Tensions between the major powers have pushed the world closer to a new Cold War, former Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev said during a speech this Saturday celebrating the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, close to the city’s iconic Brandenburg Gate. .
The 83-year-old former leader of the USSR, who played an instrumental role in ending the Cold War, noted that the West, particularly the United States, had given in to “triumphalism” after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the dissolution of the communist bloc a quarter century ago.
Gorbachev gave a list of examples of Western backed policies that have lead us to the tensions seen today, including the expansion of NATO and the development of an anti-ballistic missile system, military interventions in Yugoslavia and Iraq, the west-backed secession of Kosovo, the crisis in Syria and others. The Ukrainian crisis is a “blister turning into a bleeding, festering wound,” he said.
Other key parts of Mr. Gorbachev’s speech:
“The world is on the brink of a new Cold War. Some are even saying that it’s already begun.”
“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. 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.”
“Instead of becoming a leader of change in a global world Europe has turned into an arena of political upheaval, of competition for the spheres of influence, and finally of military conflict. The consequence inevitably is Europe’s weakening at a time when other centers of power and influence are gaining momentum. If this continues, Europe will lose a strong voice in world affairs and gradually become irrelevant.” .
The Associated Press reports:
Gorbachev called for trust to be restored through dialogue with Moscow, and suggested the West should lift sanctions imposed against senior Russian officials over the country’s support for the Novorussian army in eastern Ukraine. Failure to achieve security in Europe would make the continent irrelevant in world affairs, he said.
Gorbachev’s comments echoed those of Roland Dumas, France’s foreign minister at the time the Berlin Wall fell.
“Without freedom between nations, without respect of one nation to another, and without strong and brave disarmament policy, everything could start over again tomorrow,” Dumas said. “Even everything we used to know, and what we called the Cold War.”