This policy insight by John Feffer is published by Institute for Policy Studies. Here is an excerpt:
In all the assessments of Gorbachev’s legacy, both positive and negative, an essential element is missing. Gorbachev’s failed attempt to transform a massive system from within has generated different take-aways for different countries. But as any scientist or entrepreneur will tell you, failure is essential to any eventually successful enterprise. Failure provides a wealth of lessons.
Lesson number one: Change can’t be forced down people’s throats, even if that change is “good for them.” Gorbachev didn’t anticipate the backlash to his reform package because he thought that everyone would welcome the medicine he was offering.
Lesson number two: Capitalism is not a set of neutral mechanisms. Unless capitalism operates within firm parameters established by the state, it will tilt the playing field in favor of the powerful. Gorbachev didn’t think far enough ahead about the impact of the market mechanisms he was unleashing in his country.
Lesson number three: One cannot assume good intentions in the arena of geopolitics. Here the Russian phrase “trust, but verify” is indeed useful. Reagan famously cited this phrase on several occasions when meeting with Soviet representatives, but it was Gorbachev who should have applied it more often in his dealings with Americans.
Read the full article here.