Chess grand master Garry Kasparov: If Obama was president in 1985, ‘I would still be living in the Soviet Union.’
* Kasparov declared that previous American presidents had stood up to a stronger Russia.
* Warned that the West wants to play chess with Russian President Vladimir Putin but he “does not have to play by the rules.”
Russian chess grand master and political activist Garry Kasparov had some harsh words Tuesday for President Obama’s handling of the crisis in Ukraine.
“If President Obama was the president in 1985, I would still be living in the Soviet Union,” Kasparov said during his Tate Lecture at Southern Methodist University.
The grand master asked the audience “[w]ho is going to believe the president of the United States when he already broke his promise to Syria?” and declared that previous American presidents such as Harry Truman and Ronald Reagan had stood up to a then-stronger Russia.
Within 20 minutes of starting his lecture, Kasparov also compared Russian President Vladimir Putin to Adolf Hitler.
“Each time you show weakness, dictators grow stronger. And each time you fail to confront them, the price goes up,” Kasparov said.
Kasparov expressed his indignation at the West’s reluctance to intervene in Ukraine, warning that if the situation in Ukraine is not diffused, Putin could create a great deal of bloodshed for Russia’s neighbors.
“We are on to something that is not within our ability to truly predict, but I don’t see Russia in five to 10 years survive within its current geographical borders,” he said.
Kasparov, a native of Azerbaijan, earned his claim to fame by becoming a World Chess Champion in 1985.