularly wrong.” Christie’s collection of words and punctuation – any other description gives too much credit – falls into the latter category.Report

  3. Avatar mike farmer says:

    I think Obama’s critics would do well to criticize him on the 101 legitimate reasons he should be criticized rather than these weak attempts to smear him. All this does is divert attention away from the legitimate criticisms because everyone starts arguing about the unfair criticisms.Report

  4. Avatar James says:

    God, this guy is hilarious…Report

  5. Avatar Patrick says:

    It’s not fashionable to say this, but the Afghans can take more credit for the downfall of the Soviet bloc than any Europeans, including the Poles.

    The book to read is The Hidden War, by Artyom Borovik, a Soviet war correspondent who documents in awful detail what the war did to his generation.Report

    • Avatar Will in reply to Patrick says:

      That’s an interesting point, Patrick, and probably worth its own post. The central question, I think, is this: What factors prevented the Soviet regime from forcefully reasserting control in the late 1980s? I tend to think it was an internal crisis of legitimacy, spurred by a loss of confidence among people like Gorbachev and the emerging groundswell of opposition in Eastern Europe. Afghanistan may have contributed to this, but I’m not sure it was the decisive factor.Report

  6. Avatar Patrick says:

    Will, I was there in 1989 (Leningrad), and my overwhelming sense was that the gas had been taken out of people not so much by what was going on in Europe, but by what had happened in Afghanistan (for which I give Reagan, Charlie Wilson et al little credit).

    I’m not old enough to recall Vietnam except in the most childish sense (I recall wondering why we were fighting gorillas), but my belief is that what Afghanistan did to the Russian people was worse than what Vietnam did to America. Consider that another nail in the Soviet coffin was that Afghanistan emboldened minorities within the non-Russian Soviet, almost none of whom (Belarus being the exception) were ever really reconciled to being part of a Russian empire.

    Since I’m comparing things that aren’t really that similar, Gorbachev did share a few traits with Jimmy Carter as well. He was a well-meaning but exceedingly weak man (for a ruling politician) who had the misfortune to follow a line of spectacularly corrupt politicians. He is regarded as a disaster by most Russians today.

    Poland is certainly important, but not as important as what was going on in Russia, a spiritual decay that began in the 1970s, accelerated in Afghanistan, and continues today.Report

  7. Avatar Will says:

    Patrick –

    Interesting stuff. I was actually in Berlin in 1989, and although I’d like to match your anecdata, I’m afraid I was a toddler at the time. Having said that, one proximate factor we haven’t really discussed is Chernobyl – which, according to my parents, did immense damage to the regime’s popular legitimacy.Report