Mikhail Gorbachev: Squandering the peace we made

From a speech by the former Soviet leader at the International Community Partnerships conference in Appleton, Wisconsin
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The Independent Online

In ending the Cold War, we were able to break the logic of conflict. We were able to develop trust and co-operation. Today we need to rebuild the ideas of new thinking. We have to seek responses to the challenges of the world today, while fully understanding the complexity of the political and cultural diversity of the world. The use of force, the attempt to dominate and to solve problems by military means, is not a way to find answers in the 21st century. The world must again embrace the principles of co-operation and discussion made possible by the end of the Cold War.

But instead of preventing conflict, we have seen the practice of pre-emptive force. The military action in Iraq actually reflects outdated approaches to international affairs. The price for this division will be paid by the Iraqi people, who are not to blame. Permanent members of the UN Security Council must help to rebuild Iraq, despite their differences when the United States launched the war without a UN mandate.

I wanted to speak at this International Community Partnerships conference because of your goals: not only ridding the world of weapons of mass destruction, but also addressing the social and economic needs of the communities that once created those weapons and now house them.

The war in Iraq was based on the assumption that there were weapons of mass destruction in that one country. Yet most of the world's nuclear and chemical weapons are in the US and Russia. In our own countries there are piles of weapons of mass destruction, and we are not doing enough to destroy those weapons.