On September 28, Russian President Vladimir Putin made a speech at the United Nations General Assembly. The event was to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the creation of the organization. Putin reminded that the decision to create the United Nations was made in his country in 1945, at the Yalta Conference, by the leaders of the anti-Hitler coalition, and that the goal of the United Nations was to secure lasting peace, and not to repeat the mistakes of the previous century.
Here are some key points from his speech:
Post Cold War order
The collapse of the Soviet Union did not result in peaceful world, instead: “We all know that after the end of the Cold War the world was left with one center of dominance, and those who found themselves at the top of the pyramid were tempted to think that, since they are so powerful and exceptional, they know best what needs to be done and thus they don’t need to reckon with the UN, which, instead of rubber-stamping the decisions they need, often stands in their way,” said Russian President.
The significance of the United Nations
Putin characterized an attempt by some countries “to undermine the legitimacy of the United Nations as extremely dangerous,” and “may result in the collapse of the entire architecture of international relations, and then indeed there will be no rules left except for the rule of force. The world will be dominated by selfishness rather than collective effort, by dictate rather than equality and liberty, and instead of truly independent states we will have protectorates controlled from outside.”
The mistakes of the Soviet Union and new “social experiments” of “color revolutions”
Putin warned against trying to impose the same form of government on all countries:
“We are all different, and we should respect that. Nations shouldn’t be forced to all conform to the same development model that somebody has declared the only appropriate one.”
Putin reminded about the mistakes of the Soviet Union:
“we remember examples from our Soviet past, when the Soviet Union exported social experiments, pushing for changes in other countries for ideological reasons, and this often led to tragic consequences and caused degradation instead of progress.”
Then he called attention to the present day “experiments”:
“instead of learning from other people’s mistakes, some prefer to repeat them and continue to export revolutions, only now these are “democratic” revolutions.”
Putin’s harshest critique was about the consequences of these revolutions:
“Instead of bringing about reforms, aggressive intervention rashly destroyed government institutions and the local way of life. Instead of democracy and progress, there is now violence, poverty, social disasters and total disregard for human rights, including even the right to life.
I’m urged to ask those who created this situation: do you at least realize now what you’ve done? But I’m afraid that this question will remain unanswered, because they have never abandoned their policy, which is based on arrogance, exceptionalism and impunity.”
The origin of ISIS
Russian President called attention to the origins of the ISIS:
“Power vacuum in some countries in the Middle East and Northern Africa obviously resulted in the emergence of areas of anarchy, which were quickly filled with extremists and terrorists. The so-called Islamic State has tens of thousands of militants fighting for it, including former Iraqi soldiers who were left on the street after the 2003 invasion. Many recruits come from Libya whose statehood was destroyed as a result of a gross violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1973. And now radical groups are joined by members of the so-called “moderate” Syrian opposition backed by the West. They get weapons and training, and then they defect and join the so-called Islamic State….The Islamic State itself did not come out of nowhere. It was initially developed as a weapon against undesirable secular regimes. Having established control over parts of Syria and Iraq, Islamic State now aggressively expands into other regions. It seeks dominance in the Muslim world and beyond. Their plans go further.”
International Coalition to fight terrorism
As a response to Obama’s endless empty declarations of the need to fight terrorism, Putin said:
“it is hypocritical and irresponsible to make declarations about the threat of terrorism and at the same time turn a blind eye to the channels used to finance and support terrorists, including revenues from drug trafficking, the illegal oil trade and the arms trade. It is equally irresponsible to manipulate extremist groups and use them to achieve your political goals, hoping that later you’ll find a way to get rid of them or somehow eliminate them.”
The only way to deal with current international crisis is to create “a genuinely broad international coalition against terrorism,” said Putin. “Similar to the anti-Hitler coalition, it could unite a broad range of parties willing to stand firm against those who, just like the Nazis, sow evil and hatred of humankind. And of course, Muslim nations should play a key role in such a coalition.”
What is Russia doing in Syria?
In addressing accusations of Russia’s support for Assad, Putin responded that: “President Assad’s government forces and the Kurdish militia are the only forces really fighting terrorists in Syria.” On Russia’s involvement, he said: “we provide military-technical assistance to Iraq, Syria and other regional countries fighting terrorist groups. We think it’s a big mistake to refuse to cooperate with the Syrian authorities and government forces who valiantly fight terrorists on the ground.”
It is not about Russia’s ambitions
Countering criticism about so-called “Russian imperial ambitions”, Putin responded: “it is not about Russia’s ambitions, dear colleagues, but about the recognition of the fact that we can no longer tolerate the current state of affairs in the world.”
Referring to the post Cold War order and the American “winner takes it all” attitude, Putin said:
“Sadly, some of our counterparts are still dominated by their Cold War-era bloc mentality and the ambition to conquer new geopolitical areas. First, they continued their policy of expanding NATO – one should wonder why, considering that the Warsaw Pact had ceased to exist and the Soviet Union had disintegrated. Nevertheless, NATO has kept on expanding, together with its military infrastructure. Next, the post-Soviet states were forced to face a false choice between joining the West and carrying on with the East. Sooner or later, this logic of confrontation was bound to spark off a major geopolitical crisis. And that is exactly what happened in Ukraine.”
About the crisis in Ukraine, he reminded how it began: “people’s widespread frustration with the government was used for instigating a coup d’état from abroad.” The overthrow of the government, and ensuing chaos “has triggered a civil war. We are convinced that the only way out of this dead end lies through comprehensive and diligent implementation of the Minsk agreements of February 12th, 2015. Ukraine’s territorial integrity cannot be secured through the use of threats or military force, but it must be secured.”
New era of “rising economic selfishness”
Putin criticized new “exclusive economic associations” [referring to TPP and TTIP], “with their establishment being negotiated behind closed doors, secretly from those very nations’ own public and business communities, as well as from the rest of the world. Other states, whose interests may be affected, have not been informed of anything, either. It seems that someone would like to impose upon us some new game rules, deliberately tailored to accommodate the interests of a privileged few, with the WTO having no say in it. This is fraught with utterly unbalancing global trade and splitting up the global economic space. These issues affect the interests of all nations and influence the future of the entire global economy.”
Instead, Putin proposed “discussing those issues within the framework of the United Nations, the WTO and the G20. Contrary to the policy of exclusion, Russia advocates harmonizing regional economic projects.”
Putin called the economic sanctions imposed on Russia as illegal: “unilaterally imposed sanctions circumventing the UN Charter have all but become commonplace today. They not only serve political objectives, but are also used for eliminating market competition.”
Finally, Putin proposed to use the platform of the United Nations to confront the problem of global warming: “I am confident that humanity does have the necessary intellectual capacity to respond to it. We need to join our efforts, primarily engaging countries that possess strong research and development capabilities, and have made significant advances in fundamental research.”
After receiving MBA Angela Borozna worked in finance and information technology for various companies in London, San Francisco and New York. Currently she is pursuing Ph.D in political science, writing dissertation on Russian foreign policy.
Angela BOROZNA (USA), orientalreview.org