Saturday, November 8, 2008

Gorbachev says Obama needs his own "perestroika"

Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the Soviet Union, has said that President-Elect Barack Obama needs his own version of "perestroika" to fix global problems like September's financial crisis and to restore America's role as a world leader.

Perestroika (restructuring) was Gorbachev's attempt to completely overhaul the bloated and inefficient government of the Soviet Union in the 1980's and led to a thawing in relations with the United States. Now Gorbachev argues in the Friday edition of Italy's La Stampa newspaper that the same kind of drastic overhaul is needed in the United States after eight years of President Bush.

Gorbachev said that by the end of his term in office he hoped that America would engage in a series of reforms like he was trying to bring to the Soviet Union, and that the United States would create "a new model of a society, where politics, economics and morals went hand in hand." Instead, to his disappointment, Gorbachev said that the US was more interested in celebrating its victory in the Cold War. He accused American politicians, particularly the Republicans, of still being locked into a Cold War mindset.

But in the wake of the global financial crisis there is a lot of talk about the need to reform the global economic system. In his interview Gorbachev argues that the current system is too focused on the United States and Western Europe and needs to give emerging economies like China, Brazil and Russia a larger voice. This viewpoint is becoming more and more common around the world, even the current president of the World Bank Robert Zoellick has argued that the influential economic body the Group of Seven (G7) be expanded to include Russia, China, India, South Africa and Saudi Arabia.

It's clear that the world has high hopes for President Obama and that he will redefine America's place in the global community. Gorbachev said "this is a man of our times, he is capable of restarting dialogue, all the more since the circumstances will allow him to get out of a dead-end situation."
Sphere: Related Content

No comments: