POLITICS
10/21/2011 03:41 EDT | Updated 12/21/2011 05:12 EST

Gorbachev concerned over force used to oust Gadhafi, while Mulroney backs it

MONTREAL - Two former world leaders who were in power when Moammar Gadhafi reached the height of his infamy disagreed Friday over the Libyan dictator's death.

Brian Mulroney called Gadhafi's violent demise the inevitable consequence of his brutal, criminal regime.

Mikhail Gorbachev, meanwhile, expressed concern over the military force used to take out the Libyan strongman.

The former Canadian prime minister and the ex-Soviet president spoke about Gadhafi at the same business luncheon in Montreal.

Mulroney and Gorbachev held power in an era when the volatile Gadhafi was blamed for two high-profile terrorist attacks: the 1986 bombing of a Berlin nightclub that killed U.S. servicemen and the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, that killed 270 people.

Mulroney acknowledged he has fewer concerns than Gorbachev with the tactics used to remove Gadhafi — particularly since the uprising was initiated by Libyans themselves.

He said Gadhafi abused the rights and freedoms of millions of his citizens as leader of a criminal state.

"For 42 years, he's been using brute strength and military force against his own people," Mulroney told reporters after the event.

"You can bet your bottom dollar that that was going to happen to him."

But Mulroney's Russian counterpart insisted the military force used to oust Gadhafi, and spread democracy in the region, was too strong.

Gorbachev, who served as general secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 to 1991, also didn't like how Gadhafi's death was being greeted cheerfully...

"We've seen the attempts to impose democracy by bombs and missiles," he said through an interpreter during an hour-long address to hundreds of business people.

"When the death of the Libyan leader Gadhafi is being applauded — I don't like this applause, even though Gadhafi himself is to blame.

"When problems are solved by means of bombs and missiles that extends the crisis."

Gorbachev, 80, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990, received a standing ovation at the end of his speech.

His address covered many topics, including the fall of communism in Eastern Europe and the stress of the Cold War, when he said even a "technical failure in the command of the control systems" could have triggered nuclear conflict.