GAITHER STEWART—Solidarnosc had the solid backing of a powerful man and institution: Karol Wojtyla from Krakow, then known as Pope John Paul II, tough but widely loved boss of the Roman Catholic Church in Rome. Devout Catholics forever, those Poles! And now Solidarnosc, the mortal enemy of Communism, had their man in Rome who dedicated his Papacy to undermining the foundations of world Communism in Moscow. Operation Overthrow was underway. In Poland, in the Vatican, in Washington.
From 1985, the new General Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party, Mikhail Gorbachev, launched his program of glasnost and perestroika (openness and restructuring) headed pell-mell toward social democracy and free-market capitalism. Walesa and Solidarnosc, Wojtyla and the Vatican and Washington were right on schedule.