Common Interest or Class Politics?

Justin Schwartz

GORBACHEV’s “new political thinking” in foreign policy invites an encouraging but ambivalent response.(1) Soviet disavowal of war as an instrument of policy is a hopeful sign; and renunciation of the “Brezhnev doctrine” in Eastern Europe is exhilarating.

Even more heartening is Gorbachev’s backing the big talk with unilateral action, like the withdrawal from Afghanistan and the concessions leading to the INF missile treaty. Most extraordinary is the new tolerance for democratization and popular action in Eastern Europe.

But socialists may find disturbing Soviet disengagement from popular revolutions and third world revolutionary states such as the African National Congress, Nicaragua, or Cuba.

Simple judgments, positive or negative, will not fit flush with the complex reality. Still, we can ask whether, on balance, the new thinking abandons the Soviet’s professed socialist values.(2) Soviet behavior affects the prospects for socialism, and the question is relevant to whether the USSR is in any sense a socialist country.(3)

A properly nuanced answer will be that the new thinking is no more an abandonment than earlier policy and ideology, but in different ways. No more than the old is the new thinking revolutionary internationalism. Both are rooted in the Stalinist line of “socialism in one country.”

The real issue is whether the new thinking is belier fir revolutionary internationalism than the old, and here I argue that, with qualifications, it is.

New Thinking & Gorbachev’s Reform

The new political thinking (novoye politicheskoe myshlenyie) is part of an interrelated troika of reform programs. The other components are glasnost, or democratization of Soviet political society, and perestroika, or market-oriented restructuring of the neo-Stalinist planned economy. As Gorbachev and the “Perestroikans” often say, a central factor in the reforms is the stall-out of the economy since the late 1970.(4)

Perestroika is the basic reform, and the most difficult Glasnost is an attempt to enlist the Soviet people in the cause of perestroika by trading party power for popular support against the entrenched bureaucracy.

New thinking in foreign policy is an attempt to buy time for perestroika by reducing arms spending which drains vital resources. Should this fail to free up cash for investment, perestroika will be in (even worse) trouble.

Gorbachev is forced into these reforms because of the crisis of the economy—although other, less attractive, reform programs are available. But he does believe in what he has to do. His revulsion for Stalinism and abhorrence of nuclear war appear sincere. The economic crisis has provided the opportunity for the ideas of the new thinking to become politically effective.

Common Interests and Values?

The underlying principle of the new thinking has been “common human values and interests”–as opposed to the Leninist, and the traditional Soviet, emphasis on class values and interests. It is this which has raised the most eyebrows on the Western left.

Gorbachev told the U.N. General Assembly in December 1988 that “world politics should be guided by the primacy of universal human values.”(5) The idea is sometimes phrased in terms of “common human interests,” or even, common human and class interests.(6)

Gorbachev’s idea is not just that individuals from different classes can have common interests and values, but that opposing classes can share interests and values. For a self-avowed Marxist this is startling, even if Gorbachev denies that the Soviets will “overlook the influence of class antagonism in international affairs.”(7) The Perestroikans know that interests and values are not the sane: in discussing arms control, Georgi Arbatov, the USSR’s leading Americanologist, observes that “It is not enough to have common interests, one’s conduct has to be adjusted to it.”(8)

Gorbachev cites Lenin’s authority for his policies. But in an implicit rejection of Lenin’s view that international relations is dominated by a dash of class interests in which imperialist nations are wholly retrograde, Gorbachev asserted at the 27th Party Congress in 1986 that every state has its own “completely legitimate interests. Gorbachev’s idea of “common security” suggests that in the military sphere these interests may be convergent as well as legitimate.(9)

Moreover, Gorbachev has departed from Khrushchev’s idea that peaceful coexistence is a “specific form of class struggle.” In 1986, this doctrine was deleted from the CPSU party proraim.(10) “It is no longer possible to examine world development only from the perspective of a struggle between two opposing social systems,” Gorbachev said on the 70th anniversary of the Revolution; “We are in the same boat.”(11)

Gorbachev’s attempt to wrap these doctrines in the mantle of Lenin’s authority is unpersuasive.(12) His main source is a 1899 “Draft Program” (not published until 1924), where Lenin writes that the overthrow of the autocracy is “not only in the interests of the working class, but … of social development as a whole.”

But it is not plausible to read a doctrine of “common interests and values” into this vague reference to social development Lenin’s belief in the antagonistic class character of international relations is thoroughly documented his published work. Surely he would have scorned Gorbachev’s appeal to the U.N. for a “search for universal consensus as we move forward to a new world order.”(13)

It is true that in the Communist Manifesto, Marx and Engels write that the Communists “have no interests separate and apart from the proletariat as a whole’; and Marx, in the 10th thesis on Feuerbach, says that “The standpoint of the new [materialism] is human society, or socialized humanity,” but Marx and Engels also insist that Communists never cease, fora single instant, to instill into the working class the dearest possible consciousness of the hostile antagonism between bourgeoisie and proletariat.”(14) That is probably why the Perestroikans do not cite these statements.

Because of this departure, Gorbachev’s views have faced public opposition from the conservatives like Yegor Ligachev, who advocate what they call “a class vision of the world.”(15) The abandonment of the “class vision” was the main charge leveled against Gorbachev by the schoolteacher Nina Andreyeva, on behalf of conservative elements in the bureaucracy, in her notorious March 1988 letter in Sovetskaya Rossya, before the 19th Party Conference.

James Scanlan more plausibly identifies the roots of Gorbachev’s idea in Stalin’s 1950 doctrine that language transcends class.(16) Doubtless inadvertently, Stalin legitimated academic debate about universal or class-independent institutions, values, and interests which went far beyond the narrow context of linguistics in which the idea was introduced.

Another plausible source for Gorbachev’s common interests’ doctrine is the view of the (former?) dissident physicist Andrei Sakharov. In his 1968 samizdat tract, “Progress, Coexistence, and Intellectual Freedom,” written when he apparently still considered himself a “non-dogmatic Marxist,” Sakharov rings the changes which have become familiar from the Perestroikans. He does not use the expressions “common interest” or “universal values,” but the rhetoric is otherwise identical.

Sakharov may provide the link between the intellectual consequences of Stalin’s linguistic views and Gorbachev’s universalist perspective.

Sakharov writes, “the division of mankind threatens it with destruction,” listing nuclear war, now hunger, and ecological disaster among threats to civilization. (Appeal to “civilization” is a common move in Perestroikan rhetoric.) “In the face of these perils … any preaching of the incompatibility of world ideologies and nations, is madness.”

He insists that “the international policies of the… superpowers … must be based on the universal acceptance of the ‘Declaration of the Rights of Man.’” He talks of the need for a “rapprochement with the capitalist world,” in which “our allies … are not only the working class and the progressive intelligentsia but also the reformist part of the bourgeoisie, which supports such a program of “convergence’.”(17) These passages could come from any speech of Gorbachev’s.

No Paper Tiger

More important than whom Gorbachev follows is whether he is correct He offers three arguments. The first is “the emergence of weapons of mass … destruction,” which set “an objective limit for class confrontation. For the first time, there emerged a real, not a speculative and remote, common human interest—to save humanity from disaster.”(18)

This is plausible as far as it goes. Mao was wrong. The atom bomb is not a paper tiger. Khrushchev was right. It does not observe “the class principle.”

Now Gorbachev’s phrasing is careful. He does not say that Marx and Lenin were wrong; that socialism and capitalism have never had antagonistic interests. Nor does he say that previous antagonisms have been overcome. On the contrary, it is with the “nuclear revolution in military affairs” that an overriding common interest emerges for the first time.

But contrary to Gorbachev, this common interest is also circumscribed. Even if we add avoidance of ecological catastrophe,(19) any such interests are compatible with peaceful coexistence being a form of class struggle.

If one accepts the Marxist view that class struggle drives history, the development of objective limits on how it can be waged in no way implies that the struggle will not be pursued at all. At least as far as the logic goes, Ligachev is correct. (This does not mean that Ligachev’s reform package is preferable to Gorbachev’s.)

The MIC and Roots of Militarism

Gorbachev seems to realize the weakness of this argument, and adds two further arguments. He distinguishes, second, the “interests and aims of the military-industrial complex” not only from those of the American people (a truism for a Marxist), but, more interestingly, from “the actual national interests of that great country.”(20)

Thus Gorbachev not only embraces the standard Soviet theory that the arms race is driven by the U.S. military-industrial complex (MIC), but also that the MIC is a special interest, opposed to the U.S. state interests. He rejects Lenin’s view, in Imperialism (1916), that militarism is the interest of capitalism at the “highest” stage of development.

The MIC explanation identifies a cause of the American arms buildup. But it ignores the centrality of the state, particularly the civilian national security apparat. U.S. military policy is also pushed by the strategic drive for a capacity for “escalation dominance.” Eugene Rostow, Reagan’s chief of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, explains that with military superiority at every level on an “escalation ladder, “In a crisis we could go ahead In planning the use of our conventional forces with great freedom precisely because we knew the Soviet Union could not escalate beyond a local level.”(21)

That militarism is in the interest only of the MIC, not of the U.S. government as a whole, is even more doubtful. The government has an interest in avoiding nuclear war, but so do the military industries. It does not follow that nuclear escalation and foreign intervention are not in the interest of the U.S. government.

U.S. limited war strategy has been designed quite consciously to allow the United States to pursue political goals by military means while reducing the risk of global war. Gorbachev’s assessment of the “actual U.S. national interest” (as opposed to that of the American people) is probably mistaken.

Interdependence vs. Imperialism

Gorbachev’s third argument for the priority of common interests turns on the thesis of interdependence popular with some Western analysts as an alternative to the balance-of-power picture hitherto standard in international relations theory.(22) But interdependence theory is also an alternative to Lenin’s theory of imperialism. “The world’s economy is becoming a single organism,” Gorbachev told the U.N., “and no state, whatever its social system, can develop normally outside of it.”(23)

What this means for the Perestroikans may be understood by considering their revisions of the theory of imperialism.

Interdependence theorists hold that the interests of capitalist and postcapital1st nations in maintaining trade relations and international regimes like the Law of Sea can override competing national (and other) interests. They use this to explain the “long peace” in the advanced capitalist west since World War II.

But Lenin explicitly rejected Karl Kautsky’s early interdependence thesis (“ultra-imperialism”), holding instead that irreconcilable antagonism among imperialist powers results in the perpetual re-division of the world according to their shifting relative strength.(24) Lenin introduced this theory to explain World War I; it also does well for World War ll,(2)5 and for the neocolonial wars since then.

Since in 1916 Lenin anticipated world revolution, he did not then consider a world with both capitalist and post-capitalist societies. But when the “permanent revolution” was crushed in Western Europe in 1918-23, he foresaw continued antagonism between the two, while calling for peaceful coexistence to gain the new Soviet state a breathing space.(26)

Something like this was the old Soviet view of imperialism.(27) That view, too, underwent modification. Stalin abandoned world revolution for “socialism in one country” yet maintained the fatalistic inevitability of war because he thought that the class struggle intensifies in the stage of building socialism. With the advent of nuclear weapons, Khrushchev resurrected Lenin’s doctrine of “peaceful coexistence” as a form of class struggle.

Gorbachev takes a different tack. On the 70th Anniversary of the Revolution, he argued, first, that the contradictions in world capitalism that formerly caused world wars have been ameliorated by Keynesianism, and that capitalism has been forced to modify its aggressiveness in the face of a competing world system.

Imperialism is still forced into a neocolonialist policy of a “new, ‘peaceful’ re-division of the world,” he thinks, and this is not part of the legitimate interests of capitalist countries. Although an “explosion” in the third world is inevitable, he claims, it will lead, not to world war, but to economic collapse—or, startlingly, “to a joint search for a new economic order under which the interests of everyone will be considered equally.”

The threat of economic collapse or military or ecological disaster, he feels, may function as the Nazi threat did in the 1940s to enforce cooperation and create common interests worldwide.(28)

In a daring inversion of Leninism, Gorbachev identifies the socialist perspective with “the law-governed patterns of an integral world in which values common to all mankind are the main priorities,” and hopes that these will be able to “limit the range of destructive action of the egocentric, narrowly class-based patterns of the capitalist system.”(29) It is socialism which is in the universal interest and capitalism which is narrowly class-oriented.

Marxists have always thought that socialism was in the universal interest—but not that the socialist perspective transcended class.

The diplomatic reasons why Gorbachev should maintain these views are obvious. If he wants to reduce world tensions, it would be inappropriate to hold to Leninist class intransigence.

George Bush has responded to Gorbachev’s initiatives with praise—and by getting funding for the Stealth Bomber, both the mobile MX and Midgetman ICBMs, and a large Star Wars research budget. As Arbatov has observed in the context of better U.S.-Soviet relations, “It takes two to tango.”(30)

But the common dangers are extreme, as even Ronald Reagan came to recognize. Moreover, intercapitalist competition is not yet militarized, and popular pressure in the West for action on ecology and an end to the Cold War has produced some results: the NF Treaty is the main example.(31)

In the long run, it will be hard to maintain militaristic policies without a Cold War enemy, and the USSR is decreasingly plausible in this role. So Gorbachev’s gamble on common interests may pay off. Socialists should not rule out the possibility.

New Political Thinking in Practice

I now briefly review the practical implications of the new thinking for three areas of the world: the NATO countries, the Third World, and the Eastern bloc. Gorbachev’s watchword with regard to the NATO countries has been “common security.”

“There can be no security for the USSR without security for the United States,” Gorbachev says.(32) “The character of present day weaponry leaves no country with any hope of defending itself solely by military and technical means, Gorbachev told the 27th Party Congress. “Ensur[ing] security is increasingly a political problem and can only be resolved by political means.”(33)

This contradicts the traditional Clausewitzian-Leninist view that war is politics continued by other means, a doctrine Gorbachev calls hopelessly out of date.(34)

The unilateral Soviet halt on nuclear testing from August 1985 to February 1987 is an example, as is the Soviet acceptance of the U.S. INF proposal. Gorbachev appears to have bucked the military in the belief that no military rationale could outweigh the political gain from arms control. In the same spirit, the Soviets withdrew unconditionally from Afghanistan by February 1989. The old excuses about the military importance of a pro-Soviet regime on the border no longer seemed to matter as much as the political damage the invasion did the Soviet economy and world reputation.

In weapons procurement, the new rule is “sufficiency” as opposed to Brezhnev’s goal of parity. The Soviets no longer feel obliged to match the U.S. in rough numbers and kinds of weapons. They are now willing to settle for less. Thus the INF treaty destroys four Soviet warheads for every U.S. warhead.

In long range missile talks, the Soviets have accepted sharp restrictions on land-based missiles, on which they are far more reliant than the U.S. Likewise Gorbachev has suggested that if the U.S. deploys Star Wars, the USSR will not respond in kind, but will seek ground-based countermeasures.

Less encouraging is the Perestroikan idea that increased economic integration into a stabilized world capitalist system is necessary. The Soviets now allow joint economic ventures in which even the rule that the state must own 51% has been suspended. They have opened, if not used, extensive lines of credit with western banks.

These policies might lead to Soviet dependence on the capitalist west, particularly as regards technology, and to a harmful burden of debt. The renewed militancy of the Soviet working class and the democratic participation of Soviet civil society may counteract these potentially harmful tendencies.

Mixed Politics

In the Third World, the Soviets have shifted from the Khrushchev-Brezhnev line of supporting wars of national liberation and aiding revolutionary states to advocating peaceful solutions to regional conflicts from which the Soviets are increasingly disengaged. Since the 1970s, an important group of Soviet policymakers has held, as foreign policy analyst Andrey Kozyrev puts, it that developing countries “suffer not so much from capitalism as the lack of it.”(35)

The specific policies are rather a mixed bag. The withdrawal from Afghanistan was not exactly an abandonment of world revolution, and the Soviets have continued to arm the Afghan regime since the U.S. would not cut off support for the rebels The more or less successful negotiated solutions to the conflicts in Namibia and Angola are probably a good thing; the Soviets continue to support the ANC in South Africa while urging a “national reconciliation.”

Disengagement from the repulsive regime in Ethiopia (so far not forthcoming) would be wonderful. The abandonment of the Vietnamese bulwark against the Khmer Rouge is not honorable, but was required to reduce the costly burden of the Sino-Soviet conflict.

More disturbing is the repeated offer to cease military support for the Sandinistas if the U.S. cuts off the contras, and actual Soviet reduction in economic support for Cuba and Nicaragua. “There is no data about what it costs the Soviet Union to assist … [third world] countries,” Kozyrev writes. “Estimates published in the West give rise to grave reflections about the return from, and the expediency of, this aid.”

Soviet “sympathy” for national liberation (as Gorbachev has put it) is cold comfort to Nicaraguans struggling with the wreckage of a war-ravaged economy.

But these actions mark no shift in Soviet policy towards foreign revolutions. From Stalin’s undermining of the Spanish revolution in 1936-39, where he crushed the non-Communist left and held out for a bourgeois “democratic republic” and his postwar acquiescence while Britain and the U.S. destroyed the 194449 revolution in Greece, Soviet policy has consistently been guided by national interest under the rubric (infrequently enunciated today) of “socialism in one country.”(36)

More recently, harsh language was all the Soviets offered on behalf of the victims of counterrevolution in Guatemala, Indonesia, Chile, and Grenada in pursuing “a cautious, unadventurous policy,” as Albert Meyer observes, “The USSR has shown itself to behave much like a ‘rational actor’” seeking great power advantage, not like a class agent promoting revolutionary internationalism.

Finally there is Soviet policy towards the Soviet bloc. Historically, this has been marked by heavy-handed domination, punctuated by military intervention, which has promoted a savage antagonism towards the USSR and socialism in these countries.

But at the 19th Party Conference Gorbachev emphasized the importance of “the concept of freedom of choice,” saying that “the imposition of a social system, way of life, or policies from outside by any means, let alone military, are dangerous trappings of a past period.”(37)

In Perestroika Gorbachev insists that “the entire framework of political relations between socialist countries must be based on absolute independence,” and that it is “unquestioned” that each such nation “has the sovereign right to decide the issues facing its country.”(38)

Such statements have been widely read as renouncing the Brezhnev doctrine of “limited sovereignty” used to justify the invasions of Czechoslovakia and Afghanistan.

These policies have been backed with impressive (in)action. In Hungary, the Party has introduced multiparty democracy for the 1990 elections, and is attempting to minimize an expected crushing defeat by dissolving itself into a non-Communist socialist party. Gorbachev has beamed with approval—while insisting on the Party’s leading role in the USSR.

In Poland, Solidarity now formed the Eastern Bloc’s first non-Communist government Soviet nonintervention in this extraordinary, if ambiguous, victory for the workers’ movement speaks more than any doctrinal pronouncements.(39)

The Soviet Union, East Germany, Poland, and (perhaps) Hungary are currently the world laboratories for an incipient socialism suited to advanced industrial conditions. If the new thinking frees up resources for development in these countries, while the Perestroikans continue tolerance towards popular participation, cultural diversity, political pluralism, and even working class militancy, the new thinking may do more for socialism than the establishment of dozens of poor and more or less repressive Third World states self-styled as socialist.

It may seem cold-hearted to balance the possibilities for Eastern Europeans and Soviets against the costs to Nicaraguans, Namibians, and Cambodians.(40) But would we really prefer the Soviet iron hand in Eastern Europe and the suppression of Solidarity and similar movements? Would we prefer continued Cold War and escalation of the arms race?

We might think that the Soviets could have it both ways: liberalization at home, revolutionary internationalism abroad. But for the Soviets to adopt revolutionary internationalism would be a far greater change in Soviet foreign policy than even Gorbachev has introduced. The new thinking, meanwhile, seem to be on balance a plus for socialists.(41)


  1. Like “perestroika,” “new thinking” is an umbrella term for the reform program, as in the subtitle of Gorbachev’s book Perestroika: New Thinking for Our Country and the World. The “new thinking” for the world—the ideology of foreign policy—is designated “new political thinking.”
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  2. See, e.g., Alexander Cockburn, “Beet the Devil,” The Nation, June 4, 18 1988.
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  3. The current official view, retreating from Stalin’s 1936 proclamation that the USSR had “built socialism,” is that the country is a bureaucratically deformed socialist state. The view is nor far from Trotsky’s in The Revolution Betrayed. The USSR, whatever the hopes and intentions of the Bolsheviks, has never been a socialist state in the sense of classical Marxist theory, with democratic control over investment and production, or a worker’s one, with independent political power in the hands of the soviets or workers’ councils.
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  4. See, e.g. Mikhail Gorbachev, Perestroika: New Thinking for Our Country and the World, 2d edn. (New York, Harper and Row, 1988), 4-5; Alexander Yakolev, The Political Philosophy of Perestroika, Perestroika, 1989, e. Abel Aganbegyan (New York: Charles Scribners, 1988), 34-36.
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  5. Gorbachev, “Address to the U.N. General Assembly,” Manchester Guardian, December 18, 1988.
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  6. Gorbachev, Perestroika, 1988, 134.
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  7. Gorbachev, Perestoika, 1988, 134. Gerhard Wettig, in “New Thinking” on Security and East-West Relations” (Problems of Communism, March-April 1988), argues that Gorbachev’s talk of common interests is merely Aesopian language for continued class struggle. I’m not convinced, but Wettig’s seems to me the best case for the opposing view. The most balanced and comprehensive discussion of the subtleties is Stephen Shenfield, The Nuclear Predicament: Explorations in Soviet Ideology (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1987).
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  8. George Arbatove, “Such Different Meetings….” In Aganbeyan, ed. 1988, 233.
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  9. Gorbachev, Political Report of the CPSU Central Committee to the 27th Party Congress (Moscow: Novosti, 1986), 82.
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  10. Gorbachev, Perestroika, 1984,133. This was, as Gorbachev notes, the point of Khrushchev’s famous dictum “We shall bury you”—i.e., economically, not, as generally misinterpreted in the west, militarily.
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  11. Gorbachev, “New Thinking’ in World Affairs,” Current Digest of the Soviet Press XXIX:45 (November 1987), 17.
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  12. James Scanlan, Gorbachev’s “New Political Thinking and the Priority of Common Interests,” Acta Slavica Iaponica VII, 1989, 49.
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  13. Gorbachev, “Address,” 1988.
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  14. Karl Max, Selected Writings, ad. David McLellan. (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1977), 231, 158, 246.
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  15. Ligachev, currently First Secretary for Agriculture, is widely regarded as a leader of the “conservative” reformers who would drop new political thinking and glasnost in favor of perestroika with coercion. Even the “conservatives” in the Soviet elites are reformers. The question is not, reform or not? but, which reform program?
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  16. J.V. Stalin, “Marxism and Linguistics,” in The Essential Stalin, ed. Bruce Franklin. (Garden City- Anchor Doubleday, 1974 407-444. See Scanlan for more detailed discussion.
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  17. Andrei Sakharov, “Progress, Coexistence, and Intellectual Freedom” in Sakharov Speaks, Harrison Salisbury, ed. (New York: Knopf, 1974), 58, 70-71, 104-5.
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  18. Gorbachev, Perestroika, 1988, 133.
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  19. Gorbachev, Political Report, 1986, 23.
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  20. Gorbachev, Political Report, 1986, 82.
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  21. Quoted in Michio Kaku and Daniel Axelrod, To Win a Nuclear War: The Pentagon’s Secret War Plans (Boston: South End Press, 1988), 118. This source offers considerable supporting documentation for the claim that U.S. policy is driven by strategy, not mainly by the MIC.
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  22. Richard Rosecrance, in The Rise of the Trading State (New York: Basic Books, 1986), gives a statement of the interdependence view. The classic “realist” picture is updated by Kenneth Waltz, Theory of international Politics (Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1979).
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  23. Gorbachev, “Address,” 1988.
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  24. V.L Lenin, Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism, in Selected Works, one vol. ed. (New York, International Publishers, 1971). For his critique of Kautsky, see 248-58.
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  25. See Ernest Mandel, The Meaning of the Second World War (New York: Verso/New Left Books, 1986).
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  26. V.L Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 30 (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1969), 365; Vol.26, 494. See also Vol.26, 443 and  Vol. 29, 300.
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  27. See, e.g., former Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko, The Overseas Expansion of Capital (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1985).
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  28. Gorbachev, “New, Thinking,” Current Digest, 1987, 14.
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  29. Gorbachev, “New, Thinking,” Current Digest, 1987, 13.
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  30. Arbatov, in Aganbegyan, 1988, 233.
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  31. Nixon, rejecting the conventional wisdom that U.S. toughness forced Gorbachev to negotiate, says that Reagan “had no choice but to agree to the INF proposal because “for the United States to refuse its own offer would be too costly in terms of public opinion in Western Europe.”(“Challenge and Response,” in Perestroika: How New is Gorbachev’s New Thinking? ed. Ernest Lefever and Robert Vander Lugt (Washington, D.C.: Ethics and Public Policy Center, 1989), 33-34.
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  32. Quoted in Stephen Cohen, “Gorbachev’s Policy Endangered,” Sovieticus, 2d ed. (New York: Norton, 1986), 162.
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  33. Gorbachev, Political Report, 1986, 81.
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  34. Gorbachev, Perestroika 1988, 127.
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  35. Andrey Kozyrev, “Why Soviet Foreign Policy Went Sour,” New York Times, January 7, 1989. The article was originally written from the Soviet publication Mezhdunarodnaya Zhizn (international Affairs). For a study of this trend, see Jerry Hough, The Struggle for the Third World (Washington, D.C.: Brookings, 1986).
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  36. In part this is because the USSR is no longer the only “socialist”’ nation. But the doctrine signifies the abandonment of revolutionary internationalism as well, and in this sense is still in effect.
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  37. Gorbachev, “On Progress in Implementing the Decisions of the 27thCFSU Congress and the Tasks of Promoting Perestroika,” Documents and Materials, 19th All-Union Conference of the CPSU (Soviet Life Special Supplementary Issue 1988).
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  38. Gorbachev, Perestroika 1988, 151.
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  39. The victory is ambiguous in part because the leadership of Solidarity (Walesa in particular) has made a number of pronouncements to the effect that the task of the new government is to lead Poland in a transition from a “socialist” to a “free-market,” i.e., capitalist, economy, as If what Polish workers need is capitalist instead of bureaucratic bosses. It is unclear whether the right wing of Solidarity will be able to implement this program. Even if not, the victory is ambiguous because the Polish economy is in such a ruin that any hope for genuinely socialist construction is chancy at best. But it is extraordinary and unprecedented for workers’ movement to take over the government of a Soviet-bloc country from the Communist Party.
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  40. I have even heard it called racist on the grounds that the Soviets and East Europeans who benefit are white, while the third world peoples, who suffer, are not. But in fact many Soviets are not white; the nonwhite Muslim population of the USSR is very large.
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  41. Thanks to Mathew Evangelista, David Finkel, Michael Fischer, JoeI Geier, Judy Hill, and James Scanlan for ideas and comments, and to Janis Michael for careful editing.
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January-February 1990, ATC 24

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