According to the Czech news site iDNES, Mr. Gorbachev believes that the revolts in progress in the Arab world are analogous to his perestroika in the former USSR. “The world is changing,” he reportedly said, and “no one prepared this.” He added that the unrest in the sixteen affected countries is being driven by “hunger for freedom.” The Arab rulers were swept out of power, he opined, the same way Bulgaria’s Zhivkov and East Germany’s Honecker had been ejected.
I don’t know. This seems pretty simple-minded to me. For one, there is no equivalent in the Arab world of the massive weight of the USSR that lay upon the Eastern European nations. Indeed, no coups occurred until Gorbachev himself had announced that the USSR wouldn’t intervene. What crushing weight had been lifted off the Arab nations’ shoulders? None, to my knowledge. What momentous winds of change had suddenly swept the Arab world? None, to my knowledge. Either the eighty year-old Gorbachev’s faculties are not what they once were, or else his words are propaganda meant for “the great unwashed,” with some ulterior motive hiding behind it.
If the former, I do feel sorry for him, and I hope that, sooner or later, he’ll smell the flowers and gracefully fade into the night. If the latter, it’s a good question to ask what the ulterior motive is. Someone, somewhere, will benefit from this mightily, and it’s a safe bet that it won’t be the little people of Araby whose blood is being spilled in the streets.
Gorby, you’ve got to do better than that; but if you can’t, shut up.