CURRENT AFFAIRS UNIT, RADIO KWARA, ILORIN
PROGRAMME: NEWS COMMENTARY
DATE OF BROADCAST: 15/12/88 AT 1810 HOURS
WRITER: LANRE KAWU
Every critical turning point in human history has produced outstanding individual who, in action and thought, embody the will and aspirations of the mass of humanity. In this, our nuclear age, when the threat to the very survival of man himself has become so real, Mikhail Gorbachev, has proved to be the most complete statesman of the epoch. From his election into office as Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, has set out with singular determination, to bring reforms to Soviet society, which most observers agree, has been stagnating from the early years of the 1970s.
However, it is the in the field of international relations, that Gorbachev has shown his qualities as a politician, a strategist and man of action. The basic plank of his actions, is that human thinking, in the nuclear age must undergo a radical change, consonant with the actual threat that faces humanity. This concept of New Thinking underlines the need to conquer peace fr humanity. It also flows from New Thinking, that there cannot be security for any nation, unless there is collective security for all nations. In that vein, he calls for negotiation to remove even the most difficult questions in relations between nations. It is within the context of the political activities of Mikhail Gorbachev, that the two superpowers signed the INF Treaty at the end of 1987. That was the first Treaty in the nuclear age, that actually eliminates a whole class of nuclear weapons.
We have also witnessed the unprecedented steps of the past year, to settle regional conflicts in Southern Africa, South East Asia, Central America, and North West Africa. The latest step in the Gorbachev Revolution, came from his address to the United Nations General Assembly last week. In a typical manner, Gorbachev announced plans for a unilateral Soviet troops reduction in Eastern Europe and parts of the Soviet Union.
According to Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet Union will reduce its troops by half a million men in two years. That is ten percent of the Soviet Army. From the Eastern European frontline, six tank divisions of about ten thousand tanks, 8,000 artillery pieces and 800 airplanes are to be withdrawn. There will be a re-organisation of these forward-based troops in Europe. This will stress their purely defensive character.
These steps are very significant, because it is in Central Europe, that armies of the Warsaw Pact and NATO nations face each other. It is there, that the greatest threat to human survival emanates from. By stressing universal human values, such as the state of the environment, the interdependence of nations and peoples, the state of the world economy and the plight of developing countries, Gorbachev has been able to mobilise sympathetic world opinion.
It is no surprise therefore, that Gorbachev has been voted as the most significant ruler in the world today. The peoples in different continents see him as the leader who champions the cause world peace, in the most vigorous manner. There is no doubt that the world is freer while the chances of peace seem more assured. These are some of the achievements of the New Thinking, championed by the Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev.