Gorbachev says world peace under threat

Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Gorbachev

As the world celebrates the 25th anniversary of the fall of Berlin Wall, the man who triggered the crisis in Eastern Europe blamed the world leaders for not not doing enough to create a better and peaceful world.

Mikhail Gorbachev, the former Soviet leader, has warned that the world is edging closer to a new Cold War.

“The world is on the brink of a new Cold War,” said Mr Gorbachev, speaking at an event, near the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, to mark the 25th anniversary. “Some are even saying that it’s already begun.”

The 83-year-old, who ordered his Soviet troops stationed in EastGermany to remain in their barracks on the night of November 9 1989, has been scathing in his view of what he termed Western “triumphalism”.

“Taking advantage of Russia’s weakening and a lack of a counterweight, they claimed monopoly leadership and domination in the world. And they refused to heed the word of caution from many of those present here,” he said.

“The events of the past months are consequences of short-sighted policies of seeking to impose one’s will and fait accompli while ignoring the interests of one’s partners.”

Gorbachev has earlier lashed out at the US and its President, Barack Obama, for describing Russia as one of the major threats to global security and “provoking” quarrels in Europe.

“The main virus (in the world) is America and its leadership ambitions,” Gorbachev told the Russian News Service radio  in response to Obama’s speech before the UN General Assembly, in which he termed the Ebola epidemic, Russia and jihadis of the Islamic State (IS) as the world’s main threats.

Gorbachev, who led the Soviet Union from 1985 until its disappearance in 1991, said the US’s main goal was “to do harm, provoke and, most importantly, not to allow quarrels in Europe to subside”.

The current crisis in Ukraine and other issues were only US pretexts to monopolise power, he added.

However, he said that despite the ongoing tension between Russia and the West, unprecedented since the fall of the Soviet Union, he did not think the world was on the brink of a new cold war.

The man who, along with US President Ronald Reagan, did the most to end the last Cold War recalled it was difficult to change the course of relations with the US during his leadership.

“It was also difficult for our citizens, who thought that we would not find common ground with them, but the United States is a big country and we should have good relations,” Gorbachev said.

Despite his criticism of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Gorbachev backed the reunification of the Crimean peninsula with Russia earlier this year and Moscow’s stance on the Ukrainian crisis.