cautions against willingness to take up arms
YORK, September 19 (RIA Novosti) - Mikhail Gorbachev has criticized
the readiness of political leaders to resort to armed conflict
to resolve their problems in a Liberty Medal acceptance speech
in the U.S.
former Soviet leader was awarded the Liberty Medal for his
role in ending the Cold War.
must speak out loudly today about the dangers of a militarization
of political mentality," Gorbachev said at the National
Constitution Center in Philadelphia on Thursday.
said that the world had unfortunately failed to take advantage
of the opportunities that had opened up with the end of the
no answers to global challenges, politicians take up arms
more often, and there is nothing more absurd and unreasonable
than this," he said.
said he believed a structure could be created that would make
impossible the use of force in conflicts such as the recent
five-day war between Russia and Georgia in South Ossetia.
also said the United States had made a serious mistake in
declaring the Caucasus an area of U.S. strategic interest.
before the award ceremony, he criticized comments by U.S.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice calling Russia "a
bully" for its role in the conflict in Georgia. "The
United States and Europe must stand up to this kind of behavior,
and all who champion it," Rice said on Thursday.
believe that the secretary of state should be more careful
and should show greater calm and responsibility for her judgment
in calling for the West to unite against Russia," Gorbachev
his speech he also urged a policy of cooperation rather than
confrontation between the U.S. and Russia, and reminded listeners
of the difficulties that Washington and Moscow had overcome
to achieve rapprochement in the late 1980s.
a Nobel Peace Prize winner, received the Liberty Medal from
former U.S. President George H.W. Bush, the chairman of the
National Constitution Center.
former Soviet leader was selected as the Liberty Medal laureate
in June. When the announcement was made, Bush called Gorbachev
"a great world leader and a dear friend."
respected in the U.S. and Europe for the reforms that led
to the collapse of the Soviet Union, has blamed Georgia for
provoking hostilities in its breakaway region of South Ossetia
and criticized Western states for backing Tbilisi.
is the main U.S. ally in the Caucasus region and had supplied
the third largest number of troops for Iraq, after the U.S.
and the U.K., before its attack on South Ossetia.
television didn't show what happened in Tskhinvali,"
Gorbachev said on CNN's "Larry King Live" in August.
"Only now they're beginning to show some pictures of
the destruction. So this looks to me like it was a well-prepared
project. They wanted to put the blame on Russia."
the capital of South Ossetia, was attacked by Georgian forces
on August 8. Local authorities have said that almost 1,700
people died in the attack. Most residents of South Ossetia
have Russian citizenship, and in response to the Georgian
assault Moscow launched an operation to "force Georgia
to accept peace." The operation was concluded on August
12, with Russian troops deep inside Georgia.
subsequently recognized South Ossetia and Abkhazia, another
breakaway Georgian region, as independent states on August
26. The West criticized Russia's response to the attack on
South Ossetia as disproportionate, and also slammed the recognition
of the rebel provinces.
president of the National Constitution Center, Joseph Torsella,
said that "awarding the Liberty Medal should not be construed
as an endorsement by the center of President Gorbachev's views
on the Russia-Georgia conflict."
Liberty Medal was previously awarded to Ukrainian President
Viktor Yushchenko, former U.S. leaders George H. W. Bush and
Bill Clinton, and most recently to Bono, the lead singer of
the Irish group U2 and activist.
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