Chapter 9 – The Strategy Gains Force: The Second Term

[Lenin’s Inexhaustible Revolutionary Legacy] The life-giving impetus of our great Revolution was too powerful for the Party and people         to reconcile themselves to the phenomena that were threatening to squander its gains. The works of Lenin and his ideals of socialism                   remained for us an inexhaustible source of dialectical creative thought, theoretical wealth and political sagacity. . . . Breaking down all the           barriers erected by scholastics and dogmatists, an interest in Lenin’s legacy and a thirst to know him more extensively in the original grew as       negative phenomena in society accumulated. . . . [Thus] the need for taking into account the requirements of objective economic laws, on             planning and cost accounting, and intelligent use of commodity-money relations and material and moral incentives. . . .

[“More Socialism, Collectivism”] I would like to point out once again that we are conducting all our reforms in accordance with the socialist choice. We are looking within socialism, rather than outside it, for the answers to all the questions that arise. We assess our successes and errors alike by socialist standards. Those who hope that we shall move from the socialist path will be greatly disappointed. Every part of our program of perestroika . . . is fully based on the principle of more socialism and more democracy.

More socialism means . . . more organization, law and order, . . . collectivism, . . . [and] patriotism. . . . We will proceed toward better socialism rather than away from it. We are saying this honestly, without trying to fool our own people or the world. Any hopes that we will begin to build a different, non-socialist society and go over to the other camp are unrealistic and futile. Those in the West who expect us to give up socialism will be disappointed. It is high time they understood this, and, even more importantly, proceeded from the understanding in practical relations with the Soviet Union. . . .

[“No Crisis” for Socialism as a Social and Political System] . . . We feel clearly as never before that, due to the socialist system and the           planned economy, changes in our structural policy come much easier for us than they would be in conditions of private enterprise. . . . As we       understand it, the difficulties and problems of the seventies and eighties did not signify some kind of crisis for socialism as a social and               political system, but rather were the results of insufficient consistency in applying the principles of socialism. (headings added)4

Gorbachev’s Fatal Faith in Communism. Gorbachev appears to have recognized systemic Soviet domestic and international problems, especially in areas of the party-state’s bureaucratic inefficiency, corruption, and military/imperial overextension. Thus: “Glasnost, or openness, reveals that someone enjoys illegal privileges.” Yet Gorbachev was himself clearly long an intellectual captive and victim of his own Communist training and faith, quite unable to open his mind to a rational and realistic recognition of the inherent incorrigible contradictions, castes, and corruption evident in any regime based on the pseudo-scientific, anti-democratic, and anti-humanitarian Communist ideology and its politics, economics, and centrally planned collectivist society (see Chapter 2). Like many Western intellectuals, he was equally unable to understand the powerful thrust for radical Soviet regime change inherent in Reagan’s transformative U.S. Cold War strategy, particularly in its sustained pressure in areas of defense and arms control (see Part III of this book), and in his freedom and public diplomacy strategy to expose Soviet myths and “active measures” intelligence operations (Part IV).

Two Faiths, Two Fates. In terms of their antagonistic national political faiths and national security strategies, the superpower contrasts remained unbridgeable and one had to give way. On one side, Reagan and his national security team carried forward their unbroken moral and strategic confidence in America’s freedom faith, rebuilt strengths, and revolutionary Cold War strategy, notwithstanding strong opposition at home and within the Western democratic Alliance. In the Kremlin, Gorbachev faced the difficult task as leader of a totalitarian Marxist-Leninist state and “Socialist Camp” of having to deal with the intensified internal and external pressure of problems exacerbated by Reagan’s buildup of American and Free World principles and strengths on behalf of peace and freedom. During Reagan’s first term and continuing into his second term, Reagan gained new levers to expose Soviet deception and rifts as well as to press Soviet leaders to begin to open their long-closed minds to radical reshape of their assumptions and practices. Reagan and his “Reaganaut” supporters understood that continued U.S. pressure and any real Soviet rethinking, reform, and openness would existentially endanger the regime to the point of implosion and collapse. Gorbachev would endanger Marxist-Leninist totalitarian rule at home and throughout the Kremlin’s captive nations and militant fronts abroad.

[Book pg. 193]