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Gorbachev: still clueless

It's getting harder and harder to like Mikhail Gorbachev. That's probably because it's been a long time since Gorby's done something right.

He's a crafty devil, though. The gulf war has managed to make everyone forget the Soviet Union's repression of the Baltic states, as well as Gorby's losing economic policies. But instead of using this hiatus from diplomatic censure to repair his rumbling nation and patch up rifts between himself and the Bush government, Gorbachev has turned to some old-time double dealing.

While the coalition prepared for a ground war with Iraq, Gorbachev tried to pull off a diplomatic coup -- negotiate a cease-fire. If successful, not only would he have regained some of his lost footing in the international community, he would have been able to guarantee the survival of the USSR's best weapons customer -- Iraq. Gorby, after all, never wanted to be bothered with this collective-security, all-for-one-and-one-for-all, liberate-Kuwait-or-die-trying thing. While the 82nd Airborne was descending upon Saudi Arabia last summer to prevent an Iraqi invasion, the Soviets still had 3000 military advisors in Iraq teaching Saddam's boys how to keep their Scuds clean and shiny.

Nestled in the USSR's underbelly, and a steady buyer of weapons, ammunition, and spare parts,

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The American-bashers, nuclear-weapons freaks and xenophobes in the Soviet central government must go.

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Iraq was the perfect nation for the USSR to court as an ally. Gorby, and the military hardliners in Gorby's flying circus, will be unhappy to see Saddam go.

Instead of calling for unconditional Iraqi acceptance of all UN resolutions, the Soviets called for a cease-fire and gradual withdrawal of Iraqi forces from Kuwait, mixed with overtones of settlement of the Palestinian question and negation of Iraqi reparations responsibilities.

The Bush administration's response to the Soviet diplomatic efforts was cordial, but spokesmen repeatedly announced that Iraq was wasting its time dealing with the Soviets.

With the ground war underway, and Iraq taking

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who

Matthew H. Hersch, a freshman, is associate opinion editor of The Tech.

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an unexpectedly massive beating, the Soviet's efforts to appease Saddam and prevent an expectedly gruesome ground war make Gorby look stupid. Gorby, it seems, bought Saddam's bluff -- that his armies were invincible, and that the coalition forces

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While the 82nd Airborne was descending upon Saudi Arabia last summer to prevent an Iraqi invasion, the Soviets still had 3000 military advisors in Iraq teaching Saddam's boys how to keep their Scuds clean and shiny.

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would be slaughtered. With American units on the outskirts of Baghdad and the Republican Guard routed, the Soviets have finally joined the bandwagon in supporting Saddam's total surrender.

For Gorby, it's too late. When the United States needed Soviet support in forming the coalition, the Soviets had other interests in mind. With US and British forces now occupying a large portion of Iraq, Soviet influence in that country will be deservedly diminished.

Gorby, get with the program. While we expect backhanded, whimpering appeasement from Iran, we don't expect it from you. If you can't work and play well with others, we won't work and play with you.

Gorby needs, in short, a good purging. His global position and the company he keeps must be reassessed. The purge need not be bloody, but the American-bashers, nuclear-weapons freaks and xenophobes in the Soviet central government must be removed, before they muck up more foreign policy issues. If Gorbachev lacks the power to do this, his credibility as a leader is, for all intents and purposes, non-existent. With the USSR's provinces screaming for authority, the only power Gorbachev can effectively argue to maintain is dominance in foreign affairs. If he's lost that, he's lost everything.

Communism may be dead, but the USSR still has its own policy goals to worry about. In the "New World Order" meanwhile, the Soviet Union won't play a very big part. The hefty village idiot in the global community, Gorby's kingdom will pace up and down Main Street, never sure where it's going.