Budapest—On the banks of the Danube, it is quite natural to ask whether the idea of Central Europe has been just a whim of a few intellectuals, or acquires now a new significance thanks to the aspirations for democracy that have been reawakened in many countries. The simple fact is that our perspective, whether we are Poles or Hungarians or Yugoslavs, is different from the perspective of Western Europeans, Russians, or Americans.
1. LONG TO REIGN OVER US Her. (No, not the Queen.) Ronald Reagan changed American politics; Margaret Thatcher changed British life. And she's still here, with no end in sight. But on her tenth anniversary, she is perceived as suffering from folie de grandeur, symbolized by her already immortal announcement of a recent family arrival with the words, "We are a grandmother." Her latest free market reforms of the medical and legal professions are seen as either courageous or reckless (take your pick) exercises in intellectual consistency: giving Tories a taste of her favorite medicine.
"Here once the embattled farmers stood And fired the shot heard round the world." —Hymn sung at the completion of the Battle Monument, Concord, July 4, 1837 The claim in Emerson's line is expansive. Can it be true that the shot was heard round the world—when there were no satellites, no television, no radio, no telephone? Let us see. It then took from five to six weeks for news to cross the Atlantic.
Chernobyl – The workers here called it the Red forest, an ironic political joke and an accurate description. In the months after the explosion at Chernobyl hundreds of acres of pine trees surrounding the power plant reacted to the intense radiation that had showered the area by turning red and slowly dying. All of the trees have been removed now except for one surrounded by red flags. The Nazis to hang Soviet partisans during the war, so it is a shrine and scientists have tried to keep it alive. Nearby that tree workers in huge machines continue to cart away radioactive topsoil.
TODAY CHILE IS careening, quietly and in a carefully planned way, toward the greatest political catastrophe of its history. Within the next year or so, its people will be permitted to decide by plebiscite whether or not to accept a president proposed to them by their ruling military junta.