It is hard now to recall the electricity that surged through Washington, D.C., when Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev first visited late in 1987, and jumped out of his limousine right in front of Time’s Washington bureau. Reported the New York Times on Dec. 11, 1987:
”The door opened, he got out, he walked right over and took my hand,” said Kimberly Spartin, an account executive for Wang Laboratories, looking at her hand as though it were a foreign object. ”I’m still shaking. It was like the coming of the second Messiah or something.”
Well, God-bachev speaks again in the latest issue of the Nation, a leftist magazine where he plainly feels at home. Both superpowers have fumbled since that 1987-1991 window when a New World Order seemed to beckon. Not surprisingly, Gorbachev blames the U.S. for much of the unfulfilled promise:
Military interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan, based on the assumption that might is right, severely undermined the American economy, in addition to causing tens of thousands of deaths…Policy-making and political thinking are still militarized. This is particularly true in the United States, which has not renounced the methods of pressure and intimidation. Every time it uses armed force against non–nuclear weapon states, countries such as Iran become more determined to acquire nuclear weapons.
During the first decade of the twenty-first century US military budgets accounted for nearly half the world’s spending on armed forces. Such overwhelming military superiority of one country will make the goal of a world free of nuclear weapons impossible to achieve. Judging by the weapons programs of the United States and a number of other countries, they are setting their sights on a new arms race.
Yeah, Gorby – and that Putin of yours is such a prince! But you have to give the man this much: Gorbachev was a historic figure who, in a carefully choreographed ballet with Ronald Reagan, brought the Cold War to a peaceful end. Hard to believe it has been nearly a quarter-century since he brought downtown Washington to a halt by simply stepping out of his car.