Highlights from Putin’s Valdai International Discussion Club Address
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)
Its 14th annual forum in Sochi addressed whether “a new world order (will) emerge from the current conflicts.” Its theme: “The World of the Future: Moving Through Conflict to Cooperation.”
Participants from 33 countries were involved. Putin addressed the final session, his remarks always refreshingly candid – polar opposite double-talking Western officials, notably US ones.
Below are the highlights of his remarks – quoted and summarized:
International relations “are built on the balance between cooperation and competition…(W)hen interests are pushed through at any cost…disputes…lead to violent conflicts” – evident in numerous countries.
Under conditions prevailing today, “relations between countries…degrade. The world becomes less secure” – things today hugely dangerous, the risk of new conflicts very high.
The Middle East is ground zero for what happens when nations try imposing their will on others forcibly. Instead of pursuing world peace and stability, some countries “do everything they can to make the chaos in this region permanent” – an agenda Russia firmly opposes.
Its involvement in Syria shows a positive alternative to destructive policies exists. Russia is committed to helping Damascus combat terrorism, “acting on the basis of international law,” prevailing over dark forces, not easily or quickly, but heading in the right direction.
Crisis on the Korean peninsula can “only be resolved through dialogue. We should not drive North Korea into a corner, threaten force, stoop to unabashed rudeness or invective.”
“Whether someone likes or dislikes the North Korean regime, we must not forget that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is a sovereign state.”
“All disputes must be resolved in a civilized manner” – through diplomacy and compromise, avoiding confrontation.
“(B)ig brother in Washington” behind Kosovo’s independence encouraged other separatist movements, Catalonia and Iraqi Kurdistan the latest ones.
Globalization apologists falsely claimed economic interdependence assured freedom from conflicts and geopolitical rivalries.
Reality proved otherwise, things more complicated and dangerous today than earlier. Western politics “crudely interfere(s) with economic, market relations.”
Illegal unilateral US sanctions on Russia aim to oust the country “from European energy markets…compelling Europe to buy more expensive US-produced LNG although the scale of its production is still too small.”
Washington wants Russia prevented from developing new energy routes, notably its South Stream and Nord Stream projects.
While it’s natural for countries to have their own interests, “(t)he question is the means” they choose to pursue them.
Russia rejects efforts by nations to achieve their aims at the expense of others, stoking tensions, creating instability, leading to conflicts.
“A harmonious future is impossible without social responsibility, without freedom and justice, without respect for traditional ethical values and human dignity.”
“Otherwise, instead of becoming a world of prosperity and new opportunities, this ‘brave new world’ will turn into a world of totalitarianism, castes, conflicts and greater divisions.”
Declaring itself the Cold War victor, US-led Western countries “started openly interfering in the affairs of sovereign states,” waging wars in numerous theaters to assert their dominance.
NATO’s expansion close to Russia’s border created “a heavy burden of mutual distrust,” the global imbalance intensifying.
Instead of resolving global issues, there’s increasing “examples of selfishness,” international treaties and bilateral agreements “devalued” in the process.
Russia ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. America refused. It abandoned the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.
Moscow eliminated its chemical weapons. Putin called the achievement a “historic event.” America failed to meet its commitment. It remains the world’s largest holder of these destructive weapons.
It pushed back its deadline for eliminating them from 2007 to 2023, virtually certain to continue extending it.
CWs Russia eliminated were enough “to destroy life on the planet multiple times over.”
It’s “time to abandon” today’s failed agenda…Never before has humankind possessed such power as it does now.”
The question is will it be used constructively or destructively. Humanity’s future depends on what happens. Either we learn to coexist peacefully or we’ll perish.
We have ongoing hysteria. Washington “rip(s) down our flags, shut(s) down our diplomatic missions. What’s so good about that.”
Post-Soviet Russia’s biggest mistake was trusting the West, a lesson learned, its foreign policy strategy changed appropriately.
The problem in Washington is its system, hamstringing presidents like Trump, preventing him from “implement(ing) any of his election platforms and plans…”
Combating terrorists in Syria will succeed “in the near future.” It won’t mean they’re entirely defeated. They can emerge anywhere at any time.
If further US pressure is exerted on Russian media, “we will (respond) quite quickly” and appropriately. Putin praised RT and Sputnik News.
The world community must choose between peace and stability or “chaos and barbarism” – the latter options clearly ahead of the former ones.
The risk of catastrophic nuclear war remains ominously real.
My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”