The year 1989 brought an unexpected shock to the U.S. national-security establishment. The Soviet Union suddenly and unexpectedly tore down the Berlin Wall, withdrew Soviet troops from East Germany and Eastern Europe, dissolved the Warsaw Pact, dismantled the Soviet Empire, and unilaterally brought an end to the Cold War.
The Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA never expected such a thing to happen. The Cold War was supposed to go on forever. The communists were supposedly hell-bent on worldwide conquest, with the conspiracy based in Moscow.
For months and even years after the Berlin Wall came crashing down, there were right-wingers who were warning that it was all a gigantic ruse on the part of the communists, one designed to get America to let down its guard. As soon as that happened, the communists would strike. After all, as every member of the conservative movement and the national-security establishment asserted throughout the Cold War, one could never trust a communist.
But the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA were more than shocked over the end of the Cold War. They were also frightened. They knew that their very existence was based on the Cold War and so-called communist threat. With no Cold War and no worldwide communist conspiracy based in Moscow, people were likely to ask: Why do we still need a national-security state?