By Sina English
The mindset of “might is right” is receding with the progressing wheel of history, and the “bomb and missile democracy” is no longer an invincible weapon. The following is excerpts from Russian President Vladimir Putin’s most recent speech:
The West is losing its global leadership and, in turn, is complicating the worldwide political and economic situation. This statement by Russian President Vladimir Putin was made in a recent speech to Russian ambassadors at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. During his speech, the president outlined the new priorities for the country’s foreign policy.
Putin noted that “It should be recognized that no reliable options for overcoming the global economic crisis are in sight. The debt crisis of the Euro zone, which is gradually sliding into recession, is just the tip of an iceberg of unresolved systemic problems faced by the global economy.” He underlined that “the deficit of new development models against the background of eroding leadership of traditional economic locomotives such as the United States, the European Union, and Japan is slowing down the dynamics of global economy.”
The Russian president told the ambassadors that “domestic socio-economic problems that have become worse in industrialized countries as a result of the economic crisis are weakening the dominant role of the so-called historical West. We can already see this for a fact now.”
At the same time, Putin observed that “This situation is alarming and because the consequences of these tectonic shifts in the global economy are not yet clear, nor are the inevitable shifts in the international balance of power and in the global policy that will follow. Due to these circumstances, Moscow is worried about some members of the international community in their attempt to maintain their traditional influence, often by resorting to unilateral action that runs counter to the principles of international law.”
This is pushing Western governments into using what Vladimir Putin described as a “bombs and missile democracy” around the world, and particularly in the Middle East, which is struggling from the fallout of the so-called Arab Spring. “We see how contradictory and unbalanced the reform process is in North Africa and the Middle East, and I am sure that many of you still have the tragic events in Libya before your eyes,” President Putin noted, continuing, “We cannot allow a repeat of such scenarios in other countries: in Syria, for example. I believe that we must do everything possible to press the parties in this conflict into negotiating a peaceful political solution to all issues of dispute. We must do all we can to facilitate such a dialogue.”
Continuing his speech, Putin underlined, “Collective effort with emphasis on peaceful negotiations and the search for compromise solutions should become the imperative in general in international life today. This applies to all of the world’s sore points, including the Iranian and North Korean nuclear programs, Afghanistan, and other regional and sub-regional problems.” The central role, he strongly emphasized, should be assigned to the UN.
As regards to setting priorities, the president outlined that Russian foreign policy should be aimed at integrating the CIS. In addition, Russia will continue to strengthen its position in the Asia-Pacific region. He mentioned that, although the global crisis has affected this area, in general the entire region continues to increase its economic power, and is quickly becoming the new center of global development. To this end, Putin stressed that “in this context, strategic and practical cooperation with China is a major priority. We will continue to pay particular attention to deepening all forms of cooperation with our Chinese partners, including coordinating our efforts on the international agenda.”
Referring to relations with Europe, the Russian President emphasized economic cooperation, noting that more than a quarter of Russia’s foreign trade was with countries like Germany, Italy, France, and the Netherlands.
Turning to the issue of US-Russian relations, Putin said that he recently had a meaningful conversation with US President Barack Obama. “We reiterated our desire to build on the progress we have made over recent years and develop a constructive, predictable, and mutually advantageous bilateral cooperation model. As the world’s biggest nuclear powers, Russia and the US play a vital part in resolving many global and regional problems; and at a time when international relations are so complex, on-going and trusting dialogue between our two countries becomes even more important.”
At the same time, the Russian head of state expressed his concerns regarding recent rhetoric emerging from the American election process. “Everybody knows that the United States is in the middle of an election cycle right now, and it’s time to campaign. It is tempting to score easy points by talking tough, by recalling stereotypes and phobias from the past. But, it is time to put this old way of thinking to rest. We see what is going on. We do not dramatize the situation, but we are aware of it. It is long since time to give up such practices as a means of settling domestic political problems if all they do is worsen the international situation or harm international relations,” Putin concluded.