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Friday, December 30, 2016

The myth of the Cold War

Paul Craig Roberts addresses the common misconception that Ronald Reagan sought to break the Soviet Union and win the Cold War rather than end it.
The myth is widespread that President Reagan won the cold war by breaking the Soviet Union financially with an arms race. As one who was involved in Reagan’s effort to end the cold war, I find myself yet again correcting the record.

Reagan never spoke of winning the cold war. He spoke of ending it. Other officials in his government have said the same thing, and Pat Buchanan can verify it.

Reagan wanted to end the Cold War, not win it. He spoke of those “godawful” nuclear weapons. He thought the Soviet economy was in too much difficulty to compete in an arms race. He thought that if he could first cure the stagflation that afflicted the US economy, he could force the Soviets to the negotiating table by going through the motion of launching an arms race. “Star wars” was mainly hype. (Whether or nor the Soviets believed the arms race threat, the American leftwing clearly did and has never got over it.)

Reagan had no intention of dominating the Soviet Union or collapsing it. Unlike Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama, he was not controlled by neoconservatives. Reagan fired and prosecuted the neoconservatives in his administration when they operated behind his back and broke the law.

The Soviet Union did not collapse because of Reagan’s determination to end the Cold War. The Soviet collapse was the work of hardline communists, who believed that Gorbachev was loosening the Communist Party’s hold so quickly that Gorbachev was a threat to the existence of the Soviet Union and placed him under house arrest. It was the hardline communist coup against Gorbachev that led to the rise of Yeltsin. No one expected the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The US military/security complex did not want Reagan to end the Cold War, as the Cold War was the foundation of profit and power for the complex. The CIA told Reagan that if he renewed the arms race, the Soviets would win, because the Soviets controlled investment and could allocate a larger share of the economy to the military than Reagan could.

Reagan did not believe the CIA’s claim that the Soviet Union could prevail in an arms race. He formed a secret committee and gave the committee the power to investigate the CIA’s claim that the US would lose an arms race with the Soviet Union. The committee concluded that the CIA was protecting its prerogatives. I know this because I was a member of the committee.
It's kind of hard to argue with an eyewitness in the bureaucratic inner circle.

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88 Comments:

Anonymous Afterthought December 30, 2016 9:55 AM  

Those who stood down global Communism while avoiding a catastrophic direct conflict deserve our gratitude and admiration.

Especially when considering the calls for surrender on their left and hot war on their right. If they did not simultaneously win the "culture war" or the demographic war they can be forgiven, as they allowed us to live to fight another day.

The Trump victory OUGHT to be giving us the chance to engage the cultureand demogrphic wars, but unfortunately the "alt right" has been hijacked by some nasty individuals that have taken the movement down a dead end road.

Blogger swiftfoxmark2 December 30, 2016 9:57 AM  

I think historians tend to confuse the Soviet government with the Soviet economy. What was everyone was expecting was a massive economic collapse in the Soviet Union followed by free market reforms. The government, however, would remain intact. This scenario had already begun to play out in China.

When the Soviet government collapsed, that was a big surprise to everyone.

Anonymous Philipp December 30, 2016 10:05 AM  

Good to hear that Paul Craig Roberts said the record straight.

It was actions of the Soviets themselves that caused their collapse.

Blogger Johnny December 30, 2016 10:10 AM  

"Reagan had no intention of dominating the Soviet Union..."

We should want to dominate other countries only if we are trying to set up an empire and are willing to pay the ongoing price to maintain it. If we see ourselves as a nation among other nations, then the goal should be mutual accommodation.

I get so tired of the slant they put in stuff. If Reagan accomplished more than he hoped for, that is hardly a criticism of the policy. What? He achieved too much!

Anonymous Mister M December 30, 2016 10:10 AM  

There always has to be an enemy. I remember Bill Cooper's "Hour of the Time" talking about this - going all the way back to the Yalta conference, and Churchill getting frozen out as FDR and Stalin built the 'Cold War' out of whole cloth. Allies become enemies, military contracts abound - it was the perfect plan. Only an independent, strong and God-Fearing USA was in the way - so that had to be taken care of. I remember thinking that Cooper made sense, but it was too far fetched. Shows what I know...

Blogger Nick S December 30, 2016 10:33 AM  

The way I remember it, it was the great Reagan SDI ("Star Wars") bluff that ended the cold war. Sure, lots of other factors played their parts, but the whole SDI thing was the master key.

Blogger Hauen Holzwanderer December 30, 2016 10:38 AM  

CIA distorting facts or outright lying to push an agenda? Say it ain't so! I pray the swamp hasn't become a sea.

Blogger James Dixon December 30, 2016 10:40 AM  

> The CIA told Reagan that if he renewed the arms race, the Soviets would win, because the Soviets controlled investment and could allocate a larger share of the economy to the military than Reagan could.

From memory, the Soviets were spending over 20% of GDP on their military at the time. We were under 2% of ours (the exact figures are probably available somewhere, but those should be pretty close). There was no way the Soviets could keep up with a determined military build up on our part.

Anonymous Hrw-500 December 30, 2016 10:42 AM  

Looks like Obama doesn't want to let Trump having his way and wants more than a cold war.

Blogger Some Dude December 30, 2016 10:44 AM  

Very interesting. And all this time, I thought Reagan was a useful idiot for the high IQ people.

Anonymous Damn Crackers December 30, 2016 10:55 AM  

I can't believe I live in a time when the Democratic Party has become the John Birch Society.

Blogger Salt December 30, 2016 11:02 AM  

The words of Eisenhower were not lost on Reagan. I suspect Trump will listen to the MIC about as much as Reagan did. It really wouldn't surprise me if Trump and Putin have had a private conversation. The short term danger lies with TPTB having some form of finger on the button.

Blogger James Dixon December 30, 2016 11:04 AM  

> And all this time, I thought Reagan was a useful idiot for the high IQ people.

Given that's the narrative the media has tried to set for over 30 years now, that's not surprising. But then the mainstream media always lies about the right.

Anonymous fop December 30, 2016 11:07 AM  

Very interesting. And all this time, I thought Reagan was a useful idiot for the high IQ people.

Another common misconception. Reagan was no idiot.

Blogger FALPhil December 30, 2016 11:09 AM  

Isn't that the narrative about every Republican president that goes against the status quo?

Blogger FALPhil December 30, 2016 11:09 AM  

Isn't that the narrative about every Republican president that goes against the status quo?

Blogger Some Dude December 30, 2016 11:10 AM  

The CIA is completely rogue. It funds itself without congressional appropriations with black ops. It is basically a non-state paramilitary organisation for the plutocracy. Read The Devil's Chessboard. If they don't like a director, like Petraeus, they throw shades on him.

The Bushies are the most synonymous public face on what they want and how they think. No surprise, Bush the Dumber had a hoven of gamma (((neocons))) crawling around him. Where does the CIA end and Mossad begin? Who knows.

Anonymous JustAnotherPairOfEyes December 30, 2016 11:14 AM  

I'm pretty sure that the reason the Soviet Union collapsed was economic and was the result of an inconvenient combination of a dependence on expensive US wheat and dropping oil prices.

You can verify this by plotting the oil and wheat prices of the time and looking up the history of oil exports and wheat imports for the Soviet Union, and comparing the magnitude of these numbers with the size of the Soviet economy at the time.

There's a fascinating suppressed book that claims that the 3 truly great powers, US, Soviet Union and China, in the postwar period compete with each other economically instead of militarily and most of the US economic warfare consists of manipulation of the price of oil. The book is rather convincing, especially in that it was written some years ago but the history since then has been entirely predictable from its principles. The short description is that high oil prices are bad for China. Low oil prices are bad for Russia. The book claims that the CIA, with the help of Saudi Arabia, influences the price of oil by over or under supply.

http://trineday.com/paypal_store/product_pages/OilCard.html

Anonymous Anonymous December 30, 2016 11:15 AM  

If Reagan could not defeat or fix the CIA who can? Will Trump survive them? No doubt they are only stronger now.
The "Russia" propaganda hasn't had its total desired affect but it does keep the attention of the 49% status quoers

Blogger Some Dude December 30, 2016 11:15 AM  

Drop the ideology. Its retarding your knowledge acquisition. All ideologies have slaves, not followers.

Anonymous Napoleon 12pdr December 30, 2016 11:19 AM  

A lot depends on how you define "win". Reagan wanted to neutralize the Soviet threat, and succeeded in that. Holding a victory parade through Red Square was optional...and quite probably counterproductive.

People forget that crushing a nation flat, like Germany in World War II, is difficult, costly, and usually leaves the victor cleaning up a mess.

Anonymous Steve December 30, 2016 11:19 AM  

The CIA told Reagan that if he renewed the arms race, the Soviets would win, because the Soviets controlled investment and could allocate a larger share of the economy to the military than Reagan could.

Has the CIA ever been good for anything?

This example of mendacious retardery is classic. Even the Soviet's own official figures (i.e. hilariously optimistic lies) showed their economy to be only half the size of the US.

The reality was far worse. Ask any Russian of a certain age about their memories of toilet paper in the Soviet era. LUCIFER'S HAMMER had a fun little segment where the Soviet cosmonauts are astounded and ashamed when an American astronaut offers to buy them a pocket calculator, the like of which they could never dream of owning in Russia. Fiction, but based on truth: the Soviet Union was a pathetic, ramshackle basket case of an economy.

They had some brilliant engineers, which barely kept them respectable in space technology, aeronautics, and tank design. But because communism doesn't work they failed miserably at the basics - like producing high grade metals that don't immediately rust (according to one story many's a Stasi agent got picked up in West Berlin because their beautifully forged passports were bound with shitty Russian staples that rusted, a dead giveaway) or anything involving electronics. So while - on paper - the Soviets could field a huge arsenal of ICBM's it's anybody's guess how many would actually work.

The Soviet Union was a real, dangerous, significant threat. But it was always doomed to fall further and further behind after WW2 as the Western economies grew while the communists could only produce shitty copies of Western technology and build Potemkin shopping malls full of pencils and other crap nobody had money to buy anyway.

If I was God Emperor Trump I'd abolish the CIA. It's apparently some sort of federally subsidised foam party for pointy-headed gay little spooks like Evan McMuffin.

Blogger Johnny December 30, 2016 11:21 AM  

Some Dude wrote:Very interesting. And all this time, I thought Reagan was a useful idiot for the high IQ people.

Intelligence as it is normally measured is important, but overrated. The all out useful idiot was Bush the Dumber. Reagan, regardless of brains, made up his own mind on stuff, and I believe was smart enough not to be held back by a lack inherent ability.

Otherwise we do overrate how important the US was in bringing down the USSR, but then we do that with everything and selective criticism is bias.

Blogger Some Dude December 30, 2016 11:27 AM  

If I was God Emperor Trump I'd abolish the CIA. It's apparently some sort of federally subsidised foam party for pointy-headed gay little spooks like Evan McMuffin.

If he did that he would be assassinated and/or they would give dirt to Paul Ryan to impeach him. Trump's CIA nominee is a par for the course neverending war on theatre terrorism guy.

Blogger Some Dude December 30, 2016 11:31 AM  

The oil theory is very good. I saw that graph myself years ago. The oil link still holds for Russia as well, but they've intelligently diversified to gas now as well. That's why the current low oil prices are tenable.

People also don't realise that the Soviets didn't have an advanced financial system allowing them to create paper wealth today for claims on income tomorrow. Now, when you 'develop' a financial system you also get the downsides like the occasional bubble and the fact it becomes parasitical on real output. Obviously banks all over the world as well weren't going to be falling over themselves to buy USSR gov bonds to finance missiles.

Anonymous Steve December 30, 2016 11:38 AM  

If he did that he would be assassinated and/or they would give dirt to Paul Ryan to impeach him.

Please. They couldn't even kill Castro.

I know the spooky services love their own James Bond mystique, but from what I gather they're mostly a bunch of typical public sector muppets. More Maxwell Smart than Jason Bourne.

The signals guys are great at what they do. The HUMINT ones? Not so much.

Anonymous Dan December 30, 2016 11:39 AM  

The Soviet Union was a real, dangerous, significant threat. But it was always doomed to fall further and further behind after WW2 as the Western economies grew while the communists could only produce shitty copies of Western technology and build Potemkin shopping malls full of pencils and other crap nobody had money to buy anyway.

The communists realised that they couldn't build a good economy on their own so now they infiltrate the former capitalist nations to feed on their past achievements. The question is whether this is a cycle
in hystory in which collectivists take over driven by delusion and jealousy to create the pleb utopia or if this is just a fluke.

Blogger Lazarus December 30, 2016 11:42 AM  

Steve wrote:Ask any Russian of a certain age about their memories of toilet paper in the Soviet era.

What is it about toilet paper that defines an economy? I went to Cuba and had to collect paper table napkins to use as toilet paper in public cans.

Venezuela can't supply toilet paper, so they made their money worthless so that the people could use it to wipe their bum.

There should be a Toilet Paper Index (TPI)

Anonymous Bob Just December 30, 2016 12:03 PM  

@27

Toilet Paper Index:
The TPI (C) is the latest and most efficient way to measure development at micro level. The Index was developed by students at Davidson College in North Carolina and is quickly becoming one of the most popular ways to measure economic development. Unlike indexes based on questionable data sets, the TPI is a single-variable index that measures economic development according to the quality of toilet paper in a given country.


Here are the official TPI values:

TPI Value Toilet Paper Characteristics
0 No toilet paper available
1 Single-ply recycled (gray) toilet paper
2 Multiply-ply recycled (gray) toilet paper
3 Single-ply bleached (white) toilet paper
4 Double-ply bleached (white) toilet paper
5 Triple-ply bleached (white) toilet paper
6 Quadruple+ ply bleached (white) toilet paper
7 Scented or designer toilet paper


https://kimanki.wordpress.com/2011/02/22/the-toilet-paper-index-tpi/

Anonymous Bob Just December 30, 2016 12:07 PM  

Toilet Paper Index inflation

A few years ago, I'm not sure exactly when, rolls of toilet paper all shrank an inch or two in width. The rolls used to fit snugly into their holders, which had remained the same for many decades. But now the rolls fit loosely. At the same time, the paper grew thinner, so that ifToilet paper rolls shrinking people weren't careful, they discovered they were wiping themselves with their hand. This may be acceptable in some cultures, but not in ours. And this was "extra-soft, double-layered" tissue, not the bargain kind you find in public rest rooms and hotels.

The same shrinkage and thinning affected paper napkins, which used to cover a non-obese lap reasonably well. But now the paper napkins handed out in fast-food shops are barely large enough to cover the lap of a four-year-old, and certainly not thick enough to absorb the resulting spills.

But no matter how sloppy the burger or how drippy the yogurt, the clerk is instructed to hand out only one or two napkins per customer. I have now been reduced to placing a wad of paper napkins in my jacket pocket before I go to the mall. This habit also serves me well at gas stations, where often there are no paper towels to wipe my hands or clean the windshield. Obviously, the term "service station" no longer applies.

Yes, we all want to "save the planet." But our planet is Earth, not some tiny planet inhabited by tiny beings. Smaller, thinner toilet paper and napkins will not be adequate for larger, fatter people. The lines are bound to cross. I believe they already have. Perhaps we will have to go about our job of "saving the planet" with our pants soiled, both inside and out. Whether or not we succeed in "saving the planet," we are succeeding in losing our dignity, assuming we had any in the first place.

http://www.haciendapub.com/articles/decline-and-fall-toilet-paper-or-how-assess-civilization-david-c-stolinsky-md

Blogger Pteronarcyd December 30, 2016 12:13 PM  

Sure, the Cold War effectively ended during the Bush Administration due to Reagan's policies, and it ended under conditions favorable to the First World. In my book that's a win.

You can contrast this to the way modern liberal-progressives end wars -- by abandoning the field to the enemy (eg, Vietnam, Iraq). I regard those as losses.

Blogger liberranter December 30, 2016 12:14 PM  

If I was God Emperor Trump I'd abolish the CIA.

President Number 35 tried that and it earned him a dirt nap. Maybe Trump has eight more lives and will succeed where his predecessor failed.

Anonymous BBGKB December 30, 2016 12:16 PM  

CIA distorting facts or outright lying to push an agenda? Say it ain't so! I pray the swamp hasn't become a sea

Mel Gibson's Waterworld

Another common misconception. Reagan was no idiot.

He actually got residual money for Actors from the (((studios))) that the leaders of the actors (((union))) opposed.

The CIA is completely rogue.

Don't you mean rouge? http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/07/31/how-the-cia-came-out-of-the-closet.html

I'm pretty sure that the reason the Soviet Union collapsed was economic and was the result of an inconvenient combination of a dependence on expensive US wheat and dropping oil prices

What about the 8 jewish oligarchs that stole all the hard assets in Russia when they saw the ship starting to sink?

Anonymous Basket of Deplorables December 30, 2016 12:23 PM  

What does it mean to 'end' the cold war without 'winning' it?

Blogger Lazarus December 30, 2016 12:43 PM  

Bob Just wrote:Toilet Paper Index:

Thanks Bob. That's mighty white of you.

Anonymous VFM #6306 December 30, 2016 12:45 PM  

Reagan wanted a negotiated truce and an open relationship with the Soviet Union. A kind of Nixon-China thing with our nukes left at the door.

A "Korea win" not a "WWII win."

Blogger seeingsights December 30, 2016 12:58 PM  

It's one thing to be anti-Communist as Eisenhower, Nixon, and Reagan correctly were; it's another thing to blindly follow what the military-industrial complex wants. I'm optimistic that Trump is confident in his own foreign policy ideas that he won't go down wrong paths such as Bush II and Hilary Clinton did.

My view of foreign policy is that Islamicism is enemy number one and the European Union is enemy number two. My impression is that Trump would gladly like to see Islamicism and the European Union collapse too.

Blogger Tino December 30, 2016 1:00 PM  

Except that is only half the story by the "eyewitness" who almost certainly had to know of the Black Eagle Trust. The financial Black Eagle Trust maneuver, essentially economic arbitrage as weapon, under the auspices of Leo Wanta and others, was an external force and trigger part-and-parcel of the collapse. It is inaccurate that nobody predicted the breakup. L.Neil.Smith, Frank R Wallace, and a couple others called it ahead of time, though unaware of the hidden forces aimed at the Soviet Empire economy.

Blogger John Morris December 30, 2016 1:37 PM  

I really don't think Reagan was dumb, thus he knew he was putting a finishing move on the Soviets with his "Focus of Evil" speech. Everything else was mere tactics.

That one speech blew up the existing corrupt consensus. Before it we had the "two great superpowers" moral equivalency that allowed nominal allies to feel free to collaborate with the enemy and pretend it was 'real politik' and trying to be 'neutral.' Even most of the Right were resigned to the Soviets winning in the end, Communism was the end game, the arrow of History pointed the way and they were resigned to a long twilight struggle and trying to restrain the more bloodthirsty impulses of the Left as they surrendered to them over and over. (remind us of anyone now?)

After it anyone wanting to be a Soviet apologist had to engage with that speech in one of three ways:

1. Argue that Reagan was wrong, the Soviets weren't Evil and perhaps double down with America is the real evil lefty bull. But trying to make those arguments openly was a sure fire way to fail, the reality of the horrors behind the Iron Curtain were being revealed. Heck, just the existence of an Iron Curtain was a giveaway.

2. Accept it and just declare "To Evil!" Not a winning move.

3. Admit the game was over, admit the Soviets were evil. Once a critical mass inside the Soviet Union itself realized the Soviet Union was evil the game was over.

Blogger Cail Corishev December 30, 2016 1:47 PM  

Nowadays everyone seems to have known that Soviet Communism couldn't sustain their country and the arms race, but that wasn't a common opinion at the time at all. Leftists, including media and academia, believed their command economy had to be more efficient and productive than capitalism, especially for large-scale projects like the military. Right up until the end, useful left-wing idiots visited Potemkin villages and told us how great things were going, and laughed off reports of bread lines and empty grocery stores.

It came as quite an unpleasant surprise to them when Reagan was proved right.

Blogger Danby December 30, 2016 1:51 PM  

Some Dude wrote:Very interesting. And all this time, I thought Reagan was a useful idiot for the high IQ people.
That's the lie you were sold, because every Republican must be a liar, a con-man, an evil dictator or an idiot. They used every one of those on Reagan, just like they used every one of them on Trump.
The same way that any electorate that elects a Republican must be stupid, racist, angry, homophobic, gullible or otherwise deplorable.

Blogger Noah B The MacroAggressor December 30, 2016 1:58 PM  

It's amazing what lies the Fake News got away telling before there were effective, alternative channels of information.

Anonymous Überdeplorable Psychedelic Cat Hair December 30, 2016 2:20 PM  

"Those who stood down global Communism while avoiding a catastrophic direct conflict deserve our gratitude and admiration.

Especially when considering the calls for surrender on their left and hot war on their right. If they did not simultaneously win the "culture war" or the demographic war they can be forgiven, as they allowed us to live to fight another day."

@1 So true.

How many people alive today know about NSC-68 and containment and rollback? Reagan helped continue rollback which Carter started.

"When the Soviet government collapsed, that was a big surprise to everyone."

@2 CIA was caught flatfooted. Speaking of, CIA was supposed to be a central clearinghouse for intelligence. Because other agencies at the time didn't share what they had (there was no requirement to do so under law), CIA started collecting its own info.

"The words of Eisenhower were not lost on Reagan. I suspect Trump will listen to the MIC about as much as Reagan did. It really wouldn't surprise me if Trump and Putin have had a private conversation. The short term danger lies with TPTB having some form of finger on the button."

@11

I'm honestly torn. The MIC exists...having been part of it I can certainly attest to that. I believed (and still believe) in the work that I did. Having said that, the MIC doesn't need to be even an eighth of its current size. On the other hand Sun Tzu counsels to have an army so fearsome that nobody would want to fight it.

How does one strike that balance? To those that have never held a security clearance, there is some scary shit out there. NSA, FBI, CIA and other obscure do important work, believe it or not. I'm not defending warrantless wiretapping of Americans or collection of our metadata. I'm just giving some observations from experience in my newly minted 30 yo body.

"Has the CIA ever been good for anything?"

@21 If you have access to the National Security Archive through Georgetown University, read some of the recently declassified information within the past five years, especially what the KGB was up to. Much of that you can thank CIA for thwarting or discovering.

As far as creating the Cold War at Yalta, Churchill wanted to go all the way to Moscow. While that might have been the smart move long term, how many more millions would've died?

"So while - on paper - the Soviets could field a huge arsenal of ICBM's it's anybody's guess how many would actually work."

For a while the missile gap was in our favor. Also CIA realized the Soviets had fewer strategic bombers (they kept the 16 or so flying repeatedly over a parade).

"If I was God Emperor Trump I'd abolish the CIA."

It still serves a purpose. Trust me. I wish there'd be a way for fellow Americans to see classified information without the other side seeing it. I'm convinced it'd change more than a few minds.

"Nowadays everyone seems to have known that Soviet Communism couldn't sustain their country and the arms race, but that wasn't a common opinion at the time at all. Leftists, including media and academia, believed their command economy had to be more efficient and productive than capitalism, especially for large-scale projects like the military. "

Hmm...when have we seen this movie recently????? Oh wait...NOVEMBER WHEN TRUMP PWNED CLINTON. Yet everyone believed (on the Left) Hillary would win.

OpenID anonymos-coward December 30, 2016 2:51 PM  

I'm pretty sure that the reason the Soviet Union collapsed was economic and was the result of an inconvenient combination of a dependence on expensive US wheat and dropping oil prices.

As someone who lived in Russia during the collapse: no, that's completely wrong.

If one had to pick a single reason, the USSR collapsed because of Islam. Specifically, the horrific Christian-vs-Muslim massacres in Baku and the loss of Afghanistan.

By 1991 the USSR was in an ongoing civil war between Muslims and everyone else, and it was hopeless to even pretend to try to govern the mess.

The funny thing was that the Soviet economy was actually fine; in fact, by 1991 it was the only Soviet thing still functioning.

The economic collapse happened closer to 1993, by then the USSR long ceased to exist.

Anonymous RA December 30, 2016 2:58 PM  

I once knew somebody who way back in 1978 predicted the eventual fall of the USSR, no sense of timing, just said it was inevitable. Not a public figure so no I can't prove anything. But I will say we all laughed at him, including myself. But when it happened, first thought I had was that guy. Then I ran into him again when Fukuyama's End Of History was the rage and he said, don't believe a word of it, it's all bull----, trust me, you will see. Have not seen him since, but he was right about that too.

Following his inspiration, I was one of the few who picked up on Clash of Civilizations by Huntington. I regret I don't have that book anymore, I'd love to reread it in light of the last decade of events.

I've been in the MIC; full of good people as well as bad people. In some organizations, the bad rise and make the policy. The CIA may have done some good work, but there are enough not so good episodes, in fact there is an institutional history of them, that I have to take anything they say with rock salt.

The CIA is best understood as a critical tool of the neocons. For instance, anyone going down the Benghazi rabbit hole will find that some of those weapons the CIA supplied ended up in the hands of the bad guys. More than one party of them too...

Blogger Some Dude December 30, 2016 3:04 PM  

@25

Yeah but they got JFK, half of Latin America, loads of Muslim and African leaders and nearly got Charles de Gaulle of France (!, true).

Anonymous CC December 30, 2016 3:05 PM  

Reagan wanted to end the Cold War, not win it. He spoke of those “godawful” nuclear weapons. He thought the Soviet economy was in too much difficulty to compete in an arms race. He thought that if he could first cure the stagflation that afflicted the US economy, he could force the Soviets to the negotiating table by going through the motion of launching an arms race. “Star wars” was mainly hype.

That's very interesting, it kind of squares the circle for me of why Reagan seemed so keen on the nuclear arms race and yet could apparently have come so close to agree to their complete abolition in Iceland in 1986.

Overall it was a risky game of brinkmanship.

When looking at this period (the end of the Cold War) I can't help feeling very grateful that Gorbachev was the Soviet leader during this time. His reforms helped unwittingly undermine Communism in the USSR and he let the Warsaw Pact regimes collapse by not propping them up as well as not resisting his own deposing. It could have all been very different...

It was also fortunate that he and Reagan had such a good relationship. Nancy Reagan's astrologer was right when she concluded that Reagan and Gorby would get along so well. Maybe there's something to these horoscopes after all.

I think Putin and Trump will have a similarly good relationship. We might see Vlad crack a smile again in the presence of an American leader.

Anonymous LurkingPuppy December 30, 2016 3:12 PM  

Überdeplorable Psychedelic Cat Hair wrote:I'm honestly torn. The MIC exists...having been part of it I can certainly attest to that. I believed (and still believe) in the work that I did. Having said that, the MIC doesn't need to be even an eighth of its current size. On the other hand Sun Tzu counsels to have an army so fearsome that nobody would want to fight it.
The money being pissed away by incompetents and crooks on crap like the still-next-generation, too-expensive-to-ever-use F-35 doesn't contribute to making our armed forces ‘fearsome’.

Überdeplorable Psychedelic Cat Hair wrote:"If I was God Emperor Trump I'd abolish the CIA."

It still serves a purpose. Trust me. I wish there'd be a way for fellow Americans to see classified information without the other side seeing it. I'm convinced it'd change more than a few minds.

Show us the Top Secret e-mails that Sidney Blumenthal (who didn't have a security clearance) sent to Hillary Clinton on her private server. We know the bad guys already have those.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 30, 2016 3:33 PM  

Which has one minor factual problem: "We win; they lose" - Ronald Reagan, Jan 1977.

Are there some meanings of the words "win" and "lose" that Roberts and Reagan understood but that the rest of us are clueless to?

The problem here is that Roberts is taking the word "win" as a substitute for "complete destruction of." They're not, however, synonymous. A win would be peeling off the Soviet sphere of influence outside of the Warsaw Pact, while getting them to go contemplate their own navels inside the USSR and Pact borders, or that plus the liberation of Eastern Europe from Soviet control, or the break up of the Soviet Union following all of the above. All are "wins."

Every time someone starts trying to prove a point by playing with the meanings of words, I wonder what his agenda is. What's Roberts?

Anonymous Jack Amok December 30, 2016 3:34 PM  

If one had to pick a single reason, the USSR collapsed because of Islam. Specifically, the horrific Christian-vs-Muslim massacres in Baku and the loss of Afghanistan.

Essentially, the Soviet government collapsed because it demonstrated too much incompetence (especially with the army), and when the next political crisis hit (Gorbachev's house arrest), not enough people were willing to fight for it one more time.

Yeltsin stood up on the barricade, nobody shot him, and everybody else said, basically, "time to try something different."

Blogger bosscauser December 30, 2016 4:10 PM  

Daddy Bush made sure CIA would survive! He WAS the CIA!

#PresidentTrump

Blogger bosscauser December 30, 2016 4:12 PM  

Anyone ever ask the Russians? They thought we were nuts war mongering against 10000 nukes!
They had a point!
Follow the money. REPUBLICANS will kill Social Security to stay on top

#PresidentTrump

Blogger Serge_Tomiko December 30, 2016 4:15 PM  

Oh Yay, Vox Day promoting yet another globalist and obvious propaganda tool like this character. Is it just a mere coincidence that the Soviet Union is dominated by internationalist financiers and plutocrats of natural resources not very different from the US?

Only a fool would think so.

The Soviet Union and Western Capitalists have been allies since the day the British Empire declared war on the Third Reich. Everything since 1939 has been a show to guide the masses into accepting total global domination.

There is no one better to read to understand the propaganda leading the world towards the next UN gold standard, which should really increase the speed and intensity of the circle jerk here, than Paul Craig Roberts.

PS: How can anyone take his shit seriously when he claims to have an Institute of Political Economy when he doesn't understand the most basic aspects of political economy in the post-war era? Has he never heard of Keynes' Bancor? Is he completely unfamiliar with the very first United Nations Conference? Does the name Triffin mean nothing to him?

Of course not.

He is not some dumb libertarian who collected comics as a kid and to whom the gold standard seems equally valid. He's a liar.

Anonymous JustAnotherPairOfEyes December 30, 2016 4:18 PM  

On the Soviet collapse oil theory, Yegor Gaidar was one of the young economic reformers who worked to create a new economic future for Russia. He was the acting PM for a few months in 1992. His book gave the oil / wheat price change as a "powerful explanation" for the collapse as quoted here:

<>
http://www.sjsu.edu/faculty/watkins/sovietcollapse.htm

It looks like you can get Gaidar's book on Amazon Kindle:
https://www.amazon.com/Collapse-Empire-Lessons-Modern-Russia-ebook/dp/B00B61SRQ6

Anonymous JustAnotherPairOfEyes December 30, 2016 4:19 PM  

Ooops. Missing quote. Learn something new every day...

"But there was a more immediate explanation for the collapse of the Soviet Union provided by Yegor Gaidar, who had been acting prime minister of Russia from June of 1992 to December of 1992 and a key figure in the transformation of the Russian economy. In his last work, Collapse of an Empire: Lessons for Modern Russia, published in 2007 Gaidar provides a powerful explanation for the collapse of the Soviet Union. Soviet agriculture had stagnated in the 1980's but the demand for grain in the cities was increasing. It was necessary to buy grain in the international market. While the price of petroleum was high it was feasible to finance the purchase of grain from internal sources. When the price of petroleum fell in the late 1980's the Soviet Union needed to borrow the funds from Western banks to purchase the needed grain. This severely restricted the international activities of the Soviet Union. It could not send in Soviet troops to put down the rebellions against communism in Eastern Europe because such an action would have resulted in a refusal of Western sources to lend the money needed. Likewise the attempted coup d'état was doomed to failure because the coup leaders would not have been able to borrow the funds needed to stave off starvation in the major cities.

Although Gaidar's book does not delve into the reason for the decline in petroleum prices in the late 1980's there is evidence that this occurred because of a conspiracy between the American Central Intelligence Agency (C.I.A.) the leaders of Saudi Arabia to punish the Soviet Union for its invasion of Afghanistan. Saudi Arabia increased its production of petroleum drastically and consequently the price of petroleum fell."

Blogger Tom Kratman December 30, 2016 4:25 PM  

@54

I've read in other sources that the Saudi increase - and yes, specifically to hurt the Soviet Union - was one of their two major efforts to combat the reds in Afghanistan. (The other was that they poured a lot more money, and probably more effectively, into the Muj than we did.)

Blogger Doom December 30, 2016 4:27 PM  

Reagan truly was the most surprised victor I have ever seen. He DID NOT see that coming. I dreamed it a few years before, told some fellows. They laughed. I... wasn't sure. It happened on time, to my dream(s). I didn't get all of it, dreamed it would be a collapse, and mostly peaceful, at least for our part but mostly theirs... and about two years from the dream. Didn't know who would be in power or... where things would go from there. Suspected the West would waste their advantage in frivolity and it seems they have.

Anonymous cheddarman December 30, 2016 5:44 PM  

We should start the "Paul Craig Roberts Award" for defense of freedm and give the first one to Edward Snowden.

Blogger Ingot9455 December 30, 2016 6:45 PM  

@29 What you are seeing is the inflation caused by quantitative easing (printing money) during the Obama years.

Food price inflation and minor necessity inflation is not tracked in the standard inflationary index so it's hidden. But you can watch your grocery bill go up all throughout the Obama years.

Food companies - and toilet paper companies - try to hide it in various ways. Reshaping their 12 oz cans to be 10.5 oz cans. Giving you thinner toilet paper rolls. And so on. Until the new smaller size becomes 'the new normal' and they hope you don't notice too bad.

Blogger Lazarus December 30, 2016 6:46 PM  

The USSR collapsed because it sat on elite-driven teleological foundations that ignored how human beings actually live and bargain., according to Gilman and Weber

Just like the EU now.

Anonymous buybuydandavis December 30, 2016 6:50 PM  

My recollection is the same as Kratman's:
"We win; they lose" - Ronald Reagan, Jan 1977.

Anonymous A Most Deplorable Paradigm Is More Than Twenty Deplorable Cents December 30, 2016 7:47 PM  

Russia laughs off 0bama's tantrum Trump praises Putin's restraint.

The world is coming to realize which Star Wars character 0bama really, really is: Jar Jar Binks.

Blogger Akulkis December 30, 2016 8:08 PM  

Didn't Reagan say, "Here's my strategy on the Cold War -- We win, they lose."

However, the real winner, between the following competitors --
The U.S. Right
The U.S. Left
The U.S. Military
U.S. Industry
The Soviet Politburo & Communist Party
The Soviet Army
The KGB

...was the KGB. The U.S. Right came in 2nd. The Politburo & Communist Party came in dead last.

Anonymous Napoleon 12pdr December 30, 2016 8:21 PM  

Dr. Pournelle's "Strategy of Technology" is essential reading for anyone studying the 1975-90 period. It was the manual for how we won.

Short form: The United States could not generate a quantitative advantage over the Soviets. The West had a stronger economy, but the Soviets could put a far higher percentage into their military.

The solution was to leverage the Western advantage in technology, particularly the then brand-new electronics, into a QUALITATIVE advantage. This affected every weapon in the inventory...and training also. By 1980, we had instrumented training ranges that let our forces whet their skills to a razor edge.

It also helped that during the late 1970s, there was a lot of thinking going on, from which emerged a far more aggressive fighting technique. Partly based on Soviet doctrine...but with American flexibility in execution.

We saw the result in January/February 1991, in Iraq. One of the most one-sided pastings in military history.

Blogger dfordoom December 30, 2016 8:31 PM  

1. Afterthought

If they did not simultaneously win the "culture war" or the demographic war they can be forgiven, as they allowed us to live to fight another day.

The culture war and the demographic war are much bigger threats than the Soviet Union ever was. Defeat in the culture war means the end of civilisation.

Blogger Danby December 30, 2016 9:06 PM  

Akulkis wrote:However, the real winner, between the following competitors --

...was the KGB.

Yeah, right. We've heard the EBILLLL ROOSHIN KGB song for so long, most of us are inured to it. The KGB specifically who LOST.

Get over it.

Anonymous Eric the Red December 30, 2016 9:17 PM  

Never liked Paul Craig Roberts. His missives are fraught with strange sidelines and even more strange assumptions. Not creative or innovative, just strange.

Anonymous George of the Jungle December 30, 2016 9:23 PM  

"Never trust a man who uses all three names."

Anonymous Überdeplorable Psychedelic Cat Hair December 30, 2016 9:53 PM  

Though I disagree, the gf says that's an insult to Jar Jar Binks.

Blogger Francis Parker Yockey December 30, 2016 11:38 PM  

@Serge_Tomiko
The life of Armand Hammer is perhaps supportive of your perspective.

Anonymous Dave December 30, 2016 11:55 PM  

In 1980 the Soviet Communist Party faced the same problem that now afflicts our beloved Democrats: The old guard was dying off and couldn't find any younger people stupid enough to parrot Marxist propaganda yet smart enough to run a country. No political system built on a foundation of lies can long outlive its founders because new generations believe the lies. ("All men are created equal" was of course a lie, but close enough to truth to work as long as we were a homogeneous nation of Northern European stock.)

Anonymous Colorado Confederate December 31, 2016 12:23 AM  

"No coach of a professional team ever tells his players or the owners of the team that the opposition is going to be easy this year. That's not the way to motivate the players or the way to get the owners to spend more money on the team.

That's why our Army and Navy people are always telling us how dangerous and well-armed the Soviet Union is. They figure the best way to keep their budget raised is to scare us to death.

Every American probably ought to go to the toilet just once in Moscow. It would put the whole threat Russia poses for us in better perspective. I am hard put to explain how they ever got a man in space and can only conclude that they still have enough German scientists left over from World War II to help them accomplish it.
-- ...And More by Andy Rooney, 1982

Blogger Kona Commuter December 31, 2016 12:29 AM  

Regarding declining quality of Toilet Paper

https://youtu.be/2Tg-KkRgiGI

Blogger Akulkis December 31, 2016 1:23 AM  

@65

"Yeah, right. We've heard the EBILLLL ROOSHIN KGB song for so long, most of us are inured to it. The KGB specifically who LOST.

Get over it."

You don't understand.
Throughout the cold war, there was ANOTHER Cold War going on INSIDE Russia, between the Communist Party, the KGB, and the Soviet Army vying for complete control. The Soviet Army's biggest fear was that the CPUSSR would get the country into a war with the U.S. The CPUSSR never could control the KGB, and for the most part, the KGB couldn't control the CPUSSR.

Now, as to who won that battle, I ask you this:

WHO is running Russsia?

And, incidentally, which country on the face of this planet has the most strategic minerals within its borders? Strontium, Titanium, Gold, etc. It sure as hell isn't us.

Blogger Akulkis December 31, 2016 1:30 AM  

@71

Hitler's Germany had better technology and better quality equipment than Stalin's Soviet Union, but as Stalin once remarked during the war, "Quantity has a quality of it's own."

The Soviet Union defeated Germany by sheer force of numbers. They were STILL using Napoleonic style human-wave tactics -- they learned NOTHING from the U.S. Civil War [Whereas the Germans were the only observing officers who learned the lessons -- 1: Railroads are a vital part of your logistics, and 2: Rifled weapons made the "line of battle" (human wave) tactics that had been used for thousands of years entirely obsolete.

Blogger Akulkis December 31, 2016 1:31 AM  

@70

That has got to be one of the most insightful comments I have read in a long, long time.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash December 31, 2016 3:35 AM  

Akulkis wrote:WHO is running Russsia?
Stop and consider for a moment that perhaps NONE OF THEM are running Russia. When Eisenhower was elected President, was the US Army running the US Gov't? Or perhaps a better example, when CDR Richard Nixon (USN Ret.) was elected. The rank of Commander is exactly equivalent to Putin's rank of Lieutenant Colonel when he left the KGB.

Blogger The Overgrown Hobbit December 31, 2016 4:12 AM  

This is true. Were my father still able he'd confirm it.

Reagan in His Own Hand and Wizards of Armageddon are two useful texts.

Blogger bosscauser December 31, 2016 8:35 AM  

It's believed that neoconservatives own Trump....
Paranoia.
The military industrial complex has no fear from Trump because voters keep voting to support it.

#PresidentTrump

Blogger Michael Neal December 31, 2016 12:45 PM  

I'm Norman , my direct lineage is Norman nobility and kings and this makes me sick to the core of my being

Anonymous To Mock a Killing Bird December 31, 2016 8:42 PM  

“..What I am describing now is a plan and a hope for the long term -- the march of freedom and democracy which will leave Marxism-Leninism on the ash-heap of history as it has left other tyrannies which stifle the freedom and muzzle the self-expression of the people..”

“We're approaching the end of a bloody century plagued by a terrible political invention – totalitarianism,”

“It is the Soviet Union that runs against the tide of history by denying human freedom and human dignity to its citizens. It also is in deep economic difficulty. The rate of growth in the national product has been steadily declining since the fifties and is less than half of what it was then.”

Ronald Reagan
Speech to British Parliament June 8, 2016

The Westminster speech occurred one day after Reagan met with Pope John Paul II at the Vatican to discuss a plan to work together to undermine Soviet Communism. Perhaps Reagan simply couldn't have imagined that the USSR was so close to the precipice that his shove would cause its fall; is there any record of his lamenting its dissolution?

If Reagan didn't have the ambition to collapse or dominate the USSR, it was because he thought it would fall due of its own faulty construction and ponderous weight.

I am suspicious of economists who offer opinions like this:

"I will begin by stating what we know to be a solid incontrovertible scientific fact. We know that it is strictly impossible for any building, much less steel columned buildings, to “pancake” at free fall speed."

When I know trained ENGINEERS who refuse to speak with such absolute certainty about the collapse of those buildings.

Anonymous To Mock a Killing Bird December 31, 2016 8:44 PM  

Errata:

Obviously, the speech was given in 1982, not 2016.

Love the over exuberance of autofill.

Blogger flyingtiger December 31, 2016 11:08 PM  

You guys have forgotten that during 1980-1988, you had the Iran-Iraq war. Both nations were pumping out the oil to bring in revenue to buy weapons. That is what brought the price of oil down world wide.

Anonymous Bb January 01, 2017 12:54 AM  

In Moscow, the Bekaa Valley operation threw military men into a kind of shock. Top Soviet systems had been trounced. On a visit to Czechoslovakia in 1991, Ivry met a Czech general who had been serving in Moscow in 1982. He told Ivry that the Bekaa Valley air war made the Soviets understand that Western technology was superior to theirs, and in this Czech general's view, the blow to the Bekaa Valley SAMs was part of the cascade of events leading to the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Air Force Magazine

Blogger JB January 01, 2017 9:44 AM  

So Reagan didn't want to "Win" the Cold War he wanted to "End" the Cold War...in victory.

General Patton what is your plan, are you going to win this battle?

"I'm going to end the damn war!"

The distinction by the author doesn't resonate with me.

Anonymous Anonymous January 01, 2017 9:50 AM  

Gorbatchev dindunuffin?

His policies resulted in a massive economic collapse for the Soviet-Union.

Blogger Gary January 01, 2017 3:53 PM  

The Cold War never ended, and America is in the long process of losing it. Who do you think foisted commie philosophies in all of our institutions from the 50s onwards? It didn't happen by accident. The Russians appeared weak as the Sobbiet Union *collapsed* but they were in control of the whole thing.

Putin sits and laughs at analysis that the Russians lost or that it ended. He knows the long game is still playing, only another decade or so before the collapse of the West. Meanwhile, he builds alliances with China et al, and eventually with Germany and Europe too. America will be left for dead, neutered forever. Well played Russia.

Blogger EscapeVelocity January 02, 2017 7:05 PM  

Reagan was negotiating with the Soviets. He met with Gorby & a few times in Geneva, Reykjavik, Washington, Moscow, New York & the little known Malta meeting.

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