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This paper has two purposes. One is to make an in-depth analysis of the end of the cold war, particularly the region-wide disintegration of communist regimes in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union from 1989~91 and the dissolution of three states within the same region: Yugoslavia, beginning in mid-1991, the Soviet Union in December of the same year, and Czechoslovakia a year later. The other is to draw some lessons from these monumental changes that may be useful for the unification the two Koreas. I argue that the slow erosion of state socialism made the end of the Cold War largely peaceful. Put it differently, what happened before 1989 is what made 1989 happen and happen as it did. It is these long-term developments that are most relevant for understanding contemporary politics in the two Koreas. Judging from European socialist experience, North Koreas state socialism is not a viable system. North Korea is in many ways very similar to Romania, e.g., the phenomenon of "socialism in one family;" the exceedingly centralized character of the regime and close alliances between the party leadership, the military and the secret police; the absence of economic and political reforms; and abysmal economic performance and extensive public suffering as a consequence of that. Just like the expanding economic contacts between East and West did in practice undermine, not improve the economic performance of state socialism, economic support of North Korea, by the South and through subsidies from China as well, is unlikely to solve North Korean economic problems. As the dependency increases, it will generate further economic distortions and pressures for growing dependence in North Korea. Thus, rapprochement between the two Koreas and economic support of North Korea will not necessarily prolong the North Korean regime.