Saturday, 10 February 2007

Putin: United States is 'dangerous'

Russian President (more like dictator) Vladimir Putin has fully come out of the closet, so to speak, on how he views [what he sees as] the United States' virtually unchecked power.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has criticised the United States for what he said was its "almost uncontained" use of force around the world.
Washington's "very dangerous" approach to global relations was fuelling a nuclear arms race, he told a security summit in Munich.

Correspondents say the strident speech may signal a more assertive Russia.

The White House said it was "surprised and disappointed" by the Russian president's comments.

I do agree with Putin's assertions of the United States' foreign policy and nuclear actions, often acting against non-prolifiration and, as Putin says, making the global arms race worse. As a side note, why is the White House's response always so lackluster? I mean first the Palestinian agreement and now this, not to mention a history of boring, generic comments on breaking events and comments.

Not long ago US Vice President Cheney made a speech in which he basically demonized Russia — especially on its energy and foreign policies — and actually made some good points. That was one of the few times I agreed with Cheney — on anything. Putin lashed back, comparing the US to a hungry wolf. Of course, Cheney and Putin, both advocates of a strong, almost-authortarian to authoritarian executive government and favoring the neoimperialistic style bullying of foreign states, have gone back and forth for a while now.

Putin has used Russian state owned natural gas company Gazprom to essentially bully states like Poland, Ukraine, and Georgia — all former Soviet republics — in re to energy. Views of Gazprom, however, differ. An effect of various global energy factors, Russia has been climbing back to the might it held in the Cold War days, or so it seems. Because of that new found prosperity, some have said the people of Russia remain content with Putin's authoritarian reforms and limits on free rights. No doubt the validity of such statements also differ (I happen to have talked with someone living in Russia who says people are not too happy with Putin).

Putin's latest comments have reinitiated speculation of a new Cold War. This is what happens in a unipolar world — though that notion in itself is also disputed, especially if one looks at the latest WEF.

Problems with Putin's assertion of the US trying to make a 'unipolar' world:
  • If the world is unipolar, it will not be for long;
  • the global power structure may not be unipolar at all, just as the US might not be a superpower (it depends on one's viewpoint);
  • with forces like globalization, the world is becoming, if anything, more multi-polar;
  • the US may be powerless to hamper the effects of multi-polarity.
    There's a difference between striving for neoimperialism and establishing unipolarity.

    Less than a year ago there was a feud between Russia and the US over allegations by the US military that Russia had tipped off and supported Saddam Hussein in the lead-up to the American invasion in 2003. Back then there were calls that a new Cold War was coming. For now the feud exists within the bounds of words and rhetoric, not actions; it is highly unlikely this latest Putin comment will result in anything more than an attempted slap on the wrist by the White House and a rebuttal by VP Cheney — which would happen even if Putin said nothing (it's Cheney, after all).

    One thing I do like about Putin was when, in a 60 Minutes interview, he responded to criticism of his reforms crippling what's left of Russian democracy with a criticism of his own of the American electoral system. Though the US is no doubt more democratic than modern day Russia, not the least Russia under Putin.

    Song stuck in my head right now: "All The Pretty Faces" by The Killers.

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