Mikhail Gorbachev was the last leader of the Soviet Union when it fell in 1991 and succumbed to international pressures to tear down the Berlin Wall in 1989. But to this day, his name had silently washed away in history as tensions between the United States and Russia dissolved following the end of the Cold War.
But now, Mikhail Gorbachev is back in the news and it seems as though it is for all the wrong reasons. His latest op-ed in Time illustrated just how much a voice from the distant past can reemerge on the global playing field and warn the world as to what lies ahead, based off his experiences on the world stage.
— Doc History (@History_Buffs) January 18, 2017
Now that America has officially entered the Donald Trump era, tensions between the United States and many foreign nations have escalated in some ways, while tensions with a select demographic of Americans have escalated with the policies of President Donald Trump, which include domestic and foreign policies alike. He has already made an enormous impact on the country with his host of executive orders following his inauguration last Friday.
With all of those details combined, Mikhail Gorbachev has been given a platform in Time to voice his opinion on what he sees coming for the world. That includes warning the world that we are all on the brink of war.
“More troops, tanks and armored personnel carriers are being brought to Europe,” Mikhail Gorbachev wrote in his Time op-ed. “NATO and Russian forces and weapons that used to be deployed at a distance are now placed closer to each other, as if to shoot point-blank.”
It appeared as though Mikhail Gorbachev was attempting to point his finger at policymakers for not having a more direct approach to the problems that exist across the world’s nations. He explained that the war on politics, or the “militarization of politics,” is what appears to be driving this new arms race.
The United States and Russia have a long history of distrust for one another, which is what led to the arms race after World War II. The examples of Hiroshima and Nagasaki drove the world into a new age of defense, making sure that each country can deter another country from using a nuclear weapon to attack them. So the arms race was really about a nuclear deterrent, rather than the threat of first use.
But the reemergence of an arms race signals that the world could be preparing for war once again, or at least that is the way that Mikhail Gorbachev is describing it in his own opinion.
“While state budgets are struggling to fund people’s essential social needs, military spending is growing,” Mikhail Gorbachev wrote. “Money is easily found for sophisticated weapons whose destructive power is comparable to that of the weapons of mass destruction; for submarines whose single salvo is capable of devastating half a continent; for missile defense systems that undermine strategic stability.”
In the late ’80s, Mikhail Gorbachev worked with then U.S. President Ronald Reagan to decrease the destructive stockpile of arms that could have threatened all life on Earth as we knew it. This was done in the hopes that the threat of nuclear war would some day go away, or at least lessen.
“In the second half of the 1980s, together with the U.S., we launched a process of reducing nuclear weapons and lowering the nuclear threat,” Mikhail Gorbachev wrote in his op-ed. “By now, as Russia and the U.S. reported to the Non-proliferation Treaty Review Conference, 80% of the nuclear weapons accumulated during the years of the Cold War have been decommissioned and destroyed. No one’s security has been diminished, and the danger of nuclear war starting as a result of technical failure or accident has been reduced.”
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There now seems to be a total reversal of that decision made in the late ’80s between Mikhail Gorbachev and Reagan, according to his own opinion.
“Today, however, the nuclear threat once again seems real,” Mikhail Gorbachev wrote. “Relations between the great powers have been going from bad to worse for several years now. The advocates for arms build-up and the military-industrial complex are rubbing their hands.”
Although the threat of war is always possible, it is hard to determine if the warning by Mikhail Gorbachev has solid weight behind it. But the current state of divided politics in America does seem to play a heavy role in the burden.
[Featured Image by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images]