America Abroad: The Personality Factor

The Personality Factor

The furor over Eduard Shevardnadze's resignation had the air of a dry run for a much bigger event that suddenly seemed entirely plausible: Mikhail Gorbachev himself quits in disgust or exhaustion or defeat, and the world is abruptly confronted not just with a new Soviet leader but a new -- or perhaps an old -- Soviet Union.

Within hours after the news from Moscow, James Baker appeared in public to assure everyone that American policy is "not one that's based on personality." Translation: we're not betting on the fortunes and stamina of any individual foreign leader; we're pursuing U.S. interests, period....

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