Totalitarianism With a Capitalist FacenIn an essay dated January 1, 1991, and published last July,non the day Mikhail Gorbachev met John Major innLondon, 1 forecast the former’s demise. “Sadly for hisnWestern admirers,” I wrote, “even unprecedented dictatorialnpowers cannot guarantee political longevity innGorbachev’s case. He is a dictator by the grace of thensecret-police apparatus: what it giveth, it can also take away.nThe issue here is not Gorbachev’s ‘liberalism,’ of course,nsince if the KGB deems it expedient to stop or turn back thenclock of reform he will have no alternative but to do itsnbidding, convincingly and with enthusiasm.”n”But should the KGB find Gorbachev outmoded ornineffective,” I went on, “it has at its disposal plenty of fieryn’liberals’ ready to step into the dictator’s role, and willnreplace its super-Stalin as easily as Stalin used to replace hisnsecret-police chiefs.”nGorbachev’s Western admirers, John Major among them,ndid not believe me when I wrote that Gorbachev was thenmost powerful dictator since Stalin’s day. Nor did theynbelieve me when I wrote that Gorbachev — despite thencolossal power vested in him by the KGB apparatus that hadnwrested total control from the Gommunist Party innBrezhnev’s last years — did not matter. Two weeks later,nGeorge Bush was in Moscow to sign another set ofnmeaningless arms-control accords.nIf Gorbachev did not matter, who or what did?nOf the 22 strategically vital technologies officially designatednby the Pentagon in 1989 as comprising the key to thenbalance of military power in the world, the Pentagon nownadmits that the Soviet Union is ahead of the West in missilenantiaircraft defense, ballistic missile defense, antisatellitenwarfare, chemical and biological warfare, and mines technologies.nIn specific research fields, the Pentagon now admitsnthat the Soviet Union is superior in pulsed power and at parnin hypervelocity projectiles, high-energy density materials,nand weapon system environments.nThe Pentagon is an eternal optimist. It knows little ornAndrei Navrozov lives in London. Last July, ThenClaridge Press of London published his essay, ThenGoming Order: Reflections on Sovietology and thenMedia, as part of its “Blasts” series.n-7nby Andrei Navrozovn:^?^.n’^ . -^ if-.nrn’i I—7 -^ ;’•• /•->*’^ -n’ -‘-‘-v’ /’/^^’•^’i-f”/?’^’•’ ‘ ^n””«**»^nnothing of the growing Soviet superiority in fields likenhigh-power microwave systems and directed-energy weapons.nIt closes its eyes to the fact that the Soviet strategicnadvance during the years of the Andropov-Gorbachevnperestroika has permitted the 1986 launch of the permanentnspace station Mir, a feat which the U.S. hopes to duplicatenin 1996. That advance is also the basis of the Sovietnsubmarine-building program, with its Alpha class using thenspace metal titanium for its hull construction. Five newnclasses of ballistic-missile submarines have been launched innthe Soviet Union since perestroika began in 1985, inncontrast to a single one launched by the United States sincen1964.nPerhaps such details are tiresome. Unfortunately they arenmore genuinely relevant to the story of Gorbachev’s rise andnfall than all the Kremlinological insights of the past five yearsnput together. Every Soviet “leader,” whether an individualntotalitarian dictator like Stalin or a front man of thentotalitarian oligarchy like Gorbachev, left the Soviet militaryindustrialninfrastructure stronger than he found it.nTheir representations of totalitarian reality varied, ofncourse, depending on the relative strength of its militaryindustrialninfrastructure. When the infrastructure was globallynpoweriess in relation to the West’s combined industrialnmight, Khrushchev roared that the Russians could “makenmissiles like sausages.” He was lying. When the infrastructurenbecame globally powerful, overtaking the West in manynstrategic fields, Gorbachev pleaded that the Soviet Unionnwas “heading for chaos.” He was also lying.nThe lie of Soviet weakness, complete with the emptiestnshelves foreign correspondents in Moscow have ever seen,nhas served Gorbachev well, even as the lie of Sovietnstrength — complete with fake Galosh missiles — oncenserved Khrushchev. Detente, launched by Brezhnev in theninterim, has flowered under Gorbachev into the presentndisarmament of Western Europe, sanctioned by Washington.nIn exchange, Gorbachev “liberated” Eastern Europe.nThe liberation is also a lie, for without a meaningfulndeterrent against totalitarian blackmail, political liberties innall of Europe are as illusory as Khrushchev’s counflessnmissiles and Gorbachev’s empty shops.nThe shops were at their emptiest last year, incidentally.nnnJANUARY 1992/19n