PUTIN SPEAKS AT THE 43rd MUNICH CONFERENCE ON SECURITY POLICY
The United States is
- provoking a new nuclear arms race by developing ballistic missile defenses, undermining international institutions
- making the Middle East more unstable through its clumsy handling of the Iraq war.
...a long list of complaints about American domination of global affairs,
- expansion of NATO into the Baltics
- the perception in Russia that the West has supported groups that have toppled other governments in Moscow’s former sphere of influence.
“The process of NATO expansion has nothing to do with modernization of the alliance,” Mr. Putin said.
- “We have the right to ask, against whom is this expansion directed.”
He said that the United States had turned the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which sends international monitors to elections in the former Soviet sphere,
- “into a vulgar instrument of insuring the foreign policy interests of one country.”
Mr. Putin, who has long bristled over criticism that he and his cadre of former Soviet intelligence officials have consolidated their hold on
- Russia’s government,
- energy reserves and
- arms-manufacturing and
- trading complexes.
(after the Berlin Wall) “now there are attempts to impose new dividing lines and rules, maybe virtual, but still dividing our mutual continent.”
The world is now unipolar:
- “One single center of power.
- One single center of force.
- One single center of decision making.
- This is the world of one master,
- one sovereign.”
With the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, the American defense secretary, Robert M. Gates, and a Congressional delegation sitting stone-faced, Mr. Putin warned
- that the power amassed by any nation that assumes this ultimate global role “destroys it from within.
- It has nothing in common with democracy, of course.”
“Today we are witnessing an almost uncontained hyper use of force in international relations — military force,”
“Primarily the United States has overstepped its national borders, and in every area,”
said Mr. Putin, who increasingly has tried to
- re-establish Russia’s once broad Soviet-era influence,
- using Russia’s natural resources as leverage and
- defending nations at odds with the United States, including Iran.
American military actions, which he termed
- “unilateral” and “illegitimate,” also
- “have not been able to resolve any matters at all,” and
- have created only more instability and danger.
- “They bring us to the abyss of one conflict after another,” he said.
- “Political solutions are becoming impossible.”
Americans in attendance. Senator John McCain said,
- “In today’s multipolar world, there is no place for needless confrontation.”
- that the United States won the cold war in partnership with powerful nations of Western Europe, and that
- "there are power centers on every continent today.”
Mr. McCain then hit back at Mr. Putin more directly.
- “Will Russia’s autocratic turn become more pronounced,
- its foreign policy more opposed to the principles of the Western democracies and
- its energy policy used as a tool of intimidation?”
- “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.”
Russia has also faced criticism from the United States and other Western countries that believe it has
- used energy reserves and transport pipelines to reward friendly countries and
- to punish those seeking to distance themselves from Kremlin control.
Some analysts saw the tone of the speech as evidence of how much oil and mineral revenues have strengthened Mr. Putin.
Mr. Putin began with an apology for the tough talk to come.
the Russian president indicated that he relished provoking the international audience
He did offer at least two significant and conciliatory statements to the United States.
- President Bush “is a decent man, and one can do business with him,”
- he also criticized the government in Tehran for not cooperating more with the United Nations nuclear watchdog agency or responding to questions about its nuclear program.
- “He’s done more to bring Europe and the U.S. together than any single event in the last several years,”
- “It was seen as unnecessary bravado.”
Senator Joseph Lieberman,
- “some of the rhetoric takes us back to the cold war.”
Mr. Putin joked that he worried the United States was
- “hiding extra warheads under the pillow” despite its treaties with Moscow to reduce strategic nuclear stockpiles.
- And he indicated obliquely that the new Russian ballistic missile, known as the Topol-M, was being developed at least in part in response to American efforts to field missile defenses.
He expressed alarm that an effective antimissile shield over the United States would upset a system of mutual fear that kept the nuclear peace throughout the cold war.
- “That means the balance will be upset, completely upset,” he said.
Addressing tensions between Europe and Russia over energy exports,
- that 26 percent of Russian oil was extracted by foreign companies.
- it has found its businessmen blocked from deals abroad.
The Kremlin has been criticized for attempting to impose registration and taxation laws that could restrict the work of foreign nongovernmental organizations with offices in Russia to aid democratization.
- “are used as channels for funding, and
- those funds are provided by governments of other countries.”
This flow of foreign money to assist opposition Russian political organizations,
- “hidden from our society.
- This is not about democracy.
- This is about one country influencing another.”
- alluded to the tensions between Europe and Russia over energy shipments and
- the independence of Kosovo.
- “In my talks with you, I have sensed that Russia is going to be a reliable and predictable partner.”
- “We need to speak frankly with each other.
- There’s no point in sweeping things under the carpet.”
- sharply criticized Russia’s recent shutdown of oil shipments to Belarus, which followed a dispute over the price of natural gas deliveries.
- She is pressing Russia to sign a charter with the European Union that governs energy, which Moscow has so far resisted.
Mrs. Merkel also alluded to another potential confrontation between Europe and Russia. The United Nations is weighing a proposal that would put Kosovo on the path to independence from Serbia, which Russia opposes because
- it fears that such a move could upset its own turbulent relations with ethnic groups in the Caucasus.
- Russia has crushed one separatist-minded people within its own borders, in Chechnya, but supports breakaway regions in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, both in Georgia.
- “If that’s the route they choose, both will have to make compromises.”