By the end of the Cold War, the West has gotten to know a voice of sanity from Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, or "Gorby" as West Germans tenderly called. He was a smart politician, a politician indeed rather than a supreme ruler of the second most powerful superpower equipped with the deadliest weapons of mass destruction. After several decades, many people still insist that he was a Trojan horse came to bring down the powerhouse of socialism, rejecting even his own testimony that he attempted to save the union.
This is the leader governments around Western hemisphere fell in love with. Out of gratuity, Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to him for trademark policies of the politburo - Glasnost and Perestroika - and for achieving the peace, a code word for destroying the union. But the price of the peace were the tanks in Lithuania or Azerbaijan, which there ordered by the Mr Gorby itself and resulted multiple deaths. Gorbachev proved that he's a less drunk version of Nikita Khrushchev, who still follows impulses and annihilates any rebellion with military might. The stark difference is only that ultimately he sobers up from power and tries to have a dialogue. For millions of those who are from those post-soviet countries the fact that Gorbachev is a peace prize holder is insulting enough, but his occasional media appearances haunt anyone from that region and give a sense of real injustice.
During the 25th year celebration of the fall of Berlin Wall, incumbent attendee said the same talking-points we are hearing constantly from apologists for Putin, anti-West activists, and government officials of Russia: It's Western countries fault, their foreign policy, and "triumphalism." This vile rhetoric, perfected by the many hostile to the West, always point out to any crisis in the world and reminds, "aha, but British and Americans used to supply weapons to that regime," then continue "if they will intervene now, this will just show how immoral the West is - it has always been about their cynical interests," and so on. When it's another country, say the one which is notoriously abundant in natural resources yet still fates population to poverty, supply weapons, support dictatorships, and defends the pact that divided Europe and made World War 2 possible - it's absolutely fine and up to the right of the country.
Gorbachev accused the West and especially the US for their "triumphalism." What does "triumphalism" means exactly? Did it lead to Western countries acting ferociously, occupying land, and giving ultimatums to join NATO or European Union? Nothing sort of that happened. Countries themselves saw their future together with those two latter institutions rather than having Budapest Memorandum - a Ukrainian style of security assurance. In fact, Ukraine is a great example where the reluctance to accept reality combined with wishful thinking that a previously aggressive state will change its mentality led to unworkable security strategy.
Occasional willingness to assert global leadership is apparently the triumphalism Gorbachev is talking about. Stopping genocide in Serbia or civil war in Sierra Leone, ensuring stability in Kosovo, expelling Iraqi forces from the Gulf and consequent restoration of Kuwait state, punishing lunatic dictators of Libya and Iraq - are historical misgivings and should've never been employed.
We don't know for sure how Soviet Union and the world would look like if it hadn't collapsed and Mikhail Gorbachev had ruled it in 1990s. However, his confusing defence of current President Putin and even suggestion of lifting the sanctions is a window to parallel history. Of course, there were harsh words towards Putin, critique of anti-homosexuality laws and authoritarian tendencies. But when it became impossible not to notice that Russia has a pariah state privileges, which is lawfulness and unaccountability, Mr Gorbachev twisted his views and come out as a supporter of bellicose Kremlin actions. It's almost for certain that even with him in power, Russia would had bobsled towards Putinistic foreign policy.
Mikhail Gorbachev is a pious fool, riddled with contradictions, and insecure of his place in history. He's loathed by a significant number of Russians who see him as a destroyer the precious union, while his past remarks about the government have made him a dissenter but, as he understands, dissenters don't have a place in Russian chronicles. A number of Russian Parliament members have tried to prosecute the latter for, in the words of Putin, causing the "greatest geopolitical disaster of the last century." His evident fetish for grassroots democratic action makes his evaluation distorted - he's that sort of leader who would defend annexation as long as people throw the flowers on arriving military tanks, even if it's performed at a gun point to heads. Not surprisingly, he came out with a support for Putin's actions in Ukraine, defending legitimacy of referendum in Crimea, underwriting stories of Russian forces in the country as bogus conspiracy theories created by the West, all for the sake of giving "freedom" to the Ukrainian people. Without a doubt, the sole reason why he always signals the new Cold War is because if such really occurs, his role in the late 1980s would be insignificant and his achievements irrelevant. The longstanding legacy of his would be known as a short pause in the Cold War, a reload, and a respite.
I have deep regret that there's no mechanism to take away Nobel Peace Prize from someone who was never worthy of one in the first place and especially when they continue spreading the debauchery and open political gangsterism under the veil of peace. But it's possible to excommunicate the former leader of Soviet Union and oust to the same embarrassing cave of anti-Western activists and Kremlin big-mouthed fascists.