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Mikhail Gorbachev

“We are reaping the consequences of a strategy that is not conducive to cooperation and partnership, to living in a new global situation,” said Mikhail Gorbachev, former President of the Soviet Union, to a crowd of 3,600 on Oct. 19 in the Allan P. Kirby Field House and many others via a live streaming broadcast in 13 locations from coast to coast, including northern Mexico. “People are asking ‘why do our leaders want to decide everything at the expense of the people?’”

Gorbachev was referring to the series of uprisings around the world including the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations here in the United States. “The world needs goals that will bring people together,” he said. “Some people in the United States were pushing the idea of creating a global American empire, and that was a mistake from the start. Other people in America are now giving thought to the future of their country. The big banks, the big corporations, are still paying the same big bonuses to their bosses. Was there ever a crisis for them? . . . I believe America needs its own perestroika.”

Lafayette President Daniel H. Weiss introduced Gorbachev, noting that his visit was a celebration of the new Oechsle Center for Global Education made possible by the support of Walter Oechsle ’57 and his wife, Christa. “I cannot think of a more fitting way in which to mark the creation of this vibrant new academic hub on our campus than with an address by the distinguished global leader who will present the center’s inaugural lecture, ‘Perspectives on Global Change.’”

Gorbachev was welcomed with a standing ovation.

President Daniel H. Weiss

“We have invited such a renowned international figure to address us tonight because what he has to say is enormously important,” continued Weiss, “…he exemplifies the type of visionary, transformative leadership which we hope the Oechsle Center will inspire – and prepare – our students to emulate as they engage with the world throughout their own lives and careers.”

In the opening of his lecture, the 80-year-old Gorbachev, who ended Communist rule in Eastern Europe and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990, reflected on the years of preparation and negotiation that led finally to the end of the Cold War. “When my people asked what I thought of Reagan, I said he is a dinosaur, and when Reagan’s people asked him what he thought of me, he called me a diehard Bolshevik.”

Nevertheless, progress was made over that first three-day meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1985 and others that followed, with the final result that both countries agreed that a nuclear war cannot be won “and must never be fought,” and that “our two nations will not seek military superiority.”

Gorbachev then described the difficult situation faced in Russia at the time. “We needed changes in our own country; the people were demanding change, saying ‘we can no longer live like this, we can no longer live as before.’ This required us, the leaders of the country, to propose something bold.” He said this led to perestroika, to an effort to push forward and end the totalitarian system, “to move toward democracy and freedom…and step by step towards a new economy, toward market economics. But the most important thing was freedom and glasnost.”

Mikhail Gorbachev

With posed demeanor and steady gaze, Gorbachev pressed on with his historical reflections. The translator kept pace with the even-toned Russian voice. Gesturing occasionally with his wide hands, Gorbachev’s presence as a world statesman was unmistakable.

When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, Gorbachev said it was disastrous economically and socially, that nearly two-thirds of the people were in poverty, and that Americans did not realize it was not a good thing. “Americans came to Russia to celebrate our hardship.” He noted that many opportunities opened up “by glasnost, by freedom, by democracy were not used properly,” and the country is still in transition and has faced a lot of problems.

“The entire world situation did not develop properly,” said Gorbachev. “We saw deterioration where there should have been positive movement. My friend the late Pope John Paul II said it best. He said, ‘We need a new world order, one that is more stable, more humane, and more just.’ Others, including myself, have spoken about a new world order, but we are still facing the problem of building such a world order…problems of the environment, of backwardness and poverty, food shortages…all because we do not have a system of global governance.”

Gorbachev said it looks like the United States needs its military-industrial sector for the economy to prosper and if that is so, then it is a sick economy. “I do not say this to rankle anyone,” he explained. “I say it to my own people as well. We need to build a society where human beings are at the center. A lot of brain power is concentrated in the military-industrial sector; we need to shift that to other goals.”

In commenting on whether the objectives of Vladimir Putin, prime minister of Russia, who has announced he will run for a third term as president in the 2012 elections, are heading in the right direction, Gorbachev said the model that should be pursued is an association of nations, a union of nations that remain sovereign and politically independent and not a subjugation of nations.

“The Gorbachev Foundation has been working on this issue…we conducted a poll on the anniversary of the breakup of the union…70 percent said they regretted the disappearance, but only 9 percent said they wanted a restoration.

“Cooperation has to be based on equality and respect for the sovereignty of independent neighbors,” he continued, adding that if Putin and others who follow him develop a policy that respects this approach, then he will get support.

He commented on the changing world: “We cannot leave things as they were before, when we are seeing that these protests are moving to even new countries, that almost all countries are now witnessing such protests, that the people want change,” he said. “As we are addressing these challenges, these problems raised by these protest movements, we will gradually find our way towards a new world order.”

Gorbachev added, “I understand that you are inaugurating a center that will result in the kind of education and knowledge needed for these situations, and I congratulate you.”

“History is not preordained,” said Gorbachev. “We can influence history if we understand the most important things.”

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  1. End Time Prophecy says:

    If you do a world survey you will find that just about everyone really wants a change in the present order of things. Everybody wants a better life for themselves and their children. But our leaders have failed us (and have from ever since). Things now appear to be in such a perilous state that there is no hope of an earthly solution. As long as there remains a perception of injustice and inequality in our world the protest will continue, the uprisings will persist until our leaders come to terms with the fact that nothing short of real change is what is needed to make things right in our world. Personally, I am not expecting a great deal from our politicians. In fact, if last-day prophecies are to be believed, I expect them to do much worse. I guess the Lord will permit this to happen just in order for people to realize the hopelessness of this present world order and look to Him.

  2. Steve Sterling says:

    There is no doubt that we need a new word order. However, the kind of order that the various world leaders are calling for is based on their own individual agenda and not to serve the interest of the people. From the day Father Bush trumpeted his call for a new world order just before the first invasion of Iraq the world remains the same if not worse off.

    The Pope of the day had his own agenda as well, he seems to believe that unless the world conform to Roman Catholicism there is no hope of a viable geopolitical system. The reason why the world progressed no further from where it was in the 80s where the uplifting of humanity is concerned is because everybody with power in the world wants to run the world based on the theory of marginalization where only an exclusive few receives whatever benefit there is.

    As a student of end-of-days Bible prophecy I can now see clearly why nothing that humanity can do will ever solve the world’s problem. The fact is, they are trying to solve a problem they have created in the first place. Global warming, for example is a man-made disaster with all its attending consequences.

    Very soon they are going to propose that in order to secure the survival of the world’s inhabitants they must put a mark upon each world citizen. So all this talk about a New World Order doesn’t phase me one bit. It will all lead up to the fulfillment of Revelation 13, which prophesied of the mark of the beast. But I am looking forward to a New World Order where peace and righteousness reigns forever and ever Amen.

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  4. Ruth says:

    He is still mouthing the words “New World Order” and trying to make it sound as though it is something that is good for those not among the 1%, government leaders and Ultrariche – those who have all the money in the world, and influence the government leaders. Anyone below that 1% is essentially on the assembly line disposal, some quicker than others. It just isn’t expressed in words that would lead to the world population going nuts and to find THEM and drag THEM out into the street. Surely it is possible, you SAW it happen to Gaddafi. Of course that operation was a US/UN sanctioned mission, not truly “the people running amok” or the US/UN would have had boots on the ground to stop it. Gaddafi was not going along with what the US/UN have in mind. What keeps each national population from acting in concert as a redemption-seeking whole, is that there is always that core of power-seeking fanatic ones who believe their wide-eyed support will save them. It won’t. It just means they will be the machinery to move the agenda forward. They will zealously destroy others in thousand thousands, and at the end of it all, their reward will be the privilege of capping off the pile. Believe it.

    1. randy says:

      i agree with you (ruth) completely. agree with it all. it’s all quite amazing to see this happen. Come Lord Jesus, come.

  5. Canadain Republican says:

    Altho he’s kinda correct!

    I think the reason america and the allies are going around the world destroying oil producing dictators is to solve the trade inballance with asia. The reasoning is, if say china has tons of dollars, but cant spend those dollars why would it accept more dollars. But if say a country that exports oil was to accept dollars then China would have a place to spend its dollars. So you see with the added benifit of toppling some horible dicators america can control the world with its dollars. Anyway this idea kinda makes sence. why else woudl america help people if not to benifit themselves.

    I think thats why they bombed Quadafi. Imagine if someone tried to trade oil in gold … or euro’s , holy crap the dollar would loose value.

    anyways it also sounded like gorbachov (excuse the spelling) was giving a thumbs up to Ron Paul…

  6. Pingback: Mikhail Gorbachev Says Occupy Wall Street Signals an Emerging New World Order | OzHouse Alt News
  7. Ted Gemberling says:

    Buck, that’s not true at all. It was the fall of communism that brought the poverty and hunger in Russia. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying that communism should be restored. It didn’t work. But don’t think that capitalism is some sort of magical thing that will solve all problems.

    Under communism, people weren’t free and had little chance to improve their lives, but they didn’t starve.

    As he says, we in America need our own perestroika. We have had excessive faith in the goodness of the wealthy and an unrestrained market. Instead of wealth “trickling down” to the rest of us since 1980, the gap between the wealthy and the rest has gotten bigger and bigger.

    It’s interesting how the phrase “new world order” has become such a bugaboo in our discourse. People think of the Antichrist when they hear it. But if you pay attention to what Gorbachev says, he’s not calling for any “world governance” that takes away the independence of individual nations. He’s just calling for a more cooperative world.

    The US spends more on our military than the rest of the world put together. That is a major part of why we have such a huge national debt. We need to weaken the military-industrial complex.

  8. Buck Fleming '59 says:

    It seems that Gorbachev has a problem that often affects the memory of the aging. Events are sometimes remember with the major positive results attributed to those that made a secondary contribution to world changing events.
    He speaks of continuing poverty and food shortages and a new world order needed to solve those problems. He failed to note that those problems, in his native land, were not eased until after his period of governance and the fall of Communism and the emergence of Capitalism as a element in the Russian economy.
    I am confident that his fee for appearing at Lafayette was at the level required in the “old world order” and is not consistent with the “new world order” sought by the Occupy Wall Street protestors.

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