Magazine article The New American

Gorbachev to Receive Liberty Medal

Magazine article The New American

Gorbachev to Receive Liberty Medal

Article excerpt

"I think history will be very kind to Gorbachev." That's the opinion of 84-year-old ex-president George H.W. Bush concerning former Soviet dictator Mikhail Gorbachev, as expressed recently to reporters at the Bushes' luxurious Kennebunkport manor.

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The elder Bush is doing his part to ensure that "history" does indeed prove kind to Gorbachev, who will be a guest at the Bush estate in September. Bush is scheduled to award the former Soviet Communist Party leader the 2008 Liberty Medal on September 18 at the National Constitution Center in historic Philadelphia, the cradle of the U.S. Constitution. The center, located on Independence Mall, a stone's throw from the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, bills itself as a premier interactive museum "dedicated to increasing public understanding of, and appreciation for, the Constitution, its history, and its contemporary relevance."

Bush, undoubtedly, will have many flowery things to say about Comrade Gorbachev on that fast-approaching auspicious occasion. But, really, have we reached such a desperate state of affairs that Gorbachev is the best exemplar to be found in the whole wide world for Americans to honor as the champion of liberty and the principles enshrined in our Constitution? I am well aware that, over the past two decades, Gorbachev has been transformed into a top-tier international celebrity, hobnobbing with the power-elite of Hollywood, Wall Street, and Madison Avenue. I have attended his Gorbachev Foundation State of the World confabs and observed up close his relationships with titans of global industry, finance, politics, academe, and philanthropy: George Soros, Maurice Strong, Steven Rockefeller, Kofi Annan, Thabo Mbeki, Bill Gates, Ted Turner, James Baker, George Shultz, George H.W. Bush, et al.

Gorbachev received the Nobel Peace Prize and was Time magazine's "Man of the Decade" in 1990. But the Liberty Medal? How far will we allow the cult of celebrity to go? Gorbachev a champion of liberty and the Constitution? Let's consider:

Gorbachev has been a steadfast promoter, defender, and endorser of Vladimir Putin and his increasingly totalitarian policies. Despite Putin's appointment of veteran KGB-FSB agents to 80 percent of Russia's top political, economic, and military posts and his brutal shutdown of opposition media, arrests of political opponents, and liquidation of persistent critics, Gorbachev has continued to defend and praise Putin for bringing "stability" to Russia. …

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