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A big wet kiss.

East is not merely meeting West these days, it is panting like a lusty lover. One object of all the ardor pulsating across the Iron Curtain is the Iron Lady, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Here, for example, is Poland's Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski on the su"We are full of admiration for Mrs. Thatcher, for the reason that she has pursued such a consistent and aggressive economic policy." This rapture was fully shared by Poland's Prime Minister, Mieczyslaw Rakowski, who said he would "very much like to be a pupil in [Thatcher's] school." To complete an unlikely menage a quatre, Solidarity's Lech Walesa said, after thousands cheered Maggie in Gdansk, that h"very grateful that fate let me get to know such a fantastic Mrs. Prime Minister."

"Hungary's PM Sets Off Down Thatcher Path" was the headline in the Financial Times when Karoly Grosz allowed that Thatcher's restructuring of the British economy was of "outstanding significance" and expressed the hope that she would remain in office another ten years. In November, Pravda and Sotsialisticheskaya Industriya demonstrated a like passion. Both Soviet publications had harsh words for England's big, bad trade unions and praised Thatcher for shaking her nation out of its torpor. Pravda even saluted her for admonishing laggards that "you only get free cheese in mousetraps," a remark few Britons recalled her making.

The East's fevered romance with the West also blossoms without specific love objects. Sandor Demjan, chair of the Hungarian Credit Bank, observed last summer that "Marx would have been satisfied with modern-day Sweden, he would accept that as socialism. In fact, I think he would accept the United States." Boris Gostev, the Soviet Finance Minister, says, "As Keynes said, there's no more destructive power than excessive wages."

In The Thinking Reed, a book about perestroika and Russian history, Boris Kagarlitsky reports that Soviet bureaucrats "are not hostile to the West-indeed, they idealize it. . . . Sometimes they frankly admit that they might prefer to be managing directors of concerns or deputies of some right-wing party in the West rather than members of the CPSU ."

Workers of the world unite, you have nothing to lose but your bonds!

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Title Annotation:East-West relations
Publication:The Nation
Article Type:editorial
Date:Jan 2, 1989
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