Written by Frank Li
Here is a recent piece of news from China: Gorbachev: we did not have Deng Xiaoping. Click the link to read the original news in Chinese. Below is my Chinese-to-English translation:
A short while ago, the former (Chinese) Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing published his first memoir. Here is an excerpt:
In 2004, as President Hu Jintao's special envoy representing China, I attended the funeral of former American President Ronald Reagan. When the funeral was over, I bumped into Mr. Gorbachev. I very politely said to him:
"It is a great honor to meet you. I do not want to miss this opportunity to learn something from you. For many years, I, as well as many friends of mine in China, especially wanted to know this: how could such a mighty and strong socialist country like the Soviet Union have disintegrated in such a short period of time - What was the main reason?"
To avoid embarrassment on the other side, I pointedly added:
"This question is not very diplomatic. You may choose not to answer."
Mr. Gorbachev hesitated for a moment, and answered seriously:
"About this question, I can answer you this way: I admire Deng Xiaoping the most. We did not have Deng Xiaoping."
He stopped right there. What did he mean? It's anyone's guess.
Here is my guess: Mr. Gorbachev has become older and wiser, obviously! He recognized and acknowledged the greatness of Deng, while implicitly humbling himself! Here is the simple truth: Mr. Gorbachev faced similar challenges, or opportunities, as Deng, and at roughly the same time. However, Deng transformed China for the better, fundamentally and big, while Mr. Gorbachev made one disastrous wrong turn after another, resulting in the disintegration of the Soviet Union!
History is made by great men (and women) like Deng, as well as his total opposites like Mr. Gorbachev! Look at China and Russia today: what a huge difference in prosperity, with China ahead by several decades, at least!
Yet, Mr. Gorbachev was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990, while Deng's greatness in human history has yet to be widely recognized in the West - What a funny world the West is!
FYI: Deng died in 1997. His body was cremated, with the ashes being spread over the lands and rivers in China, according to his will ...
Here is my overall response to the news:
The Soviet Union: It was dissolved, became Russia, and changed to a sort of stilted democracy overnight, thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev (i.e. brainless and reckless) and Boris Yeltsin (i.e. heartless and reckless), resulting in untold human misery, a few billionaires (e.g. Mikhail Prokhorov), and a doubtful future. For more, read: Kleptocracy: A Fourth Similarity between Communism and Democracy.
Deng Xiaoping has proven to be one of the greatest peaceful transformational leaders in human history. Deng is what Russia, as well as America, need today. Without a Deng-like leader in Russia, it is extremely unlikely for Russia to see its day in the sun any time soon. Without a Deng-like leader in America, American democracy may not even out-last Soviet communism in longevity. For more, read: Longevity: American Democracy vs. Soviet Communism!
Russia is a great country which has suffered heavily over the past 100 years, due to communism for 74 years and then, thanks to Mr. Gorbachev, a stilted democracy after the end of its failed experiment with communism.
I wish Russia well. To begin with, let's hope for the best for the Sochi Olympics and enjoy them!