DP: Is there a risk of Gorbachev becoming a dictator, another Stalin. Schlesinger: I don't think he'll ever become another Stalin . . . I think he's in a tough situation, the dread of disorder and chaos. I think he feels very pressured to stop the dissent and chaos. There are only three nationwide instrumentalities in the Soviet Union -- the party, army and KGB. The question is . . . who will end up using whom? DP: You were in the White House when Khruschev was in the Soviet Union and of course he had returned one day and all the locks had changed on the doors. Do you see that perhaps happening to Gorbachev? And if you do, do you think the greater threat is from the right or from the Yeltsin left? Schlesinger: The greater threat in terms of any kind of coup is from the right. The greater threat for any peaceful change is from the left. There's no alternative from the right. And I don't see anyone in their right senses would want Gorbachev's job. DP: Should we still be backing Gorbachev? Or should we look to someone like Yeltsin for backing? Schlesinger: I think we ought to continue. I think the administration has been handling this rather well. I think that Gorbachev has done great things. I think we should continue supporting him and we should not close the door. This is a decision citizens in the Soviet Union have to make. I think we should keep contact with Yeltsin and not be in a position to choose between them but as long as Gorbachev is head man, go along with him. DP: Is there anything we can do now that would help strengthen his position? Schlesinger: Well I suppose, anything which reminds the people of the Soviet Union how indispensable a figure from their viewpoint Gorbachev is . . . People in Russia, the Soviet Union today don't give a damn about the outside world. Like America during the Depression. All they care about is trying to save their own country from this downward spiral. DP: On the recent cancellation of the summit: do you think that it was truly, as Baker says, because of the Gulf crisis? Or do you think there are some fears in the White House about what's going on in the Soviet Union now. Do you think the was motivated because of the Baltics? Schlesinger: I think the pretext was the Gulf. Probably the real reason was that Bush was haunted by an exaggerated fear of the right wing of the republic party, and was afraid to meet with Gorbachev and be assailed by the I think the concerns of the political repercussions from the loony right probably was the real reason. DP: After the cold war in a broader sense, and in Eastern Europe, without the choke of communism a lot of the countries you see a lot of ethnic strifes especially in Yugoslavia where did that lead. Schlesinger: In retrospect, the Soviet Empire is sort of the de facto equivalent of the old Austrian/Hungarian Empire which after the First World War released all of those ancient ethnic national antagonisms. So the same thing is happening with the breakup of the Soviet Union, and how far that will go is hard to say. Ethnic loyalties are more powerful than anything else. DP: Domestically, how will the end of the cold war affect the United States? Will there be a peace dividend? Schlesinger: The peace dividend is being expended in the sands of Arabia. DP: Is there going to be any effect? I see Alan Greenspan quoted in the New York Times this morning as saying it is going to make the recession worse, its going to have all sorts of distorting effects on the economy. Again,it all depends on how long the war lasts. DP: Will the promise of a New World Order after the war is over allow us to focus on domestic issues? Schlesinger: Well, I hope so, Again there will be alot of pressure from the pentagon, because of this war, it will give the pentagon a new hope of swollen defense budgets and they will predict the emergence of Sadaam Husseins everywhere and have to prepare against. So I think its going to be a real fight to bring the defense budget down. DP: Have the Democrats sold themselves out to a chance of winning the White House in 1992? Schlesinger: I think again it all depends on how long the war is and how long the recession is? If the war is over quickly, the American people, who have a limited attention span, won't remember it in 1992. If the war drags on for a long while, this will vindicate the positions of people who didn't want to get into it?Comments powered by Disqus
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