Mikhail Gorbachev, the former president of the Soviet Union largely credited with bringing an end to the Cold War, wrote an alarming op-ed for Time on Friday.
“No problem is more urgent today than the militarization of politics and the new arms race,” he wrote. “Stopping and reversing this ruinous race must be our top priority. The current situation is too dangerous.”
The current situation the Nobel Peace Prize recipient was referring to involves mounting militarization efforts around the world as tensions rise among feuding superpowers.
The United States alone spends the same amount on its military as the next highest-spending countries combined.
“While state budgets are struggling to fund people’s essential social needs, military spending is growing,” Gorbachev wrote. “Money is easily found for sophisticated weapons whose destructive power is comparable to that of the weapons of mass destruction; for submarines whose single salvo is capable of devastating half a continent; for missile defense systems that undermine strategic stability.”
The 2016 Global Militarization Index reaffirms his claims, showing some countries increasing their military spending even as their people fight rampant hunger.
“It all looks as if the world is preparing for war,” he said.
If anyone knows what the brink of dangerous, mutually destructive conflict looks like, it’s this guy.
After coming into power in 1985, Gorbachev began prioritizing Soviet economic reform and business over the arms race with the West. He attended three summits with President Reagan — eventually signing the ING treaty to restrict nuclear weapons construction.
Later he and President George H. W. Bush signed the START I arms control treaty. In 1989, the men declared the end of the Cold War.
The two countries have since destroyed 80% of the weapons amassed during those years.
“No one’s security has been diminished, and the danger of nuclear war starting as a result of technical failure or accident has been reduced,” he wrote.
Now, however, tensions are rising again and the Russian politician believes limiting arsenals is no longer enough. He wants war to be outlawed and he wants Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin to lead the charge.
“Because none of the global problems we are facing can be resolved by war — not poverty, nor the environment, migration, population growth, or shortages of resources.”
Gorbachev’s piece was released one day after President Trump made a statement regarding military spending.
“I want a balanced budget eventually,” Trump told Sean Hannity. “But I want to have a strong military. To me that’s much more important than anything.”