FOREIGN POLICY

Gorbachev writes: World looks like it's preparing for war

Former Soviet president Gorbachev issued a warning in Time magazine about the state of international politics.

Former Soviet president Gorbachev issued a warning in Time magazine about the state of international politics.  (Reuters)

The former president of the Soviet Union wrote in an column published Thursday that the current global political climate is filled with problems and “policymakers” appear to be running out of ideas.

Mikhail Gorbachev wrote in Time magazine excoriated politicians who strip funding from social needs and instead spend money on submarines with capabilities to take out half a continent.

“Politicians and military leaders sound increasingly belligerent and defense doctrines more dangerous,” he wrote. “Commentators and TV personalities are joining the bellicose chorus. It all looks as if the world is preparing for war.”

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Last month, Gorbachev gave a wide-ranging interview with the Associated Press where he expressed optimism about the Russian-U.S. relationship during a Trump presidency.

Russia-West ties are at their worst since the Cold War era following Moscow's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea peninsula in March 2014 and its support for a pro-Russian separatist insurgency in eastern Ukraine.

The U.S. and the European Union responded with several rounds of economic sanctions, which along with low oil prices have driven Russia's economy into recession.

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Gorbachev, 85, said he was surprised by Trump's victory, but declined to offer an assessment of the president-elect. He said it remains to be seen what policies the new U.S. administration will pursue.

"He has little political experience, but, maybe, it's good," he said.

Gorbachev praised former President Obama. But he deplored what he described as a misguided policy toward Russia pursued by the U.S. and its allies both during his presidency and now.

"They have been badgering Russia with accusations and blaming it for everything," Gorbachev said. "And now, there is a backlash to that in Russia. Russia wants to have friendly ties with America, but it's difficult to do that when Russia sees that it's being cheated."

The Associated Press contributed to this report