Thursday, July 05, 2007

Behind on things

This is a few weeks old now, but interesting nonetheless: Former Russian Prime Minister Yegor Gaidar explains the fall of the Soviet Union... to the American Enterprise Institute.

Okay, in fairness the AEI is presenting it, but if there's a bunch of people who more desperately need to learn that No, Dipshit, Reagan didn't win the Cold War by virtue of his steely man-resolve, I can't think of them. Charlie Stross' take is probably the most concise one:
The USSR isn't the only superpower to have problems squaring the circle of high military spending, a mushrooming deficit due to imports exceeding exports, and — oh, what's the use? Unlike the USSR, the USA runs one of the two most solid currencies on the planet, and that buys a lot of credit that wouldn't be available if, for example, raw materials were priced in Euros instead of dollars. And I suspect it may be thinking along these lines that explains why Vladimir Putin is trying to channel the ghost of Leonid Brezhnev these days. He's not looking for a new cold war so much as he's betting that the US is close to the limits of imperial — and fiscal — overstretch, and if he just pushes a little bit harder, sooner or later something's going to break.

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