By Andrea Peters
4 November 2016
With tensions between Washington and Moscow at their sharpest point since the Cold War, Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a lengthy critique of the United States in a speech delivered last week to the Valdai Discussion Club in Sochi. The Russian leader painted a picture of a global order destabilized by Washington’s pursuit of hegemony and its targeting of Russia. All the while, he persisted in referring to his “partners” in the West.
Putin’s remarks, which included delusional appeals to the United Nations and praise for the principle of national sovereignty, revealed both the dire situation facing Russia’s ruling elite and its inability to offer any form of progressive opposition to Washington’s war drive.
The Russian president began his comments to the assembly of policy experts, government officials, journalists and academics by declaring that since his previous appearance at the forum, “nothing has changed.”
While making no direct reference to the dissolution of the Soviet Union, much less the role played by the social forces he represents in restoring capitalist market relations, Putin found himself compelled to make reference to the consequences of that event. “Some countries saw themselves as victors in the Cold War,” he complained. They attempted “to bring the entire world under the spread of their own organizations, norms and rules,” and “chose the road of globalization and security for their own beloved selves.”
This entailed “airstrikes in the center of Europe, against Belgrade,” Putin continued. He characterized the 1999 US-led Kosovo war as a criminal operation that paved the way for violations of international law that were to come in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.
The Russian president went on to charge Washington with creating and arming terrorist groups that have plunged the world into “chaos.” The US is engaging in a “dangerous game” of continuing to supply and train these forces, he added.
He pointed to the hypocrisy of American policy makers, saying, “If the powers that be today find some standard or norm to their advantage, they force everyone else to comply. But if tomorrow these same standards get in their way, they are swift to throw them in the bin, declare them obsolete, and set or try to set new rules.”
Despite his “personal agreements” with President Barack Obama, Putin lamented, “There were people in Washington ready to do everything possible to prevent these agreements from being implemented in practice.”