ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Calcutta Diary

AM ABDICATION can be bothersome, for kind Americans would want to commiserate in what they consider handsome manner. Thus when Edward VIII was made to leave the throne, an invitation flowed from Detroit to open the Zorine Springs nudist colony; there was another invitation to be mayor of Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, and, capping it all, the Or- pheum Theatre, Los Angeles, offered him a couple of million dollars, and a Hollywood mansion, if only the ex-king would agree to play the leading role in a stupendous historical film, In Mikhail Gorbachev's case, however, it would not be reckoned as a bother, but the summum bonum of marketloveliness. Four months of tough negotiations through agents, and the former president of the USSR has opted for a chair at Princeton. The terms which have persuaded him to travel to the eastern seaboard are yet to be disclosed. These must be far superior to the one million dollars offer from a Nevada gambling den. One million dollars a year, the owner of the Las Vegas casino had commented, was not a matter of joke, that fellow Gorbachev could not but give serious consideration to the offer Gorbachev must have considered the pluses and minuses of this and other competing offers. Finally, Princeton edged out Las Vegas, In any event, to the once-and-over principal functionary of the once-and-for- the-present-over communist party of the once-and-for-the-present-over Soviet Union, the Princeton assignment is small beer. Millions and millions of extra dollars will come from the ghost-written books he and his wife have already put out, and will further put out, in the US market. There are going to be, besides, television and video recording rights. It is a recession- hit country, but grateful Americans will neither deny nor disappoint Gor- ba ev. He helped them to ensure the demise, without the expenditure of a single shot, of the great Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics, a task which had earlier proved beyond the pale of the Kolchaks and the Denikins, of Winston Churchill, of Adolf Hitler, of John Foster Dulles, of John Kennedy too. Till yesterday, George Bush had the reputation of a run-of-the-mill bush politician. Ail that is in the past. He can now justly claim to have pulled off this century's greatest triumph for western capitalism. He has to acknowledge his debts to Mikhail Gorbachev though. This man, who was the all-powerful general secretary of the communist party, the only legal party in the country, and at the same time the head of slate, went ahead and banned, as head of state, the communist party. It was a virtuoso performance, well worth the millions of dollars he will now encash. A seller's market is a seller's market; had he demanded a few billions, that too would be moderation.

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