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Kasparov at Westminster

Global Terror, Russian Aggression Caused by Western Political Complacency, Human Rights Activist Charges during Speech at Westminster College

FULTON, MO, April 12, 2016 – Human rights activist and former world chess champion Garry Kasparov accused the United States of political complacency, saying it has enabled global terrorism and Russian aggression.

Kasparov, an opponent of Russian President Vladimir Putin and chairman of the New York-based Human Rights Foundation, leveled his charges during a speech at Westminster College, home of the National Churchill Museum.

“Our enemies have not grown stronger,” he said. “Our resolve has grown weaker. During the seven years of the Obama administration, we have seen that inaction can have the gravest consequences.”

He said diplomacy and political correctness have wrongly replaced political action, the kind shown by late British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and then-President Harry S. Truman, whose decisions helped keep the Soviet Union in check during the “Cold War” (1946-1991).

Kasparov warned “inaction can fracture alliances … empower dictators … embolden terrorists … and enflame regional conflicts. Inaction can slaughter innocent people and create millions of refugees. We have the horrific proof in Syria, where Obama’s infamous ‘red line’ has been painted over in blood.”

Kasparov also shook his head as he said a quarter-million victims of war and terrorist attacks “are politically acceptable consequences of inaction. But, a single casualty from action, by attempting to prevent those horrors, is considered politically unacceptable.

“That is the ghastly arithmetic of appeasement in the 21st century,” he said.

He also criticized Congress, saying “the idea America can be a force for stability and freedom has been abandoned by Washington.”

Kasparov urged Americans “to not let the fear of making things worse paralyze us from making things better,” he said. “We have the tools and we have the strength. All we need is the courage to continue.”

Kasparov was introduced by Westminster senior Amelia Ayers, who is majoring in National Security Studies, Transnational Studies, and Political Science. She’s also President of the National Security Honors Society and a former State Department intern.

“It was an honor and a privilege to introduce Gary Kasparov,” Ayers said. “His visit was a tremendous opportunity to learn his thoughts and perspectives about Churchill and the current geopolitical situation. He did not disappoint. He was excellent.”

EDITORS: Kasparov’s speech is available on his Facebook page. Photos and video news cuts are available here.

Contact: Rob.Crouse@westminster-mo.edu, 573-592-5019.

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