The belief that the USSR fell apart because its economic system was unsustainable is deeply Marxist. Marxism’s central idea is that economic relations are the defining factor in everything.
However, as we can see in North Korea, Cuba and Venezuela, the complete and utter dysfunctionality of their economy only adds to the longevity of these regimes.
“People are going to get fed up with living in poverty and will overthrow the regime that tyrannizes them and doesn’t let them live better.” Oh, you, funny bunny. It’s the exact opposite. The hungrier and the more beaten down they are, the more they are prone to pout if anybody tries to liberate them.
What’s amazing and absolutely unique about Gorbachev is that he relinquished totalitarian power. Have you met many people who give power away to do the right thing? Instead of moving us all towards liberty, he could have done what Andropov did almost right before and gone in the direction of more totalitarianism. It worked in Cuba, worked in North Korea, worked in Venezuela. These systems don’t fall apart until the leadership actually chooses to stop tyrannizing the poor bastard population. And even then it sometimes takes decades to make the bastard population leave their beloved jail.
Gorbachev could have been in power until today. Can you imagine it? Fabulous luxury, endless adulation, the delicious subservience of millions. And he let it all go to become a regular citizen.
Reagan, shmeigan. Other than grandiose, slightly embarrassing pronouncements, Reagan had absolutely nothing to do with it.
Gorbachev was a truly great man of history. The greatest statesman of the twentieth century. And a deeply decent person. May he rest in peace.