Steven den Beste has a post on the left's seeming amnesia of the circumstances surrounding the demise of the USSR. I have to comment on this, because this encompasses two unusual occurrances in one: I (more or less) disagree with SDB, and I am going to defend the lefties. While I do believe that SDB's criticism is correct in regards to some, I don't believe that it is fair to the majority of them.
He doesn't seem to have thought of another, more logical explanation: they have run up against the indisputable fact that their belief in the USSR's capabilities during the 70's and 80's was FAR off the mark. They have looked at what the facts REALLY were ... and are basing their (current) statements on those. That they are purposefully ignoring how wrong they were in the past is perhaps dishonest, but it's also very human.
An intellectually honest lefty would put it something like this: "Well, we were obviously wrong about the USSR. However, now that the true state of affairs has emerged, it is clear that the Soviets were on their last legs, and so all we needed to do was sit tight and they would have collapsed under their own weight eventually anyway. While trying to keep up with Reagan's arms build-up may have hastened this collapse to some extent, it would have happened regardless."
The thing is, I don't disagree with that analysis. However, I believe that without Reagan, the USSR would have lumbered on for quite a bit longer than it did, perhaps to this very day.
Let's also not forget that the collapse as it DID occur was absolutely amazing in that it was almost without violence. Who knows how badly the end of the USSR COULD have been without Reagan? The fact that he FORCED them to try to compete with us, and essentially rubbed their noses in the fact that they couldn't do so played a huge part in how meekly the Soviets marched off into the dustbin of history. They weren't left with any illusions. There simply weren't any significant factions who still believed that they could win ANY scenario. Reagan's build-up forced this knowledge on them.
PS And of course, all the tanks, airplanes, etc. were a big disincentive to some last ditch attempt at winning by a "hot" war.