America Abroad

A State That Deserved to Die

MOSCOW: I've been coming here for 23 years. That turns out to have been about a third of the U.S.S.R.'s life-span. In none of my previous 30-plus visits did I ever think I would outlive the Soviet state. Yet now that it is upon us, the demise of the Soviet Union makes both moral and historical sense.

A country is, among other things, an idea, often dressed up as an ism. The U.S.S.R., a hodgepodge of would-be nation states, was based on an outmoded idea, imperialism, and a modern one, totalitarianism. There was in the minds of those old men in...

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