Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Russia reacts to American unilateralism

The end of the Cold War was one of the best things that happened to the US. No longer deterred by a belligerent Soviet Union, the US seized the opportunity to consolidate its position worldwide as a global policeman, deciding which countries should go into an international blacklist, and even occupying Iraq without an UN resolution enabling the attack.

The US is even now reported to be planning an attack on Iran, because Iran is allegedly developing nuclear weapons, and it is supporting rebels within Iraq.

Now Russia’s president Vladimir Putin has come out strongly against the US view of the world. During a visit to Iran, Putin said force should not be used in the Caspian region, which includes Iran, and countries in the region should not be used as a base for attack on another country in the Caspian.

Last week he told reporters, “We have no objective evidence to claim that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons, which makes us believe the country has no such plans", thus putting him directly in opposition to the US.

This is not the first time that Russia has indicated it will not go along supinely with the US.

"We are seeing a greater and greater disdain for the basic principles of international law. And independent legal norms are, as a matter of fact, coming increasingly closer to one state's legal system," he told a conference in Munich on security policy in February, at which US secretary of defense, Robert Gates was in attendance, according to a report in The Guardian.

The US government has typically reacted to Putin with its sanctimonious holier-than-thou attitude, including castigating Russia for the breakdown of democracy and freedom in Russia.

Which all adds up to US arm-twisting the world to coming around to its view of the world on all issues. Russia has already indicated it will not go along with that.

It is not yet clear what Russia will do if the US does attack Iran.

But recent moves by Putin, including his visit to Iran, suggest that Russian wants to play a bigger role in the world, if only to counter American unilateralism. That will also make Putin very popular in Russia which has historically reacted strongly to political slights.

Putin also recognizes that to have and keep friends around the world it has to deliver on its friendship – stand by them through thick and thin. Else Russia will be reduced to a cipher in global politics.

Related articles:

Iraq – a war that need not have happened ?
Why the US should stay in Iraq

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