Mikhail Gorbachev (remember him?--he's the guy who turns up in Louis Vutton magazine ads, having done Pizza Hut ads 15 years ago and having rejected lucrative offers to be a Las Vegas casino greeter--true story!) turns up today in the New York Times reflecting on perestroika
25 years later. Now, Gorby deserves his due as an authentic reformer of the late Soviet Union, but the article makes clear why, as I put it in my book, he should be thought of less as Machiavelli than Inspector Clouseau.
So, just to pick one example, Gorby writes, "Out main mistake was acting too late to reform the Communist Party." Um, oh-kay. He never did figure out that it was the one-party system itself that was at the heart of the problem he wished to fix. Also, this howler: "In the heat of political battles we lost sight of the economy. . ." Actually they never really had it in sight; Gorbachev made clear early on that he thought the problems of socialism required. . . more socialism. He rejected outright the idea of instituting property rights and opening up private enterprise.
He'd be the perfect adviser for the Democrats on health care reform right now.