The Honorable Mikhail Gorbachev

March 20, 2003

Now that war has broken out I think we are facing a completely new situation where our worst fears are being realized. We need to act with a cool head, we need cool analysis.

Let us act to minimize the loss of life and the destructive consequences to international relations, not to mention the damage to the environment and systems upon which life depends. I believe not only that this war is unjustified, it certainly has nothing to do with real leadership in international affairs to which the United States is making a claim. It will do tremendous damage to international relations and to world security. The United States seems to believe this military action shows its world leadership. But that is its misconception. Real world leadership is to take initiatives in promoting the Kyoto Protocol, nuclear disarmament, and arms control, and solving environmental issues.

Here in Japan, where I am currently participating in the 3rd World Water Forum, we need the leadership of the US to develop a specific plan to deal with the growing global water crisis, and make access to clean water a basic human right. Unfortunately, the US government is currently opposing this tenet and lanaguage in the final agreement.

Water is an inalienable human right. Water is life. A failure to reverse the global water crisis could lead to "real conflicts" in the future. Currently, 1.2 billion people do not have access to clean, adequate supplies of water, and over 2 billion have inadequate sanitation. By 2050, it is estimated by the UN that water shortages brought on by booming populations, pollution and lobal warming, will affect between two billion and seven billion people around the world out of a projected population then of about 9.3 billion.

The U.S. is also facing real problems with this consumer society. On the one hand, it can be a stimulus for development and initiative. But there is also an abnormal aspect to it: super consumption, too many goods. Five percent of the world's population is using 42 percent of the world's energy and esources. How much further can you develop? Where can you find the resources?

Let me say that the real threat to the West is terrorism. And you can't fight terrorism with huge armies and massive weapons. Especially when circumstances are throwing billions of people into poverty, then it's easy for any terrorist organization to recruit people for its cause. We need to fight poverty and disease, and protect our ecology.

With this war, no one knows how it will end -- and the world will never be the same.