I missed this story the first time around. I saw the headline saying 'Gorbachev: US Has a Disease,' and I decided that anything Mikhail Gorbachev had to say was not worth clicking a link. Guess I was wrong; it was worth a chuckle at least.
Because the disease that the US has is 'the winner's complex;' the desire for an American-style democracy in Russia:
Gorbachev: 'Americans Have a Severe Disease'
15 Years After Being Deposed From Power, Former Leader Discusses Russia, U.S.
By CLAIRE SHIPMAN
July 12, 2006 — - Mikhail Gorbachev is generally regarded as the man who broke down the "iron curtain" that separated the communist world from the West and thawed the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union.
Now, 15 years after a coup removed him from power and the Soviet Union dissolved, he has some stern words for the United States, whose relationship with Russia has soured lately.
"We have made some mistakes," he said, referring to recent attacks on Russia's democracy. "So what? Please don't put even more obstacles in our way. Do you really think you are smarter than we are?"
The former general secretary of the Soviet Union Communist Party accused Americans of arrogance and trying to impose their way of life on other nations.
"Americans have a severe disease -- worse than AIDS. It's called the winner's complex," he said. "You want an American style-democracy here. That will not work."
Gorbachev found a partner in former President Bush in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
During their time in power, communism fell in East Germany, when Germans tore down the legendary wall separating the democratic West from the communist East.
The collapse of communism quickly spread across eastern Europe, and the leaders worked together to create a partnership in the changing world.
His remarks are not entirely without merit, although the entire puff piece is pretty amusing. Shipman describes Gorbachev as the man 'generally regarded' as having broken down the Iron Curtain. I guess if you see Robert E. Lee as the man who ended the Civil War, or Cornwallis as the man responsible for US independence, then you see Gorbachev as the man who broke down the Iron Curtain. Credit Gorbachev with recognizing that the Soviet system was unsustainable, and trying to give up on it. History will remember that Gorbachev was not an entirely willing partner in all this of course; he did approve military action against the new free government of Lithuania in 1991, in an attempt to restore Soviet domination of the breakaway republic.
Further, Gorbachev ought to be thankful that the US was infected with a 'winner's complex,' because that complex brought freedom to millions in the former Soviet Union and Eastern bloc. Ask the people of East Germany, Poland, the Czech and Slovak Republics, the Baltic States, Ukraine, Hungary and others whether it was a good thing that the US insisted on winning the Cold War. I'm sure the answer will be pretty clear there, although it may be a closer question in some parts of the former communist world.
I'm not sure what Gorbachev would prescribe, but it's pretty clear that if the problem is a 'winner's complex,' that the cure would be worse than the disease.
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