Mikhail Gorbachev

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pages: 449 words: 127,440

Moscow, December 25th, 1991 by Conor O'Clery

Anton Chekhov, Berlin Wall, central bank independence, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Donald Trump, Doomsday Clock, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, haute couture, land reform, Mikhail Gorbachev, Ronald Reagan, Sinatra Doctrine, The Chicago School

The job of the colonels—three are assigned to guard the case, but one is always off duty—is to help the president, if ever the occasion should arise, to put the strategic forces on alert and authorize a strike. There are three nuclear suitcases in total. One is with Mikhail Gorbachev, another is with the minister for defense, and a third is assigned to the chief of the general staff. Any one of the devices is sufficient to authorize the launch of a missile, but only the president can lawfully order a nuclear strike. So long as Gorbachev possesses the chemodanchik, he is legally the commander of the country’s strategic forces, and the Soviet Union remains a nuclear superpower. This all changes on December 25, 1991. At 7:00 p.m., as the world watches on television, Mikhail Gorbachev announces that he is resigning. The communist monolith known as the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics is breaking up into separate states.

On December 25, 1991, the country that defeated Hitler’s Germany simply ceases to exist. In Mikhail Gorbachev’s words, “One of the most powerful states in the world collapsed before our very eyes.” It is a stupendous moment in the story of humankind, the end of a millennium of Russian and Soviet Empire, and the beginning of Russia’s national and state renaissance. It signals the final defeat of the twentieth century’s two totalitarian systems, Nazi fascism and Soviet communism, which embroiled the world in the greatest war in history. It is the day that allows American conservatives to celebrate—prematurely—the prophecy of the philosopher Francis Fukuyama that the collapse of the USSR will mark the “end of history,” with the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government. Mikhail Gorbachev created the conditions for the end of totalitarianism, and Boris Yeltsin delivered the death blow.

Out of his window he can see the wide Moscow river as it begins a loop southwest like a horseshoe, past the Kievsky Railway Station, around Luzhniki sports stadium, back northeast by Gorky Park, and around the ramparts of the Kremlin two miles distant, where Mikhail Gorbachev is also grabbing a quick lunch and fighting fatigue and the onset of influenza as he prepares for the speech that will mark his transition from presidential to civilian life. Yeltsin will take Gorbachev’s place there behind the Kremlin’s high, red-brick walls, completing the remarkable resurrection that began four years ago, when he was left a broken man, physically and psychologically, and demoted from Moscow party chief to the junior post of first deputy chairman of the state committee for construction. CHAPTER 9 BACK FROM THE DEAD Mikhail Gorbachev’s warning to Boris Yeltsin in November 1987 that he would never let him into politics again left the former Moscow party chief with a sense of despair.


The Last Empire: The Final Days of the Soviet Union by Serhii Plokhy

affirmative action, Anton Chekhov, Berlin Wall, bilateral investment treaty, cuban missile crisis, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, land reform, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, Potemkin village, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Sinatra Doctrine, Stanislav Petrov, Transnistria

Tens of millions of television viewers all around the world who watched the scene on Christmas Day 1991 could hardly believe their eyes. On the same day, CNN presented a live broadcast of the resignation speech of the first and last Soviet president, Mikhail Gorbachev. The Soviet Union was no more. What had just happened? The first to give an answer to that question was the president of the United States, George H. W. Bush. On the evening of December 25, soon after CNN and other networks broadcast Gorbachev’s speech and the image of the red banner being lowered at the Kremlin, Bush went on television to explain to his compatriots the meaning of the picture they had seen, the news they had heard, and the gift they had received. He interpreted Mikhail Gorbachev’s resignation and the lowering of the Soviet flag as a victory in the war that America had fought against communism for more than forty years.

I tell my story by following the actions and trying to uncover the motivations of President George H. W. Bush of the United States, the cautious and often humble leader of the Western world, whose backing of Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev and insistence on the security of the nuclear arsenals prolonged the existence of the empire but also ensured its peaceful demise; Boris Yeltsin, the boorish and rebellious leader of Russia, who almost singlehandedly defeated the coup and then refused to take the Serbian president Slobodan Milošević’s route of saving the crumbling empire or revising existing Russian borders; Leonid Kravchuk, the shrewd leader of Ukraine, whose insistence on his country’s independence doomed the Union; and, last but not least, Mikhail Gorbachev, the man at the center of events who had the most to gain or lose from the way they turned out. He lost it all—prestige, power, and country.

At home he became known as a man with a motto: “You die, I fly.” It was at Chernenko’s funeral, in March 1985, that Bush first met and greeted a new Soviet leader, the fifty-four-year-old Mikhail Gorbachev.6 In July 1991 Bush came to Moscow as chief executive for the first time—he had won the presidency in 1988. He came not to attend another funeral but to negotiate with a vital and energetic Soviet counterpart. Much had changed in the USSR in the intervening period. “Since my last visit in 1985, we’ve witnessed the opening of Europe and the end of a world polarized by suspicion,” read a speech prepared by the president’s staff for the signing of a new treaty to reduce nuclear arsenals. “That year, Mikhail Gorbachev assumed leadership of the Soviet Union, put many monumental changes into motion. He began instituting reforms that basically changed the world.


Gorbachev by William Taubman

active measures, affirmative action, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, British Empire, card file, conceptual framework, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fear of failure, haute couture, indoor plumbing, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, Neil Kinnock, Potemkin village, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, Saturday Night Live, Stanislav Petrov, trade liberalization, young professional

Post, “Psyching Out Gorbachev: The Man Remains a Mystery,” Washington Post, December 17, 1989. 9 “Twenty Questions to Mikhail Gorbachev on the Eve of His Seventieth Birthday,” in A Millennium Salute to Mikhail Gorbachev on His 70th Birthday (Moscow: R. Valent, 2001), 10. 10 Olga Belan, “Mnogikh oshibok Gorbachev mog by izbezhat’,” Sobesednik, November 1992. 11 Olga Kuchkina, “Neuzheli ia dolzna umeret’, chtoby zasluzhit’ ikh liubov’,” Komsomol’skaia pravda, October 29, 1999, in Raisa: Vospominaniia, dnevniki, interv’iu, stat’i, pis’ma, telegrammy (Moscow: Vagirus/Petro-n’ius, 2000), 293. 12 “Twenty Questions to Mikhail Gorbachev,” 10. 13 I owe this phrase to George Kateb. 14 “Mikhail Gorbachev: Zhenit’sia ia ne sobiraius’,” Komsomol’skaia pravda, March 2, 2001. 15 See Aron Belkin, “Kto zhe takoi Gorbachev?

Psychologists argue that parenting (and grandparenting in Gorbachev’s case) that is both “demanding” and “supportive” tends to produce well-adjusted people with high self-esteem and a developed sense of social responsibility. But also see McAdams on excessive harshness. 5 Mikhail Gorbachev, Dekabr’-91: Moia pozitsiia (Moscow: Novosti, 1992), 138. 6 Gorbachev, Zhizn’, 1:33. 7 Author’s interview with Mikhail Gorbachev, April 19, 2007, Moscow. 8 Ibid. 9 Gorbachev, Zhizn’, 1:41. 10 These sources cited by Boris Kuchmaev, Kommunist s bozhei otmetinoi: Dokumental’no-publitsisticheskii ocherk (Stavropol, 1992), 17; Nikolai Zenkovich, Mikhail Gorbachev: Zhizn’ do Kremlia (Moscow: Olma-Press, 2001), 11. 11 Author’s interview with Gorbachev, April 19, 2007, Moscow. 12 Mikhail Gorbachev, Naedine s soboi (Moscow: Grin strit, 2012), 47. 13 Author’s interview with Gorbachev, April 19, 2007, Moscow. 14 Kuchmaev, Kommunist s bozhei otmetinoi, 11. 15 Author’s interview with Gorbachev, April 19, 2007, Moscow.

Also see interview with Gorbachev, “Nado idti po puti svobody,” Eskvair [the Russian edition of Esquire], no. 81, October 2012, in Karagez’ian and Poliakov, Gorbachev v zhizni, 583. 16 Author’s interview with Gorbachev, April 19, 2007, Moscow. 17 Ibid. 18 Mikhail Gorbachev, Sobranie sochinenii, 25 vols. (Moscow: Ves’ mir, 2008–15), 8:323. 19 Kuchmaev, Kommunist s bozhei otmetinoi, 21. 20 Ibid., 22. 21 Author’s interview with Gorbachev, April 19, 2007, Moscow; Oleg Davydov, “Rozdenie Androgina,” Nezavisimaia gazeta, February 22, 2001. 22 Gorbachev, Zhizn’, 1:38. 23 Author’s interview with Gorbachev, April 19, 2007, Moscow. 24 Gorbachev, Naedine s soboi, 36. 25 Gorbachev, Zhizn’, 1:57. 26 Zenkovich, Mikhail Gorbachev, 23. 27 Author’s interview with A. A. Gonochenko, July 5, 2005, Stavropol. 28 Zenkovich, Mikhail Gorbachev, 28. 29 Gorbachev, Naedine s soboi, 33. 30 Author’s interview with Gorbachev, April 19, 2007, Moscow. 31 Ibid. 32 Zenkovich, Mikhail Gorbachev, 19. 33 Author’s interview with Gorbachev, April 19, 2007, Moscow. 34 Author’s interview with Mikhail Gorbachev, May 2, 2007, Moscow. 35 Olga Kuchkina, “Raisa Gorbacheva: ‘Neuzheli,’ ” in Raisa: Vospominaniia, 297. 36 Author’s interview with Gorbachev, May 2, 2007, Moscow; Gorbachev, Naedine s soboi, 30–31. 37 Kuchkina, “Raisa Gorbacheva,” 297. 38 Gorbachev, Zhizn’, 1:42. 39 Kuchmaev, Kommunist s bozhei otmetinoi, 22. 40 Ibid. 41 See Sheila Fitzpatrick, Stalin’s Peasants: Resistance and Survival in the Russian Village after Collectivization (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994), 296–312. 42 Gorbachev, Zhizn’, 1:38. 43 Ibid., 40. 44 Quoted from a January 3, 1990, conversation with aides, in Gorbachev, Sobranie sochinenii, 18:67. 45 Author’s interview with sociologist Olga M.


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Chernobyl: The History of a Nuclear Catastrophe by Serhii Plokhy

Mikhail Gorbachev, Ronald Reagan, stem cell, uranium enrichment

Because radiation affected everyone, from party leaders to ordinary citizens, the Chernobyl accident also sharply increased discontent with Moscow and its policies across ethnic and social lines. Nowhere was the political impact more profound than in Ukraine, the republic that was home to the failed reactor. Two conflicting political actors in Ukraine—the Ukrainian communist establishment and the nascent democratic opposition—discovered a common interest in opposing Moscow, and especially Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. In December 1991, when Ukrainians voted for their country’s independence, they also consigned the mighty Soviet Union to the dustbin of history—it was officially dissolved a few weeks after the Ukrainian referendum. While it would be wrong to attribute the development of glasnost in the Soviet Union, or the rise of the national movement in Ukraine and other republics, to the Chernobyl accident alone, the disaster’s impact on those interrelated processes can hardly be overstated.

The Central Intelligence Agency in the United States had made even grimmer estimates, putting the growth rate at 2 to 3 percent, and later reducing even that estimate to approximately 1 percent.3 With its goals for communism nowhere in sight, the economy in a tailspin, the Chinese launching their economic reforms by introducing market mechanisms, and the Americans rushing ahead not only in economic development but also in the arms race, under the leadership of the unfailingly optimistic Ronald Reagan, the Soviet leadership had lost its way. The people, ever more disillusioned with the communist experiment, had become despondent. And yet, with the communist religion in crisis, it suddenly appeared to have found a new messiah in a relatively young, energetic, and charismatic leader: Mikhail Gorbachev. This was to be the fifty-four-year-old Gorbachev’s first congress as general secretary of the party, and he was well aware that the eyes of the party leadership, of Soviet citizens—and indeed, of the entire world—were on him. The previous three years had become known as the era of Kremlin funerals. Leonid Brezhnev, who had ruled the Soviet Union since 1964, died a sick man in November 1982; the former head of the KGB, Yurii Andropov, who had inherited his position, spent half his brief tenure in a hospital bed and died in February 1984; his sickly successor, Konstantin Chernenko, followed suit in March 1985.

The task was relatively easy, given that many officials in both places had once worked at the Chernobyl plant that Briukhanov ran.9 ON THE morning of February 25, 1986, Viktor Briukhanov and his fellow deputies took their seats in the Kremlin Palace of Congresses in the center of the hall before the podium. For those like Briukhanov who were attending their first party congress, the ritual opening presented an interesting spectacle whose main features went back to Stalin’s times. At ten in the morning, the party’s Politburo members, led by Mikhail Gorbachev, marched to the podium. Like most people, Briukhanov knew them from their portraits, which were displayed on public buildings all over the Soviet Union. Among them was the head of the KGB, Viktor Chebrikov, whose portrait would survive for decades in the Prypiat palace of culture. Like everyone else, Briukhanov rose to his feet to welcome the leaders with applause. Once it subsided, Gorbachev made his way to the podium.


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Reagan at Reykjavik: Forty-Eight Hours That Ended the Cold War by Ken Adelman

anti-communist, Berlin Wall, British Empire, cuban missile crisis, Deng Xiaoping, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Donald Trump, F. W. de Klerk, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Haight Ashbury, Kitchen Debate, kremlinology, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, Nelson Mandela, old-boy network, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, Saturday Night Live, Sinatra Doctrine, War on Poverty, Yogi Berra

She made wonderful suggestions—in tone, substance, and wording for this project—as she has throughout all our projects, including that of sharing a life together. Notes INTRODUCTION 1 “Truly Shakespearean passions”: Mikhail Gorbachev, letter to the prime minister of Iceland, the mayor of Reykjavik, and participants of the seminar on the tenth anniversary of the summit, September 10, 1996. 2 Cold War historian Don Oberdorfer: Don Oberdorfer, “At Reykjavik, Soviets Were Prepared and U.S. Improvised,” Washington Post, February 16, 1987. 2 “wearying and grueling arguments”: Ibid. 2 “no one can continue to act as he acted before”: Mikhail Gorbachev, Reykjavik: Results and Lessons (Moscow, 1990). 3 “No summit since Yalta”: Don Oberdorfer, From the Cold War to a New Era: The United States and Soviet Union, 1983–1991 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998), 183. 4 “We were sitting around”: Shultz told this story many times, including Teresa Jimenez, “Shultz Shakes Lessons of Cold War,” Los Angeles Daily News, November 19, 1996. 1.

Jere Hester, Michelle Caruso, and David Eisenstate, “Words of Hope,” New York Daily News, August 13, 1996. 335 Iceland’s president: Taken from Reykjavik newspapers in June 2004, as reported and translated by Astporsdottir. 335 In an op-ed piece for the New York Times: Mikhail Gorbachev, “A President Who Listened,” New York Times, June 7, 2004. 337 nearly a hundred and forty years earlier: Rudolph Bush, “A Time to Remember,” Chicago Tribune, June 11, 2004. 337 Mrs. Reagan stepped forward: Ken Fireman, “Ronald Reagan 1911–2004: Our Final Hail to the Chief,” Newsday, June 12, 2004. 337 the state funeral: I was startled to read later that Mikhail Gorbachev was there at the funeral, since neither Carol nor I saw him that morning. Otherwise, I would have gone over and greeted him. 337 musical interludes: Ann McFeatters, “A Nation Bids Farewell,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 12, 2004. 337 Margaret Thatcher: Ibid. 338 Reagan “did not shrink”: Margaret Thatcher, Eulogy for President Reagan, Margaret Thatcher Foundation, June 11, 2004, http://www.margaretthatcher.org/document/110360. 338 Sandra Day O’Connor: David Von Drehle, “Reagan Hailed as Leader for ‘The Ages,’ ” Washington Post, June 12, 2004. 338 top dignitaries: Sonya Ross, “Thatcher, Gorbachev Lead Foreign Leaders Paying Respects to Reagan,” Associated Press, June 12, 2004. 338 including Thatcher: McFeatters, “A Nation Bids Farewell.” 338 tipped a wing: Jeff Zeleny, “Reagan Laid to Rest,” Chicago Tribune, June 12, 2004. 338 The Dixonian: The yearbook is displayed in the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. 338 More than a thousand people: Steve Chawkins, “Farewell to a President: Lasting Memories Gleaned Along the Final Leg,” Los Angeles Times, June 12, 2004. 339 “I know in my heart”: Ryan Pearson, “Reagan Entombed in Underground Crypt at Hilltop Presidential Library,” Associated Press, June 12, 2004. 340 “I gave him a pat”: Robert G.

Contents Dedication Introduction 1 Departures 2 Arrivals 3 Minds and Moods Going into Hofdi House 4 Saturday in Reykjavik 5 Sunday Morning in Reykjavik 6 Sunday Afternoon and Evening in Reykjavik 7 Departures and Immediate Fallout Photographic Insert 8 From the Worst to the Best of Times 9 Reykjavik and the Soviet Breakup 10 Reflections and Conclusions on Reykjavik Epilogue - Mourning in America Acknowledgments Notes Index About the Author Credits Copyright About the Publisher Introduction The Reykjavik summit is something out of an Agatha Christie thriller. Two vivid characters meet over a weekend, on a desolate and windswept island, in a reputedly haunted house with rain lashing against its windowpanes, where they experience the most amazing things. The summit between Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev on October 11 and 12, 1986, was like nothing before or after—with its cliffhanging plot, powerful personalities, and competing interpretations over the past quarter century. A decade later, Gorbachev felt the drama was something out of the Bard, William Shakespeare, rather than the Dame, Agatha Christie: Truly Shakespearean passions ran under the thin veneer of polite and diplomatically restrained negotiations behind the windows of a cozy little house standing on the coast of a dark and somberly impetuous ocean.


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The Year That Changed the World: The Untold Story Behind the Fall of the Berlin Wall by Michael Meyer

Ayatollah Khomeini, bank run, Berlin Wall, Bonfire of the Vanities, Bretton Woods, BRICs, call centre, Fall of the Berlin Wall, falling living standards, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, haute couture, mass immigration, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, union organizing

“Changed his mind. Decided it was too risky.” In the news business, too risky means “bad for one’s career.” The reporter opting out concluded that Germany and Eastern Europe were too far off America’s radar screen. Not much was happening. He feared he wouldn’t get into the magazine. I couldn’t believe my good fortune. For fifty years, Europe had been frozen. Now a new man was in charge: Mikhail Gorbachev. Change was afoot. You could feel it. I remember, vividly, thinking I would have perhaps a year or two to see the old Europe, a part of the continent that had been cut off behind the Iron Curtain, as if under glass, before it all went away. In my youthful enthusiasm, I considered it an almost anthropological adventure, a chance of a lifetime. “When do I leave?” I asked. As soon as you can was the reply.

If its symbol is the Berlin Wall, coming down as Ronald Reagan famously bid it to do in a speech in Berlin in 1987, the operational model was Nicolae Ceausescu’s Romania. “Once the wicked witch was dead,” as Francis Fukuyama, the eminent political economist, has put it, “the munchkins would rise up and start singing joyously about their liberation.” It is true that instead of seeking to contain the former Soviet Union, as previous administrations had done, the United States under Ronald Reagan chose to confront it. He challenged Mikhail Gorbachev not only to reform the Soviet system from within but to “tear down this wall.” Yet other factors figured in this equation, not least a drop in oil prices from roughly $40 a barrel in 1980 to less than $10 a decade later, not to mention the Soviet leader’s own actions. Even less well-known is Ronald Reagan’s political evolution. From hardened cold war warrior, he softened both his rhetoric and his policies to the point where his administration became the very model of enlightened diplomatic engagement—the antithesis of hard-right confrontation.

Large sheets of bulletproof glass shielded the president from the rear. Unseen from the Western side, crowds of East Germans gathered to hear Reagan, hoping loudspeakers would project his voice across the divide. East German police pushed them back, the president was told. This in itself was a demonstration of all that Reagan hated about communism, and he punched out his words with angry force—a direct exhortation, delivered personally, to the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. Reagan began slowly, speaking of other American presidents who had come to Berlin, John F. Kennedy and Jimmy Carter, honoring their duty to speak out against what he called “the scar” that split the city. He spoke of America’s efforts to save Berlin after the war—aid under the Marshall Plan, the Berlin airlift of food and medicine when the Red Army cut supply lines to the West. Echoing the old Marlene Dietrich song, he joked that he kept a “suitcase” in Berlin—Ich hab’ noch einen Koffer in Berlin—a metaphor of solidarity with this outpost of freedom so isolated behind enemy territory.


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Post Wall: Rebuilding the World After 1989 by Kristina Spohr

American Legislative Exchange Council, Andrei Shleifer, anti-communist, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Bonfire of the Vanities, Bretton Woods, central bank independence, colonial exploitation, Deng Xiaoping, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Donald Trump, Doomsday Clock, facts on the ground, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, G4S, Kickstarter, mass immigration, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, open economy, price stability, rising living standards, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, software patent, South China Sea, special economic zone, Thomas L Friedman, Transnistria, uranium enrichment, zero-coupon bond

Anatoly Chernyaev – Notes from a Meeting of the Politburo 31.10.1988 Archive of the Gorbachev Foundation Moscow (hereafter AGF) Digital Archive Wilson Center (hereafter DAWC); Mikhail Gorbachev Memoirs Bantam 1997 p. 459; Politburo meeting 24.11.1988, printed in V Politbyuro TsK KPSS. Po zapisyam Anatoliya Chernyaeva, Vadima Medvedeva, Georgiya Shakhnazarova, 1985–1991 Gorbachev Foundation 2008 pp. 432–6 esp. p. 433 Back to text 14. See video of UN speech c-span.org/video/?5292-1/gorbachev-united-nations Back to text 15. Address by Mikhail Gorbachev at the UN General Assembly Session (Excerpts) 7.12.1988 CWIHP Archive. See also video of UN speech c-span.org/video/?5292-1/gorbachev-united-nations; and video of ‘Mikhail Gorbachev’s 1988 Address to the UN: 30 Years Later’, Panel Discussion with Andrei Kozyrev, Pavel Palazhchenko, Thomas W. Simons Jr, and Kristina Spohr at SAIS – Johns Hopkins University (Washington DC) 6.12.2018 youtube.com/watch?

Li’s diary entry quoted in Engel & Radchenko ‘Beijing and Malta, 1989’ pp. 192–3 Back to text 132. Radchenko Unwanted Visionaries p. 166; Robert Service The End of the Cold War 1985–1991 Pan Books 2015 p. 385. On Gorbachev–Deng ‘58–85’, see also Excerpts from the Conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and Rajiv Gandhi 15.7.1989 AGF DAWC Back to text 133. Michael Parks & David Holley ‘30-Year Feud Ended by Gorbachev, Deng: Leaders Declare China–Soviet Ties Are Normalised’ LAT 16.5.1989 Back to text 134. Soviet transcript of meeting between Mikhail Gorbachev and Deng Xiaoping (Excerpts), 16.5.1989 DAWC. For a Chinese version of the record of conversation see also DAWC Back to text 135. Ibid. Back to text 136. Ibid. Back to text 137. HIA-TSMP Notepad 16.5.1989 Gorbachev Talks with Li Peng 16.5.1989 DAWC; Vladislav Zubok ‘The Soviet Union and China in the 1980s: Reconciliation and Divorce’ CWH 17, 2 (2017) pp. 121–41 esp. p. 138 Back to text 138.

Soviet Record of Main Content of Conversation between Bush and Gorbachev in Novo-Ogarevo 31.7.1991 printed in TLSS doc. 139 p. 893; for US transcript, see GHWBPL Memcon of Gorbachev–Bush talks 31.7. Novo-Ogarevo pp. 1–8 Back to text 182. Remarks at the Arrival Ceremony in Moscow 30.7.1991 APP; The President’s News Conference with Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev in Moscow 31.7.1991 APP Back to text 183. Soviet Record of Main Content of Conversation between Gorbachev and Bush, First Private Meeting, Moscow 30.7.1991 doc. 135 pp. 868–79 here pp. 876–7. No US transcript of this discussion has been released Back to text 184. The President’s News Conference with Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev in Moscow 31.7.1991 APP. Cf. Keith Badger ‘Soviet Trade Favor Costs US Little’ NYT 31.7.1991 Back to text 185. TLSS doc. 139 p. 893. For a US transcript, see GHWBPL Memcon of Gorbachev–Bush talks 31.7.1991 Novo-Ogarevo pp. 1–8 Back to text 186.


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Transcending the Cold War: Summits, Statecraft, and the Dissolution of Bipolarity in Europe, 1970–1990 by Kristina Spohr, David Reynolds

anti-communist, bank run, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, computer age, conceptual framework, cuban missile crisis, Deng Xiaoping, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Kickstarter, Kitchen Debate, liberal capitalism, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, Nixon shock, oil shock, open borders, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, shared worldview, Thomas L Friedman, Yom Kippur War, zero-sum game

Vogel, Deng Xiaoping, 608; Chen Jian, ‘Tiananmen and the Fall of the Berlin Wall: China’s Path toward 1989 and Beyond’, in Jeffrey A. Engel, ed., The Fall of the Berlin Wall: The Revolutionary Legacy of 1989 (New York, 2009), 111–12. 33. Liang Zhang et al., eds, The Tiananmen Papers (New York, 2002), 143. 34. Mikhail Gorbachev, Sobranie Sochinenii, vol. 15 (Moscow, 2010), 261. 35. Zhang Ganghua and Li Peng, Li Peng liu si ri ji zhen xiang: Fu lu Li Peng liu si ri ji yuan wen (Hong Kong, 2010). 36. Oleg Troyanovskii, Cherez Gody i Rasstoyaniya: Istoriya Odnoi Sem’yi (Over Years and Distances) (Moscow, 1997), 373. 37. Excerpts from the conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and Deng Xiaoping, 16 May 1989, http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/116536. 38. Ibid. 39. George Bush, The President’s News Conference, 30 May, 1989, APP website, http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?

There is a tide in the affairs of men Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; Omitted, all the voyage of their life Is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat; And we must take the current when it serves Or lose our ventures. Brutus, in Julius Caesar, act 4, scene 3 Let’s say ‘to hell with the past’. We’ll do it our way and get something done. Ronald Reagan to Mikhail Gorbachev, Geneva, 20 November 1985 Contents List of Illustrations List of Abbreviations List of Contributors Acknowledgements Introduction Thawing the Cold War 1 Erfurt and Kassel, 1970 Benedikt Schoenborn and Gottfried Niedhart 2 Beijing, 1972 Yafeng Xia and Chris Tudda 3 Moscow, 1972 James Cameron Living with the Cold War 4 Helsinki, 1975 Michael Cotey Morgan and Daniel Sargent 5 Bonn, Guadeloupe, and Vienna, 1978–9 Kristina Spohr and David Reynolds Transcending the Cold War 6 Geneva, Reykjavik, Washington, and Moscow, 1985–8 Jonathan Hunt and David Reynolds 7 Beijing and Malta, 1989 Jeffrey A.

Our deep gratitude, finally, to the contributors who probably got more than they bargained for when accepting our initial invitation to meet in the ‘Original Cambridge’, including our vigorous editing and the challenge of co-authoring chapters through hard summit bargaining. ARKS, DJR, March 2016 Introduction They were an unlikely pair and it was an almost inconceivable moment. American President George H.W. Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev, Secretary General of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, sat together, relaxed and joking, in a joint press conference on 3 December 1989, at the end of their summit meeting in Malta (see Figure 0.1). ‘We stand at the threshold of a brand-new era of U.S.–Soviet relations’, Bush declared. ‘And it is within our grasp to contribute, each in our own way, to overcoming the division of Europe and ending the military confrontation there.’


The End of the Cold War: 1985-1991 by Robert Service

active measures, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, cuban missile crisis, Deng Xiaoping, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Kickstarter, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, Neil Kinnock, Norman Mailer, nuclear winter, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, Silicon Valley, The Chicago School, Vladimir Vetrov: Farewell Dossier

Chernyaev’s notes on conversation between M. S. Gorbachëv and M. Thatcher, 23 September 1989, p. 4. 45. Ibid. 46. Chernyaev, Sovmestnyi iskhod, p. 808 (9 October 1989). 47. V. Falin, Bez skidok na obstoyatel’stva: politicheskie vospominaniya, p. 440. 48. Ibid., p. 442. 49. East German Politburo, 7 October 1989: Mikhail Gorbachëv i germanskii vopros, pp. 209–12. 50. Chernyaev, Sovmestnyi iskhod, pp. 805–6 (5 October 1989). 51. Conversation between M. S, Gorbachëv and E. Honecker, 7 October 1989: Mikhail Gorbachëv i germanskii vopros, pp. 206–7. 52. Chernyaev, Sovmestnyi iskhod, pp. 805–6 (5 and 8 October 1989). 53. Ibid., p. 808 (11 October 1989). 54. DPA report (18 August 1991) on Tisch’s article in Kurier am Sonntag: John Koehler Papers (HIA), box 52, folder: End of the DDR, 1990–1997. 55. V. I. Varennikov (interview), HIGFC (HIA), box 3, folder 3, p. 23. 56.

Shevardnadze to the Warsaw Pact’s Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Warsaw (East German report), 26 October 1989, pp. 6, 14, 24 and 28: ibid. 61. Record of conversation between M. S. Gorbachëv and W. Brandt, 17 October 1989: Mikhail Gorbachëv i germanskii vopros, pp. 229–30. 62. Record of conversation between Alexander Yakovlev and Zbigniew Brzezinski, 31 October 1989, pp. 4–5: ECWF, MTG-1989-10-31-AY-ZB. 63. ‘Memorandum of Krenz-Gorbachëv Conversation, 1 November 1989’, Cold War International History Project Bulletin, no. 12/13 (2001), p. 19. 64. Conversation between M. S. Gorbachëv and E. Krenz, 1 November 1989: Mikhail Gorbachëv i germanskii vopros, pp. 238–9. 65. Excerpt from record of conversation between M. S. Gorbachëv and E. Krenz, 1 November 1989: Poland, 1986–1989: The End of the System (HIA), box 1, folder 2, item 32, pp. 26–7 from A.

Teltschik, 329 Tagen, p. 325 (15 July 1990). 39. H. Kohl, Erinnerungen, vol. 3: 1990–1994, pp. 169–70. 40. Ibid., p. 332; T. G. Stepanov-Mamaladze diary, 16 July 1990: T. G. Stepanov-Mamaladze Papers (HIA), box 5; record of conversation between M. S. Gorbachëv and H. Kohl, 16 July 1990: Mikhail Gorbachëv i germanskii vopros, p. 507; A. Chernyaev, Sovmestnyi iskhod. Dnevnik dvukh epokh. 1971–1991 gody, p. 865 (15 July 1990). 41. Record of conversation between M. S. Gorbachëv and H. Kohl, 16 July 1990: Mikhail Gorbachëv i germanskii vopros, p. 509, 511–13, 517 and 519. 42. T. G. Stepanov-Mamaladze diary, 17 July 1990: T. G. Stepanov-Mamaladze Papers (HIA), box 5. 43. T. G. Stepanov-Mamaladze working notes, 16 July 1990: T. G. Stepanov-Mamaladze Papers (HIA), box 3. 44. H.-D. Genscher, Erinnerungen, p. 837. 45.


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The Cold War: A New History by John Lewis Gaddis

American ideology, anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, British Empire, colonial rule, cuban missile crisis, Deng Xiaoping, European colonialism, full employment, land reform, long peace, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, Potemkin village, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, Sinatra Doctrine

Beschloss and Strobe Talbott, At the Highest Levels: The Inside Story of the End of the Cold War (Boston: Little, Brown, 1993), pp. 103—4. 46 Bush and Scowcroft, A World Transformed, pp. 498, 500. 47 Chernyaev, My Six Years with Gorbachev, pp. 360–63; Bush and Scowcroft, A World Transformed, pp. 513–14. 48 Beschloss and Talbott, At the Highest Levels, pp. 417—18. 49 Chernyaev, My Six Years with Gorbachev, p. 369. 50 Suny, The Soviet Experiment, pp. 480–82. Gorbachev’s account is in his Memoirs, pp. 626—45. 51 Suny, The Soviet Experiment, pp. 483–84; Bush and Scowcroft, A World Transformed, pp. 554–55. 52 Oberdorfer, From the Cold War to a New Era, pp. 471–72. 53 Gorbachev, Memoirs, p. xxxviii. EPILOGUE: THE VIEW BACK 1 Mikhail Gorbachev, Memoirs (New York: Doubleday, 1995), pp. 692—93; also Mikhail Gorbachev and Zdeněk Mlynář, Conversations with Gorbachev on Perestroika, The Prague Spring, and the Crossroads of Socialism, translated by George Schriver (New York: Columbia University Press, 2002), pp. 172–74. 2 See Louise Levanthes, When China Ruled the Seas: The Treasure Fleet of the Dragon Throne, 1405–1433 (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1994). 3 Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Richard Nixon, 1969 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1971), p. 542. 4 “The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte,” in Robert C.

There was Deng Xiaoping, the diminutive, frequently purged, but relentlessly pragmatic successor to Mao Zedong, who brushed aside communism’s prohibitions on free enterprise while encouraging the Chinese people to “get rich.” There was Ronald Reagan, the first professional actor to become president of the United States, who used his theatrical skills to rebuild confidence at home, to spook senescent Kremlin leaders, and after a young and vigorous one had replaced them, to win his trust and enlist his cooperation in the task of changing the Soviet Union. The new leader in Moscow was, of course, Mikhail Gorbachev, who himself sought to dramatize what distinguished him from his predecessors: in doing so, he swept away communism’s emphasis on the class struggle, its insistence on the inevitability of a world proletarian revolution, and hence its claims of historical infallibility. It was an age, then, of leaders who through their challenges to the way things were and their ability to inspire audiences to follow them—through their successes in the theater that was the Cold War—confronted, neutralized, and overcame the forces that had for so long perpetuated the Cold War.

Exports expanded by a factor of ten. And by the time of Deng’s death in 1997, the Chinese economy had become one of the largest in the world.47 The contrast with the moribund Soviet economy, which despite high oil prices showed no growth at all in the 1970s and actually contracted during the early 1980s, was an indictment from which Soviet leaders never recovered. “After all,” the recently deposed Mikhail Gorbachev commented ruefully in 1993, “China today is capable of feeding its people who number more than one billion.”48 Nor could it have been expected that the first woman to become prime minister of Great Britain would challenge the social welfare state in Western Europe. Margaret Thatcher’s path to power, like Deng’s, had not been easy. Born without wealth or status, disadvantaged by gender in a male-dominated political establishment, she rose to the top through hard work, undisguised ambition, and an utter unwillingness to mince words.


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The Dead Hand: The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and Its Dangerous Legacy by David Hoffman

active measures, anti-communist, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, crony capitalism, cuban missile crisis, failed state, joint-stock company, Kickstarter, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, nuclear winter, Robert Hanssen: Double agent, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, Silicon Valley, standardized shipping container, Stanislav Petrov, Thomas L Friedman, undersea cable, uranium enrichment, Vladimir Vetrov: Farewell Dossier, zero-sum game

He told Reagan the Soviet Union was caught in an inconclusive leadership struggle, from one generation to another, bound up in a stagnating economy and "extreme distrust verging, in some instances, on paranoia" about the United States. It wasn't clear how the leadership succession would be resolved, Shultz said, but one of the most promising candidates was a member of the younger generation, a man with a broader view--Mikhail Gorbachev.27 ---------- PART ---------- TWO ---------- 8 ---------- "WE CAN'T GO ON LIVING LIKE THIS" Five weeks after Reagan was reelected, Mikhail Gorbachev and his wife, Raisa, were driven from London through rolling English farmland to Chequers, the elegant official country residence of the British prime minister. Margaret Thatcher and her husband, Denis, greeted the Gorbachevs just before lunch on Sunday, December 16, 1984. It was a highly unusual gesture for a Soviet official to take his wife abroad.

They recoiled from the balance of terror out of personal experience as designers and stewards of the weapons, or because of their own fears of the consequences of war, or because of the burdens that the arsenals placed on their peoples. At the center of the drama are two key figures, both of them romantics and revolutionaries, who sensed the rising danger and challenged the established order. Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the Soviet Union, abhorred the use of force and championed openness and "new thinking" in hopes of saving his troubled country. Ronald Reagan, fortieth president of the United States, was a master communicator and beacon of ideals who had an unwavering faith in the triumph of capitalism and American ingenuity. He dreamed of making nuclear weapons obsolete, once and for all.

Our actions were absolutely correct, insofar as the American-built South Korean aircraft flew 500 kilometers into our territory. It is extremely difficult to distinguish this aircraft by its shape from a reconnaissance aircraft. Soviet military pilots are prohibited from firing on passenger aircraft. But in this situation their actions were perfectly justified because in accordance with international regulations the aircraft was issued with several notices to land at our airfield." Mikhail Gorbachev, a younger, rising star among the aging Politburo members, said, "The aircraft remained above our territory for a long time. If it went off track, the Americans could have notified us, but they didn't." Ustinov claimed the Korean aircraft had no lights. After firing warning shots, he said, the Soviet pilot "informed the ground that the aircraft was a combat one and had to be taken down." Gromyko: "We cannot deny that our plane opened fire."


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Making the Future: The Unipolar Imperial Moment by Noam Chomsky

"Robert Solow", Albert Einstein, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, British Empire, capital controls, collective bargaining, corporate governance, corporate personhood, creative destruction, deindustrialization, energy security, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, Frank Gehry, full employment, Howard Zinn, Joseph Schumpeter, kremlinology, liberation theology, Long Term Capital Management, market fundamentalism, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, precariat, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, structural adjustment programs, The Great Moderation, too big to fail, uranium enrichment, Washington Consensus, WikiLeaks, working poor

Yet, when the American president visited and spoke on the subject of Iran, he drew an editorial in Saudi Arabia’s major English language newspaper deploring the fact that ‘American policy represents not diplomacy in search of peace, but madness in search of war.’” Developments in Europe are also fraught with danger. To NATO leaders, it is the merest truism that they themselves are a force for peace. Most of the world, which has rather different memories of Western benevolence, sees matters differently. So does Russia. There seemed to be hope for long-term peace in Europe when the Soviet Union collapsed. Mikhail Gorbachev agreed to allow a unified Germany to join NATO, an astonishing concession in the light of history; Germany alone had practically destroyed Russia twice in that century, and now would belong to a hostile military alliance led by the global superpower. There was a quid pro quo: President Bush I agreed that NATO would not expand to the East, granting Russia some measure of security. In violation of a verbal agreement, NATO expanded at once to East Germany.

Thus the editors of the Washington Post admonished Barack Obama for regarding Afghanistan as “the central front” for the United States, reminding him that Iraq “lies at the geopolitical center of the Middle East and contains some of the world’s largest oil reserves,” and Afghanistan’s “strategic importance pales beside that of Iraq.” A welcome, if belated, recognition of reality about the U.S. invasion. The second divisive issue in the Caucasus is expansion of NATO to the East. As the Soviet Union collapsed, Mikhail Gorbachev made a concession that was astonishing in the light of recent history and strategic realities: He agreed to allow a united Germany to join a hostile military alliance. Gorbachev agreed to the concession on the basis of “assurances that NATO would not extend its jurisdiction to the east, ‘not one inch’ in [Secretary of State] Jim Baker’s exact words,” according to Jack Matlock, the U.S. ambassador to Russia in the crucial years 1987 to 1991.

The outsiders’ military presence only arouses confrontations, whereas what is needed is a common effort among concerned regional powers—including China, India, Iran, Pakistan and Russia—that would help Afghans face their internal problems peacefully, as many believe they can. NATO has moved far beyond its Cold War origins. After the Soviet Union collapsed, NATO lost its pretext for existence: defense against a hypothetical Russian assault. But NATO quickly took on new missions, expanding to the east in violation of promises to Mikhail Gorbachev, a serious security threat to Russia, naturally raising international tensions. President Obama’s national security adviser, James Jones, NATO supreme allied commander in Europe from 2003 to 2006, advocates NATO expansion east and south, steps that would reinforce U.S. control over Middle East energy supplies (in technical terms, “safeguarding energy security”). He also champions a NATO response force, which will give the U.S.


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The Cold War: Stories From the Big Freeze by Bridget Kendall

anti-communist, Berlin Wall, British Empire, collective bargaining, colonial rule, cuban missile crisis, Deng Xiaoping, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, European colonialism, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Howard Zinn, land reform, Mikhail Gorbachev, Monroe Doctrine, mutually assured destruction, open borders, Ronald Reagan, white flight

Phil Tinline and Martin Williams are the producers of the landmark BBC Radio 4 series Cold War: Stories from the Big Freeze. Introduction I shall never forget the August morning in 1991, when I was stationed in the Soviet Union as BBC Moscow correspondent, and was woken early by the BBC news desk to check out a statement that had just turned up on TASS, the Soviet state news agency. It declared that the Soviet President, Mikhail Gorbachev, had been taken ill and a state of emergency imposed. By mid-morning there were tanks rumbling through the city’s main thoroughfares, taking up positions on bridges and around the Kremlin walls, and it was clear that an attempt to seize power was under way by Soviet hard-liners who feared that Gorbachev’s reforms had given too much power away. What I remember is the extraordinary reaction of local people.

In Europe, the Cold War remained a conflict of nerves, but in Asia, Africa and Latin America it erupted into bloodstained battles, as the big powers fuelled and engineered a series of coups and civil wars, acting out their rivalry in distant proxy conflicts. The denouement of this four-decade-long drama came unexpectedly in the mid-1980s, largely as the result of a change of leadership in the Soviet Union. Few people anticipated that the challenge that would overturn Soviet Communism and destroy its empire would come from within. But within six short years, the reformist Kremlin leader Mikhail Gorbachev overturned preconceptions and overhauled the Soviet Union’s internal and global relations, leading to the abrupt collapse of Soviet rule, first in Eastern Europe and client states elsewhere, and then also inside the Soviet Union in December 1991. The story of the Cold War did not end there. For many Soviet citizens, especially those in Russia, the overnight erasure of their country from the map was a terrifying cataclysm and a source of trauma from which it would take years to recover.

But inside the Soviet Union, the shift away from the repressions of the Stalinist period marked a dramatic turning point in Soviet politics at the height of the Cold War. And though the thaw did not last long – Khrushchev was deposed in 1964 – the process of de-Stalinisation that he began sowed the seeds for some of the thinking that would later be taken up in the 1980s ‘perestroika’ reforms of Mikhail Gorbachev. Tatiana Baeva’s father was one of many millions denounced as traitors and executed, imprisoned in brutal gulag labour camps or banished to remote outposts. I was born in 1947 in the small village of Norilsk. We had some political men like Nikolai Bukharin, and this Bukharin had a secretary, and this secretary had a little philosophy society. My father participated in this philosophy society.


pages: 401 words: 119,043

Checkpoint Charlie by Iain MacGregor

Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, Bob Geldof, British Empire, index card, Kickstarter, Live Aid, mass immigration, Mikhail Gorbachev, Neil Kinnock, open borders, Ronald Reagan

We found out later he was given a short prison sentence.” Music aside, to Garton Ash, such was the atmosphere of oppressive and all-pervading fear that the regime didn’t actually have to resort to violence often. It was a model, he concluded, familiar from Orwell’s 1984, in being “the perfect dictatorship that doesn’t need to use physical violence.” He firmly believed that only the will of Mikhail Gorbachev made it inevitable that the Berlin Wall would not survive past 1989. “All this nonsense about violence and East Germany being bankrupt and therefore had to collapse—if you had had sufficient political will and ruthlessness from the center, there was nothing inevitable about it at all.” For Uli Jörges, the job, the chase for the story, and the comradeship with his fellow journalists were the benefits that outweighed witnessing the grimness of the East German rule up close.

It helped us immeasurably in planning for and managing, in conjunction with my French and American counterparts, the volatile and complex situation facing us in Berlin from the summer of 1989 onwards. The Allied missions were enduringly brilliant in their ability to provide information that underpinned many crucial decisions made during the Cold War.” CHAPTER TWELVE Death of a Soldier Amid the overtures of high-level negotiations between the reelected President Ronald Reagan and General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev by the early spring of 1985, there were accurate indications of a thaw in US-Soviet relations that could be perceived within the Allied military in Europe and in Washington, Paris, and London. For the first time since the Soviets’ 1979 invasion of Afghanistan, the United States Military Liaison Mission (USMLM) received permission to attend the annual Soviet Army-Navy Day reception in Potsdam in force rather than with the usual token representation.

However, the latter could easily be true, as seen by many young Berliners who were lucky enough to witness “the Boss” coming to East Berlin in the summer of 1988. As the eighties unfolded, the pressure on the East German government to be less repressive of its population became ever more acute. Rising tensions, especially among the younger generation, were conspicuous even to the elderly cabal that ruled. In part that was due to reforms being introduced by President Mikhail Gorbachev in Soviet Russia. His twin policies of glasnost, or “openness,” and perestroika, which entailed restructuring a cumbersome economy, now made East Germany seem a dinosaur, even through the prism of Communism. Young East Germans were feeling increasingly suffocated by a regime that aimed to control how they thought, where they went, and what they watched or read. With West German media beamed into many East German homes, it was proving impossible to keep the population ignorant of what was on offer to the youth of the capitalist West, the consumer goods that mattered to every teenager—clothes and music.


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Zero-Sum Future: American Power in an Age of Anxiety by Gideon Rachman

Asian financial crisis, bank run, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bonfire of the Vanities, borderless world, Bretton Woods, BRICs, capital controls, centre right, clean water, collapse of Lehman Brothers, colonial rule, currency manipulation / currency intervention, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, Doha Development Round, energy security, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, global reserve currency, greed is good, Hernando de Soto, illegal immigration, income inequality, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, laissez-faire capitalism, Live Aid, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, Mikhail Gorbachev, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, Nelson Mandela, offshore financial centre, open borders, open economy, Peace of Westphalia, peak oil, pension reform, plutocrats, Plutocrats, popular capitalism, price stability, RAND corporation, reserve currency, rising living standards, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Sinatra Doctrine, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, The Myth of the Rational Market, Thomas Malthus, trickle-down economics, Washington Consensus, Winter of Discontent, zero-sum game

—Manmohan Singh, India’s finance minister, July 1991 The Age of Transformation began in December 1978 in Beijing at the third plenary session of the eleventh Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party. It ended on Christmas Eve, 1991, when the flag of the Soviet Union was lowered for the last time over the Kremlin. In late 1978, Deng Xiaoping laid the foundations for the opening of China and his country’s emergence as an economic superpower. By contrast, the economic and political reforms initiated by Mikhail Gorbachev in the mid-1980s brought about the breakup of the Soviet Union. But while the domestic political effects of Russian and Chinese economic reforms were very different, their global significance was similar. At the beginning of the 1980s it still made sense to speak of a socialist and a capitalist world. The cold war was the defining principle of international politics, as it had been since 1949.

Rather less amusingly, China invaded Vietnam at the end of 1979. These political and international events were more dramatic and eye-catching than technical-sounding reforms to agriculture and foreign investment. Perhaps as a result, Western leaders were very slow to understand the speed and scale of the transformation of China. The memoirs of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan demonstrate an instant and passionate interest in Mikhail Gorbachev’s reforms in the Soviet Union. But the economic transformation of China barely registers. All Thatcher’s references to China concern the tortuous negotiations to hand back the British colony of Hong Kong. Writing in 1990, Reagan noted that in 1984, Treasury Secretary Don Regan had “come back from a trip to Beijing with an intriguing report: The People’s Republic of China was moving slowly but surely towards acceptance of a free-enterprise market, and inviting investment by foreign capitalists.”16 But, like Thatcher, Reagan was understandably much more focused on the end of the cold war than on the economic transformation of China.

Thatcher’s belief that “the state should not be in business” was becoming global conventional wisdom by the end of the 1980s. Thatcher herself became increasingly conscious of and proud of her international reputation. She exulted, “People are no longer worried about catching the British disease. They are queuing up to obtain the new British cure.”15 In even more grandiloquent mode, she claimed as early as 1982 that Britain was “teaching the nations of the world how to live.”16 On a visit as prime minister to Mikhail Gorbachev’s Russia in 1990, she noted wryly that the new mayor of Moscow appeared to be a disciple of her own economic guru, Milton Friedman.17 In her memoirs she boasted proudly, “Britain under my premiership was the first country to reverse the onward march of socialism.”18 By the end of her period in office, Thatcher was increasingly worried that the European Union posed a threat to her free-market policies in Britain.


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The Oil and the Glory: The Pursuit of Empire and Fortune on the Caspian Sea by Steve Levine

Berlin Wall, California gold rush, computerized trading, corporate raider, cuban missile crisis, facts on the ground, failed state, fixed income, indoor plumbing, Khyber Pass, megastructure, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, oil rush, Potemkin village, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, telemarketer, trade route

Andreas, intent on smoothing trade relations between the two superpowers, set out for Moscow with his eager new executive. After a few preliminaries with Kremlin authorities, word came that a meeting had been arranged. Giffen and Andreas would have an audience with a rising star of the Politburo, one Mikhail Gorbachev. Giffen had already transformed himself from the son of a haberdasher into a merchant banker with important international connections. The meeting with the fresh-faced Kremlin minister, however, would catapult him to even greater heights, putting him on the path toward his first big oil deal, on the shores of the fabled Caspian Sea. CHAPTER 7 * * * The Perfect Oil Field MIKHAIL GORBACHEV WAS UNLIKE Soviet rulers of the past. Open-minded and inventive, pragmatic and flexible, “he would look you in the eye, and you were the only person in the room.” He was said to be “impossible not to like.”

In an especially nervy play, Deuss obtained exclusive rights to build a pipeline that would export oil from Kazakhstan’s biggest field, leaving its operator, Chevron Corporation, apoplectic and at his mercy. But no middleman was more influential or had a more spectacular run than James Henry Giffen, a garrulous and worldly-wise New York lawyer who had become a millionaire by the time he was thirty. Giffen had a long history in the region, starting in the Soviet Union in the late 1960s. In the 1980s, Mikhail Gorbachev lent his personal support to a Giffen consortium of blue-chip American companies anxious to do business in the Soviet Union. The Soviet collapse stripped Giffen of his influence in the Kremlin, but he reemerged in Kazakhstan as the president’s chief oil adviser. It wasn’t long before he helped expel John Deuss. Suddenly, Giffen was the last middleman standing, both envied and feared by other power brokers.

Two of his ornate, glass-and-wood bookcases had survived in the rare books section of the city library, and a mostly ignored bust of Tagiyev stood on a cornerstone of what was once his downtown mansion, now a museum. As for his proudest accomplishment—the school for Muslim girls that he built in defiance of Islamic conservatives—it now housed an Azerbaijan Academy of Science archive. His villa had become a tuberculosis sanatorium, its water pipes rusted and its wood siding rotting in the ocean air. Mikhail Gorbachev formally rehabilitated Tagiyev in a 1990 ceremony witnessed by the old baron’s granddaughter, Sophia, who at the age of sixty-nine was once again living in Baku. Her white hair parted neatly down the middle, she bore a striking resemblance to her grandfather. She was accompanied by her mother, Sarah, now ninety, and the two of them lingered for a while at Tagiyev’s gravesite next to the old villa.


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1983: Reagan, Andropov, and a World on the Brink by Taylor Downing

active measures, anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, cuban missile crisis, Donald Trump, Fall of the Berlin Wall, full employment, kremlinology, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, nuclear paranoia, nuclear winter, RAND corporation, Robert Hanssen: Double agent, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, Stanislav Petrov, Vladimir Vetrov: Farewell Dossier, Yom Kippur War

For fifteen years Andropov sat at the top of the organisation that spied on his own people and conducted extensive espionage operations abroad. But he was sufficiently clear-minded to realise that the Soviet Union was suffering from many inherent deficiencies. The economy was desperately held back by chronic low productivity. Both industrial and agrarian production needed substantial reform. Andropov picked out and promoted young men like Mikhail Gorbachev who had a clear vision of some of the changes that were needed. But Andropov himself would never be the man to bring about radical change. His thinking was still dominated by the core tenets of Marxist-Leninist belief. Whenever reform was needed, he would call for greater discipline within the party. No matter how frustrated he grew with the economic stagnation under Brezhnev, whenever a crossroads was approached he always chose the path of orthodoxy.

The Soviet leader had taken a sudden turn for the worse. Chazov later wrote, ‘His condition gradually worsened, his weakness increased, he again stopped trying to walk, but still the wound would not heal… Andropov began to realise that he was not going to get any better.’3 Andropov spoke to his deputy Chernenko every day from his Crimean villa. He regularly conversed with Ustinov and Gromyko too. His protégé, Mikhail Gorbachev, telephoned Andropov on several occasions and after one call thought he seemed brighter. He hoped he was getting better.4 After his exhausting medical procedures in the morning, Andropov liked nothing more than to sit on the veranda of his villa overlooking the Black Sea, reading the mountain of literature that was sent to him daily. All the most important papers from the Politburo and the Central Committee were despatched to him.

The official word from the Kremlin was that the Soviet leader was still on an extended holiday in the Crimea. Members of the Politburo travelled out to the Kuntsevo Clinic in their Zil limousines for meetings at Andropov’s bedside so that he could continue with his duties as head of government. These vehicles were always allowed to drive at speed along the road to Kuntsevo, preceded and followed by escorts from the security services. One of those who visited regularly was Politburo member Mikhail Gorbachev, who was genuinely fond of his mentor and who wrote of these bedside encounters, ‘whenever the doctors permitted it I went to the hospital. In fact everyone had been visiting him–some less often, others more frequently; some to support him, others to check on his condition once more.’ So the suffering induced by his illness was aggravated by another worry: Andropov knew what was going on around his bedside.


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The Enemy Within by Seumas Milne

active measures, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, Boris Johnson, collective bargaining, corporate governance, Edward Snowden, Etonian, Fall of the Berlin Wall, invisible hand, Kickstarter, market fundamentalism, Mikhail Gorbachev, Naomi Klein, Neil Kinnock, Nelson Mandela, New Journalism, Ronald Reagan, strikebreaker, union organizing, Washington Consensus, Winter of Discontent, éminence grise

Indeed, they started being made by some of those with an interest in the affair – apparently as a sort of immunization or insurance policy – even before this book was finished.49 When the Guardian first published details of large-scale counter-subversion operations against the NUM and an account of some of the political undercurrents behind the Scargill Affair, the Daily Mirror’s immediate response was to cry: ‘Conspiracy theory!’ In two full-page tirades, the Guardian was accused of stringing together ‘an unlikely chain of people who, it implies, took part in a great conspiracy: the KGB, CIA, Margaret Thatcher, MI6, Mikhail Gorbachev, and the Mirror – and all of them out to get poor old Arthur’. The Guardian’s purpose, it was said, was to prove the NUM president to be a ‘maliciously maligned hero of the working class’. In fact, the stringing together was done by the Mirror itself. But as far as the journalists then working for the Maxwell-owned tabloid were concerned, just a whiff of conspiracy theory was enough to discredit the Guardian’s revelations.

In the week between 4 and 10 March 1990, the Sunday and Daily Mirror – each with a circulation of getting on for four million copies –would between them publish twenty-five pages of reports and commentary about Scargill and the ‘dishonour’ he had brought on the miners’ union.3 The taster chosen for the Sunday Mirror was a suitably titillating morsel about missing ‘Moscow Gold’. In December 1984, at Mikhail Gorbachev’s first meeting with Margaret Thatcher at Chequers, the paper revealed, the British Prime Minister had taken the future Soviet leader aside after lunch to express her ‘great displeasure’ about Soviet ‘meddling’ in the miners’ strike, then in its ninth month. ‘We believe that people in the Soviet Union … are helping to prolong the strike’, Thatcher told him. Gorbachev insisted that the strike was an internal British affair, and that as far as he was aware ‘no money has been transferred from the Soviet Union’.

Maxwell liked the idea of collaboration with Central Television, Greenslade says, partly because he knew he would get publicity on air for exposing the miners’ leader and partly because he wouldn’t be taking on Scargill alone.31 There was another, more delicate, factor. Maxwell also owned 20 per cent of Central Television’s shares, which must have been a welcome added bonus. With the deal in the bag, money was by all accounts now spent with wild abandon as the new joint Central–Mirror investigation careered around Britain and a variety of suitable foreign locations: France, Australia, the Soviet Union. In Moscow, the Cook operation hired a cousin of Mikhail Gorbachev, then still the country’s president, to pin down the tale of the Soviet millions. In France, the Central–Maxwell investigating team found themselves in mortal danger when, in the middle of a hurricane, the intrepid Roger Cook insisted on taking the controls of a light aircraft they had chartered. Back in Britain, researchers were pulled in from other programmes in an effort to harden up the evidence.32 By the time Greenslade arrived from the Sunday Times at the beginning of February, Maxwell had already proudly informed his new editor of the secret scoop he would be given the privilege of publishing.


pages: 471 words: 127,852

Londongrad: From Russia With Cash; The Inside Story of the Oligarchs by Mark Hollingsworth, Stewart Lansley

Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bob Geldof, business intelligence, corporate governance, corporate raider, credit crunch, crony capitalism, Donald Trump, energy security, Etonian, F. W. de Klerk, income inequality, kremlinology, mass immigration, mega-rich, Mikhail Gorbachev, offshore financial centre, paper trading, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalances, rent-seeking, Ronald Reagan, Skype, Sloane Ranger

CHAPTER 11 Showdown CHAPTER 12 Paint the Town Red BIBLIOGRAPHY NOTES INDEX ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Photo Insert Also by Mark Hollingsworth and Stewart Lansley Copyright About the Publisher LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS Roman Abramovich and Daria Zhukova © Big Pictures Chelsea win the Premier League © Reuters Mikhail Khodorkovsky © Camera Press Vladimir Putin and Oleg Deripaska © PA Boris Yeltsin and Boris Berezovsky © PA Boris Berezovsky in Surrey © Camera Press Alexander Lebedev, Mikhail Gorbachev and Bono © Getty Images Evgeny Lebedev, Mikhail Gorbachev and Geordie Greig © Getty Images Naomi Campbell and Vladimir Doronin © Big Pictures Pelorus in St Petersburg © PA Helicopter in Sardinia © Big Pictures Roman Abramovich’s Boeing 767 © Rex Features Natalia Vodianova and Justin Portman © PA Damien Hirst and Daria Zhukova © Getty Images Christian Candy and Nick Candy © Getty Images Prince Michael of Kent © Camera Press Lord Bell © Camera Press Nat Rothschild © Getty Images George Osborne © PA Queen K © Getty Images Lord Mandelson © Camera Press Stephen Curtis © PA Pennsylvania Castle © Rex Features Helicopter crash site © Rex Features Alexander Litvinenko’s FSB credentials © Litvinenko/PA Alexander Litvinenko © PA Alexander Litvinenko in hospital © Getty Images Anna Politkovskaya © PA Paul Klebnikov © PA Andrei Lugovoi © Corbis Badri Patarkatsishvili and Boris Berezovsky © PA Fyning Hill estate © Getty Images Oleg Deripaska’s London home © Rex Features Russian women in London © Aleksei Kudikov/Eventica Russian gathering in Trafalgar Square © Aleksei Kudikov/Eventica Ksenia Sobchak © Landov Polina Deripaska, Tatyana Dyachenko, Valentin Yumashev © Landov Dmitri Medvedev © Nikas Safronov Vladimir Putin © Nikas Safronov Chocolate heads © Getty CHAPTER 1 The Man Who Knew Too Much ‘I have dug myself into a hole and I am in too deep.

Like their ancient Greek counterparts, few of the modern Russian oligarchs became mega-rich by creating new wealth but rather by insider political intrigue and by exploiting the weakness of the rule of law. Driven by a lust for money and power, they secured much of the country’s natural and historic wealth through the manipulation of the post-Soviet-era process of privatization. When Boris Yeltsin succeeded Mikhail Gorbachev as President in 1991, Russia had reached another precarious stage in its complex history. It had difficulty trading its vast resources and was short of food, while its banking system suffered from a severe lack of liquidity. Its former foe the United States - in Russia referred to as glavni vrag (the main enemy) - was watching events eagerly. Within weeks, advisers from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank teamed up with powerful Russian reformist economists close to the Kremlin to persuade Yeltsin to introduce an unbridled free-market economy involving the mass privatization of state assets.

Russia was still mired in a severe economic crisis with plunging share prices and rampant inflation. The indecisive and capricious Yeltsin was ill, often drunk and rarely in control, while the state was running out of money to pay pensions and salaries. Taking advantage of the growing crisis, a handful of businessmen dreamed up a clever ruse that appeared to offer a solution. This was a group that had already become rich by taking advantage of the early days of Mikhail Gorbachev’s perestroika (restructuring), which, for the first time in the Soviet Union, allowed small private enterprises to operate. Led by a leading insider, Vladimir Potanin, the cabal offered Yeltsin a backroom deal known in the West as ‘loans for shares’. This was an arrangement (coming at the end of the voucher privatization scheme) whereby they would lend the government the cash it so desperately needed in return for the right to buy shares in the remaining state enterprises.


pages: 736 words: 233,366

Roller-Coaster: Europe, 1950-2017 by Ian Kershaw

airport security, anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Boris Johnson, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business cycle, centre right, colonial rule, cuban missile crisis, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, European colonialism, eurozone crisis, Exxon Valdez, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, falling living standards, feminist movement, first-past-the-post, fixed income, floating exchange rates, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, illegal immigration, income inequality, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, labour market flexibility, land reform, late capitalism, liberal capitalism, liberation theology, low skilled workers, mass immigration, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, Nelson Mandela, North Sea oil, Northern Rock, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, open borders, precariat, price stability, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, reserve currency, rising living standards, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, Sinatra Doctrine, The Chicago School, trade liberalization, union organizing, upwardly mobile, washing machines reduced drudgery, Washington Consensus, Winter of Discontent, young professional

There was general agreement in the upper ranks of the party that the much-needed inner renewal and exterior strength of the Soviet Union depended upon a leader who was relatively young, energetic, resourceful and dynamic. Waiting in the wings was just that man. Mikhail Gorbachev, the unanimous choice of the Politburo as next General Secretary of the Communist Party, was only fifty-four years old – almost a juvenile when compared with the previous three leaders. He had been Andropov’s protégé, and had effectively run affairs while Chernenko had been nominally in charge. Gorbachev was about to step out of the wings and onto centre stage, not just in the Soviet Union but in world affairs. 8 Easterly Wind of Change We know that our road is difficult. However, the choice has been made and we have paved the way for perestroika. Mikhail Gorbachev, speech to the Soviet people at New Year 1989 We now have the Frank Sinatra doctrine. He has a song, ‘I Did It My Way’.

Turks in Duisburg, 1980 (Henning Christoph/Ullstein Bild via Getty Images) 19. IRA bombing in Belfast, 1972 (Bettmann/Getty Images) 20. Pope John Paul II in Warsaw, 1979 (Bettmann/Getty Images) 21. LechWałęsa at the Gdansk shipyard, 1980 (Jean-Louis Atlan/Sygma via Getty Images) 22. François Mitterrand and Helmut Kohl, 1984 (Régis Bossu/Sygma via Getty Images) 23. Margaret Thatcher and Mikhail Gorbachev in Moscow, 1987 (Georges De Keerle/Hulton Archive/Getty Images) 24. Leipzig demonstration, 1989 (Georges Merillon/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images) 25. Romanian demonstrator, Bucharest, 1989 (Peter Turnley/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images) 26. Anti-Maastricht placards, Provence, 1992 (Philippe Giraud/Sygma via Getty Images) 27. Bombing of Sarajevo, 1992 (Georges Gobet/AFP/Getty Images) 28. Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin, 1999 (AFP/Getty Images) 29.

How this burst into youthful protest in the late 1960s, and the changing social and cultural values that were left from the period of student revolt, is explored in Chapter 6. Chapter 7 focuses upon a key decade: the fundamental change that occurred during the 1970s and early 1980s. Although the problems east of the Iron Curtain were by the 1980s mounting alarmingly for the leaders of communist states, Chapter 8 emphasizes the personal part played by Mikhail Gorbachev in unintentionally but fatally undermining Soviet rule, while Chapter 9 turns the spotlight on the part played in Europe’s ‘velvet revolution’ of 1989–91 by pressure for change from below. How difficult and often disillusioning the transition to pluralist democracies and capitalist economies was for the countries of Eastern Europe, and the disastrous collapse into ethnic war in Yugoslavia, form the main topics of Chapter 10.


Who Rules the World? by Noam Chomsky

"Robert Solow", Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, British Empire, capital controls, corporate governance, corporate personhood, cuban missile crisis, deindustrialization, Donald Trump, Doomsday Clock, Edward Snowden, en.wikipedia.org, facts on the ground, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Howard Zinn, illegal immigration, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, liberation theology, Malacca Straits, Martin Wolf, Mikhail Gorbachev, Monroe Doctrine, Nelson Mandela, nuclear winter, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, one-state solution, Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalances, precariat, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ronald Reagan, South China Sea, Stanislav Petrov, structural adjustment programs, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, trade route, union organizing, uranium enrichment, wage slave, WikiLeaks, working-age population

Within the Grand Area, the United States would maintain “unquestioned power” with “military and economic supremacy,” while ensuring the “limitation of any exercise of sovereignty” by states that might interfere with its global designs.3 These careful wartime plans were soon implemented. It was always recognized that Europe might choose to follow an independent course; the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was partially intended to counter this threat. As soon as the official pretext for NATO dissolved in 1989, it was expanded to the east, in violation of verbal pledges to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. It has since become a U.S.-run intervention force with far-ranging scope, as spelled out by NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, who informed a NATO conference that “NATO troops have to guard pipelines that transport oil and gas that is directed for the West,” and more generally protect sea routes used by tankers and other “crucial infrastructure” of the energy system.4 Grand Area doctrines license military intervention at will.

In 1989, the democratic uprising was tolerated by the Russians, and supported by Western power in accord with standard doctrine: it plainly conformed to economic and strategic objectives, and was therefore a noble achievement, greatly honored, unlike the struggles at the same time “to defend the people’s fundamental human rights” in Central America, in the words of the assassinated archbishop of El Salvador, one of the hundreds of thousands of victims of the military forces armed and trained by Washington.17 There was no Mikhail Gorbachev in the West throughout those horrendous years, and there is none today. And Western power remains hostile to democracy in the Arab world for good reasons. Grand Area doctrines continue to apply to contemporary crises and confrontations. In Western policymaking circles and political commentary, the Iranian threat is considered to pose the greatest danger to world order and hence must be the primary focus of U.S. foreign policy, with Europe trailing along politely.

The battalion had already left a bloody trail of thousands of the usual victims in the course of the U.S.-run state terror campaign in El Salvador, part of a broader terror and torture campaign throughout the region.4 All routine, ignored and virtually forgotten in the United States and by its allies—again routine. But it tells us a lot about the factors that drive policy, if we care to look at the real world. Another important event took place in Europe. Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev agreed to allow the reunification of Germany and its membership in NATO, a hostile military alliance. In light of recent history, this was a most astonishing concession. There was a quid pro quo: President Bush and Secretary of State James Baker agreed that NATO would not expand “one inch to the East,” meaning into East Germany. Instantly, they expanded NATO to East Germany. Gorbachev was naturally outraged, but when he complained, he was instructed by Washington that this had only been a verbal promise, a gentleman’s agreement, hence without force.5 If he was naïve enough to accept the word of American leaders, it was his problem.


pages: 587 words: 119,432

The Collapse: The Accidental Opening of the Berlin Wall by Mary Elise Sarotte

anti-communist, Berlin Wall, conceptual framework, Deng Xiaoping, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, hindsight bias, Mikhail Gorbachev, open borders, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, urban decay, éminence grise

The opening of the Wall was not the result of a decision by political leaders in East Berlin, even though a number of them would later claim otherwise, or of an agreement with the government of West Germany in Bonn. The opening was not the result of a plan by the four powers that still held ultimate legal authority in divided Berlin: the United States, the United Kingdom, and France in the West, and the Soviet Union in the East. The opening was not the result of any specific agreement between the former US president, Ronald Reagan, and the Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev. The opening that night was simply not planned. Why, then, was it happening? Enormous crowds were surging toward both the eastern and western sides of the Wall. The East German regime struggled to maintain order not only at the Brandenburg Gate but also at the Wall’s border crossings—for there was no crossing at the gate itself—with armed troops, physical barriers, and other means. At some locations, security forces succeeded in regaining control over the crowds, but the people kept coming.

East Berlin could take comfort from the fact that Budapest had fulfilled the treaty’s terms for two decades. Hungarian leaders had not only prevented escapes but also, in many cases, identified the would-be escapees and handed them over to the Stasi, in violation of international norms for the treatment of refugees.1 Cooperation among Soviet bloc members began to break down, however, after Mikhail Gorbachev came to power, since the leaders of the various countries disagreed about how to respond to the reforms in Moscow.2 In East Berlin, Erich Honecker personally took a number of steps to show his disapproval of such reforms. On Honecker’s orders, the GDR postal service started forbidding distribution of a German-language Soviet magazine called Sputnik in November 1988. The SED’s top man did not like the tone of the articles appearing in it.3 Honecker also made clear at a party plenary session in December 1988 that there would be no Soviet-style glasnost (openness) or perestroika (restructuring) in East Germany of the kind that Gorbachev had promised to institute in the USSR.

Working together with leading activists from the Environmental Library, such as Tom Sello, dissidents in both the church and the library tried to draw attention to the crimes of the ruling regime. The goal was, as Sello put it, “not to let up,” to keep up the pressure, to motivate others to get involved, and to shame the regime.5 Both places had become a kind of refuge as a result. When East Germans had shouted “Gorbi, Gorbi” and other unapproved slogans at the Soviet leader during the fortieth-anniversary celebrations on October 7—Mikhail Gorbachev, reluctantly, had come to East Berlin for the event—and police had dispersed the crowds by force, those who had suffered personally or had witnessed the violence, such as seeing a police truck running over a protestor, felt the need to bear witness.6 A number of such people ended up in Birthler’s office in the church, where they would describe their experiences to her.7 Listening to so many tragic stories, she soon became overwhelmed and, to give herself a respite, started asking visitors to put their experiences on paper instead.


pages: 421 words: 120,332

The World in 2050: Four Forces Shaping Civilization's Northern Future by Laurence C. Smith

Bretton Woods, BRICs, business cycle, clean water, Climategate, colonial rule, deglobalization, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, energy security, flex fuel, G4S, global supply chain, Google Earth, guest worker program, Hans Island, hydrogen economy, ice-free Arctic, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of agriculture, invisible hand, land tenure, Martin Wolf, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, New Urbanism, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, peak oil, Pearl River Delta, purchasing power parity, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, side project, Silicon Valley, smart grid, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, standardized shipping container, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, trade liberalization, trade route, UNCLOS, UNCLOS, urban planning, Washington Consensus, Y2K

The U.S. president Gerald Ford escaped two assassination attempts (one by Charles Manson’s murderous henchwoman Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme), the Khmer Rouge had taken over Cambodia, and the movie Godfather II ran away with six Academy Awards, including one to the Italian-American actor Robert De Niro. Our fifth billion came in 1987, now just twelve years after the fourth. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above 2,000 for the first time in history and the Irish rock band U2 released their fifth album, The Joshua Tree. Standing outside Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate, U.S. president Ronald Reagan exhorted Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down this wall.” The world’s last dusky seaside sparrow died of old age on a tiny island preserve in Florida’s Walt Disney World Resort. A self-absorbed college sophomore at the time, I only noticed The Joshua Tree. Our sixth billion arrived in 1999. This is now very recent history. The United Nations declared 1999 the International Year of Older Persons. The Dow Jones climbed above 11,000 for the first time in history.

The blast and consequent fire that burned for days released a radioactive cloud detected across much of Europe, with the fallout concentrated in Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia. Two people were killed in the plant explosion, and twenty-eight emergency workers died from acute radiation poisoning. About five million people were exposed to some level of radiation. Soviet officials initially downplayed the accident. It took eighteen days for then-general secretary Mikhail Gorbachev to acknowledge the disaster on Soviet television, but he had already mobilized a massive response. Soviet helicopters dropped more than five thousand tons of sand, clay, lead, and other materials on the reactor’s burning core to smother the flames. Approximately 50,000 residents were evacuated from the nearby town of Pripyat, still abandoned today with many personal belongings lying where they were left.

Is the “mad scramble” so fevered, the oil and gas assessments so compelling, the retreating ice and new shipping lanes so transformative, that extreme tension or violent conflicts in the region become inevitable? There are good reasons to think not. One is a persistent trend of northern cooperation over the past two decades. A second is a legal document of the United Nations that is fast becoming the globally accepted rulebook on how countries carve up dominion over the world’s oceans. The story of the first begins October 1, 1987, with a famous speech delivered in Murmansk by then-Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. Standing at the gateway of his country’s strategic nuclear arsenal in the Arctic Ocean, Gorbachev called for transforming the region from a tense military theater to a nuke-free “zone of peace and fruitful cooperation.” He proposed international collaborations in disarmament, energy development, science, indigenous rights, and environmental protections between all Arctic countries.341 The choice of Murmansk, the Arctic’s largest and most important port city and the heart of the Soviet Union’s military and industrial north, was highly symbolic.


pages: 615 words: 187,426

Chinese Spies: From Chairman Mao to Xi Jinping by Roger Faligot

active measures, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, autonomous vehicles, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, British Empire, business intelligence, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, Fall of the Berlin Wall, housing crisis, illegal immigration, index card, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, new economy, offshore financial centre, Pearl River Delta, Port of Oakland, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, special economic zone, stem cell, union organizing, young professional, éminence grise

This was how the pool of “deep-water fish” (Chendi yü) developed: the Guoanbu term for the thousands of exceptional special agents, hidden in the deepest strata of society—the cultural, scientific, economic and military worlds of the enemy, each a significant piece of the puzzle. A Chinese-style National Security Council? Setting up yet another spy station to throw light on an ever-changing world would not be enough for a country as big as China. Deng Xiaoping was all too aware of this, especially given the major upheavals of the mid-1980s. These began with the rise to power of Mikhail Gorbachev, who became general secretary of the Soviet Union’s Communist Party in March 1985, leading a reform team focused on glasnost (political transparency), and perestroika (economic restructuring). Gorbachev became president in 1990, and soon talks between him and US President Ronald Reagan were cleansed of the bitter taste of discord, evolving into cordial agreement. Was the anti-Soviet alliance between China and the US about to fade, or even collapse?

That night he sent the Kremlin a report, some details of which were supplied by sources at the highest level of the Chinese secret services.1 For the previous fortnight, Grigorov, the KGB rezident in Beijing since January 1987, had been under orders to send Moscow detailed and accurate information, several times a day, about what was going on in the Chinese capital. He was familiar with PRC politics, having been part of the Soviet delegation responsible for organizing a ceasefire with China following the border conflict on the Amur River (Ussuri). His dispatches were read not only by Vladimir Kryuchkov, head of the KGB, but also by Mikhail Gorbachev, general secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Gorbachev had been deeply offended by the inauspicious welcome the Chinese had afforded him just two weeks earlier, on 15 May. That day had witnessed the first Sino-Soviet summit since the longstanding split thirty years earlier. Yet, instead of receiving Gorbachev with pomp and ceremony in Tiananmen, the Chinese had organized a low-key welcome ceremony at the airport.

In 1976, Chinese youth had marched there in memory of Zhou Enlai, demanding the opening up of the country—a strategy deployed by Deng Xiaoping to prepare the ground for his return to power. In 1986, young people had demonstrated on the square in support of student movements in other cities. The unintended consequence of those protests had been the fall of the reformist general secretary, Hu Yaobang, who had been forced to resign. Deng Xiaoping against Mikhail Gorbachev On 16 April 1989, Hu suffered a heart attack and died. The following day, thousands of students gathered in Tiananmen Square to show their support for his reforms, demanding that his agenda be pursued and the “fifth modernization” continue its progress. As celebrated dissident Wei Jingsheng declared, this was democracy in action. And so began the “55 Days at Tiananmen.”2 The leaders who lived at Zhongnanhai were reluctant to act against the students, many of whom were the children of party cadres, and not least because international television stations, CNN and ABC in particular, were broadcasting these images of China in turmoil around the clock.


pages: 1,373 words: 300,577

The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World by Daniel Yergin

"Robert Solow", addicted to oil, Albert Einstein, Asian financial crisis, Ayatollah Khomeini, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, borderless world, BRICs, business climate, carbon footprint, Carmen Reinhart, cleantech, Climategate, Climatic Research Unit, colonial rule, Colonization of Mars, corporate governance, cuban missile crisis, data acquisition, decarbonisation, Deng Xiaoping, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, diversification, diversified portfolio, Elon Musk, energy security, energy transition, Exxon Valdez, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fear of failure, financial innovation, flex fuel, global supply chain, global village, high net worth, hydraulic fracturing, income inequality, index fund, informal economy, interchangeable parts, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), James Watt: steam engine, John von Neumann, Kenneth Rogoff, life extension, Long Term Capital Management, Malacca Straits, market design, means of production, megacity, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, Mohammed Bouazizi, mutually assured destruction, new economy, Norman Macrae, North Sea oil, nuclear winter, off grid, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, Paul Samuelson, peak oil, Piper Alpha, price mechanism, purchasing power parity, rent-seeking, rising living standards, Robert Metcalfe, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, smart grid, smart meter, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, Stuxnet, technology bubble, the built environment, The Nature of the Firm, the new new thing, trade route, transaction costs, unemployed young men, University of East Anglia, uranium enrichment, William Langewiesche, Yom Kippur War

“Not so fast,” he said.2 DESERT STORM Thereafter unfolded an extraordinary enterprise in coalition building—with some 36 nations signing on, in the form of either troops or money, under the auspices of the United Nations. The coalition included Saudi Arabia, whose largest oil field was only 250 miles from its border with Kuwait and whose ruler, King Fahd, told Bush that Saddam was “conceited and crazy” and that “he is following Hitler in creating world problems.” It also included the Soviet Union, whose president, Mikhail Gorbachev, said something that would have been unthinkable only a couple of years earlier—that the Soviet Union would stand “shoulder to shoulder” with the United States in the crisis.3 Over the six months that followed, a coalition force steadily and methodically assembled in northern Saudi Arabia until it numbered almost a million strong. In the very early predawn hours of January 17, Operation Desert Storm commenced its first phase, with aerial bombardment of Iraqi military targets.

As an article in Foreign Affairs put it in 1993, “Oil is truly a global business for the first time since the barricades went up with the Bolshevik Revolution.”7 This observation had particular significance for Russia, the country that had been home of the Bolshevik Revolution, and that now rivaled Saudi Arabia in its capacity to produce oil. PART ONE The New World of Oil 1 RUSSIA RETURNS On the night of December 25, 1991, Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev went on national television to make a startling announcement—one that would have been almost unimaginable even a year or two earlier: “I hereby discontinue my activities at the post of the President of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.” And, he added, the Soviet Union would shortly cease to exist. “We have a lot of everything—land, oil and gas and other natural resources—and there was talent and intellect in abundance,” he continued.

“Some day our common efforts will bear fruit and our nations will live in a prosperous, democratic society.” He concluded simply, “I wish everyone all the best.”1 With that, he faded out into the ether and uncertainty of the night. His whole speech had taken just twelve minutes. That was it. After seven decades, communism was finished in the land in which it had been born. Six days later, on December 31, the USSR, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, formally ceased to exist. Mikhail Gorbachev, the last president of the Soviet Union, handed over the “football”—the suitcase with the codes to activate the Soviet nuclear arsenal—to Boris Yeltsin, the first president of the Russian Federation. There were no ringing of bells, no honking of horns, to mark this great transition. Just a stunned and muted—and disbelieving—response. The Soviet Union, a global superpower, was gone. The successors would be fifteen states, ranging in size from the huge Russian Federation to tiny Estonia.


Super Continent: The Logic of Eurasian Integration by Kent E. Calder

3D printing, air freight, Asian financial crisis, Berlin Wall, blockchain, Bretton Woods, business intelligence, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, cloud computing, colonial rule, Credit Default Swap, cuban missile crisis, deindustrialization, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, disruptive innovation, Doha Development Round, Donald Trump, energy transition, European colonialism, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Gini coefficient, housing crisis, income inequality, industrial cluster, industrial robot, interest rate swap, intermodal, Internet of things, invention of movable type, inventory management, John Markoff, liberal world order, Malacca Straits, Mikhail Gorbachev, mittelstand, money market fund, moral hazard, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, reserve currency, Ronald Reagan, seigniorage, smart cities, smart grid, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, special drawing rights, special economic zone, supply-chain management, Thomas L Friedman, trade liberalization, trade route, transcontinental railway, UNCLOS, UNCLOS, union organizing, Washington Consensus, working-age population, zero-sum game

Putin’s Pacific Russia Concept Russian explorers reached the coast of the Pacific and claimed it for the czar in 1639. Yet since the reign of Peter the Great—less than half a century later—Russia has emphatically seen itself as a Eurocentric nation, vast positions in Asia notwithstanding.20 A few of Peter’s successors, such as Nicholas II, appreciated the Pacific, as we have seen. Yet such visionaries were few and far between. In recent history, Mikhail Gorbachev did sense the rising importance of the Pacific, expressed in his insightful July 1986 Vladivostok speech, as well as his historic August 1988 Krasnoyarsk address two years later. Broad and dynamic relations with India, China, and finally South Korea, culminating The Silk Road Syndrome 33 in Gorbachev’s dramatic June 1990 summit dialogue with Korean president Roh Tae-woo in San Francisco, were among the creative hallmarks of his career, building on his historic acquiescence in the transformation of Eastern Europe.

It atrophied following the arrival of Vasco da Gama in India by sea, at the end of the fifteenth century, and did not begin to revive for nearly five centuries, until the explosive growth of China and the 48 chapter 2 collapse of the Soviet Union began giving it a compelling logic again during the 1990s. In modern days, several of the major Eurasian nations have begun to grasp the potential of continentalism, albeit from subtly divergent perspectives. The first was arguably czarist Russia, as Nicholas II and his advisor Sergei Witte began contemplating the Trans-Siberian Railway in the early 1890s. In more recent years, Mikhail Gorbachev, Vladimir Putin, and various Korean leaders have also actively entertained notions of Eurasian continentalism and considered how their nations might benefit, both in economic and in geopolitical terms, since the Silk Road emphatically has never included the United States. Their interests, and those of Japan and Mongolia to some degree, in energy development and an Iron Silk Road across Siberia have run parallel to one another.

This abrupt collapse of the Soviet Union was actually in the making for a decade or more, with its roots in Soviet economic stagnation, failed attempts at reform, and the USSR’s own overextension.17 The costly war in Afghanistan (1979 –1989) was a major factor, both in bleeding the Soviet Union physically18 and in triggering Western sanctions. Those sanctions deprived the Soviets of valuable foreign exchange, by preventing construction of major energy pipelines from the USSR to the European Union (EU) and Japan. Mikhail Gorbachev, taking power in 1985, understood the structural problems of the Soviet Union, responding with his glasnost (openness) and perestroika (restructuring) campaigns. Political turbulence intensified, however, following the Afghan withdrawal in early 1989, even though the withdrawal extinguished what had been a significant cause of previous dissatisfaction. In November 1989 the Berlin Wall went down, without a decisive Soviet response, deepening a sense—both in the Soviet satellites and within the USSR itself—that fundamental change was impending.


pages: 592 words: 161,798

The Future of War by Lawrence Freedman

Albert Einstein, autonomous vehicles, Berlin Wall, Black Swan, British Empire, colonial rule, conceptual framework, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, currency manipulation / currency intervention, Donald Trump, drone strike, en.wikipedia.org, energy security, Ernest Rutherford, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, global village, Google Glasses, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), John Markoff, long peace, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, open economy, pattern recognition, Peace of Westphalia, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, South China Sea, speech recognition, Steven Pinker, Stuxnet, the scientific method, uranium enrichment, urban sprawl, Valery Gerasimov, WikiLeaks, zero day

In 1983 he launched what he called a ‘strategic defence initiative’ to develop layered defences against a Soviet missile attack. Better, he said, to save American lives from a nuclear attack than to avenge them after one.14 This was why Clancy’s other message, that NATO could defend itself without resort to nuclear threats, appealed to him. In 1986 he discussed the book with advisers en route to Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital, for a summit meeting with Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet leader. There over two extraordinary days the two men almost agreed on drastic reductions in their nuclear arsenals. Reagan’s refusal to concede his strategic defence initiative resulted in failure. British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, a convinced advocate of nuclear deterrence, was alarmed at how far Reagan had been prepared to go down the non-nuclear route. When they met in October 1986 he urged her to read Clancy’s book to calm her fears.

Clancy was still imagining a war between the United States and the Soviet Union in 1991, even after the Warsaw Pact had fallen apart.16 Hackett assumed, as did almost all commentators at this time, that Moscow would take a hard line against dissidence. Yet it was essential to his plot that the old guard in the Kremlin knew that ‘time was running out’. In the event, instead of a war launched to hold the Soviet bloc together, 1985 saw Mikhail Gorbachev become president and the start of a process that would soon lead to the peaceful break-up of the Soviet bloc. JUST AS THE BOLSHEVIK REVOLUTION WAS A RESPONSE TO the inability of the old regime to cope with war it was not unreasonable to assume that it would take a war to create the crisis that would break the Soviet system. There was always a possibility that a regime that saw a deep threat to its position would take risks that in other circumstances would be rejected as foolhardy.

He recalled, as an example, ‘West German colleagues and friends’ avoiding him in the early 1970s for fear that contact with someone out of favour with the government ‘would needlessly provoke that government and thereby jeopardize the fragile foundations of nascent détente.’ Havel cited this voluntary renunciation of freedom as an example of how easy it was ‘for a well-meant cause to betray its good intentions’.26 WHEN MIKHAIL GORBACHEV BECAME SOVIET LEADER IN 1985 his aim was not to push human rights but to reform the sclerotic system which he could see to be failing by every measure.27 Unlike those he replaced, his world-view had not been shaped by the war with Germany, and he had not worked closely with the military-industrial complex that dominated the economy. The more he discovered about the baleful, distorting influence of this complex, depriving all other sectors of resources and talent, the more he was convinced that it had to be cut back.


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The Wars of Afghanistan by Peter Tomsen

airport security, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, British Empire, drone strike, facts on the ground, failed state, friendly fire, glass ceiling, hiring and firing, Internet Archive, Khyber Pass, land reform, Mikhail Gorbachev, plutocrats, Plutocrats, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, trade route, union organizing, uranium enrichment, women in the workforce, zero-sum game

Deputy head of the Communist Party’s International Department under Boris Ponomarev. Konstantin Chernyenko: Communist Party official. General secretary of the Communist Party (1984–1985). Anatoly Dobrynin: Diplomat. Ambassador to the United States (1962–1986), Politburo Afghan Commission member (1986–1989), head of the Communist Party’s International Department (1986–1988). Mikhail Gorbachev: Communist Party official. General secretary of the Communist Party (1985–1991). President of the Soviet Union (1990–1991). Andrey Gromyko: Communist Party official. Diplomat. Soviet foreign minister (1953–1985). Politburo Afghan Commission member (1979–1985). Alexey Kosygin: Communist Party official and Politburo member. Soviet prime minister (1964–1980). Vladimir Kryuchkov: KGB official.

They considered Afghanistan a third-tier issue left over from the Cold War. Other matters took priority over Reagan’s earlier pledges to moderate-nationalist Afghan leaders like Abdul Haq. Just when a firm diplomatic push for a political settlement from the world’s only remaining superpower was most needed, America was bowing out. The Cold War ended on Christmas Eve 1991 when the Soviet Union collapsed. Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev moved his belongings out of the Kremlin, and Russian President Boris Yeltsin moved in. Moscow’s military and economic supply lines to the Afghan communist regime in Kabul evaporated. Five new struggling Central Asian states now separated Russia and Afghanistan. At its nearest point, the Russian border was more than 400 miles from Afghanistan. “The president wants out,” American diplomats told colleagues in the State Department’s corridors.

After Brezhnev’s death in 1982, his personal physician revealed that only the regular infusion of drugs had kept the ailing Soviet leader active after 1975.52 Brezhnev was a serial consumer of sleeping pills during both daytime and nighttime hours. They contributed to his slurred speech and occasional disorientation during high-level meetings. To the embarrassment of other Soviet officials, he sometimes mumbled when discussing affairs of state with foreign visitors. Mikhail Gorbachev recalled one meeting with a foreign communist delegation during which Brezhnev suddenly forgot the topic he was discussing. The group, Gorbachev remembered, “carried on as if nothing had happened.”53 Yuriy Andropov, the head of the KGB from 1967 to 1982—and the most influential member of the Politburo’s Afghan Commission—largely controlled the channeling of information to Brezhnev. At sixty-five, Andropov was also the only commission member under seventy.


pages: 618 words: 146,557

Afgantsy: The Russians in Afghanistan, 1979-89 by Rodric Braithwaite

anti-communist, Berlin Wall, clean water, en.wikipedia.org, friendly fire, full employment, Khyber Pass, Mikhail Gorbachev, trade route, V2 rocket

‘Soviet troops would have to stay for as long as necessary because this is a matter which concerns the security of the Soviet Union’s southern border.’6 Andropov’s good intentions were undermined by his own failing health and by the shooting down by Soviet fighters of a Korean airliner on 1 September 1983, which led immediately to further worldwide condemnation of the Soviet Union for what President Reagan called a ‘massacre’. His efforts ran out of steam even before he died in January 1984. His successor, Konstantin Chernenko, was also seriously ill and barely able to take a grip on policy. He died on 10 March 1985. By now it was obvious to the senior Soviet politicians that the Soviet system was not working as it should. Within hours of Chernenko’s death they elected Mikhail Gorbachev as his successor, because he was young, energetic, imaginative, and – they believed – orthodox. Gorbachev Moves Gorbachev came to power determined to press ahead for a solution in Afghanistan. As a first step he requested a policy review from the Committee on Afghanistan, which was told to look into ‘the consequences, pluses, and minuses of a withdrawal’. Later he decided that this committee of old men was a brake on progress and abolished it.7 Some Western accounts said that Gorbachev gave the generals a year to finish the job by military means, and that in 1985–6 the pace of the fighting was increased to the highest level of the war.

January 1980 UN condemns Soviet invasion. February 1980 Massive demonstrations in Kabul. Soviets begin major operations. November 1982 Leonid Brezhnev dies, succeeded by Yuri Andropov. February 1983 UN Secretary General Perez de Cuellar discusses withdrawal with Andropov. February 1984 Andropov dies, succeeded by Konstantin Chernenko. March 1985 Chernenko dies, succeeded by Mikhail Gorbachev. October 1985 Politburo agrees troops should leave Afghanistan within eighteen months. February 1986 Gorbachev tells Soviet Party Congress that troops will leave Afghanistan. May 1986 Karmal replaced by Najibullah. September 1986 First Stingers are fired, down three helicopters. January 1987 Najibullah announces ‘National Reconciliation’. December 1987 Operation Magistral relieves Khost.

Krivosheev, Rossia i SSSR v voinakh XX veka: Poteri vooruzhennykh sil (Moscow, 2001), p. 540; according to the Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association, the total number of US helicopters destroyed in the Vietnam War was 5,086 out of 11,827 (http://www.vhpa.org/heliloss.pdf). 31 A. Chernyaev, Sovmestny iskhod: Dnevnik dvukh epokh 1972–1991 gody (Moscow, 2008), diary entries for 4 April 1985 and 17 October 1985, pp. 617 and 650. See account of the Soviet decision-making process in Chapter 12: ‘The Road to the Bridge’. Mikhail Gorbachev has confirmed that the arrival of the Stingers did not affect his decision-making, though of course the military had to take it into account in their tactical planning of the Soviet withdrawal (conversation, Sofia, 7 October 2010). 32 M. Galeotti, Afghanistan: The Soviet Union’s Last War (London, 1995), p. 197. 33 Gai and Snegirev, Vtorzhenie (Moscow, 1991), p. 162. 34 Yousaf and Adkin, Afghanistan (Barnsley, 1992), pp. 73–6; Tukharinov, Sekretny komandarm. 35 Sergei Morozov, interview, Moscow, 31 May 2007; Yousaf and Adkin, Afghanistan, pp. 73–6; Galeotti, Afghanistan, pp. 192–7. 36 Gai and Snegirev, Vtorzhenie, p. 262. 37 Ibid., pp. 227–9. 38 Alexander Gergel, interview, Moscow, 1 March 2010. 39 V.


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America at the Crossroads: Democracy, Power, and the Neoconservative Legacy by Francis Fukuyama

affirmative action, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, cuban missile crisis, David Brooks, European colonialism, failed state, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Internet Archive, Mikhail Gorbachev, Monroe Doctrine, mutually assured destruction, New Journalism, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, transaction costs, uranium enrichment, War on Poverty, Washington Consensus

The latter position was shared by people on the left who had some sympathy for the socialist aims of communism and disagreed only with the means, and by realists on the right who accepted communism as another form of government to which Western democracies would have to accommodate themselves. Neoconservatives after Vietnam simply continued to bear the torch of the earlier Cold War view about communism as a unique evil. Ronald Reagan was ridiculed by sophisticated people on the American left and in Europe for labeling the Soviet Union and its allies an "evil empire" and for challenging Mikhail Gorbachev not just to reform his system but to "tear down this wall." His as- The Neoconservative Legacy sistant secretary of defense for international security policy, Richard Perle, was denounced as the "prince of darkness" for this uncompromising, hard-line position; and his proposal for a double zero in the intermediate-range nuclear forces negotiations (that is, the complete elimination of medium-range missiles) was attacked as hopelessly out of touch by the bien pensant centrist foreign policy experts at places like the Council on Foreign Relations and the State Department.

It is also the case that the U.S. buildup played a role in convincing Soviet leaders that they would have difficulty competing with the United States. But an event as massive as the collapse of the former USSR had many causes, some deeply embedded in the nature of the Soviet system (for example, the illegitimacy of the governing ideology) and others accidental and contingent (the untimely death of Yuri Andropov and the rise of Mikhail Gorbachev). Conservatives of all stripes tend to put too much emphasis on the American military buildup as the cause of the USSR's collapse, when political and economic factors were at least as important. Scholars John Ikenberry and Daniel Deudney have argued that the attractive "pull" of the West, and Soviet awareness that partnership with the West was possible, were at least as important in explaining the Soviet collapse. 37 In any event, to the extent that military policy was important in explaining the Soviet Union's collapse, it was a policy of containment and deterrence rather than rollback.

That neoconservative treatments of economics tended toward orthodoxy was not universally true; for an interesting critique of neoclassical economics from a Straussian point of view, see Steven E. Rhoads, The Economists View of the World: Government, Markets, and Public Policy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985). 27. See Kiron Skinner, ed., Reagan: A Life in Letters (New York: Free Press, 2003). Later on, of course, Reagan recognized the reality of the changes brought about by Mikhail Gorbachev and negotiated with him actively. 28. This was in his speech at the American Enterprise Institute, Feb. 26, 2003. 29. For a comprehensive realist critique of international institutions, see John J. Mearsheimer, "The False Promise of International Institutions," International Security 19, no. 3 (1994): 5-49. On multilateral cooperation see Boot, "Myths About Neoconservatism." 30. Stephen Sestanovich, "American Maximalism," National Interest 79 (Spring 2005): 13-23. 31.


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No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump’s Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need by Naomi Klein

Airbnb, basic income, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Brewster Kahle, Celebration, Florida, clean water, collective bargaining, Corrections Corporation of America, desegregation, Donald Trump, drone strike, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, energy transition, financial deregulation, greed is good, high net worth, Howard Zinn, illegal immigration, income inequality, Internet Archive, Kickstarter, late capitalism, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, market fundamentalism, mass incarceration, Mikhail Gorbachev, moral panic, Naomi Klein, Nate Silver, new economy, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, open borders, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, private military company, profit motive, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, sexual politics, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, too big to fail, trade liberalization, transatlantic slave trade, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, trickle-down economics, Upton Sinclair, urban decay, women in the workforce, working poor

v=6oSAPMYTuss. Adelson: $5 million donation to Trump’s inauguration, the largest ever Nicholas Confessore, Nicholas Fandos, and Rachel Shorey, “Trump Inaugural Drew Big Dollars from Donors with Vested Interests,” New York Times, April 19, 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/​2017/​04/​19/​us/​politics/​trump-inauguration-sheldon-adelson-fundraising.html. Mikhail Gorbachev: “the nuclear threat once again seems real…” Mikhail Gorbachev, “Mikhail Gorbachev: ‘It All Looks as If the World Is Preparing for War,’ ” Time, January 26, 2017, http://time.com/​4645442/​gorbachev-putin-trump/. Trump’s missile strike on Syria: illegal according to some experts Alex Emmons, “Legal Experts Question Whether Trump’s Syria Strike Was Constitutional,” TheIntercept.com, April 7, 2017, https://theintercept.com/​2017/​04/​07/​legal-experts-question-whether-trumps-syria-strike-was-constitutional/.

I am not saying a nuclear war is likely. But in Trump’s very short time in office, there has already been a level of military escalation that is both chilling and bizarrely haphazard. As indicated by his early deployment of the most powerful conventional weapon in the US arsenal—the Massive Ordnance Air Blast, or MOAB—Trump is drunk on the allure of showing the world he’s top dog. Which is why Mikhail Gorbachev, who worked toward disarmament when he was Soviet leader, wrote in Time magazine that today “the nuclear threat once again seems real. Relations between the great powers have been going from bad to worse for several years now. The advocates for arms build-up and the military-industrial complex are rubbing their hands.” (And that was before Trump upped the ante with North Korea.) There are many reasons why people around Trump, particularly the many who came straight from the defense sector, might decide that further military escalation is in order.


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Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction by Philip Tetlock, Dan Gardner

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, availability heuristic, Black Swan, butterfly effect, buy and hold, cloud computing, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, desegregation, drone strike, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, forward guidance, Freestyle chess, fundamental attribution error, germ theory of disease, hindsight bias, index fund, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, Kenneth Arrow, Laplace demon, longitudinal study, Mikhail Gorbachev, Mohammed Bouazizi, Nash equilibrium, Nate Silver, Nelson Mandela, obamacare, pattern recognition, performance metric, Pierre-Simon Laplace, place-making, placebo effect, prediction markets, quantitative easing, random walk, randomized controlled trial, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, scientific worldview, Silicon Valley, Skype, statistical model, stem cell, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Bayes, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!

It may be tendentious and self-serving, but it is an argument that could be made—which would lead to precisely the sort of back-and-forth bickering we want to avoid when we judge forecasting accuracy. 7. Jonathan Schell, The Fate of the Earth and The Abolition (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2000), p. 183. 8. Brian Till, “Mikhail Gorbachev: The West Could Have Saved the Russian Economy,” Atlantic, June 16, 2001, http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2011/06/mikhail-gorbachev-the-west-could-have-saved-the-russian-economy/240466/. 9. Sherman Kent, “Estimates and Influence,” Studies in Intelligence (Summer 1968): 35. 10. Sherman Kent, “Words of Estimative Probability,” in Sherman Kent and the Board of National Estimates, ed. Donald P. Steury (Washington, DC: History Staff, Center for the Study of Intelligence, CIA, 1994), pp. 134–35. 11.

Experts of a conservative bent thought that the Soviet system had pretty much perfected the art of totalitarian self-reproduction, hence the new boss would be the same as the old boss and the Soviet Union would continue to threaten world peace by supporting insurgencies and invading its neighbors. They were equally confident in their views. The experts were right about Chernenko. He died in March 1985. But then the train of history hit a curve, and as Karl Marx once quipped, when that happens, the intellectuals fall off. Within hours of Chernenko’s death, the Politburo anointed Mikhail Gorbachev, an energetic and charismatic fifty-four-year-old, the next general secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Gorbachev changed direction swiftly and sharply. His policies of glasnost (openness) and perestroika (restructuring) liberalized the Soviet Union. Gorbachev also sought to normalize relations with the United States and reverse the arms race. Ronald Reagan responded cautiously, then enthusiastically, and in just a few years the world went from the prospect of nuclear war to a new era in which many people—including the Soviet and American leaders—saw a glimmering chance of eliminating nuclear weapons altogether.

They were asked about whatever topics experts could be found expounding on in the media and halls of power, which meant our experts would sometimes be asked to forecast in their zone of expertise, but more often not—which let us compare the accuracy of true subject-matter experts with that of smart, well-informed laypeople. In total, our experts made roughly twenty-eight thousand predictions. Asking questions took years. Then came the waiting, a test of patience for even the tenured. I began the experiment when Mikhail Gorbachev and the Soviet Politburo were key players shaping the fate of the world; by the time I started to write up the results, the USSR existed only on historical maps and Gorbachev was doing commercials for Pizza Hut. The final results appeared in 2005—twenty-one years, six presidential elections, and three wars after I sat on the National Research Council panel that got me thinking about forecasting.


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Burning Down the Haus: Punk Rock, Revolution, and the Fall of the Berlin Wall by Tim Mohr

anti-communist, Berlin Wall, cuban missile crisis, Edward Snowden, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, place-making, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, sexual politics, side project

This shadow media system changed the game. Suddenly underground music that bypassed the state-run media could find a larger audience than ever before. The scale of underground tape distribution grew to be staggering—by 1988 three quarters of all music released in the DDR originated outside the state-controlled media system. Things were changing in a broader sense as well. Glasnost. Since the ascension of Mikhail Gorbachev as leader of the Soviet Union in 1985, the signals coming from the East had changed. Right from the start, Gorbachev broke taboos when he admitted to economic problems in the USSR. And he just kept going, deploying the word glasnost to describe his reform goals—a word that up to then was most familiar as the term dissidents used to describe their demand for openness in court proceedings. 1986 proved a landmark year: Gorbachev made concrete policy changes based on glasnost in March; in November he told Soviet satellite states that they had a sovereign right to self-determination, indicating his unwillingness to continue to meddle in their domestic affairs; and in between those two developments, the biggest nuclear disaster in history occurred at the Soviet power plant in Chernobyl.

After the final tour stop in Szczecin, it was back to the DDR, where earlier that year Communist Party central committee member Kurt Hager had dismissed Gorbachev’s reforms as a “change of wallpaper” in an interview with a West German news magazine that was reprinted in official Eastern publications. “And do you really need to change your own wallpaper just because your neighbor has?” he had asked. It was meant as a rhetorical question, of course, but as A-Micha and Jörn and Ina and Cabi and the other musicians could tell while touring in Poland, the USSR’s other neighbors were obviously changing their wallpaper as well. Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev wasn’t the exception; East German dictator Erich Honecker was. A-Micha and the rest left Poland feeling inspired. The bands wanted to plan something back home, something that reflected the boldness and scale of what they had heard and seen in Poland, something big. 55 On January 17, 1988, the East German government staged its annual parade to honor World War I–era communist martyrs Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht.

Police brutally beat them. Meanwhile the crisis over would-be emigrants had taken on a dynamic all its own. Thousands of Ausreiser had fled to Poland, Czechoslovakia, and especially Hungary, where the government led by Miklos Nemeth had taken perestroika and glasnost so far as to dismantle the wire fence dividing Hungary from Austria—the first break in the Iron Curtain—with the cryptic blessing of Soviet premier Mikhail Gorbachev, who told Nemeth that border security was Nemeth’s own problem, not his. On August 19, 1989, Hungarian activists had staged a “Pan-European Picnic” near Sopron, directly on the Austrian border, during which hundreds of East Germans were allowed to push through a border gate and enter Austria. So began a flood of humanity. By September 10, Hungary had officially opened its border to the West and refused to stop East Germans from exiting, despite bitter complaints from the Honecker regime.


The New Map: Energy, Climate, and the Clash of Nations by Daniel Yergin

3D printing, 9 dash line, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, addicted to oil, Admiral Zheng, Albert Einstein, American energy revolution, Asian financial crisis, autonomous vehicles, Ayatollah Khomeini, Bakken shale, Bernie Sanders, BRICs, British Empire, coronavirus, COVID-19, Covid-19, decarbonisation, Deng Xiaoping, disruptive innovation, distributed generation, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, energy security, energy transition, failed state, gig economy, global pandemic, global supply chain, hydraulic fracturing, Indoor air pollution, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), inventory management, James Watt: steam engine, Kickstarter, LNG terminal, Lyft, Malacca Straits, Malcom McLean invented shipping containers, Masdar, mass incarceration, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, new economy, off grid, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, open economy, paypal mafia, peak oil, pension reform, price mechanism, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, smart cities, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, supply-chain management, trade route, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, ubercab, UNCLOS, UNCLOS, uranium enrichment, women in the workforce

It could not produce the goods that people wanted, and what it did produce was shoddy, except for specific sectors, mainly defense. The oil crisis of the 1970s came just in time. The dramatic increases in petroleum prices delivered a massive surge in revenues that rescued the stagnant economy and helped fund a big Soviet military buildup. But this new lease on life would prove only temporary. In 1985, Mikhail Gorbachev emerged as the new leader of the Soviet Union. Young and energetic, he was determined to reform the economy. But fate was against him. The next year, oil prices collapsed, delivering a terrible blow to the Soviet economy and marking the start of what Yegor Gaidar, former finance minister and acting prime minister, called “the timeline of the collapse of the Soviet Union.”5 Oil revenues could no longer mask the failures of the centrally-planned economy.

All the republics had their own parliaments and government agencies, but they had no real power. But now, no longer a rubber-stamp tool of the Soviet government, the Russian republic asserted a new authority. It took control of the Soviet oil and gas assets within its territory and of the petroleum revenues that had gone to the all-union Soviet government. Boris Yeltsin, the president of the Russian republic, and not Mikhail Gorbachev, was now in charge of the oil money. In December 1991, Yeltsin and the speakers of the Ukrainian and Belarusian parliaments met in a forest, in a hunting lodge. Over the course of a night, facilitated by large amounts of bison-grass vodka and Soviet-style champagne, they came to a stunning agreement: Invoking the status of their three “republics” as “founding states of the USSR” in 1922, they declared that “the USSR as a subject of international law and a geopolitical reality ceases in existence.”

Its CEO, Alexander Dyukov, had headed the St. Petersburg port. Today, only a handful of private oil companies remain. LUKOIL is the largest. Its CEO, Vagit Alekperov, started his career working offshore in the Caspian and then in West Siberia before coming to Moscow as a deputy energy minister in the late 1980s, where he developed the idea of starting a Western-style oil company in Russia. Both Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin had bad luck when it came to oil, with price collapses that sent the economy spiraling downward. By contrast, Vladimir Putin had very good luck, for petroleum prices recovered as he came to power in 2000 and continued to rise during the BRIC era. Output, which had fallen by almost half with the collapse of the Soviet Union, rebounded. This was made possible by new investment.


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Billions & Billions: Thoughts on Life and Death at the Brink of the Millennium by Carl Sagan

addicted to oil, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, clean water, cosmic abundance, dark matter, demographic transition, Exxon Valdez, F. W. de Klerk, germ theory of disease, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of agriculture, invention of radio, invention of the telegraph, invention of the telephone, Isaac Newton, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, pattern recognition, planetary scale, prisoner's dilemma, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ronald Reagan, stem cell, the scientific method, Thomas Malthus, zero-sum game

Standing under an immense photograph of the Earth from space, I found myself looking out over a diversely costumed representation of the wondrous variety of our species: Mother Teresa and the Cardinal Archbishop of Vienna, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the chief rabbis of Romania and the United Kingdom, the Grand Mufti of Syria, the Metropolitan of Moscow, an elder of the Onondaga Nation, the high priest of the Sacred Forest of Togo, the Dalai Lama, Jain priests resplendent in their white robes, turbaned Sikhs, Hindu swamis, Bud- 168 • Billions and Billions dhist abbots, Shinto priests, evangelical Protestants, the Primate of the Armenian Church, a "Living Buddha" from China, the bishops of Stockholm and Harare, metropolitans of the Orthodox Churches, the Chief of Chiefs of the Six Nations of the Iro-quois Confederacy—and, joining them, the Secretary-General of the United Nations; the Prime Minister of Norway; the founder of a Kenyan women's movement to replant the forests; the President of the World Watch Institute; the directors of the United Nations' Children's Fund, its Population Fund, and UNESCO; the Soviet Minister of the Environment; and parliamentarians from dozens of nations, including U.S. Senators and Representatives and a Vice-President-to-be. These meetings were mainly organized by one person, a former UN. official, Akio Matsumura. I remember the 1,300 delegates assembled in St. George's Hall in the Kremlin to hear an address by Mikhail Gorbachev. The session was opened by a venerable Vedic monk, representing one of the oldest religious traditions on Earth, inviting the multitude to chant the sacred syllable "Om." As nearly as I could tell, Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze went along with the "Om," but Mikhail Gorbachev restrained himself. (An immense milky-white statue of Lenin, hand outstretched, loomed nearby.) That same day, ten Jewish delegates, finding themselves in the Kremlin at sundown on a Friday, performed the first Jewish religious service ever held there.

ROBERTO ROSSELLINI It is only in the moment of time represented by the present century that one species has acquired the power to alter the nature of the world. RACHEL CARSON, Silent Spring (1962) INTRODUCTION In 1988 a unique opportunity was presented to me. I was invited to write an article on the relationship between the United States and the then Soviet Union that would be published, more or less simultaneously, in the most widely circu- 180 • Billions and Billions lated publications of both countries. This was at a time when Mikhail Gorbachev was feeling his way on giving Soviet citizens the right to express their opinions freely. Some recall it as a time when the administration of Ronald Reagan was slowly modifying its pointed Cold War posture. I thought such an article might be able to do a little good. What's more, at a recent "summit" meeting, Mr. Reagan had commented that if only there were a peril of alien invasion of the Earth, it would be much easier for the United States and the Soviet Union to work together.


pages: 238 words: 73,121

Does Capitalism Have a Future? by Immanuel Wallerstein, Randall Collins, Michael Mann, Georgi Derluguian, Craig Calhoun, Stephen Hoye, Audible Studios

affirmative action, blood diamonds, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, business cycle, butterfly effect, creative destruction, deindustrialization, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of the americas, distributed generation, eurozone crisis, fiat currency, full employment, Gini coefficient, global village, hydraulic fracturing, income inequality, Isaac Newton, job automation, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, land tenure, liberal capitalism, liquidationism / Banker’s doctrine / the Treasury view, loose coupling, low skilled workers, market bubble, market fundamentalism, mass immigration, means of production, mega-rich, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, Ponzi scheme, postindustrial economy, reserve currency, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, short selling, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, too big to fail, transaction costs, Washington Consensus, WikiLeaks

Wallerstein identified the third possibility in a pan-European economic and military bloc emerging around the axis of Paris—Berlin—Moscow. This scenario evidently conformed to the long-standing ambitions of Charles de Gaulle and the hopeful spirit of the 1970s German Neue Ostpolitik. Analytically, Wallerstein’s unrealized prediction directs our attention to an important counterfactual. It posits Mikhail Gorbachev’s perestroika as a viable possibility. Incidentally, this counterfactual still implies that a rebuilt Russia and the EU can find structural reasons to form a military and economic bloc in the near future. The past predictions of Collins and Wallerstein, however, were abstract sketches that left a lot to be filled in regarding the shifting social forces, specific mechanisms, and event sequences leading to the observed as well as aborted historical outcomes.

The notorious rises in alcoholism, male mortality, and petty theft from the workplace, along with the shoddy quality of Soviet goods, all must be regarded as the pathological consequences of lost dynamism and pervasive cynicism. It was this avoidance of consequences and a social immobilism stifling the young that came to be despised in the Brezhnev “decades of stagnation.” HOW INEVITABLE THE COLLAPSE? The long-awaited energetic younger leader Mikhail Gorbachev belonged to the generation of Sputnik and de-Stalinization. These achievements of the early sixties had experientially validated the belief of his peers in the Soviet system. Gorbachev might be even considered a part of the New Left resurgence from the sixties. Yet he also came heavily invested in the official positions of authoritarian power and, objectively speaking, his goals were quite conservative.

The antinomenklatura insurgents, for all their emotional appeal, had not yet gathered force to overthrow communism on their own. In 1989 and still in 1991 they were lacking serious organizational bases to rapidly mobilize and intercept the falling political power. Surprisingly enough, neither could the Soviet nomenklatura rely on any legitimate overarching networks to coordinate their self-defenses at a critical moment. During the years of perestroika in 1985–1989, Mikhail Gorbachev had been astutely using his supreme powers as General Secretary to safeguard himself from the bureaucratic backlash of the kind that had buried Nikita Khrushchev. Gorbachev’s maneuvering, conducted both in public (i.e., glasnost) and in the insider apparat intrigues, in which he was reputedly so adept, confused and immobilized all three institutional pillars of Soviet regime: the Communist Party, central ministries, and secret police.


From Peoples into Nations by John Connelly

Albert Einstein, anti-communist, bank run, Berlin Wall, Cass Sunstein, centre right, collective bargaining, colonial exploitation, colonial rule, crony capitalism, cuban missile crisis, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial independence, German hyperinflation, Gini coefficient, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, joint-stock company, laissez-faire capitalism, land reform, land tenure, liberal capitalism, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, moral hazard, oil shock, old-boy network, open borders, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, Peace of Westphalia, profit motive, purchasing power parity, Ronald Reagan, strikebreaker, the built environment, The Chicago School, trade liberalization, Transnistria, union organizing, upwardly mobile, wikimedia commons, women in the workforce

Unlike his “infallible” predecessors, he smiled easily and had no trouble appearing before cameras as a human being, for example, in swim trunks. The affable middle-aged Slovak with his paunch and good will incorporated socialism “with a human face,” but like Nagy, he had little taste for the blood sport of Communist politics and would discover that other party leaders were eager to betray him.21 Also like Nagy, and the later Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, Dubček was the odd Leninist who rose to the top of the hierarchy only to discover a taste for consensual politics. Soon he was surprising Soviet leaders with his determination to achieve the “broadest possible democratization of the entire socio-political system” as well as the establishment of a “free, modern and profoundly humane society.”22 In March 1968, he lifted censorship, the most radical change seen in Eastern Europe since 1956.

The pro-natalism was only one of the Romanian state’s nationalist policies, which also included the destruction of Hungarian villages as well as an avowedly independent foreign policy. The latter led Romania to send athletes to the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984, defying the Soviet boycott, and then to resist all ideas of reform emanating from a Soviet leader who emerged the following year, Mikhail Gorbachev. As the Ceaușescu regime descended into enforced miserliness, the secret police kept people in check—people living the lie of loving hated rulers—but also granted just enough “privileges” to keep potential sources of opposition under control, for example, in the upper ranks of the church hierarchies, which were corrupted by a mix of threats and favors. The most numerous denomination, the Romanian Orthodox Church, tended to be especially pro-regime, but the bishops and dignitaries of the smaller Hungarian Reformed Church were also reliably under control.

Central Europeans watched as the superpowers stationed or promised to station new generations of weapons of mass destruction astride the Iron Curtain, in West as well as East Germany. In the fall of 1982, the aged and infirm Brezhnev died, and rule passed to one (Yuri Andropov, d. 1984) and then another (Konstantin Chernenko, d. 1985) aged and infirm Soviet leader. Out of the protracted crisis, the reformer Mikhail Gorbachev emerged in March 1985. Some have said that his coming to power was a response to protests in East Central Europe, particularly Poland, but the economic malaise across the socialist world so clearly jeopardized the Soviet Union’s superpower status that deeper structural forces favored the emergence of a reformer of some kind. What is mind boggling is that the Soviet system produced this kind of reformer.


pages: 160 words: 46,449

The Extreme Centre: A Warning by Tariq Ali

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Berlin Wall, bonus culture, BRICs, British Empire, centre right, deindustrialization, Edward Snowden, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, first-past-the-post, full employment, labour market flexibility, land reform, light touch regulation, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, Monroe Doctrine, mortgage debt, negative equity, Neil Kinnock, North Sea oil, obamacare, offshore financial centre, popular capitalism, reserve currency, Ronald Reagan, South China Sea, The Chicago School, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, trickle-down economics, Washington Consensus, Westphalian system, Wolfgang Streeck

Even so he learned his lines well and was lauded as a great communicator, till he began to forget which Latin American capital he had landed in and to fluff the script at home as well. In reality, the US under Reagan was run by a cabal of right-wing zealots, an imperial politburo that took most of the key decisions of that important period. They transmitted to the world through their president, whose standing reached its height when the last Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, decided to follow Washington rather than Beijing. Reagan’s successor was his vice-president, George H. Bush (on secondment from the CIA). He only served a single term before being defeated by the Democrat Bill Clinton. But the legacy was safe in New Democrat hands: Clinton proved a zealous and effective defender of the Reagan revolution and much else besides. Margaret Thatcher surrounded herself with a clique of hard-right advisers to push through the new consensus, but it was not as easy as later painted.

Then your lot come in, and in the very first year they go for tuition fees.’ 4 Seumas Milne in the Guardian regarded it as ‘a significant shift beyond New Labour politics’ – ‘that he represents a real change is not in question’ – and ‘an unmistakeable breach in the stifling neoliberal consensus that has dominated British politics’. Miliband’s maiden speech as opposition leader – pledging to stand with the Cameron–Clegg government on Afghanistan – and his Blairite shadow cabinet, not to mention supporting the fundamentals of austerity, should have banished such delusions. 5 Indeed, Thatcher had advised Mikhail Gorbachev that one way of preventing corruption within the bureaucracy was to ensure that jobs were available in the private sector, advice that the naïve Soviet leader took to heart. When he was forcibly retired, alas, none of the Russian oligarchs were prepared to play ball. It was Louis Vuitton who came to the rescue by providing him with an advertising gig, and huge lecture fees were lined up in the US as a tiny thank-you for what he had done to boost global capitalism. 6 Robert Mendick and Edward Malnick, ‘Tony Blair Widens His Web Via the Stock Markets’, Sunday Telegraph, 13 January 2013. 7 ‘The passionate note surfaced amid the flotsam of a shipwrecked marriage.


The America That Reagan Built by J. David Woodard

affirmative action, anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, Bonfire of the Vanities, business cycle, colonial rule, Columbine, corporate raider, cuban missile crisis, Deng Xiaoping, friendly fire, glass ceiling, global village, Gordon Gekko, gun show loophole, income inequality, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, laissez-faire capitalism, late capitalism, Live Aid, Marc Andreessen, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, Neil Kinnock, Nelson Mandela, new economy, postindustrial economy, Ralph Nader, Robert Bork, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, Rubik’s Cube, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, stem cell, Ted Kaczynski, The Predators' Ball, trickle-down economics, women in the workforce, Y2K, young professional

Because of the sensitive nature of his mission, Buckley was especially vulnerable, and intelligence reports indicated he had been cruelly tortured by his Muslim captors.31 The Israelis were vague about Buckley’s status; in reality he had been brutally murdered and was not even available for a hostage exchange. Concern over the captives led to another round of negotiations, even though there was no evidence that earlier efforts had been effective. This time the Israelis proposed to ship 500 Hawk anti-aircraft missiles in exchange for the release of all remaining American hostages. During this second round of negotiations, McFarlane was working to prepare Reagan for a summit meeting with Mikhail Gorbachev, so he entrusted the details of the assignment to his deputy, Oliver North. North was a Vietnam veteran with a Bronze Star, a Silver Star, two Purple Hearts, and a Navy Commendation Medal. He was zealous to succeed in his covert mission, even though he admitted later that he was largely unfamiliar with what was being done. While Israel and the United States worked in the same direction on Iran, officials from both countries had long since joined paths in Central America.

Even the crusty Tip O’Neill, Democratic Speaker of the House and inveterate White House opponent, dabbed his eyes after the president’s remarks on the Challenger disaster and said, ‘‘He may not be much of a debater, but with a prepared text he’s the best public speaker I’ve ever seen.’’47 The great turning point in the Cold War tension between East and West coincided with Ronald Reagan’s second term and the first four years of Mikhail Gorbachev’s leadership of the USSR. The prelude was set by the deaths of Soviet leaders Leonid Brezhnev in 1982, Yuri Andropov in 1983, and Konstantin Chernenko in 1984. These three leaders were old men who adhered to the Marxist-Leninist ideology in spite of the suffocating effect it had on their own 96 THE AMERICA THAT REAGAN BUILT nation and the rest of the world. At home and abroad the Soviet system was regarded with increasing cynicism, contempt, and ridicule.

Treasury provided Reagan with an estimate that a $5 drop in the price of a barrel of oil on the world market increased the GNP of the country by 1.4 percent.49 The friendship between the United States and Saudi Arabia was an economic weapon that Reagan exploited to force the Soviets into a defensive posture. Lower oil prices also reduced the U.S. trade deficit. In the summer of 1985, the Saudis opened the oil spigots and the domestic economy boomed. That expansion spelled trouble for the Soviet Union, with its Afghanistan incursion and multiplying problems at home. The new leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, came from a family of peasants who suffered under Stalin’s ruthless effort to drive farmers off their private land onto collectivized farms. He was not a deep believer in communism. As an agricultural minister he knew the limits of a command economy, and at age fifty-four he was no dyed-in-the-wool cold warrior either. Instead, Gorbachev was an idealist in a sea of guardians, a change agent in a room full of bureaucrats.


pages: 306 words: 92,704

After the Berlin Wall by Christopher Hilton

anti-communist, Berlin Wall, land reform, Mikhail Gorbachev, Peter Eisenman, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, Silicon Valley, urban planning, urban renewal, women in the workforce

Although the state’s demands for loyalty are widely resented, I would say that in normal, crisis-free times there is a sufficiently high degree of loyalty to assure the country’s viability. Bahro said in 1983: ‘The Soviet Union has specific reasons for wanting to hold on to East Germany and, in view of the proximity of NATO and West Germany, would never allow any experiment in the GDR unless it were an absolutely safe manoeuvre. So an opposition there has no possibility of crystallizing.’6 Bahro, of course, was speaking before Mikhail Gorbachev’s liberalisation. His words reflect – accurately, I am sure – the position when he spoke them. They are valuable for that reason, and valuable also because they show the extent of the change to come. Another perceptive German, Peter Schneider, set out (in 1990) the position from the West. ‘No one wanted to admit it, but we saw and treated East Germans as foreigners; in fact, according to polls, a majority of young people defined East Germany as a foreign country.’

TIMELINE 1945 7 May Germany surrenders 3 July Allied troops take over their four sectors in Berlin 16 July Potsdam Conference begins 2 August Potsdam Conference ends 1946 21 April Communist Party and Social Democrats form the SED (Socialist Unity Party) to rule East Germany 1947 5 June Marshall Plan launched 1948 21 June Deutsche Mark introduced in the West 24 June Berlin blockade and airlift begins 24 July East German Mark introduced 1949 4 April NATO formed 11 May Berlin blockade and airlift ends 24 May FRG (Federal Republic of Germany) founded in the West, merging the American, British and French Zones 7 October GDR (German Democratic Republic) founded in the East from the Soviet Zone, with East Berlin as its capital 1953 16 June GDR workers uprising over increasing work norms 1955 9 May FRG accepted into NATO 14 May Communist states, including the GDR, sign the Warsaw Pact 1958 27 October Walter Ulbricht, GDR leader, threatens West Berlin 10 November Soviet leader Nikita Khruschev says it is time to cancel Berlin’s four-power status 1961 4 June At a summit in Vienna, Khruschev tries to pressure US President John Kennedy to demilitarise Berlin 1–12 August 21,828 refugees arrive in West Berlin 13 August Berlin Wall built 1963 26 June Kennedy visits Berlin and makes his ‘Ich Bin Ein Berliner’ speech 1968 21 August Warsaw Pact countries crush Prague Spring 1970 19 March Willy Brandt visits GDR city Erfurt as part of his Ostpolitik policy 1971 3 May Ulbricht forced to resign, succeeded by Erich Honecker 1972 October Traffic Agreement signed, giving FRG citizens access to the GDR 21 December Basic Treaty signed, the FRG in effect recognising the GDR 1973 18 September The GDR and the FRG admitted to the United Nations 1985 11 March Mikhail Gorbachev elected General Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party 1987 12 June Ronald Reagan speaks at the Brandenburg Gate: ‘Mr Gorbachev, tear down this wall.’ 7–11 September Honecker visits FRG 1989 2 May Hungary opens its border with Austria, allowing GDR holidaymakers to cross 7 May GDR elections with 98.85 per cent for the government and widespread allegations of fraud 4 September Leipzig demonstrations begin 30 September GDR citizens in FRG Prague Embassy told they can travel to the West 6 October GDR fortieth anniversary 18 October Honecker forced to resign, succeeded by Egon Krenz 4 November A million people demonstrate in East Berlin 9 November The Wall opens 29 November Chancellor Helmut Kohl issues plan for a ‘confederation leading to a federation in Germany’ 7 December Krenz resigns.

A British tourist was quoted as saying he’d anticipated it would resemble something out of‘a cold war spy novel, but it is more like grotty Disneyland’. Map 6. It became convoluted and unique: Friedrichstrasse bisected, Zimmerstrasse the death strip. Note that the GDR boundary was the northern side of Zimmerstrasse but The Wall was constructed just back from that. There were moves by leading European politicians, including Mikhail Gorbachev, to establish a cold war museum on the site because a generation had arisen who’d been born after the fall and couldn’t relate to The Wall or find very much of it to try and relate to. The intersection is on Friedrichstrasse, a broad north–south avenue, and Zimmerstrasse, a side road. The Wall bisected Friedrichstrasse – putting the northern part in the East, the southern part in the West – and ran along Zimmerstrasse.


pages: 684 words: 188,584

The Age of Radiance: The Epic Rise and Dramatic Fall of the Atomic Era by Craig Nelson

Albert Einstein, Brownian motion, Charles Lindbergh, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, continuation of politics by other means, corporate governance, cuban missile crisis, dark matter, Doomsday Clock, El Camino Real, Ernest Rutherford, failed state, Henri Poincaré, hive mind, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, Louis Pasteur, low earth orbit, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, music of the spheres, mutually assured destruction, nuclear winter, oil shale / tar sands, Project Plowshare, Ralph Nader, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Skype, Stuxnet, technoutopianism, too big to fail, uranium enrichment, William Langewiesche, éminence grise

Yet there were still some people at the Pentagon who claimed a nuclear war was ‘winnable.’ I thought they were crazy. Worse, it appeared there were also Soviet generals who thought in terms of winning a nuclear war.” Someone else was speaking similarly. In December 1984, the USSR’s parlimentary delegate Mikhail Gorbachev said to Britain’s legislature: “Whatever is dividing us, we live on the same planet and Europe is our common home—a home, not a theater of military operations. . . . The Soviet Union is prepared . . . to advance towards the complete prohibition and eventual elimination of nuclear weapons.” On January 15, 1986, Mikhail Gorbachev directly proposed to Ronald Reagan “a concrete program, calculated for a precisely determined period of time, for the complete liquidation of nuclear weapons throughout the world . . . within the next fifteen years, before the end of the present century. . . .

He would regularly discuss eliminating atomic bombs in private, but no one in his administration supported this, and the president did nothing about it in practice, either militarily or diplomatically. When he met with his political comrade-in-arms Margaret Thatcher at Camp David on December 22, 1984, and told her about this goal, she was “horrified.” Thatcher was one of many who had come to believe that nuclear arms were what kept the Cold War cold, telling Soviet general secretary Mikhail Gorbachev three years later, “Both our countries know from bitter experience that conventional weapons do not deter war in Europe whereas nuclear weapons have done so over forty years.” On March 1, 1982, President Reagan watched the National Military Command Center rehearse a nuclear attack. A screen displayed a map of the United States, and as the missiles arrived, and the warheads fell, red dots bloomed, over and over, growing together into a bloody cloud—in a mere thirty minutes, America was no more.

On January 15, 1986, Gorbachev offered to stop all atomic testing for five to eight years; to limit warheads to six thousand apiece; to remove all medium-range missiles from Europe; to enact a ban on space-strike weapons; for China, France, Britain, the United States, and the USSR to ban tactical nuclear weapons and reduce their arsenals over a five-to-seven-year period; and finally, to ban all nuclear weapons over fourteen years. After hearing of this, Reagan wrote in his diary: “We’d be hard put to explain how we could turn it down.” Yet, as Moscow halted testing for ninety days to try to shame the United States into following suit, on March 22, the AEC detonated a twenty-nine-kiloton bomb at the Nevada Test Site. Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan—one instantly recognizable from his ocher birthmark peninsula; the other from his shiny black macassar helmet—then met on October 11, 1986, at Reykjavík, Iceland, where the first secretary raised his January offer to now include the two superpowers’ eliminating all offensive nuclear arms—the triad of ICBMs, bombers, and sub-launched cruise missiles. Gorbachev: “So let me precisely, firmly, and clearly declare, we are in favor of finding a solution that would lead eventually to a complete liquidation of nuclear arms.


pages: 637 words: 199,158

The Tragedy of Great Power Politics by John J. Mearsheimer

active measures, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, British Empire, colonial rule, continuation of politics by other means, deindustrialization, discrete time, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, illegal immigration, long peace, Mikhail Gorbachev, Monroe Doctrine, mutually assured destruction, oil shock, Pareto efficiency, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Simon Kuznets, South China Sea, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, Yom Kippur War

Soviet efforts at expansion between 1950 and 1990 were confined to the Third World, where it met with occasional success, but always with firm resistance from the United States.85 After decades of competition with the United States for control over Europe, the Soviet Union suddenly reversed course in 1989 and abandoned its empire in Eastern Europe. That bold move effectively brought the Cold War to an end. The Soviet Union itself then broke apart into fifteen remnant states in late 1991. With few exceptions, the first wave of scholars to study these events argued that the Cold War ended because key Soviet leaders, especially Mikhail Gorbachev, underwent a fundamental transformation in their thinking about international politics during the 1980s.86 Rather than seeking to maximize the Soviet Union’s share of world power, Moscow’s new thinkers were motivated by the pursuit of economic prosperity and liberal norms of restraint in the use of force. Soviet policymakers, in short, stopped thinking and acting like realists and instead adopted a new perspective emphasizing the virtues of cooperation among states.

During that decade, the Soviet Union lagged behind the United States in developing and deploying nuclear weapons, as well as the systems to deliver them. By 1960 the Soviet inventory contained only 354 strategic nuclear weapons, compared to 3,127 for the United States.171 But the Soviet force grew rapidly during the 1960s. By 1970 it numbered 2,216; ten years later it numbered 7,480. Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev’s “new thinking” notwithstanding, the Soviet Union added almost 4,000 bombs and warheads to its nuclear inventory during the 1980s, ending up with 11,320 strategic nuclear weapons in 1989, the year the Berlin Wall came down. Furthermore, most Soviet strategists apparently believed that their country had to be prepared to fight and win a nuclear war.172 This is not to say that Soviet leaders were eager to fight such a war or that they were confident that they could gain a meaningful victory.

The social constructivists provide no answers to these important questions, which makes it hard to believe that a marked change in our discourse about international politics is in the offing.19 Social constructivists sometimes argue that the end of the Cold War represents a significant triumph for their perspective and is evidence of a more promising future.20 In particular, they maintain that in the 1980s a group of influential and dovish Western intellectuals convinced Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev to eschew realist thinking and instead work to foster peaceful relations with the United States and his neighbors in Europe. The result was Soviet withdrawal from Eastern Europe and the end of the Cold War, a Soviet Union with an enlightened foreign policy, and fundamental change in the norms that underpin great-power politics. Although Gorbachev surely played the key role in ending the Cold War, there are good reasons to doubt that his actions fundamentally transformed international politics.


Trend Commandments: Trading for Exceptional Returns by Michael W. Covel

Albert Einstein, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, business cycle, buy and hold, commodity trading advisor, correlation coefficient, delayed gratification, diversified portfolio, en.wikipedia.org, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, family office, full employment, Lao Tzu, Long Term Capital Management, market bubble, market microstructure, Mikhail Gorbachev, moral hazard, Myron Scholes, Nick Leeson, oil shock, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, random walk, Sharpe ratio, systematic trading, the scientific method, transaction costs, tulip mania, upwardly mobile, Y2K, zero-sum game

With humility, hope, and extraordinary determination, greatness is something everyone can aspire to.2 Challenging accepted norms has always been my passion. Unearthing details that some may have wanted buried has made me pretty damn good at navigating obscure fields unrelated to trading—like State and Federal open records law. In this small world, one of the more unlikely people to have asked me, “How do you go about unearthing details?” was Mikhail Gorbachev. The former president had been told in Russian that my career involved profiling traders who make the big money, so when an introduction was made, he asked me in Russian through a translator, “What is it like to write about these traders?” Realizing his time was limited, my response was short: “Very interesting,” I said. He waited for the translation and asked back: “It must be difficult to get behind the scenes; how do you do it?”

New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2003, p. 64. 3. Lara Logan interviews Bill Walters on CBS’s 60 Minutes, January 16, 2011. Blood Hound 1. Patton, dir. Franklin J. Schaffner, perf. George C. Scott, 20th Century Fox, 1970. 2. David Shenk, The Genius in All of Us: Why Everything You’ve Been Told About Genetics Talent, and IQ Is Wrong. New York: Random House, 2010, p. 11. 3. See http://www.michaelcovel.com/2010/02/06/meeting-mikhail-gorbachev-myjourney/. 4. Anthony Robbins, Unlimited Power: The New Science of Personal Achievement. New York: Free Press, 1986, p. 12. 5. John Tierney, “When Every Child Is Good Enough.” New York Times, November 21, 2004. See http://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/21/weekinreview/21tier.html. 6. Mark Cuban, “Success and Motivation—You Only Have to Be Right Once.” May 30, 2005. See http://blogmaverick.com/2005/05/30/success-and-motivation-you-onlyhave-to-be-right-once/.


pages: 261 words: 57,595

China's Future by David Shambaugh

Berlin Wall, capital controls, demographic dividend, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, facts on the ground, financial intermediation, financial repression, Gini coefficient, high net worth, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, low skilled workers, market bubble, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, open economy, Pearl River Delta, rent-seeking, secular stagnation, short selling, South China Sea, special drawing rights, too big to fail, urban planning, Washington Consensus, working-age population, young professional

Jiang Zemin’s power was not yet consolidated and China’s leaders remained traumatized from their Party’s own near-death experience and having just witnessed the disintegration and collapse of the Soviet Union and East European communist party-states. They remained convinced that had they not taken lethal action in 1989, China’s Communist Party would have gone the same way. Political reform was the furthest thing from their minds. In fact, they specifically blamed Mikhail Gorbachev’s political reforms, as well as the subversive “peaceful evolution” efforts of the West, for precipitating the collapse of Soviet Communist Party rule and the USSR. This was their initial consensus explanation for the regime implosions of 1989–1991. Over time, however, as the CCP undertook an extraordinarily detailed series of assessments of the causes of collapse, a more nuanced and fundamentally different narrative and explanation emerged.

Divorce = War. The Dragon and the Bear Redux By contrast, Beijing and Moscow currently enjoy the best relationship they have had in six decades. This is a good thing. The world should not wish that these two powers and giant neighbors be locked in antagonism. When this occurred during the 1960s–1980s it was highly dangerous and destabilizing. Beginning in the mid-1980s the former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and Deng Xiaoping orchestrated a series of mutual confidence-building steps to improve relations (which culminated in the renormalization of relations in 1989). Despite a brief hiatus following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the two sides continued their efforts to reduce sources of friction and rebuild their ties. A series of bilateral agreements were agreed to during the mid- to late 1990s, with the capstone being the 2001 Treaty of Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation.


pages: 195 words: 58,462

City Squares: Eighteen Writers on the Spirit and Significance of Squares Around the World by Catie Marron

Berlin Wall, carbon footprint, deindustrialization, do-ocracy, Jane Jacobs, late capitalism, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, Occupy movement, plutocrats, Plutocrats, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the High Line, too big to fail, urban planning

The men and women who came to Red Square to protest against the invasion of Czechoslovakia went barely noticed by the vast majority of the population, and yet they provided inspiration to Czech democrats, including Vaclav Havel, who heard about them through underground channels. “For the citizens of Czechoslovakia,” Havel said, the demonstrators who came to Red Square out of a civic sense of duty represented “the conscience of the Soviet Union.” Mikhail Gorbachev, the future (and last) leader of the Soviet Union, was a young man in 1968, but he had Czech friends who had believed in Dubček and Russian friends who very privately expressed dismay at the regime even as they climbed the Party ladder. In 1987 Gorbachev was asked the difference between Prague Spring and perestroika. “Nineteen years,” he said. IT HAS BECOME COMMONPLACE TO ASK WHY DICTATORS AROUND the world simply don’t replace their city squares with skyscrapers, or barbed wire, or garbage dumps—anything to dissuade the restive masses from assembling and voicing their demands.

THE REVOLUTION I WAS witnessing in the late 1980s and early ’90s, in Moscow and beyond—the implosion of communism and the Soviet Union—had many sources: the widespread cynicism about ideology; the collapse of the economic system; cheap oil; the rise of a technological age; dissent of various forms around the empire; the independence movements in the Baltic states and, later, Ukraine and the Caucasus; pressure from the West, including Reagan and every other president since the end of World War II; the moral suasion of the human rights campaigners; the demands of a new generation; and above all, the well-intentioned but ultimately futile attempts by the reformist wing of the Party, led by Mikhail Gorbachev, to rescue the situation. And to see this drama play out, one could do worse than witness the set-piece dramas on Red Square. When I arrived in Moscow in 1988, May Day was in its final throes of Sovietism. On my first trip to the celebration, I saw all sorts of Party-approved reformist slogans: “Uskorenie!” (Acceleration!) “Perestroika!” (Rebuilding!) The parade was more a late-Soviet version of halftime at a bowl game than a Stalinist propaganda fest.


pages: 518 words: 107,836

How Not to Network a Nation: The Uneasy History of the Soviet Internet (Information Policy) by Benjamin Peters

Albert Einstein, American ideology, Andrei Shleifer, Benoit Mandelbrot, bitcoin, Brownian motion, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, computer age, conceptual framework, continuation of politics by other means, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Graeber, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Donald Davies, double helix, Drosophila, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, From Mathematics to the Technologies of Life and Death, hive mind, index card, informal economy, information asymmetry, invisible hand, Jacquard loom, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, linear programming, mandelbrot fractal, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, Network effects, Norbert Wiener, packet switching, Pareto efficiency, pattern recognition, Paul Erdős, Peter Thiel, Philip Mirowski, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, road to serfdom, Ronald Coase, scientific mainstream, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, stochastic process, technoutopianism, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, transaction costs, Turing machine

Neither formally approved nor fully rejected, the OGAS Project found itself (and proposals to use computer-programmed networks to plan social and economic resources, including those by the chess grandmaster Mikhail Botvinnik) stalemated in a morass of bureaucratic barriers, mutinous ministries, and institutional infighting among a state that imagined itself as centralized but under civilian administration proved to be anything but. By the time that Mikhail Gorbachev came to power, Glushkov had died, and the political feasibility of technocratic economic reform had passed. This chapter frames how hidden social networks unraveled computer networks. The conclusion reflects on and complicates the plain statement that is the conceit of this book—that the first global computer networks began among cooperative capitalists, not competing socialists. Borrowing from the language of Hannah Arendt, it recasts the Soviet network experience in light of other national network projects in the latter half of the twentieth century, suggesting the ways that the Soviet experience may appear uncomfortably close to our modern network situation.

Gosplan was entrusted with creating the economic plans of action—the governing documents defining the economic inputs (such as labor and raw materials), the timetable for execution, the wholesale prices, and most of the retail prices—divided into five-year increments (the so-called five-year plans). These nationwide economic plans were first rolled out from 1929 to 1933 under Stalin and ended, with one seven-year exception (1959–1965) under Khrushchev, with the twelfth plan (1986–1990), which oversaw Mikhail Gorbachev’s reform policies of uskorenie (acceleration) and perestroika (rebuilding). The thirteenth five-year plan was cut short by the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. Gossnab, in contrast, was responsible for implementing Gosplan’s plans by procuring and supplying producer goods to factories and enterprises and by monitoring the schedules for the production plans. Gossnab thus fulfilled the market role of allocating goods to producers and bridged the three levels of the command economy—national, regional, and local planning and production.

Vasily Garbuzov (1911–1985): Minister of finances (1965–1980), principal opponent to the OGAS (All-State Automated System) Project, rival of Vladimir Starovsky and the Central Statistical Administration. Viktor Glushkov (1923–1982): Prominent Soviet cyberneticist, director of the Institute for Cybernetics in Kiev, Ukraine (1967–1982), author of OGAS (All-State Automated System) (1963–1982), coauthor of the EGSVTs (Unified State Network of Computing Centers) (1963) network projects, academician. Mikhail Gorbachev (1931–): General secretary, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (1985–1991). Leonid Kantorovich (1912–1986): Soviet economic mathematician, pioneer in linear modeling, Nobel Prize in economics (1975). Mstislav Keldysh (1911–1978): Mathematician, Soviet space theorist, chair Soviet Academy of Sciences (1961–1975) (where he helped rehabilitate cybernetics and genetics). Aleksandr Kharkevich (1904–1965): Communication engineer, director of the Institute for Information Transmission Problems (1962–1965), author of the ESS (Unified Communication System) network project (1963).


pages: 546 words: 176,169

The Cold War by Robert Cowley

anti-communist, Berlin Wall, British Empire, cuban missile crisis, defense in depth, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Doomsday Clock, friendly fire, Henry Ford's grandson gave labor union leader Walter Reuther a tour of the company’s new, automated factory…, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, RAND corporation, refrigerator car, Ronald Reagan, South China Sea, Stanislav Petrov, transcontinental railway

IRBMs from Turkey and Italy—and that here, as with the Soviet and American response to the strategic dilemmas posed first by the possibility and then by the reality of the ICBM, technology ruled. The presence of mobile Soviet SS-20 IRBMs in Europe from 1977, and the threat of a subsequent tit-for-tat Pershing II deployment by the U.S., loomed large in the logic behind the negotiations between President Ronald Reagan and Premier Mikhail Gorbachev that, as we now know, marked the beginning of the end of the Cold War. The logic of the scenarios posited above is debatable. What is not is that ICBM-based mutual deterrence was central to the Cold War, a reality reflected in the strategic vocabulary. Such expressions as circular error probable (CEP), preemptive first strike, survivable second-strike capability, and launch on warning, while not exclusively related to ICBMs, arose within a context shaped by the intercontinental ballistic missile.

One or both sides had miscalculated, and in a nuclear age, misunderstanding and misinterpretation could lead to the unthinkable. There was a quiet crisis in the early 1980s, the ramifications of which we do not yet understand. It is possible that the Cold War might have ended sooner but for the prevailing atmosphere of confrontation. It is also possible that the critical international situation steeled subsequent Soviet leaders such as Mikhail Gorbachev in their determination to end the superpower struggle. On the other hand, it is equally possible that the end of history could have come right then, in nuclear annihilation. In the spring of 1948, when the government of Czechoslovakia fell to a Russianbacked factional coup, beginning an escalation of tension that culminated with the Berlin Blockade, people spoke of a “war scare of 1948.” Today we can begin to consider the untold story of the war scare of 1983.

American analyst Raymond Garthoff, among our foremost experts on Russia, concludes in a study of the end of the Cold War that any such alert would have been kept very quiet by Soviet intelligence. Garthoff interviewed a number of key Moscow officials, including the first deputies to the foreign minister and chief of the general staff, and the chief of the international department of the Communist Party, and no one had any recollection of an alert. Mikhail Gorbachev, then a Politburo member, also said the matter never came before that body. On the other hand, Gorbachev affirms the general proposition that 1983–84 proved the most delicate moment in the superpower relationship. Ambassador Dobrynin confirms that he heard of the KGB alert from his rezident in Washington. The CIA also apparently learned later from different sources that Soviet military intelligence was put on a state of high alert.


pages: 379 words: 118,576

On Her Majesty's Nuclear Service by Eric Thompson

amateurs talk tactics, professionals talk logistics, Berlin Wall, British Empire, cuban missile crisis, Etonian, Fall of the Berlin Wall, friendly fire, Kickstarter, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, Parkinson's law, Winter of Discontent, Yom Kippur War, young professional

Komsomolets was a fully manned, well-designed, modern, operational submarine that had recently achieved the submergence record of 3,350 feet (1,020 m), far deeper than any British or American boat could dive. But fire respects nothing. It took only eleven minutes to destroy her. The hulk now rests one mile down at the bottom of the Barents Sea. The Soviet Union never admitted such failures as the Party was not prepared to lose face. The reason for details of the Komsomolets disaster being known is that, one year earlier, Mikhail Gorbachev had become Soviet Head of State and had introduced glasnost, a new regime of openness. Gorbachev authorised release of the Komsomolets investigation report and I was able to read it. As with the K19 disaster, the salient feature was the heroism of the Russian submariners, a number of them helping shipmates to safety but perishing in the process. When I read that report, my stomach churned.

Translated, that meant massive cuts to Defence spending, a complete re-think on our Long Term Costing, and a deluge of additional work for Ministry warriors. There would now be redundancies in the Armed Forces. Career prospects would evaporate. And did we still need a Strategic Nuclear Deterrent? What brought about this political earthquake was not military victory but the combination of economic pressure on the Soviet Union and the arrival in 1985 of the fifty-four year old reformist Mikhail Gorbachev. He had succeeded the geriatric Communist dinosaurs, Andropov and Chernenko, who had died in quick succession. Gorbachev had inherited massive economic problems, an escalating Cold War arms race, and was faced with President Reagan, who was upping the stakes on American defence spending, including the ‘Star Wars’ Strategic Defence Initiative. Gorbachev knew that things could not continue in the old Cold War way now that the Soviet economy could no longer compete.

Arms reduction treaties were now agreed and former Warsaw Pact Soviet republics gained independence from Moscow, most opting for democracy, and many aspiring to membership of both NATO and the European Union. If this caused a planning upheaval in Whitehall, one shudders to think of the mayhem in Moscow. It was the greatest world event since the end of the Second World War. For the first time in my life, I was not at war with an enemy that had the power to destroy me. In 1990, Mikhail Gorbachev was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace – Time magazine named him Man of the Decade and ex-President Nixon called him Man of the Century. Sadly for Gorbachev, his popularity at home did not match his popularity in the West. Six years later he was removed from power by the very democratic system he had enabled. Always expect the unexpected. In August that year (1990), Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi army invaded Kuwait and we were at war once again.


pages: 378 words: 120,490

Roads to Berlin by Cees Nooteboom, Laura Watkinson

Berlin Wall, centre right, Deng Xiaoping, Fall of the Berlin Wall, job satisfaction, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Martin Wolf, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, Peace of Westphalia, Potemkin village, rent control

e-ISBN: 978-1-62365-098-8 Distributed in the United States and Canada by Random House Publisher Services c/o Random House, 1745 Broadway New York, NY 10019 www.quercus.com For Willem Leonard Brugsma CONTENTS List of Illustrations PART I Prologue: Crossing the Border Intermezzo in the Third Person: Vestigia pedis Second Intermezzo: Ancient Times PART II Berlin Suite Dead Aeroplanes and Eagles Everywhere Village within the Wall Rheinsberg: An Intermezzo Return to Berlin PART III PART IV A Visit to the Chancellor Epilogue Glossary including biographical and other explanatory notes Afterword to Part I Notes on this Edition Index LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS The banks of the Spree near Oberbaumbrücke, West Berlin, March 1989 The Wall at Lübars, West Berlin, April 1989 Bismarck, Kiel Mikhail Gorbachev and Erich Honecker: the kiss. © Corbis Queue for Begrüßungsgeld (“welcome money”), West Berlin, November 1989 Brandenburger Tor, November 4, 1989 S.E.D. (Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschlands) demonstration, East Berlin, November 10, 1989 Potsdamer Platz, West Berlin, November 12, 1989 Potsdamer Platz, West Berlin, November 12, 1989 Marx and Engels, East Berlin, November 1989 “Socialism with a future—S.E.D.”

Film recordings show them advancing on a masked enemy who is dressed in black and throwing stones: “They show more understanding for the Chaoten than for us.” Then more pictures: rooms full of police gathered around their new hero, the only one who understands. And concerned police unions, who cannot risk losing the twenty thousand Republikaner from their ranks. Then, still on this side, Beijing, Mikhail Gorbachev, Deng Xiaoping dropping a piece of meat from his chopsticks, tens of thousands of students calling for democracy. And on the other side: also Beijing, but no one is dropping any food, and no one is asking for democracy. Speeches, anthems, grand words, just like at home, where Honecker is welcoming Mengistu. The Ethiopian leader has a dream of a woman with him and is wearing a cornflower-blue kind of uniform without insignia.

The country that was unimaginable without the Soviet Union is being kissed by the country that has made it possible to imagine the death of the D.D.R. The orthodoxy inherited from Lenin and Stalin is being kissed by heresy. The philosophy that broke everything wide open is kissing the philosophy that wants to hold on tightly to the past. The communal house is kissing the divided house. One man represents one of the greatest adventures in history, a revolution that the other man perceives as betrayal of the Revolution. Mikhail Gorbachev and Erich Honecker: the kiss. © Corbis The others, the ones it is all about, cannot be seen in this photograph. While an oompah band in traditional costume plays on East German television, I see the others on the television on this side. Interviews on the street. Mothers with children, old people, young people. They hope for peaceful change, or they are scared, or furious, or taciturn, or indifferent.


Hopes and Prospects by Noam Chomsky

"Robert Solow", Albert Einstein, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, British Empire, capital controls, colonial rule, corporate personhood, Credit Default Swap, cuban missile crisis, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deskilling, en.wikipedia.org, energy security, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, Firefox, Howard Zinn, Hyman Minsky, invisible hand, liberation theology, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, Mikhail Gorbachev, Monroe Doctrine, moral hazard, Nelson Mandela, new economy, nuremberg principles, one-state solution, open borders, Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalances, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, structural adjustment programs, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, total factor productivity, trade liberalization, uranium enrichment, Washington Consensus

McFaul informed the press that “we’re not going to reassure or give or trade anything with the Russians regarding NATO expansion or missile defense,” referring to U.S. missile defense programs in Eastern Europe (to which we return) and NATO membership for Russia’s neighbors Ukraine and Georgia. Obama has spoken about eventual abolition of nuclear weapons, in accord with the legal obligation of signers of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, but again in rather vague terms. And as longtime antinuclear activist Joseph Gerson has observed, Mikhail Gorbachev and others have recognized that “Russia will not be able to embrace serious efforts to achieve abolition unless space is demilitarized—something which is not discussed in Washington’s agenda.”47 Obama’s approach may be an improvement over Bush, and offers prospects for popular movements that seek to rid the earth of these threats to survival of the species. But a lot of work will be needed.

The call for negotiations and diplomacy on the part of the American unpeople extends to Cuba, and has for decades, but is again dismissed by both political parties.30 The possibility that functioning democracy might alleviate severe dangers is regularly illustrated. To take another current example, of great importance, there is now justified concern about Russian reactions to U.S. aggressive militarism. That includes the extension of NATO to the East by Clinton in violation of pledges to Mikhail Gorbachev, but particularly the vast expansion of offensive military capacity under Bush, and more recently, the plans to place “missile defense” installations in Eastern Europe. Putin is ridiculed for claiming that they are a threat to Russia. But U.S. strategic analysts recognize that he has a point. The programs, they argue, are designed in a way that Russian planners would have to regard as a threat to the Russian deterrent, hence calling for more advanced and lethal offensive military capacity to neutralize them.

Historical amnesia is a dangerous phenomenon, not only because it undermines moral and intellectual integrity, but also because it lays the groundwork for crimes that lie ahead. TWELVE 1989 and Beyond The month of November 2009 was marked by the joyous twentieth-anniversary celebration of what British historian Timothy Garton Ash calls “the biggest year in world history since 1945.” That remarkable year “changed everything,” thanks primarily to Mikhail Gorbachev’s reforms within Russia and his “breathtaking renunciation of the use of force…a luminous example of the importance of the individual in history,” leading to the partially open Russian elections of March 1989 and culminating in the fall of the Berlin wall on November 9, which opened the way to liberation of Eastern Europe from Russian tyranny. The general mood was captured well by barrister Matthew Ryder, speaking for the “niners,” the generation that is now providing global leadership, with Barack Obama in the lead, their conception of history having been “shaped by a world changed without guns” in 1989, events that gave them confidence in the power of dedication to nonviolence and justice.1 The accolades for November 9 are deserved, and the events are indeed memorable.


The Billion Dollar Spy: A True Story of Cold War Espionage and Betrayal by David E. Hoffman

back-to-the-land, Berlin Wall, cuban missile crisis, en.wikipedia.org, IFF: identification friend or foe, Mikhail Gorbachev, Robert Hanssen: Double agent, Ronald Reagan, Vladimir Vetrov: Farewell Dossier

The summer months would bring more daylight, and the CIA might be able to give him new film or a better camera. The Moscow station and headquarters seemed optimistic that they could solve the photography problem, even if it meant urging Tolkachev to take pictures in the toilet only on sunny days.15 19 Without Warning On the evening of March 10, 1985, the ailing Soviet leader, Konstantin Chernenko, passed away. The next day, the youngest member of the Politburo, Mikhail Gorbachev, became the fourth leader of the Soviet Union in three years. Tolkachev usually paid little attention to politics. At home, he was content to bury himself in his technical books, ignoring broadcasts and pronouncements of the party-state. He loathed them all and rarely even glanced at a television. He was not an optimist that the Soviet system would change. But when it did, he took notice. After the arrival of Gorbachev, he could not get enough of the television news.

Tolkachev also provided the United States with renewed confidence in weapons systems that cost billions of dollars and took years to develop, especially those designed to strike the Soviet Union at low altitude. The terrain-hugging, winged cruise missile was flight-tested and deployed in the years of Tolkachev’s espionage. The Soviet leaders knew it was a potent threat. In Moscow on June 4, 1984, Anatoly Chernyaev, who later became Mikhail Gorbachev’s national security adviser, went to a military briefing at the Central Committee. The briefing was titled “The Characteristics of Modern Warfare,” and Chernyaev wrote in his diary afterward that he saw films about American weapons systems. “It was amazing,” he wrote, “missiles homing in on their targets from hundreds and thousands of kilometers away; aircraft carriers, submarines that could do anything; winged missiles that, like in a cartoon, could be guided through a canyon and hit a target 10 meters in diameter from 2,500 kilometers away.

In these weeks of early 1983, there was a renewed campaign for “discipline and order” imposed by the new Soviet leader, Yuri Andropov, who used the KGB and the Interior Ministry to attack the problems of absenteeism and poor economic performance. People were “caught loafing” during working hours in subways, saunas, and shops. Tolkachev would certainly have known about the new climate, although it seems unlikely to have triggered the investigation. Andropov’s campaign is described in R. G. Pikhoia, Soviet Union: History of Power, 1945–1991 [in Russian] (Novosibirsk: Sibersky Khronograf, 2000), 377–79, and in Mikhail Gorbachev, Memoirs (New York: Doubleday, 1995), 147. 3. Tolkachev was named as the inheritor of the house by the owner but had no explicit title, and a dishonest owner could change it at any time. Libin, “Detained with Evidence.” Other sources confirmed to the author this was a common technique. 4. Ibid. 5. For details about ckelbow, see Wallace and Melton, Spycraft, 138–56; Bearden and Risen, Main Enemy, 28–29; and Rem Krasilnikov, Prizraki s ulitsy Chaikovskogo [The ghosts of Tchaikovsky Street] (Moscow: Gei Iterum, 1999), 179–88. 6.


pages: 243 words: 66,908

Thinking in Systems: A Primer by Meadows. Donella, Diana Wright

affirmative action, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Buckminster Fuller, business cycle, clean water, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, game design, Gunnar Myrdal, illegal immigration, invisible hand, Just-in-time delivery, Kickstarter, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, peak oil, race to the bottom, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ronald Reagan, Stanford prison experiment, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas L Friedman, Whole Earth Review

Actions will be too much or too little to achieve the decision maker’s goals. On the other hand, if action is taken too fast, it may nervously amplify short-term variation and create unnecessary instability. Delays determine how fast systems can react, how accurately they hit their targets, and how timely is the information passed around a system. Overshoots, oscillations, and collapses are always caused by delays. Understanding delays helps one understand why Mikhail Gorbachev could transform the information system of the Soviet Union virtually overnight, but not the physical economy. (That takes decades.) It helps one see why the absorption of East Germany by West Germany produced more hardship over a longer time than the politicians foresaw. Because of long delays in building new power plants, the electricity industry is plagued with cycles of overcapacity and then undercapacity leading to brownouts.

Rules—Incentives, punishments, constraints The rules of the system define its scope, its boundaries, its degrees of freedom. Thou shalt not kill. Everyone has the right of free speech. Contracts are to be honored. The president serves four-year terms and cannot serve more than two of them. Nine people on a team, you have to touch every base, three strikes and you’re out. If you get caught robbing a bank, you go to jail. Mikhail Gorbachev came to power in the Soviet Union and opened information flows (glasnost) and changed the economic rules (perestroika), and the Soviet Union saw tremendous change. Constitutions are the strongest examples of social rules. Physical laws such as the second law of thermodynamics are absolute rules, whether we understand them or not or like them or not. Laws, punishments, incentives, and informal social agreements are progressively weaker rules.


pages: 254 words: 68,133

The Age of Illusions: How America Squandered Its Cold War Victory by Andrew J. Bacevich

affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, clean water, Columbian Exchange, Credit Default Swap, cuban missile crisis, David Brooks, deindustrialization, Donald Trump, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, friendly fire, gig economy, global village, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, illegal immigration, income inequality, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, Marshall McLuhan, mass incarceration, Mikhail Gorbachev, Monroe Doctrine, Norman Mailer, obamacare, Occupy movement, planetary scale, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Potemkin village, price stability, Project for a New American Century, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, Saturday Night Live, school choice, Silicon Valley, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, WikiLeaks

In the epic competition pitting West against East, the God-fearing against the godless, and democracy against totalitarianism, “our side” had won. All-out nuclear war had been averted. The cause of freedom, which Americans felt certain they themselves embodied, had prevailed. Victory was decisive, sweeping, and unequivocal. In another sense, however, the passing of the Cold War could not have been more disorienting. In 1987, a senior adviser to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev had warned, “We are going to do a terrible thing to you—we are going to deprive you of an enemy.”2 As the Soviet Union passed out of existence, Americans were left not just without that enemy but without even a framework for understanding the world and their place in it. However imperfectly, the Cold War had for several decades offered a semblance of order and coherence. The collapse of Communism shattered that framework.

Although tensions between the United States and the USSR eased in the mid-1980s, few observers possessed the imagination to conceive of a world in which the Cold War might become a mere memory. For national security professionals, especially those charged with thinking unthinkable thoughts about World War III, the one thought that remained truly beyond the pale was the prospect of the Cold War actually ending. As late as 1988, even with President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev acting like best buddies, Pentagon propagandists were still insisting that the Kremlin’s “long-standing ambition to become the dominant world power” remained intact, as did its commitment to “a basically adversarial relationship” dictated by the “Marxist dialectic.” Having “amassed enormous military power, far in excess of what might be required for defense,” the Soviets were even then continuing to “expand their military power,” in large part to “satisfy their imperialist urge.”


pages: 247 words: 68,918

The End of the Free Market: Who Wins the War Between States and Corporations? by Ian Bremmer

affirmative action, Asian financial crisis, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, BRICs, British Empire, centre right, collective bargaining, corporate governance, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, cuban missile crisis, Deng Xiaoping, diversified portfolio, Doha Development Round, Exxon Valdez, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, global reserve currency, global supply chain, invisible hand, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, laissez-faire capitalism, low skilled workers, mass immigration, means of production, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, Nelson Mandela, new economy, offshore financial centre, open economy, race to the bottom, reserve currency, risk tolerance, shareholder value, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, spice trade, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, trade liberalization, trade route, tulip mania, uranium enrichment, Washington Consensus, Yom Kippur War, zero-sum game

Today we’re living in a G20 world, and when leaders of free-market democracies diagnose what ails the global economy and prescribe their respective remedies, they now face the skeptical smile of He Yafei—and of all those across the table who believe that the free market has failed and that the state should play the leading role in national economic performance. That’s an enormous problem, one that will pose important challenges for the next several decades. How did we get here? Didn’t the end of the Cold War signal the final victory of free-market capitalism? On December 25, 1991, a dazed Mikhail Gorbachev looked deeply into the lens of a single television camera and told his people that they were living in a new world. Proud that he had helped guide the Soviet people “toward the market economy,” he resigned as Soviet president, shuffled the papers before him, and waited for aides to signal that he was off the air. Six days later, the Soviet Union went out of business. Within three weeks, Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping had embarked on his famous “southern tour,” which created new momentum behind free-market reform in China.

Within two years, paramount leader Deng Xiaoping and his premier, Zhao Ziyang, overcame considerable resistance from senior Communist Party officials to launch a slow but deliberate plan to experiment with capitalism. For China’s economy and the ruling party’s future, it was a matter of necessity, and without Deng’s personal and political talents, the changes might never have been made. Years before Mikhail Gorbachev first charmed a Western audience, a willingness to move beyond Mao and an openness to Western culture transformed Deng into one of the American media’s most improbable celebrities of all time. Not long after the United States and the People’s Republic of China established formal diplomatic relations in 1979, the barely five-foot-tall Deng visited the United States, famously donning a cowboy hat while watching a Texas rodeo.


The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World (Hardback) - Common by Alan Greenspan

"Robert Solow", addicted to oil, air freight, airline deregulation, Albert Einstein, asset-backed security, bank run, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, business cycle, business process, buy and hold, call centre, capital controls, central bank independence, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, conceptual framework, Corn Laws, corporate governance, corporate raider, correlation coefficient, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crony capitalism, cuban missile crisis, currency peg, Deng Xiaoping, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Doha Development Round, double entry bookkeeping, equity premium, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fiat currency, financial innovation, financial intermediation, full employment, Gini coefficient, Hernando de Soto, income inequality, income per capita, invisible hand, Joseph Schumpeter, labor-force participation, laissez-faire capitalism, land reform, Long Term Capital Management, Mahatma Gandhi, manufacturing employment, market bubble, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Myron Scholes, Nelson Mandela, new economy, North Sea oil, oil shock, open economy, Pearl River Delta, pets.com, Potemkin village, price mechanism, price stability, Productivity paradox, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, random walk, reserve currency, Right to Buy, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, short selling, Silicon Valley, special economic zone, stocks for the long run, the payments system, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, total factor productivity, trade liberalization, trade route, transaction costs, transcontinental railway, urban renewal, working-age population, Y2K, zero-sum game

* ft*™M C i * - I HNEBSSr* N *i I A ^ ^ ^ ^ _ J ^bA^A ^^U • ^ ^ • • t I - - fc rai m m • - - ^ ^ " E_"^'iTi:". -~ • • = - " More ebooks visit: http://www.ccebook.cn ccebook-orginal english ebooks This file was collected by ccebook.cn form the internet, the author keeps the copyright. History took an astonishing turn when the Berlin Wall fell in November 1989. But even more amazing to me in the following days was the economic ruin exposed by the fall of the wall. By the time Soviet premier Mikhail Gorbachev made his third visit to the United States during the following spring, the Soviet Union itself had begun to disintegrate. He is shown below with President George H. W. Bush and me in a receiving line at a state dinner in Washington on May 31, 1990. LEFT: AP Images/John Gaps HI; BELOW: Courtesy of the George Bush Presidential Library The strain between President George H. W. Bush and the Federal Reserve Board was evident in this July 1991 meeting in the Oval Office.

I was struck by how quickly the Chinese leadership acquired a relatively sophisticated understanding of the workings of market economies, given the distance it had to traveL Here I am meeting with Chinese president Jiang Zemin in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Chinese finance m i n i s t e r Jin R e n q i n g is to t h e r i g h t . The collection of Alan Greenspan Ohinese premier Zhu Rongji ranks with Mikhail Gorbachev in his impact on world economic events. In the course of meetings over many years, he and I became good friends. Bob Rubin and I saw him during his visit to Washington, D.C., in 1999, when he urged President Clinton and Congress to back China's accession to the World Trade Organization. Epix/Getty Images More ebooks visit: http://www.ccebook.cn ccebook-orginal english ebooks This file was collected by ccebook.cn form the internet, the author keeps the copyright.

However, golf has lately been a source of controversy at some Chinese universities, where students have protested administration efforts to build golf "training courses" on which to teach t h e sport. Nonetheless, another international golf t o u r n a m e n t , on China's Hainan Island, was staged in March 2 0 0 7 . 298 More ebooks visit: http://www.ccebook.cn ccebook-orginal english ebooks This file was collected by ccebook.cn form the internet, the author keeps the copyright. THE CHOICES THAT A W A I T C H I N A I have always been of the opinion that Mikhail Gorbachev's glasnost and perestroika were the proximate cause of the Soviet Union's demise. They exposed the Soviet people to "liberal" values that Stalin and most of his successors had long suppressed. After the Pandora's box was opened, given the way ideas spread, the demise of collectivism in the USSR and its satellites was just a matter of time. Efforts by the Chinese Communist Politburo to control information on the Internet suggest to me that they have drawn the same conclusion and do not wish to see history repeat itself.


pages: 378 words: 121,495

The Abandonment of the West by Michael Kimmage

Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Charles Lindbergh, City Beautiful movement, deindustrialization, desegregation, Donald Trump, European colonialism, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, global pandemic, global supply chain, Gunnar Myrdal, interchangeable parts, Isaac Newton, Mahatma Gandhi, mass immigration, Mikhail Gorbachev, Monroe Doctrine, Nelson Mandela, Peace of Westphalia, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, Thomas L Friedman, transatlantic slave trade, urban planning, Washington Consensus

Reagan had learned from FDR’s mantra: happy days are here again. Reagan’s optimism acquired a retrospective legitimacy from events that occurred after he left the White House in January 1989. The course of events was circuitous. In 1981 and 1982, the United States and the Soviet Union were in mutual peril, with the United States pressuring Moscow and with the Kremlin a revolving door of geriatric (and hard-line) leaders. Mikhail Gorbachev’s arrival in 1985 was an opening for Reagan and for those in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union who sensed the weakening of the old order. Reagan’s unexpected receptivity to diplomatic engagement with Gorbachev gave Gorbachev political cover back in Moscow, but Gorbachev could not balance a declining Soviet economy with the maintenance of control over Eastern Europe and the many restive populations of the Soviet Union.

This less visible, less stylized Reagan was a diplomat rather than a general or a missionary, and a diplomat in search of a structured end to the Cold War. Reagan once described his grand strategy as “we win, they lose”; but he did not have the Soviets’ unconditional surrender in mind. A nuclear superpower could not be defeated. Reagan could, however, find justification for negotiating with the Soviet Union when Mikhail Gorbachev, a buoyant statesman and the least cynical of Soviet politicians, came to power in 1985. Gorbachev had studied law at Moscow State University and was a practicing Leninist. He retained Lenin’s desire to plant real, existing socialism in Europe and to reclaim the Western possibilities the Soviet Union had sacrificed to brutal leaders like Stalin and Khrushchev. Reagan maneuvered Gorbachev toward the preferred American outcomes without humiliating the Soviet general secretary.

Clinton agreed with both Bush and Acheson on Europe and showed himself to be a skilled diplomat in Europe, a friend to other center-Left leaders such as Britain’s Tony Blair and Germany’s Gerhard Schröder and a friend of a different sort to Boris Yeltsin, who served as Russia’s president in the 1990s. Yelstin was an exotic European leader, neither inside nor outside of the Western club. His grand strategy was to enable a “Greater Europe” from Lisbon to Vladivostok, a concept of Mikhail Gorbachev, a Eurasian zone of peace and commerce. Meanwhile, within Europe the Schengen Agreement, which was put into practice starting in 1995, removed many borders for Europeans. The euro was introduced in 1999 and Berlin restored to its capital-city status in 2000, a German and a European capital. From an American and from a European and for a while from a Russian point of view, the EU was an institutional nucleus around which a greater Europe could form.


pages: 293 words: 74,709

Bomb Scare by Joseph Cirincione

Albert Einstein, cuban missile crisis, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, energy security, Ernest Rutherford, Mahatma Gandhi, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, Ronald Reagan, uranium enrichment, Yogi Berra

In 1991 President Bush announced that the United States would unilaterally withdraw all of its land- and sea-launched tactical nuclear weapons and would dismantle all of its land- and many of its sea-based systems (thereby denuclearizing the Army and the Navy surface fleet). The president also unilaterally ended the twenty-four-hour alert status of the U.S. bomber force and took a substantial portion of the land-based missile force off of hair-trigger alert (readiness to launch within fifteen minutes). Two weeks later, Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev reciprocated with similar tactical weapon withdrawals and the de-alerting of 503 Soviet intercontinental ballistic missiles. While the process was begun by Eisenhower, inspired by Kennedy, and pushed by Johnson, most of the major diplomatic lifting was actually done by Presidents Nixon, Reagan, and Bush, who either negotiated or brought into force almost all the instruments that make up the interlocking network of treaties and arrangements we refer to as the nonproliferation regime.

,The Nuclear Tipping Point: Global Prospects for Revisiting Nuclear Renunciation (Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press, 2004), cited in Universal Compliance, p. 130. AFTERWORD: THE SHAPE OF THINGS TO COME 1. “Suicide Bomb Hits Pakistani Bus,” BBC News, November 1, 2007, available at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7072428.stm. 2. Bill Roggio, “Suicide Attack at Pakistani Nuclear Weapons Complex,” Long War Journal, December 10, 2007. 3. Mikhail Gorbachev, “The Nuclear Threat,” Wall Street Journal, January 31, 2007. 4. Joby Warrick and Walter Pincus, “The Saga of a Bent Spear: Six Nuclear Missiles Were Flown Across America,” Washington Post, September 23, 2007, p. A1. 5. Robert Norris and Hans M. Kristensen, “U.S. Nuclear Forces, 2008,” NDRC Nuclear Notebook, The Bulleting of the Atomic Scientists, March/April 2008. 6. Ibid. 7. Warren Strobel, “Cheney at Center of Struggle to Manage N.


pages: 934 words: 135,736

The Divided Nation: A History of Germany, 1918-1990 by Mary Fulbrook

Albert Einstein, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, centre right, coherent worldview, collective bargaining, deindustrialization, Fall of the Berlin Wall, feminist movement, first-past-the-post, fixed income, full employment, joint-stock company, land reform, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, open borders, Peace of Westphalia, Sinatra Doctrine, union organizing, unorthodox policies

But the fostering of a muted dissent under the wing of the church spread beyond the bounds which the church could control. More specialized groups developed, focusing on issues pertaining to human rights and the environment, in addition to peace initiatives, which could no longer so easily be contained by the church. This proliferation of dissent coincided with, and was to a degree fuelled by, a quite separate factor of major, indeed decisive, importance. In March 1985, Mikhail Gorbachev became leader of the Soviet Union. Inheriting an ailing economy burdened by high defence spending, a world role it could no longer sustain, and political troubles at home, Gorbachev embarked on a radically new course in the Soviet Union, characterized by his slogans of perestroika and glasnost. Not only did he introduce measures for economic restructuring and increased political openness at home; Gorbachev's reforms, crucially, fostered expectation of change among other eastern European states in addition.

Despite such repression, demonstrators maintained their non-violent stance: young women at the Gethsemane Church, for example, approached members of the militia with flowers, and invited policemen to change out of their uniforms and join them in demanding democratization. Children guarded the candles which were kept alive, symbolically, with the flames of hope for a peaceful revolution. Yet many who joined the protests were deeply afraid, and not without reason. Earlier in the year, the East German regime had officially congratulated the Chinese leadership on the brutal massacre of pro-democracy demonstrators in Peking's Tiananmen Square. Mikhail Gorbachev came to the GDR, to stand by Honecker's side for the anniversary parades. But he took the opportunity to advise the East German leadership that some willingness to reform was in order and that it might be time for Honecker, given his age and ill-health, to make way for a more effective leader given the current crisis. These hints were to have dramatic consequences in the next ten days. An important turning-point in regime responses to the growing crisis came on 9 October.

Yet it was clear that the Warsaw Pact was no longer a cohesive body posing a serious military threat; and by 6 July 1990, a two-day NATO summit was able to issue the 'London Declaration' announcing a radical reconceptualization of its role and effectively declaring peace, as one newspaper headline put it, on the Warsaw Pact. Little over a week later, on 16 July after discussions in Moscow and the Caucasus between Chancellor Kohl and Mikhail Gorbachev, the latter was able to announce that he no longer objected to membership of a united Germany in NATO. Warsaw Pact troops would be withdrawn from the territory of East Germany in phases over a four-year period, and the new, post-unification domestic military force of a united Germany would be reduced from the number produced simply by combining existing East and West German troops. The way finally seemed open for the 'Two-plus-Four' process to work out the remaining problems concerning the external aspects of the unification of two Germanies, catching up with the rapid momentum on the domestic front and paving the way for final political unification.


pages: 476 words: 138,420

Lost Kingdom: The Quest for Empire and the Making of the Russian Nation by Serhii Plokhy

affirmative action, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, New Urbanism, Right to Buy, Ronald Reagan, trade route, Transnistria, union organizing, zero-sum game, éminence grise

While the removal of the editor of Molodaia gvardiia signaled a victory for Aleksandr Yakovlev, the interim head of the party propaganda apparatus, his triumph was short-lived. After he published an article in 1972 attacking manifestations of Russian nationalism in literary and cultural life, Yakovlev was dismissed from his high position in the party’s Central Committee and sent to Canada as Soviet ambassador. A decade later, he would be discovered there by a rising star of Soviet politics, Mikhail Gorbachev, who brought him back to Moscow in the mid-1980s. Yakovlev would become one of the architects of Gorbachev’s reforms. In the mid-1970s, however, the party leadership preferred to sacrifice Yakovlev in order to make peace with the rising nationalist trend in the Russian intelligentsia, and, more important, to co-opt the rebels and keep that trend under party control. Those who would not be cowed into submission, such as Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, the unofficial leader of the Russian nationalist intelligentsia, were sent out of the country (Solzhenitsyn was expelled in 1974).

Leonid Brezhnev, who ruled the country for eighteen years, passed away in November 1982; his successor, the former head of the KGB, Yurii Andropov, succumbed to illness in February 1984; and Andropov’s successor, Konstantin Chernenko, followed suit in March 1985. The old Soviet Union had long run out of new ideas. By the mid-1980s, it had also run out of leaders committed to maintaining old ideological, economic, and social models. The new Soviet leader, the fifty-four-year-old Mikhail Gorbachev, was eager to try new things. The immediate and most obvious challenge before him was the sorry state of the Soviet economy, which was in free fall. Income growth, which had averaged about 14 percent per year in the 1930s, had slowed to about 10 percent in the 1950s, and dropped to approximately 5 percent in the first half of the 1980s. Those were official figures. The CIA estimated the rate of Soviet income growth between 1980 and 1985 at close to 2 percent, while post-Soviet calculations yielded an even lower figure.

With the sole exception of the former East Prussia, now constituted as the Kaliningrad region of Russia, the Russian Federation was territorially continuous from Leningrad (soon to be renamed St. Petersburg) on the Baltic Sea to Vladivostok on the Pacific. It was a good candidate to form a nation, but in 1990 there were numerous odds against that proposition. In June 1991, Yeltsin won the race for the newly created office of president of the Russian Federation in competition with candidates supported by his onetime protector and then nemesis, the president of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev. Unlike Gorbachev, who had been installed in office in the spring of 1990 by the Soviet parliament, Yeltsin was elected by the voters of Russia. As he took office, Yeltsin pledged his loyalty to the citizens of the Russian Federation, promising to defend the interests of the republic and its peoples. Yeltsin and his liberal supporters regarded the Russian Federation as an engine for the political and economic reform of the entire Union.


pages: 286 words: 82,970

A World in Disarray: American Foreign Policy and the Crisis of the Old Order by Richard Haass

access to a mobile phone, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, carbon footprint, central bank independence, colonial rule, cuban missile crisis, currency manipulation / currency intervention, deindustrialization, Doha Development Round, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, energy security, European colonialism, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, floating exchange rates, global pandemic, global reserve currency, hiring and firing, immigration reform, invisible hand, Mikhail Gorbachev, Monroe Doctrine, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, open economy, quantitative easing, RAND corporation, reserve currency, Ronald Reagan, South China Sea, special drawing rights, Steven Pinker, UNCLOS, UNCLOS, uranium enrichment, Yom Kippur War

A hundred generations have searched for this elusive path to peace, while a thousand wars raged across the span of human endeavor. Today that new world is struggling to be born, a world quite different from the one we’ve known. A world where the rule of law supplants the rule of the jungle. A world in which nations recognize the shared responsibility for freedom and justice. A world where the strong respect the rights of the weak. This is the vision that I shared with Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev in Helsinki. He and other leaders from Europe, the Gulf, and around the world understand that how we manage this crisis today could shape the future for generations to come.2 Now, some twenty-five years later, it is clear that no benign new world order materialized. What exists in many parts of the world as well as in various venues of international relations resembles more a new world disorder.

In 1987 the historian Paul Kennedy published an influential book on why major powers rise and fall throughout history, a principal reason being that the burdens of empire often undermine prosperity and as a result stability at home.8 The burden of its overseas role and activities surely contributed to the failure of the USSR, which had to support a large military budget, a far-flung set of allies that often needed financial help, the cost of occupation in Eastern Europe, and the economic and human price of imperial adventures such as its ill-fated 1979 intervention in Afghanistan. These costs exacerbated a difficult, inefficient reality brought about by decades of an economy ruled much more by political than by market forces. Political decisions and diplomacy mattered too. Here much of the history derives from decisions of Mikhail Gorbachev, who led the USSR starting in 1985. Gorbachev clearly concluded that the Soviet Union could survive and compete on the world stage only if it changed in basic ways at home. But his approach to change, in which political reform came before economic restructuring, mostly resulted in a loss of control over what was happening in the streets. An attempt in the summer of 1991 by some around the Kremlin to oust Gorbachev and restore central authority fizzled; it was a classic case of too little, too late.


pages: 669 words: 150,886

Behind the Berlin Wall: East Germany and the Frontiers of Power by Patrick Major

anti-communist, Berlin Wall, centre right, falling living standards, land reform, Mikhail Gorbachev, mittelstand, open borders, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, post-materialism, refrigerator car, rising living standards, Ronald Reagan, Sinatra Doctrine

Robert Frost, ‘Mending Wall’ (1915) 1989 was to witness the collapse of communism across eastern Europe. Scenes of revellers from East and West Berlin dancing atop the Berlin Wall have remained lodged in memories as the moment the Cold War ended. The ‘fall of the Wall’ became a metaphor for the end of an era, although it was not until August 1991 that the Soviet Union imploded, taking with it the architect of reform, Mikhail Gorbachev. Nevertheless, the fall of the Wall was a symptom as well as a cause of other changes. Radical challenges to orthodox communism had already been under way for years in Poland and Hungary, where, in the latter instance, citizens had been granted freedom of travel in 1988. The GDR, on the other hand, had always been viewed as the most loyal eastern bloc regime. The Wall’s collapse therefore signalled to neighbouring regimes that anything was possible.

See also SED-ZK (PO), ‘Information über Diskussionen unter der Bevölkerung zu Versorgungsfragen’, 28 July 1989, SAPMO-BArch, DY30/IV2/2.039/268, fos. 91–8. ¹⁵ Grieder, East German Leadership, 183–7. The Fall of the Wall 231 towards the FRG under the auspices of Ostpolitik and the modernization of its economy. Nor were his successors much more supportive. Various decisions, such as the dismantling of fragmentation devices along the border fence in 1983, or Honecker’s visit to Bonn in 1987, were not taken with prior consultation with Moscow, much to the Kremlin’s irritation.¹⁶ Mikhail Gorbachev’s leadership of the CPSU, beginning in March 1985, signalled fundamental changes to the special relationship. For his common ‘European house’, Gorbachev was keen to foster relations with West Germany, even at the GDR’s expense, despite all protestations to the contrary. The Soviet General Secretary made Delphic allusions to ‘history’ solving the German question. Moreover, the Kremlin leader had realized that the arms race could not continue.

S. 1 Paris summit (1960) 38 liberalization 165–74 Party Information (SED) 13, 14, 15, 17, 33, ending of at 11th Plenum 174 35, 233, 249–50, 284 and New Economic System 166–8 Pass Law (1957) 102–3 limes 2 Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS) 281–2 Lindenberg, Udo 175–6 Pervukhin, Mikhail (Soviet ambassador to Lindenberger, Thomas 7–8 GDR) 51, 110 Litfin, Günter 146 petitions ( Eingaben) 19, 84–5, 104–5, 157, Lüdtke, Alf 5, 6 201–3, 210, 230, 236, 249 Lünser, Bernd 146–7 Pfaff, Steven 242 Pieck, Wilhelm, president of GDR 19 Macmillan, Harold 36 Plato 2 Maginot Line 2 Poland 235 320 Index police see Volkspolizei Sex Pistols 1 popular music see music Sheriff Teddy (1957) 98 popular opinion 11–12, 16, 25, 33–4, shootings 145–8, 265; see also trials 120–1, 156–7, 163 Siegfried Line 2 declarations of support 17–18, 121 Social Democrats see SPD postal censorship 189 Sokolovsky, Vasily 27 Potsdamer Platz 278–9 Sonnenallee (1999) 261 propaganda see under Berlin Wall Soviet Union 3, 24, 27, 31, 232, 240, 254; see protests see demonstrations also Mikhail Gorbachev public opinion see popular opinion and Berlin blockade 27 Puhdys 175, 201 Red Army 26, 90 Sparta 2 radio 28, 34, 168, 171; see also music SPD 163–4, 257 Operation Blitz (1961) 191 Springsteen, Bruce 175 ransoming of political prisoners 214 Sputnik ban 233 Ratzel, Friedrich 3 Stalinism 12 refugees see Republikflucht Staritz, Dietrich 289 Stasi 12, 14–15, 15–16, 17, 30, 31, 32, 66, Reimann, Brigitte 179 67–8, 78, 86, 97, 106, 107, 121, 132, Republikflucht 12, 25, 43, 47, 100–1, 197–8 145, 147, 187–8, 189, 199, 220, 237, and Berlin 105 246, 250 combatting of 92–3, 97, 102, 105–6, 109 and building of Berlin Wall 113, 116 demographic impact 56, 79 Central Coordination Group to combat as migration 74–5 emigration 213–4, 215–7 political motives for 57, 64–74 Markus Wolf 232, 250 pull factors 75–6 Strauß, Franz Josef 152, 203, 228 push factors 66, 77, 82, 88 Streletz, Fritz 265 regional factors 59, 60–1 strikes 44, 134–6, 256 social factors 73 suicides 158–9 situational motives for 57–63 threats to commit 83–7, 211–2 teachers 70–1, 73, 200 trigger factors 79–82 television 192–3 RIAS (Radio in the American Sector) 13, 28, Templin, Wolfgang 275 34, 191 Third Reich 11, 13, 59, 65, 131, 156–7, 192, rock ‘n’ roll see under music 264 Rolling Stones 172 Tiananmen Square massacre 236–7, 245 Roman Empire 2 totalitarianism 4, 6, 7, 10 Ross, Corey 289–90 tourism 196–7 Russia see Soviet Union West German tourists 228 trade unions 130 Schabowski, Günter 253 transport 28–9 Schneider, Peter 258 travel 100–4, 194–208 Schnitzler, Karl-Eduard von 122 freedom of 103–4, 198 Schroeder, Klaus 4 travel cadres 196 Schürer, Gerhard 229, 232, 251 travel law (1989) 251–3 Schultz, Egon 148, 275 trials 107, 131–2, 140 Scott, James 6 wall shooter trials 263–7 secret police see Stasi Tucholsky, Kurt 199 SED (Socialist Unity Party of Germany) 12, tunnel 30 16, 18, 20, 24, 42 Turba, Kurt 170–1, 172 grass roots functionaries 30, 52–3, 65, 67, Turner, Frederick Jackson 8–9 88, 129–31, 192, 203, 222–3, 233–4, 249–50 Ulbricht, Walter 19, 24, 39, 40, 46, 47, 82, reformers within 232 87, 107–8, 156 see Party Information United Nations 3, 202 Seidel, Harry 144–5, 285 United States of America 28, 35, 36 Selbmann, Fritz 181 USSR see Soviet Union Index 321 Versprechen, Das (1994) 260 Weber, Max 4 Vietnam 161 West Germany see Federal Republic of violence 131, 165, 245, 246–7 Germany visas 89, 100, 197 Wings of Desire (1987) 274 Volkspolizei (People’s Police) 12, 19, 28, 67, Wolf, Christa 179–81, 250, 261 76, 87, 92, 93, 100, 104, 106, 132, 157, Wolf, Hanna 102 199, 203, 241; see also arrests women 94, 102, 126, 236 and building of Berlin Wall 114 Wonneberger, Pastor 244 workers 43–6, 138–9 writers 176–83, 234 Wall see Berlin Wall ‘wall sickness’ 158–9 young people 62–3, 67, 77, 95–9, 124–5, ‘wallpeckers’ 274–5 131, 141–3, 160–1, 170–4, 238–9 war, fear of 126–7 Warsaw Pact 109, 112–3 Weber, Hermann 5, 159, 288–9 Zeiss optics works 46, 76 Document Outline Contents List of Illustrations Abbreviations 1.


pages: 487 words: 147,891

McMafia: A Journey Through the Global Criminal Underworld by Misha Glenny

anti-communist, Anton Chekhov, Berlin Wall, blood diamonds, BRICs, colonial rule, crony capitalism, Deng Xiaoping, Doha Development Round, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, Firefox, forensic accounting, friendly fire, glass ceiling, illegal immigration, joint-stock company, market bubble, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, Nick Leeson, offshore financial centre, Pearl River Delta, place-making, rising living standards, Ronald Reagan, Skype, special economic zone, Stephen Hawking, trade liberalization, trade route, Transnistria, unemployed young men, upwardly mobile

., this would have been the price of technologies had we bought them.” All three industries—drugs, arms, and high tech—were deemed of immense strategic value to the Bulgarian state. At the heart of the smuggling operations lay Military Counter Intelligence, the Second Directorate of the DS, which controlled all of Bulgaria’s borders. And the head of Military Counter Intelligence was General Petur Chergelanov, the father-in-law to Ilya Pavlov. In 1986, as Mikhail Gorbachev consolidated his authority in Moscow, Western leaders were unaware that the Soviet Union’s hegemony over its East European allies was coming to an end. The Bulgarian state security service had no such illusions about the system it policed. Experienced observers of the Soviet scene, the DS’s leadership calculated that Communism did not have long to last. Under pressure from Gorbachev, the Bulgarian Communist Party had passed Decree 56, which overnight allowed the creation of private enterprises in Bulgaria, known as joint-stock companies.

Gaunt, serious, and with penetrating blue eyes, Shakhnazarian is an unlikely anti-mafia campaigner, although since he has fought in two wars on the periphery of the Soviet Union as it was breaking up, his courage should not be underestimated. Together with his energetic wife, Oksana Martinuk, he has been fighting to prevent the extermination of the sturgeon for more than a decade. “They were overfishing to such a degree that they ran out of rail trucks to export the stuff. To his credit, Mikhail Gorbachev put a stop to this overfishing and strengthened the Spetznaz [Special Forces] teams who were charged with protecting the sturgeon,” Oksana said. In a short time, the armed protection and a new restocking program had a demonstrably positive impact on sturgeon numbers. But after 1989, the police state that had cowed so many people for seven decades appeared to shrivel and die. “At first the poachers came at night, shooting their way to the river.

“Sharks only move in for the kill when they can taste the fear of their victims,” he mused, “and I don’t believe I understood quite how serious things stood with the gangsters at this time, so I wasn’t as scared as perhaps I should have been.” Tarasov’s affable manner belies his exceptional business acumen, which transformed him from Communist bureaucrat into Russia’s first millionaire after Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev’s reforms had opened a window on private enterprise. “Our first business was fixing Western television sets. There were no spare parts so we had to improvise with Russian ones. And they worked, although if people had looked inside them, they would have seen a rather monstrous apparition—we couldn’t get the genuine parts so we had to bodge them ourselves. After that I started a dating agency.


pages: 566 words: 144,072

In the Graveyard of Empires: America's War in Afghanistan by Seth G. Jones

business climate, clean water, colonial rule, cuban missile crisis, drone strike, failed state, friendly fire, invisible hand, Khyber Pass, Mikhail Gorbachev, Murray Gell-Mann, open borders, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, trade route, zero-sum game

Power is transferred to Nur Mohammad Taraki, who establishes the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan. 1979 Nur Mohammad Taraki is arrested by his deputy, Hafizullah Amin, and executed. As instability grips the country, Soviet forces invade on Christmas Eve. On December 27, Soviet Special Forces and KGB storm the Presidential Palace, kill Hafizullah Amin, and install Babrak Karmal as president. 1986 Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev announces a partial withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan. In November, the Soviets replace Babrak Karmal with Muhammad Najibullah, former head of the Afghan secret police. 1989 On February 15, the last Red Army units roll across the Termez Bridge from Afghanistan and return to the Soviet Union. 1992 The United States ends arms shipments to the Afghan government and militia groups.

A CIA assessment concluded: “The Soviets have had little success in reducing the insurgency or winning acceptance by the Afghan people, and the Afghan resistance continues to grow stronger and to command widespread popular support. Fighting has gradually spread to all parts of Afghanistan.”46 Initial Soviet assessments of the war were optimistic, but by 1985, Soviet leaders had become increasingly concerned.47 At a Politburo session on October 17, 1985, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev read letters from Soviet citizens expressing growing dissatisfaction with the war in Afghanistan. At that same session, Gorbachev also described his meeting with Babrak Karmal in which he said the Soviet Union would pull its troops from Afghanistan. “Karmal was dumbfounded,” Gorbachev noted. “He had expected anything but this from us, he was sure we needed Afghanistan even more than he did, he’s been counting on us to stay there for a long time—if not forever.”

Bush and then secretary of defense under his son, President George W. Bush. It was a win-win bet, Gates told his colleagues. “I would get twenty-five dollars or have the pleasure of paying twenty-five dollars on the occasion of an early Soviet withdrawal. A small price to pay for a large victory.” Gates was fond of quoting an old Chinese proverb: “What the bear has eaten, he never spits out.” But he lost the bet. Mikhail Gorbachev announced in February 1988, before a nationwide audience, that Soviet withdrawals from Afghanistan would begin that May, and they were completed by December 1989. “I paid Mike Armacost the twenty-five dollars—the best money I ever spent,” Gates said. “I also told myself it would be the last time I’d make an intelligence forecast based on fortune cookie wisdom.”1 A Patchwork of Competing Groups The initial U.S. reaction to the Soviet withdrawal was referred to as “positive symmetry.”


pages: 513 words: 152,381

The Precipice: Existential Risk and the Future of Humanity by Toby Ord

3D printing, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, availability heuristic, Columbian Exchange, computer vision, cosmological constant, cuban missile crisis, decarbonisation, defense in depth, delayed gratification, demographic transition, Doomsday Clock, Drosophila, effective altruism, Elon Musk, Ernest Rutherford, global pandemic, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, Nash equilibrium, Norbert Wiener, nuclear winter, p-value, Peter Singer: altruism, planetary scale, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, Stanislav Petrov, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, supervolcano, survivorship bias, the scientific method, uranium enrichment

Just three days after the devastation of Hiroshima, Bertrand Russell began writing his first essay on the implications for the future of humanity.65 And not long after, many of the scientists who created these weapons formed the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists to lead the conversation about how to prevent global destruction.66 Albert Einstein soon became a leading voice and his final public act was to sign a Manifesto with Russell arguing against nuclear war on the explicit grounds that it could spell the end for humanity.67 Cold War leaders, such as Eisenhower, Kennedy and Brezhnev, became aware of the possibility of extinction and some of its implications.68 The early 1980s saw a new wave of thought, with Jonathan Schell, Carl Sagan and Derek Parfit making great progress in understanding what is at stake—all three realizing that the loss of uncounted future generations may overshadow the immediate consequences.69 The discovery that atomic weapons may trigger a nuclear winter influenced both Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev to reduce their country’s arms and avoid war.70 And the public reacted too. In 1982, New York’s Central Park saw a million people come together to march against nuclear weapons. It was the biggest protest in their nation’s history.71 Even in my birthplace of Australia, which has no nuclear weapons, we joined the global protest—my parents taking me with them on marches when I was just a small child they were fighting to protect.

Goodchild, P. (2004). Edward Teller, the Real Dr. Strangelove. Harvard University Press. Goodfellow, I. J., et al. (2014). Generative Adversarial Networks. ArXiv, https://arxiv.org/abs/1406.2661. Goodhart, C. (1975). “Problems of Monetary Management: The U.K. Experience,” in Papers in Monetary Economics. Reserve Bank of Australia. Gorbachev, M., and Hertsgaard, M. (September 24, 2000). “Mikhail Gorbachev Explains What’s Rotten in Russia.” Salon. Gordon, N. D., Jonko, A. K., Forster, P. M., and Shell, K. M. (2013). “An Observationally Based Constraint on the Water-Vapor Feedback.” Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 118(22), 12,435–43. Gould, C., and Folb, P. (2002). Project Coast: Apartheid’s Chemical and Biological Warfare Programme (R. Berold, ed.). United Nations Publications UNIDIR.

Originally written in 1979, it also raised many of the key questions concerning our ethical duties to maintain a world for future generations. 70 In 1985, Reagan said (Reagan & Weinraub, 1985): “A great many reputable scientists are telling us that such a war could just end up in no victory for anyone because we would wipe out the earth as we know it. And if you think back to a couple of natural calamities… there was snow in July in many temperate countries. And they called it the year in which there was no summer. Now if one volcano can do that, what are we talking about with the whole nuclear exchange, the nuclear winter that scientists have been talking about?” Speaking in 2000, Mikhail Gorbachev reflected (Gorbachev & Hertsgaard, 2000): “Models made by Russian and American scientists showed that a nuclear war would result in a nuclear winter that would be extremely destructive to all life on earth; the knowledge of that was a great stimulus to us.” 71 The crowd size has been estimated from 600,000 to 1 million, with 1 million being the most common number reported (Montgomery, 1982; Schell, 2007).


pages: 669 words: 210,153

Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers by Timothy Ferriss

Airbnb, Alexander Shulgin, artificial general intelligence, asset allocation, Atul Gawande, augmented reality, back-to-the-land, Ben Horowitz, Bernie Madoff, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, Black Swan, blue-collar work, Boris Johnson, Buckminster Fuller, business process, Cal Newport, call centre, Charles Lindbergh, Checklist Manifesto, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, Colonization of Mars, Columbine, commoditize, correlation does not imply causation, David Brooks, David Graeber, diversification, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, effective altruism, Elon Musk, fault tolerance, fear of failure, Firefox, follow your passion, future of work, Google X / Alphabet X, Howard Zinn, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Jeff Bezos, job satisfaction, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, Lao Tzu, lateral thinking, life extension, lifelogging, Mahatma Gandhi, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Mason jar, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, MITM: man-in-the-middle, Nelson Mandela, Nicholas Carr, optical character recognition, PageRank, passive income, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Singer: altruism, Peter Thiel, phenotype, PIHKAL and TIHKAL, post scarcity, post-work, premature optimization, QWERTY keyboard, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, rent-seeking, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, selection bias, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Skype, Snapchat, social graph, software as a service, software is eating the world, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, superintelligent machines, Tesla Model S, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas L Friedman, Wall-E, Washington Consensus, Whole Earth Catalog, Y Combinator, zero-sum game

And it gives the wrong impression—that you can do it alone. I couldn’t. And odds are, you can’t either. We all need fuel. Without the assistance, advice, and inspiration of others, the gears of our mind grind to a halt, and we’re stuck with nowhere to go. I have been blessed to find mentors and idols at every step of my life, and I’ve been lucky to meet many of them. From Joe Weider to Nelson Mandela, from Mikhail Gorbachev to Muhammad Ali, from Andy Warhol to George H.W. Bush, I have never been shy about seeking wisdom from others to pour fuel on my fire. You have probably listened to Tim’s podcasts. (I particularly recommend the one with the charming bodybuilder with the Austrian accent.) He has used his platform to bring you the wisdom of a diverse cast of characters in business, entertainment, and sports.

I later purchased an InnoGear 200 ml aromatherapy diffuser in “wood grain” (most diffusers look cheap otherwise) for home use. * * * Tony Robbins Tony Robbins (TW/FB/IG: @tonyrobbins, tonyrobbins.com) is the world’s most famous performance coach. He’s advised everyone from Bill Clinton and Serena Williams to Leonardo DiCaprio and Oprah (who calls him “superhuman”). Tony Robbins has consulted or advised international leaders including Nelson Mandela, Mikhail Gorbachev, Margaret Thatcher, François Mitterrand, Princess Diana, Mother Teresa, and three U.S. presidents. Robbins has also developed and produced five award-winning television infomercials that have continuously aired—on average—every 30 minutes, 24 hours a day, somewhere in North America, since 1989. Back Story I first read Tony Robbins’s Unlimited Power in high school, when it was recommended by a straight-A student.

Spirit animal: Sponge * * * Cal Fussman Cal Fussman (TW: @calfussman, calfussman.com) is a New York Times best-selling author and a writer-at-large for Esquire magazine, where he is best known for being a primary writer of the What I’ve Learned feature. The Austin Chronicle has described Cal’s interviewing skills as “peerless.” He has transformed oral history into an art form, conducting probing interviews with icons who have shaped the last 50 years of world history: Mikhail Gorbachev, Jimmy Carter, Ted Kennedy, Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson, Jack Welch, Robert De Niro, Clint Eastwood, Al Pacino, George Clooney, Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks, Bruce Springsteen, Dr. Dre, Quincy Jones, Woody Allen, Barbara Walters, Pelé, Yao Ming, Serena Williams, John Wooden, Muhammad Ali, and countless others. Born in Brooklyn, Cal spent 10 straight years traveling the world, swimming over 18-foot tiger sharks, rolling around with mountain gorillas in Rwanda, and searching for gold in the Amazon.


pages: 91 words: 24,469

The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics by Mark Lilla

affirmative action, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump, ending welfare as we know it, Gordon Gekko, mass immigration, Mikhail Gorbachev, new economy, New Urbanism, Ronald Reagan, sensible shoes, Silicon Valley

New parties formed, then factions within them, which then split off and became even newer parties. All this was an extraordinary experience for peoples who had been prevented from determining their collective destinies for generations. They were finally citizens. In the United States the picture was very different. Though Ronald Reagan publicly supported pro-democracy groups like Solidarity in Poland and dramatically called on Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall, at home he had been elected by people who could no longer quite see the point of arguing about the common good and engaging politically to achieve it. A new outlook on life had been gaining ground in the United States, one in which the needs and desires of individuals were given near-absolute priority over those of society. This subliminal revolution has done more to shape American politics in the past half century than any particular historical event.


pages: 351 words: 93,982

Leading From the Emerging Future: From Ego-System to Eco-System Economies by Otto Scharmer, Katrin Kaufer

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Asian financial crisis, Basel III, Berlin Wall, Branko Milanovic, cloud computing, collaborative consumption, collapse of Lehman Brothers, colonial rule, Community Supported Agriculture, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, dematerialisation, Deng Xiaoping, en.wikipedia.org, European colonialism, Fractional reserve banking, global supply chain, happiness index / gross national happiness, high net worth, housing crisis, income inequality, income per capita, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, market bubble, mass immigration, Mikhail Gorbachev, Mohammed Bouazizi, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, new economy, offshore financial centre, peak oil, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, smart grid, Steve Jobs, technology bubble, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, Washington Consensus, working poor, Zipcar

As the worst-case scenario started to unfold, the children and citizens of the city next door, Pripyat, received no warnings. Citizens of the region, Russian and European, were exposed to a cloud of nuclear radiation that first traveled north to Scandinavia and then covered almost all of Europe and its 500 million inhabitants. Not only were Europe’s citizens not warned about the potential threat, even the top Soviet leaders in the Kremlin were in the dark. Mikhail Gorbachev, who at the time was general secretary of the Communist Party, recounts: “I got a call around 5 A.M. I was told there was some accident at the Chernobyl nuclear plant. The first information consisted of ‘accident’ and ‘fire.’ The information report was that everything was sound including the reactor. … At first, I have been told there was no explosion. The consequences of this information were particularly dramatic. … What had happened?

The Soviet Union quickly increased its industrial production in the years prior to World War II and then again in the 1960s under Brezhnev, when it also became one of the world’s largest exporters of natural gas and oil. But the 1965 “economic reform” that aimed at introducing entrepreneurial management ideas reflected the limitation of the centralized 1.0 economy. The war in Afghanistan, economic problems, and then the political changes that led to the revolutions in Eastern Europe ended the Soviet Union. In 1990, Mikhail Gorbachev introduced perestroika and glasnost, which marked the transition from a centralized 1.0 to a 2.0 society. After his removal from power and with guidance from Harvard advisers, this transition took full effect in the form of “shock therapy.” The result was nothing short of catastrophic, with a rapid increase in poverty and even worse living conditions. At the same time, a small group of well-connected individuals managed to seize ownership of formerly state-owned enterprises.


Betrayal of Trust: The Collapse of Global Public Health by Laurie Garrett

accounting loophole / creative accounting, airport security, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, biofilm, clean water, collective bargaining, desegregation, discovery of DNA, discovery of penicillin, Drosophila, employer provided health coverage, Fall of the Berlin Wall, germ theory of disease, global pandemic, illegal immigration, indoor plumbing, Induced demand, John Snow's cholera map, Jones Act, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, mass incarceration, Maui Hawaii, means of production, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, mouse model, Nelson Mandela, new economy, nuclear winter, phenotype, profit motive, Project Plowshare, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Right to Buy, Ronald Reagan, sexual politics, Silicon Valley, stem cell, the scientific method, urban decay, urban renewal, War on Poverty, working poor, Works Progress Administration, yellow journalism

And thirteen months later seventy-three-year-old Konstantin Chernenko was also buried in Red Square, having served as the last of the Soviet Union’s Stalinist-style premiers. Years of smoking cigarettes and drinking massive quantities of vodka felled him as well, turning his lungs into emphysema-besieged, wheezing apparati and his liver into cirrhotic Jell-O. In March 1985 the Politburo finally gave up on placing men who had served in Stalin’s shadow in power, turning to Mikhail Gorbachev, comparatively youthful at age fifty-four. It was the beginning of the great change. Gorbachev would be the first leader of the Soviet Union—indeed, in Russian history dating back to A.D. 913—to survive his political tenure, not either dying in office or forced out, having been crippled by fatal physical or mental illness. If Gorbachev’s physical health signaled improvement for Soviet leadership it did not augur commensurate enhancement in the health of the Soviet masses.

When asked how they abided the brutality of their lives as prostitutes, hookers in Russia, Estonia, and Ukraine typically said, “It’s no worse than marriage.” While some women were heavy drinkers, alcoholism regionally was an overwhelmingly male phenomenon. And vodka, when consumed at Russian levels, drove men to astounding heights of violence and brutality committed against their wives, girlfriends, children, even suicidally against themselves. In the six years Mikhail Gorbachev led the Soviet Union, he had saved, conservatively, more than a half million lives in the region—but not because of any military or political decision he made. Startled to learn that Soviets were in 1983 consuming, on average, three liters a year of pure ethanol equivalent, Gorbachev waged an all-out war on alcoholism, using the classically repressive apparatus of the Soviet state. Warehouses were destroyed; illegal sellers were jailed; vodka prices were artificially hiked; and police were given free rein to arrest public drinkers.

38 Prior to 1991, therefore, no legitimate academic departments of toxicology, environmental sciences, human environmental epidemiology, or epidemiological oncology existed in the Soviet Union. There was no trained pool of scientists who could sift through the evidence, separating fact from fiction. The first time the Soviet government tried to confront the pollution issue came in 1988. In a startling address to the nation, then-Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev said that fifty million Soviet citizens were living in 102 cities in which air pollution exceeded the USSR health standards by more than tenfold. In the years since, the Yeltsin government determined that, minimally, two hundred cities in Russia alone posed “ecological danger to human health” due to toxic pollution of the air and/or water. And the facts—the horrible ecological truths—didn’t really begin to be revealed until 1994 when Article 7 of the Russian State Secrets Act was enacted, requiring publication of long-clandestine environmental data.


pages: 631 words: 171,391

One Minute to Midnight: Kennedy, Khrushchev and Castro on the Brink of Nuclear War by Michael Dobbs

air freight, Berlin Wall, cuban missile crisis, desegregation, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Doomsday Clock, global village, Google Earth, kremlinology, Marshall McLuhan, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, stakhanovite, yellow journalism

Immediately after his arrival, he invited Soviet military commanders to his Santiago headquarters for consultations. Together, they reviewed plans for the destruction of the naval base. The commander of the local FKR regiment, Colonel Dmitri Maltsev, took out a map and briefed Raúl on the positions of his troops. The Soviet officer responsible for the ground defense of Oriente was Colonel Dmitri Yazov. (He would later become Mikhail Gorbachev's defense minister and a leader of the failed August 1991 coup against Gorbachev.) Like Kovalenko in Remedios, Yazov had great difficulty finding a suitable camp for his motorized rifle regiment. The first site was in a forest filled with poisonous trees and bushes. Unaware of the danger, the troops had used branches from the trees to construct makeshift huts and even beds. The monsoon rains released poison from the branches, infecting an entire tank battalion with terrible skin lesions.

A two-story mansion with a mock neoclassical facade, the Novo- Ogaryevo dacha bore a passing resemblance to the White House in Washington. It had originally been built for Stalin's putative successor as Soviet prime minister, Georgi Malenkov, who was quickly pushed aside by the more forceful Khrushchev. After Malenkov's disgrace, the estate was taken away from him and turned into a government guest house. Novo- Ogaryevo would achieve greater fame decades later as the presidential retreat of Mikhail Gorbachev and the site of negotiations that led to the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. The Presidium members were seated in front of the first secretary along the long, polished oak table. The eighteen attendees included Andrei Gromyko, the foreign minister, and Rodion Malinovsky, the defense minister. Aides hovered in the background, to be summoned and dismissed as needed. As usual, it was Khrushchev's show.

His family was told only that he died "performing his internationalist duty." George Anderson was dismissed from his position as chief of naval operations in August 1963 and appointed U.S. ambassador to Portugal. William Harvey was removed as head of Operation Mongoose after the missile crisis and sent as CIA station chief to Rome, where he drank heavily. Dmitri Yazov became Soviet defense minister in 1987 and led a failed coup against Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev in August 1991. John Scali served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under President Nixon. Curtis LeMay was caricatured as the maniacal Air Force general Buck Turgidson in Dr. Strangelove. In 1968, he ran for vice president of the United States on a ticket headed by the segregationist George Wallace. Ernesto "Che" Guevara left Cuba in 1965 to pursue his dream of worldwide revolution.


pages: 780 words: 168,782

Strange Rebels: 1979 and the Birth of the 21st Century by Christian Caryl

anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, British Empire, colonial rule, Deng Xiaoping, financial deregulation, financial independence, friendly fire, full employment, income inequality, industrial robot, Internet Archive, Kickstarter, land reform, land tenure, liberal capitalism, liberation theology, Mahatma Gandhi, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, Mohammed Bouazizi, Mont Pelerin Society, Neil Kinnock, new economy, New Urbanism, oil shock, open borders, open economy, Pearl River Delta, plutocrats, Plutocrats, price stability, rent control, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, single-payer health, special economic zone, The Chicago School, union organizing, upwardly mobile, Winter of Discontent, Xiaogang Anhui farmers, Yom Kippur War

But on October 9, just before that night’s demonstration was about to begin, the director of the Leipzig Orchestra and several other local notables persuaded three local party leaders to come out publicly against a crackdown. Together they issued a call committing the party to “peaceful dialogue.” The security forces never went into action. After that the number of demonstrators swelled with each successive Monday evening. In fact, the Leipzig tradition of regular Monday-evening “Prayers for Peace” dated back to 1982, three years after John Paul II’s first pilgrimage and three years before Mikhail Gorbachev’s rise to the top of the Soviet leadership. Protestant clergy at Leipzig’s Church of St. Nicholas organized the prayers as a forum for the non-state-approved airing of controversial social topics, ranging from military conscription to industrial pollution. Although the human rights movement in the German Democratic Republic never assumed the same prodigious scale as its Polish counterpart, it is striking how much East German dissident activity—much of it avowedly secular and left-wing—took place under the aegis of local churches.

In January 1988, Tomášek publicly came out in favor of a petition calling for religious freedom that drew six hundred thousand signers (both Christians and non-).17 The petition was an important act of resistance that set a precedent for the tumultuous events of the following year, when the Czechs (inspired by the examples of their neighbors in Poland and East Germany) succeeded in launching their own nonviolent uprising against Communist rule that came to be known as the “Velvet Revolution.” Here, too, Tomášek also played a vital part, pledging the support of the church to the peaceful demonstrators who clashed with the security forces. To be sure, John Paul II cannot be credited with masterminding everything that happened in Central Europe in 1989. The ascent to power of Mikhail Gorbachev in 1985 was, of course, a factor of enormous consequence; so, too, was the deepening economic malaise within the USSR, which weakened its ability to retain its hold over its satellites. Yet neither of these conditions determined the form that change, when it came, would take. In this respect, the nine days of John Paul II’s June 1979 pilgrimage had a profound impact. We have fallen into the habit of regarding the collapse of Soviet-style Communism as inevitable: the direct consequence of a dysfunctional economic model of central planning, of the rigidity and institutionalized lies of command politics, and of the vast gap between the sublime designs of Marxist-Leninism and a reality that proved infinitely more vicious and mundane.

In some places, workers joined the students, setting off alarm bells in the minds of party leaders who were especially sensitive to the ideological threat posed by anti-Communist proletarians. Some of the students camped out on Tiananmen Square started a hunger strike to press their demands for more democracy. Various party stalwarts paid visits to the students, warning them to desist. The visitors included, toward the end, Zhao Ziyang himself, who pleaded with them to put an end to the protests. Mikhail Gorbachev came to Beijing, and his example inflamed the malcontents: why couldn’t China implement its own brand of perestroika? How it all ended is known. In the early hours of June 4, 1989, the Communist Party declared martial law and sent in the troops. We may never know the precise casualties, but it seems safe to say that hundreds of people were killed in central Beijing that day. Even more obscure is the outcome in dozens of other Chinese cities where similar protests were suppressed at the same time.


Inside British Intelligence by Gordon Thomas

active measures, Albert Einstein, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, British Empire, cuban missile crisis, Etonian, Fall of the Berlin Wall, job satisfaction, Khyber Pass, kremlinology, lateral thinking, license plate recognition, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, old-boy network, Ronald Reagan, sensible shoes, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, University of East Anglia, uranium enrichment, Yom Kippur War

For weeks he had been held in a drugged stupor and questioned by men he believed were CIA interrogators. As abruptly as he had appeared, he departed the office, leaving unanswered questions. How had he been drugged? By injection? Tablets? Liquid? How could he have answered questions while drugged? How had he escaped from his captors? How had he made his way to the embassy? Was this a plot by the KGB to embarrass President Reagan on the eve of his summit with President Mikhail Gorbachev to settle the Arms Control Treaty? Two days later Vitali Yurchenko was on a flight back to Moscow, never to be seen again in public. No one would ever know his ultimate fate. More certain was the embarrassment for Casey, who had assured his contacts in Congress after his lunch with Yurchenko that the defector was “probably the most valuable asset we have.” Reagan, with his folksy manner in overdrive, had told the White House Press Corps, “I think it’s awfully easy for any American to be perplexed by someone who could have lived in the United States and yet would prefer to live in Russia.”

The NSA covers east of the mountains, including Japan and China, as well as North and South America and the Caribbean. Australia and New Zealand monitor the South Pacific and Southeast Asia. This global-eavesdropping network ensures there are no gaps in coverage. On their workstation screens at Fort Meade, people had watched the dramatic fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and listened to President Mikhail Gorbachev say that Russia still had “its proper place as a superpower.” For his listeners it was sufficient reason for them to continue spying on an old enemy. At GCHQ the annual budget was increased to £600 million, making it by far the largest slice of the British intelligence funding, and it also received money to work on NSA black projects from funds hidden inside the costs of other U.S. defense projects.

She would give them advice on how to recruit and train new personnel to replace the cold war veterans who, so she believed, “were tainted by their activities under Communism.” It was not purely goodwill that had prompted her visit. The idea had been Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s when she had invited Colin McColl to lunch and had explained the advantage for both MI5 and MI6 in supporting the diplomatic initiatives with the new commonwealth. She had told Mikhail Gorbachev he was the sort of man she “could do business with,” and that included helping to develop a new KGB that would no longer spy on Britain and, at the same time, would provide valuable information for its intelligence services. Rimington saw the sense of what Thatcher had said but nevertheless felt “it was as if suddenly everything was turned on its head, but nothing was impossible.” She had briefed herself thoroughly on the changes under way in the KGB but had come to Moscow still not certain what to expect.


pages: 390 words: 96,624

Consent of the Networked: The Worldwide Struggle for Internet Freedom by Rebecca MacKinnon

A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Bay Area Rapid Transit, Berlin Wall, business cycle, business intelligence, Cass Sunstein, Chelsea Manning, citizen journalism, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, collective bargaining, conceptual framework, corporate social responsibility, Deng Xiaoping, digital Maoism, don't be evil, Filter Bubble, Firefox, future of journalism, illegal immigration, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, Joi Ito, Julian Assange, Mark Zuckerberg, Mikhail Gorbachev, MITM: man-in-the-middle, national security letter, online collectivism, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, Parag Khanna, pre–internet, race to the bottom, Richard Stallman, Ronald Reagan, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Steve Crocker, Steven Levy, WikiLeaks

Amazingly (at least to Westerners), most didn’t recognize the image at all. Chinese university students’ blinkered knowledge and understanding of their own society, past and present, is one of the regime’s most deliberate and profound achievements. The 1989 Tiananmen Square protests were sparked by the death of a reformist leader, Hu Yaobang, but the fire was fueled by the historic Beijing visit of Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev soon thereafter. Students hoped that Chinese leaders would follow his policy of glasnost, the Russian word for “openness,” which became the catchphrase for a loosening of controls on the Russian press and discussion of political reform. After the bloody June 4 crackdown, Deng Xiaoping quashed all hopes that China would follow Gorbachev’s lead. Instead Deng focused aggressively and exclusively on the Chinese version of perestroika, or “restructuring”: accelerating the economic reforms that have made China the world’s second-largest economy today and a rising global power.

Having altruistic-sounding mission statements on the corporate website is well and good, but how can people be sure a company is living up to its own ostensibly high ethical standards—any more than they should trust that a sovereign is good simply because he says he is? In the long run, an Internet-related company’s value proposition is questionable at best and fraudulent at worst if it rejects the need for accountability. As Ronald Reagan famously said to Mikhail Gorbachev when they signed a major arms control treaty in 1987, “Trust, but verify.” As citizens, we are right to hold the same attitude toward Internet and mobile communication companies, which we now depend upon to inform ourselves, participate in political discourse, and exercise our rights as citizens. We need to be able to trust these companies upon whose platforms, services, and technologies we increasingly rely.


pages: 471 words: 97,152

Animal Spirits: How Human Psychology Drives the Economy, and Why It Matters for Global Capitalism by George A. Akerlof, Robert J. Shiller

"Robert Solow", affirmative action, Andrei Shleifer, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, business cycle, buy and hold, collateralized debt obligation, conceptual framework, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, experimental subject, financial innovation, full employment, George Akerlof, George Santayana, housing crisis, Hyman Minsky, income per capita, inflation targeting, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Jean Tirole, job satisfaction, Joseph Schumpeter, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, market bubble, market clearing, mental accounting, Mikhail Gorbachev, money market fund, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Myron Scholes, new economy, New Urbanism, Paul Samuelson, plutocrats, Plutocrats, price stability, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, random walk, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, South Sea Bubble, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, transaction costs, tulip mania, working-age population, Y2K, Yom Kippur War

Indeed, it is in this last category, stories, where Animal Spirits itself fits in, because the goal of the book is to give its own story about how the economy behaves. Its intent is to tell a more accurate story than the dominant one of the past thirty years or so, ever since the free market revolution that swept the world, under the leadership of Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, Deng Xiaoping, Manmohan Singh, Mikhail Gorbachev, Brian Mulroney, Bertie Ahern, Carlos Salinas de Gotari, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Carlos Menem, and others. These stories, embellished by oft told vignettes of newly successful people, and in their mostly justified enthusiasm for expanded free markets, led to too much economic tolerance. Underlying this revolution is the powerful principle of the “invisible hand”—that market forces should be the fundamental framework of resource allocation.

Even more significantly, there are changes over time in the prevalence of bad faith—economic activity that, while technically legal, has sinister motives.1 The exponents of capitalism wax poetic over the goods it provides.2 It produces whatever can be turned out at a profit. Thus the urbanologist Jane Jacobs sees architectural poetry in the variety and excitement of cityscapes that are the creation of individual private entrepreneurs.3 At the time of Mikhail Gorbachev’s apertura, Gary Becker, the intellectual heir to Milton Friedman’s legacy at the University of Chicago, described the Yellow Pages to Muscovites. These volumes themselves are a result of free enterprise and an indication of the bounty of capitalism, with their alphabetical listings of its many offerings. A friend of ours opined that capitalism was about chocolate milk. The commissars of Soviet Moscow would never have deigned to produce chocolate milk.


Stasiland: Stories From Behind the Berlin Wall by Anna Funder

Berlin Wall, centre right, Fall of the Berlin Wall, index card, Kickstarter, Mikhail Gorbachev, telemarketer, the built environment

And they kept on fighting the west, which they saw as Nazism’s successor, for forty-five years after the war ended. They had to, as a Soviet satellite state, and the Eastern Bloc’s bulwark against the west. But in East Germany they did so more thoroughly and with more pedantic enthusiasm than the Poles, the Hungarians, the Czechs, or the Russians themselves. They never wanted to stop. When Mikhail Gorbachev came to power in the Soviet Union in 1985 he implemented the policies of perestroika (economic reform) and glasnost (‘openness’ of speech). In June 1988 he declared a principle of freedom of choice for governments within the Eastern Bloc and renounced the use of Soviet military force to prop them up. Without Soviet backup to quash popular dissent, as there had been at the workers’ uprising in Berlin in 1953, in Hungary in 1956, and in Prague in 1968, the GDR regime could not survive.

Leipzig police were shown photographs of a Chinese policeman immolated by the mob at Tiananmen Square and told, ‘It’s you or it’s them.’ But they were also ordered not to shoot or use violence unless it was used against them. On 7 October 1989 the GDR celebrated its forty years of existence with lavish parades in Berlin. There was a sea of red flags, a torchlight procession, and tanks. The old men on the podium wore light-grey suits studded with medals. Mikhail Gorbachev stood next to Honecker, but he looked uncomfortable among the much older Germans. He had come to tell them it was over, to convince the leadership to adopt his reformist policies. He had spoken openly about the dangers of not ‘responding to reality’. He pointedly told the Politbüro that ‘life punishes those who come too late’. Honecker and Mielke ignored him, just as they ignored the crowds when they chanted, ‘Gorby, help us!


pages: 944 words: 243,883

Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power by Steve Coll

addicted to oil, anti-communist, Atul Gawande, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, call centre, carbon footprint, clean water, collapse of Lehman Brothers, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, decarbonisation, energy security, European colonialism, Exxon Valdez, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Google Earth, hydraulic fracturing, hydrogen economy, illegal immigration, income inequality, industrial robot, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), inventory management, kremlinology, market fundamentalism, McMansion, medical malpractice, Mikhail Gorbachev, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, peak oil, place-making, Ponzi scheme, price mechanism, profit maximization, profit motive, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, Scramble for Africa, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, smart meter, statistical model, Steve Jobs, WikiLeaks

They waited in the West Wing for President George H. W. Bush, a former oil wildcatter who earned his fortune in West Texas before embarking on his career in politics, intelligence, and diplomacy. That spring President Bush was preoccupied by events abroad—spreading dissent in Eastern and Central Europe, pro-democracy students camped out in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, and the rising radicalism of Mikhail Gorbachev’s perestroika. Admiral Yost had made his professional reputation as a patrol boat commander in Vietnam. As Coast Guard commandant since 1986, he had pulled the service toward military discipline. He banned beards, earning the enmity of a generation of officers, and he moved to install naval weapons systems aboard Coast Guard vessels. In the Oval Office, Yost briefed President Bush on the militarylike dimensions of the Exxon Valdez crisis, “trying to explain what was needed to mobilize in a major oil spill, and what Valdez looked like, with one or two motels, and one or two little restaurants,” as Yost recalled it.

From the beginning it was an engagement marked by exceptional optimism on the American side, shadowed by a long history of mistrust rooted in the cold war—“old think,” as Bush’s ambassador to Russia, Alexander “Sandy” Vershbow, put it in a cable to Washington.3 The hypothesis Evans and others in the Bush administration pursued after the Crawford dinner was that a strategic campaign to deepen commercial ties between oil companies in the United States and Russia might transform Russia’s internal politics, remake U.S.-Russian relations, and even alter the global geopolitics of oil. President George H. W. Bush had seen oil-for-friendship as a critical element of his campaign to build a partnership with Mikhail Gorbachev as the Soviet Union cracked up; Bush persuaded Gorbachev to endorse Chevron’s pioneering, lucrative entrance into the Tengiz oil project in the then Soviet Republic of Kazakhstan. George W. Bush intended something similar with Putin, whose intentions as a political leader and as a sponsor of market-led modernization were at best enigmatic. Bush did not see Russia only through the prism of oil, but he did regard energy policy as critical to his ambitions for his relationship with Putin.

Occasionally, Lee Raymond might turn to Vice President Cheney or another very senior official to give the Russians “a good kick in the pants,” as Coburn put it, about a specific tax or policy stalemate in Moscow. Otherwise, the corporation negotiated in private.8 ExxonMobil owned one significant oil interest in Russia at the time the Bush administration made its push to deepen cooperation. In the chaotic last months of the Soviet Union, investment bankers retained by elements of the dying regime presided over by Mikhail Gorbachev shopped around all sorts of natural resource deals; Lee Raymond had authorized bids on an exotic project in Russia’s far eastern territory, near Sakhalin Island, just above Japan. The project dated to the 1970s, when Japanese corporations had lent money to the Soviet Union in exchange for exploration rights. But the deal went nowhere until the Soviet Union began to crack up and finally split apart.


pages: 383 words: 105,021

Dark Territory: The Secret History of Cyber War by Fred Kaplan

Cass Sunstein, computer age, data acquisition, drone strike, dumpster diving, Edward Snowden, game design, hiring and firing, index card, Internet of things, Jacob Appelbaum, John Markoff, John von Neumann, kremlinology, Mikhail Gorbachev, millennium bug, national security letter, packet switching, pre–internet, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, Stuxnet, uranium enrichment, Y2K, zero day

When Jimmy Carter was briefed on these strategic breakthroughs, he seemed fascinated by the technology. When his successor, the Cold War hawk Ronald Reagan, heard the same briefing a year later, he evinced little interest in the technical details, but was riveted to the big picture: it meant that if war broke out between the superpowers, as many believed likely, the United States could win, maybe quickly and decisively. In his second term as president, especially after the reformer Mikhail Gorbachev took over the Kremlin, Reagan rethought the implications of American superiority: he realized that his military’s aggressive tactics and his own brazen rhetoric were making the Russians jumpy and the world more dangerous; so he softened his rhetoric, reached out to Gorbachev, and the two wound up signing a string of historic arms-reduction treaties that nearly brought the Soviet Union—the “evil empire,” as Reagan had once described it—into the international order.

Haiti and the Balkans were experiments in proto-cyber warfare; Operation Orchard and the roundup of jihadists in Iraq marked the start of the real thing. * * * Four and a half months earlier, on April 27, 2007, riots broke out in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, the smallest and most Western-leaning of the three former Soviet republics on the Baltic Sea, just south of Finland. Estonians had chafed under Moscow’s rule since the beginning of World War II, when the occupation began. When Mikhail Gorbachev took over the Kremlin and loosened his grip almost a half century later, Estonians led the region-wide rebellion for independence that helped usher in the collapse of the Soviet Union. When Vladimir Putin ascended to power at the turn of the twentyfirst century on a wave of resentment and nostalgia for the days of great power, tensions once again sharpened. The riots began when Estonia’s president, under pressure from Putin, overruled a law that would have removed all the monuments that had gone up during the years of Soviet occupation, including a giant bronze statue of a Red Army soldier.


pages: 956 words: 267,746

Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion ofSafety by Eric Schlosser

Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, cuban missile crisis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Haight Ashbury, impulse control, interchangeable parts, Isaac Newton, life extension, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, nuclear winter, packet switching, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Stanislav Petrov, Stewart Brand, too big to fail, uranium enrichment, William Langewiesche

Reagan had a sunny, cheerful disposition, but watching The Day After left even him feeling depressed. With strong encouragement from his wife, Nancy, he publicly called for the abolition of nuclear weapons. Reagan’s criticism of the Soviet Union became less severe, and his speeches soon included this heartfelt sentiment: “A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.” The deaths of Yuri Andropov and his successor, Konstantin Chernenko, brought Mikhail Gorbachev to power. Gorbachev represented a dramatic break from the past. He was youthful and dynamic, the first Soviet leader since Vladimir Lenin who’d attended a university. Although Gorbachev’s attempts to change the Soviet Union were tentative at first, he was committed to reforming its stagnant economy, allowing freedom of speech and religion, ending the war in Afghanistan, rejecting the use of force against other nations, linking the Soviet bloc more closely to the rest of Europe, and abandoning the pursuit of nuclear superiority.

Secretary Watkins and his staff met with Senator Glenn, read the Moe panel report, got worried about the safety of older weapons in the stockpile, and contacted the secretary of defense, Dick Cheney, about the issue. Instead of taking the weapons off alert, the Pentagon commissioned two more studies of the SRAM. One would be conducted by the Air Force, the other by Gordon Moe—who was rehired by the Department of Energy to repeat his earlier work. Almost another year passed. The Berlin Wall had fallen. Mikhail Gorbachev had visited the White House; signed major arms agreements; removed hundreds of thousands of Soviet troops from Eastern Europe; allowed Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Romania, Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania to leave the Soviet bloc. By any rational measure, the Cold War was over. But every day, across the United States, Short-Range Attack Missiles continued to be loaded into B-52s on ground alerts.

“I came to fully appreciate the truth … we escaped the Cold War without a nuclear holocaust by some combination of skill, luck, and divine intervention, and I suspect the latter in greatest proportion.” Butler eliminated about 75 percent of the targets in the SIOP, introduced a targeting philosophy that was truly flexible, and decided to get rid of the name SIOP. The United States no longer had a single, integrated war plan. Butler preferred a new title for the diverse range of nuclear options: National Strategic Response Plans. • • • MIKHAIL GORBACHEV WAS ON VACATION in the Crimea on August 18, 1991, when a group calling itself the “State Committee for the State of Emergency” entered his house and insisted that he declare martial law or resign. After refusing to do either, Gorbachev was held hostage, and the communications lines to his dacha were shut down by the KGB. His military aides, carrying the nuclear codes and the Soviet equivalent of a “football,” were staying at a guesthouse nearby.


Polaroids From the Dead by Douglas Coupland

dematerialisation, edge city, index card, mandelbrot fractal, Maui Hawaii, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, Norman Mailer, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, upwardly mobile, urban planning

Time and memory may not have been overly generous with Hoover, but there is no denying the essential fine intentions of the man—intentions bred in Palo Alto. For a dollar one can ascend to the fourteenth-floor tower, the only manmade sightseeing spot in the entire Silicon Valley. One is informed that the gentleman who once operated the tower’s carillon has retired, and that the bells play only rarely now, the last time being the 1992 visit to Stanford of Mikhail Gorbachev. It is a beautiful day, and the view is staggering. To the north are San Francisco and the bridges of the Bay. To the south are San Jose, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, Cupertino, Mountain View and other cities—the forges of the post-industrial age housed in their industrial parks and flanked by Palo Alto-ish suburbs whose well-considered greenery almost visibly pump oxygen into the blue sky of this fine spring day.


pages: 361 words: 111,500

Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner

Albert Einstein, Berlin Wall, call centre, cuban missile crisis, Exxon Valdez, happiness index / gross national happiness, hedonic treadmill, indoor plumbing, Mikhail Gorbachev, place-making, Pluto: dwarf planet, science of happiness, Silicon Valley, Transnistria, union organizing

Now she is reduced to scrimping for food and renting out her spare bedroom to a neurotic American on some crazy search for happiness. The wheels of history can be cruel. Luba’s English consists entirely of the words “no” and “feevty-feevty,” the latter of which she invariably accompanies with a seesawing of her palm. For Luba, everything is feevty-feevty, from the fish sold at the local market to the president of Moldova. Except for Mikhail Gorbachev. The former Soviet leader, the man who hastened the collapse of the Soviet Union, scores much lower than feevty-feevty in Luba’s estimation. My Russian is more extensive than Luba’s English, but just barely. In addition to “no,” I can also say “yes” and “I don’t understand” and “one more vodka, please.” So you can imagine my horror when Natasha explains that she’s leaving, and I will be spending the next two weeks alone with her grandmother.

(Yes, for nuclear bombs.) Have a beautiful daughter, Larissa, and a son, too. Daughter falls ill from the radiation, so they move to Moldova. Luba takes out a yellowing staff directory and shows me her picture. She looks important. She had risen high in the construction ministry; she had a car and a dacha. She lived well, not extravagantly but well. Then a man entered her life. His name was Mikhail Gorbachev, and he was a fool, she says, with a roll of her eyes. He moved too quickly in dismantling the Soviet Union. She lost everything. With this, she begins to sob. I hand her a tissue. Her husband had a stroke and lapsed into a coma for a year, then died. Now she survives on a forty-dollar-a-month pension. Her daughter is in Turkey working as a “hairstylist for dogs.” (At least that’s how Marisha translates it.)


pages: 390 words: 119,527

Armed Humanitarians by Nathan Hodge

Andrei Shleifer, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, British Empire, clean water, colonial rule, European colonialism, failed state, friendly fire, IFF: identification friend or foe, jobless men, Khyber Pass, kremlinology, land reform, Mikhail Gorbachev, old-boy network, Potemkin village, private military company, profit motive, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, walking around money

What it was engaged in, however, was guerra, the thankless, ambivalent task of playing globo-cop. And it was not equipped to handle the latter. Had the Berlin Wall never come down, Barnett probably would probably have made a career as a Kremlinologist, counting ICBM payloads in advance of arms control talks with the Soviets. But his timing was off: He graduated from Harvard University’s Soviet area studies program in 1986, just as Mikhail Gorbachev began accidentally dismantling the Soviet system through perestroika and glasnost. He completed his Ph.D. in 1990—his dissertation compared Romanian and East German policies in the Third World—just a year before the final collapse of the Soviet Union. Before joining the faculty at the Naval War College, Barnett worked at the Center for Naval Analyses and the Institute for Public Research, federally funded nonprofit research organizations.

By the late 1990s, those ethnic conflicts had cooled down—or at least, the separatist boundaries were frozen in place, leaving hundreds of thousands of Georgians displaced from their homes. Georgia had stabilized somewhat under the rule of President Eduard Shevardnadze, a former secretary general of the Georgian Communist Party and onetime member of the Soviet Politburo. Shevardnadze, known as the “Silver Fox” for his political longevity, was well known in Western capitals: He served as Mikhail Gorbachev’s foreign minister, and played a key role in allowing the Warsaw Pact states to go their own way during the wave of democratic transformations that swept Eastern Europe in the late 1980s. Shevardnadze was a canny political operator, and he had cultivated closer ties with the United States. Under his leadership, Georgia joined the Partnership for Peace, a club for NATO aspirants, and he signed off on the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, a new route for transporting Caspian oil from Azerbaijan that was favored by the United States.


pages: 399 words: 114,787

Dark Towers: Deutsche Bank, Donald Trump, and an Epic Trail of Destruction by David Enrich

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, anti-globalists, Asian financial crisis, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, buy low sell high, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Donald Trump, East Village, estate planning, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial innovation, forensic accounting, high net worth, housing crisis, interest rate derivative, interest rate swap, Jeffrey Epstein, London Interbank Offered Rate, Lyft, Mikhail Gorbachev, NetJets, obamacare, offshore financial centre, post-materialism, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Renaissance Technologies, risk tolerance, Robert Mercer, rolodex, sovereign wealth fund, too big to fail, transcontinental railway, yield curve

Herrhausen looked like a statesman and often acted like one, too. He had a long pointy nose and wore his fine brown hair short, parted neatly on the left, with no trace of sideburns. His skin was tan and so clean-shaven that it seemed to shine. He was a leading German voice for the economic integration of Europe and an advocate for forgiving the debts of third-world countries. He became a confidant of Helmut Kohl, the German chancellor, he dined with Mikhail Gorbachev, and he was a guest in the Connecticut home of Henry Kissinger. Perched on the thirtieth floor of one of Deutsche’s skyscrapers, the fifty-nine-year-old Herrhausen looked down on the rest of the German financial capital. In November 1989, a week after the fall of the Berlin Wall appeared to vindicate much of Herrhausen’s liberal free-market ideology, a leading German newspaper, Der Spiegel, gushed: “Hardly ever before has one person ruled the economic scene the way Deutsche Bank chief executive Alfred Herrhausen does at the present time.

Buffet tables were piled with sausages, potato salad, and more than 11,000 sandwiches. A booth offered souvenir photos in case any shareholders wanted to take home a memory of their day with Deutsche. The bank had printed stacks of a glossy magazine to commemorate Ackermann’s decade as CEO. It featured photos of him with world leaders—across a conference table from Vladimir Putin, dancing with Christine Lagarde, smiling at Angela Merkel, sitting with a stone-faced Mikhail Gorbachev—and quotes from academics, journalists, and international dignitaries. “His skillful leadership of Deutsche Bank through difficult economic times has been an inspiration for the world’s financial community,” Henry Kissinger cooed. “When Joe retires in May, he will leave with the knowledge that Deutsche Bank is well equipped to face the future with confidence.” These elites were out of touch with the seething anger that much of the public continued to feel toward banks and their leaders.


On the Road: Adventures From Nixon to Trump by James Naughtie

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Alistair Cooke, anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, centre right, collapse of Lehman Brothers, Donald Trump, Ferguson, Missouri, Haight Ashbury, illegal immigration, immigration reform, Julian Assange, Mikhail Gorbachev, Norman Mailer, obamacare, plutocrats, Plutocrats, post-work, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, South China Sea, trickle-down economics, white flight, WikiLeaks, Yom Kippur War, young professional, zero-sum game

If it was an illusion, so be it. Much of America felt good. The picture was completed by the decline and fall of the Soviet Union. By the mid-1980s, there was much less of the Cold War rhetoric that Reagan had deployed enthusiastically in his first term, talking of a ‘Star Wars’ defence system to confront an ‘evil empire’ and pursuing new weapons deployments in Europe against a strong tide of popular opposition there. Mikhail Gorbachev’s ascent produced the most unlikely but significant coming together of American and Soviet leaders since Franklin Roosevelt sat down with Joseph Stalin. Reagan had a stroke of luck that came at the right moment, from an old friend. The Thatcher government was able to pass on much of the intelligence flowing from Oleg Gordievsky, the spy of spies. He had been recruited by MI6 in the 1970s and found himself a few years later in a position in Moscow (and for a period, remarkably, in the Soviet Embassy in London) to provide the kind of information, in quality and volume, that surpassed anything his handlers had seen before or perhaps had ever expected to see.

I spoke to Daniel Barenboim about what it had been like to play a Beethoven piano concerto in the Philharmonie in West Berlin to an audience that had flocked from the East for an experience that had been impossible for more than three decades. He was tearful at the memory of it. But the most intriguing event of these days was a colloquy about the end of the Cold War, which my producer Roger Hermiston and I found out about just in time, with three of its most important participants talking together – Helmut Kohl, Mikhail Gorbachev and George H. W. Bush. They sat together and reminisced. Bush was asked, of course, why he hadn’t come to Berlin in 1989 to give a presidential victory dance on the wall, as Reagan would almost certainly have done. I recall that his reply was directed at Gorbachev. ‘Well, I didn’t know whether or not you’d be there next week.’ And Gorbachev replied (in Russian), ‘Neither did I.’ They laughed.


The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America by Timothy Snyder

active measures, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, American ideology, anti-globalists, Bernie Sanders, centre right, Charles Lindbergh, crony capitalism, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Donald Trump, hiring and firing, income inequality, John Markoff, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, New Journalism, obamacare, offshore financial centre, Robert Mercer, sexual politics, Transnistria, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce, zero-sum game

According to the Brezhnev Doctrine, Soviet armies would halt any development in communist Europe that Moscow deemed threatening. The post-invasion regime in Czechoslovakia spoke of “normalization,” which nicely caught the spirit of the moment. What was, was normal. To say otherwise in Brezhnev’s Soviet Union was to be condemned to an insane asylum. Brezhnev died in 1982. After two short interludes of rule by dying men, Mikhail Gorbachev came to power in 1985. Gorbachev believed that communism could be reformed and a better future promised. His main opponent was the party itself, in particular the ossified lobbies accustomed to the status quo. So Gorbachev tried to build new institutions to gain control over the party. He encouraged the communist leaders of the Soviet satellites in eastern Europe to do the same. Polish communists, facing economic crisis and political opposition, took him at his word, scheduled partially free elections in 1989, and lost.

By the 1980s, democracy through integration had become the norm in much of Europe. All of the members of what was then called the European Community were democracies, most of them markedly more prosperous than the communist regimes to their east. In the 1970s and 1980s, the gap in living standards between western and eastern Europe grew, as changes in communications made it harder to hide. As Mikhail Gorbachev tried to repair a Soviet state to rescue the Soviet economy, west European states were building a new political framework around economic cooperation. In 1992, a few months after the Soviet Union ceased to exist, the European Community was transformed into the European Union (EU). This EU was the practice of the coordination of law, the acceptance of a shared high court, and an area of free trade and movement.


pages: 465 words: 124,074

Atomic Obsession: Nuclear Alarmism From Hiroshima to Al-Qaeda by John Mueller

airport security, Albert Einstein, Black Swan, Cass Sunstein, conceptual framework, cuban missile crisis, Doomsday Clock, energy security, F. W. de Klerk, failed state, long peace, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, nuclear winter, oil shock, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, side project, uranium enrichment, William Langewiesche, Yom Kippur War

Its love affair with revolution in the advanced capitalist world, frustrated for decades, ceased to have even theological relevance, and its venerable and once visceral attachment to revolution and to “wars of national liberation” in the Third World no longer even inspired much in the way of lip service. As Francis Fukuyama observed at the time, the role of ideology in defining Soviet foreign policy objectives and in providing political instruments for expansion steadily declined in the postwar period, and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev further accelerated that process after he took office in 1985. Early in his tenure, Gorbachev said his country required “not only a reliable peace, but also a quiet, normal international situation.” And in 1986, he began to forcefully undercut Communist ideology about the “class struggle” and about the Soviet Union’s “internationalist duty” as the leader of world socialism. By 1988, the Soviets were admitting the “inadequacy of the thesis that peaceful coexistence is a form of class struggle,” and their chief ideologist explicitly rejected the notion that a world struggle was going on between capitalism and Communism.

In part they were concerned that the technology had offensive potential because it could be used either to destroy Soviet missiles on the ground or to neutralize a Soviet retaliatory strike. In addition, it also promised a new, extremely expensive arms race in an area in which they were well behind: highly sophisticated technology. At the same time, however, they were becoming distinctly aware that they were in deep trouble in many other areas as well: their previous economic, military, and ideological excesses were catching up with them. A new leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, desperate to reduce defense spending,13 worked with Reagan to establish the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces agreement in 1987 that caused Europe to become missile-free. At the same time, he essentially abandoned international communism’s class-struggle ideology that had appeared so threatening to the West, a process that two years later led to the end of the cold war, as discussed in chapter 4.


pages: 482 words: 122,497

The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Rule by Thomas Frank

affirmative action, anti-communist, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, British Empire, business cycle, collective bargaining, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, David Brooks, edge city, financial deregulation, full employment, George Gilder, guest worker program, income inequality, invisible hand, job satisfaction, Mikhail Gorbachev, Mont Pelerin Society, mortgage debt, Naomi Klein, Nelson Mandela, new economy, P = NP, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, Ralph Nader, rent control, Richard Florida, road to serfdom, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, school vouchers, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, stem cell, Telecommunications Act of 1996, the scientific method, too big to fail, union organizing, War on Poverty

They are the career State Department officers who have, naively or otherwise, argued that the Sandinistas pose no threat to the Americas and who have recently redoubled their efforts to appease the Leninists in Managua with various “peace plans.” They are the media . . . whose lies about Nicaragua are exposed in Requiem. They are the world’s masters of mis-and disinformation, the Soviet KGB and their Kremlin masters, who have much to gain from America remaining ignorant. As late as 1990, with the Warsaw Pact itself having rebelled successfully against the Soviets, the magazine was still insisting that Mikhail Gorbachev’s reforms were merely “strategic deception,” a clever trick staged to cause headaches for the Western “pro-defense consensus.”15 Ridiculous though this stuff seems today, the IFF had good reason to believe in a world in which grand conspiracies gulled the masses and public opinion was manipulated by the hidden hand of a foreign power. After all, that’s what they themselves were doing. As it turns out, the IFF itself was steered and subsidized not just by the government of another country, South Africa, but by its military intelligence.

He even invents a handy voter guide to show how frequently the libs in Congress take the Kremlin line. It was brilliant! Here is how Human Events covered the book’s publication, in its August 15, 1987 issue. Pick your issue: Pershing and MX missile deployment, the Strategic Defense Initiative, or aid to freedom fighters in Nicaragua and Angola. Then compare the positions of, say, Ted Kennedy and Mikhail Gorbachev. The same? They usually are. This alarming affinity is served up with skill and humor in My Dear Alex, a new novel by two of the brightest young rising stars in the conservative movement. 35. “Now it’s our turn”: Sidney Blumenthal, “Jack Wheeler’s Adventures with the ‘Freedom Fighters’: The Indiana Jones of the Right and His Worldwide Crusade Against the Soviets,” Washington Post, April 16, 1986.


pages: 405 words: 121,531

Influence: Science and Practice by Robert B. Cialdini

Albert Einstein, attribution theory, bank run, cognitive dissonance, conceptual framework, desegregation, Everything should be made as simple as possible, experimental subject, Mars Rover, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, Milgram experiment, Norman Macrae, Ralph Waldo Emerson, telemarketer, The Wisdom of Crowds

The problem for a government that seeks to improve the political and economic status of a traditionally oppressed group is that, in so doing, it establishes freedoms for the group where none existed before. Should these now established freedoms become less available, there will be an especially hot variety of hell to pay. We can look to events in the former Soviet Union for evidence that this basic rule holds across cultures. After decades of repression, Mikhail Gorbachev began granting the Soviet populace new liberties, privileges, and choices via the twin polices of glasnost and perestroika. Alarmed by the direction their nation was taking, a small group of government, military, and KGB officials staged a coup, placing Gorbachev under house arrest and announcing on August 19, 1991, that they had assumed power and were moving to reinstate the old order. Most of the world imagined that the Soviet people, known for their characteristic acquiescence to subjugation, would passively yield as they had always done.

For example, a child who unavoidably misses lunch can be given a before-dinner snack because this would not violate the normal rule against such snacks and, consequently, would not establish a general freedom. The difficulty comes when the child is capriciously allowed a treat on some days but not on others and can see no good reason for the difference. It is this arbitrary approach that can build perceived freedoms and provoke rebellion. * * * Tanks, but No Tanks Incensed by the news that then Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev had been replaced in favor of plotters planning to cancel the newly instituted freedoms, Moscow residents confronted the tanks, defied the coup, and won the day. * * * READER’S REPORT 7.3 From a New York Investment Manager * * * I recently read a story in the Wall Street Journal that illustrates the scarcity principle and how people want whatever is taken away from them. The article described how Procter & Gamble tried an experiment in upstate New York by eliminating all savings coupons for their products and replacing the coupons with lower everyday prices.


pages: 956 words: 288,981

Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2011 by Steve Coll

airport security, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, Boycotts of Israel, centre right, colonial rule, computer age, energy security, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, illegal immigration, index card, Islamic Golden Age, Khyber Pass, Mikhail Gorbachev, Network effects, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, trade route, upwardly mobile, urban planning, women in the workforce

From his service’s headquarters in the Lubyanka on Moscow’s Dzerzhinsky Square, Andropov oversaw KGB foreign covert operations, attempted penetrations of the CIA, and campaigned to suppress dissent within the Soviet Union. Ashen-faced, he conformed outwardly to the drab personal norms of collective leadership. Because he also read Plato, led drives against Soviet corruption, and mentored younger reformers such as Mikhail Gorbachev, a few Kremlin watchers in the West saw tiny glimmers of enlightenment in Andropov, at least in comparison to decaying elder statesmen such as foreign minister Andrei Gromyko or defense minister Dimitri Ustinov.1 Yet Andropov’s KGB remained ruthless and murderous at home and abroad. In Third World outposts such as Kabul, his lieutenants tortured and killed with impunity. Communist allies who fell out of favor were murdered or exiled.

And despite Abdullah Azzam’s questions, he declared that he was going ahead with his other projects at Jaji. “Inshallah [if it is God’s will], you will know my plans,” bin Laden told his mentor.16 THE ANTI-SOVIET AFGHAN JIHAD was coming to an end, but hardly anyone knew it or understood why. Not bin Laden. Not the CIA. On November 13, 1986, behind the Kremlin’s ramparts, the Soviet Politburo’s inner circle met in secret at the behest of Mikhail Gorbachev, the opaque, windy, and ambitious reformer who had taken power twenty months before. Marshal Sergei Akhromeyev, the Soviet armed forces chief of staff, explained that the Fortieth Army had so far deployed fifty thousand Soviet soldiers to seal the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan, “but they are unable to close all channels through which arms are being smuggled.” The pack mules kept coming.

Two associates of bin Laden later offered a different version while under interrogation: They said a dissident member of the royal family helped him leave the country by arranging for bin Laden to attend an Islamic conference in Pakistan during the spring of 1991. So far as is known, bin Laden never returned to the kingdom.13 VODKA-SOAKED SOVIET HARD-LINERS, including leaders at the KGB, tried and failed to overthrow Mikhail Gorbachev on August 19, 1991. Within weeks the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, nemesis of the United States for almost half a century, collapsed as an effective political organization. Russian liberals, Russian nationalists, Baltic nationalists, Ukrainians, Kazakhs, and Uzbeks now ruled what remained of the Soviet Union. A nation constructed from Stalin’s terror hurtled toward its final dissolution.


pages: 148 words: 45,249

Losing Earth: A Recent History by Nathaniel Rich

Dissolution of the Soviet Union, energy security, ice-free Arctic, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), James Watt: steam engine, mass immigration, Mikhail Gorbachev, oil shale / tar sands, planetary scale, Ronald Reagan, spinning jenny, the scientific method

In March 1988, Wirth joined forty-one other senators, nearly half of them Republicans, to demand that Reagan pursue an international treaty modeled after the ozone agreement. Because the United States and the Soviet Union were the world’s two largest contributors of carbon emissions, responsible for about one-third of the global total, they should lead the negotiations. Reagan agreed. In May, he signed a joint statement with Mikhail Gorbachev that included a pledge to cooperate on global warming. But a pledge didn’t reduce emissions. Hansen was learning to think more strategically—less like a scientist and more like a politician. Despite Wirth’s efforts, there was as yet no serious national or international plan to limit fossil fuel consumption. Even Al Gore himself had, for the moment, withdrawn his claim to the issue. In 1987, at the age of thirty-nine, Gore had announced that he was running for president, in part to bring attention to global warming, but when the subject failed to thrill primary voters in New Hampshire, he stopped mentioning it.


pages: 518 words: 128,324

Destined for War: America, China, and Thucydides's Trap by Graham Allison

9 dash line, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, borderless world, Bretton Woods, British Empire, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, conceptual framework, cuban missile crisis, currency manipulation / currency intervention, Deng Xiaoping, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, facts on the ground, Flash crash, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, game design, George Santayana, Haber-Bosch Process, industrial robot, Internet of things, Kenneth Rogoff, liberal world order, long peace, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, Monroe Doctrine, mutually assured destruction, Nelson Mandela, one-China policy, Paul Samuelson, Peace of Westphalia, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Scramble for Africa, selection bias, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, South China Sea, special economic zone, spice trade, the rule of 72, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, trade route, UNCLOS, Washington Consensus, zero-sum game

When talking among themselves, Kuhn notes, Xi’s team emphasizes that being number one means being first not only in economic terms, but also in defense, science, technology, and culture.35 Making China great again is thus not just a matter of making it rich. Xi means to make it powerful, make it proud, and make the Party, as the primary driver for the entire venture, once again the worthy vanguard of the people. XI’S NIGHTMARE When Xi Jinping has nightmares, the apparition he sees is Mikhail Gorbachev. Shortly after taking power, Xi asked his close colleagues a rhetorical question: “Why did the Soviet Union collapse?” As he never tires of reminding them, “It is a profound lesson for us.” After careful analysis, Xi concluded that Gorbachev made three fatal errors. He relaxed political control of society before he had reformed his country’s economy. He and his predecessors allowed the Communist Party to become corrupt, and ultimately hollow.

Bush urging him to prevent unification. As the French ambassador to Germany argued publicly, unification “would give birth to a Europe dominated by Germany, which no one in the East or the West wants.”16 Nonetheless, President Bush and his national security team moved ahead. They insisted, however, that a unified Germany remain inside NATO—not leaving it disarmed or neutral, as the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev sought. For Bush, a unified Germany leading European institutions would become a centerpiece in his vision of a “Europe whole and free.”17 As Thatcher and Mitterrand foresaw, Germany’s growing economic strength increasingly gave it the dominant political voice on the Continent. In 1989, German GDP was roughly equal to that of Britain and France; today, it is 40 percent larger.18 When the EC (European Community) became the EU (European Union) and most of its members surrendered their national currencies to create a common euro, the European Central Bank was naturally located in Germany.


pages: 489 words: 132,734

A History of Future Cities by Daniel Brook

Berlin Wall, British Empire, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, carbon footprint, Celtic Tiger, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Deng Xiaoping, desegregation, Edward Glaeser, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial innovation, glass ceiling, indoor plumbing, joint-stock company, land reform, Mikhail Gorbachev, New Urbanism, open economy, Parag Khanna, Pearl River Delta, Potemkin village, profit motive, rent control, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, starchitect, trade route, urban planning, urban renewal, working poor

The morning after Gandhi left, Rashid suffered a debilitating stroke from which he never fully recovered. But he had laid the foundation for modern Dubai, the strange society—cosmopolitan and fundamentalist, authoritarian and libertine—the whole world would come to know. 8 FROM PERESTROIKA TO PETROLGRAD Leningrad, 1985–St. Petersburg, Present Proposed Gazprom tower in architect’s rendering When the reform-minded new Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev visited Russia’s historic Window on the West in May 1985, his initial itinerary followed that of any Soviet ruler on an official visit. The new general secretary toured factories, met with faculty at the Polytechnical Institute, and attended a Party meeting at Smolny, the revolutionary headquarters turned city hall. Then Gorbachev did something no Soviet leader had ever done: he went to Nevsky Prospect and plunged into the crowds, mixing and chatting with ordinary Leningraders.

General Secretary Zhao Ziyang publicly endorsed “dialogue,” but paramount leader Deng Xiaoping wanted a crackdown, violent if necessary, against the now tens of thousands of Tiananmen Square demonstrators. A mix of workers and students, the protestors rallied around a handmade torch-bearing “Goddess of Democracy” that looked uncannily like America’s Statue of Liberty—hardly the Western import Deng hoped to encourage with his reforms. Though intra-Party disagreements were not unusual, the public daylight between Deng and Zhao was unprecedented. Escalating the situation was Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev’s long-planned May 15 state visit. “How big is this square?” the USSR’s general secretary asked en route, high over Mongolia, when his advance team reported there were now, a full month after Hu’s death, well over a hundred thousand protestors in Tiananmen. Ironically, it was Soviet urban planners who had helped expand Tiananmen in the 1950s, but Sino-Soviet relations had so soured over the intervening decades that this would be Gorbachev’s first visit to the world’s largest Communist country.


A Paradise Built in Hell: Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster by Rebecca Solnit

Berlin Wall, Burning Man, centre right, Community Supported Agriculture, David Graeber, different worldview, dumpster diving, Golden Gate Park, illegal immigration, Loma Prieta earthquake, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, Naomi Klein, Nelson Mandela, race to the bottom, Ralph Waldo Emerson, rent control, South of Market, San Francisco, Thomas Malthus, Upton Sinclair, urban planning, War on Poverty, yellow journalism

The way they talk, they are so articulate and amazing, it’s great to watch. They had that sense of purpose, of strength, and of dignity, which was not there before.” Revolutionary Weather Less than nine months after the Mexico City quake, the nuclear reactor in Chernobyl, Ukraine, melted down and eventually dragged down an empire with it. In 2006, the man who had been head of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, reflected, “The nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl twenty years ago this month, even more than my launch of perestroika, was perhaps the real cause of the collapse of the Soviet Union five years later. Indeed, the Chernobyl catastrophe was a historic turning point: there was the era before the disaster, and there is the very different era that has followed.” Part of the catastrophe was due to the secrecy that was by then habitual to Soviet bureaucrats, which endangered millions, and to the overall sense of unaccountable, incompetent, and callous governance.

Gawronski, “Disasters as Critical Junctures? Managua, Nicaragua 1972 and Mexico City 1985,” International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters 21, no. 1 (March 2003): 3-35. 155 “It is such a shock”: Gioconda Belli, in interview with the author, Santa Monica, California, April 2007. 156 “kleptocracy”: Olson and Gawronski,” “Disasters as Critical Junctures,” 10. 159 “The nuclear meltdown”: Mikhail Gorbachev, “Turning Point at Chernobyl,” http://economistsview.typpepad.com/economistsview/2006/04/gorbachev_chern.html/. 160 “Insurrections by a ‘nature’ that had seemed”: Mark Healey, “The Fragility of the Moment: Politics and Class in the Aftermath of the 1944 Argentine Earthquake,” International Labor and Working Class Journal, no. 62 (Fall 2002): 5. 161 secretary of commerce Herbert Hoover: In John M.


pages: 809 words: 237,921

The Narrow Corridor: States, Societies, and the Fate of Liberty by Daron Acemoglu, James A. Robinson

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, agricultural Revolution, AltaVista, Andrei Shleifer, bank run, Berlin Wall, British Empire, California gold rush, central bank independence, centre right, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, colonial rule, Computer Numeric Control, conceptual framework, Corn Laws, corporate governance, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crony capitalism, Dava Sobel, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of the americas, double entry bookkeeping, Edward Snowden, en.wikipedia.org, equal pay for equal work, European colonialism, Ferguson, Missouri, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, income inequality, income per capita, industrial robot, information asymmetry, interest rate swap, invention of movable type, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, John Harrison: Longitude, joint-stock company, Kula ring, labor-force participation, land reform, Mahatma Gandhi, manufacturing employment, mass incarceration, Maui Hawaii, means of production, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, obamacare, openstreetmap, out of africa, PageRank, pattern recognition, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Skype, spinning jenny, Steven Pinker, the market place, transcontinental railway, War on Poverty, WikiLeaks

Ioseliani and Kitovani had taken over what was left of the Georgian state, but conflict was rife and they weren’t making any progress in bringing order. Just as important, they needed a respectable face to show to the international community to gain legitimacy and access to foreign aid and resources. They hit on the plan to make Eduard Shevardnadze president. Shevardnadze, a native of Georgia, had been Mikhail Gorbachev’s minister of foreign affairs for six years until resigning in December 1990. By 1992 Shevardnadze had become speaker of the Georgian parliament. It was obvious that with his many contacts and immense international experience, he’d be the ideal face for the new nation. The idea of the warlords was simple. Shevardnadze would be the head of state and they would be behind the scenes pulling the strings.

As Czech playwright and dissident, and soon-to-be president, Václav Havel put it in his essay The Power of the Powerless: Not only is the dictatorship everywhere based on the same principles and structured in the same way . . . but each country has been completely penetrated by a network of manipulatory instruments controlled by the superpower center and subordinated to its interests. But now there was a disintegration of not just the Soviet “manipulatory instruments” and the state’s capacity to control society. The newly independent countries were also left without tax systems and many other aspects of modern administrations. All of this didn’t happen at once, of course. When Mikhail Gorbachev came to power in 1985, his plan was to revitalize, not destroy, the Soviet Union. He launched the joint policies of glasnost (“openness”) and perestroika (“restructuring”). It was mostly perestroika that Gorbachev was interested in, so that he could reconfigure the institutions and incentives of the stagnating Russian economy. But he feared that hard-liners within the Communist Party would never accept these reforms, so he complemented them with a political opening that was designed to weaken the hard-liners.

Nowhere was this discontent larger than in Eastern Europe and the Baltic States that had been occupied by the Soviet Union at the end of World War II. Anti-Soviet protests had flared up before, in Hungary in 1956 and in the Prague Spring of 1968, where Havel cut his political teeth, but had been crushed. By January 1990 the Polish Communist Party was voting to disband itself, and by December of the next year Mikhail Gorbachev was forced to declare the Soviet Union extinct. Russia was soon flooded with Western economists and experts to help the new government forge a transition to a market-based liberal democracy. Poland was too, but the two countries ended up on remarkably different paths. The fall in the state’s power brought about by the Soviet collapse had very different effects depending on where a country was relative to the corridor.


What We Say Goes: Conversations on U.S. Power in a Changing World by Noam Chomsky, David Barsamian

banking crisis, British Empire, Doomsday Clock, failed state, feminist movement, Howard Zinn, informal economy, liberation theology, mass immigration, microcredit, Mikhail Gorbachev, Monroe Doctrine, oil shale / tar sands, peak oil, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Thomas L Friedman, union organizing, Upton Sinclair, uranium enrichment, Washington Consensus

The same is true with the uproar about the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, re-creating the Cold War by objecting to an anti-missile system in eastern Europe.21 There is the speech he gave in Munich. If you look at what he said, it is not really controversial. Maybe you don’t like the tone, but the facts are correct, and there is a background to it. The Russians really have security problems. They were practically destroyed a couple of times in the last century by Germany alone. In 1990, Mikhail Gorbachev made the quite remarkable concession of allowing the unification of Germany within the NATO military alliance.22 So a country that had practically destroyed Russia twice in that century was allowed to be part of a huge hostile military alliance, always aimed at Russia, of course. It was an incredible gesture by Gorbachev, but there was a quid pro quo. The George Bush I administration had to pledge that NATO would not expand eastward.


pages: 790 words: 150,875

Civilization: The West and the Rest by Niall Ferguson

Admiral Zheng, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Andrei Shleifer, Atahualpa, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, BRICs, British Empire, business cycle, clean water, collective bargaining, colonial rule, conceptual framework, Copley Medal, corporate governance, creative destruction, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Dean Kamen, delayed gratification, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of the americas, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, European colonialism, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francisco Pizarro, full employment, Hans Lippershey, haute couture, Hernando de Soto, income inequality, invention of movable type, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, John Harrison: Longitude, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, Kitchen Debate, land reform, land tenure, liberal capitalism, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, market bubble, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, means of production, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, new economy, Pearl River Delta, Pierre-Simon Laplace, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, rent-seeking, reserve currency, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, Scramble for Africa, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, spice trade, spinning jenny, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, The Great Moderation, the market place, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, total factor productivity, trade route, transaction costs, transatlantic slave trade, undersea cable, upwardly mobile, uranium enrichment, wage slave, Washington Consensus, women in the workforce, World Values Survey

Far from challenging the United States for economic supremacy, as Khrushchev had threatened, the Soviet Union had achieved per-capita consumption of around 24 per cent of the American level – a challenge to Turkey, at best.107 At the same time, the shift in superpower relations towards détente and disarmament made the Soviets’ ability to mass-produce missiles a good deal less valuable. High oil prices in the 1970s had given the system a stay of execution; as oil fell in the 1980s the Soviet bloc was left with nothing but hard-currency debts – money borrowed from the very system Khrushchev had promised to ‘bury’. Mikhail Gorbachev, appointed general secretary of the Soviet Communist Party in March 1985, felt there was now no alternative but to reform both the economic and the political system, including the Soviet empire in Eastern Europe. With perestroika and glasnost the new watchwords in Moscow, hard-liners in East Berlin were left high and dry – forced into censoring publications and reports not only from the West but from the Soviet Union as well.

The most recent and familiar example of precipitous decline is, of course, the collapse of the Soviet Union. With the benefit of hindsight, historians have traced all kinds of rot within the Soviet system back to the Brezhnev era and beyond. According to one recent account, it was only the high oil prices of the 1970s that ‘averted Armageddon’.16 But this was not apparent at the time. In March 1985, when Mikhail Gorbachev became general secretary of the Soviet Communist Party, the CIA (wrongly) estimated the Soviet economy to be approximately 60 per cent the size of the US economy. The Soviet nuclear arsenal was genuinely larger than the US stockpile. And governments in what was then called the Third World, from Vietnam to Nicaragua, had been tilting in the Soviets’ favour for most of the previous twenty years.


Killing Hope: Us Military and Cia Interventions Since World War 2 by William Blum

anti-communist, Berlin Wall, Bolshevik threat, centre right, collective bargaining, colonial rule, cuban missile crisis, currency manipulation / currency intervention, deindustrialization, kremlinology, land reform, liberation theology, Mikhail Gorbachev, Monroe Doctrine, nuremberg principles, Ronald Reagan, South China Sea, trickle-down economics, union organizing

He contends that the extreme militarization of American policy strengthened hard-liners in the Soviet Union. "Thus the general effect of Cold War extremism was to delay rather than hasten the great change that overtook the Soviet Union."26 Though the arms-race spending undoubtedly damaged the fabric of the Soviet civilian economy and society even more than it did in the United States, this had been going on for 40 years by the time Mikhail Gorbachev came to power without the slightest hint of impending doom. Gorbachev's close adviser, Aleksandr Yakovlev, when asked whether the Reagan administration's higher military spending, combined with its "Evil Empire" rhetoric, forced the Soviet Union into a more conciliatory position, responded: It played no role. None. I can tell you that with the fullest responsibility. Gorbachev and I were ready for changes in our policy regardless of whether the American president was Reagan, or Kennedy, or someone even more liberal.

It turned out that the Russians were human after all—they responded to toughness with toughness. And the corollary: there was for many years a close correlation between the amicability of US-Soviet relations and the number of Jews allowed to emigrate from the Soviet Union.28 Softness produced softness. If there's anyone to attribute the changes in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe to, both the beneficial ones and those questionable, it is of course Mikhail Gorbachev and the activists he inspired. It should be remembered that Reagan was in office for over four years before Gorbachev came to power, and Thatcher for six years, but in that period of time nothing of any significance in the way of Soviet reform took place despite Reagan's and Thatcher's unremitting malice toward the communist state. The argument is frequently advanced that it's easy in hindsight to disparage the American cold-war mania for a national security state—with all its advanced paranoia and absurdities, its NATO-supra-state-military juggernaut, its early-warning systems and airraid drills, its nuclear silos and U-2s—but that after the War in Europe the Soviets did indeed appear to be a ten-foot- tall world-wide monster threat.


pages: 475 words: 156,046

When They Go Low, We Go High: Speeches That Shape the World – and Why We Need Them by Philip Collins

anti-communist, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, British Empire, collective bargaining, Copley Medal, Corn Laws, crony capitalism, cuban missile crisis, Deng Xiaoping, desegregation, Donald Trump, F. W. de Klerk, fear of failure, Fellow of the Royal Society, full employment, invention of the printing press, late capitalism, Mahatma Gandhi, Mikhail Gorbachev, Monroe Doctrine, Neil Kinnock, Nelson Mandela, plutocrats, Plutocrats, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, Rosa Parks, stakhanovite, Thomas Malthus, Torches of Freedom, World Values Survey

In November 1984 Reagan won a second landslide, carrying 49 of the 50 US states and 525 of the 538 electoral votes, the largest number ever won by an American presidential candidate. His second term was tarnished by the Iran–Contra affair, an arms-for-hostages deal with Iran to funnel money toward anti-communist insurgencies in Central America. Though he initially denied knowing about it, Reagan later announced that it had been a mistake. It was, however, during his second term as president that Reagan forged a diplomatic relationship with Mikhail Gorbachev, chairman of the Soviet Union. This was the context in which Reagan gave the following speech at the Berlin Wall, on the 750th anniversary of the city of Berlin, in which he challenged Gorbachev to tear down the wall. The West German government requested that the president’s schedule be adjusted to allow him to visit Berlin on his way back from an economic summit in Venice. Reagan’s visit brought a protest to the Berlin streets.

Pericles gives birth to that idea of the political community in a speech ostensibly dedicated to those who fell in battle. He inaugurates the idea that the war has the noble purpose of strengthening the commitment to democracy. At a remove of twenty centuries, it is astonishing how similar David Lloyd George and Woodrow Wilson sound amid the thunder of the Great War, and then again what echoes ring from the resounding rhetoric of Winston Churchill in the summer of 1940. By the time Ronald Reagan implores Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall, democratic politics has become not just the purpose of the war but the method by which it is fought. The aim is always the same. It is, at the final and in the finest hours, to create, through the expedient and unfortunate necessity of war, a land fit for heroes. 3 NATION: THROUGH POLITICS THE NATION IS DEFINED Imagined Communities A nation has to be spoken into existence.


pages: 501 words: 145,943

If Mayors Ruled the World: Dysfunctional Nations, Rising Cities by Benjamin R. Barber

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, American Legislative Exchange Council, Berlin Wall, bike sharing scheme, borderless world, Boris Johnson, Bretton Woods, British Empire, car-free, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, Celebration, Florida, clean water, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, desegregation, Detroit bankruptcy, digital Maoism, disintermediation, edge city, Edward Glaeser, Edward Snowden, Etonian, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, feminist movement, Filter Bubble, George Gilder, ghettoisation, global pandemic, global village, Hernando de Soto, Howard Zinn, illegal immigration, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, income inequality, informal economy, information retrieval, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, London Interbank Offered Rate, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, Masdar, megacity, microcredit, Mikhail Gorbachev, mortgage debt, mutually assured destruction, new economy, New Urbanism, Nicholas Carr, Norman Mailer, nuclear winter, obamacare, Occupy movement, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, Peace of Westphalia, Pearl River Delta, peer-to-peer, planetary scale, plutocrats, Plutocrats, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RFID, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, smart meter, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, Telecommunications Act of 1996, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tobin tax, Tony Hsieh, trade route, UNCLOS, UNCLOS, unpaid internship, urban sprawl, War on Poverty, zero-sum game

More recently, Antanas Mockus’s inventive and playful approach to city planning has made Bogotá a city of influence beyond its size and power.9 Palermo’s Leoluca Orlando, noted crime fighter and champion of culture, won the 1994 German Best Actor Award for a television film. Most notorious of all is Yury Luzhkov, known for his long tenure in Moscow starting in 1977 as a city councillor and then as deputy mayor (1987) and mayor from 1991 to 2010. Luzhkov’s urban career reached from Leonid Brezhnev through Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin, all the way to Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev, making him a Russian legend. Indeed, too legendary for his own good, since his longevity and independence made him such an irksome expression of Moscow’s urban autonomy, Medvedev (with Putin possibly calling the shots, and the putative corruption of Luzhkov’s wife in the news) felt compelled to oust him in 2010. In Russia, as in France and China, other city officials can play prominent national roles, but it was as mayor that Luzhkov thrived.

When asked which party platform he ran on, which ideology he favored, he always answered, “the management platform,” the party of no ideology (khozyaistvennik). You couldn’t really be an ideologue and govern Moscow, even before the Soviet Union fell. When I met Mayor Luzhkov in the early 1990s at an international conference he sponsored, I was struck by how different he seemed from the Soviet political types I had known—including even Georgy Shakhnazarov, the president of the Soviet Political Science Association and eventually a Mikhail Gorbachev adviser. Luzhkov was plainspoken, while Soviet politicians were circumspect and correct in the name of deviousness. He talked about governance as a challenge in solving problems rather than an excuse to argue ideology. He was a powerful personality rather than a prominent politician, a quality closely associated with mayors. The Kennan Institute’s Blair Ruble seems to concur: “It is relatively easy to overstate the impact of a single individual no matter how powerful, especially in a city as large and complex as Moscow,” said Ruble, who has written extensively about Moscow.


pages: 500 words: 156,079

Game Over Press Start to Continue by David Sheff, Andy Eddy

affirmative action, air freight, Alexey Pajitnov wrote Tetris, Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Buckminster Fuller, game design, HyperCard, inventory management, James Watt: steam engine, Jaron Lanier, Marshall McLuhan, Mikhail Gorbachev, pattern recognition, profit motive, revision control, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak

He was a trusted adviser of leaders in Israel and Canada and a powerful force in opposition to the Conservative governments of Margaret Thatcher and John Major in Britain. He spoke nine languages fluently, and his phone rang incessantly with calls from world leaders. When a secretary told him that the prime minister was on the phone, he asked, “Which one?” Maxwell was trusted by Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev, but he had been a familiar face in the Kremlin even earlier. He had known and published books by four former Soviet leaders—Brezhnev, Andropov, Gromyko, and Khrushchev—so there was every reason to believe his boasts about his influence in the U.S.S.R. Although Maxwell’s son Kevin was in charge of Mirrorsoft over Mackonochie, the elder Maxwell had a twenty-four-hour-a-day watch on all aspects of his parent companies, Maxwell Communications Corporation and the Mirror Group.

The helpers were digitized pictures of Alexey and Vladimir. Another game, for computers, called “Faces,” was sold through a joint-venture company called ParaGraph to Spectrum Holobyte. “Faces” had scrambled puzzle pieces made of slices of the faces of famous scientists, painters, and politicians. Players unscrambled the falling pieces to create complete portraits. One could end up with a face that combined Mikhail Gorbachev’s bald head, Margaret Thatcher’s eyes, and Ronald Reagan’s chin. “Faces” also had digitized images of cartoon characters and paintings (a winking Mona Lisa, for instance, and a Van Gogh self-portrait). Players could also scan pictures of themselves and insert them into the game. The Los Angeles Times reviewer lauded it: “[It doesn’t] encourage you to destroy worlds, and errors do not result in gory deaths.… While playing, you do your part to improve U.S.


pages: 900 words: 241,741

Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story by Arnold Schwarzenegger, Peter Petre

Berlin Wall, California gold rush, call centre, clean water, cleantech, Donald Trump, financial independence, Golden Gate Park, illegal immigration, index card, Maui Hawaii, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, oil shale / tar sands, pension reform, risk tolerance, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, stem cell, Y2K

The United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon and I had been working on an ambitious response to global warming. Two years earlier, in 2007, he’d been so impressed by California’s climate change initiative that he’d invited me to speak at the opening session of the United Nations. When I stepped to the podium that fall, I was almost overwhelmed to realize that I was standing where John F. Kennedy, Nelson Mandela, and Mikhail Gorbachev had all addressed the UN before me. The occasion gave California a world stage—and an opportunity to contribute to a crucial international conversation. Now, two years later, the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen was meant to be the most important meeting on global warming since the completion of the Kyoto Protocol in 1997. After years of environmental conferences and programs and debates, leaders from more than 110 nations were coming to Copenhagen to hammer out an action plan.

She has traveled all over the country promoting the fight against Alzheimer’s, and is very active on the Special Olympics board, helping prepare for the 2015 International Special Olympics Games in Los Angeles. I was glad to have a busy schedule after we separated because otherwise I would have felt lost. I kept working and stayed on the move. By the summer, I’d appeared at a series of post-governorship speaking engagements across the northern United States and Canada. I went to the Xingu River in Brazil with Jim Cameron; to London for Mikhail Gorbachev’s eightieth birthday party; to Washington, DC, for a summit on immigration; and to Cannes to receive the Legion d’Honneur medal and promote new projects. Yet while I was as busy as ever, none of it felt the way it should. What had made my career fun for more than thirty years was sharing it with Maria. We’d done everything together and now my life felt out of kilter. There was no one to come home to.

Every time he hit me. Every time he said my weight training was garbage, that I should do something useful and go out and chop wood. Every time he disapproved of me or embarrassed me, it put fuel on the fire in my belly. It drove me and motivated me. 8. Change takes big balls. While on a trade mission to Moscow during my last year as governor, I took a little time out to visit former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev at his home. We’d become friends over the years and I’d given a speech for him and sat with him at his eightieth birthday party in London a few months before. Gorbachev’s daughter Irina made lunch for us and several friends from the Gorbachev Institute. We ate for at least two and a half hours. I’ve always idolized Gorbachev because of the courage it took him to dismantle the political system that he grew up under.


pages: 353 words: 355

The Long Boom: A Vision for the Coming Age of Prosperity by Peter Schwartz, Peter Leyden, Joel Hyatt

American ideology, Asian financial crisis, Berlin Wall, centre right, computer age, crony capitalism, cross-subsidies, Deng Xiaoping, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, European colonialism, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial innovation, hydrogen economy, industrial cluster, informal economy, intangible asset, Just-in-time delivery, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, life extension, market bubble, mass immigration, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, new economy, oil shock, open borders, Productivity paradox, QR code, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, the scientific method, upwardly mobile, Washington Consensus, Y2K

This New Economy clearly has been working in the United States, but the looming question is whether it will work for the world. GfobAlizATtoN EteqiNs The changes in technology and the political economy of the West paralleled the third set of events that fell along that 1980 axis— globalization. Technically, these events also fell in the realm of politics and economics, but with more global implications than what Reagan and Thatcher represented. In 1980, Mikhail Gorbachev became a Politburo member and began the process that led to the Soviet Union's move toward democracy and capitalism. And in 1978, Deng Xiaoping wrestled control of political power in the People's Republic of China and began moving the Chinese toward the market economy. It's hard to exaggerate the significance of these two events. They created the starting point for our truly globalized world.


pages: 174 words: 58,894

London Review of Books by London Review of Books

Albert Einstein, cuban missile crisis, David Attenborough, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, failed state, Mikhail Gorbachev, Neil Kinnock, Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, tulip mania, Wolfgang Streeck

Then it counted and read out a number. Then it asked: ‘Kto protiv?’ (Who’s against?) And again a number. And then: ‘The motion is passed’ or ‘The motion is rejected.’ The Congress of People’s Deputies, the new parliament of the Soviet Union, was in session and we were hearing its elected members voting freely, unpredictably, without fear. The voice – strong, lively – belonged to the man in the chair, Mikhail Gorbachev. I remember leaning back against the window, my heart suddenly too big for my chest. So it was real. So this democracy was actually taking place, at the core of the empire, and a whole planet – rusted to its axis for generations – was beginning to rotate again. Anything could happen now. But what actually happened was that the stove burst, flooding the corridor with boiling water and smoking cinders.


pages: 186 words: 57,798

Nonviolence: The History of a Dangerous Idea by Mark Kurlansky

Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Bartolomé de las Casas, Berlin Wall, British Empire, colonial rule, continuation of politics by other means, desegregation, European colonialism, Khyber Pass, Mahatma Gandhi, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, polynesian navigation, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ronald Reagan, working poor

The invasion, though unpopular, was not firmly opposed, because the world accepts the idea of using violence against violence. But Czechoslovakia was different. In August, when the Soviets invaded with tanks, DubCek urged his people not to resist, despite the fact that the Czech army was considered the best in the Warsaw Pact. When the world saw the Soviet Union invade one of its closest allies, and saw its tanks stared down by unarmed students, its defeat had already begun. Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Soviet leader, years later, after his country had collapsed, agreed that nothing was ever the same after the 1968 invasion. Gorbachev was part of a delegation that visited Czechoslovakia in 1969 to try to win over Communist youth. He encountered hostility everywhere. Often party officials seemed afraid to be in contact with the Soviet delegation, not afraid of violence but afraid to lose all standing with Czechoslovakians.


pages: 1,445 words: 469,426

The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money & Power by Daniel Yergin

anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, bank run, Berlin Wall, British Empire, colonial exploitation, Columbine, continuation of politics by other means, cuban missile crisis, do-ocracy, energy security, European colonialism, Exxon Valdez, financial independence, fudge factor, informal economy, joint-stock company, land reform, liberal capitalism, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, Monroe Doctrine, new economy, North Sea oil, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, old-boy network, postnationalism / post nation state, price stability, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Thomas Malthus, Yom Kippur War

Soviet oil production in 1945 was only 60 percent of that of 1941. The country had desperately mobilized a range of substitutes during the war—from oil imports from the United States to charcoal-burning engines for its trucks. Shortly after the war, Stalin interrogated his petroleum minister, Nikolai Baibakov (who subsequently was to be in charge of the Soviet economy for two decades—until 1985, when Mikhail Gorbachev replaced him). Mispronouncing Baibakov's name, as he always did, Stalin demanded to know what the Soviet Union was going to do in the light of its very bad oil position. Its oil fields were seriously damaged and heavily depleted, with little promise for the future. How could the economy be reconstructed without oil? Efforts, the dictator said, would have to be redoubled. Toward that end, the Soviet Union made its demands for a joint oil exploration company within Iran.

"The Doctor is one of the greatest actors in the world," was the acid comment of one of the many men who had mistakenly thought himself Hammer's heir apparent. Hammer renewed his contacts with the Soviet Union under Nikita Khrushchev and ended up as a go-between for five Soviet General Secretaries and seven U.S. Presidents. His access to the Kremlin was unique. He was virtually the only person who could tell Mikhail Gorbachev firsthand about Lenin, who had died a decade before Gorbachev's birth. As late as 1990, at age ninety-two, Hammer was still the active chairman of Occidental, and loyal stockholders continued to sing his praises. He was indeed in the line of the great buccaneer- creators of oil: Rockefeller, Samuel and Deterding, Gulbenkian, Getty and Mattei. He was also an anachronism, a privateer from the past, in spirit a "merchant from Odessa" circling the globe in his corporate jet in search of the next great deal.

The Soviet Union was not a Third World country, he insisted. "We are not a producer of bananas." It was true in a way; one could not find bananas in Moscow. But, bananas or not, Soviet officials could read their balance of trade accounts, and the loss in terms of hard currency earnings from oil and gas, if continued, could be devastating for the plans to reform and revive the stagnant Soviet economy that were just beginning to be formulated under Mikhail Gorbachev. The Soviet Union promised to contribute a 100,000-barrel-per-day cutback to OPEC's efforts. The pledge was vague enough and the job of tracking Soviet exports sufficiently difficult that the OPEC countries could never be sure that the Russians were really as good as their word. But in the immediate turmoil, the symbolism was important. The next step to cool off the good sweating was for OPEC to formalize quotas and do something about price.


On Power and Ideology by Noam Chomsky

anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, British Empire, cuban missile crisis, feminist movement, imperial preference, land reform, Mikhail Gorbachev, Monroe Doctrine, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Stanislav Petrov, union organizing

For those who want to understand the Cold War era, an obvious question is: what happened when the slave state disintegrated? The answer is straightforward: little changed, except that earlier policies were pursued more intensively. Consider NATO. According to doctrine, NATO was established to protect Western Europe (and the world) from the Russian hordes. What happened, then, when the Russian hordes disappeared? Answer: NATO expanded to the East, in violation of verbal agreements with Mikhail Gorbachev, reaching right to the borders of Russia in ways that are by now raising a serious threat of confrontation. The official role of NATO was also changed. Its mandate became control over the global energy system, sea lanes, and pipelines, while it serves in effect as a U.S.-run intervention force. Shortly after the Berlin Wall fell, the United States invaded Panama in order to kidnap a minor thug, Manuel Noriega, who had fallen out of favor when he began defying U.S. orders.


pages: 204 words: 61,491

Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business by Neil Postman, Jeff Riggenbach Ph.

affirmative action, Albert Einstein, global village, Index librorum prohibitorum, invention of the printing press, Louis Daguerre, Marshall McLuhan, Mikhail Gorbachev, Ralph Nader, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, the medium is the message

There’s still time. Andrew Postman Brooklyn, New York November 2005 In 1985 ... If you were alert back then, this refresher may be unnecessary, even laughable. If you were not alert then, this may just be laughable. But it also may help to clarify references in the book about things of that moment. In 1985: The United States population is 240 million. The Cold War is still on, though Mikhail Gorbachev has just become the Soviet leader. Ronald Reagan is president. Other major political figures include Walter “Fritz” Mondale, Democratic presidential nominee the year before; Geraldine Ferraro, his vice-presidential running mate; and presidential hopefuls/Senators Gary Hart and John Glenn (the latter a former astronaut). Ed Koch is mayor of New York City. David Garth is a top media consultant for political candidates.


pages: 240 words: 60,660

Models. Behaving. Badly.: Why Confusing Illusion With Reality Can Lead to Disaster, on Wall Street and in Life by Emanuel Derman

Albert Einstein, Asian financial crisis, Augustin-Louis Cauchy, Black-Scholes formula, British Empire, Brownian motion, capital asset pricing model, Cepheid variable, creative destruction, crony capitalism, diversified portfolio, Douglas Hofstadter, Emanuel Derman, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, fixed income, Henri Poincaré, I will remember that I didn’t make the world, and it doesn’t satisfy my equations, Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, law of one price, Mikhail Gorbachev, Myron Scholes, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, random walk, Richard Feynman, riskless arbitrage, savings glut, Schrödinger's Cat, Sharpe ratio, stochastic volatility, the scientific method, washing machines reduced drudgery, yield curve

Wall Street overshoots in its greed. The Senate committees grandstand. The president seeks to get reelected. The world and the markets silently beg for a Churchill, and society throws them Chamberlains. That’s the way of human affairs. But occasionally there comes that wonderful moment when people who are in a position to make a difference cease to behave mechanically. I think of Mandela and de Klerk, Vaclav Havel, and Mikhail Gorbachev, men who, rather than fulfilling their preprogrammed destinies, could imagine others as others experience themselves, men who broke the cycle of karma, and so got one step ahead of fate and altered the status quo. It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen sometimes. Appendix ESCAPING BONDAGE The title of part 4 of Spinoza’s Ethics is “Of Human Bondage, or The Strength of the Emotions.”


pages: 558 words: 164,627

The Pentagon's Brain: An Uncensored History of DARPA, America's Top-Secret Military Research Agency by Annie Jacobsen

Albert Einstein, Berlin Wall, colonial rule, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Dean Kamen, drone strike, Edward Snowden, Fall of the Berlin Wall, game design, John Markoff, John von Neumann, license plate recognition, Livingstone, I presume, low earth orbit, megacity, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, Murray Gell-Mann, mutually assured destruction, Norman Mailer, operation paperclip, place-making, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, social intelligence, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, zero-sum game

Alibekov that he would have to learn English first. Through the translator, Alibekov thanked his Pentagon host. Then he made a joke. “Okay,” he said, “if I ever come here, I’ll ask for your help.” Lisa Bronson just smiled. “Everyone started to laugh,” Alibekov recalled, “including me.” Dr. Kanatjan Alibekov returned to Moscow with the Soviet delegation. Just a few days later, on December 25, 1991, President Mikhail Gorbachev resigned. On New Year’s Eve, the red flag of the Soviet Union, with its iconic hammer and sickle beneath a gold star, was taken down from the flagpole at the Kremlin. The tricolored flag of the newly formed Russian Federation was raised in its place. The Soviet Union ceased to exist. Two weeks later, Dr. Alibekov handed the director of Biopreparat, General Yury Kalinin, his resignation papers in Moscow.

Many of the key photographs were from ARPA satellites that had been sent aloft in the earliest days of the technology. With confirmation in place, it was now time to tell President George H. W. Bush about the Soviets’ prodigious, illegal biological weapons program. The wall had been down for only a few months, and from the perspective of the Pentagon, it was a precarious time as far as international security was concerned. There was a growing worry that President Mikhail Gorbachev was losing control of the Russian military. With this in mind, in the winter of 1990, President Bush decided it was best to keep the Soviets’ biological weapons program a secret. To reveal it, Bush decided, would make Gorbachev appear weak. Gorbachev was being hailed internationally as a reformer. He needed credibility to keep moving his country out of a Cold War mentality and into the twentieth century.


pages: 538 words: 164,533

1968: The Year That Rocked the World by Mark Kurlansky

anti-communist, Berlin Wall, colonial rule, cuban missile crisis, desegregation, East Village, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, European colonialism, feminist movement, global village, Haight Ashbury, land reform, Marshall McLuhan, Mikhail Gorbachev, MITM: man-in-the-middle, Norman Mailer, post-industrial society, Ronald Reagan, South China Sea

It was the end of heroic Russia: a country widely admired because it had bravely dared to stand alone and build the first socialist society, because it was the big protector in the fraternity of socialist countries, because it had sacrificed millions to rid Europe of fascism. It was no longer viewed as benign. It was the bully who crushed small countries. After the fall of the Soviets, Dubek wrote that the Soviet Union had been doomed by one essential flaw: “The system inhibited change.” The downfall took longer than most people predicted. In 2002 Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Soviet leader, told his long-standing friend, former Dubek government official Zdenk Mlyná: The suppression of the Prague Spring, which was an attempt to arrive at a new understanding of Socialism, also engendered a very harsh reaction in the Soviet Union, leading to a frontal assault against all forms of free-thinking. The powerful ideological and political apparatus of the State acted decisively and uncompromisingly.

The New York Times, December 14, 1968. 374 eleven different configurations, Langguth, Our Vietnam, 530. 375 14,589 American servicemen . . . the highest casualties of the entire war. Sheehan, A Bright Shining Lie, 726. 376 “the ideology of reform Communism.” Mlynár, Nightfrost in Prague, 232. 377 “The system inhibited change.” Dubcek, Hope Dies Last, 165. 377 The suppression . . . profound stagnation. Mikhail Gorbachev and Zdenek Mlynár, Conversations with Gorbachev (New York: Columbia University Press, 2002), 65. 378 I wanted to create a democracy . . . the other half feels successful. Jacek Kuro´n, interviewed June 2001. 378 “We have passed . . . relationships among our people.” The New York Times, December 16, 1968. 379 “more powerful than he could ever be.” Marchand, Marshall McLuhan, 219. 380 “I can recognize . . .


Europe: A History by Norman Davies

agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business climate, centre right, charter city, clean water, Columbian Exchange, conceptual framework, continuation of politics by other means, Corn Laws, cuban missile crisis, Defenestration of Prague, discovery of DNA, double entry bookkeeping, Edmond Halley, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, equal pay for equal work, Eratosthenes, Etonian, European colonialism, experimental economics, financial independence, finite state, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Francisco Pizarro, full employment, global village, Honoré de Balzac, Index librorum prohibitorum, interchangeable parts, invention of agriculture, invention of movable type, Isaac Newton, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Johannes Kepler, John Harrison: Longitude, joint-stock company, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, land reform, liberation theology, long peace, Louis Blériot, Louis Daguerre, Mahatma Gandhi, mass immigration, Mikhail Gorbachev, Monroe Doctrine, Murano, Venice glass, music of the spheres, New Urbanism, North Sea oil, offshore financial centre, Peace of Westphalia, popular capitalism, Potemkin village, purchasing power parity, Ralph Waldo Emerson, road to serfdom, sceptred isle, Scramble for Africa, spinning jenny, Thales of Miletus, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, Transnistria, urban planning, urban sprawl

In its strictly historical aspect it sought to instil two cardinal dogmas—the primacy of ‘socio-economic forces’ and the benign nature of Russia’s expansion. It was greatly boosted by the Soviet defeat of Germany in 1941–5, and was still being taught as gospel to tens of millions of European students and schoolchildren in the late 1980s. Right at the end of communism’s career, the General Secretary of the CPSU, Mikhail Gorbachev, revived the slogan of ‘a common European home’.102 It was seized on by many foreign commentators and widely welcomed; but Gorbachev never had time to explain what he meant. He was dictator of an empire from Kaliningrad to Kamchatka—a peninsula as remote, and as European, as neighbouring Alaska. Could it be possible that Gorbachev’s dream was of a Greater Europe, stretching right round the globe?

Fontaine 1962 Linus-Carl Pauling (U.S.A.) — 1968 René-Samuel Cassin 1920 L.-V. Bourgeois 1971 Willy Brandt 1921 Karl Branting 1974 Sean Macbride Christian Lange 1976 Elizabeth Williams 1922 Fridtjof Nansen Mairead Corrigan 1925 J. Austen Chamberlain 1979 Mother Teresa 1926 Aristide Briand 1982 Alva Myrdal Gustav Streseman 1983 Lech Wałęsa 1927 F. E. Buisson 1986 Elie Wiesel Ludwig Ouidde 1990 Mikhail Gorbachev Of all the recipients, only two, both Germans, were made to suffer for their support of peace. Ludwig Ouidde (1858–1941) had been jailed for opposing German rearmament. Carl von Ossetzky (1889–1939), leader of the German peace movement, died in a Nazi concentration camp. Mackinder’s ideas were destined to be taken very seriously in Germany, as they were, in the subsequent era of air power, in the USA.

Citizens of the former Soviet bloc were mightily impressed by Western Europe’s food mountains; but there is every reason to believe that their aspirations to rejoin ‘Europe’ had a spiritual as well as a material dimension. ‘Europe has two lungs,’ declared a Slavonic Pope; ‘it will never breathe easily until it uses both of them.’1 Europe’s wasted years fall neatly into three periods. They began in the immediate post-war era (1945–8), when Allied unity was lost. They continued through four decades of the Cold War (1948–89); and they drew to a close with the astonishing reign in Moscow of Mikhail Gorbachev (1985–91). Overall, they may be said to have begun on VE Day, 9 May 1945, and to have ended with the final disband-ment of the Soviet Union in December 1991. By that time, almost all of Europe’s peoples were free to determine their own destiny. The End of the Grand Alliance, 1945–1948 The division of Europe was implicit in the state of affairs at war’s end. As Stalin correctly predicted, the social and political systems of East and West were destined to follow the positions of the occupying armies.


pages: 83 words: 7,274

Buyology by Martin Lindstrom

anti-work, Berlin Wall, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Kickstarter, Mikhail Gorbachev, Pepto Bismol, Saturday Night Live, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker

And because they don’t look like models, we feel like they really believe in what they are selling. Yet when we see supermodels, no matter how glamorous and seductive they may be to the human eye, we intrinsically feel that whatever they claim about the product is phony. They’re not telling a story; they’re acting in one. If you need more evidence that unglamorous people can sell products, consider that Mikhail Gorbachev, hardly anyone’s idea of a glamour-puss, shows up in the latest Louis Vuitton commercial—and also appears in a Russian Pizza Hut ad along with his granddaughter.16 Indeed, what we’re beginning to witness in the advertising world today is a fascinating marriage between the world of the airbrushed supermodel and the world of the ordinary consumer—a blurry union between perfect and not so perfect.


pages: 234 words: 63,149

Every Nation for Itself: Winners and Losers in a G-Zero World by Ian Bremmer

airport security, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, blood diamonds, Bretton Woods, BRICs, capital controls, clean water, creative destruction, Deng Xiaoping, Doha Development Round, energy security, European colonialism, failed state, global rebalancing, global supply chain, income inequality, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Julian Assange, Kickstarter, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, Nelson Mandela, Nixon shock, nuclear winter, Parag Khanna, purchasing power parity, reserve currency, Ronald Reagan, smart grid, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, Stuxnet, trade route, uranium enrichment, Washington Consensus, WikiLeaks, Yom Kippur War

What if, instead of empowering the state to protect citizens from crisis, the G-Zero creates the kinds of problems that discredit the state, cripple its credibility, and arouse enough public anger that citizens look for alternatives? In fact, there are many ways in which central governments could lose much of their power, especially to local-level power brokers. The subtlest form of this trend might be a willingness by midlevel officials or local governments to ignore central government rules, plans, and policies and to substitute their own. Mikhail Gorbachev’s earliest efforts to reform the Soviet state came to almost nothing, in part because officials within the bureaucracy, anxious to protect the privileges that the system provided them, simply ignored many orders from above. The system itself fought back against efforts to change it. Gorbachev then turned to a policy known as glasnost (openness) to bypass much of the bureaucracy and appeal directly for public support for his plans.


Comedy Writing Workbook by Gene Perret

Mikhail Gorbachev, Ronald Reagan

The more colors on your palette, the more shading, detail, and depth you can add to your painting. The following workouts will help you practise finding the relationships that will aid in your comedy writing. 44 COMEDY WRITING WORKBOOK = WORKOUT 4A = "That Goes With This" This workout will be practice in searching out similar ideas to relate to your basic premise. Below are the two basic ideas that you will be working on: 1. Mikhail Gorbachev visiting New York City in December of 1988. He travelled around the city extensively, visiting many tourist attractions and attending official meetings. He travelled, though, in a motorcade of 49 cars. That's your premise—the size of that motorcade. • * * • • 2. Some years ago Queen Elizabeth II visited California and was scheduled to visit then President Reagan's Santa Barbara ranch and then enjoy some horse' back riding with the President.


pages: 262 words: 66,800

Progress: Ten Reasons to Look Forward to the Future by Johan Norberg

agricultural Revolution, anti-communist, availability heuristic, Bartolomé de las Casas, Berlin Wall, British Empire, business climate, clean water, continuation of politics by other means, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, demographic transition, desegregation, Donald Trump, Flynn Effect, germ theory of disease, Gini coefficient, Gunnar Myrdal, Haber-Bosch Process, Hans Island, Hans Rosling, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, income inequality, income per capita, indoor plumbing, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, John Snow's cholera map, Kibera, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, more computing power than Apollo, moveable type in China, Naomi Klein, Nelson Mandela, open economy, place-making, Rosa Parks, sexual politics, special economic zone, Steven Pinker, telerobotics, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transatlantic slave trade, very high income, working poor, Xiaogang Anhui farmers, zero-sum game

For more than a decade, dissidents and civil society groups such as Solidarity in Poland, led by Lech Wałęsa, or Charta 77 in Czechoslovakia, funded by the writer Václav Havel and others, had undermined the communist system. They disseminated critical literature underground with the help of photocopiers, and challenged oppression publicly. As resistance grew, what had been open secrets became public facts. People already knew that their governments were oppressive and bankrupt, but now they learned that everybody else knew as well. When Mikhail Gorbachev became the leader of a stagnating Soviet Union in 1985, he encouraged reform and raised the hope that the Soviets might not respond militarily if the satellite states chose their own path, as they had done in Hungary in 1956 and in Czechoslovakia in 1968. This bred hope. Nationwide strikes in Poland in 1988, and the support of the Catholic Church, forced the government to legalize Solidarity and accept partly free elections in June 1989.


pages: 202 words: 8,448

Blueprint for Revolution: How to Use Rice Pudding, Lego Men, and Other Nonviolent Techniques to Galvanize Communities, Overthrow Dictators, or Simply Change the World by Srdja Popovic, Matthew Miller

Albert Einstein, Berlin Wall, British Empire, corporate governance, desegregation, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Jane Jacobs, Kibera, Kickstarter, Mahatma Gandhi, McMansion, Mikhail Gorbachev, Mohammed Bouazizi, Nelson Mandela, Occupy movement, Rosa Parks, urban planning, urban sprawl

At the risk of generalizing, they weren’t particularly interested in dialogue. They were young and idealistic, and they wanted all or nothing. Rather than negotiate, they announced a round of even more radical tactics designed to regain momentum and reengage the masses in their cause: they would go on a hunger strike. The strike began on May 13. The timing wasn’t incidental, as the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev was scheduled to land in Beijing two days later on a visit that was sure to include the city’s epicenter, Tiananmen Square. And again, it was soon obvious that the government was deeply interested in compromise: the state-run media continued to hold its nose and cover the hunger strike favorably, censorship restrictions were loosened, and a handful of intellectuals were given permission to express their critical views in a large national newspaper.


pages: 211 words: 69,380

The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking by Oliver Burkeman

experimental subject, fear of failure, hedonic treadmill, Kibera, Lao Tzu, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, science of happiness, selection bias, Steve Jobs, Supply of New York City Cabdrivers, traveling salesman, World Values Survey

The organisers of Get Motivated! describe it as a motivational seminar, but that phrase – with its suggestion of minor-league life coaches giving speeches in dingy hotel ballrooms – hardly captures the scale and grandiosity of the thing. Staged roughly once a month, in cities across north America, it sits at the summit of the global industry of positive thinking, and boasts an impressive roster of celebrity speakers: Mikhail Gorbachev and Rudy Giuliani are among the regulars, as are General Colin Powell and, somewhat incongruously, William Shatner. Should it ever occur to you that a formerly prominent figure in world politics (or William Shatner) has been keeping an inexplicably low profile in recent months, there’s a good chance you’ll find him or her at Get Motivated!, preaching the gospel of optimism. As befits such celebrity, there’s nothing dingy about the staging, either, which features banks of swooping spotlights, sound systems pumping out rock anthems, and expensive pyrotechnics; each speaker is welcomed to the stage amid showers of sparks and puffs of smoke.


pages: 213 words: 70,742

Notes From an Apocalypse: A Personal Journey to the End of the World and Back by Mark O'Connell

Berlin Wall, bitcoin, blockchain, California gold rush, carbon footprint, Carrington event, clean water, Colonization of Mars, conceptual framework, cryptocurrency, disruptive innovation, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, Donner party, Elon Musk, high net worth, Jeff Bezos, life extension, low earth orbit, Marc Andreessen, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, New Urbanism, off grid, Peter Thiel, post-work, Sam Altman, Silicon Valley, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, the built environment, yield curve

About forty minutes north of Kiev, Igor stuck a USB stick into a console on the dashboard. A screen flickered to life in front of us and began to play a television documentary about the Chernobyl accident. We watched in silence as we progressed from the margins of the city to the countryside. Every so often, Igor demonstrated his familiarity with the documentary by reciting lines of dialogue along with the film. At one point, Mikhail Gorbachev appeared on-screen to deliver a monologue on the terrifying timescale of the accident’s aftereffects. His data entry tasks now complete, Igor spoke along in unison with Gorbachev. “How many years will this continue to go on?” he intoned. “Eight hundred years! Yes! Until the second Jesus is born!” Vika laughed, turning toward me, and I chuckled as though I, too, found this amusing, though I did not.


pages: 1,351 words: 385,579

The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined by Steven Pinker

1960s counterculture, affirmative action, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, availability heuristic, Berlin Wall, Bonfire of the Vanities, British Empire, Broken windows theory, business cycle, California gold rush, Cass Sunstein, citation needed, clean water, cognitive dissonance, colonial rule, Columbine, computer age, conceptual framework, correlation coefficient, correlation does not imply causation, crack epidemic, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Brooks, delayed gratification, demographic transition, desegregation, Doomsday Clock, Douglas Hofstadter, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, European colonialism, experimental subject, facts on the ground, failed state, first-past-the-post, Flynn Effect, food miles, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, fudge factor, full employment, George Santayana, ghettoisation, Gini coefficient, global village, Henri Poincaré, Hobbesian trap, humanitarian revolution, impulse control, income inequality, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, lake wobegon effect, libertarian paternalism, long peace, longitudinal study, loss aversion, Marshall McLuhan, mass incarceration, McMansion, means of production, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, moral panic, mutually assured destruction, Nelson Mandela, open economy, Peace of Westphalia, Peter Singer: altruism, QWERTY keyboard, race to the bottom, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, Republic of Letters, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, Saturday Night Live, security theater, Skype, Slavoj Žižek, South China Sea, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Stanford prison experiment, statistical model, stem cell, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, transatlantic slave trade, Turing machine, twin studies, ultimatum game, uranium enrichment, Vilfredo Pareto, Walter Mischel, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce, zero-sum game

But when either the United States or the Soviet Union sent troops to a contested region (Berlin, Hungary, Vietnam, Czechoslovakia, Afghanistan), the other stayed out of its way.139 The distinction matters a great deal because as we have seen, one big war can kill vastly more people than many small wars. In the past, when an enemy of a great power invaded a neutral country, the great power would express its displeasure on the battlefield. In 1979, when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, the United States expressed its displeasure by withdrawing its team from the Moscow Summer Olympics. The Cold War, to everyone’s surprise, ended without a shot in the late 1980s shortly after Mikhail Gorbachev ascended to power. It was followed by the peaceful tear-down of the Berlin Wall and then by the mostly peaceful collapse of the Soviet Union. • Zero is the number of times that any of the great powers have fought each other since 1953 (or perhaps even 1945, since many political scientists don’t admit China to the club of great powers until after the Korean War). The war-free interval since 1953 handily breaks the previous two records from the 19th century of 38 and 44 years.

Mueller reviewed the history of superpower confrontations during the Cold War and concluded that the sequence was more like climbing a ladder than stepping onto an escalator. Though several times the leaders began a perilous ascent, with each rung they climbed they became increasingly acrophobic, and always sought a way to gingerly step back down.177 And for all the shoe-pounding bluster of the Soviet Union during the Cold War, its leadership spared the world another cataclysm when Mikhail Gorbachev allowed the Soviet bloc, and then the Soviet Union itself, to go out of existence—what the historian Timothy Garton Ash has called a “breathtaking renunciation of the use of force” and a “luminous example of the importance of the individual in history.” This last remark reminds us that historical contingency works both ways. There are parallel universes in which the archduke’s driver didn’t make a wrong turn in Sarajevo, or in which a policeman aimed differently during the Beer Hall Putsch, and history unfolded with one or two fewer world wars.

Not only was it becoming ludicrous for a modern economy to do without photocopiers, fax machines, and personal computers (to say nothing of the nascent Internet), but it was impossible for the country’s rulers to keep scientists and policy wonks from learning about the ideas in the increasingly prosperous West, or to keep the postwar generation from learning about rock music, blue jeans, and other perquisites of personal freedom. Mikhail Gorbachev was a man of cosmopolitan tastes, and he installed in his administration many analysts who had traveled and studied in the West. The Soviet leadership made a verbal commitment to human rights in the 1975 Helsinki Accords, and a cross-border network of human rights activists were trying to get the populace to hold them to it. Gorbachev’s policy of glasnost (openness) allowed Aleksandr Solzhenitzyn’s The Gulag Archipelago to be serialized in 1989, and it allowed debates in the Congress of People’s Deputies to be televised, exposing millions of Russians to the brutality of the past Soviet leadership and the ineptitude of the current one.254 Silicon chips, jet airplanes, and the electromagnetic spectrum were loosing ideas that helped to corrode the Iron Curtain.


pages: 603 words: 182,826

Owning the Earth: The Transforming History of Land Ownership by Andro Linklater

agricultural Revolution, anti-communist, Anton Chekhov, Ayatollah Khomeini, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, British Empire, business cycle, colonial rule, Corn Laws, corporate governance, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, facts on the ground, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, Gini coefficient, Google Earth, income inequality, invisible hand, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kibera, Kickstarter, land reform, land tenure, light touch regulation, market clearing, means of production, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, Mohammed Bouazizi, Monkeys Reject Unequal Pay, mortgage debt, Northern Rock, Peace of Westphalia, Pearl River Delta, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, profit motive, quantitative easing, Ralph Waldo Emerson, refrigerator car, Right to Buy, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, spinning jenny, The Chicago School, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transcontinental railway, ultimatum game, wage slave, WikiLeaks, wikimedia commons, working poor

By the Treaty of Paris that ended the war with Britain in 1783, all the ground between the Appalachians and the Mississippi passed to the United States. Consequently the land already belonged to the nation and could legally be distributed in any form the government chose. In Britain, nineteen years was the usual term for a lease, and by retaining ownership, the government would benefit from any increase in the value of its new territory. In 1990, when President Mikhail Gorbachev started to introduce a market economy to the Soviet Union, thirty of America’s most distinguished economists wrote an open letter strongly recommending him not to sell off the state’s land, because in the long term it was more economically efficient to rent or lease it. Their argument was precisely the same as Jefferson’s: leasing the land would allow future generations to enjoy a rising income from its growing value, while the sale of it would give a small gain but allow speculators to make the largest profit.

The costs of the huge sovkhozi in terms of wages, machinery, and fertilizer absorbed more than a quarter of all government expenditure, equivalent to thirty-three billion dollars in 1981, and the purchase of American, Canadian, and Argentine wheat drained the Soviet treasury of almost eight hundred million dollars in 1972 and more than two billion in 1980. It was the reverse of the usual formula for economic development. Instead of rural revenues financing industrialization, the Soviet Union was using its industrial surplus to subsidize its agriculture. The result was what Mikhail Gorbachev would call “the era of stagnation” when the headlong growth of the socialist economy ground to a halt. It was clear that the Marxist-Leninist solution had failed. Yet in the battle for the allegiance of the world’s two billion peasants, the alternative was no longer Ladejinsky’s redistribution of property to the tiller of the soil. The first quarter of the twenty-first century would be irredeemably marked by a shift in American policy in the 1950s away from the Jeffersonian impulse to spread ownership of the soil to as many people as possible.


pages: 708 words: 176,708

The WikiLeaks Files: The World According to US Empire by Wikileaks

affirmative action, anti-communist, banking crisis, battle of ideas, Boycotts of Israel, Bretton Woods, British Empire, capital controls, central bank independence, Chelsea Manning, colonial exploitation, colonial rule, corporate social responsibility, credit crunch, cuban missile crisis, Deng Xiaoping, drone strike, Edward Snowden, energy security, energy transition, European colonialism, eurozone crisis, experimental subject, F. W. de Klerk, facts on the ground, failed state, financial innovation, Food sovereignty, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, future of journalism, high net worth, invisible hand, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, liberal world order, Mikhail Gorbachev, millennium bug, Mohammed Bouazizi, Monroe Doctrine, Nelson Mandela, Northern Rock, Philip Mirowski, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, statistical model, structural adjustment programs, too big to fail, trade liberalization, trade route, UNCLOS, UNCLOS, uranium enrichment, Washington Consensus, WikiLeaks, zero-sum game, éminence grise

For instance, the United States objected to Russia’s rollback of democratic reforms: circumscribing journalists, murdering dissidents, and seizing radio stations, as well as Vladimir Putin’s plan to abolish the election of governors and instead empower the Kremlin to appoint them. Russia, meanwhile, objected to Nato’s granting of membership to countries of the former Eastern Bloc—Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia, as well as the three Baltic states. After all, Mikhail Gorbachev believed that, in exchange for Russia accepting the reunification of Germany, NATO would not expand to the east, which would pose a geopolitical threat to Russia and lessen its sphere of influence. Nor was Russia pleased when President George W. Bush withdrew the United States from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty to continue development of a US missile defense system, including deployment in the former Eastern Bloc territories of Poland and the Czech Republic.

In 1983 President Ronald Reagan introduced the Strategic Defense Initiative, presciently ridiculed as “Star Wars” at the time because it sounded like as much of a fantasy as it does to this day. Patriot missiles were deployed in the Middle East during the first Gulf War and, while they achieved little success, the idea of missile defense, at least against smaller nuclear arsenals, caught on. At the Reykjavík summit in 1986, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev proposed eliminating half of all strategic (as opposed to tactical, or battlefield) nuclear weapons. In exchange, he asked that Reagan refrain from implementing missile defense for the next ten years. Reagan’s team responded with an offer to eliminate all ballistic missiles within the same time span, while retaining the right to missile defense thereafter. That is when Gorbachev made the game-changing proposal that both sides abolish all nuclear weapons within ten years.


pages: 1,309 words: 300,991

Vanished Kingdoms: The Rise and Fall of States and Nations by Norman Davies

anti-communist, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Celtic Tiger, Corn Laws, en.wikipedia.org, energy security, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, labour mobility, land tenure, mass immigration, Mikhail Gorbachev, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, Red Clydeside, Ronald Reagan, Skype, special economic zone, trade route, urban renewal, WikiLeaks

Bronze Soldier monument in the Tallinn military cemetery (akg-images/RIA Nowosti) 78. Linda Monument in front of the Long Herman tower in Tallinn (copyright © RIA Novosti/TopFoto) 79. Red Army soldiers occupying Tallinn, June 1940 (private collection) 80. Volunteers of the Latvian Legion parade in Talinn, 1943 (SV-Bilderdienst) 81. The Baltic Way Protest, August 1989 (ullstein bild/Nowosti) 82. Boris Yeltsin and Mikhail Gorbachev, 1991 (copyright © RIA Novosti/TopFoto) List of Figures 1. Carolingians and Bosonids 2. The Burgundian succession 3. Early rulers of Aragon: the House of Ramiro 4. The House of Trastámara 5. The Jagiellons 6. The early Radziwiłłs 7. Hohenzollerns and Jagiellons 8. The later Hohenzollerns, 1701–1918 9. Counts of Savoy 10. I Buonaparti: the Bonapartes 11. Bourbon – Borbón – Borbone (the Bourbons) 12.

After 1975, the Helsinki Agreement, which encouraged so-called ‘legal opposition’, and the so-called Baltic Appeal of 1979, which demanded publication of the Nazi–Soviet Pact’s protocols, made world headlines;73 in 1980 youth riots were reported. Reprisals were severe, but nonconformism never dried up. Throughout those long decades, it was illegal to wave the Estonian colours of blue, white and black; it was illegal to sing the pre-war national anthem; and it was treasonable to talk in public about independence. Above all, it was unwise to dream. When the young, dynamic and affable Mikhail Gorbachev stepped onto the world scene in March 1985 as the new general secretary of the Soviet Communist Party, no one thought that the Soviet Union’s funeral was approaching. Gorbachev came to save the USSR, not to bury it. Western politicians, and the Western public, were enchanted by him. His determination to end the Cold War naturally played well, while the slogans of glasnost (often taken, wrongly, to mean ‘openness’) and perestroika (‘reconstruction’) were universally applauded.

The forces of the Soviet Union occupied Estonia twice, in 1940–41 and for a second time between 1945 and 1991. 80. A Latvian battalion of the Waffen SS marches through Tallinn. The forces of the Third Reich occupied Estonia from July 1941 to September 1944. CCCP 81. The Baltic Chain, 23 August 1989, marking the fiftieth anniversary of the Nazi-Soviet Pact: two million protesters link hands over the 350 miles from Estonia to Latvia and Lithuania. 82. Moscow, August 1991: Mikhail Gorbachev, secretary general of the Soviet Communist Party and president of the USSR, is publicly berated by Boris Yeltsin, president of the RSFSR (Soviet Russia). Fifteen Soviet republics, including Russia, were starting out on their road to sovereign independence, and the Soviet Union was about to vanish.


pages: 366 words: 76,476

Dataclysm: Who We Are (When We Think No One's Looking) by Christian Rudder

4chan, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, bitcoin, cloud computing, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, en.wikipedia.org, Frank Gehry, Howard Zinn, Jaron Lanier, John Markoff, John Snow's cholera map, lifelogging, Mahatma Gandhi, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nate Silver, Nelson Mandela, new economy, obamacare, Occupy movement, p-value, pre–internet, race to the bottom, selection bias, Snapchat, social graph, Solar eclipse in 1919, Steve Jobs, the scientific method

The Academy wanted to kick off the telecast with a rapid-fire montage of people, both celebrities and not, talking about their favorite films. My friend Justin was Morris’s casting director, so he got me on the list. There was no guarantee that I’d end up in the final cut of the short, but I could do the interview on-camera and see how it went. Having an in, I got scheduled the same day as the biggest names: Donald Trump, Walter Cronkite, Iggy Pop, Al Sharpton, Mikhail Gorbachev. Trump and Gorbachev were back to back, and somewhere out there there’s a picture of the two of them, with me in the middle, photobombing before photobombing was a thing. I say “somewhere” because right after the flash, Trump snapped his fingers, and his bodyguard took Justin’s camera. For his favorite movie, Trump picked King Kong, because he of course likes apes who try to “conquer New York.”


Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone by Mark Goulston M. D., Keith Ferrazzi

hiring and firing, index card, Jeff Bezos, Leonard Kleinrock, Mikhail Gorbachev, Ronald Reagan, zero-sum game

When you succeed, you can change the dynamics of a relationship in a heartbeat. At that instant, instead of trying to get the better of each other, you “get” each other and that breakthrough can lead to cooperation, collaboration, and effective communication. The Cold War, in fact, may have ended on just such an empathic tipping point. In a now-legendary moment, President Ronald Reagan’s talks with Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev seemed to be at a standstill when Reagan looked behind his adversary‘s stubborn face to see a leader who truly loved his people. In a moment of brilliant simplicity, he invited Gorbachev to “Call me Ron” (as opposed to “Let’s keep fighting president-to-president, digging our heels in and getting nowhere”). Gorbachev not only accepted the invitation, he joined Reagan in calling an end to the Cold War.


pages: 285 words: 78,180

Life at the Speed of Light: From the Double Helix to the Dawn of Digital Life by J. Craig Venter

Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Asilomar, Barry Marshall: ulcers, bioinformatics, borderless world, Brownian motion, clean water, discovery of DNA, double helix, epigenetics, experimental subject, global pandemic, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, John von Neumann, Louis Pasteur, Mars Rover, Mikhail Gorbachev, phenotype, Richard Feynman, stem cell, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Turing machine

Due in part to his collaboration with foreign scientists, including d’Herelle, and for pursuing a woman who was also admired by Lavrentiy Beriya, Stalin’s chief of secret police, Eliava was pronounced an “enemy of the people” and executed in 1937.24 The Eliava Institute survived without its founder and became one of the largest units developing therapeutic phage, at its peak producing several tons a day. In 1989 Mikhail Gorbachev, the last president of the Soviet Union, restored Eliava’s name during a reassessment of the victims of the Great Purge. By the middle of the 1930s, the hype and hope that phage therapy would end bacterial diseases had failed to materialize, and any evidence of its efficacy had been clouded by the lack of standardization of materials.25 During that decade the American Medical Association issued withering critiques of the method,26 but lying as they did at the borderline of life, phages continued to fascinate basic researchers.


pages: 232 words: 77,956

Private Island: Why Britain Now Belongs to Someone Else by James Meek

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Berlin Wall, business continuity plan, call centre, clean water, Deng Xiaoping, Etonian, HESCO bastion, housing crisis, illegal immigration, Martin Wolf, medical bankruptcy, Mikhail Gorbachev, post-industrial society, pre–internet, price mechanism, Right to Buy, risk tolerance, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, Skype, sovereign wealth fund, Washington Consensus, working poor

Thatcher’s programme in Britain was an inspiration for the IMF and the World Bank as they experimented with the conditions they attached to bail-out loans to developing countries.* But at the end of 1990, the triumph of marketism seemed to hang in the balance. Reagan and Thatcher had relinquished the stage to less fervent, less charismatic successors. The man who’d introduced the market economy to China, Deng Xiaoping, had been blamed by traditional communists for fostering the Tiananmen Square protests, and was in disgrace. In the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev, the great hope of free marketeers, was facing a similar backlash from hardliners, and the Baltic countries’ hopes of escape from the USSR looked bleak. Saddam Hussein, dictator of semi-socialist Iraq, had invaded semi-capitalist Kuwait. Yet the following year conviction began to grow among the marketeers that the final defeat of centrally planned, communitarian government was at hand, the sense that seemed to confirm such ideas as America having ‘won’ the Cold War, and the ‘end of history’.


pages: 256 words: 75,139

Divided: Why We're Living in an Age of Walls by Tim Marshall

affirmative action, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, cryptocurrency, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, end world poverty, facts on the ground, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, New Urbanism, open borders, openstreetmap, profit motive, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, Scramble for Africa, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, the built environment, trade route, unpaid internship, urban planning

Most of us were in our thirties before we ever met anyone from ‘over there’ because it was difficult to get there – and nigh on impossible for them to get ‘here’. Many people behind the Iron Curtain lived in a system where they needed a permit to travel from one city to another within their own country, never mind cross an international border to the West. For twenty-eight years it was just the way it was. And then, suddenly, it wasn’t. In 1985 Mikhail Gorbachev had become General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Slowly he began loosening the chains around people’s lives. The word ‘perestroika’ began to be used, meaning ‘restructuring’, but also signifying ‘listening’. Within this came the idea of ‘glasnost’, or openness. In a thousand small ways society and politics opened up and people listened to each other. By late spring in 1989 the idea had spread so far that Hungary, behind the Iron Curtain, had begun to dismantle part of its border fence with Austria.


Blindside: How to Anticipate Forcing Events and Wild Cards in Global Politics by Francis Fukuyama

Asian financial crisis, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business cycle, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, cognitive bias, cuban missile crisis, energy security, flex fuel, global pandemic, income per capita, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, John von Neumann, mass immigration, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, moral hazard, Norbert Wiener, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, packet switching, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, reserve currency, Ronald Reagan, The Wisdom of Crowds, trade route, Vannevar Bush, Vernor Vinge, Yom Kippur War

A more flexible leader might have managed a “soft landing” for the Soviet Communist Party; witness the current situation in China. It was impossible to provide a more definitive estimate fifteen years before the fact because the future was not yet certain. It never is. Intermediate and Immediate Warning By the early 1980s, the faltering Soviet economy was a given, the assumed context within which the intelligence community viewed Soviet political and military developments. For example, in 1985, as Mikhail Gorbachev took control, the National Intelligence Estimate on the Soviet domestic scene 2990-7 ch04 berkowitz 34 7/23/07 12:09 PM Page 34 bruce berkowitz encapsulated the fundamental weaknesses in the Soviet state. It did not yet say that the conditions for collapse were present, but it explained how such a path was possible: The growth of the Soviet economy has been systematically decelerating since the 1950s as a consequence of dwindling supplies of new labor, the increasing cost of raw material inputs, and the constraints on factor productivity improvement imposed by the rigidities of the planning and management system. . . .


pages: 333 words: 76,990

The Long Good Buy: Analysing Cycles in Markets by Peter Oppenheimer

"Robert Solow", asset allocation, banking crisis, banks create money, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bretton Woods, business cycle, buy and hold, Cass Sunstein, central bank independence, collective bargaining, computer age, credit crunch, debt deflation, decarbonisation, diversification, dividend-yielding stocks, equity premium, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial innovation, fixed income, Flash crash, forward guidance, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, George Akerlof, housing crisis, index fund, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, liberal capitalism, light touch regulation, liquidity trap, Live Aid, market bubble, Mikhail Gorbachev, mortgage debt, negative equity, Network effects, new economy, Nikolai Kondratiev, Nixon shock, oil shock, open economy, price stability, private sector deleveraging, Productivity paradox, quantitative easing, railway mania, random walk, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, secular stagnation, Simon Kuznets, South Sea Bubble, special economic zone, stocks for the long run, technology bubble, The Great Moderation, too big to fail, total factor productivity, trade route, tulip mania, yield curve

The supply-side reforms of UK prime minister Margaret Thatcher and US president Ronald Reagan were in full swing, and the divisive miners' strike in the UK had just ended with the closure of most of the nation's coal mines. The US introduced the Tax Reform Act of 1986, designed to simplify the federal income tax code and broaden the tax base. Meanwhile, international events were also in flux. Mikhail Gorbachev had just (in March 1985) become leader of the Soviet Union following the death of former leader Konstantin Chernenko. During a speech in Leningrad in May 1985, President Gorbachev admitted to the problems in the economy and poor living standards; he was the first Soviet leader to do so. This was followed by a series of policy initiatives, which included Glasnost – allowing more freedom of information – and Perestroika – political and economic reform; these were to prove seminal and more influential than seemed obvious at the time.


pages: 240 words: 74,182

This Is Not Propaganda: Adventures in the War Against Reality by Peter Pomerantsev

"side hustle", 4chan, active measures, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, call centre, citizen journalism, desegregation, Donald Trump, Etonian, European colonialism, Fall of the Berlin Wall, feminist movement, illegal immigration, mass immigration, mega-rich, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, Skype, South China Sea

Throughout all this the BBC was giving regular bulletins on the greatest radiation catastrophe in history, with scientists commenting on the spread of the radiation cloud and medical experts giving advice on radiation poisoning. Tuning in became necessary for sanity and survival. It would take another two weeks before the Soviet media made any official announcement. By then any remaining faith in them was shot: you couldn’t trust them to tell you what was in your milk, your meat, your bread, your water. In 1987 the new general secretary of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, admitted that the lack of truth surrounding Chernobyl had been a disaster.18 He promised to give new freedom to Soviet media. He removed restrictions on foreign books, films, video cassettes, on access to historical records and to Chernobyl itself. He called the politics ‘glasnost’ – literally ‘giving voice’. It had been initiated in 1986, but it was only after Chernobyl that it began to be enacted in earnest.


pages: 319 words: 75,257

Trumpocalypse: Restoring American Democracy by David Frum

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, anti-globalists, Bernie Sanders, centre right, coronavirus, currency manipulation / currency intervention, decarbonisation, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, employer provided health coverage, illegal immigration, immigration reform, labor-force participation, manufacturing employment, mass immigration, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nate Silver, obamacare, offshore financial centre, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, QAnon, rent-seeking, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley

I could go through a lot of nations where a lot of bad things were done.”41 Trump had fond words even for dictators deposed and deceased. Of Saddam Hussein, he said on the 2016 campaign trail, “He was a bad guy—really bad guy. But you know what he did well? He killed terrorists. He did that so good. They didn’t read them the rights. They didn’t talk. They were terrorists. Over.”42 Interviewed in 1990 by Playboy magazine, Trump condemned Mikhail Gorbachev as insufficiently brutal, unlike the rulers of communist China. Q: What were your other impressions of the Soviet Union? Trump: I was very unimpressed. Their system is a disaster. What you will see there soon is a revolution; the signs are all there with the demonstrations and picketing. Russia is out of control and the leadership knows it. That’s my problem with Gorbachev. Not a firm enough hand.


The Secret World: A History of Intelligence by Christopher Andrew

active measures, Admiral Zheng, airport security, anti-communist, Atahualpa, Ayatollah Khomeini, British Empire, Chelsea Manning, colonial rule, cuban missile crisis, Edward Snowden, en.wikipedia.org, Etonian, Fellow of the Royal Society, Francisco Pizarro, Google Earth, invention of movable type, invention of the telegraph, Julian Assange, Khyber Pass, Mahatma Gandhi, Mikhail Gorbachev, Murano, Venice glass, RAND corporation, Robert Hanssen: Double agent, Ronald Reagan, Skype, South Sea Bubble, spice trade, the market place, trade route, union organizing, uranium enrichment, Vladimir Vetrov: Farewell Dossier, WikiLeaks, éminence grise

A protocol laid down detailed conditions designed to ensure that each side was able to monitor unhindered the other’s missile telemetry.54 The most successful KGB officer operating in the United States during the middle years of the Cold War was the Fulbright scholar Oleg Danilovich Kalugin. Of the first group of eighteen Soviet Fulbright scholars selected to study in the US in 1958, half were KGB or GRU officers operating under student cover; the remainder ‘could be counted on to cooperate’ with them. Four of the eighteen went to Columbia. Two (including Kalugin) were KGB, one was GRU, and the fourth, Alexander Yakovlev, later a Politburo member under Mikhail Gorbachev, became known as the ‘godfather of glasnost’. Probably like the other three Fulbright scholars at Columbia, Kalugin was initially almost overcome by the experience of living in New York: In the first few weeks, I walked ceaselessly around Manhattan, overwhelmed by its power and beauty and bustle. The Soviet capital – which then looked more like an enormous village than a world-class city – had no building taller than the thirty-storey spire of Moscow State University.

Unaware that British blood donors are unpaid, the Centre instructed the London residency in 1983 to monitor the prices paid to them, in the belief that any increase might indicate preparations for war. The Centre also suspected that Church leaders and heads of major banks might have been secretly informed of plans for a nuclear first strike, and ordered the residency to investigate.105 There is no better evidence of the extent of Mikhail Gorbachev’s ‘new thinking’ in foreign policy after he became General Secretary in March 1985 than his dissatisfaction with the bias of the KGB’s political reporting. In December 1985 Viktor Chebrikov, KGB Chairman since 1982, summoned a meeting of the KGB leadership to discuss a stern memorandum from Gorbachev on ‘the impermissibility of distortions of the factual state of affairs in messages and informational reports sent to the Central Committee of the CPSU and other ruling bodies’ – a damning indictment of its previous political correctness.

At the world chess championship in the Philippines in 1978, when the dissident Viktor Korchnoi (referred to by Soviet media only as the ‘opponent’ or the ‘challenger’) committed the unforgivable sin of competing for the title with the orthodox Anatoli Karpov, the KGB sent eighteen operations officers to try to ensure that Korchnoi lost.109 It is possible, but not provable, that they had some effect. Korchnoi flew into a rage when a Soviet ‘parapsychologist’, Vladimir Zukhar, with (according to the New York Times correspondent) ‘eyes supposedly like burning coals’, took a seat near the front of the spectators. Karpov eventually won 6-5.110 Only when the vast apparatus of Soviet social control began to be dismantled under Mikhail Gorbachev did the full extent of the KGB’s importance to the survival of the USSR retrospectively become clear. The manifesto of the hard line leaders of the August 1991 coup, of which the KGB Chairman, Vladimir Kryuchkov, was the chief organizer, implicitly acknowledged that the relaxation of the campaign against ideological subversion had shaken the foundations of the one-party state: ‘Authority at all levels has lost the confidence of the population . . .


pages: 829 words: 186,976

The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail-But Some Don't by Nate Silver

"Robert Solow", airport security, availability heuristic, Bayesian statistics, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, big-box store, Black Swan, Broken windows theory, business cycle, buy and hold, Carmen Reinhart, Claude Shannon: information theory, Climategate, Climatic Research Unit, cognitive dissonance, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, complexity theory, computer age, correlation does not imply causation, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, diversification, Donald Trump, Edmond Halley, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, en.wikipedia.org, equity premium, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, fear of failure, Fellow of the Royal Society, Freestyle chess, fudge factor, George Akerlof, global pandemic, haute cuisine, Henri Poincaré, high batting average, housing crisis, income per capita, index fund, information asymmetry, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet Archive, invention of the printing press, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, Laplace demon, locking in a profit, Loma Prieta earthquake, market bubble, Mikhail Gorbachev, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, Monroe Doctrine, mortgage debt, Nate Silver, negative equity, new economy, Norbert Wiener, PageRank, pattern recognition, pets.com, Pierre-Simon Laplace, prediction markets, Productivity paradox, random walk, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, savings glut, security theater, short selling, Skype, statistical model, Steven Pinker, The Great Moderation, The Market for Lemons, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Bayes, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, too big to fail, transaction costs, transfer pricing, University of East Anglia, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, wikimedia commons

Are political scientists, or analysts at Washington think tanks, any better at making predictions? Are Political Scientists Better Than Pundits? The disintegration of the Soviet Union and other countries of the Eastern bloc occurred at a remarkably fast pace—and all things considered, in a remarkably orderly way.* On June 12, 1987, Ronald Reagan stood at the Brandenburg Gate and implored Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall—an applause line that seemed as audacious as John F. Kennedy’s pledge to send a man to the moon. Reagan was prescient; less than two years later, the wall had fallen. On November 16, 1988, the parliament of the Republic of Estonia, a nation about the size of the state of Maine, declared its independence from the mighty USSR. Less than three years later, Gorbachev parried a coup attempt from hard-liners in Moscow and the Soviet flag was lowered for the last time before the Kremlin; Estonia and the other Soviet Republics would soon become independent nations.

But they came back with a vengeance in the 2000s, when newer and seemingly more statistically driven methods of earthquake prediction became the rage. One such method was put forward by Vladimir Keilis-Borok, a Russian-born mathematical geophysicist who is now in his late eighties and teaches at UCLA. Keilis-Borok had done much to advance the theory of how earthquakes formed and first achieved notoriety in 1986 when, at a summit meeting in Reykjavík with Mikhail Gorbachev, President Reagan was handed a slip of paper predicting a major earthquake in the United States within the next five years, an event later interpreted to be the Loma Prieta quake that struck San Francisco in 1989.46 In 2004, Keilis-Borok and his team claimed to have made a “major breakthrough” in earthquake prediction.47 By identifying patterns from smaller earthquakes in a given region, they said, they were able to predict large ones.


pages: 142 words: 18,753

Bobos in Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There by David Brooks

1960s counterculture, affirmative action, Community Supported Agriculture, David Brooks, Donald Trump, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, George Gilder, haute couture, haute cuisine, income inequality, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, New Urbanism, Norman Mailer, place-making, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Robert Bork, Silicon Valley, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Thorstein Veblen, Upton Sinclair, upwardly mobile, urban planning, War on Poverty, Yogi Berra

At the top of intellectual life are semiprofessional, semisocial institutions like Renaissance weekends, Jackson Hole conferences, the TED technology confabs, and the Colorado Conference on World Affairs. They bring together people who are often total strangers. The only thing the attendees have in common is that they are all successful. These meetings serve as meritocratic Versailles, exclusive communities for the educated aristocracy, to gather and chat about their various lecture fees. Except instead of Lord So-and-So conversing with Duke Such-and-Such, at these meetings Mikhail Gorbachev will be in the corner conferring with Ted Turner, Elie Wiesel will be lecturing Richard Dreyfuss, and George Steiner will be lost in conversation with Nancy Kassebaum Baker. These institutions are run by the new consecrators of social prestige, foundation officials. Program officers are like the hostesses of the French salons, great themselves for their ability to recognize success. If our intellectual has succeeded with essays, books, panels, conferences, and TV appearances, she will find herself invited to retreats at an Arizona rock resort.


pages: 220 words: 88,994

1989 The Berlin Wall: My Part in Its Downfall by Peter Millar

anti-communist, back-to-the-land, Berlin Wall, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, glass ceiling, kremlinology, Marshall McLuhan, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, pre–internet, QWERTY keyboard, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, Sinatra Doctrine, urban sprawl, working-age population

So it was shock enough to have me spill my tea when Robert, our Armenian office assistant who had been studying every tic of the TASS teleprinter, suddenly ripped off a short three-line despatch which had just come up and waved it excitedly under my nose. I had already leapt to the computer to enter the same Snap codes as before – without asking London for fresh authorisation – with Robert still babbling excitedly in my ear: ‘Eto Gorbachev, Peter, Eto Gorbachev!!’ It’s Gorbachev! It was too. But even as I typed the six bells and the brief formulaic line: ‘Mikhail Gorbachev elected Soviet leader – official’, I had no idea how important those six words were going to prove. Nor had the rest of the world. 8 Back to Blighty, Back to Berlin The Gorbachev effect was still no more than two hazily understood words – glasnost and perestroika – by the time my spell in Moscow came to a truncated end. It was truncated at my own instigation, though as things turned out it was unlikely to have lasted much longer anyhow.


Bedsit Disco Queen: How I Grew Up and Tried to Be a Pop Star by Tracey Thorn

Berlin Wall, Bob Geldof, East Village, greed is good, Live Aid, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, Neil Kinnock, Ronald Reagan, sexual politics, University of East Anglia, young professional

I may be wrong, but I think that the job of selecting Britain’s musical representatives had fallen to All Trade Booking, the live-music wing of Rough Trade. And in their wisdom they selected Everything But The Girl and our natural musical allies, reggae band Misty in Roots. Also on the trip with us was Sean O’Hagan from the NME, and I’m indebted to the piece he later wrote in the paper for any clear recollections of the trip at all. To say the experience was a strange one would be an almost criminal understatement. Mikhail Gorbachev had only been in power for four months, and it was too early for his glasnost policy to have yielded any significant or noticeable changes. The country may have been poised on the brink of sweeping and radical reforms, but to our eyes it still seemed to be operating in an almost parodically oppressive manner. For a start, Moscow seemed to have been cleared of all its inhabitants under the age of forty – anyone, in fact, who may have been interested in witnessing the appearance of some Western pop or reggae groups.


Toast by Stross, Charles

anthropic principle, Buckminster Fuller, cosmological principle, dark matter, double helix, Ernest Rutherford, Extropian, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, glass ceiling, gravity well, Khyber Pass, Mars Rover, Mikhail Gorbachev, NP-complete, oil shale / tar sands, peak oil, performance metric, phenotype, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, slashdot, speech recognition, strong AI, traveling salesman, Turing test, urban renewal, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Review, Y2K

This is not the 21st century we were promised: instead of our flying cars and food pills—or the more prosaic but believable “long boom” pushed by WIRED’s panglossian technophiles, we hit the buffers with a crash and the wreckage of the 20th century is still crumpling around us. The 20th century was a remarkable era. Historian Eric Hobsbawm dated it as running from June 28th, 1914 (when the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated by Gavrilo Princip, raising the curtain on the First World War) until December 25th, 1991 (when Mikhail Gorbachev formally dissolved the Soviet Union). But that diagnosis was carried out in the 1990s, back when it was possible for conservative political analyst Francis Fukuyama to publish a book titled The End of History without being laughed out of town and pelted with rotten fruit. It is seductively tempting in 2005 to say that the 20th century really ended on September 11th, 2001, with an iconic act of violence that may well lead to long-term consequences as horrific as the start of the First World War.


pages: 306 words: 79,537

Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps That Explain Everything About the World (Politics of Place) by Tim Marshall

9 dash line, Admiral Zheng, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, British Empire, California gold rush, colonial rule, cuban missile crisis, Deng Xiaoping, drone strike, European colonialism, facts on the ground, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Hans Island, Kickstarter, LNG terminal, market fragmentation, megacity, Mercator projection distort size, especially Greenland and Africa, Mikhail Gorbachev, Monroe Doctrine, Nelson Mandela, oil shale / tar sands, Scramble for Africa, South China Sea, trade route, transcontinental railway, Transnistria, UNCLOS, UNCLOS, zero-sum game

In 1949, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was formed by an association of European and North American states, for the defense of Europe and the North Atlantic against the danger of Soviet aggression. In response, most of the Communist states of Europe—under Russian leadership—formed the Warsaw Pact in 1955, a treaty for military defense and mutual aid. The pact was supposed to be made of iron, but with hindsight, by the early 1980s it was rusting, and after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 it crumbled to dust. President Putin is no fan of the last Soviet president, Mikhail Gorbachev. He blames him for undermining Russian security and has referred to the breakup of the former Soviet Union during the 1990s as a “major geopolitical disaster of the century.” Since then the Russians have watched anxiously as NATO has crept steadily closer, incorporating countries that Russia claims it was promised would not be joining: the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland in 1999; Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, and Slovakia in 2004; and Albania in 2009.


pages: 324 words: 86,056

The Socialist Manifesto: The Case for Radical Politics in an Era of Extreme Inequality by Bhaskar Sunkara

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, agricultural Revolution, Bernie Sanders, British Empire, business climate, business cycle, capital controls, centre right, Charles Lindbergh, collective bargaining, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, Donald Trump, equal pay for equal work, feminist movement, Ferguson, Missouri, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, gig economy, Gunnar Myrdal, happiness index / gross national happiness, Honoré de Balzac, income inequality, inventory management, labor-force participation, land reform, land value tax, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, Neil Kinnock, new economy, Occupy movement, postindustrial economy, precariat, race to the bottom, Ralph Waldo Emerson, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, single-payer health, telemarketer, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, union organizing, Upton Sinclair, urban renewal, We are the 99%

The Soviet Union’s centrally planned economy, which had allowed it to catch up with the West, began to show strain. Soviet technocrats were remarkably successful considering the enormity of their task, but the inefficiencies of the system fueled popular resentment. Back in the nineteenth century, Alexis de Tocqueville had argued that the most dangerous time for a bad government was when it tried to mend its ways. Mikhail Gorbachev’s years in office revealed the truth of the claim. His attempts to renovate the system only undermined the coercion that held it together. With hindsight we can see that both the Mensheviks and the Bolsheviks were wrong in 1917. The Mensheviks’ faith in Russian liberals to carry out sweeping democratic transformations was misplaced, as were the Bolsheviks’ hopes for world revolution and a leap from the kingdom of necessity to the kingdom of freedom.


pages: 322 words: 84,752

Pax Technica: How the Internet of Things May Set Us Free or Lock Us Up by Philip N. Howard

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, blood diamonds, Bretton Woods, Brian Krebs, British Empire, butter production in bangladesh, call centre, Chelsea Manning, citizen journalism, clean water, cloud computing, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, digital map, Edward Snowden, en.wikipedia.org, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, feminist movement, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Google Earth, Howard Rheingold, income inequality, informal economy, Internet of things, Julian Assange, Kibera, Kickstarter, land reform, M-Pesa, Marshall McLuhan, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, mobile money, Mohammed Bouazizi, national security letter, Nelson Mandela, Network effects, obamacare, Occupy movement, packet switching, pension reform, prediction markets, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, Skype, spectrum auction, statistical model, Stuxnet, trade route, undersea cable, uranium enrichment, WikiLeaks, zero day

Drones help catch terrorists, but also violate our sense of privacy. The internet was supposed to change politics forever, but every new app seems to expose us to new risks. But we’ve actually just come through the era of real uncertainties—a kind of interregnum. It was a twenty-five-year stretch between the political order of the Cold War and the beginning of something new. In 1991 a group of hard-line Communist leaders tested Mikhail Gorbachev’s reforms in the Soviet Union. Dedicated citizens wouldn’t give up their cause and kept up their acts of civil disobedience. Boris Yeltsin made an impassioned plea from atop a tank in front of Russia’s parliament buildings, and the hard-liners lost. Yet that was also the year that Tim Berners-Lee published the first text on a webpage and demonstrated how large amounts of content could be made widely available over digital networks.


pages: 282 words: 82,107

An Edible History of Humanity by Tom Standage

agricultural Revolution, amateurs talk tactics, professionals talk logistics, Bartolomé de las Casas, British Empire, carbon footprint, Columbian Exchange, Corn Laws, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, Eratosthenes, financial innovation, food miles, Haber-Bosch Process, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Kickstarter, Louis Pasteur, Mikhail Gorbachev, special economic zone, spice trade, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, women in the workforce

High oil prices from the mid-1970s helped to pay for food imports, and for military spending to keep up with the United States. But the Soviet leaders assumed that oil prices would remain high indefinitely, and therefore they did not build up their foreign-currency reserves before the oil price fell sharply in 1985–86. Indeed, the Soviet Union’s borrowing increased. The Soviet leaders were all too aware of the danger of relying on their Cold War adversaries for food. But they had little choice. Mikhail Gorbachev, who came to power as the leader of the Soviet Union in 1985, began to introduce economic reforms, but to little avail as infighting paralyzed the regime. Soon all of the Soviet Union’s oil revenue was being consumed by interest payments; and poor global grain harvests in 1989–90 drove up prices, in particular of wheat. The Soviet Union began to miss payments to foreign suppliers for food imports, causing some shipments to be halted.


Paper Knowledge: Toward a Media History of Documents by Lisa Gitelman

Andrew Keen, computer age, corporate governance, deskilling, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, East Village, en.wikipedia.org, information retrieval, Internet Archive, invention of movable type, Jaron Lanier, knowledge economy, Marshall McLuhan, Mikhail Gorbachev, national security letter, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, optical character recognition, profit motive, QR code, RAND corporation, RFC: Request For Comment, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, Turing test, WikiLeaks, Works Progress Administration

No joking at airport checkpoints: “Your safety is our priority,” says the Transportation Security Administration’s website, adding: “Think before you speak.”42 If the executive branch under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama has managed to bring the term “gulag” back into circulation,43 Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers, like Nixon and the Watergate tapes, in retrospect lend the term “glasnost” a certain appeal. Glasnost—­openness, transparency, availability to public speech—did not become a familiar term in the West until the era of Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev in the late 1980s, although it was long used by authors and producers of samizdat, self-­made publications—typed carbon paper duplicates, triplicates, quadruplicates, etc.—which circulated semi-­privately in the Soviet Union as a medium of dissent.44 It can be applied in a narrow sense to the exposing of the Pentagon’s machinations and Nixonian malfeasance. When Western authors took stock of xerography, they typically did appeal to the idea of self-­publication, like samizdat, but without any explicit attention to openness, Ellsberg notwithstanding.


pages: 207 words: 86,639

The New Economics: A Bigger Picture by David Boyle, Andrew Simms

Asian financial crisis, back-to-the-land, banking crisis, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bonfire of the Vanities, Bretton Woods, capital controls, carbon footprint, clean water, collateralized debt obligation, colonial rule, Community Supported Agriculture, congestion charging, corporate raider, corporate social responsibility, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, delayed gratification, deskilling, en.wikipedia.org, energy transition, financial deregulation, financial exclusion, financial innovation, full employment, garden city movement, happiness index / gross national happiness, if you build it, they will come, income inequality, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Jane Jacobs, Kickstarter, land reform, light touch regulation, loss aversion, mega-rich, microcredit, Mikhail Gorbachev, mortgage debt, neoliberal agenda, new economy, North Sea oil, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, oil shock, peak oil, pensions crisis, profit motive, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, Ronald Reagan, seigniorage, Simon Kuznets, sovereign wealth fund, special drawing rights, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, Vilfredo Pareto, Washington Consensus, wealth creators, working-age population

There was something about the year 1984 that gave it a peculiar resonance for the post-war generation. Those who grew up with George Orwell’s novel with that year as its title looked ahead to 1984 as a symbol of everything that could go wrong with society – and with the hope that the world might be different from that experienced by Big Brother and Winston Smith. In the event, there were certainly convulsions enough – the British Miners’ Strike, the emergence of Mikhail Gorbachev and the arrival in the UK of cruise missiles. There was the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp, and the start of the countdown towards the Big Bang deregulation in the City of London, and the wild worldwide speculation that we have become used to since. There was no one Big Brother, but there was – in a sense – a series of them. They were the six Big Brothers and one Big Sister of the G7, the leaders of the seven richest industrial countries of the A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE NEW ECONOMICS 23 world, whose increasingly influential summit meetings every summer presumed to decide the economic future of the planet.


pages: 341 words: 87,268

Them: Adventures With Extremists by Jon Ronson

friendly fire, Livingstone, I presume, Mikhail Gorbachev, Silicon Valley, the market place

There were Ceauescu’s shoes, his hats and coats, Elena’s furs, their chess sets and cutlery and hunting knives. Their photograph albums were there also, along with some vases and statuettes. There were ugly paintings of Nicolae Ceauescu standing victoriously before the corpses of bears. There were backgammon sets and dusty, factory-built tea sets that had never been used – gifts from Yasser Arafat and Kim Il-sung and Mikhail Gorbachev. The truth was, Mr Ru Ru and I concluded, the stuff being auctioned was tatty and disappointing. It would be worth almost nothing if it wasn’t for the Ceauescu connections. It looked like a Ceauescu car boot sale rather than the spread of overwhelming riches I had envisaged as I drove up here from Bucharest. There were many stories of Elena Ceauescu’s extravagance and hoarding of expensive items.


pages: 309 words: 79,414

Going Dark: The Secret Social Lives of Extremists by Julia Ebner

23andMe, 4chan, Airbnb, anti-communist, anti-globalists, augmented reality, Ayatollah Khomeini, bitcoin, blockchain, Boris Johnson, citizen journalism, cognitive dissonance, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, feminist movement, game design, glass ceiling, Google Earth, job satisfaction, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, Network effects, off grid, pattern recognition, pre–internet, QAnon, RAND corporation, ransomware, rising living standards, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, social intelligence, Steve Jobs, Transnistria, WikiLeaks, zero day

‘You behave as if you didn’t know the answers to these obvious questions.’ I look down, a little scared now. ‘I’m new to this … er … scene,’ I mumble. He calms himself, now pausing between every word as if he is explaining simple calculus to a schoolkid: ‘We. All. Know. Who. Don’t you? Kohl and Gorbachev.’ In July 1990, the West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl travelled to Moscow to meet with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and seal off one of the most important deals in the history of the twentieth century: the reunification of Germany. ‘How old are you?’ he asks after staring at me a few seconds. ‘Twenty-three,’ I reply without hesitation. ‘Well, you will see it all then. I’m forty-five and even I will still have to live through this.’ He pulls me closer to his face so that I can smell the scent of beer.


pages: 913 words: 219,078

The Marshall Plan: Dawn of the Cold War by Benn Steil

Albert Einstein, Alistair Cooke, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business cycle, Carmen Reinhart, centre right, currency manipulation / currency intervention, deindustrialization, disintermediation, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Donald Trump, eurozone crisis, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, full employment, imperial preference, invisible hand, Kenneth Rogoff, kremlinology, land reform, Mikhail Gorbachev, Monroe Doctrine, new economy, open economy, Potemkin village, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, structural adjustment programs, the market place, trade liberalization, Transnistria, Winter of Discontent, Works Progress Administration, éminence grise

Changes in the balance of power within Germany have, however, historically had reverberations well beyond it.4 The year 1989 would prove no exception. Europe was caught off guard by the collapse of the Wall and Kohl’s kinetic response to it. Before the month was out, the chancellor would, with no advance clearing abroad, announce a “Ten Point Program” for unification in the Bundestag. French President François Mitterrand, who had made it a priority to keep in lockstep with his German counterpart, was shocked and offended. Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev was furious; he would give Federal Republic foreign minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher a tongue-lashing in Moscow a week later. British prime minister Margaret Thatcher warned Kohl that “reunification [would] open a Pandora’s box of border claims right through Central Europe” and “risk[ed] undermining Gorbachev’s position,” on which the West depended for democratization in the East. Kohl tried to calm fears the same way Marshall and Adenauer had in the early postwar years: by pledging to embed Germany in European superstructures.

Chuev (1993:77). 10 Moorhouse (2014:17); Montefiore (2003:206). 11 Byrnes (1947:278–79). 12 Roberts (2011:3–4). 13 Bidault (1965 [1967]:40). 14 Churchill I (1948:330). 15 Novikov (1989). 16 Pogue IV (1987:175). 17 Bidault (1965 [1967]:144); Cray (1990 [2000]:600). 18 Cray (1990 [2000]:600–602). 19 Gimbel (1968:112). 20 Harrington (2012:27). See also Harbutt (1986) and Trachtenberg (1999:vii–viii, 15–55). 21 Reynolds (2006:270). A committee of demographers appointed by Mikhail Gorbachev in 1990 used census and military records to put the number of deaths from the war at approximately 26.6 million; this was out of a prewar population of 196.7 million (13.5 percent). Source: Ellman and Maksudov (1994). 22 Chuev (1993:60). 23 Plokhy (2010:111, 257). Bohlen minutes, “Second Plenary Meeting, February 5, 1945, 4 PM, Livadia Palace,” in FRUS: Conferences at Malta and Yalta, III: 621; Churchill I (1948:308); “From Ivan Maisky’s Diary,” in Rzheshevskii (2004:498). 24 Zubok (2007:14). 25 See the estimates in Kindleberger (1991:77–80) and Maier (1991:18). 26 Reynolds (2006:45). 27 Murphy, memorandum, “Meeting of the Economic Subcommittee,” July 20, 1945, in FRUS: The Conference of Berlin (The Potsdam Conference), II: 141–42. 28 Isaacson and Thomas (1986 [2012]:291); Harriman to Stettinius, April 4, 1945, in FRUS, 1945, V: 817–20. 29 Harrington (2012:32). 30 Isaacson and Thomas (1986 [2012]:307).


pages: 639 words: 212,079

From Beirut to Jerusalem by Thomas L. Friedman

Ayatollah Khomeini, back-to-the-land, Mahatma Gandhi, Mikhail Gorbachev, post-work, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Thomas L Friedman, Unsafe at Any Speed

As always, it wasn’t great decisions or actions on Arafat’s part that would resurrect him. Instead, it was his role as a symbol, and some unexpected emotional chemistry within the soul of the Palestinian community under Israeli occupation, that would bring him back to political life. The way the Palestinian issue was shunted aside by King Hussein and the other Arab leaders in Amman, the way Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev ignored it a few weeks later at their summit meeting in Washington, the way Israeli leaders were boasting that no one cared about the PLO any longer, were taken as direct insults by many West Bankers and Gazans. After all, Arafat and the PLO were the symbols of their national aspirations, their only symbols on the world stage; if they were being marginalized by the Arabs and the Great Powers, this meant that all Palestinian aspirations were being marginalized—possibly for good.

According to A.D.T.’s tabulations, from December 1987, when the intifada erupted, through February 1988, when it peaked, the story of the Palestinian demonstrations and the Israeli responses occupied a total of 347 minutes of evening news time on the three major American networks combined. That, according to A.D.T., was almost 100 minutes more than the second most popular story during the same time period, the December 1987 Washington superpower summit between Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, which merited only 249 minutes, and it was almost 200 minutes more than the third most popular story, the 1988 New Hampshire presidential primary (139 minutes). Presidential candidate Michael Dukakis’s entire campaign for August, September, and October 1988 totaled only 268 minutes on the three major American networks. No wonder Jerusalem’s mayor, Teddy Kollek, once remarked, “There is a hole in the floor of the nave of the church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Old City of Jerusalem.


pages: 384 words: 89,250

Made to Break: Technology and Obsolescence in America by Giles Slade

Albert Einstein, Alexey Pajitnov wrote Tetris, American ideology, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Buckminster Fuller, business cycle, Cass Sunstein, Charles Lindbergh, creative destruction, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, global village, housing crisis, indoor plumbing, invention of radio, Joseph Schumpeter, Marshall McLuhan, Mikhail Gorbachev, more computing power than Apollo, mutually assured destruction, Ralph Nader, rent control, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, the market place, the medium is the message, Thorstein Veblen, unemployed young men, upwardly mobile, Vladimir Vetrov: Farewell Dossier, white picket fence, women in the workforce

Moreover, the Soviets were deeply in debt to their Western creditors and now also completely vulnerable to attack, since they could no longer trust the early warning systems that had also been created by and stolen from Western companies. This excruciating moment of vulnerability occurred in the summer of 1983, when, according to Weiss’s immediate NSC superior, “the two blocs were closer to hot war than at any time since the 1962 missile crisis.”52 Fortunately, the hardliner Yuri Andropov would eventually be replaced by Mikhail Gorbachev. Within the decade, glasnost and perestroika would follow—partly, at least, because of the intelligence roles played by an American patriot and a Soviet traitor. Very soon after Vetrov’s death, Gorbachev would trade an interest in the development of Siberian energy resources to Western companies. Ironically, by the end of 1991 more than thirty-six oil companies had set up headquarters in Moscow.53 Today, America’s sabotage of energy development in Siberia and the subsequent privatization of these energy resources are once again highly politically charged issues.


pages: 304 words: 87,702

The 100 Best Vacations to Enrich Your Life by Pam Grout

Albert Einstein, Buckminster Fuller, clean water, complexity theory, David Brooks, East Village, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, global village, Golden Gate Park, if you build it, they will come, Maui Hawaii, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, Ralph Nader, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ronald Reagan, supervolcano, transcontinental railway, urban sprawl, Yogi Berra

Unlike your average cruise ship, the Explorer has no casinos, spas, or fancy nightclub entertainment. What the 24,300-ton vessel does offer is an 8,000-volume library, nine classrooms, a computer lab, a student union, a campus bookstore, a swimming pool, a fitness center, a spa, and a health clinic. But the best perks are the interport lecturers. Over the years, students at sea have been treated to talks by Nelson Mandela, Mikhail Gorbachev, Indira Gandhi, Corazon Aquino, Mother Teresa, and Fidel Castro, who one year met with students for eight entire hours. Desmond Tutu, a frequent interport lecturer and big fan of the floating campus for global studies, even signed on to be a guest lecturer for the entire spring semester voyage of 2007. Most of the onboard faculty are visiting professors from colleges across the country. The 70-plus classes each semester (30 in the summer) are diverse, covering subjects from engineering to theater arts.


pages: 356 words: 95,647

Sun in a Bottle: The Strange History of Fusion and the Science of Wishful Thinking by Charles Seife

Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Brownian motion, correlation does not imply causation, Dmitri Mendeleev, Ernest Rutherford, Fellow of the Royal Society, Gary Taubes, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, Mikhail Gorbachev, Norman Macrae, Project Plowshare, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, the scientific method, Yom Kippur War

No single nation could afford to build a tokamak that could achieve breakeven and sustained burn. Perhaps, though, by pooling their resources and joining together in one great effort, fusion scientists around the world could finally build a working fusion reactor. The idea of an international reactor had been around since the budgets started dropping, but it truly came to life in 1985. At a summit in Geneva, Reagan and the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev tried to reduce tensions between the U.S. and the USSR. Gorbachev suggested to Reagan the possibility of a joint effort to build a fusion reactor. Reagan jumped at the chance, as did France and Japan. Together, the four countries would build an enormous tokamak that would finally achieve ignition and sustained burn. For the first time, humans would be able to harness the power of the sun for peaceful purposes.


pages: 299 words: 88,375

Gray Day: My Undercover Mission to Expose America's First Cyber Spy by Eric O'Neill

active measures, autonomous vehicles, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, computer age, cryptocurrency, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Edward Snowden, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fear of failure, full text search, index card, Internet of things, Kickstarter, Mikhail Gorbachev, ransomware, rent control, Robert Hanssen: Double agent, Ronald Reagan, Skype, thinkpad, web application, white picket fence, WikiLeaks, young professional

During the 1984 Summer Olympics in Moscow, KGB spies in Washington, DC, sent fake letters from the KKK threatening athletes from African countries, an active measure many believe was a response to President Jimmy Carter’s boycott of the 1980 Moscow Games. Yet for all its successes abroad, the Soviet Union was suffering from serious internal tensions. In the late 1980s, massive independence protests swept across the Caucasus and the Baltic states, and soon the USSR’s constituent republics began to secede. On August 18, 1991, military and government hardliners staged a coup against Mikhail Gorbachev. The coup collapsed within days, but the match continued to burn. In December 1991, Gorbachev announced the dissolution of the Soviet Union and his resignation as president. Television audiences across the former USSR watched as Boris Yeltsin lowered the hammer-and-sickle flag from atop the Kremlin for the last time and raised the tricolor flag as president of a newly independent Russian state.


pages: 298 words: 89,287

Who Are We—And Should It Matter in the 21st Century? by Gary Younge

affirmative action, Berlin Wall, British Empire, call centre, David Brooks, equal pay for equal work, F. W. de Klerk, failed state, feminist movement, financial independence, glass ceiling, global village, illegal immigration, inflation targeting, invisible hand, liberal capitalism, mass immigration, Mikhail Gorbachev, moral panic, phenotype, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, Skype, Steven Levy, upwardly mobile, Wolfgang Streeck, World Values Survey

By the time my stay drew to a close, I was deeply embittered and completely alienated, so much so that the sight of a foot going through a window and the terror on the face of an unknown man seemed not just appropriate but enjoyable and just. viii. 1991: Leningrad I rose, in a state of deep excitement, to the sound of a rumbling trolley bus and flakes of snow that looked as big as my palm. When I told people that, after Paris, I was going to study in Leningrad, they would purse their lips and inhale deeply. All the news reports claimed that Mikhail Gorbachev’s attempt to democratize and modernize the Soviet Union was causing mayhem; there were food shortages, rationing and chaos. I couldn’t wait. While I had never been particularly interested in the politics of the Soviet Union, I had always been fascinated by the place, and now I felt I was in a race between me and events. I wanted to get there before the whole thing collapsed in a heap. I just made it.


pages: 327 words: 90,542

The Age of Stagnation: Why Perpetual Growth Is Unattainable and the Global Economy Is in Peril by Satyajit Das

"Robert Solow", 9 dash line, accounting loophole / creative accounting, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Anton Chekhov, Asian financial crisis, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, business cycle, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, collaborative economy, colonial exploitation, computer age, creative destruction, cryptocurrency, currency manipulation / currency intervention, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, declining real wages, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, Downton Abbey, Emanuel Derman, energy security, energy transition, eurozone crisis, financial innovation, financial repression, forward guidance, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, gig economy, Gini coefficient, global reserve currency, global supply chain, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, happiness index / gross national happiness, Honoré de Balzac, hydraulic fracturing, Hyman Minsky, illegal immigration, income inequality, income per capita, indoor plumbing, informal economy, Innovator's Dilemma, intangible asset, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Jane Jacobs, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, light touch regulation, liquidity trap, Long Term Capital Management, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, margin call, market design, Marshall McLuhan, Martin Wolf, Mikhail Gorbachev, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, old age dependency ratio, open economy, passive income, peak oil, peer-to-peer lending, pension reform, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, Potemkin village, precariat, price stability, profit maximization, pushing on a string, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, Rana Plaza, rent control, rent-seeking, reserve currency, ride hailing / ride sharing, rising living standards, risk/return, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Satyajit Das, savings glut, secular stagnation, seigniorage, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Slavoj Žižek, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, TaskRabbit, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, the market place, the payments system, The Spirit Level, Thorstein Veblen, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, total factor productivity, trade route, transaction costs, uber lyft, unpaid internship, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, Washington Consensus, We are the 99%, WikiLeaks, Y2K, Yom Kippur War, zero-coupon bond, zero-sum game

They looked to emerging nations for new opportunities, liberalizing trade and capital movement. The re-emergence of Russia, India, and especially China, three of the BRICS countries, was central to the rise of developing markets. The Soviet Union, “Upper Volta with rockets,” collapsed under the weight of the unsustainable cost of the Cold War and a corrupt, inefficient central planning system.6 President Mikhail Gorbachev's policies of glasnost (openness), perestroika (restructuring), demokratizatsiya (democratization), and uskoreniye (acceleration of economic development) failed. Praised by foreigners but unpopular at home, Gorbachev later confessed to having hugely underestimated the depth of the problems. Slowly and painfully, Russia emerged from the detritus, adopting a more market-based economy and elements of democratic government.


pages: 323 words: 94,406

To the Edge of the World: The Story of the Trans-Siberian Express, the World's Greatest Railroad by Christian Wolmar

anti-communist, Cape to Cairo, Kickstarter, land reform, mass immigration, Mikhail Gorbachev, railway mania, refrigerator car, stakhanovite, trade route, transcontinental railway, urban planning

Apart from the fact that just one of the major tunnels was ready for use, only a third of the 2,000 miles of track was fully operational and the condition of much of the line was lamentable, with insufficient ballast, rails that were too light and severe speed restrictions. Some other sections could be used by work trains, but the prospect of a through journey on the whole line was several years ahead. Therefore, seven years later, Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet leader, announced once again that the line was complete, and he stressed that it would form a new link with Japan. The Severomuysky Tunnel, however, was nowhere near finished and there were still other sections that could only accommodate work trains. As a result, it was only under the first presidential term of Vladimir Putin that the line was completed, and a third announcement was made in 2001, although the Severomuysky Tunnel still did not open until two years later.


pages: 295 words: 89,430

Small Data: The Tiny Clues That Uncover Huge Trends by Martin Lindstrom

autonomous vehicles, Berlin Wall, big-box store, correlation does not imply causation, Edward Snowden, Fall of the Berlin Wall, land reform, Mikhail Gorbachev, Murano, Venice glass, Richard Florida, rolodex, self-driving car, Skype, Snapchat, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, too big to fail, urban sprawl

A 2014 study in the Lancet tracked 151,000 adults across three Russian cities for over a decade and concluded that up to 25 percent of all Russian men die before the age of 55, with liver disease and alcohol poisoning the main causes of death. Drinking and alcohol-related morbidity are linked to political volatility, too. In 1985, then-General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, cut back on nationwide vodka production and passed a law prohibiting stores from selling liquor before noon. Consumption and overall death rates both dropped. When communism fell, vodka became available again, and rates of consumption and alcohol-related deaths rose accordingly. Russian women aren’t teetotalers by any means, but the average life expectancy for Russian men today is around 64, the lowest of any country in the world outside African nations.


Pirates and Emperors, Old and New by Noam Chomsky

American ideology, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, collective bargaining, conceptual framework, cuban missile crisis, drone strike, Fall of the Berlin Wall, land reform, liberation theology, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, union organizing, urban planning

As U.S. global dominance declined from its quite phenomenal postwar peak and the relative independence of members of the UN increased, attitudes towards the UN became more critical, and by now are extremely hostile. We no longer read disquisitions on the curious negativism of the Russians, but rather on the equally curious fact that the world is out of step, as New York Times UN correspondent Richard Bernstein thoughtfully explains.6 Opinion polls in Europe show similar results. A recent classified USIA poll shows that outside of France, European opinion trusts Mikhail Gorbachev on arms control far more than Reagan, by four to one in England and seven to one in Germany.7 The international isolation is of little concern to the Reagan Administration. They have shown a shrewd understanding of the efficacy of violence and intimidation. Like some of their predecessors and models elsewhere in the world, they are well aware that cheap victories over weak and defenseless enemies can be manipulated to arouse jingoist sentiments and popular enthusiasm at home, if the population can be properly terrified by grave threats to its existence; among earlier examples that come to mind are Hitler’s warnings of the encirclement of Germany by hostile states bent on its destruction, the Czech “dagger pointed at the heart of Germany,” the aggressiveness and terror of the Czechs and Poles, and above all, the threat of the international Jewish conspiracy.


pages: 284 words: 95,029

How to Fail: Everything I’ve Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day

Airbnb, Desert Island Discs, disintermediation, fear of failure, financial independence, gender pay gap, Mikhail Gorbachev, pre–internet, Rosa Parks, stem cell, unpaid internship

Except my sister and the boys were all seventeen and would be staying for only two weeks with their host families before returning home. I was thirteen and it was agreed that I would stay for a whole month. I seemed mature enough to cope. And I, always wanting to make my parents proud, readily agreed that I was. In Russia, a retired teacher agreed to put me up in return for financial compensation. We went in April 1992. Eight months earlier, a failed coup had triggered the end of Communist rule in the Soviet Union. Mikhail Gorbachev had resigned as president in December. By the time I arrived on a wobbly Aeroflot flight, Boris Yeltsin was the most powerful man in the country. I knew about Yeltsin from the television footage of him delivering a rousing speech while standing on top of a tank. It wasn’t the most stable political atmosphere in which to launch an unsuspecting adolescent with a suitcase almost as big as she was, and I had no idea what to expect.


pages: 302 words: 95,965

How to Be the Startup Hero: A Guide and Textbook for Entrepreneurs and Aspiring Entrepreneurs by Tim Draper

3D printing, Airbnb, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, blockchain, Buckminster Fuller, business climate, carried interest, connected car, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Deng Xiaoping, discounted cash flows, disintermediation, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, family office, fiat currency, frictionless, frictionless market, high net worth, hiring and firing, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, low earth orbit, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Metcalfe's law, Metcalfe’s law, Mikhail Gorbachev, Minecraft, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, Nelson Mandela, Network effects, peer-to-peer, Peter Thiel, pez dispenser, Ralph Waldo Emerson, risk tolerance, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, Sand Hill Road, school choice, school vouchers, self-driving car, sharing economy, short selling, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart contracts, Snapchat, sovereign wealth fund, stealth mode startup, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Tesla Model S, Uber for X, uber lyft, universal basic income, women in the workforce, Y Combinator, zero-sum game

Freedom Limerick honoring George Washington There once was a king of Americas Who said, "Make it work for all here with us." "We'll keep it on loan." Abdicating his throne Every four years, new king cares for us. I will do everything in my power to drive, build and pursue progress and change. It would be naive to think that the problems plaguing mankind today can be solved with means and methods which were applied or seemed to work in the past. Mikhail Gorbachev You must be the change you wish to see in the world. Mahatma Gandhi I was taught that the way of progress was neither swift nor easy. Marie Curie How wonderful that we have met with a paradox. Now we have some hope of making progress. Niels Bohr Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything. George Bernard Shaw If you want to succeed you should strike out on new paths, rather than travel the worn paths of accepted success.


pages: 339 words: 95,270

Trade Wars Are Class Wars: How Rising Inequality Distorts the Global Economy and Threatens International Peace by Matthew C. Klein

Albert Einstein, Asian financial crisis, asset allocation, asset-backed security, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business climate, business cycle, capital controls, centre right, collective bargaining, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deglobalization, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, Fall of the Berlin Wall, falling living standards, financial innovation, financial repression, fixed income, full employment, George Akerlof, global supply chain, global value chain, illegal immigration, income inequality, intangible asset, invention of the telegraph, joint-stock company, land reform, Long Term Capital Management, Malcom McLean invented shipping containers, manufacturing employment, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, Mikhail Gorbachev, money market fund, mortgage debt, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, oil shock, open economy, paradox of thrift, passive income, reserve currency, rising living standards, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, Scramble for Africa, sovereign wealth fund, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tim Cook: Apple, trade liberalization, Wolfgang Streeck

That made it increasingly difficult for the Soviets to sustain their military posture in the West, pay the ongoing costs of the war in Afghanistan, and service the foreign debts incurred in the 1970s. Any additional spending would have required a brutal squeeze of the home front. Crushing living standards to support the military was possible—Stalin had done it, after all—but it would have required domestic repression on a scale that Mikhail Gorbachev, who had ascended to the top of the party’s leadership in 1985, was uninterested in, and probably incapable of, imposing. Instead, Gorbachev’s priorities were softening the authoritarianism of his regime and repairing relations with the West. This gave the Central and Eastern Europeans their window of opportunity.3 Germany Restored When the Berlin Wall fell in November 1989, it was not immediately obvious that the two Germanys would reunite as quickly as they did.


pages: 372 words: 94,153

More From Less: The Surprising Story of How We Learned to Prosper Using Fewer Resources – and What Happens Next by Andrew McAfee

back-to-the-land, Bartolomé de las Casas, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, Branko Milanovic, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, call centre, carbon footprint, clean water, cleantech, cloud computing, Corn Laws, creative destruction, crony capitalism, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, decarbonisation, dematerialisation, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, energy transition, Erik Brynjolfsson, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Haber-Bosch Process, Hans Rosling, humanitarian revolution, hydraulic fracturing, income inequality, indoor plumbing, intangible asset, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Snow's cholera map, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Khan Academy, Landlord’s Game, Louis Pasteur, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, market fundamentalism, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, oil shale / tar sands, Paul Samuelson, peak oil, precision agriculture, profit maximization, profit motive, risk tolerance, road to serfdom, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Scramble for Africa, Second Machine Age, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, telepresence, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Davenport, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, total factor productivity, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, Veblen good, War on Poverty, Whole Earth Catalog, World Values Survey

The first reforms allowed farmers to own and sell their own crops, opened up the country to foreign investment, and let entrepreneurs start businesses. With these changes, the People’s Republic of China, a country of more than 950 million people in 1978, took its first steps toward joining the capitalist economic order. In a 1985 interview with Time magazine Deng made the remarkable statement, “There are no fundamental contradictions between socialism and a market economy.” Mikhail Gorbachev began openly discussing economic openness and restructuring at about the same time as Deng. In 1985 Gorbachev, then the general secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, gave a notably frank speech in Leningrad acknowledging that the country’s growth was slowing and that too many people remained too poor. His solution, like Deng’s, was to push for less central planning and more international trade and market-based enterprise.


pages: 288 words: 90,349

The Challenge for Africa by Wangari Maathai

Berlin Wall, Bob Geldof, carbon footprint, carbon-based life, clean water, colonial rule, corporate social responsibility, deliberate practice, F. W. de Klerk, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Live Aid, Mahatma Gandhi, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, Scramble for Africa, sovereign wealth fund, structural adjustment programs, sustainable-tourism, trade liberalization, transatlantic slave trade, urban planning, War on Poverty, Washington Consensus

In Africa, as elsewhere, democratic space can be created and sustained only when a critical mass of people is aware of the situation and willing to speak out, protest, monitor government actions, and risk harassment, arrest, or even death. That courage, however, also requires a leader (or his backers) who will acknowledge the rights of the people to self-determination and prosperity, and as a result demonstrate leadership that avoids bloodshed or further violence. So although the people of eastern Europe brought down the Berlin Wall, they needed Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev not to send in the tanks. While Nelson Mandela's principled stance led to sanctions against South Africa that brought unbearable pressure upon the apartheid regime, F. W. de Klerk had to concede that the era of apartheid had to come to an end. One of the reasons why success in securing democratic space continues to elude the populace in many African countries is that politicians tend to change with the tide.


pages: 386 words: 92,778

"Live From Cape Canaveral": Covering the Space Race, From Sputnik to Today by Jay Barbree

Charles Lindbergh, dark matter, gravity well, invisible hand, Mikhail Gorbachev, Ronald Reagan, Stephen Hawking, white flight

The beginning of the development of SDI was surely the beginning of the end for the Soviet system. Given the intransigence of Ronald Reagan and his willingness to pursue missile defense—even in spite of objections from allies—SDI, or The Strategic Defense Initiative, finally caused the Soviet rulers to throw up their hands and surrender.” Referring to the money spent on weapons during the four-decade standoff, Soviet chairman Mikhail Gorbachev said, “We all lost the Cold War.” But the United States was still standing when the Soviet Union collapsed on President George H. Bush’s watch, and the weapons of the West had performed well. None had been fired. No one had been killed by nuclear strike. From America’s point of view, given the outcome, the price of the Cold War was priceless—monies well spent for a war we never fought. As a father of four and a grandfather of six, it gave me a warm, fuzzy feeling to see the size of our nuclear arsenal reduced to a logical level of threat.


America in the World by Robert B. Zoellick

Albert Einstein, anti-communist, banking crisis, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, British Empire, Corn Laws, coronavirus, cuban missile crisis, defense in depth, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, energy security, European colonialism, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, hypertext link, illegal immigration, immigration reform, imperial preference, Isaac Newton, Joseph Schumpeter, land reform, Mikhail Gorbachev, MITM: man-in-the-middle, Monroe Doctrine, mutually assured destruction, Norbert Wiener, Paul Samuelson, RAND corporation, reserve currency, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, Scramble for Africa, Silicon Valley, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade liberalization, transcontinental railway, undersea cable, Vannevar Bush, War on Poverty

Ironically, this difference of strategic perspectives arose again as the Cold War came to a close in 1989–90. As chapter 17 will relate, President George H. W. Bush lined up strongly with Chancellor Helmut Kohl to achieve democratic Germany’s peaceful unification within NATO and the then European Community. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher of Britain hesitated, in part because she did not want to cause trouble for President Mikhail Gorbachev and feared the power of a united Germany. At first, President Francois Mitterrand of France also disliked the prospect of unification. After Germany’s unification, President Bill Clinton’s adviser on Russia, Strobe Talbott, criticized Bush and Secretary Baker for being “primarily concerned with shoring up their fellow conservative Helmut Kohl and thus staying on the good side of a vital ally”; Talbott argued the “disruptive consequences of quick unification” weakened Gorbachev.68 At that time, Talbott ranked helping Gorbachev above keeping alliance commitments and securing a democratic Germany as a partner within the transatlantic security system.

While negotiators often hold their bargaining strategies close, Reagan expressed his plan baldly—to persuade both opponents and supporters that he was serious.42 The president found nuclear weapons particularly abhorrent. He was troubled by a Pentagon briefing in 1983 on SIOP, the Single Integrated Operational Plan for all-out nuclear war. He found the deterrence logic of “mutually assured destruction” (MAD) to be deeply disturbing, and he struggled to escape its grasp. As Reagan said repeatedly, including at his first meeting with Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev in Geneva in 1985, “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.” The administration’s early proposal to eliminate all U.S. and Soviet intermediate-range missiles, as part of the dual-track deployment and negotiation, suited Reagan’s logic. Some later analysts believe that proposal was the seed of Reagan’s subsequent move to abolish nuclear arms. Holding to the zero-for-zero principle, the president rejected an early informal effort that would drastically reduce, but not eliminate, intermediate-range missiles.43 Reagan’s fourth fundamental policy was the promotion of freedom and democracy and delegitimizing Soviet Communism as a system, the ideas at the heart of the Westminster speech.


pages: 281 words: 95,852

The Googlization of Everything: by Siva Vaidhyanathan

1960s counterculture, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, AltaVista, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, borderless world, Burning Man, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, cloud computing, computer age, corporate social responsibility, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, data acquisition, death of newspapers, don't be evil, Firefox, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full text search, global pandemic, global village, Google Earth, Howard Rheingold, informal economy, information retrieval, John Markoff, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, libertarian paternalism, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, moral panic, Naomi Klein, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, PageRank, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, pirate software, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, single-payer health, Skype, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, social web, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, The Nature of the Firm, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, Thorstein Veblen, urban decay, web application, zero-sum game

In East Germany, the decision to alter a solidly analog technology—the Berlin Wall—and allow Berliners to travel back and forth had by late 1989 created a political tide the Communist Party could not withstand. All of this change in the satellite nations was reinforced by the progressive weakening of the Soviet state, caused in part by its futile war in Afghanistan. In addition, change was rapid within Soviet society itself. The Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev invited the growth of a nascent public sphere, Judt writes, by engaging in glasnost, or a policy of openness, thus allowing dissent to be expressed through clubs, meetings, and publications. Glasnost even liberalized what appeared on Soviet television—a far THE GOOGL IZAT I ON OF T HE WORL D 123 more powerful and universal medium than the fax machine. Gorbachev himself decided to break the Communist Party’s monopoly on news and information.


pages: 469 words: 97,582

QI: The Second Book of General Ignorance by Lloyd, John, Mitchinson, John

Ada Lovelace, Boris Johnson, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Charles Lindbergh, clean water, double helix, Etonian, George Santayana, ghettoisation, Isaac Newton, Lao Tzu, Louis Pasteur, Mikhail Gorbachev, Murano, Venice glass, out of africa, the built environment, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, traveling salesman, US Airways Flight 1549

During the Soviet purges of the 1930s, it had been his idea to use lists to sentence people to death, greatly speeding up the process. In 1937–8, he personally signed 372 orders for mass executions – more than Stalin himself – leading to the murder of more than 43,000 people. Vegetarian, teetotal and a studious collector of first editions (many were dedicated to him by authors he later sent to the Gulag), Molotov was the last surviving Bolshevik. He died, an unrepentant Stalinist, in 1986, just after Mikhail Gorbachev announced the perestroika (restructuring) reforms that would lead, five years later, to the dissolution of the USSR. Why was the speed camera invented? It was designed to speed cars up, not slow them down. A Dutch engineer called Maurice Gatsonides (1911–98) devised the first speed camera. Far from being a road-safety campaigner, Gatsonides was Europe’s first professional rally driver.


pages: 367 words: 99,765

Maphead: Charting the Wide, Weird World of Geography Wonks by Ken Jennings

Asperger Syndrome, augmented reality, Bartolomé de las Casas, Berlin Wall, Boris Johnson, British Empire, clean water, David Brooks, digital map, don't be evil, dumpster diving, Eratosthenes, game design, Google Earth, helicopter parent, hive mind, index card, John Harrison: Longitude, John Snow's cholera map, Mercator projection, Mercator projection distort size, especially Greenland and Africa, Mikhail Gorbachev, New Journalism, openstreetmap, place-making, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, Skype, Stewart Brand, Tacoma Narrows Bridge, traveling salesman, urban planning

Uruguay ceased to represent an actual nation for me; it was just that shape, that slightly lopsided teardrop. I saw these outlines even after the atlas was closed, afterimages floating in my mind’s eye. The knotty pine paneling in my grandparents’ upstairs bedroom was full of loops and whorls that reminded me of faraway fjords and lagoons. A puddle in a parking lot was Lake Okeechobee or the Black Sea. The first time I saw Mikhail Gorbachev on TV, I remember thinking immediately that his famous birthmark looked just like a map of Thailand.* By the time I was ten, my beloved Hammond atlas was just one of a whole collection of atlases on my bedroom bookshelf. My parents called them my “atli,” though even at the time I was pretty sure that wasn’t the right plural. Road atlases, historical atlases, pocket atlases. I wish I could say that I surveyed my maps with the keen eye of a scientist, looking at watersheds and deforestation and population density and saying smart-sounding things like “Aha, that must be a subduction zone.”


pages: 324 words: 96,491

Messing With the Enemy: Surviving in a Social Media World of Hackers, Terrorists, Russians, and Fake News by Clint Watts

4chan, active measures, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Chelsea Manning, Climatic Research Unit, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Donald Trump, drone strike, Edward Snowden, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Filter Bubble, global pandemic, Google Earth, illegal immigration, Internet of things, Julian Assange, loss aversion, Mark Zuckerberg, Mikhail Gorbachev, mobile money, mutually assured destruction, obamacare, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, pre–internet, side project, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, The Wisdom of Crowds, Turing test, University of East Anglia, Valery Gerasimov, WikiLeaks, zero day

He also learned the subtler art of using politics and compromising situations, rather than overt force, to unseat and dethrone adversaries—a skill that proved handy during his rapid ascent to his country’s helm upon returning home to the new Russia. Putin saw the Soviet Union crumble as the West, aligned under the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), outspent and outcompeted Communism on every level. The Soviets couldn’t keep up with the American economy. Mikhail Gorbachev’s move away from central planning and toward economic restructuring, known as perestroika, combined with increased openness for political and social discussion—glasnost—came too late. Rather than adapt and upgrade Communism’s competitiveness vis-à-vis the Western world, these liberalization efforts brought about the country’s unraveling. Openly available information didn’t free the Soviet economy; it crumbled it.


pages: 283 words: 98,673

Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster by Jon Krakauer

Joan Didion, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela

At twenty-four he was selected to become a member of the elite national climbing team, which brought him a financial stipend, great prestige, and other benefits both tangible and intangible. In 1989 he climbed Kanchenjunga, the world’s third highest peak, as part of a Soviet expedition, and upon returning to his home in Almaty, Kazakhstan, was honored as a Soviet Master of Sport by President Mikhail Gorbachev. Due to the upheavals that accompanied the New World Order, this rosy situation was not to last long, however. As Gillman explains, The Soviet Union was breaking up. Two years later Gorbachev quit, and Boukreev—who had recently completed his own ascent of Everest—found his status and privileges vanishing. “There was nothing,” he told [Linda] Wylie [his American girlfriend]. “No money—you were in bread lines.” … Boukreev resolved not to succumb.


pages: 329 words: 102,469

Free World: America, Europe, and the Surprising Future of the West by Timothy Garton Ash

Albert Einstein, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, BRICs, British Empire, call centre, centre right, clean water, Columbine, continuation of politics by other means, cuban missile crisis, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, Doha Development Round, Eratosthenes, European colonialism, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, illegal immigration, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), James Watt: steam engine, Kickstarter, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, Peace of Westphalia, postnationalism / post nation state, Project for a New American Century, purchasing power parity, reserve currency, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Thomas Malthus, trade liberalization, Washington Consensus, working poor, working-age population, World Values Survey

The fall of the Berlin Wall signaled that the Soviet Union had lost this Cold War with the United States. The administration of President George H. W. Bush sealed the victory, using quiet, skillful multilateral diplomacy to help the Germans—America’s new “partners in leadership”—win Gorbachev’s assent to their unification. President Bush (Senior) also summarized Europe’s own larger purpose better than any European in a single phrase: “Europe whole and free.” On Christmas Day 1991, Mikhail Gorbachev gave the West his final gift, sealing the end of the Soviet Union by his resignation.*6 Just a fortnight earlier, the leaders of the European Community had resolved at the Dutch town of Maastricht to make an economic and monetary union. This was designed to ensure, among other things, that the new, united, sovereign Germany would be firmly held within a warm but close European embrace. In anticipation, the Community renamed itself the European Union.


pages: 319 words: 95,854

You Are What You Speak: Grammar Grouches, Language Laws, and the Politics of Identity by Robert Lane Greene

anti-communist, British Empire, centre right, discovery of DNA, European colonialism, facts on the ground, haute couture, illegal immigration, Mahatma Gandhi, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, Parag Khanna, Ronald Reagan, Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, Steven Pinker, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game

There are many words for “sex,” and Irish, like some other languages, just repeats the verb in a question to reply with “yes”); that the Moken people of Thailand have no word for “when”; that the Inuit had to come up with a word for “twilight” because of global warming, and so on. The problem is that the harm of these myths goes beyond the reputations of those who pass them on. In 1985, Ronald Reagan, about to begin a summit with Mikhail Gorbachev, mused about the differences between America and the Soviet Union, saying “I’m no linguist, but I’ve been told that in the Russian language there isn’t even a word for ‘freedom.’ ” There is one, of course: svoboda. Reagan, like Bryson, was dabbling in Whorfianism—in this case, the notion that the Russians had lacked freedom for so long that they did not have a word for it and presumably couldn’t even talk about it.


Rogue States by Noam Chomsky

anti-communist, Asian financial crisis, Berlin Wall, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, business cycle, capital controls, collective bargaining, colonial rule, creative destruction, cuban missile crisis, declining real wages, deskilling, Edward Snowden, experimental subject, Fall of the Berlin Wall, floating exchange rates, land reform, liberation theology, Mikhail Gorbachev, Monroe Doctrine, new economy, oil shock, RAND corporation, Silicon Valley, strikebreaker, structural adjustment programs, Tobin tax, union organizing, Washington Consensus

For those who wish to understand the nature of the Cold War, and a good deal of modern history, there could hardly be a more instructive moment than when the Cold War came to an end. The first question is: What happened to NATO, which was established to protect Europe from the hordes of the slave state, according to doctrine? Answer: with no more Russian hordes, NATO rapidly expanded. After the Berlin Wall fell, Mikhail Gorbachev agreed to allow Germany to be unified and to join NATO, a hostile military alliance and the most powerful in history. An astonishing concession in the light of recent history, when Germany alone had virtually destroyed Russia several times. Gorbachev believed that Washington had promised him that NATO would not expand “one inch to the East,” meaning to East Berlin, let alone East Germany. When NATO at once expanded to East Germany, he complained bitterly, but was informed by the Bush I administration that there was nothing on paper, just spoken words.


pages: 307 words: 96,543

Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope by Nicholas D. Kristof, Sheryl Wudunn

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, basic income, Bernie Sanders, carried interest, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, David Brooks, Donald Trump, dumpster diving, Edward Glaeser, Elon Musk, epigenetics, full employment, Home mortgage interest deduction, housing crisis, impulse control, income inequality, Jeff Bezos, job automation, jobless men, knowledge economy, labor-force participation, low skilled workers, mandatory minimum, Martin Wolf, mass incarceration, Mikhail Gorbachev, offshore financial centre, randomized controlled trial, rent control, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Shai Danziger, single-payer health, Steven Pinker, The Spirit Level, universal basic income, upwardly mobile, Vanguard fund, War on Poverty, working poor

The old joke in the factories was, They pretend to pay us, and we pretend to work. Soviet officials knew of these deep and complicated social and economic problems but chose to ignore drunkenness, drugs and workforce absenteeism, which they believed wouldn’t affect the Kremlin. Their solution was to stop publishing Soviet mortality data. When substance abuse became inescapable, General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev declared a war on drunkenness and closed liquor shops, viewing the problem as a moral one of personal weakness and irresponsibility. In fact, alcoholism and drugs were a symptom of far deeper structural problems, of policy mistakes such as agricultural collectivization, a dysfunctional command economy and the invasion of Afghanistan. These mistakes went back decades and finally became impossible to cover up.


The King of Oil by Daniel Ammann

accounting loophole / creative accounting, anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Boycotts of Israel, business intelligence, buy low sell high, energy security, family office, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, oil shock, peak oil, purchasing power parity, Ronald Reagan, trade liberalization, transaction costs, transfer pricing, Upton Sinclair, Yom Kippur War

“I was careful,” he says, “and while being careful I learned they tried to make certain attempts.” He then tells me a story that sounds as if it could have been taken directly from the pages of a spy novel. In the late summer of 1992, Rich received a visitor from Israel whom he had known for quite some time. He introduced a Russian who was interested in doing business with Rich involving a big oil deal. “It seemed very attractive,” Rich explains. Mikhail Gorbachev had just resigned from office in December 1991, and the Soviet Union was officially dissolved on December 25 of the same year. The Communist “Evil Empire,” as Ronald Reagan once described it, had simply ceased to exist. Boris Yeltsin, the new Russian president, immediately introduced a program of economic reform. He put an end to the Soviet-era price controls, cut state spending, and introduced an open foreign trade regime early in 1992.


pages: 415 words: 103,801

The Last Kings of Shanghai: The Rival Jewish Dynasties That Helped Create Modern China by Jonathan Kaufman

anti-communist, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Charles Lindbergh, colonial rule, Deng Xiaoping, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Honoré de Balzac, indoor plumbing, joint-stock company, life extension, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, Mikhail Gorbachev, old-boy network, plutocrats, Plutocrats, rent control, Steve Jobs, trade route

The clock was ticking on Hong Kong, just as it had once on Shanghai. * * * • • • AS LAWRENCE PLOTTED IN BEIJING and Hong Kong, in London Margaret Thatcher led her Conservatives to victory and was elected prime minister. It was a fortuitous turn of events for Lawrence. He was Thatcher’s kind of businessman—direct, down to earth, an outsider who liked to think big. After meeting Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev, Thatcher famously declared that Gorbachev was someone she could “do business” with. Lawrence was someone she could do business with as well. Thatcher admired the free-market economic policies that drove Hong Kong. She had first visited it two years earlier; it was a model of what she wanted Britain to be—low-regulation, low-tax, secured by the rule of law, and run by honest and efficient British administrators.


pages: 851 words: 247,711

The Atlantic and Its Enemies: A History of the Cold War by Norman Stone

affirmative action, Ayatollah Khomeini, bank run, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bonfire of the Vanities, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business cycle, central bank independence, Deng Xiaoping, desegregation, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, European colonialism, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, Gunnar Myrdal, Henry Ford's grandson gave labor union leader Walter Reuther a tour of the company’s new, automated factory…, illegal immigration, income per capita, interchangeable parts, Jane Jacobs, Joseph Schumpeter, labour mobility, land reform, long peace, mass immigration, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, Mitch Kapor, new economy, Norman Mailer, North Sea oil, oil shock, Paul Samuelson, Ponzi scheme, popular capitalism, price mechanism, price stability, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, special drawing rights, Steve Jobs, strikebreaker, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, trade liberalization, trickle-down economics, V2 rocket, War on Poverty, Washington Consensus, Yom Kippur War, éminence grise

More couples. Elizabeth II and Rupert Murdoch, Wapping, February 1985; General Wojciech Jaruzelski and Pope John Paul II, Warsaw, June 1987 48. and 49. Cold War spin-offs. President Mohammed Najibullah meeting Soviet troops, Kabul, October 1986; Prime Minister Turgut Özal meeting Ronald Reagan, April 1985 50. and 51. The end. The East German leader Egon Krenz about to lose his job, with Mikhail Gorbachev, Moscow, November 1989; Boris Yeltsin earlier in the same year It was of course a racial matter. Crime was associated substantially with non-whites, including the Puerto Ricans. Jonathan Reider, in his well-known study of the white backlash in Canarsie, Brooklyn, said that his interlocutors ‘spoke about crime with more unanimity than they achieved on any other subject, and they spoke often and forcefully . . . one police officer explained that he earned his living by getting mugged.

Tarnovsky. He had contributed to a multivolume series on Russia’s history that was not bad at all. He was packed off to Siberia as a schoolteacher, and the orthodoxy was maintained by one S. P. Trapeznikov, who recycled Lenin on radiant-tomorrow lines. Tarnovsky is said to have died of drink. Curiously enough the Central Asian historians suffered less, and rehabilitated their nations. In 1980 Mikhail Gorbachev was elected to the Politburo, by twenty years its youngest member. There had been signs of a rethink in the system, but at the top level it carried on much as before. The Olympic Games were the last old-fashioned piece of triumphalism and by now Brezhnev was only just capable of doing his job. He died in November 1982 and was succeeded by another piece of old furniture, in this case the KGB’s Andropov, who had once crushed Budapest and in the seventies had had charge of persecuting the dissidents, especially Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.


pages: 850 words: 254,117

Basic Economics by Thomas Sowell

affirmative action, air freight, airline deregulation, American Legislative Exchange Council, bank run, barriers to entry, big-box store, British Empire, business cycle, clean water, collective bargaining, colonial rule, corporate governance, correlation does not imply causation, cross-subsidies, David Brooks, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, declining real wages, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, diversified portfolio, European colonialism, fixed income, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, global village, Gunnar Myrdal, Hernando de Soto, hiring and firing, housing crisis, income inequality, income per capita, index fund, informal economy, inventory management, invisible hand, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, joint-stock company, Just-in-time delivery, Kenneth Arrow, knowledge economy, labor-force participation, land reform, late fees, low cost airline, low cost carrier, low skilled workers, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, minimum wage unemployment, moral hazard, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, payday loans, price discrimination, price stability, profit motive, quantitative easing, Ralph Nader, rent control, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, surplus humans, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Chicago School, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, transcontinental railway, Vanguard fund, War on Poverty

It was much the same story in twentieth century Communist societies, such as the Soviet Union, which organized a far more complex modern economy in much the same way, with the government issuing orders for a hydroelectric dam to be built on the Volga River, for so many tons of steel to be produced in Siberia, so much wheat to be grown in the Ukraine. By contrast, in a market economy coordinated by prices, there is no one at the top to issue orders to control or coordinate activities throughout the economy. How an incredibly complex, high-tech economy can operate without any central direction is baffling to many. The last President of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, is said to have asked British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher: “How do you see to it that people get food?” The answer was that she didn’t. Prices did that. Moreover, the British people were better fed than people in the Soviet Union, even though the British have not produced enough food to feed themselves in more than a century. Prices bring them food from other countries. Without the role of prices, imagine what a monumental bureaucracy it would take to see to it that the city of London alone is supplied with the tons of food, of every variety, which it consumes every day.

Given that any modern economy has millions of products, it is too much to expect the leaders of any country to even know what all those products are, much less know how much of each resource should be allocated to the production of each of those millions of products. Prices play a crucial role in determining how much of each resource gets used where and how the resulting products get transferred to millions of people. Yet this role is seldom understood by the public and it is often disregarded entirely by politicians. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in her memoirs said that Mikhail Gorbachev “had little understanding of economics,”{14} even though he was at that time the leader of the largest nation on earth. Unfortunately, he was not unique in that regard. The same could be said of many other national leaders around the world, in countries large and small, democratic or undemocratic. In countries where prices coordinate economic activities automatically, that lack of knowledge of economics does not matter nearly as much as in countries where political leaders try to direct and coordinate economic activities.


Global Catastrophic Risks by Nick Bostrom, Milan M. Cirkovic

affirmative action, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, anthropic principle, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, availability heuristic, Bill Joy: nanobots, Black Swan, carbon-based life, cognitive bias, complexity theory, computer age, coronavirus, corporate governance, cosmic microwave background, cosmological constant, cosmological principle, cuban missile crisis, dark matter, death of newspapers, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, distributed generation, Doomsday Clock, Drosophila, endogenous growth, Ernest Rutherford, failed state, feminist movement, framing effect, friendly AI, Georg Cantor, global pandemic, global village, Gödel, Escher, Bach, hindsight bias, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of agriculture, Kevin Kelly, Kuiper Belt, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, means of production, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, millennium bug, mutually assured destruction, nuclear winter, P = NP, peak oil, phenotype, planetary scale, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, scientific worldview, Singularitarianism, social intelligence, South China Sea, strong AI, superintelligent machines, supervolcano, technological singularity, technoutopianism, The Coming Technological Singularity, Tunguska event, twin studies, uranium enrichment, Vernor Vinge, War on Poverty, Westphalian system, Y2K

Moreover, one can conceive of a plausible scenario in which terrorist groups might take advantage of a coup, political unrest, a revolution, or a period of anarchy to gain control over one or more nuclear weapons. Nuclear assets could change hands, for example, because of a coup instigated by insurgents allied to or cooperating with terrorists. Although the failed coup attempt against Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev during August 1991 did not involve terrorists, during the crisis Gorbachev reportedly lost control of the Soviet Union's nuclear arsenal to his would-be successors when they cut off his communications links (Ferguson and Potter, 2005, p. 59; Pry, 1 999, p. 60). It is also possible that during a period of intense political turmoil, nuclear custodians might desert their posts or otherwise be swept aside by the tide of events.

Khrushchev was eventually peacefully removed from power by other leading Communists who might be described as 'anti-anti-Stalinists' . While they did not restore mass murder of Soviet citizens or large-scale slave labour, they squelched public discussion of the Party's 'mistakes'. As the Party leadership aged, however, it became increasingly difficult to find a reliable veteran of the Stalin years to take the helm. The 54-year-old Mikhail Gorbachev was finally appointed General Secretary in 1 985. While it is still unclear what his full intentions were, Gorbachev's moderate liberalization measures snowballed. The Soviet satellite states in Eastern Europe collapsed in 1 989, and the Soviet Union itself disintegrated in 1991. The end of totalitarianism in Maoist China happened even more quickly. After Mao's death in 1 976, a brief power struggle led to the ascent of the pragmatist Deng Xiaoping.


pages: 267 words: 106,340