THE WORLD may have to wait for the courtroom confessions or eventual memoirs of the key plotters in this week's attempted coup in the Soviet Union to get clearer insights into what caused their conspiracy to fail -- and fail so ignominiously.
Several things went terribly wrong for the junta -- but wonderfully right for the supporters of democracy.
First, they found a rock-steady and audacious champion in Yeltsin. He must now, beyond any question, be recognized as his country's pre-eminent political figure.
Second, the Western allies promptly made clear their wish to see Gorbachev restored to office, and refused to recognize or do business with the plotters. Give President Bush high marks for saying and doing the right things in a firm, prudent and timely way.