Suddenly Mikhail and Raisa Gorbachev want to extend their December sojourn among us. Perhaps they have noticed something that suggests how uncritically they will be received. In any case, the longer they stay, the more scope there will be for devising a didactic itinerary for them.
They may have noticed how little note was taken the other day when Gorbachev endorsed genocide. His speech at the 70th birthday party for totalitarianism was called ''cautious,'' although in it he called ''basically correct'' Stalin's forced collectivization of agriculture.
That adventure in scientific socialism killed 7 million Ukrainians in 1932-33. Gorbachev, who numbered Stalin's victims in the ''thousands,'' criticized Stalin primarily for killing people like Gorbachev -- party people devoured in the purge. But Gorbachev applauds the agricultural ''transformation'' achieved, with the help of a terror famine, at a cost of at least 15 million lives, more people than were lost by all belligerence in World War I.
Churchill, in the fourth volume of his war memoirs, quotes Stalin as saying there were 10 million "absolutely necessary" deaths. Gorbachev should at least admit, glasnostly speaking, to that figure, which is very low. Gorbachev, "Mr. Openness," is less open than Stalin was.
Given that such Gorbachevian caution wins Western applause, imagine the ovation that awaits him at the summit. It is going to be de'tente redux. Thus it is grim to fantasize about devising for him a didactic itinerary full of impolite sights.
The president should take him up to the solarium on the third floor of the White House for a panoramic view of a demonstration in favor of Soviet Jewry. Approximately 3 million Jews live in the mid-Atlantic region. It should be possible for Jewish organizations to get 400,000 -- one for every Soviet refusenik -- to rally.
The Soviet regime likes to suggest to visitors that the United States has lived a sheltered life and has no knowledge of war. So Gorbachev should be taken to Antietam, in Maryland, where on Sept. 17, 1862 -- still the bloodiest day in American history -- 20,000 Americans died, more than the number of Russians killed by Napoleon at Borodino.
The Soviet Union has bigger cemeteries, because of the Second World War, and it offers them as proof that the Soviet Union is peace-loving. While Gorbachev is touring Antietam, his guide should acknowledge Soviet suffering that resulted when the Soviet Union's ally, Hitler, broke their alliance. The guide can congratulate the Soviet Union for being the only nation that began the war allied with Hitler and suffered no postwar change in the nature of its regime.
The Gorbachevs will be here on Dec. 8, still a good day to visit Pearl Harbor. There they can contemplate the axiom, ignored by Japan, ''When you strike a king, kill him.'' Then the tour can move on to some California laboratory where work is being done on the Strategic Defense Initiative, which will complicate any Soviet war-planner's attempt to kill the United States with a first strike. The person conducting the tour of the lab should indicate how much we know about how energetically the Soviet Union is pursuing strategic defense.
On the way back east, Gorbachev should be shown the camps where Japanese-Americans were held during the war. His guide can explain the difference between a few camps that were a short-lived apostasy from national principles and a sprawling archipelago of camps that are a 70-year expression of the essence of a regime.
Next, Gorbachev should be flown over the Great Plains, the uncollectivized grainery of America. Then his plane should head southeast to Miami to see the inner tubes and other devices with which Cubans risk their lives to escape from Gorbachev's satellite.
Back in Washington, he should be driven through Georgetown, to Volta Place, so he can lay a wreath at the door of the house where Alger Hiss and his Woodstock typewriter practiced low-tech espionage. Then the motorcade should turn up Wisconsin Avenue, past the new Soviet Embassy, which bristles with devices for eavesdropping on the U.S. government and private citizens, and Gorbachev should be congratulated on the progress his nation has made, and the luxury of having an embassy here that, unlike the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, is not a big broadcasting studio.
Finally, Gorbachev should be taken to one of the modest marvels of a free society: a bookstore -- say, Chapters, a five-minute walk from the White House. A good bookstore demonstrates the richness of life where the mind is free. Gorbachev can buy something to read on the flight home, perhaps something by Joseph Brodsky, the Russian e'migre' poet and critic who lives in New York and just won the Nobel Prize for Literature. He is the first Russian to win it since Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.
Come to think about it, perhaps the Gorbachevs, overflowing with the spirit of glasnost, would enjoy visiting with Solzhenitsyn, one of the greatest living Russians. He lives in Vermont