2.12.2007

Munich Security Conference: Putin on Unilateralism

Let's discuss Putin's remarks on unilateralism and democracy at the Munich Security Conference.

Putin maintains that the unipolar world imagined after the end of the Cold War has not happened. He refers to "unipolar" as anti-democratic and unworkable.

"[I]t refers to one type of situation, namely one centre of authority, one centre of force, one centre of decision-making. ... And this certainly has nothing in common with democracy. Because, as you know, democracy is the power of the majority in light of the interests and opinions of the minority." Putin said.

Putin then turns to the results of the "unipolar model." "Unilateral and frequently illegitimate actions" "even more are dying than before" "wars as well as local and regional conflicts have not diminished" "almost uncontained hyper use of force – military force – in international relations"

"As a result we do not have sufficient strength to find a comprehensive solution to any one of these conflicts. Finding a political settlement also becomes impossible." As a result "no one feels safe."

Let Econo-Girl pause here for a moment and mention that no one felt safe with a bi-polar world either. Fear of nuclear incineration did nothing to calm the people of the world. The Cold War didn't reduce local wars either. Putin is not calling to our minds the graces of a bi-polar world, but let's remember that he is criticizing the global status quo since World War II. The situation of which he complains was not created in 1989.

Putin speaks of terrorism taking on a global character under unilateralism. He forgets the Internet and its communicative role in that. Communication is an essential part of terrorism. The communication revolution also changed terrorism dramatically.

Continuing, Putin mentions Brazil, India, China and Russia as economic and political powerhouses of the future based on growing GDP. He points to that as another reason to expand past unilateralism.

On the use of force:

"The use of force can only be considered legitimate if the decision is sanctioned by the UN. And we do not need to substitute NATO or the EU for the UN. When the UN will truly unite the forces of the international community and can really react to events in various countries, when we will leave behind this disdain for international law, then the situation will be able to change."

Here, the use of force is advocated by Putin only with United Nations' sanction. Apparently, the Italian Defence Minister included NATO in that group, which Putin really didn't like.

In this section of the speech, Putin mentions horrors within countries and how this cannot be tolerated either. But he did not include the murder of reporters in Russia as rising to a level of enough importance to even address. Interesting. Supposing the United Nations decided to vote on that one, eh?

More to come. Putin had great stuff to say on the corruption of anti-poverty groups.

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