Mikhail Gorbachev and the road not taken

I well remember Mikhail Gorbachev and my high hopes for a new era of peace in which Americans and Russians could be friends.

Reagan and Gorbachev

As Antje Vollmers wrote, most empires in decline leave history’s scene in a spasm of violence.  He chose not to do this.  For this alone, he deserves the world’s gratitude.

A great opportunity was lost when the U.S. national security establishment chose to treat Russia as a defeated enemy rather than a new friend.

Now it is true that Gorbachev was naive.  He trusted the assurance of George H.W. Bush, James Baker and others that NATO would not expand to fill the vacuum left by departing Soviet troops.

He might not have been a match for the unholy alliance of the new oligarchs and the remnants of the old Soviet police state.  But the bipartisan policy of the past 20 years, which is to keep Russia down, has failed even in terms of its own goals.

Here in the USA, the heirs of liberalism and progressivism, whose forebears opposed intervention in Vietnam and Iraq, are war hawks.   The likes of Marjorie Taylor Greene and Rand Paul are stronger critics of the war machine than Bernie Sanders or Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.


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