Friday, November 28, 2008

Former Soviet President Looks Forward to Obama

MOSCOW -- Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev said Thursday that the overwhelming election of Barack Obama shows that Americans want change, and he called on the incoming president to extend his promised changes to U.S. relations with Russia and Iran.

"The entire world felt that America wanted change and was expecting change," Gorbachev, 77, said in an interview with The Associated Press.

He noted that some in Russia have called Obama the American Gorbachev because of his promises to bring change to his country. Obama's detractors in Russia say his policies will lead to the collapse of the U.S., pointing to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 following Gorbachev's reforms.

But Gorbachev said the world needs a strong America, as shown by the current global financial crisis, and he urged Washington to use its power for the good of the entire world.

"America is needed -- an America that is strong, democratic and sure of itself -- for the entire world, not just for Americans," he said. " We are seeing that if it's bad for America, it's bad for us all."