The upheavals that toppled the East European regimes in 1989 exposed the realities of the communist system. Denied for decades, especially in the Third World, the truth was finally exposed. Because it was the enemy of the old colonial powers, the Soviet Union was seen as “not all that bad” by many Third World radicals. The notion that the enemy of my enemy must be my friend was popular through much of the Third World, but this naive Machiavellianism proved to be inadequate for a complicated and nasty world in which two superpowers could threaten peace and the “enemy of my enemy” represented a new repressive system. The fact that the United
States has often lied about its role in the world did not mean that it was always wrong in describing its rival. Not only were communist societies subjected to decades of one-party tyranny, but even the cynical justification for that dictatorship—that it provided a short cut to rapid economic modernization—also proved to be quite wrong.
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