- 43,99 €
Mikhail Gorbachev's relations with the West have captured the imagination of contemporaries and historians alike, but his vision of Soviet leadership in Asia has received far less attention. The failure of Gorbachev's Asian initiatives has had dramatic consequences, by the late 1980s, the Soviet Union was in full retreat from Asia, and since the Soviet collapse, Russia has been left on the sidelines of the "Pacific century."
In this exceptionally wide-ranging and deeply researched book, Sergey Radchenko offers an illuminating account of the end of the Cold War in the East, tracing the death of Soviet ambitions in Asia. Radchenko shows that Gorbachev began with big gestures, of which the most important was his initiative in Vladivostok in July 1986, the opening salvo of the Soviet charm offensive in Asia Pacific. The problem, Radchenko points out, was that no one in Asia bought into Gorbachev's vision. If the Soviets had realized earlier that they needed Asia more than Asia needed them, they might have played a much more important role there. Instead, China was largely misunderstood, early gains in India were squandered, Japan was ignored or condescended to, and the Korean scenario played out in ways most unfavorable to Russia. Radchenko captures all of this in his compelling narrative, shedding important new light on many key players, including Gorbachev, Deng Xiaoping, Margaret Thatcher, Boris Yeltsin, and George H. W. Bush, among others.
Based on archival research in Russia, China, Mongolia, India, the United States, Britain, and numerous European countries and on interviews with former policy makers in a dozen countries, Unwanted Visionaries presents a deftly narrated and penetrating portrait of the Soviet failure in the East, with a wealth of valuable insight into Asia today.
Radchenko (The Atomic Bomb and the Origins of the Cold War) examines the downsides of Soviet overtures to Asian nations under the misguided leadership of Mikhail Gorbachev. Drawing on finely detailed research, he acknowledges the idealistic and practical aspects of Gorbachev's attempts to woo economic titans China and India from American domination. But he also points out the many missed opportunities and mishaps attached to Gorbachev's "Asia First" doctrine. Focusing on the period spanning Brezhnev's 1982 death to the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, Radchenko examines the pressure and resistance of President Reagan's crusade against the "Russian Evil Empire," as well as the ideological and political disagreements of Russian officials. Gorbachev's Asian initiatives, which coincided with the plummet of the Russian economy and uprisings in Eastern Europe, were largely hit-and-miss especially those with China, Japan, and India, which were marred by issues of mistrust, territory disputes, and technological transfers. Gorbachev's political ambitions outstripped his Asian outreach and his decentralization of power on the home-front, causing his foreign dialogues to be swallowed by a rising tide of domestic backlash. Analytical, objective, and large in scope, Radchenko's study of Soviet politics is essential reading for those seeking a realistic picture of the balance of global power.