Mikhail Gorbachev drastically changed one half of then world (Communist world), rescued the world from cold war and thus provided the world a much required breathing space to think of real solutions. As a prophet of change and shaker of the highly mechanized world, Mikhail Gorbachev is the leader who drastically changed one half of then world (Communist world), rescued humanity from cold war and thus provided the world a much required breathing space to think of real solutions to the problems of mankind. As a great humanist, Mikhail Gorbachev initiated the fall of the Berlin Wall, the collapse of communism — and the end of Cold War.
There are many prominent geniuses in modern human history who are having high morality and wisdom and who have fought war against this mechanical monster who was described by Mary Shelly as the Frankenstein. French revolutionary philosopher Rousseau, Mahatma Gandhi, Mikhail Gorbachev and many humanist leaders were fighting this monster’s sweet lies with their bitter truths(For more on Rousseau, Gandhi, Mikhail Gorbachev and Pope Francis, please see my latest book LIFE ON MELTDOWN, Chapters 11 and 17 and the table 7: Macro Free Radicals and Macro Antioxidants.)
Technospherization or the blunt mechanization of the modern society was at its peaks — at its vituperative best — during the cold war eras of the 1980’s. Having sharply divided the fast mechanizing world into two highly antagonistic halves – the capitalist and communist parts – after the two World Wars, the global technosphere was being competitively developed and boosted by both the rival camps through such massive science and technology revolutions, like nuclear developments, space explorations, intercontinental and space-age weapon developments, revolutionary technical developments of hi-tech information and intelligence gathering devices and so forth.
On the ideological front, both the rival camps were in fierce completion of mechanically indoctrinating the capitalist and communist dogmas to the people and nations of the world on strict professional, often on top-down, lines. The highly centralized, top-down system of management of both these monopolistic rivals posed great dangers to the free, independent world. There were no mechanisms for dialogue between the state and civil society in either camp. There was virtually no space for the civil society to think on alternatives in place of this highly dangerous and massively suicidal global condition.
Prophet of change and shaker of the world: It was at this crucial juncture, Gorbachev, as a bolt from the blue, struck by abruptly disbanding the fiercely competing teams from the ‘game’ itself, or by one-sidedly cancelling or irrelevancing the ‘game’ – Cold War – altogether. All the omnipresent cold-war tools and methodologies were instantly rendered worthless and ineffective in both the rivalling camps.
The speed with which the Soviet system was transformed and the Soviet state disintegrated took almost everyone by surprise. It was the literal opening up of the political system long shrouded in ‘iron curtain’. Chronology of pulling off this literal cold war ‘coup’ by Gorbachev has been given in detail in my 1990 book, Story of Man—Layman, in which I had modelled Gorbachev as the hero. It was his rare acumen that enabled him to pull off impossible political feats while working within the constraints of the Soviet system.
Actually there was ferment among the concerned humans for a mover and shaker of the highly mechanized and degenerating world during the cold war catastrophe , and Gorbachev filled the bill. As one of those rare brands of world movers and shakers, he made headlines throughout the world. As the inheritor of the great and tragic communist revolution and seriously thinking of transforming the Soviet Union, leading to the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Gorbachev’s influence on mankind’s history in the 1980’s is immense.
Gorbachev indeed sacrificed his presidency and party position for the larger interest of mankind. Many Russians were not happy with Gorby because “he gave away the empire.” They thought that ‘Gorbachev wasn’t sacrificing a pawn, he was giving up his bishops and his queen’. Yet these criticisms missed the larger current of events. Gorbachev did set a model of self-sacrifice for a larger purpose, his unilateral gestures paid off in the end, such as sacrificing the less important and the less vital for the most important and the most vital for the mankind and the world. As German Chancellor Angela Merkel, on a seculer note, praised the former Soviet leader at the ceremony marking the fall of the Berlin Wall, which he helped to destroy: “You courageously allowed things to happen, and that was much more than we could have expected.”
Gorbachev admitted the error of his system’s ways and radically reversed its course. The surrender of immense political power, personal as well as international in scope, is something we never expect from leaders, but Gorbachev set a model of self-sacrifice for a larger purpose that one wishes others would follow. How rare in history for a leader of such great standing to surrender his position, along with its abundance of personal perquisites, for the larger common good. It was like the unexpected gesture of the leader of a military colossus to turn swords into plowshares.
Mikhail Gorbachev was the first modern world leader to come out publicly with talk of a “new world order,” and he did so nearly two years before George Bush caught the vision. In his historic address to the United Nations on December 7, 1988, the Soviet Prime Minister made this dogmatic and even prophetic statement: “Further global progress is now possible only through a quest for universal consensus in the movement towards a new world order.”
Despite being ousted from power in his home country, Mikhail Gorbachev has become a major player on the world political scene, promoting the need for global government to deal with the problem of the environment. He contends that a global institution is needed to deal with this global problem, and if we don’t act soon, it will be too late – the world will self-destruct. As part of his push for world government, Gorbachev proposes his Earth Charter, a document for which he has become the chief spokesperson and which he believes will save the planet.
A brief profile: Born as the son of a peasant tractor driver in a remote Russian village in 1931, Mikhail Gorbachev rose to become the head of his party and state in which he did exhibit some organic human leadership qualities that was bold enough to correct the whole world by restructuring his own nation and party.
Mikhail Gorbachev served as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 until 1991, and was the first president of the Soviet Union from 1988 until its dissolution in 1991. This period was marked as the heady days of Cold War which, as a senseless, wasteful and unsustainable human tragedy, was at its vituperative best, as the two contradictory global systems were at daggers drawn on each other.
It is very interesting to witness how differently two sets of leaders handled their respective systems that were getting overheated and decaying, namely, two revolutions — the Eastern (communist) Revolution and now the Western (capitalist) Revolution. As the commander of the mightiest nation on Earth, Gorbachev did not panic when his nation faced the greatest, gravest challenge in history. He, unlike many leaders, did not go about attacking dissenting nations or systems. Gorbachev handled it with great imagination, care, and compassion to humanity, in the Eastern part of the revolution.
To be precise, during the Cold War escalation, Gorbachev was awoken in the middle of the night with threats of a nuclear crisis — any of which might have ended humanity — is downright chilling. You could argue that because Gorbachev held his nerve on those nights, our planet was saved. Gorbachev indeed rescued mankind from virtual extinction by difusing the Cold War reaching its final crunch. This was ascertained by Craig and Marc Kielburger, founders of international charity and educational partner, Free The Children, in their conversation with Mikhail Gorbachev. At the heart of all his actions has been compassion for his fellow human beings. “Everything I did, I did on the basis of conviction,” he told Craig and Marc Kielburger. “I never acted in revenge. I never acted out of spite. I acted because I felt I wanted to do good.”(In my 1990 book, Story of Man – Layman, I had arrived at the very similar conclusions, and it was much earlier than this interview between Gorbachev and Crag had come out).
Today, the problem is not as much in hiding truth and saner senses, as it is in the unwillingness of the present world in making an honest effort to find truth and acting for it. For, as a true friend of humanity, when Gorbachev made a sincere effort to find truth through his ‘Glasnost’ (openness) and Perestroika (reconstruction) the smarter, tricky world did put its foot down that Gorbachev could not succeed fully, except temporarily halting the fast building holocaust or the Big Branch.
The Greening of Gorbachev: Gorbachev has been anything but idle since his career as a politician came to an end. His namesake foundation, created in 1992, has been built on the belief that we need a new interpretation of progress and humanism to establish a more sustainable and organic world order. Making the jump from “Perestroika” to pollution is Mikhail Gorbachev, the man widely credited with bringing down the wall that separated East from West. As founding president of the newly organized International Green Cross, which bills itself as the world’s first all-encompassing global environmental group.
“The civilization that has existed for centuries is beginning to exhaust its potential, and is no longer able to preserve and improve life on Earth,” Gorbachev declared as the group’s charter was adopted at a meeting of religious leaders, legislators and scientists from around the world. “For the first time, we see a threat to the very existence of the human race. . . . For the first time, we see signs of danger to the very stability of the biosphere.”
Calling for a change in values away from consumerism and a belief that man can conquer nature, he declared that “the 21st Century will either be the century of total crisis or the century of human recovery.” The crisis in environment, he declared, deserves the same level of attention devoted to nuclear disarmament.
Peace will never come to Earth if we continue to keep the real peace lovers out of the peace process! In modern history, there is a sensible leader who did bring the real peace and the real end of a much protracted global war. This was when he took his search for peace as his real business and considered the whole world as his own nation. Mikhail Gorbachev is not merely a leader; he is simply a colossus among great humanists. There cannot be another leader in history who ‘betrayed’ his own nation and his own party ‘ideology’ and even his own position (as the supreme leader of the strongest nation on this planet, namely the former Soviet Union) just for bringing peace and for prolonging human life on this fragile planet.
However, because this world has high stakes only in wheeling and dealing, it is of no surprise that the world today forgot Gorbachev. The fact, that human society is much more than mere wheeling and dealing, may be strange to the present leaders.
Note: Contents of this article is taken from my latest book, LIFE ON MELTDOWN and may be may be reached at: http://www.humanfirst.in