“Some have reacted with understanding. Others have objected, sometimes sarcastically, suggesting that I want the United States to experience upheaval, just like the former Soviet Union. In my country, particularly caustic reactions have come from the opponents of perestroika, people with short memories and a deficit of conscience,” the former Soviet leader wrote.
He continued: “Our perestroika signaled the need for change in the Soviet Union, but it was not meant to suggest a capitulation to the US model. Today, the need for a more far-reaching perestroika – one for America and the world – has become clearer than ever.”
In Russia, Gorbachev’s “perestroika ” was a government restructuring and the introduction of limited market economy freedoms into the Communist model, which initially caused a great deal of social unrest before eventually becoming an integral part of society.
Gorbachev called for something similar in November, when he declared then-U.S. President-elect Barack Obama “a man of our times” and suggested his administration would need to bring about an American “perestroika.”
“[He] is capable of restarting dialogue, all the more since the circumstances will allow him to get out of a dead-end situation,” Gorbachev said, according to Russian news service RIA Novosti . “Barack Obama has not had a very long career, but it is hard to find faults, and he has led an election campaign winning over the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton herself. We can judge from this that this person is capable of engaging in dialogue and understanding current realities.”
The Russian Communist, in his concluding paragraphs, strikes a surprising balance between capitalistic freedom and government controls.
“[If] all the proposed solutions and action now come down to a mere rebranding of the old system, we are bound to see another, perhaps even greater upheaval down the road,” he wrote. “The current model does not need adjusting; it needs replacing. I have no ready-made prescriptions. But I am convinced that a new model will emerge, one that will emphasize public needs and public good, such as a cleaner environment, well-functioning infrastructure and public transport, sound education and health systems and affordable housing.”
He continued: “The time has come to strike the right balance between the government and the market, for integrating social and environmental factors and demilitarising the economy.”
Finally, Gorbachev warns that the world’s current economic model, created by “America’s elite,” is “cracking.” As it comes undone, many will suffer, he predicted. “Including the United States.”
Gorbachev concludes: “However different the problems that the Soviet Union confronted during our perestroika and the challenges now facing the United States, the need for new thinking makes these two eras similar. In our time, we faced up to the main tasks of putting an end to the division of the world, winding down the nuclear arms race and defusing conflicts. We will cope with the new global challenges as well, but only if everyone understands the need for real, cardinal change – for a global perestroika.”