willfully choose to misread the past tondisplay any marked ability to diagnosenthe immediate future.nLet us refresh our memories for anmoment by going back to the criticalnsummer of 1948, when Stalinnlaunched his blockade of West Berlin.nStrobe Talbott may have chosen tonforget (or possibly he may never havenknown) that when the crisis broke anmajority of Harry Truman’s militarynadvisers and (so I have been reliablyntold) no less than ten out of the twelvenState Department officials of ambassadorialnrank whom he consulted advisednthe President to pull out of West Berlinnbecause our position there was militarilynuntenable.nThere was one general, however,nwho pointed out that West Beriin hadnto be held, no matter what, because ifnabandoned, it would fatally underminenthe confidence of all West Germans innthe resolve of the United States tondefend their vital interests. He wasnGeneral Lucius Glay. Harry Truman,na Democrat, was wise enough to heednthis urgent plea made to him by anstaunch Republican, and as a resultnWest Berlin, and with it Western Europe,nwas saved during a tense 12nmonths (1948-1949) by two Americansnwho were not exactly “doves.”nBut for their courageous decision,nKonrad Adenauer never could havenestablished the Federal Republic. ThenGermans who, for all their virtues, arenoften prone to political opportunism,nwould have drawn the inevitable conclusionn— that the Western allies couldnnot be trusted — and they would havenchosen to make their peace with thenvictorious superpower of the East. Thenconsequences for Europe would havenbeen incalculable, rendering impossiblenthe creation of NATO and the laternestablishment of the European GommonnMarket.nNow here is another example, but ofna rather different sort. In June 1953 thenworkers of East Berlin rose up in revoltnagainst the detested system that hadnbeen forcibly imposed upon themnby Walter Ulbricht and his Moscowtrainedncolleagues of the SEDn{Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschlandsn— the so-called “Socialist-Unity”nParty of Germany, a python-like politicaln”front” specially designed to devournand swallow up East Germany’snmany Social Democrats). What hap­n50/CHRONICLESnpened? In Washington, where GeneralnEisenhower had taken over after havingncampaigned, with John Foster Dulles,non the need to “roll the RednArmy” back to the frontiers of thenU.S.S.R., the new administration simplynsat tight and did nothing. In othernwords, despite all the hawkish rhetoric,nIke and Dulles on this occasion behavednlike “doves.”nIt is important to recall this crucialnmoment in postwar European historynbecause our passivity effectively froze ansituation that remained congealed fornthe next thirty years. This was broughtnhome to me forcefully in the summernof 1964, during a visit to Czechoslovakia.nIn the Moravian capital of Brno anformer Social Democrat said to me:n”You missed a golden opportunity backnin 1953. Stalin had just died, there wasnbitter in-fighting in the Kremlin betweennMalenkov, Beria, and Khrushchev,nand the Soviet Union was in anstate of leaderless confusion. Here wenwere all waiting for a word of encouragementnfrom Washington, and if itnhad come, believe me, we would havenrisen as one man — Gzechs, Slovaks,nHungarians, Poles, Romanians, all ofnus to express our solidarity with thenworkers of East Germany. But thenword we were so anxiously awaitingnnever came.”nIt can be argued, of course, thatnworkers’ hammers and peasants’nscythes and sickles are useless againstntanks, and that if the captive peoples ofnGentral and Eastern Europe had atnthat moment risen up in simultaneousnrevolt, the result would have been anSoviet-ordered bloodbath. All thingsnconsidered, it was thus preferable tonallow the tough guys in the Kremlin toncrush the various revolts in turn — EastnGermany in 1953; Hungary in 1956;nCzechoslovakia in 1968. But the factnremains that by doing nothing to encouragenthe East Germans and thenothers in 1953, at a time when we werenat the height of our military powern(with a vast superiority in nuclearnbombs, with the bombers to delivernthem, and 21 U.S. Army divisions thatnhad been formed for the recently terminatednKorean War), we contributednwilly-nilly to the consolidation of thenSoviets’ grip on Central and EasternnEurope. If the “doves” thus contributednto maintain an uneasy peace innEurope, they also condemned onennnhundred million Europeans to a continuingnenslavement, which was onlynpartially ended in the final months ofnlast year. This is an “achievement” thatnnone of us should forget.nBut let us return to Time magazine’sndecision to name Gorbachev then”Man of the Decade,” and more particularlynto its willingness to take himnon trust without making any seriousneffort to probe the mysterious ideologicalndevelopment of this “sincere communist.”nThis can be regarded as antypical example of our inveterate tendencynto personalize general issues,ninstead of asking ourselves how thenSoviet system could from its ranksnproduce such a maverick, not to say anheretic. Most Americans, and indeednmost Europeans — including personsnas temperamentally different as MargaretnThatcher and Frangois Mitterrandn— seem to regard Gorbachev as a kindnof anti-Stalinist Superman, more ornless sprung out of nowhere, who hasnflung open long-closed doors and windowsn(glasnost) and who, even if henhas failed to improve the living standardsnof his countrymen (perestroika),nis at least on the right track and mustnconsequendy be helped and assisted innevery possible way.nThe French, who are among othernthings a nation of skeptics, are luckiernthan we are, if only because one ofntheir more brilliant young sovietologists,nFrangoise Thorn, has produced ansmall, fact-crammed book, Le MomentnGorbatchev, which seeks to prove thenmagical trompe-Voeil of Gorbachevismnand to reveal what lies behind — thenwhys and wherefores of glasnost andnperestroika — and to show, with a compellingnweight of documentary evidence,nthat they are not at all whatnmany Westerners naively believe theynare.nI regret that there is not space herento list the five cogent reasons she givesnto explain the birth oi glasnost — still anhighly conditional freedom for pressnand media, as is attested by the persecutionnof Serghei Grigoriantz’snGlasnost periodical and the condemnationnlast November of Serghei Kuznetsov,nan independent journalist andncontributor to Glasnost, to three yearsnin a labor camp. But the most significantnpart of Frangoise Thom’s booknconcerns that complex phenomenonnperestroika, on the success or failure ofn