And still the people demanded more.
Communism did not collapse on its own. Tyrannies can endure for long periods if they are brutal enough. Why did the Soviet empire collapse in the late 1980s instead of the late 1970s? Because previously, there was no Western pressure against the Soviets. It was the time of President Carter and detente.
There was, however, very definite and sustained pressure in the 1980s — generated by Ronald Reagan.
The American people had the good sense to elect him president in 1980, and as a result, tens of millions of people in Central and Eastern Europe are free.
• Roman Joch is director of the Civic Institute, a conservative think tank in Prague, and an adviser to Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas on human rights and foreign policy.