Now that the exhilaration of glasnost is wearing off and the problems of perestroika grow acute, there is a striking change of response to
Gorbachev. Wise men shake their heads. They mutter, with crocodile regret or burbling delight, that he won’t succeed, the Soviet Union will fall apart, its nationalist passions can’t be contained, its economy is beyond salvage.
Perhaps so; who can say? Still, I find myself irritated when I read articles that revel in the thought of the coming crack-up of the Gorbachev regime. Will that be good? Good for the left? For America? For humanity? Or will it be enough that such a crack-up would prove conservative ideology to be “correct”? Reading some commentators, one gets the impression that the world can spin into a new cold war and the Soviet Union into a military junta if only that ideology is shown to be “correct.” (Why do so many conservative ideologues remind one of old Stalinists?)...
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