But Gorbachev and Reagan were both responding to something else – the pressures from below of grass-roots movements for peace on both sides of the Iron Curtain. Unimagined by realists, unforeseen by the CIA, a nonviolent democracy movement, beginning with Lech Walesa’s Solidarity in Poland, and spreading through the satellite nations into Russia itself, culminated in the refusal of communist soldiers to obey orders to shoot demonstrators. In the West, a mass movement against nuclear weapons, reflected even in Hollywood movies, coalesced around the simple call for a “Freeze!’’ that was initiated by an MIT graduate student named Randy Forsberg.
James Carroll begrudgingly admits Reagan and Gorbachev’s role (despite the fact that Gorbachev didn’t WANT the wall to fall), but adds . . .”they could not have done it without the “naive’’ determination of their respective populations to reject war. Nov. 9, 1989, redefined realism to mean, Give peace a chance.”
I love listening to the same liberals who opposed Reagan and Thatcher every step of the way, who marched in the streets for policies that would have left 100 million people behind the Wall, now delightfully claiming their part in the victory of liberty. They forget how hard they worked on behalf of the Soviet status quo — Sen. Ted Kennedy going so far as to secretly reach out to Soviet leader Yuri Andropov to offer cooperation against U.S. policies.
Twenty years after the fall of the wall and the victory of conservative (and bipartisan) policy towards Soviet Communism, has any liberal ever stood up and simply said, “We were wrong?”