Politics, Diplomacy, and the Media: Gorbachev's Legacy in the West

Politics, Diplomacy, and the Media: Gorbachev's Legacy in the West

Politics, Diplomacy, and the Media: Gorbachev's Legacy in the West

Politics, Diplomacy, and the Media: Gorbachev's Legacy in the West

Synopsis

Mikhail Gorbachev was a major force at the center of political change in the latter half of the 20th century. His emphasis on the spoken word and the visual image was so pronounced that the character of the reform program he introduced became both a reflection and an extension of his own political persona. To promote his political program, Gorbachev depended upon the media to assist him in delivering his message and restructuring the Soviet experience; it was almost as if he believed that he could talk a revolution into existence. He hoped to promote both real and symbolic change, but found instead that such efforts led to his own downfall.

Excerpt

In my readings and discussions with friends and colleagues in the field, I have become increasingly convinced that Mikhail Gorbachev and the reforms he introduced mark the single most significant period of political change in the latter half of the twentieth century. the nature of his reforms, identified as perestroika and glasnost, and their ultimate demise also provide insight into the sudden and remarkable collapse of the Soviet Union. Although attempts to pinpoint that change have been elusive, Gorbachev's role at the center of the debate remains assured.

With a general audience in mind, I have tried to focus on Gorbachev as a prominent political personality, whose life epitomized the significance of political communication within a broader international context. This book also discusses the history of U. S.-Soviet relations and the vision of European unity in which Gorbachev played such an important role. the ways in which these topics intersect provide an interesting vantage point from which to view the hopes, aspirations, and revolutionary expectations as well as the disappointments and failures that define the political landscape of the twentieth-century experience.

I have also attempted to synthesize materials by, on, or about Gorbachev that provide a collective perception of his charismatic role as an international political figure. in the same way in which Gorbachev set out to define the principal areas of reform, I have organized the material into the three fundamental topics: perestroika, glasnost, and "New Thinking" in foreign policy. the abundant materials on these subjects include speeches, books, interviews, journalistic accounts, and the assembled records of meetings, summits, and conferences that attest to Gorbachev's role as a symbol of change both at home and abroad.

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