The following article appeared in the journal World Affairs in its September-October 2014 issue.

Twenty-five years ago, breakthrough elections were held in Poland that led, within three months, to the downfall of that country’s communist regime. The events helped to spark the Velvet Revolutions that spread, within the next six months, to Budapest, Prague, Bratislava, Berlin, Sofia, Timisoara, and many other major cities, as masses of people went to the streets to demand their rights, oppose Soviet occupation, and win back their freedom. Communist despotisms that had lasted more than four decades collapsed like a house of cards. The world celebrated the fall of communism and the victory of democracy.

It all seemed so clear back then. But not now. Read More.