Skip to comments.In Greensboro, Gorbachev critiques U.S. war with Iraq (as Senator Gone celebrates debate loss...)
Posted on 10/07/2004 3:53:28 PM PDT by Libloather
In Greensboro, Gorbachev critiques U.S. war with Iraq
The Business Journal
3:42 PM EDT Thursday
Former Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev, in his first-ever visit to North Carolina, decried the lack of world leadership in general and specifically criticized the United States' war with and occupation of Iraq.
"Implanting models from the West has never worked; you must take into account the uniqueness of other cultures," said Gorbachev, who while president moved to extricate his country from a losing cause in Afghanistan in the mid-1980s.
Gorbachev, 73, met with local journalists Wednesday evening at the Greensboro Coliseum complex before delivering a lengthy address on global leadership to 2,400 people as part of Guilford College's 2004-05 Bryan Series of public lectures.
Gorbachev, speaking only in Russian through his long-time interpreter, explained that the "worst mistake" his Soviet predecessors made was to "try to impose a certain system on Afghanistan.
"(President Bush) and (British Prime Minister Tony) Blair repeated the mistake of the Soviet leadership in Iraq," he added. "I said that on the first day of the war; they painted themselves into a corner."
Asserting that a policy of pre-emption "is wrong and cannot succeed," Gorbachev said, "the way to go now is to end the occupation as soon as realistically possible. Iraq has to be a sovereign nation, and the sooner the better.
"Of course they need help, and the United States should help. But Arab nations should be more involved in stabilizing what's happening in Iraq."
All evening, the former Soviet leader, looking healthy and fit, spoke with the kind of authority and vigor that made him one of the most influential world figures of the 20th century.
Gorbachev came to power in 1985 at a time when President Ronald Reagan was labeling his country an "evil empire." While Gorbachev rejected that depiction, he broke a long tradition of Soviet leaders by highlighting the failures of the Soviet system, particularly the way it suppressed its people and stymied individual talent.
Fighting against his own Kremlin comrades, Gorbachev moved to restructure his government (perestroika) and encouraged more openness in his society (glasnost). He also gradually developed an unlikely and powerful alliance with Reagan, which led to historic nuclear arms reductions, and ultimately under President George Bush (the elder), a thawing of the Cold War.
Gorbachev said that few people believed anything could slow down the arms race. But he pointed out that his close, personal relationship with Reagan, together with their ability to see the world as it really was, enabled radical change to take place.
"Our relationship changed; this was critically important," he said. "We felt a responsibility to our nations and the world."
Gorbachev's undoing came in 1991 when he tried to decentralize power from Moscow and give more autonomy to the Soviet republics. His own colleagues in the Kremlin attempted a coup two days before the transfer of power, and Gorbachev was later unseated by Boris Yeltsin as the Soviet Union fell apart.
The former leader said he regretted the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and insisted that was not his intention from the outset.
In his speech, though, he centered his remarks around what he deemed the three most pressing crises facing the world, which he stressed were all connected: security and terrorism, poverty, and environmental degradation.
The problems are enormous and dire, he said, before stressing time and again that "history is not pre-ordained; there is always room for acting and deciding."
But, he argued, "today, we are not seeing the global leadership that we need."
Without naming names, Gorbachev explained that too many countries have too many nuclear weapons, and little is being done to rid the world of this menace; nearly half the people on earth live in poverty and desperation, which makes them ripe candidates for terrorist persuasion, yet little is being done to correct this situation; and the industrial world is depleting the earth's resources at a frightening pace, yet treaties and agreements to press for conservation or reduce greenhouse emissions go either unheeded or unsigned.
"Today, we are all interdependent," Gorbachev said. "We cannot think only of our own affairs."
Despite the gloomy tone of his speech, Gorbachev, who runs a nonprofit foundation that concentrates on the three crises he outlined, said he remains hopeful.
"Every time generates its own leaders," he said. "When history determines its time, leaders will come. That's why I am an optimist."
Edwards Rallies Crowd In Greensboro
POSTED: 7:52 am EDT October 7, 2004
UPDATED: 11:31 am EDT October 7, 2004
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Just 24 hours after his showdown with Vice President Dick Cheney, Senator John Edwards rallied a home state crowd in Greensboro Wednesday night.
Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards touched on some of the points he made in Tuesday's debate -- national security, reducing health care costs and working for the middle class.
The North Carolina senator worked the crowd with words, laying out his and Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry's domestic agenda.
Edwards touched on some of the points he made in Tuesday's debate -- national security, reducing health care costs and working for the middle class.
"The place to start doing that is with jobs, and in North Carolina, we know that quite well," Edwards said.
During Tuesday night's debate, it was not Edward's future, but his past that came into question. The vice president even referred to a hometown newspaper calling Edwards, "Senator Gone."
"It's a lie. It's a distortion of the truth. Here the vice president is again not telling the truth," Edwards said.
Edwards has his work cut out for him in North Carolina.
A recent WRAL Mason-Dixon Poll shows the Kerry/Edwards campaign trails the Bush/Cheney ticket by 9 points.
"I think it's close. It's getting tight. I think we'll compete very well in North Carolina," Edwards said.
Both Edwards and Cheney began their day campaigning in Florida. Supporters cheered in Tallahassee as Cheney sharply challenged Kerry and whether he is fit to serve as commander in chief.
I'm so happy now...
JAPAN. INDIA. HONG KONG. SOUTH KOREA.
If ever there was someone who should STFU it is the man who lost the cold war.
"Implanting models from the West has never worked; you must take into account the uniqueness of other cultures," said Gorbachev,
So Gorbachev is going to make the racist claim that Iraqis are unfit for democratic governance and having a mass murdering thug is a unique quirk of Arab culture? By that "logic," that argues against Russia ever having democratic rule. And by the way, the same was said of post World War II Japan. Yet Japan adapted quite well to democratic governance.
Gorbachev was on the wrong side of history in the Cold War, and he's on the wrong side of history now. Time for this fossil to disappear into the "15 Minutes of Fame" black hole...and take Jimmy Carter with you while you're at it.
"Implanting models from the West has never worked; you must take into account the uniqueness of other cultures,"
Kinda ironic in that Soviet Communism is based on Karl Marxs writing that were done in and for the industrial age London.
Gorbachev: "But Arab nations should be more involved in stabilizing what's happening in Iraq."
That statement is so rich, I hardly know where to begin!
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