T he Cold War is over. Communism is dead. We won.
In 1991, as I write this piece, Most Americans would agree wholeheartedly and enthusiastically with those simple declarative sentences. But I would quibble with the first, strongly object to the second, and wonder about the third. I will do so within the context of the central questions that need to be answered about every war. First, who won? Second, at what cost? Third, was it worth it? Fourth, was it inevitable? Fifth, could it have ended earlier?
My answers are based on my idea of victory, which was set in concrete in 1945, when I was ten years old: victory means unconditional surrender. It means our troops occupy our enemies' country and that we teach them how to be good democrats.
If the Cold War is over and we won, why does the U.S. still maintain troops along the line of the Elbe River, naval bases in Greece, Italy and Scandinavia missiles in Britain and other forces throughout the Mediterranean and Europe? They are not there as occupying troops. Why does the U.S. maintain combat- ready divisions along the 38th parallel in Korea? They are not there as occupying troops. If the Cold War is over, why do the U.S. and the Soviet Union maintain thousands of nuclear-armed intercontinental missiles aimed at each other?
Communism is far from dead. More people in this world still live under Communist dictatorships than under any other system. This is obviously true