Gorbachev was trying to reform the Soviet Union from a closed, one party state ruled by the communist party to a more pluralistic government that could have more economic growth. He refused to unleashed the KGB hardline killers and army to crush glimmers of nascent freedom in Poland. If such was ever even considered, I suspect he realized the Poles would fight. History has to give him credit for being a mostly decent man, if wrong about communism.
Without Soviet Army support, the communist party in Poland could not hold sole power - or any power in the end as it had no public support. Democracy and freedom in Poland started a true domino effect. The Communist party ruling east Germany could not hold on as both that statement quoted above showed that the Soviet Union would not fight to keep it in power and the existence of a democratic Poland further was a physical roadblock for Soviet military pressure on Germany.
A future book of the week (once I finish it) references a statement by Toqueville that for a totalitarian order, the moment of maximum danger is when they initiate the reform process. That proved true for the Leninist regime in the Soviet Union and its satellites in eastern Europe. The entire edifice was rotten and without constant effort, it would collapse. Gorbachev stopped trying to hold it together at all costs. Poland led the wave of freedom culminating the fall of the Berlin wall.
That's quite an interesting twist, no ? East German freedom owed to Polish (peaceful) freedom fighters.
Book of the Week
God's Playground - A History of Poland, volume II 1795 to present, by Norman Davies. Look at a map of all of Europe. The western nations with which most Americans are familiar represent about 1/2 of Europe. How can anyone understand Europe and its future prospects without understanding a LOT more about the eastern half ? This book helps tremendously. Very well researched and written, Davies thoroughly covers the Polish people, culture and nation-building as Poland arose like a phoenix after being swallowed by the 18th century empires of Russia, Prussia and Austria, and then later was reborn again after the immense cruelties of Hitler and Stalin jointly threatened to exterminate the Polish people.
This book helps one understand the cold war better, too. Western press reports - I remember the gist of them - completely misunderstood the nature of the postwar regime in Poland. It was a classic case of "Some A and Some B". Some A - decent men and women in the communist party and outside it trying to do whatever could work in Poland to help it recover from World War II and improve the lives of the people, and Some B - picked officials really working together with the Soviet security forces and the Soviet communist party to rule Poland as a fief for themselves. The "left" in the US saw all "A". The right saw all "B". Both were wrong.
Overall, this book is immensely valuable for its content and evenhanded treatment the history of Poland. By the way, Volume I is also excellent, covering Polish history up to 1795.
I am doing nothing. I have a large position of S&P 500 December call options and am riding this bull elephant to the next water hole. News of reasonable economic growth continues to occur and that slowly asphyxiates the remaining bears while adding to new bulls. The market can rise as that process goes on -until the bears are gone and the pool of new bulls is used up. Until then, sitting and riding one's longs is best.
Word of the Day
"Pullulate" - verb, intransitive [$10]; used by U. S. Grant in his memoirs, page 420.
Pullulate means 1. (of a seed, shoot, etc.) bud, sprout, germinate; 2. (esp. of an animal) swarm, throng, breed prolifically; 3. develop, spring up, come to life; 4. (followed by 'with') abound.
Sentence: Freedom pullulates everywhere once the chains are weakened. Recent in Iran prove this. The Iranian people want freedom, but so far, the theocrats want to retain power and are willing to kill with abandon to retain it.