Gorbachev calls US military might 'insurmountable obstacle to a nuclear-free world'

Former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev © Sergei Karpukhin
Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev warns that when one state has immense military might and greater defense budget that anyone else, this creates is “an insurmountable obstacle” on the road to a world without nuclear weapons.

“Can we really imagine a world without nuclear weapons if a single country amasses so many conventional weapons that its military budget nearly tops that of all other countries combined?” the former Soviet leader told to Spiegel Online in an apparent – but not explicit – reference to the US.

“This country would enjoy total military supremacy if nuclear weapons were abolished,” he added.

READ MORE: Gorbachev: It’s up to Europe to prevent new Cold War between US and Russia

The 84-year-old political veteran called nuclear weapons “unacceptable” and “inhumane” in our modern society as they can easily “wipe out the entirety of civilization”.

“Weapons like this have never existed before in history and they cannot be allowed to exist. If we do not get rid of them, sooner or later they will be used.”

READ MORE: Gorbachev: Russia, US, EU should hold summits to ‘defrost’ relations

Demilitarization should be put “back on the agenda of international politics,” believes Gorbachev. “This includes a reduction of military budgets, a moratorium on the development of new types of weapons and a prohibition on militarizing space.”

If these actions are not performed, then the talks on any nuclear demilitarization will be just “little more than empty words,” he added. “The world would then become less safe, more unstable and unpredictable. Everyone will lose, including those now seeking to dominate the world.”

‘Militarization of space is a real danger’

Gorbachev said that he is “very worried” about the possibility of a nuclear war, adding that the “current state of things is scar.”

“The nuclear powers still have thousands of nuclear warheads. Nuclear weapons are still stationed in Europe. The pace of reducing stockpiles has slowed considerably.”

According to the 1990 Nobel Peace Prize winner, the world is currently witnessing the start of a new arms race.

“The militarization of space is a real danger. The danger of nuclear proliferation is greater than ever before.”

Russia & US have reached ‘crossroads in relations’

Moscow and Washington have already reached a “crossroads” in their relations, believes the former Soviet leader.

“Many are already talking about a new cold war. Talks between both powers over important global problems have practically been put on ice. That includes the question of nuclear disarmament. Trust, the very capital we worked so hard to build, has been destroyed.”

World’s mutual destruction of warhead back in 1980s should be a lesson for Obama, Putin, Merkel

The former Soviet leader believes that no matter how critical the current situation in the world arena is, no one should be struck by panic.

He reminded that back in the mid-1980s, there was “no shortage of people who thought the train to atomic hell was unstoppable,” but the world managed to “achieve a lot” in very short period of time.

“Thousands of nuclear warheads were destroyed and several types of nuclear weapons, such as intermediate-range missiles, were disposed of. We can be proud of that. We accomplished all that together. It should be a lesson for today's leaders: for Obama, Putin and Merkel,” Gorbachev added.