How Did Gorbachev Influence The Soviet-American Government

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The year was 1989, and the Americans had just elected their 41st President of the United States: George H. W. Bush. As the former Vice-President, Bush was well acquainted with the ongoing conflict he was inheriting from the Reagan administration between the Soviet Union and the United States. He was also cognizant of the man on the other side of the strife, Mikhail Gorbachev, leader of the Soviet Union. Gorbachev was thought to be a relatively revolutionary character; he was less of a hardliner and more open to change and influence from the West. Despite this, Bush had his reservations; he ordered a comprehensive review of the Soviet-American relationship shortly after assuming office. In the report, the US National Security Advisor, Brent…show more content…
In fact, when Hungary started acting more independently by establishing an official commission to reassess the rebellion that occurred in the country earlier – a report that later criticized communism – Gorbachev did nothing. As a result of his indifference, the Hungarian prime minister, Miklós Németh, tested the waters further by halting the funding of the fence separating Hungary from Austria. Eventually, the entire fence was dismantled, which catalyzed the mass movement of East Germans (who were then part of the communist German Democratic Republic) through Austria and into Budapest to seek asylum at the West German embassy. Although East German officials contested this movement, Hungary allowed the asylum, citing humanitarian responsibilities. Ultimately, Erik Hokenor, leader of the GDR, stepped down and a new, less conservative leader took his place. Egon Krenz promised Gorbachev there would be no military action against his people, dissipating fears of a second Tiananmen Square-like crises, and instead decided to relieve tension by relaxing emigration policies to the West. At a press conference, a lower level politician miscommunicated this change in policy, and led people to believe the wall would be permanently opened “immediately, and without delay” (Announcement that DDR border will open) Thus later that day, the wall…show more content…
There was no longer a threat of global nuclear warfare – the threat to American security was – for the time- gone. The collapse of the Soviet Union also changed the nature of the international system and has created a unipolar balance of power system – with America being the sole superpower – instead of the bipolar system it was in the past. NATO gained a valuable asset during this era as well; Germany has proven to be an economic leader and strategist globally and within Europe. Additionally, the reformation of former communist states into open and democratic capitalist states is an additional benefit to the West under democratic peace theory – after all, ‘democracies do not go to war with other
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