Jiben Roy: Is the US facing its own glasnost and perestroika?


Jiben Roy



Glasnost and perestroika. 


During 1980s these were the two common words flying around the then-Soviet Union. The two terms represented growing personal, economic and political freedoms being seen around the U.S.S.R.  


President Regan 0nce said, "Tear down this wall." President Gorbachev also wanted to reform key policies of the Communist Party. And we all started to witness the result of glasnost and perestroika. Freedom bells started ringing in different parts of the Soviet Union and the countries under the influence of Soviet Union. The world forever changed. Freedom-loving people across the world loved and rejoiced it. 


This was the end of Cold War between two superpowers. Gorbachev was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for peaceful international relations. In fact, the USSR glasnost and perestroika did good for the millions of people around the world. 


According to very recent CBS poll, most Americans disapprove of Trump's handling of the Putin summit. Only one third approve, however, 68% of Republicans approved. 


I am not sure what had happened in the Soviet Union during 1980s when Gorbachev started his mission. There were no independent polls and still no polls in Russia so it is hard to judge public opinion of a communist country. 


Clearly the American public are divided. Since the presidential election in 2016, there has been so much negativity about President Trump and his White house. It is hard to feel happy. There is less good news, and, instead, we have the unthinkable human tragedy of child separation of refugees on US soil.  


According to Time magazine, 69% of Trump's statements are fake in nature whereas Obama had only 26%. Maybe this is the norm of political leaders, more or less, I guess. I know major media are against this current President, so that obviously contributes to more negative news. 


Truly speaking, nothing has changed in my personal status and that may be true for many millions of others. I used to teach and am still teaching. We didn't have wage growth before and we don't now. No differences. However we like to see happiness to others too.  


When Trump met President Kim of North Korea, American people had opinion similar to that of current meeting with Putin. In fact, nothing constructive happened during that meeting in Singapore. However, to me, there is nothing wrong in meeting with an enemy even if nothing fruitful comes afterwards. As a non-political person, somehow, I believe, "if you have an eye contact, the killer may spare you." 


Anyway, there is a follow-up Putin meeting. As already announced, very soon there will be a White House summit between Trump and Putin. Fine. If two superpowers are in close contact, many things in the world can change for peace and tranquility. 


Unlike the USSR, freedom of expression and political reforms and transparency already exist in the US. Yet, in a sense glasnost and perestroika exist here if you view it in terms of this country going through it's own realignment. It could be a new better alignment for the US or it could go in a terribly wrong direction. I am just an independent observer. 


Jiben Roy, a native of Bangladesh, teaches chemistry and pharmaceutical sciences at Mississippi University for Women. His email address is [email protected]



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