From David Stockman at davidstockmanscontracorner.com:
Exactly 26 years ago last week, peace was breaking out in a manner that the world had not experienced since June 1914. The Berlin Wall—-the symbol of a century of state tyranny, grotesque mass warfare and the nuclear sword of Damocles hanging over the planet—-had come tumbling down on November 9, 1989.
It was only a matter of time before the economically decrepit Soviet regime would be no more, and that the world’s vast arsenal of weapons and nuclear bombs could be dismantled.
Indeed, shortly thereafter according to Gorbachev, President George H.W. Bush and Secretary Baker promised that NATO would not be expanded by “as much as a thumb’s width further to the East” in return for acquiescing to the reunification of Germany.
So with its “mission accomplished” there was no logical reason why NATO should not have been disbanded in parallel with the Warsaw Pact’s demise, and for an obvious and overpowering reason: On November 9, 1989 there were no material military threats to US security anywhere on the planet outside of the suddenly vanishing front line of the Cold War.
As it turned out, however, there was a virulent threat to peace still lurking on the Potomac. The great general and president, Dwight Eisenhower, had called it the “military-industrial complex” in his farewell address, but that memorable phrase had been abbreviated by his speechwriters, who deleted the word “congressional” in a gesture of comity to the legislative branch.
So restore Ike’s deleted reference to the pork barrels and Sunday afternoon warriors of Capitol Hill and toss in the legions of beltway busybodies that constituted the civilian branches of the cold war armada (CIA, State, AID etc.) and the circle would have been complete. It constituted the most awesome machine of warfare and imperial hegemony since the Roman legions bestrode most of the civilized world.
In a word, the real threat to peace circa 1990 was that Pax Americana would not go away quietly in the night.
Ronald Reagan had called the dying Soviet Union an Evil Empire, but it was actually a passing freak of history. It had arisen by a fluke 72 years earlier—–almost to the day of the Berlin Wall’s fall—–only because Imperial Russia had been reduced to anarchy by the carnage of the Great War, enabling Lenin to storm the Winter Palace and install his own special Bolshevik brand of hell on earth.
So the demise of the Soviet Union in 1991 meant the world could have reverted to the status quo ante. That is, to a normalcy of peace, liberal commerce and a minimum of armaments that had prevailed in the late 19th century. The 20th century curse of militarism, totalitarianism and global warfare was over.
Needless to say, the sudden end to 20th century history posed an existential threat to Imperial Washington. A trillion dollar complex of weapons suppliers, warfare state bureaucracies, intelligence and security contractors, arms exporters, foreign aid vendors, military bases, grand poobahs and porkers of the Congressional defense committes, think tanks, research grants and much more——were all suddenly without an enemy and raison d’etre.
As it has happened, Imperial Washington did find its necessary enemy in the rise of so-called “global terrorism”.
To continue reading: Blowback–The Washington War Party’s Folly Comes Home To Roost