11 February 2007

Straight-Talking Putin

At the Security Conference in Munich, the Russian
president Vladimir Putin has raised quite a few
eyebrows, temperatures and voices with some
unusually harsh and forthright comments on
American foreign policy.

Remember last year how VP Dick Cheney accused
Moscow of using its energy resources as "tools of
intimidation or blackmail" only to get an instant
lecture from Putin on how America is today using
"democratising" other nations and regions (read:
Middle East) for its own narrow ends just like
the colonial powers 100 or 200 years ago were
using "civilising" other nations as the pathetic
and obscene excuse for robbing them of their
natural resources. Nothing has changed!

Putin's language in Munich was remarkable:
Referring to "the almost uncontained hyper use
of force in international relations" that was
forcing countries opposed to America to seek
to build up nuclear arsenals.
True or false? Undoubtedly true.

"It is a world of one master, one sovereign ...
it has nothing to do with democracy. This is
nourishing the wish of countries to get nuclear
weapons. This is very dangerous, nobody feels
secure anymore because nobody can hide
behind international law".
True or false? Undoubtedly true.

About NATOs Eastwards expansion:
"The process of NATO expansion has nothing to
do with modernization of the alliance or with
ensuring security in Europe, on the contrary,
it is a serious factor provoking reduction of
mutual trust".
True or false? Probably true.

About the missile defense system:
"I don't want to accuse anyone of being
aggressive" but he suggested it would seriously
change the balance of power and could provoke
an unspecified "asymmetric" response.
True or false? Undoubtedly true.

"Unilateral, illegitimate actions have not solved
a single problem, they have become a hotbed
of further conflicts".
True or false? Undoubtedly true.

"One state, the United States, has overstepped
its national borders in every way".
True or false? Undoubtedly true.

On Kosovo, Russia has said a solution imposed
against Serbia's consent could serve as a model
for other separatist provinces elsewhere in the
world. America, which for reasons best known to
itself supports Kosovo's independence, maintains
that the Kosovo situation is a "one-off" because
the province has been under UN rule since 1999
when Serb forces were expelled following a brief
aerial war with NATO.
But if America supports independence for Kosovo,
why not Chechnya and several other Russian
mini-republics in the Caucasus?

First reaction from Washington was that it was
"surprised and disappointed" by Putin's remarks.
"His accusations are wrong" Gordon Johndroe,
Bush's national security spokesman, said,
conveniently without elaborating!

US Republican senator John "AIPAC" McCain who
was also attending the conference, described
Putin's remarks as "the most aggressive speech
from a Russian leader since the end of the Cold
War" and said:
"Moscow must understand that it cannot enjoy
a genuine partnership with the West so long as
its actions at home and abroad conflict
fundamentally with the core values of the Euro-
Atlantic democracies. In today's multi-polar world
there is no place for needless confrontation".
Please read that again, slowly, and you will
probably want to scream!
Perfect Newspeak as you would expect from this
arch-neoCon and arch-Zionist, perfect rubbish!

Senator Joseph Lieberman said Mr Putin's speech
was "provocative" and that its rhetoric "sounded
more like the Cold War".

New US defense secretary Robert Gates said
only that Putin "was very candid".

NATO secretary general Jaap de Hoop Scheffer,
disappointed by Putin's criticism about NATO
expansion, asked: "Who can be worried that
democracy and the rule of law is coming
closer to somebody's border?".

Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the
president's speech was not "confrontational" and
attributed his blunt words to the sense that the
number of conflicts fomented by Washington
"was constantly growing" and that international
law was being undermined by such actions,
"It is in the interest of the United States,
the European Union and other countries that
international law is upheld, not further
destroyed. Until we get rid of unilateralism
in international affairs, until we exclude the
possibility of imposing one country's views
on others, we will not have stability".
True or false? Undoubtedly true.

Whilst stressing that I am no fan of Putin, partly
because of his savage behaviour in the Caucasus
and partly because of his systematic rolling back
of democratic reforms, I absolutely applaud these
comments about American foreign policy which to
any rational observer is as untenable as it is
indefensible, and as ridiculous as it is outrageous.
Well said Vladimir Putin, more of the same please!

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