BERLIN (Reuters) – Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, who played a key role in ending the Cold War, said the United States had squandered an opportunity to improve global politics after the Cold War, a paper said on Friday.
In comments that were among the harshest he has made about the United States, Gorbachev compared U.S. foreign policy to one of the deadliest diseases on the planet —
“Today our American friends are suffering from an illness worse than AIDS. And I would say this is the victor’s complex,” Gorbachev was quoted as saying in an interview with the Netzzeitung.
Unable to extricate itself from its Cold War mentality, the United States was playing a dwindling role in world politics, while Russia, China, Brazil, Europe, India and Japan were becoming stronger, Gorbachev said.
North Korea, which said on Monday it had successfully completed a nuclear test, was an example. Only China and Russia were in a position to handle Pyongyang, he said.
Washington will in future have to act less on its own and get used to a position of diminished importance, he said.
“The Americans will have to understand that in future they will have to cooperate and make decisions jointly, instead of just always wanting to give orders,” Gorbachev said.
He said the United States and other Western countries had missed an opportunity to make the world a better place after the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 ushered in the end of communism.
“At that point, the West focused more on its geopolitical interests,” Gorbachev said, adding that Western countries had been more interested in cashing in on the “unbridled burst of globalization” that followed the end of the Cold War than in improving the international political climate.