History's Ugly Rules

As yet another week of suspense passed in the drama of Poland, the armies of the Warsaw Pact were still waiting for orders from the 14 men who make up the Soviet Politburo. Most of those leaders are old and weary. Some, like Leonid Brezhnev, are chronically ill and sometimes incapacitated. Politburo members have less and less time and energy to study briefing books prepared by their staffs or to sit through lengthy deliberations with their advisers. They have come to rely more and more on instincts born of long experience.

For years the...

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