Nineteen ninety-one was the year of revolutions, thengreatest, perhaps, since 1848. Many who observed thenevents from safe seats on this side of the Atlantic must havenrecalled Churchill’s great Fulton speech, in which hendescribed the “Iron Curtain” that had “descended acrossnthe continent,” cutting off “all the capitals of the ancientnstates of Central and Eastern Europe,” from Berlin tonBelgrade. That curtain was lifted, not slowly and ponderously,nbut — from the perspective that even a year affords —nalmost all at once.nWhat is really going on, almost no one in the UnitednStates can know, so ignorant are we of the languages andnhistories of all of Europe, particularly the East. Even beforenthe statues had toppled and the names of cities had changed,nswarms of patent-medicine salesmen were arriving on everynflight from America; social democrats from Harvard, urgingnthe Russians to follow the example of Sweden at the verynmoment that the Swedes were realizing what a botch theynhad made of their country. The social democrats, however,nhad been beaten to the punch by professional free-enterprisersneager to sell ex-communists on the merits of statencapitalism. What a competition: career bureaucrats andnlapdog academics, slickers who had never earned an honestndollar in their lives, direct-mail con artists who had beennliving off what they could siphon from the pensions ofnretired Army officers and patriotic widows. The socialistsnand capitalists alike are spending their hard-earned alms onn”fact-finding” tours of the Soviet Union or playing missionariesnto the victims of communism. One friend of oursnhappened to travel in the wake of one of these tours and metnwith a group of Russian leaders who commented on then10/CHRONICLESnPERSPECTIVEnFlies Trapped in Honeynby Thomas Flemingnnnfamous apostle of democratic capitalism they had just met.n”Over here we know the type well: they all work for thenKGB.”nWith all the disinterested goodwill in the world, it is hardnfor Americans to understand what is going on in sonapparently familiar a country as Germany. After readingnreports, month after month, of rising anti-immigrant resentmentnall over Germany, the New York Times reluctantly didna story at the end of September. Thoughtful observers werenpredicting trouble several months earlier.nThe same source has also reported another problemnamong the former East Germans: debt. As we describednsome time ago, the East Germans — reportedly fleeing fromnreligious and political oppression — did not flock to thenchurches, universities, and newspaper offices of the West.nThey headed straight for the discount stores where theynloaded up on stereo systems, VCRs, and big-screen TV sets,nall bought on time. A year later, many of them are out ofnwork and most of them are singing the first verse of anfamiliar American song, the overextended credit blues.nFrom news reports and conversations, I have picked up anfew fragments of information that can be used to suggest thenoverall design of the puzzle I am trying to piece together:nthe first item on the agenda of the new Romanian governmentnwas, apparently, liberalizing abortion; Big Macs, jeans,nrock music, and pornography are the products in greatestndemand all over the former dominions of the Soviet empire;nfinally, it is pulp fiction a la Sidney Sheldon and StephennKing, and not the censored works of Solzhenitsyn, that arenselling everywhere on the free market of the street. Thenrepressed peoples of the East are not lusting after then