October 24, 2014
Vladimir Putin lashed out at the United States and the West for destabilizing the world order of checks and balances for its own gains. He also accused the West of inflaming the situation in Ukraine and said Russia is not interested in building an empire.
The Russian President delivered a fierce broadside aimed at the United States in a speech for the Valdai Club in Sochi, which is an informal group of scholars. He hit out at Washington for behaving without regard to the rest of the world’s interests
“The system of international relations needed some changes, but the USA, who believe they were the winners of the Cold War, have not seen the need for this.” He added that the US has been trying to create the world “for their own gains.” The Russian President added that because of this, regional and global security had been weakened.
During his speech, Putin used the Russian version of the Latin phrase, “Quod licet Iovi, non licet bovi” (what is allowed for god, is not allowed for cattle,) alluding to the double standards used by Washington.
US sponsoring Islamic extremism
Putin also touched on the issue of the growth of Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, and also accused the West of, “turning a blind eye,” to the encroachment of international terrorism into Russia and Central Asia. Putin believes the US has played a considerable role in sponsoring the growth of Islamic extremism, using the example of Washington’s funding of the Mujahidin in the Afghan-Soviet war in the 1980’s, which eventually gave birth to the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.
“It never ceases to amaze me how our partners have been guilty of making the same mistakes time and again. They have in the past sponsored Islamic extremists who were battling against the Soviet Union, which took place in Afghanistan. It was because of this the Taliban and Al-Qaeda was created,” the president added.
Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) is the latest terrorist organization, which is destabilizing the world and Putin was scathing of countries that have been helping to fund the Islamist militants by buying cut price oil they are selling.
“Terrorists have been selling oil at really low prices and those countries who have been buying it and then selling it on, are financing terrorism, which will eventually come back to bite them,” the Russian President said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and former Chancellor of Austria Wolfgang Schussel during the final plenary meeting of the 11th session of the Valdai International Discussion Club in Sochi October 24, 2014. (RIA Novosti / Vitaliy Belousov) Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and former Chancellor of Austria Wolfgang Schussel during the final plenary meeting of the 11th session of the Valdai International Discussion Club in Sochi October 24, 2014. (RIA Novosti / Vitaliy Belousov)
Putin all for Nuclear cuts
Relations between Russia and the US have been plummeting for months; however Vladimir Putin accused the US of using the EU to further its own gains against Russia. He hit out at the numerous sanctions that have been imposed on Moscow, saying, “This was a mistake, which has a knock-on effect on everyone.”
“The USA, which has implemented sanctions against Russia, is sawing at the branches, upon which they are sitting,” President Putin added.
The reduction of nuclear arsenals was another issue, which was high on the agenda for the Russian President and once again, he was not afraid of having a dig at Washington for their reluctance to cut the number of nuclear missiles. He mentioned that unfortunately many countries see the only way to preserve their sovereignty is, “To make a nuclear bomb.”
The reduction in nuclear arsenals was initially proposed by the Obama administration and Putin admitted it had potential, before talks about decreasing weapons stockpiles collapsed.
“Russia has been all for the continuation of talks about the reduction of nuclear arsenals,” and according to President Putin, “Moscow is ready for serious talks, but without “double standards.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at the wrap-up session of the 11th Meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club in Sochi on 24 October 2014. (RIA Novosti / Vitaliy Belousov) Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at the wrap-up session of the 11th Meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club in Sochi on 24 October 2014. (RIA Novosti / Vitaliy Belousov)
Genie out of the bottle
Perhaps Putin’s harshest criticism was reserved for the West’s creation of color revolutions and “controlled chaos,” which he a likened to “letting the genie out of the bottle,” with particular reference to Ukraine.
“We have been trying to discuss the Ukraine issue with the EU for a long time, but we were told this was none of our business. They then put two countries against each other, which has led to countless destruction of infrastructure. When I asked why did they do this, they just shrug their shoulders and don’t have an answer,” Putin added.
President Putin made reference to the ‘Bear’ defending its territory to take a swipe at the US for its continued encroachment towards Russia’s territory. “He is considered the owner of the Taiga, but he, I know for a fact, does not want to go to a different climatic zone, as it is uncomfortable for him there. However, he will not give it to anyone else; I think that this should be clear,” he said.
The Russian President said that there is no truth whatsoever in claims from the West that Russia is interested in empire building and that Moscow is looking to destabilize the world order. With relations between Russia and the West at a very low ebb, Putin also hinted Russia will look to develop allies further afield.
“Russia has made its choice – we want to develop our economy and develop democratic values. We work with our counterparts in the Shanghai Cooperation, the BRICS union for example. We want our opinions to be respected likewise. We all need to be cautious to not make hasty and dangerous steps. Some of the players on the global front have forgotten about the need for this,” he said in another barb directed at Washington.