- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 19, 2003

The man who had the coldblooded effrontery to say "Stalinism is a concept thought up by the enemies of communism to discredit socialism as a whole" has just emerged as an advice-giver on how to deal with Iraqi-al Qaeda terrorism. He is Mikhail Gorbachev, who never knew what hit him when he was deposed by Boris Yeltsin in 1991. This is the man about whom former President Nixon wrote in his book, "1999: Victory Without War":
"To a man [Josef Stalin] who killed tens of millions of Soviet citizens, Gorbachev gave a pat on the back and a slap on the wrist."
The former general secretary of the Soviet Communist Party has written an article published Feb. 14 in Rossiiskaya Gazeta titled "Reasons for the Iraqi Crisis Lie in the USA." Lovely. The reasons for the Iraqi crisis lie not with Saddam Hussein, oh no, not with the U.N., not with "old" Europe, not with al Qaeda, but with the U.S.
Mr. Gorbachev hasn't forgotten the glory KGB days when the Soviet Union specialized in "Dezinformatsiya," that is, smearing America with KGB lies in the name of the proletariat. You can get an idea of the newspaper's politics from an article which accuses the U.S. as seeking to "condemn it [Russia] to the role of a 'banana republic without bananas.' "
This is what Mr. Gorbachev says in his critique:
The Bush administration has "opted for the military solution…and refuses to listen to arguments. The reasons it provides do not convince the world."
But we have been listening to arguments for a decade, especially the big September 11 argument heard around the world. The reasons have convinced Britain, Spain and the majority of countries in Europe and in the Middle East including Turkey. They are openly supporting this country's policy toward Iraq.
Says Mr. Gorbachev: "Washington has plotted the course for confrontation even with its partners." That leads Mr. Gorbachev to suggest:
"Maybe the point of contention is not Iraq? Or maybe Iraq is just a random victim? Or a pretext? Maybe somebody [guess who?] simply wants to cross the threshold to destabilization of the global situation so as to create a new world order based not on international law but on crude force?"
Now here comes Mr. Gorbachev, the reasonable statesman, conceding that "we do need a new world order but the U.S. administration seems to think that the world should become one big American bailiwick where U.S. interests would take precedence and the interests of all other states would be ignored." Ignored are the months, let alone years, in which the United Nations Security Council overlooked Saddam Hussein's blatant violations of U.N. resolutions that he had agreed to observe, overlooked his expulsion of UN inspectors.
Even more to the point is that Mr. Gorbachev, as usual, is stranded at the railroad station, to use a favorite Soviet metaphor, as the locomotive of history roars off without him. The Middle East recognizes, if Mr. Gorbachev doesn't, that it's all over for Saddam Hussein, a dictator whom Arabdom never liked in the first place. After all, he started two wars, one of which was an invasion of his Arab neighbor, Kuwait, the other against Iran for a futile eight years and a million lives lost. Saudi newspapers are calling for the Iraq dictator to abdicate.
A leading Saudi official in the Arab newspaper Al Jazeera on Jan. 5 called on Saddam Hussein to commit suicide "reach out to the suicide revolver and fire the shot of mercy to finish the tragedy which he has started." Only an obtuse Mr. Gorbachev can see a diabolical American plot. I used the adjective obtuse because he ends his manifesto with a suggested cure for America's economic and social problems. The U.S. should force itself "to look at the world more realistically. In other words, America needs perestroika."
Perestroika. Would you believe it. Perestroika. What's worse, he even means it, poor man.


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