Saturday, January 7, 2012

Churchill and Gorbachev: Rise and Decline of Their Empires

Open minded but too passive
Strong but stubborn

During World War II, Winston Churchill's strong and powerful personality helped him toughen Britain and defeat none other than Adolf Hitler. On the opposite pole, Mikhail Gorbachev's open-minded and calm attitude helped to gradually reduce decades of oppression in the USSR.

However, after their huge accomplishments, each of them experienced large defeats. Churchill's iron-fisted rule over India only aggravated their injures, fueling an independence movement lead by his nemesis, Mohandas Gandhi. Similarly, Gorbachev's passivity would end up in the disintegration of the USSR. It's not that he caused fall of the superpower, he just failed to take measures to prevent the breakdown.

Balance: tolerant + determined

In terms of balance, both Gorbachev and Churchill had very strong positive attributes that brought a better society for hundreds of millions of people. But during a ruler's times, different problems in nature cannot all be resolved be the same approaches and their focus on either aggressiveness or open-mindedness proved to be costly when the opposite value was needed. Leaders should know that the virtues that have given them success must frequently be complemented with its opposite virtue to prevent the type of problems that have been described. Gandhi, for instance, was a man who was more inclined toward the peaceful and tolerant side of the spectrum, but unlike his two peers, Mohandas was able to move towards the middle by knowing when to be unyielding to his oppressors.

Anand, A. (2011, Dece 21). Anti-thesis - gorbachev and churchill. Russia and India Report. Retrieved from