How the Cold War Was Resurrected
My obituary of Gorbachev brought interview requests from three major Russian media organizations. At the risk of being labeled “a Russian agent” I accepted. It was an interesting experience. Russians tend to see NATO on Russia’s border’s as Gorbachev’s fault for not getting in writing the George H. W. Bush administration’s guarantee that NATO would not move one inch to the East if Gorbachev permitted the reunification of Germany. This is known as “Gorbachev’s mistake.”
I think this misinterpretation of what Gorbachev’s mistake was can be cleared up with a question: If a government does not respect its word, why would it respect its signature? Indeed, we have seen with later US regimes the breaking of arms limitation agreements that were signed.
Gorbachev’s mistake was his failure to appreciate the distress his concessions to the US about Germany and Eastern Europe were causing politburo hardliners. Hardliners thought Gorbachev was giving up Russian buffers prematurely. To stop what they saw as erosion of Russia’s strategic position, they placed Gorbachev under house arrest. Thus, Gorbachev’s mistake was misjudging the Politburo.
It was not Washington that collapsed the Soviet Union. It was the Politburo’s arrest of the President of the Soviet Union.
Article from LewRockwell