[Paleopsych] TLS: (John Gray) The Sinatra doctrine

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Tue Jun 21 17:01:48 UTC 2005

The Sinatra doctrine
The Times Literary Supplement, 3.3.7

    Sir, - John Gray, in his review of Padraic Kenney's A Carnival of
    Revolution: Central Europe, 1989 (January 31), appears to support the
    view that "a ragtag army of punks, hippies, greens and peace
    campaigners" brought about the downfall of the Communist regimes of
    East Central Europe in 1989, and that "Gorbachev's unwillingness to
    sanction the use of repressive force" was not an important factor.

    Well, a pretty varied group of people tried to overthrow the Communist
    regime of their country in 1956 (Hungary), 1968 (Czechoslovakia), and
    1981 (Poland). In each case, the use or threat of Soviet tanks swiftly
    put paid to these efforts. All the dissidents in the 1980s feared a
    repetition of these events. That is why most of them counselled
    avoiding a direct confrontation with the Communist State, advocating
    instead the cultivation of the resources of what some of them called
    "the parallel society", in other words, the informal, unofficial

    Gorbachev's publicly announced repudiation of the Brezhnev doctrine of
    "proletarian internationalism", and its replacement by what his
    spokesman Gennadi Gerasimov called "the Sinatra doctrine" - let every
    nation do it in its own way - were the indispensable conditions for
    the success of the 1989 revolutions. That does not mean they were the
    only conditions, any more than aristocratic opposition to the Crown in
    1789 was the sole cause of the French Revolution (though it was
    undoubtedly a necessary condition).


    Department of Sociology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville,
    Virginia 22904.

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