And that must be so. It really was a heady time for an observer like me in my little canadian home town watching the events in Gdansk and seeing someone like Havel rise to the top. Gorbachev was received or perceived quite differently in Canada than in the US, really only because Canada had not been so suffused with anti-communist/anti-Russians propaganda. Most of us, certainly everyone I knew, thought Gorbi a wonderful surprise...thoughtful, educated and sane. Those weren't words that came to mind in our conceptions of Reagan.
Do you believe that Americans saw Gorbachev in a significantly different light from that which you attribute to Canadians? What is your evidence of this?
What do you believe influenced the Soviets to appoint Gorbachov to his office, following the death of Andropov - a former KGB head? Was it Canadian "reasonableness" ? or something else?
Though Canadian reasonableness throws a long and blessed shadow across the face of the world, I doubt that it reached into Politburo leadership deliberations. That said, the fellow did come over to meet with Pierre Trudeau two years before his election to General Secretary...they became lifelong friends beginning at that visit.
As to your first paragraph, that would be a bit difficult to deliver up evidence for. But consider my vantage point. We always had available to us the news services of two nations, ours and yours. That was probably true for most canadians due to our population's proximity to the border...we got our local stations, CBC, a second private Canadian network, and all the major American networks.
We, my family, watched American news and TV and Canadian news and TV every night. So, for example, I watched events in Selma Alabama at precisely the same time you did. But I'll wager you didn't see the coverage of this event or any/many others from Canadian media.
There were many differences. We never watched the Olympics on an American channel, for example, because they never showed anything other than events where Americans were expected to be victorious. My mother, though deceased more than a decade, still hates America on this basis alone. Any gypsy medium worth her salt can verify this.
But the significant difference in relation to our discussion here was the fervor and vitriol and obsession with communism and Russia. Whatever of that we had in canada was magnitudes less than what you grew up swimming around in. We had no Joe McCarthy because we didn't need one. We didn't have a Phyllis Shafley because we didn't need one. We didn't have a leader using a phrase anything like "Evil Empire" because we didn't need to have a leader who defined his nation as the opposite of that - good and godly.
You'lll suggest that the above rises out of America's internationalist good-doing and freedom-protecting. That's a notion which doesn't have much traction anywhere else than in America...how odd.
Of course we saw Gorbachev in a different light. We didn't have to
see him in a bad or evil light. We've never needed enemies or projections of external evil in the way that the American story of itself has done.
And now you've created yourself another one. It was merely a matter of time.