Forced out of office and deliberately humiliated, Mikhail Gorbachev nevertheless left the historical stage with the dignity of an actor who was aware of the crucial part he had played.
Climatically hot, it is politically a very strange summer on this side of the ocean.
Europe's landscape is changing--dramatically in its
Eastern half, which is groping toward capitalism,
and less spectacularly in the Western part, which
is on the road to a single market.
When in London, if you have some time to spare, go east to the Isle of Dogs to visit what was to have been Europe's biggest office-plus-housing project.
As the year opened in Paris, two stories dominated the news, one of them sad, the other funny. The first occurred at the Talbot auto plant in Poissy, just outside the capital.
Performing political acrobatics on the edge of the economic precipice, the Poles are also showing how very far it is possible to go in Eastern Europe in the era of Gorbachev.
The Soviet Union can no longer act as a brake on US.
expansion, and Western Europe cannot do so yet.
That is the bitter, bloody and understated lesson of
the current crisis.
The longest reign in the history of the French Republic is coming to an end, possibly a premature one, with a sense of drama.
In the electioneering mood of France at the turn of the year, the good advice is not, as in a whodunit, cherchez la femme but cherchez l'argent.