Aggressive talk from politicians and military leaders worldwide — amped up by media and the "bellicose chorus" of TV commentary — has former Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev saying: "It all looks as if the world is preparing for war."
"The nuclear threat once again seems real," Gorbachev wrote Thursday in a Time magazine op-ed. "Relations between the great powers have been going from bad to worse for several years now. The advocates for arms build-up and the military-industrial complex are rubbing their hands.
"We must break out of this situation. We need to resume political dialogue aiming at joint decisions and joint action."
Gorbachev harkened back to the 1980s and his work with the United States to decommission and destroy 80 percent of nuclear weapons amassed during the Cold War.
"In November 1985, at the first summit in Geneva, the leaders of the Soviet Union and the United States declared: Nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought," Gorbachev wrote. "Our two nations will not seek military superiority. This statement was met with a sigh of relief worldwide."
President Donald Trump had tweeted some of the tough talk Gorbachev was referring to.
"The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes," his December tweet read.
Trump, after his inauguration in mid-January, then said he might offer to end sanctions against Russia in lieu of a nuclear arms reduction.
Gorbachev, who has been a critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin at times, continued a call for peace and arms reduction between the U.S. and Russia, Trump and Putin: "The presidents of two nations that hold over 90 percent of the world's nuclear arsenals and therefore bear a special responsibility."
"There is a view that the dialogue should focus on fighting terrorism," Gorbachev wrote. "This is indeed an important, urgent task. But, as a core of a normal relationship and eventually partnership, it is not enough.
"The focus should once again be on preventing war, phasing out the arms race, and reducing weapons arsenals. The goal should be to agree, not just on nuclear weapons levels and ceilings, but also on missile defense and strategic stability.
"In modern world, wars must be outlawed, 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."
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