The Grand Failure: The Birth And Death Of Communism In The Twentieth Century

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The Grand Failure: The Birth And Death Of Communism In The Twentieth Century

By Zbigniew Brzezinski
Scribners, 1989
278 pp. $19.95

Professor Brzezinski is looking at the same phenomena as are other knowledgeable observers of the communist world, but his gaze is not on this or that leader, on today's or tomorrow's reform, but on the Big Picture. What he sees is the ideology and the system-not just the Stalinist excess but the Leninist essence as well-in inexorable and now rapid decline. If reform and revisionism (Gorbachev is a true revisionist) succeed in producing the goods, they will erode the controlled one-party state; if they fail, current problems will be compounded. Either way, communism is approaching its end as a significant world phenomenon. This is a book written for a wide public with the author's customary self-confidence, verve and iron logic. Intended as a bombshell, it will provoke much discussion and dissent from both right and left. It raises some pertinent questions. If the cold war is won and the Soviet empire a rotting corpse, what are the requirements of Western defense? What need for further negotiations on arms control? And what is the West to do about the coming crisis-which Brzezinski is quite right in predicting-in Eastern Europe?

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