On October 24, he spoke at the Valdai International Discussion Club’s (VIDC) 11th session. Dozens of experts, historians and political analysts from 25 countries attended.
Factors eroding current institutions and norms of international law were discussed. Ones affecting global political and economic conditions.
Putin spoke directly and frankly. Unambiguously. Like he always does. Saying what needs to be heard. Polar opposite his Western counterparts.
Try imagining US politicians matching his straight talk comments. Important ones without equivocation. Telling it like it is. Doing so because it matters.
Obama shames the office he holds. He’s polar opposite Putin. Serial lying characterizes his rhetoric. It substitutes for truth and full disclosure. So does demagogic doublespeak duplicity.
“I will…not let you down,” Putin stressed. “Some of what I say might seem a bit too harsh, but if we do not speak directly and honestly about what we really think, then there is little point in even meeting in this way.”
“It would be better in that case just to keep to diplomatic get-togethers, where no one says anything of real sense and, recalling the words of one famous diplomat, you realise that diplomats have tongues so as not to speak the truth.”
“We get together for other reasons. We get together so as to talk frankly with each other.”
“We need to be direct and blunt today not so as to trade barbs, but so as to attempt to get to the bottom of what is actually happening in the world, try to understand why the world is becoming less safe and more unpredictable, and why the risks are increasing everywhere around us.”
VIDC’s New Rules or a Game without Rules theme “accurately describes the historic turning point we have reached today and the choice we all face.”
“There is nothing new of course in the idea that the world is changing very fast.”
“It is certainly hard not to notice the dramatic transformations in global politics and the economy, public life, and in industry, information and social technologies.”
Putin urged remembering history’s lessons. Including “world order” changes. Events usually “accompanied by…global war and conflict.”
“(G)lobal politics is above all about economic leadership, issues of war and peace, and the humanitarian dimension, including human rights.”
“The world is full of contradictions today. We need to be frank in asking each other if we have a reliable safety net in place.”
“Sadly, there is no guarantee and no certainty that the current system of global and regional security is able to protect us from upheavals.”
Things have become seriously weakened, fragmented and deformed. “The international and regional political, economic, and cultural cooperation organisations are also going through difficult times.”
World order mechanisms were created long ago, said Putin. “(A)bove all,” post-WW II.
Solidarity then “rested not only on the balance of power and the rights of the victor countries, but on the fact that this system’s ‘founding fathers’ had respect for each other, did not try to put the squeeze on others, but attempted to reach agreements.”
Longstanding checks and balances can’t be dismantled without replacing them with updated mechanisms, Putin stressed.
Otherwise, brute force alone remains. What’s needed is “carry(ing) out out a rational reconstruction and adapt it to the new realities in the system of international relations.”
“But the United States, having declared itself the winner of the Cold War, saw no need for this.”
“Instead of establishing a new balance of power, essential for maintaining order and stability, they took steps that threw the system into sharp and deep imbalance.”
“The Cold War ended, but it did not end with the signing of a peace treaty with clear and transparent agreements on respecting existing rules or creating new rules and standards.”
“This created the impression that the so-called ‘victors’ in the Cold War had decided to pressure events and reshape the world to suit their own needs and interests.”
“If the existing system of international relations, international law and the checks and balances in place got in the way of these aims, this system was declared worthless, outdated and in need of immediate demolition.”
It bears repeating. Putin is geopolitically polar opposite Obama. He’s not revanchist. He has no territorial ambitions. He doesn’t threaten his neighbors.
He supports multi-world polarity. He believes sovereign independence is inviolable.
He wants conflicts resolved diplomatically. He deplores war. He champions peace. He’s the world’s moral leader.
You’d never know it based on relentless scoundrel media bashing.
Irresponsibly denigrating his support for Ukrainian peace and stability. Doing so by going all-out for responsible conflict resolution.
“We have entered a period of differing interpretations and deliberate silences in world politics,” said Putin.
“International law has been forced to retreat over and over by the onslaught of legal nihilism.”
“Objectivity and justice have been sacrificed on the altar of political expediency. Arbitrary interpretations and biased assessments have replaced legal norms.”
“At the same time, total control of the global mass media has made it possible when desired to portray white as black and black as white.”
“In a situation where you had domination by one country and its allies, or its satellites rather, the search for global solutions often turned into an attempt to impose their own universal recipes.”
“This group’s ambitions grew so big that they started presenting the policies they put together in their corridors of power as the view of the entire international community. But this is not the case.”
“The very notion of ‘national sovereignty’ became a relative value for most countries. In essence, what was being proposed was the formula: the greater the loyalty towards the world’s sole power centre, the greater this or that ruling regime’s legitimacy.”
Measures used against nonbelievers are well known, said Putin. Including “force economic and propaganda pressure, meddling in domestic affairs, and appeals to a kind of ‘supra-legal’ legitimacy when they need to justify illegal intervention in this or that conflict or toppling inconvenient regimes.”
“Of late, we have increasing evidence too that outright blackmail has been used with regard to a number of leaders.”
“It is not for nothing that ‘big brother’ (spends) billions of dollars on keeping the whole world, including its own closest allies, under surveillance.”
Leaving no place to hide. Threatening cherished freedoms. Creating conditions unfit to tolerate. America stands guilty as charged.
“(H)ow comfortable are we with this,” asked Putin? How safe are we? How happy living in this world?” How unfair and irrational it’s become.
Washington imposes its will on others. Opposite results from those intende are achieved. “Instead of (resolving) conflicts,” they escalate.
“(I)nstead of sovereign and stable states, we see the growing spread of chaos, and instead of democracy there is support for a very dubious public ranging from open neo-fascists to Islamic radicals.”
“Why do they support such people? They do this because they decide to use them as instruments along the way in achieving their goals but then burn their fingers and recoil.”
“I never cease to be amazed by the way that our partners just keep stepping on the same rake, as we say here in Russia. That is to say, make the same mistake over and over.”
“During my conversations with American and European leaders, I always spoke of the need to fight terrorism together, as a challenge on a global scale.”
“We cannot resign ourselves to and accept this threat, cannot cut it into separate pieces using double standards.”
“Our partners expressed agreement, but a little time passed and we ended up back where we started.”
Afghanistan was lawless attacked. Then Iraq for second and third times as well as Libya.
They’re “falling apart.” Cauldrons of out-of-control violence and instability. “(T)raining ground for terrorists.”
“In Syria, as in the past, the United States and its allies started directly financing and arming rebels and allowing them to fill their ranks with mercenaries from various countries.”
“(W)here do these rebels get their money, arms and military specialists? Where does all this come from?”
“How did the notorious ISIL manage to become such a powerful group, essentially a real armed force?”
“Where do they get new recruits? In Iraq, after Saddam Hussein was toppled, the state’s institutions, including the army, were left in ruins.”
“We said back then, be very, very careful. You are driving people out into the street, and what will they do there?”
“Don’t forget (rightfully or not) that they were in the leadership of a large regional power, and what are you now turning them into?
What was the result?”
“Tens of thousands of soldiers, officers and former Baath Party activists were turned out into the streets and today have joined the rebels’ ranks.”
“Perhaps this…explains why the Islamic State group has turned out so effective? In military terms, it is acting very effectively and has some very professional people.”
“Russia warned repeatedly about the dangers of unilateral military actions, intervening in sovereign states’ affairs, and flirting with extremists and radicals.”
“We insisted on having the groups fighting the central Syrian government, above all the Islamic State, included on the lists of terrorist organisations. But did we see any results? We appealed in vain.”
Unipolarity shows “one power center does not make global processes more manageable.”
It creates “regional conflicts, terrorism, drug trafficking, religious fanaticism, chauvinism and neo-Nazism.”
“At the same time, it has opened the road wide for inflated national pride, manipulating public opinion and letting the strong bully suppress the weak.”
Unipolarity is untenable. It “justif(ies dictatorship over people and countries. (It’s) uncomfortable, heavy and unmanageable…even for the self-proclaimed leader.”
“This is why we see attempts at this new historic stage to recreate a semblance of a quasi-bipolar world as a convenient model for perpetuating American leadership.”
“It does not matter who takes the place of the centre of evil in American propaganda…” Soviet Russia’s old place as main adversary. It could be any country Washington chooses.
“Today, we are seeing new efforts to fragment the world, draw new dividing lines, put together coalitions not built for something but directed against someone, anyone, create the image of an enemy as was the case during the Cold War years, and obtain the right to this leadership, or diktat if you wish.”
Washington seeks hegemonic supremacy. “(I)ncreasingly divorced from reality.” said Putin. Out-of-step with world diversity.
Inevitably creating conflicts, instability and insecurity. Opposite of “hoped for goals.”
“We see what happens when politics rashly starts meddling in the economy and the logic of rational decisions gives way to the logic of confrontation that only hurts one’s own economic positions and interests, including national business interests.”
“Joint economic projects and mutual investment objectively bring countries closer together and help to smooth out current problems in relations between states.”
“But today, the global business community faces unprecedented pressure from Western governments.”
“What business, economic expediency and pragmatism can we speak of when we hear slogans such as ‘the homeland is in danger.’
” ‘The free world is under threat,’ and ‘democracy is in jeopardy?’ And so everyone needs to mobilise.”
“That is what a real mobilisation policy looks like.” It’s how rogue states operate.
“Sanctions…undermin(e) world trade, the WTO rules and the principle of inviolability of private property. They are dealing a blow to liberal model of globalisation based on markets, freedom and competition…”
Notions “primarily benefit(ting) Western countries. And now they risk losing trust as the leaders of globalisation. We have to ask ourselves, why was this necessary?”
Why pursue what’s not working? Increasing numbers of nations seek freedom from dollar hegemony. Alternative “financial and payment systems,” said Putin.”
“I think that our American friends are quite simply cutting the branch they are sitting on. You cannot mix politics and the economy, but this is what is happening now.”
“I have always thought and still think today that politically motivated sanctions were a mistake that will harm everyone…”
“If we do not create a clear system of mutual commitments and agreements, if we do not build the mechanisms for managing and resolving crisis situations, the symptoms of global anarchy will inevitably grow.”
“Today, we already see a sharp increase in the likelihood of a whole set of violent conflicts with either direct or indirect participation by the world’s major powers.”
“And the risk factors include not just traditional multinational conflicts, but also the internal instability in separate states…”
“The less nuclear weapons we have in the world, the better. And we are ready for the most serious, concrete discussions on nuclear disarmament -but only serious discussions without any double standards.”
Regional conflicts need resolution. They’re dangerous. “(T)hey create zones of anarchy, lawlessness, and chaos…”
Given current conditions, it’s “time to start agreeing on fundamental things. This is incredibly important and necessary…”
Cooperating on major issues. “(F)inding collective answers to increasing challenges…”
Combined with “reasonable self-restraint. (A)n example of positive and responsible leadership.”
What’s sorely absent most often. Western countries bear full responsibility.
Prioritizing force. Disdaining peaceful conflict resolutions. Targeting sovereign independent countries.
Ignoring international law. Recklesly pursuing their own interests. Ukraine is Exhibit A.
Creating chaos, economic and social collapse, as well as war without mercy against citizens wanting their inalienable rights.
Internationally recognized inviolable ones. Irresponsibly called terrorists for pursing justice.
“…Russia made its choice,” said Putin. Polar opposite its Western partners.
‘Our priorities are further improving our democratic and open economy institutions, accelerated internal development, taking into account all the positive modern trends in the world, and consolidating society based on traditional values and patriotism.”
Prioritizing peace and stability. Going all-out to resolve conflicts responsibly.
Disdaining empire. Respecting sovereign independence. Wanting responsible cooperation with all countries.
Wanting mutually beneficial policies. Ones advantageous to all equitably. Putin concluded saying “building a more stable world order is a difficult task. We are talking about long and hard work.”
“We were able to develop rules for interaction after World War II, and we were able to reach an agreement in Helsinki in the 1970s.”
“Our common duty is to resolve this fundamental challenge at this new stage of development.” The alternative is too intolerable to accept.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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