The Soviet Union would abandon its communist principles, Khrushchev once boasted, only 'when shrimps learnt to whistle'. Now that Gorbachev has taught his shrimps to whistle, can Western politicians cope with the challenges of a wholly unchartered new world?
All the major institutions of the post-war scene — NATO, the European Community, the United Nations — have been turned upside down. The stock-market crash of 'Black October' 1987 revealed the desperate instabilities of the global financial system. In this maze of intricate new problems and opportunities Denis Healey speaks with unique authority. A major political journalist in the late 1940s and 1950s, a leading player on the world stage for a quarter-century, he is now far and away the most distinguished Opposition commentator on foreign affairs.
His hugely successful The Time of My Life — 'the best political autobiography since Rab Butler's eighteen years ago' (Roy Jenkins, Observer) — was widely acclaimed as a masterpiece. Taking up the most powerful political themes that emerge from it Denis Healey now gives us this stimulating companion volume. In an added new chapter he looks at the wider implications of the Gulf War, the unification of East and West Germany, and the continuing unrest in Eastern Europe. In When Shrimps Learn to Whistle he offers a typically trenchant set of 'signposts' to help us all face the key international issues of the 1990s.
'Forty-three years of ruminations … by the greatest foreign secretary (as the author quietly and reasonably implies) we never had' — Ben Pimlott in the New Statesman & Society