Gorbachev Warns of 'Colossal' Danger to the World

Former Soviet leader worried about nuclear weapons amid new Russia-West tensions
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 4, 2019 7:22 AM CST
Gorbachev Warns of 'Colossal' Danger to the World
In this Dec. 8, 1987, file photo, President Ronald Reagan, right, shakes hands with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev after the two leaders signed the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.   (AP Photo/Bob Daugherty, File)

The man credited with helping bring about the end of the Cold War doesn't think it's actually over. "Chilly but still a war," Mikhail Gorbachev tells the BBC when he asked to characterize current relations between Russia and the West. "Look at what's happening—in different places there are skirmishes, there are shootings," says the former Soviet leader. "Aircraft and ships are being sent here, there, and everywhere. This is not the kind of situation we want." More specifically, Gorbachev is worried about all this tension in the context of nuclear weapons.

"As long as weapons of mass destruction exist, primarily nuclear weapons, the danger is colossal," he says. As Radio Free Europe notes, one of Gorbachev's signature achievements was signing a landmark pact with Ronald Reagan in 1987 to reduce both nations' nuclear arsenals. However, the US and Russia abandoned that treaty earlier this year. In the interview, which marks the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Gorbachev offered this advice: "All nations should declare—all nations—that nuclear weapons must be destroyed," he says. "This is to save ourselves and our planet." (More Mikhail Gorbachev stories.)

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