Federalism and the New World Order

Federalism and the New World Order

Federalism and the New World Order

Federalism and the New World Order

Excerpt

Like all books this one has a history. It is the product of remarkable and rapid changes in the international world order in the past three years; of the vision and humanity of one man—Mikhail Gorbachev; of the development of an institutional and personal link between the International Foundation for Socio-Economic and Political Studies in Moscow (the Gorbachev Founation) and the University of Calgary. It is also the result of a coincidence of events in eastern and central Europe, Canada, and other areas of the world in the past decade, events which have made us more sensitive to our shared global problems.

On a grey, slushy afternoon in early March 1992, I travelled from the international airport in Moscow along the broad avenues that still distinguish Moscow to an imposing brick structure on Leningradsky Prospect, a guest— along with two colleagues from the University of Calgary and another from the London School of Slavonic and East European Studies—of the Gorbachev Foundation. That institution had just seen its first light of day, having been established by Mikhail Gorbachev and his advisers as he left the presidency of the Soviet Union at the end of December 1991. The symbolism of the imposing, yet largely empty, structure—which had previously housed the Communist Party training school—late on that Sunday afternoon was haunting. Was it really possible that the powerful empire and its leaders, institutions, and individuals who had dominated one half of the bipolar Cold War world for fifty years, had crumbled in a matter of months, with former Soviet republics tottering on the brink of open conflict with one another and the former central government?

The events surrounding the aborted coup of August 1991 in the Soviet Union captured the attention of the world, as did the erosion in the following months of the Soviet federal system, its institutions, and the power . . .

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