Saturday, May 02, 2009
On March 11, 1985, Mikhail Gorbachev become Genderal Secretary of the Central Committe of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Mr. Gorbachev inherited a floundering Soviet Union. Observers called it a Third World country with a superpower military establishment. Communism under Mr. Gorbachev's predecessors had not achieved promised lofty economic and social goals. The Soviet Union's economy had stagnated while the nation was booged down in an expensive 40-year struggle with the United States. The Soviets also became involved in a civil war in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, the Soviet Union was ruled by a crothety and unresponsive bureaucracy. In 1987, Mr. Gorbachev wrote two books, Toward a Better World and Perestroika: New Thinking for Our Country and the World. Both titles revealed he is after something truly revolutionary for his nation and the world at large. Mr. Gorbachev has been boldly explaining how he wants to restructure the Soviet Union's relations with the world, in particular with the United States and Europe. When he started making these pronouncements, they were sometimes discounted as only Soviet propaganda. Concessions, it was thought, would not be forth-coming. Later, some experts viewed them as the dreams of an idealist reformer. They were sure Mr. Gorbachev would be ousted by the conservative elements of the Soviet hierarchy.