The Daily Bork

May 10, 2005

Saint Gorby the Wise

I missed this in GP a few days ago

Början på ett nytt sorts krig

"The beginning of a new sort of war"

Even though it is by Ms Mattson, usually a reliable anti-USA in any form possible, it begins OK and gives a simple summary of the start of the Cold War. Unfortunately at the end she cannot help herself...

Det var Sovjet-ledaren Michail Gorbatjov som innebar den stora förändringen. Han lanserade begreppen "glasnost" och "perestrojka", öppenhet och förändring. Han släppte taget om öststaterna och inledde omdaningen av Sovjetunionen. Han tog initiativet till en fullständig skrotning av medeldistansvapnen sedan den amerikanske presidenten Ronald Reagan lanserat en ny generation kärnvapen, ett slags "Stjärnornas krig".
Utan det nya ledningen i Sovjet, med Michail Gorbatjov i spetsen, hade inte föränd-ringens vind svept över det blockerade Europa. Tidigare Sovjet-ledare slog brutalt ned försök till frigörelse bland annat i Ungern. En gammaldags Sovjetledare hade inte hanterat Reagan som Gorbatjov gjorde.

It was The Soviet leader Mikael Gorbachev who brought about the great change. He began "glasnost" and "perestroika", openness and change. He loosened the hold on the Eastern states and the Soviet Union. He took the initiative on the scrapping of medium range [nuclear] weapons while the American president Ronald Reagan opened a new generation of nuclear weapons, a sort of "Star Wars". Without the new leadership in the Soviet Union, with Mikael Gorbachev in the lead, the winds of change would not have swept over the divided Europe. Earlier Soviet leaders brutally repressed attempts at freedom, in Hungary among others. An old fashioned Soviet leader wouldn't have handled Reagan as Gorbachev did.

Christ, where do you begin? "Handled Reagan"? The Swedish left have a terribly hard time giving Reagan any credit at all. Talk to virtually any Swede and you will almost invariably find the collapse of the Soviet Union and its empire ascribed to Gorbachev planning it. Half of them don't even realise the man was a communist and don't seem to wonder how he came to be the boss. Hint, it wasn't because he was nice and lovely and played with kittens.

The utterly simplistic analysis of Gorbachev magnanimously doing away with medium range weapons while Reagan introduced new nuclear weapons in a sort of "Star Wars"? Errr, Star Wars was the missile defence program, not new nuclear weapons. Somewhat ahead of its time but still enough to help convince the Soviets that they couldn't win by a nuclear first strike. Reagan's build up of the military was in large part necessitated by the woeful administration of Carter and the reprehensible policy of detente (we'll let you do what you like, murder who you will, just don't invade us please, pretty please). In an analysis of the European theatre you can't not include conventional forces, of which the Soviets had an overwhelming numerical superiority. It was the nuclear arsenal aimed at them and the Soviet Union that prevented an invasion of the West, there was never any chance of NATO invading the Soviet Union, they simply did not have the forces to do it. The MAD doctrine prevented the massive nuclear first strike as an option, frightening as it was. However, with run down conventional forces due to Jimmah Carter, NATO was left relying on tactical nuclear forces. Use of those in response to an invasion was far more likely, which in turn would have caused the Soviets to use theirs and that would likely lead to the use of strategic arsenals. Reagan needed to get rid of the tactical weapons, thus the negotiations in which they were removed by the Soviets in return for the NATO arsenal. Gorbachev absolutely did not unilaterally remove an entire class of Soviet weaponry. He would have been mad to do so. So why did Reagan install those new weapons? Well, they were of course needed to bridge the time before the new generations of American conventional weaponry were available to counter the Soviet numerical advantage. But also to have them available to trade in negotiations to remove the threat of escalation in a conventional land war. Far from escalating the arms race, Reagan reined it in by apparently sacrificing a range of weapons while the Soviets retained their numerical advantage.

It is amusing to watch the paroxysms of delight that the old tants go into here when Saint Gorby is mentioned, but where they get these ideas from I have no idea. Just remember that in all analysis, Reagan = bad, thus Gorby = good. Reagan = stupid warmonger, thus Gorby = brilliant pacifist. The rest follows by induction.


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