Saturday, February 10, 2007

Putin on Al Jazeera, Russia Must Protect Itself

For those who care to imagine the day after a US strike on Iran .... Here is more on Putin's statements on US foreign policy (see earlier post today). I just watched Putin give a very interesting interview on Al Jazeera. Here is a brief summary and my initial comments:

1. When asked if he agreed with the new US "strategy" in Iraq, Putin basically said that the US has not employed any new strategy; it is merely a new tactic. He said that all the US is doing is more of the same, which has already shown to be a failure

2. When asked if US, European and Israeli critics of Russia's closeness with Iran are justified, he said that Russia follows a very balanced foreign policy and in all cases will pursue what is in its national interest which includes close relations with all countries including Iran. He went on to say that Iran is completely justified in trying to secure civilian nuclear capabilities.

3. When asked about the Western and Israeli position vis-a-vis Hamas and the Palestinians, he said that every people have the right to pursue self-determination. He noted that who is named a terrorist today, is given a Nobel Peace Prize tomorrow, hence all can change and what is important is justice and peace.

4. On Iraq, he also added that the US needs to reach out to Iraq's neighbors (see my previous post) to begin to resolve the violence.

5. On nuclear proliferation, he noted that none of the Western nuclear powers are respecting their obligations to limit and control nuclear proliferation.

6. When asked if Russia felt threatened by US international military actions, he said YES. When asked if that meant that Russia would move to enhance its military preparedness, he said YES. He went on to say that US military actions and foreign policy is conducive to an international arms race. When asked if he realized that this might cause some to say that Russia is behaving with belligerence and irresponsibly, he said that such a criticism should not be directed to Russia...

7. When asked if Putin's objective in making such bold foreign policy statements is to regain Russia's world position as a great power, he responded by saying that Russia recognizes that it is no longer a great power and it has no desire to take the world back to a bi-polar cold war situation. However, it is important that the world maintain some balance to protect against unconstrained power.

Has Bush pulled the thread... Is it all unraveling?

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