Thursday, June 17, 2004

A coat of whitewash. No, make that two.

June 12, 2004

And the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor Goes to…

Mikhail Gorbachev once remarked that Ronald Reagan was extremely instrumental in ending the Cold War, and that he was probably also the whole reason the Cold War ended so peacefully.

Funny, so did Margaret Thatcher and countless other world leaders...Let's go to Gorbachev's words:

"Reagan was a staunch conservative. So for him, coming from that background, it was easier to make the move towards us and meet us halfway. Someone else might not have been able to do it. And the chance could have been lost."

That someone else? The Jew hating Peanut Farmer.


Of course, this should be taken with a grain of salt: Gorbachev was an unabashed flatterer who used his charm and wit

Hold right there. Gorbachev was an unabashed flatterer? Let's just look at his resume.

I see member of the Supreme Soviet, Presidium of the USSR. Flatterer? No, just an unfounded assertion...


as best as he could to end an arms race that he knew was just as destructive to his people as the repression of the communist state was.

That is an amazing coat of whitewash.

Gorbachev truly believed in communism,

...
just as destructive to his people as the repression of the communist state was....
charm and wit ...


but he also believed in two things more: political, economic,

His defense team drew up a plan, later expanded into National Security Decision Directive 11-82, that explicitly made U.S. defense spending a form of economic warfare against the Soviets. The United States would "exploit and demonstrate the enduring economic advantages of the West to develop a variety of [arms] systems that are difficult for the Soviets to counter, impose disproportionate costs, open up new areas of major military competition and obsolesce previous Soviet investment or employ sophisticated strategic options to achieve this end." The objective was to make arms spending a "rising burden on the Soviet economy."

and social reform that would serve the people more ably than the previous emphasis on state, called perestroika; and greater openness and transparency for the people about what was going on, called glasnost.

"I had a meeting in Moscow with Marshal Ogarkov, the chief of staff of the Soviet Armed Forces. And he said, 'You know, all modern military capability is based on the computer. You have little kids in America 3 years old who know how to deal with computers! It takes years here to train Soviet recruits in the military to use them because they've never used them before. We're afraid of computers! If we start deploying computers, it's going to mean loss of political control for the Soviet leadership.'"

Thus, again, Reagan was right.


Gorbachev needed a way to end the Cold War so that he could help his people get on with their lives.

Really? So what about Brezhnev and the predecessors of Gorbachev?

I believe you are making a fundamental error in your assumptions - you are not mentioning how and why Gorbachev rose to power. You are placing more good will in the dictator of the Soviet Union than the American President.


He saw that strength, or the façade thereof, was far too costly too his people, so he decided to give "weakness," as Neocons call it, a chance.

So..if we understand Karthik's history lesson correctly, weakness will lead to the dissolution of America, the breaking away of states and our collapse in world circles.

In 1985, he offered a unilateral moratorium on nuclear arms testing; unfortunately, Reagan and his administration thought this was a scam and didn't rise to it.

Because you know how you can trust those Soviets.

Karthik, you are transcending naivete and moving towards aiding an enemy of the United States.


Gorbachev then decided to try to implement a plan that would rid the world of nuclear weapons by 2000; again, Reagan didn't bite.

The zero-pledge in Europe came from the Reagan camp. It's good to see that you botched history on that one. This became the INF Treaty. Notice how the substantive moves towards nuclear disarmament are taking place under Reagan.

Then came the Reykjavik Summit, when Gorbachev offered another plan to rid the world of nuclear weapons in exchange for the US pledging support and abandoning its "Star Wars" program. There was ample reason for Reagan to be suspicious about this,

I thought you just said we could trust the Soviets. Again, you are wrong.

but the tantrum he threw,

Who appointed you to be the arbiter of what is acceptable moral behavor and what is not?

storming out of the Summit without offering anything in return to Gorbachev's plan,

We offered him to go back to Moscow and take his plans with him. That is calling the bluff - obviously you are not familiar with it.

only got Reagan the disdain of the world.

Look at what it was worth.

Reagan, it seemed, was too suspicious and paranoid to give peace a chance.

Yes. As you know from being alive, it didn't work.

Interesting to note must be how Gorbachev was holding up under internal pressures.

You mean how he failed to hold up under internal pressures?

The Strategic Defense Initiative-colloquially known as "Star Wars"-made more than a few Kremliners nervous,

Oddly, that’s not the way the Russians see it. Says Genrikh Grofimenko, a former adviser to Leonid Brezhnev, "Ninety-nine percent of the Russian people believe that you won the Cold War because of your president’s insistence on SDI," the Strategic Defense Initiative, as Star Wars was formally called. Grofimenko marvels that the Nobel Peace Prize went to "the greatest flimflam man of all time," Mikhail Gorbachev, while Western intellectuals ignore Reagan -- who, he says, "was tackling world gangsters of the first order of magnitude."

KGB Gen. Nikolai Leonev also admitted that the much maligned SDI actually worked, as intended even if it didn't work as advertised.


(SDI) "played a powerful psychological role, It underlined still more our technological backwardness."


and Gorbachev's continual gambits for peace must have seemed as rational as a hammer made of chocolate.

Metaphor alert.

There of course, lies the central point: Gorbachev still had vast armies, powerful weapons, and a secret police as repressive as any Orwellian could dream of.

And you whitewash him. What does that say about your moral fibre?

Yet, even though he had the option of continuing the Soviet state of business, he decided the Cold War had gone on long enough.

He did? In a pique of good will he decided to cave to America? Where do you see this? Cite it.

To say that it was Reagan's aggressive overtures that forced Gorbachev's hand is false;

Obviously. I mean, isn't it obvious that Reagan failed to end the Cold War?

after all, there had been arms races before,

The arms race is but a small part of it, you twit. The other part was that we decided to roll back Communism in the Americas and in Central Asia. This is the difference between Truman, Eisenhower, et. al. and Reagan...

and the Soviet economy had always been pitifully weak next to the US economy.

Ahem.

John Kenneth Galbraith, the distinguished Harvard economist, wrote in l984: “That the Soviet system has made great material progress in recent years is evident both from the statistics and from the general urban scene?One sees it in the appearance of solid well-being of the people on the streets?and the general aspect of restaurants, theaters, and shops?Partly, the Russian system succeeds because, in contrast with the Western industrial economies, it makes full use of its manpower.”



Doubtless, a five-year plan would have helped keep the Soviets afloat. However, for Gorbachev, that price was too high.

Doubtless? I doubt it.

Somehow, it all worked out. During Reykjavik, Gorbachev decided that Reagan was a man whom he could work with to end the Cold War.

I'm sorry, but this is farking insane.

In the end, both sides kind of got what they wanted: Gorbachev got his democratic elections and reforms,

When did he say he wanted that?

though he lost power as a result; and Reagan was able to rest peacefully for the remainder of his life knowing that what he considered the greatest threat to the free world had been dissolved.

Amen.

There is no doubt that Reagan would have not been able to have done anything without Gorbachev: had Konstantin Chernenko had lived longer, had Yuri Andropov had better kidneys, Reagan's aggression might have ended in disaster.

Reagan's aggression might have ended in disaster.

Yet, to be fair, if Gorbachev had been opposite a man with Kennedy's penchant for machoism, or Nixon's hard-liner approach, he might not have been able to ensure that the dissolution of his empire happened peacefully. Without the one, the other would not have been able to make history.

Sanctimonious twit or unsupported/unsound judgment. You make the call.

As we remember and mourn the loss of a man who did what he truly thought would help America, and as we thank him for his concessions and softening towards, it helps to remember these things, that we may admire the man for the great things he actually did instead of putting him on a pedestal and taking him away from who he was. The two were partners in peace, and at their time, the two greatest actors on the stage of the world.

Yes. The American one a little better.

Posted by Mahmoud the Weasel at 2:13 AM |

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