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Avoiding Armageddon
From the Experts

Voices from - Silent Killers: Poisons and Plagues

Voices from - Nuclear Nightmares: Losing Control

Voices from - The New Face of Terror: Upping the Ante

Voices from - Confronting Terrorism: Turning the Tide
Kofi Annan
Mikhail Gorbachev
Colin Powell
George Tenet

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Voices from "Confronting Terrorism: Turning the Tide"

Mikhail Gorbachev

Mikhail Gorbachev was president of the Soviet Union in 1990-1991. His short tenure as the head of the Soviet Empire paved the way for its demise. As General Secretary of the Communist Party from 1985, Gorbachev pushed for reforms. His glasnost or political openness had long-reaching effects on Soviet politics and economy that ironically made him politically unpopular at home, but won him long-lasting international praise. He was declared Time's Man of the Year in 1988 and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990. He currently is president of the International Foundation for Socio-economic and Political Studies in Moscow.

"It would not be realistic to talk only about reductions of nuclear weapons, to talk about nuclear weapons out of context. At the same time, we should really move towards a new world order, a world order in which we will have real stability, more security, in which security problems will be addressed, and in which the problems of poverty, backwardness and sustainable development will be addressed," says President Gorbachev.
"I would say that today we are facing three challenges: [The first is] the challenge of security. If we don't have a stable world - and I'm not speaking of a dead world; the world will continue to be full of contradictions and it will be evolving and developing, but it should be more stable. But without a more stable world, we will not have security.

The second challenge is the challenge of poverty and backwardness. Today when the Cold War has ended, when we have globalization, all nations, large and small, increasingly depend on one another, and in this world of interdependence, it is intolerable that we still have 2.8 billion people who live on one or two dollars a day.

And this is a challenge that needs to be addressed, because this is a source of many conflicts. And it is because of those conflicts that we have so many countries, instead of addressing poverty and backwardness, that they are thinking about buying new weapons for those conflicts. But this should be the other way around, actually. We should address the problems of backwardness and poverty instead of buying new weapons. All developed countries want free trade and open markets, but what about free movement of labor? Because, of course, people in poor countries want to go to where it's going to be better for them. But rich countries more and more close their doors to migration.

... And international terrorists benefit from the current situation, because they have a large pool of people from whom they can recruit terrorists. And we cannot defeat terrorism if we only use military means. We need to use force in situations such as after September 11th, but if we have one-half of the population of the world barely surviving, living in misery and poverty, we will never defeat terrorism.

The third challenge, of course, is created by this relationship that we have between … man and the environment. …The conflict between man and nature is something that we see in the state of the world's oceans, in the depletion of fish stocks, in the state of the forests in Russia, in the Amazon basins, in the situation with air pollution, with the state of fresh water...."


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