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.
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.”
“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.
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.”