Blogs > Liberty and Power > The Velvet Revolution: 1989

Dec 21, 2009 8:19 pm

The Velvet Revolution: 1989

A recent issue (November 5, 2009) of the New York Review of Books has an insightful review of several books about the collapse of Communism. Written by Professor Timothy Garton Ash of Oxford and the Hoover Institution, one of the most important paragraphs is the following, vividly illustrating the advantages of an unintentional non-intervention on the part of the U.S.:

"Yet even though Washington's cautious attitude partly resulted from a misassessment, this was actually the best possible position it could have taken. This time around, unlike in 1956, no one in Moscow could suggest with even a jot of plausibility that the United States was stirring the cauldron in Eastern Europe. On the contrary, Bush personally urged General Wojciech Jaruzelski to run for Polish president, as a guarantor of stability, and he was obsessed with doing nothing that could derail Gorbachev. Sarotte suggests that American restraint made it easier for the Soviet Union, too, to step back and let events unfold on the ground in East-Central Europe. With some exaggeration, one might say that Washington got it right because it got it wrong."

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Boonton - 12/22/2009

Every time I hear another story about spontaneous protests in Iran it reinforces the wisdom of a non-internventionalist policy. Like with the collapse of communism, Iran's gov't cannot claim with much of a straight face that their domestic troubles are due to US meddling (of course they do, but fewer and fewer people in Iran are buying it).

Bogdan Enache - 12/22/2009

There's another important passage about the odd hippies which made the revolutions, but triggered George Bush Sr distrut.

CNN has a story about the Czech artists of the Velvet Revolution :