It will soon be thirty years since the implosion of the Soviet Union. That liberating event took place on the last day of August in 1991, exactly twenty-one months after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Will there be celebrations to mark the anniversary? Not if Europe and the West have grown so forgetful of their freedoms and where they come from that the day passes by without anyone remembering it.
Will anyone remember those who, by the sheer heroism of their lives, made it happen—Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, for instance, without whose witness the evil empire might never have fallen at all. How could any one man possibly have done so much to ensure the end of Soviet tyranny? And why exactly did we call it an evil empire?
It was Ronald Reagan, actually, who coined the phrase. Then, with that characteristic audacity we found so endearing, he went on to declare that it would shortly be consigned to the ash heap of history, forever confounding the prediction of Lenin that Communism would succeed in burying the West. That Cold War of conflicting ideas, that fierce clash of ideologies as long as any in the history of the world, is now over and, yes, our side won.