Home > Archives > 06 - 2003 > Gorbacev’s initiative
EDITORIAL
from issue no. 06 - 2003

Gorbacev’s initiative


There hasn’t been a great deal of further response – it’s almost always like that with positive happenings – to the initiative taken by former President Gorbacev to launch from Turin a political forum for the assessment, in a constructive way, of international situations, unfortunately often critical and worrying. The Piedmontese institutions have given strong support to this body, that will have its headquarters in Boscomarengo, in an old monastery made available by the Province of Alessandria.


Giulio Andreotti


The World Political Forum 19-20 May held at the Turin Book Fair

The World Political Forum 19-20 May held at the Turin Book Fair

There hasn’t been a great deal of further response – it’s almost always the way with positive happenings – to the initiative taken by former President Gorbacev to launch from Turin a political forum for the assessment, in a constructive way, of international situations, unfortunately often critical and worrying. The Piedmontese institutions have given strong support to this body, that will have its headquarters in Boscomarengo, in an old monastery made available by the Province of Alessandria.
Gorbacev’s appeal got a wide response. Those who couldn’t go in person sent their explanations (not the usual expression of courtesy) and widespread concern was felt about a phase in contemporary history that is turbulent and full of diverging paths. It was not, however – and everyone grasped and expressed the point, starting from Francesco Cossiga, from Emilio Colombo and from myself, the three Italians to have received an invitation - of indulging in comparisons with an allegedly better past. What is necessary is the effort to seek out valid prospects for setting up new models for international understandings.
Mikhail Gorbacev - I referred to it jokingly - is fundamentally the person responsible for the ending of the Cold War, for the dissolution of the Soviet bloc. With a single large center of world power there may come the risk – forgive the paradox – of regretting bi-polarity. And then, perhaps because no man is a prophet in his own country, Gorbacev does not currently have a position of much force in the Russian Federation; even if he enjoys a respect from Putin that Yeltsin didn’t give him. Some of his past initiatives, though very courageous (think of his dissolving the Communist Party and the backing he gave to German reunification), were bound to provoke dissent. It should be added that the West gave him no help. I remember that when he was guest, along with Primakov, at the London G7 meeting, he explained in heartfelt manner that, apart from, and even more than economic aid, he needed understanding and time to set in place a gradual and multi phased plan to deal with the Republics that were so different one from another. The pressure to restore the sovereignty of the Baltic countries went directly against that requirement.
He was not successful; only Mitterand and the Italian delegation tried in vain to open the credit asked for. He went back to Moscow with a squalid vote of recommendation to be admitted, as observers, to the Monetary Fund. After that the new direction in Moscow took the downward slope. It wasn’t difficult for brawny Mr. Yeltsin to put him in crisis; and lucky for him that he wasn’t sent to meet his Maker.

The Turin meeting followed the lines that had characterized the revolution – or if you like and without malice – the counter-revolution of Gorbacev.
First of all the search for a new international order, getting over the UN crisis that the Iraq business has painfully made clear. The shared commitment to combat terrorism can be a cohesive force, on condition, however, that aspirations to independence are not lumped together with criminal plots and demonized. The Israeli patriots who after the war put the English on the ropes in Palestine were not terrorists, even if they planted bombs and blew up hotels.
In particular, two sorts of criticism are now leveled against the UN. It is considered that five countries anachronistically have the right of veto on decisions of the Security Council only because they were victors in the Second World War. It is likewise thought that the equivalence of all the countries (now 191), no matter whether they represent a billion and more people or are Lilliputian in size, is unjust.
I remember that when he was guest, along with Primakov, at the London G7 meeting. He explained in heartfelt manner that, apart from and even more than economic aid, he needed understanding and time to set in place a gradual and multi phased plan to deal with the Republics that were so different one from another. The pressure to restore the sovereignty of the Baltic countries went directly against that requirement.
Valid reasons for reconsideration, that Gorbacev himself pointed out in his time, but until a new Charter is adopted the one in force should be respected without the creation of dangerous gaps.
The new Forum has in mind the constitution of an ad hoc work group to study alternatives and make proposals; taking account of the territorial bodies since come into being: the European Union, the Mercosur in South America, the Mexico-US-Canada Customs Union, even the newborn project of African Union. Account will also have to be taken, in order to reabsorb it, of G7 (or 8 as may be). It was born to create a triangle open to Japan, but now it is an institution without effective legitimation.
Another point in Gorbacev’s doctrine has given rise to a programmatic outcome. Against the looming danger of a war of religion, pivoting on the weight and on the propagation of Islam, is set the shift that Gorbacev himself announced from Rome, where, according to a threatening legend, the Cossacks would water their horses. After a meaningful visit to the Pope (to the memory of which he is about to devote a book) Gorbacev solemnly declared that religion might be, indeed already was in fact, a positive impetus for the development of his country. A more fitting tomb could not have been found for the doctrine of hatred of religion, considered opium of the people.
We must now go further by setting going dialogue between all the religions, something that will have a beneficent influence also on the soothing of political controversies and socio-economic differences.

There was significant agreement in analysis and hopes at the Turin meeting: from Genscher to the Japanese Kafu, from Boutros Ghali to the ousted Pakistani Prime Minister Mrs. Bhutto (now an exile in the Arab Emirates) and so on. But for Gorbacev’s initiative to have any force we need to make a qualitative jump; in the sense of uniting personalities on active service with us ex-combatants. Hence the proposal to invite at least Minister Frattini to our next meeting in October.
As for a general restart of post-Iraq discussion with the United States, valid occasions for encounter need seeking out. Genscher suggested – and I was gladdened by it – the possibilities of the Organization for European Security and Co-operation in which all the European States indeed stand side by side with the United States of America and Canada.
But there is more. The Reagan-Gorbacev period was marked by an effort to reduce armaments that became concrete in the halving of nuclear arsenals. After the Gulf War the intention of returning to that road to peace was solemnly proclaimed. But it didn’t happen. With penetrating insight, a professional non-politician, Beppe Grillo, summed up the wrong approach in the words: «Once upon a time they produced weapons to make war; now they make war in order to produce and sell weapons».
Reference to current events is not random.





Italiano Español Français Deutsch Português