The last leader of the Soviet Union has a warning for the world: we may be on the brink of war.
Mikhail Gorbachev — who rose to power in the final years of the Cold War and was the president of the soviet state when it dissolved in 1991 — wrote an opinion piece that he’s worried about world leaders’ militaristic tones and the rate at which nations are ramping up their arsenals.
“It all looks as if the world is preparing for war,” he wrote in his Friday “Time” Magazine piece.
“No problem is more urgent today than the militarization of politics and the new arms race,” he continued. “Stopping and reversing this ruinous race must be our top priority.”
Earlier this month, hundreds of U.S. tanks, trucks and troops rolled into eastern Europe as part of a NATO buildup — a move that Russia has rebuked as aggressive Western buildup.
Meanwhile, President Trump has reportedly said he wouldn’t mind having an arms race and has openly called for America to strengthen its nuclear weapons capacities. Russian President Vladimir Putin has also said modernizing Russia’s strategic nuclear forces is a priority.
Gorbachev said if tensions boil over with so many weapons so readily available, the results could be disastrous.
“NATO and Russian forces and weapons that used to be deployed at a distance are now placed closer to each other, as if to shoot point-blank,” he wrote.
The former Soviet statesman, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990, also said he’s concerned about the aggressive rhetoric being used by politicians across the world, adding that even “commentators and TV personalities are joining the bellicose chorus.”
Gorbachev urged the U.N. Security Council to adopt resolutions reaffirming that nuclear warfare will not be tolerated. He encouraged Trump and Putin to also adopt such a policy since they are “the presidents of two nations that hold over 90% of the world’s nuclear arsenals and therefore bear a special responsibility.”
“Ridding the world of this fear means making people freer. This should become a common goal,” he wrote. “Many other problems would then be easier to resolve.”