DBWI: What if the USSR lost the Cold War?

In OTL, the Republics of California, Texas and New England came to be dominated by many of the industrialists that destroyed their economy in the first place, which inevitably led to their invasions of the United People's Republics of the Great Lakes, Concordant People's Republics of Dixie and the People's Republics of Deseret and Montana. The unlicensed invasions of so many loyal communist states called for the involvement of the rump United States of America and the remaining American Republics, and eventually the righteous liberation of America under the Warsaw and Ulaanbaatar Pacts.

A total collapse of the Soviet Union in any TL is clearly impossible. Even an emergence from the cold war as a second rate superpower could be difficult to figure out.

However, consider if Gorbachev hadn't acquired enough control of the Central Committee to become General Secretary. Perhaps the Politburo would have to choose a Brezhnev apointee, like Chernenko. Chernenko's death in 1985 could concievably delay Gorbachev's rise and exacerbate the troubled Soviet economy of the time. At any rate, Gorbachev needs to stay in office so his intended reforms ruin the glorious communist system. Say he not only survived the coup in 1986, but also miraculously stays in power (despite almost complete military opposition to his rule). His intended reforms liberalized our society to the point we could be having this conversation today, however they also hobbled the Soviet economy. I could see this as being a turning point in the Cold War with America, perhaps winding up in the 90's with America turning out to be a dominant superpower in the world.

However, things don't go so well for the Americans either. Say Reagan and Bush continue to pass continually more dangerous deregulations over a combined four terms in office, which allows large corporations to grow without check. This is where America truly falls into the hands of the oligarchs, as the government continually spends less money on education and infrastructure at the expense of defense, in the name of “fighting the communist pigs in Moscow”. With weak government regulations, tycoons turn the media into a corporate propaganda mill, which they use to convince the now uneducated mass populace to elect whatever lackeys they desire.

Eventually, the corporate pigs can elect their own president. Perhaps another Bush; George HW Bush had two politically successful sons, one as Governor of Texas, another of Florida, both important states in the American Presidential Election (which is incredibly backwards and confusing). With control of the legislative and executive branches of the American government, they can nominate and impeach Supreme Court justices as they see fit. With control of the American Government, and the American masses, the corporations could rewrite the American Constitution to permit more direct corporate control of the government. Although allowing a more direct corporate control of America through Constitutional Amendment would eventually lead to a massive exodus of political refugees (probably to communist Cuba and Latin America) and eventually a true proletariat uprising. Without the balancing presence of Soviet dominance, the US military industrial complex can turn in on itself to protect their corporate backers, and the US falls into yet another Civil War.

TL;DR: The capitalist system eventually leads inevitably to a communist state through either a plutocratic oligarchy and revolution or war (as in the case of the USA), or through peaceful reform (as in the case of Western Europe).

/r/HistoryWhatIf Thread