Once again, I was on the right path, but slightly off. About a dozen years earlier in grad school, I postulated that Soviet failures in non-economic areas were in a small way responsible for the collapse of the Soviet Union. I cited the 1980 Olympic hockey loss as a key moment when the Soviet Union began to be looked as losers and the US as winners.
"Further destroying the confidence of the Soviet people was the continued successes of the West (i.e. the U.S.) and an increasing number of Soviet failures in non-economic areas. Even before glasnost, the Soviet people saw an increasingly confident U.S., possibly led by their 1980 Olympic hockey victory, elect Ronald Reagan, a “preeminent anti-communist” not afraid to take on the “Evil Empire” (7, 2). Meanwhile, the Soviet military’s continued failure in Afghanistan began to chip away at the infallibility of the Red Army. The Soviet ideal was collapsing and needed to be changed."
Just another example why national momentum is important. Countries that lose momentum usually struggle to gain it back. This goes for most political movements, ideas, and even sports teams. People like a winner.
And another example when I wonder what path I should take in life.