1997-01-29 - Re: East German Collapse (Was: Fighting the cybercensor

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From: Hallam-Baker <hallam@ai.mit.edu>
To: stewarts@ix.netcom.com
Message Hash: 61c4927c4e95d1f34877cd5974e0a31ba17f43d08f84abc181a8fbf41763a734
Message ID: <199701290627.WAA20943@toad.com>
Reply To: N/A
UTC Datetime: 1997-01-29 06:27:58 UTC
Raw Date: Tue, 28 Jan 1997 22:27:58 -0800 (PST)

Raw message

From: Hallam-Baker <hallam@ai.mit.edu>
Date: Tue, 28 Jan 1997 22:27:58 -0800 (PST)
To: stewarts@ix.netcom.com
Subject: Re: East German Collapse (Was: Fighting the cybercensor
Message-ID: <199701290627.WAA20943@toad.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

One point I had forgotten. The demonstration took place
on the 50th anniversary of Kristallnacht. This is one explanation
as to why the border guards did not attempt to open fire with
firearms or attempt to break up the demonstration with tear gas.

Also consider that the Tiennamen square massacre had occurred
only a few months before and it did not appear to have settled
the issue of who controlled china. Many of the dissidents were still
at large, China was a pariah nation. East Germany had recently been
visited by Gorbachev who did not appear ready to help keep the
regime if things got sticky.

The mass defections were taking place at their peak at a rate of
tens of thousands in a day. Something like a quarter of the youth
between 18 and 25 had defected. Bill if anything understates this point.

Certainly if the people decide that the structures of state are
not worth supporting change can be astonishing. 

I think that the spending into bankrupcy thesis might be argued for
the case of the USSR and more plausibly the US. The problem is that
I don't think that the military spending in either case bore any
relation to need, to the threat from the other side or to any
rational determination. I think both budgets simply increased to
the limit that the economies could support and beyond. 

There is a similar problem in the third world today. Many third world
countries spend more on arms than they do on health or education.
Much of the alledged "foreign aid" is in fact subsidies for this 
trade. The arms are primarily to suppress internal dissent. There
are plenty of governments left in need of similar reform.