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What did Gorbachev mean by the new political thinking in foreign policy Was it compatible with Marxism-Leninism - Essay Example

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The new political thinking initiated by the Gorbachev regime in the former Soviet Union brought in tremendous changes in the foreign policy of the country. Perestroika was considered as the opening of the Russia to world and in turn the world to the Russia. …
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What did Gorbachev mean by the new political thinking in foreign policy Was it compatible with Marxism-Leninism
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Download file to see previous pages The new political thinking initiated by the Gorbachev regime in the former Soviet Union brought in tremendous changes in the foreign policy of the country. Perestroika was considered as the opening of the Russia to world and in turn the world to the Russia. Gorbachev’s new foreign policy was characterised by the ‘free will’ to put an end to arms race, which was materialised as the freezing of nuclear tests in august 1985, the general disarmament plan in January 1986, agreement on the elimination of medium range nuclear missiles in 1987, large scale military cuts and pulling out from Afghanistan in 1989. However, Gorbachev miserably failed not only in democratising the regime but also in preserving it. The compatibility of Gorbachev’s policies with Marxism could only be determined with relations to what we consider as the central tenets of Marxism. Still, along the Gramscian lines, it is possible to argue that the Soviet Russia undergone a phase of passive revolutions under the (non)leadership of Gorbachev. From a Marxist perspective, the Soviet Foreign policy had de-ideologised by the 1960s itself. The Gorbachevian reforms at the realm of foreign policy tried to get the foreign policy out of the irrational fears of cold war era. Gorbachevian Reforms and the New Political Thinking Many people think that the structural reforms undertook by Gorbachev was a response to the growing economic crisis Soviet Union faced in the 1980s. However, such a viewpoint does not consider the fact that many countries that are substantially poorer than Soviet Union have not undergone any systemic changes. Certainly, Gorbachev tried to modernise the economy and introduced new management techniques which are capitalistic in essence to unfetter production. However, perestroika needs to be understood as more about political reforms than economic reforms. Ironically, Gorbachevian reforms have many similarities with the austerity programmes usually adopted in capitalist countries. Gorbachev’s new political thinking was basically defined in terms of the need for an integrated world wherein both the Soviet Union and the West must try for the de-militarisation of the planet. Tsygankov argues that “by aiming for the West’s support and recognition, it inserted itself into the arena of the Western modernity of nation-states, making it increasingly difficult to discourage the Soviet ethnic republics from embarking on nationalist projects” (2006, p. 47). Here, the point is that the ideals of new political thinking such as world integration, enhanced cooperation with the West, greater autonomy for the ethnic nationalities were not compatible with the reality of an aggressively imperialist-capitalist West, especially under conservatives such as Regan and Thatcher. Remarkably, Gorbachev as a Soviet leader “found his main base of support not in the party, military, or industry, but in the liberal intelligentsia” (English, 2000, p.195). As an ambitious leader, Gorbachev actively sought Russia’s broad shift towards the West in general and the Europe in particular. The goal of perestroika was “to modify the relations of production and prevent social upheaval” but it ended up in “opening the door to the influence of capitalism, fragmenting the heterogeneous Soviet elite, and enabled an opposition linked to global neoliberalism to emerge which utilised the nascent Russian state as a mechanism for advancing systemic transformation” (Simon, 2010, p. 431). In brief, Gorbachev’s so-called reform policies necessarily ended up in the consolidation of the Russian ruling elites and the transfer of state powers to itself. Importantly, Gorbachev did not have a concrete policy of either economic regeneration or political transformation. Kenez is of the view that “Gorbachev believed in the possibility of reforming communism in ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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