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Gorbachev Calls for a New `Global Environment'

By Eric Harrison
Los Angeles Times


Proclaiming that the nations of the world are at an historic turning point, former Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev called Wednesday for creation of a new "global government," a restructured and greatly strengthened United Nations, which he said could shape world events in the new epoch and ensure a lasting peace.

"Humanity is at a major turning point," he said. "We live in a watershed era. One epoch has ended, and a second is commencing. ... No one yet knows how concrete it will be."

Speaking on the college campus where Winston Churchill delivered his famous "Iron Curtain" speech 46 years ago, Gorbachev sought to present a vision of the new era the way the British prime minister had defined the essence of the Cold War.

In a speech that both acknowledged Churchill's greatness while gently criticizing what Gorbachev called the limitations of his vision, the deposed Soviet leader called for a "major international effort" to make irreversible the shift toward democratization throughout the world.

While his speech contained no arresting image on the order of Churchill's iron curtain, Gorbachev, speaking in leaden abstractions, spelled out his vision of a new world order in which nations worked together to solve problems.

A crowd lined the road into Westminster College to wave at Gorbachev and his wife and take pictures. Dozens had camped out to be assured of a seat at his lecture, which was televised nationally. Gorbachev plunged into crowds four times, pressing against police barricades to shake hands.

"The idea that certain states or groups of states could monopolize the international arena is no longer valid," he said, speaking in Russian. "What is emerging is a more complex global structure of international relations. An awareness of the need for some kind of global government is gaining ground, one is which all members of the world community would take part.

"Events should not be allowed to develop just any which way. There must be an adequate response to global changes and challenges. If we are to eliminate force and prevent conflicts from developing into a worldwide conflagration, we must seek means of collective action by the world community."

Specifically, Gorbachev called for greatly expanding the role of the United Nations beyond that originally envisioned when it was created. He called for enlarging permanent membership in the Security Council so that it would include Germany, Japan, Indonesia, Italy, Canada, Poland, Mexico and Egypt.

In addition to the Council controlling an international peace-keeping force, he said that "under certain circumstances it will be desirable to put certain national armed forces at the disposal of the Security Council, making them subordinate to the United Nations military command." In essence, this could result in a scenario in which, say, the United States armed forces could be deployed at the behest of the international body.

His 45-minute speech was interrupted frequently by applause, particularly when he spelled out specific areas in which he said international cooperation could solve world problems.

He called, for example, for rigid controls to stop the dissemination of nuclear and chemical weapons. He proposed a powerful consortium under the auspices of the United Nations to finance the modernization or decommissioning of risky nuclear power plants.

Gorbachev also called for the end to the export of all conventional weapons by the year 2000; creation of a special United Nations body with the right to employ "political, diplomatic, economic and military means to settle and prevent" regional conflicts; a stronger United Nations stance on human rights violations; an international effort to enforce ecological standards; and a world conference to be held next year to deal with food and economic assistance to countries in need.

Gorbachev said that both the West and the Soviet Union made major errors after World War II that led to 50 years of escalating tension.

He warned, though, that the United States should not narrowly interpret the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War as a victory of the West over Communism. Calling Communism a destructive "scheme for the development of humanity," he said, "This was altogether a victory for common sense, reason, democracy and common human values."