The 74 Years' Reich

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dulcinea
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The 74 Years' Reich

Post by dulcinea » Sun Jun 11, 2006 4:43 pm

Time ago I proposed a discussion about why Yugoslavia exploded; hardly anybody responded. Today I propose a subject at least equally interesting: why the Soviet Union fell apart. I find it very intriguing that, unlike the case of Y, nobody was willing to take up arms to prevent the collapse of the Soviet state.
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Re: The 74 Years' Reich

Post by Corlyss_D » Sun Jun 11, 2006 4:52 pm

dulcinea wrote:unlike the case of Y, nobody was willing to take up arms to prevent the collapse of the Soviet state.
:shock: The taking up of arms in Jugoslavia wasn't to prevent the collapse of the state; it was to make sure they got their share of territory.
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Post by Ralph » Sun Jun 11, 2006 8:40 pm

The demise of the Soviet Union was a complicated affair economically, socially, politically and militaril;y. It became a juggernaut that could not control its satellites and as they became more reactive the Soviet government discovered it couldn't force them back into line a la Hungary in 1956.

There are excellent books on the end of the late U.S.S.R. I'll try to recommend a few later in the week.
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Re: The 74 Years' Reich

Post by dulcinea » Sun Jun 11, 2006 10:03 pm

Corlyss_D wrote:
dulcinea wrote:unlike the case of Y, nobody was willing to take up arms to prevent the collapse of the Soviet state.
:shock: The taking up of arms in Jugoslavia wasn't to prevent the collapse of the state; it was to make sure they got their share of territory.
Obviously Tito did not succeed in making Yugoslavs out of the Serbs, Croats, Slovenes, Bosniaks, etc. Did he even try?
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Re: The 74 Years' Reich

Post by Corlyss_D » Sun Jun 11, 2006 10:07 pm

dulcinea wrote:
Corlyss_D wrote:
dulcinea wrote:unlike the case of Y, nobody was willing to take up arms to prevent the collapse of the Soviet state.
:shock: The taking up of arms in Jugoslavia wasn't to prevent the collapse of the state; it was to make sure they got their share of territory.
Obviously Tito did not succeed in making Yugoslavs out of the Serbs, Croats, Slovenes, Bosniaks, etc. Did he even try?
It was Jugoslavia as long as Tito was alive because of the usual reasons. No Tito, no Jugoslavia.
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Post by RebLem » Mon Jun 12, 2006 1:41 am

The State just withered away.

Isn't that what was supposed to happen? :shock: :P :shock:
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Post by Corlyss_D » Mon Jun 12, 2006 2:05 am

RebLem wrote:The State just withered away.

Isn't that what was supposed to happen? :shock: :P :shock:
No. Smaller don't mean wither away.
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Post by BWV 1080 » Mon Jun 12, 2006 8:12 pm

The simple explanation for the demise of the USSR is that Gorbachev took the threat of large scale terror and repression away. Terror was the glue that held the system together since Lenin's day. The Chinese learned this lesson, hence the hard line they took a Tiananmen

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Post by Corlyss_D » Tue Jun 13, 2006 12:34 am

BWV 1080 wrote:The Chinese learned this lesson, hence the hard line they took a Tiananmen
Their analysis of what caused the fall of the communist states in Europe was that political freedom outstripped economic freedoms, thus the people got the right to complain politically about the lagging economic situation before the government could improve the economic situation.* The Chinese vowed that wouldn't happen to them: democratic reform, which appears pretty vibrant at the micro level, will stop at the village walls for the foreseeable future. The people can have all the economic freedom they can tolerate, but if they demand political freedom, they will run into roadblock after roadblock.

*Although I'm not sure yet that the Russians understand how capitalism works. Not long ago I was listening to an account of the Brits efforts to help the Russians get it. The topic of discussion was bread. The Russians came back for a second explanation of how the citizens in London got their bread. They wanted to talk to the British Commissar in charge of bread distribution. The Brits patiently explained that there was no such creature, that there were countless bakers who produced the bread and made it available to the citizens to buy at shops all over town. When the citizens needed bread, they went to the shops and er ah bought it. The bakers identified a need and filled it sua sponte. No state office of Bread Distribution was involved. The Brits made sure the Russians understood what they were saying, what the concept was. Did they understand? Yes, the Russians said, they got it. As the Russians were preparing to depart, they turned Columbo-like and asked just one more thing: Where was the Commissar of Bread Distribution so they could find out how bread was supplied to the people. Perhaps the Russian woman inteviewed when the wall fell in 1989 was right: she said economic reform under Gorbachev was hopeless because the Soviets "had killed all the smart ones and only the dumb ones are left."
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Post by Donald Isler » Tue Jun 13, 2006 7:16 am

Reminds me of a joke that was told in Romania during the Communist era. A tourist from western Europe was being driven around the Romanian town he was visiting. Everywhere he saw people waiting on lines. He asked his tourguide what the people were waiting for, and was told "Oh that line is for meat, that line is for bread, etc." He said "That's funny. Where I live we just phone up the store and they deliver what we need." The tourguide said "Oh, that's so old-fashioned! We had that 30 years ago, too!"
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Re: The 74 Years' Reich

Post by dulcinea » Tue Jun 13, 2006 4:29 pm

Corlyss_D wrote:
dulcinea wrote:
Corlyss_D wrote:
dulcinea wrote:unlike the case of Y, nobody was willing to take up arms to prevent the collapse of the Soviet state.
:shock: The taking up of arms in Jugoslavia wasn't to prevent the collapse of the state; it was to make sure they got their share of territory.
Obviously Tito did not succeed in making Yugoslavs out of the Serbs, Croats, Slovenes, Bosniaks, etc. Did he even try?
It was Jugoslavia as long as Tito was alive because of the usual reasons. No Tito, no Jugoslavia.
Are you implying that Tito did not groom a successor because he had resigned himself to the certainty that Yugoslavia would not survive him?
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Re: The 74 Years' Reich

Post by Corlyss_D » Wed Jun 14, 2006 12:22 am

dulcinea wrote:Are you implying that Tito did not groom a successor because he had resigned himself to the certainty that Yugoslavia would not survive him?
I don't know if resigned is the right word. He was adept enough at surpressing the warring nationalities under the federated umbrella of the central government while giving them some autonomy. Plus he carved out a unique place for Jugoslavia in the great powers game. I think he was probably aware that it would take someone of similar characteristics to succeed him. If he didn't groom a successor, it was for the usual reasons. They have a habit of knocking off their mentors before the mentors are ready to be displaced.
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Re: The 74 Years' Reich

Post by dulcinea » Wed Jun 14, 2006 1:28 pm

Corlyss_D wrote:
dulcinea wrote:Are you implying that Tito did not groom a successor because he had resigned himself to the certainty that Yugoslavia would not survive him?
I don't know if resigned is the right word. He was adept enough at surpressing the warring nationalities under the federated umbrella of the central government while giving them some autonomy. Plus he carved out a unique place for Jugoslavia in the great powers game. I think he was probably aware that it would take someone of similar characteristics to succeed him. If he didn't groom a successor, it was for the usual reasons. They have a habit of knocking off their mentors before the mentors are ready to be displaced.
That is very true; succession was/is always a problem in communist countries. All too often the successors behave in the way Caligula behaved towards Tiberius. But still, leaving the scene without a clear and strong successor was not a wise thing.
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Re: The 74 Years' Reich

Post by BWV 1080 » Wed Jun 14, 2006 1:37 pm

dulcinea wrote:
Corlyss_D wrote:
dulcinea wrote:Are you implying that Tito did not groom a successor because he had resigned himself to the certainty that Yugoslavia would not survive him?
I don't know if resigned is the right word. He was adept enough at surpressing the warring nationalities under the federated umbrella of the central government while giving them some autonomy. Plus he carved out a unique place for Jugoslavia in the great powers game. I think he was probably aware that it would take someone of similar characteristics to succeed him. If he didn't groom a successor, it was for the usual reasons. They have a habit of knocking off their mentors before the mentors are ready to be displaced.
That is very true; succession was/is always a problem in communist countries. All too often the successors behave in the way Caligula behaved towards Tiberius. But still, leaving the scene without a clear and strong successor was not a wise thing.
Yes but often these dictators could not care less what happens to the country after they are gone. Tito probably did not give a rats a** what happened after he was dead. Indeed, it may have fed his ego to think about the country falling apart without him that way no successor could eclipse his "greatness"

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Re: The 74 Years' Reich

Post by Corlyss_D » Wed Jun 14, 2006 2:20 pm

dulcinea wrote:But still, leaving the scene without a clear and strong successor was not a wise thing.
The only way they can control what happens after them is by doing the very thing that threatens them the most. Like Steve says, most of them don't give a rat's ass about what happens to the country after they die. When they do, as you will see if you watch what's happening in Egypt now, it's usually because they hope/expect to put their genes on the throne behind them. But again, they can't really groom a child to succeed them because of the same reason they can't groom anyone: death or loss of power base awaits them. Right now, Mubarak is so desperate to have his son succeed him, and he is so under Hamas' gun, that you have the spectacle of Mubarak dealing deals with the Iranians to support his son after he dies against Hamas and going to meet with Olmert to beg the latter not to leave the West Bank. Whether Egypt benefits from any of his machinations is merely collateral.
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Re: The 74 Years' Reich

Post by dulcinea » Thu Jun 15, 2006 5:42 pm

Corlyss_D wrote:
dulcinea wrote:But still, leaving the scene without a clear and strong successor was not a wise thing.
The only way they can control what happens after them is by doing the very thing that threatens them the most. Like Steve says, most of them don't give a rat's ass about what happens to the country after they die. When they do, as you will see if you watch what's happening in Egypt now, it's usually because they hope/expect to put their genes on the throne behind them. But again, they can't really groom a child to succeed them because of the same reason they can't groom anyone: death or loss of power base awaits them. Right now, Mubarak is so desperate to have his son succeed him, and he is so under Hamas' gun, that you have the spectacle of Mubarak dealing deals with the Iranians to support his son after he dies against Hamas and going to meet with Olmert to beg the latter not to leave the West Bank. Whether Egypt benefits from any of his machinations is merely collateral.
I'll be darned!: another regime that is a mockery of all the ideals of republicanism falls prey to the dynastic ambitions of leaders who are not content with being merely presidents-for-life, but who also want to be presidents-till-the-crack-of-doom. That reminds me of Cuba, where Fidel Castro--born in 1926--has appointed his brother Raul as his successor. Raul was born in 1931, which means that, if he indeed succeeds his brother, his reign won't be very long. What kind of a future does the Castroist State has, if any?
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Re: The 74 Years' Reich

Post by Corlyss_D » Thu Jun 15, 2006 7:38 pm

dulcinea wrote:the dynastic ambitions of leaders who are not content with being merely presidents-for-life, but who also want to be presidents-till-the-crack-of-doom.
If only they could find that pesky fountain of youth thing . . . no termlimits there, for sure.
What kind of a future does the Castroist State has, if any?
None. They've had their future. It's all downhill from the Golden Age when they were nestled in the arm pit of the Soviet Union. China is trying to get a foothold there now. We'll see what happens. Of course, once Castro dies, the US gambling establishments will be back in business down there before the body is cold. And Cuban cigars will be freely available, if not free, once again.
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