Just Why Did Communism Fail?

In 1977 President Jimmy Carter gave a speech renouncing America's "inordinate fear of communism." This line came to haunt Carter and established his reputation for global naivete. It is often contrasted with President Ronald Reagan's "evil empire" speech of 1983, although the two phrases are not logically contradictory. Carter didn't say inordinate moral revulsion from communism or inordinate military opposition to the Soviets. He said "fear," meaning an inordinate belief in the power of communism as a political and economic system.

) And hasn't history borne him out? Even after six years of remarkable change, the fragility of communism after the...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!