Saturday, February 10, 2007

Refutin' Putin

At the 43rd Munich Conference on Security Policy, Russian President Putin harshly criticized the US and NATO.

Attacking the concept of a "unipolar" world in which the US was the sole superpower, he said: "What is a unipolar world? No matter how we beautify this term it means one single centre of power, one single centre of force and one single master."

"It has nothing in common with democracy because that is the opinion of the majority taking into account the minority opinion," he told the gathering of top security and defence officials "People are always teaching us democracy but the people who teach us democracy don't want to learn it themselves," he said.

I thought Senator John McCain rather effectively addressed Putin's comments, among other issues.
Today’s world is not unipolar. The United States did not single-handedly win the Cold War in some unilateral victory. The transatlantic alliance won the Cold War, and there are power centers on every continent today. Russian leaders’ apparent belief to the contrary raises a number of difficult questions. 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? Or will it build, in partnership with the West, a democratic country that contributes to the international rules-based system? While our hopes are obviously for the latter choice, recent events suggest a turn toward the former. This is unfortunate, and the U.S. and Europe need to take today’s Russian realities into account as we form our policies. Moscow must understand that it cannot enjoy a genuine partnership with the West so long as its actions, at home and abroad, conflict so fundamentally with the core values of the Euro-Atlantic democracies. In today’s multipolar world, there is no place for needless confrontation, and I would hope that Russia’s leaders would realize and understand this truth.

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