America Abroad

The Conductor of Discord

Mikhail Gorbachev specializes in the politics of the impossible. Even his job description -- to preside over a country that is falling apart -- is a contradiction in terms: . He may be the most widely disliked figure in the Soviet Union, yet he is convinced that he alone can avert outright warfare among tribes and factions that hate one another even more than they hate him.

Traditionally, politicians build coalitions of supporters. Gorbachev has done the opposite. He has managed to make a peculiar virtue out of having detractors on all sides.

Reactionaries will never forgive him for his earlier...

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