John O’Sullivan of National Review Online reminds readers of the facts associated with communism in the former Soviet Union.

Russia was already a fast-industrializing capitalist economy prior to the First World War — the fifth largest economy in the world. One of the main reasons for Germany’s decision to go to war was that the Russians would overtake them economically and strategically if they did not defeat them first. If that war had not given the Bolsheviks the opportunity to seize power in a coup, Russia would have continued its economic rise. Economically, the Soviet Union was a massive failure 70 years later to the point where Gorbachev complained to the Politburo that it exported less annually than Singapore.

Technically, it lagged in every field except the military, where a massive concentration of capital and research, amounting to at least 25 percent of GDP, ensured that an otherwise backward economy could match the U.S. in nuclear and rocket technology. Even then, Soviet leaders recognized that it couldn’t compete with the U.S. in the newer technology of missile defense and sued for peace. The cost of this military spending was borne by Russian consumers starved of everyday goods and by Russian industry and agriculture starved of capital resources and modern management. The result was an economic wasteland before which not even its satellites and constituent republics cowered.