May 13, 2003
Mikhail Gorbachev Criticizes US Foreign Policy, Warns Of Consequences
In statements to the Argentine daily Pagina 12, the former Soviet leader denounced "the end of the democracy" in the United States
For the leader of the Russian Social Democrats, the US-led invasion of Iraq was a "serious political mistake", as, in his opinion, there were no conclusive reasons to attack Saddam Hussein's regime. The last Soviet President also warned about the consequences of the unilateral US action. "They did whatever they wanted, and this is a worrying precedent," said Gorbachev.
"It was possible to tolerate such an action in Afghanistan, where the situation was clearer; however, in Iraq, the US was deploying its military the moment UN inspectors started working in the field", complained Gorbachev in a long interview published on Monday in the Argentine press. "They have split the UN Security Council and the world, disregarding global public opinion. This is no longer a democracy."
According to Gorbachev, the war in Iraq had much more to do with the US's oil needs than with political reasons. "They are worried about the energy and took advantage of the existence of a hated leader; however, Saddam is not a fool: he learned the lessons of the Gulf War and I do not think he had weapons of mass destruction in Iraq," concluded Gorbachev.
The interview, made at Gorbachev's offices in Moscow, also included an extensive dialogue about Russian internal politics. Gorbachev, the leader of the Russian Social Democrats, backed Putin's latest decisions, both on internal and foreign affairs, and talked about the role of Russia in the world.
"Russia should keep on raising its voice to the world's superpower (the USA), which is now alone and has failed politically, diplomatically and morally," he explained. "The United States should understand that the world is not going to do whatever it wants; therefore, Russia and its leadership have to resist to the end," said Gorbachev.Regarding relations between Russia and the European Union, Gorbachev did not support the creation of a new Moscow-Berlin-Paris axis: Eventually, this could destroy established global institutions, such as the United Nations, the European Union and NATO. "Russia is virtually an associate member of NATO and should keep that position; we have to do the same with the European Union."
Gorbachev believes that if Russia enters the European Union, it could muddle up the organization. Therefore, he will promote an association with the EU to link Russia to the West, but not full integration. "Today, Russia has energy responsibilities with the EU and it is linked by our culture and tourism."
The former Soviet leader believes Russia is not yet like a Western country, but could be in the future. "It is a long process", he said. "Russia is part of European culture and, surely, this new cooperation with France and Germany will lead to a closer collaboration in the near future. Without Russia, Europe would not exist."