To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev declared that the world is on the verge a second Cold War and the United States is to blame.
The one-time communist kingpin said the United States and “the West” yielded to “triumphalism” after the Soviet Union and its dictator-filled bloc of satellite governments rapidly collapsed in the late 1980s and early 1990s, reports The Associated Press.
Gorbachev, now 83, has never won a free, democratic election in his life. Ever since the Soviet Union crumbled on his watch, though, he has remained an active critic of freely elected officials all over the world.
“The world is on the brink of a new Cold War,” Gorbachev preached on Saturday as he stood near Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate. “Some are even saying that it’s already begun.”
Gorbachev suggested that the United States should not have attempted to lead the world in the power vacuum caused by the implosion of the Soviet Union.
He also condemned the United States and its Western allies for failing to settle conflicts in the Middle East, Yugoslavia and, more recently, Ukraine.
The Daily Caller notes that the Middle East has been a political mess since roughly the time of Moses, that “Yugoslavia” — whatever that is — is a backwater most famous as the place where the Ottomans and the Habsburgs staged battles long before the United States existed, and that Ukraine has been largely under foreign domination since roughly the 14th Century. But never mind.
“Euphoria and triumphalism went to the heads of Western leaders. Taking advantage of Russia’s weakening and the lack of a counterweight, they claimed monopoly leadership and domination in the world,” Gorbachev said, according to The Guardian.
“Instead of building new mechanisms and institutions of European security and pursuing a major demilitarization of European politics,” he added, “the West, and particularly the United States, declared victory in the Cold War.”
Gorbachev has also mellowed in his criticism of Vladimir Putin. Despite strongly criticizing the Russian president in the past for his dreams of annexing eastern Ukraine, Gorbachev implored Western leaders on Saturday to “consider carefully” Putin’s stance.
“Despite the harshness of his criticism of the West, and of the United States in particular, I see in his speech a desire to find a way to lower tensions and ultimately to build a new basis for partnership,” Gorbachev proclaimed.
In a statement released on Friday, President Barack Obama appeared to disagree with the retired Russian’s anti-Western position.
“As Russia’s actions against Ukraine remind us, we have more work to do to fully realize our shared vision of a Europe that is whole, free and at peace,” Obama said, according to the AP.