Sunday, May 03, 2009
It is on Europe itself that Mr. Gorbachev has had his greatest impact. For example, some West German opinion polls show him to be a very popular political figure in German eyes. Said one political commentator: "Mikhail Gorbachev has com to symbolize the hope of Europeans, particularly Germans, for the end of the Cold War and the start of an era of true peace." Why this optimism on the part of some? Precisely because Mr. Gorbachev has had to move dramatically. He has in quick succession proposed, partly as a consequence of major economic problems, a number of cuts in manpower, missiles and military hardware in Europe. If he can continue to change Soviet foreign policy, something of a new world, and especially a mew Europe, is sure to emerge. Certainly, what he is saying can strike only a responsive chord among Europeans. Mikhail Gorbachev is bullish on Europe,but knows the Continent must get about the business of ensuring peace. "Europe is indeed a common home where geography and history have closely interwoven the destinies of dozens of countries and nations," he wrote in Perestroika. He stresses the need for European nations to work harmoniously "together, collectively" and follow "the sensible norms of coexistence." That's how, he says, "The Europeans can save their home." Mr. Gorbachev knows Europe has had problems maintaining peace on the Continent throughout history. He says, "If the world needs new relations, Europe needs them above all."