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Philip Stephens, (“The West is the Author of Its Own Weakness”, Opinion, 1 October) gives a correct summary of the misreading of the period after the Cold War in the west. But perhaps one should also challenge the idea that “the victory in the Cold War came to its head”, in the sense that it was much less a ‘victory’ that it initially seemed.
The end of the Cold War in Europe was a peaceful affair (with the exception of the Romanian and Albanian events). It was, in fact, a process of reorientation by the local elite, which allowed for a peaceful transfer of power and participated in the process of economic liberalization.
The economic, social and political outbursts of these generalized processes eventually caused the disillusionment that prevails in most of Eastern Europe today. The rise of Putin, Orbán and other populist authoritarian leaders was due, at least in part, to this fallout.
The moral of the story is that the idea of ’victory in the Cold War’ had to be treated with more skepticism at the time. Nowadays, the idea of ’victory’ must be kept in reverse commas.
Department of Humanities Studies
University of Eastern Piedmont