In an opinion piece for TIME, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev wrote that it appears that “the world is preparing for war.” The terrifying warning was published on January 26, just one day before Donald Trump signed his controversial Executive Order banning immigration from seven Muslim-majority Middle Eastern countries. According to Gorbachev, who led the Soviet Union from 1990-91, the current, terrifying state of world affairs needs to be handled by the UN Security Council. Specifically, the former Soviet leader suggests a UN resolution banning nuclear war.
“I urge the members of the United Nations Security Council — the body that bears primary responsibility for international peace and security —- to take the first step. Specifically, I propose that a Security Council meeting at the level of heads of state adopt a resolution stating that nuclear war is unacceptable and must never be fought.”
Mikhail Gorbachev: the world appears to be preparing for World War III https://t.co/erJGqvmPjf— The Independent (@Independent) January 27, 2017
Mikhail Gorbachev, who was the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990, was the sitting president of the Soviet Union when the Cold War (which stretched from 1947 to 1991) finally ended. In his Op-Ed, he addressed Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin directly, suggesting that the two world leaders bear the brunt of the world’s responsibility for avoiding nuclear conflict. After all, over 90 percent of the world’s known nuclear weapons are owned and controlled by the United States and Russia.
“I think the initiative to adopt such a resolution should come from Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin -– the presidents of two nations that hold over 90 percent of the world’s nuclear arsenals and therefore bear a special responsibility.”
“Politicians and military leaders sound increasingly belligerent and defense doctrines more dangerous. Commentators and TV personalities are joining the bellicose chorus. It all looks as if the world is preparing for war.”
Mikhail Gorbachev’s scathing opinion piece was published just two days before Putin and Trump shared their much-touted first presidential phone call on the morning of January 28. That call came amid worldwide shock and protests against Trump’s newly decreed immigration ban, a ban that has stranded Muslim travelers to the U.S. at airports across the country.
As CNN reports, Putin and Trump apparently opted to disregard the advice meted out by former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. Rather than spending their Saturday morning conversation discussing UN-sanctioned bans on nuclear war, the two world leaders reportedly discussed “stabilizing” the relationship between the United States and Russia, as well as defeating ISIS.
“However, relations between Trump and his team and Russia have been under scrutiny following allegations that Moscow meddled in the US election last year.”
Reportedly, the call between the two controversial world leaders lasted about an hour and came amid a slew of other calls between the new POTUS and world leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President François Hollande.
According to former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, the way to prevent the (possibly nuclear) world war he feels looming is to lessen the fear felt by “millions of people around the world.” In his Op-Ed, Gorbachev cites the primary reasons for the current level of global stress and fear as; “militarism, armed conflicts, the arms race, and the nuclear Sword of Damocles.”
'In the modern world, wars must be outlawed, because none of the global problems we are facing can be resolved by war.' - Mikhail Gorbachev— Jonathon Fr. Schmitz (@Jon4Real77) January 27, 2017
@CBCAlerts Hope you're wrong Mikhail. But I fear you may be right. Leaders seem to be less diplomatic and tolerant of each other.— Lorne Clarke (@Lorne1868) January 27, 2017
@ABC The world must be coming to an end to have him come out— SaveDemocracy (@1PercenterHater) January 28, 2017
The former Soviet leader suggested that people could be made to feel freer by having these fears eliminated or even just reduced.
However, in the aftermath of Mikhail Gorbachev’s suggestion, it appears that new POTUS Trump is devoting his presidential powers to moving the world in the opposite direction, as illustrated by the fall-out of his Muslim immigration ban targeting seven countries.
As USA Today reports, Trump claims that the newly-enacted ban is “working nicely.” However, what is currently happening across the United States suggests that perhaps he is incorrect.
“It’s working out very nicely. We’re going to have a strict ban, and we’re going to have extreme vetting, which we should have had in this country for many years.”
Currently, as of Saturday night, airports across the country have become the scenes of massive protests against Trump’s immigration ban. Rather than, as Mikhail Gorbachev suggested, reducing or eliminating the fears of the people, the immigration ban has stoked fears nearly to the breaking point. In New York, hundreds if not thousands of people are currently protesting the executive order that has left Muslims detained in airports across the nation. Representative Jerrold Nadler, a Democrat from New York, addressed the demonstrators with harsh words for Trump and his latest Executive Order.
“[The ban is] ineffective, discriminatory, “disgusting,” [it] “goes against every ounce of our traditions from George Washington onward. We are here to say it should be stopped and be revoked.”
So far, lawsuits have been filed on behalf of the detained immigrants, but in most cases, travelers impacted by the ban are at an impasse. Iran has responded to the travel ban by banning Americans from traveling to that nation.
If former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev is correct, the world is inching ever closer to war. Perhaps WWIII. Perhaps even a nuclear WWIII. Stranded global travelers and refugees with no country to call their own will only add to the chaos and confusion if such a horrific fate befalls the globe. One can only hope that Donald Trump and President Putin will follow the former Soviet leader’s advice and make positive changes to avoid tragedy; as Mikhail Gorbachev said in his Op-Ed, “the time to decide and act is now.”
[Featured Image by Ivan Sekretarev/AP Images]