Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Gorbachev Calls for 'New World Order'

Gorbachev Calls for New World Order, Expresses Concern about Revival of Nuclear Arms Race
10/5/2004 3:49:00 PM
To: National Desk

Contact: Barry Meiners of the Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers, 202-783-4400 (day) or 202-285-1620 (evening), barry.meiners@ciab.com

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va., Oct. 5 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Mikhail Gorbachev, the former Soviet leader who ended the Cold War and helped diffuse a nuclear standoff between his country and the United States, called Tuesday for a new world order that will be based on strong adherence to international law.

Gorbachev, speaking to the 91st annual Insurance Leadership Forum at The Greenbrier, also expressed concern that the progress he and President Ronald Reagan made to eliminate the threat of a nuclear confrontation between the world's two superpowers is being eroded by development of nuclear weapons in other nations.

Gorbachev's comments on the nuclear arms race were made at the very location where a Cold War-era bunker was built to protect members of Congress in the event of a nuclear attack. The Greenbrier bunker was a secret facility until the 1990s but now is a tourist attraction at the resort.

The Insurance Leadership Forum at The Greenbrier is sponsored by The Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers, which represents the top commercial insurance brokers who annually write 80 percent of the commercial property/casualty insurance premiums and administer billions of dollars in employee benefits accounts. The Greenbrier conference is the premier marketing meeting for commercial insurance brokers and the major insurance companies with which they work.

Gorbachev, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990, served as president of the then-Soviet Union from 1985 to 1991. He streamlined and decentralized the Soviet governmental system through his "perestroika" initiative and brought unprecedented political openness to repressive Communist institutions.

Gorbachev said the new world order he is advancing should adhere to international law, rely heavily on the United Nations and not seek to impose the views of one country or a group of countries on others. He said the new order should be more stable, more just and more humane. It will not deny the cultural and ethnic diversity in the world, and it will not ignore environmental challenges.

"World order does not mean world government," he said, nor "can you build a new world order on the basis of preemptive strikes."

Also, he said, "leaders of the industrial world should not reject the protests of those who are objecting to globalization" in meeting sites of groups such as the World Bank or summits of economic leaders from major countries. Any attempt at building the new world order will not succeed "if we ignore poverty in the world," Gorbachev said.

In recalling how he and Reagan began the process of nuclear disarmament by proclaiming in 1986 that a nuclear war between the countries "cannot be won and must never be fought," Gorbachev said he was reminded "that today nations again are perfecting nuclear weapons."

"They are trying to make them more mobile, they are trying to make them more penetrating, they are trying to make nuclear weapons a factor in the war. They are discussing the possibility of giving nuclear weapons to terrorist groups," Gorbachev said. "We have just ended a nuclear arms race and we are again beginning to talk about this, and this is a problem that could be very difficult to solve."

"If terrorists gain access to weapons of mass destruction, then our current problems will seem tiny by comparison," he said.

He said it is important for countries to secure the nuclear weapons and materials that exist currently and move toward eliminating them.

Gorbachev said he thinks suggestions of a lack of global leadership in the world today come because people's expectations of improvement after the end of the Cold War have not been met. Also, he said, in some regions of the world, democratic gains recorded in the 1980s have been rolled back. The conflict remains in the Middle East, and the conditions of poverty in the Third World have not been addressed as much as many expected, he said.

"I don't think that the current generation of political leaders is worse than their predecessors. It is the gap between what we have and the requirements of a new time. The leaders will come; that is inevitable," he said.

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