Should we celebrate the fall of the Soviet Union

Brad De Long delong at econ.Berkeley.EDU
Sun Jul 12 17:36:51 PDT 1998


>Brad remarks that it was ok with him to have killed the Indonesian
>Communists because they were Stalinist who would have killed more people
>than Suharto.

Not OK... the best of a bad set of options is not "OK": it is bad (albeit the best of a bad set of options)...

>That is a hypothetical argument related to extinct Cold
>War thinking. There is no sense in this of distinguishing different
>communist movements. From my limited reading the Indonesian communist
>suffered from being relatively reform minded, not revolution minded.
>They weren't in a position to move beyond the Italian Communist model.
>If you can't distinguish such things in external movements, then you are
>not informed.

I've seen nothing to suggest that a PKI coup in 1965 would have been followed by a "soft" regime...

I've always thought that the key difference between Communist regimes that are an improvement over the other alternatives is how the regime comes to power. Those that come to power through free elections or genuine mass movements are generally pretty good: Allende was vastly superior to Pinochet; the Sandinistas superior to their conservative opposition (and vastly superior to Somoza). Those that come to power through foreign armies, long guerrilla wars, or coups are almost always very bad: Lenin-Stalin, Mao, Kim Il Sung, Pol Pot, Tito, Honecker.

The only one of the second category that I offhand think was better than the alternative was the Afghan Communist Party. Najibullah was surely preferable to the Taliban...

Brad DeLong

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