Mikhail Gorbachev diagnoses America's problems

Gorbachev criticises USAMikhail Gorbachev is still a very popular personality in the United States. And this didn't stop him from criticizing the foreign policy of U.S. administration. He accused the White House of displaying hypocrisy and double standards. He also blamed USA for its reluctance to reduce America's huge stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction. 74-year-old Russian politician leveled his criticism at U.S. administration during his ten-day visit to USA and Canada. Mr. Gorbachev delivered an address at the UN Headquarters in New York this Thursday. During his speech he called on the international community to conclude an agreement on guarantees for clean water supply to the world’s population. Getting the world leaders to sign the agreement is quite a challenge, said Mr. Gorbachev.

Mikhail Gorbachev is touring the States till April 22nd. His trip to USA is getting a lot of coverage in the American media. He took part in a meeting of the Council for Information Technologies in Boston, Massachusetts. The meeting focused on issues relating to cooperation between Russia and USA in the field of information technologies. Earlier this week Mr. Gorbachev met with the Governor of New Jersey Richard Cody in Trenton, the state's capital. Besides, the Nobel Peace Prize winner read lectures in a few prestigious universities. The lectures were related to the 20th anniversary of perestroika.

Recent opinion polls show that the majority of Americans still view Mikhail Gorbachev as one of the most influential historical leaders of the 20th century. No wonder a capacity crowd shows up every time he makes a public speech or gives a press conference on the American soil.

On a press conference in New York Mr. Gorbachev accused the Bush administration of conducting a policy of double standards. He said that Washington was not taking any steps to reduce its own stockpiles of nuclear weapons while demanding that other nations disarm. Mr. Gorbachev called for further steps aimed at the significant reduction of strategic nuclear weapons in USA and Russia. The former Soviet leader believes that Russia is ready to continue cooperation in this field. However, Mr. Gorbachev doubts whether U.S. administration really intends to play along. "The United States is the only superpower at the world stage these days so I would not say that the Americans are ready to continue the disarmament process because America has a winner’s complex and the condition should be cured," said he. Mr. Gorbachev said that humankind should get rid of nuclear weapons once and for all. But the process of  reduction of nuclear weapons in the world slowed down, according to Mr. Gorbachev. Now USA and Russia have 34,000 nuclear warheads in their arsenals. The bombs and missiles are capable of causing repeated obliteration of the planet Earth. An international conference will be held in the UN this May to analyze observance of the treaty for nonproliferation of nuclear arms that came into force in 1970.

Mikhail Gorbachev believes that the present military doctrines of both countries should be revised. USA and Russia already changed their military doctrines to allow the use of nuclear weapons under certain conditions including preemptive strikes.

Mr. Gorbachev is confident that both countries made a big mistake by changing their doctrines. "This is a mistake affecting the global interests of all humankind because we are talking about nuclear weapons capable of causing irreparable damage to human civilization," said he.

In the meantime, Gorbachev welcomes an ongoing dialogue between the presidents of USA and Russia. "We should welcome the process of dialogue because it will eventually result in consent which is a necessary condition for resolving issues common to all humankind," said he. The Russian politician is confident that the United State could be a true leader of the world. In his opinion, America's leadership should be built on a basis of international partnership as opposed to the world domination policy. "The old methods are not longer applicable to today’s global world and the violation of UN principles and international law is totally unacceptable," stressed the former president of the USSR.

Mikhail Gorbachev handed the Alan Cranston Peace Prize to the founder of CNN Ted Turner on Wednesday. The ceremony took place in the UN Headquarters in New York. In 1997 Ted Turner, a media magnate and philanthropist, allocated $1 billion to the UN Foundation, a charitable organization founded by Mr. Turner. The Global Security Institute awarded the prize to Mr. Turner for his effort in the fight for nuclear disarmament, sustainable development, and innovation in the area of mass communications.      

Mikhail Pervushin

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Author`s name Marina Lebedeva