The sudden decolonisation of the outer empire of the Soviet Bloc was greeted with transparent astonishment but then uncontainable glee by the West. Extravagant claims were made by commentators attempting to comprehend the long-term significance of what was agreed to be an historical watershed. Many historians identified an annus mirabilis which rendered 1989 comparable to 1789 as a turning-point in world history, with one going so far as to announce the ‘End of History’: the imminent global collapse of communism represented the triumph of the West and a definitive and permanent victory for Western democratic values and the capitalist economic order (Fukuyama, 1989).
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