Columnist Harlan Ullman in his article for an American newspaper Top He emphasizes that Western countries made a mistake by ignoring the main message of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s 2007 speech in Munich.
“At the Munich Security Conference, Putin criticized the US as the ‘one power pole’ and opposed NATO enlargement. Those attending the meeting were shocked by the strength of Putin’s attacks, but generally pushed them aside. It was a mistake,” Ulman writes.
“Putin felt disrespected and marginalized by the United States and NATO, which added to growing resentment at what he perceived as condescending treatment of Russia,” the journalist adds.
What Putin said 15 years ago
During his speech in Munich, the Russian leader fiercely criticized the idea of a unipolar world, calling such a model not only unacceptable, but also impossible in the modern world. He criticized US foreign policy, strongly opposed NATO’s expansion plans and the deployment of American missile defense facilities in Eastern Europe, and also described the OSCE as a “brute tool” for securing a country’s foreign policy interests.
Putin’s words echoed, Western politicians even talked about the possibility of a Cold War resumption, and U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham later said in a speech by the Russian president that Western politicians were “doing more than they could do” to unite the United States and Europe. in ten years.”
15 years later, former Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl statedHe said everything Putin said in his Munich speech was “true” and that the situation in the world was “getting worse and more difficult”.
Russia has been participating in the Munich Conference since 1999. In 2019 and 2020, Moscow was represented at the forum by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Last year, the event was canceled due to coronavirus restrictions, and in 2022 Moscow said that “interest in this event has visibly dropped” and refused to attend.
“It won’t happen”
The author of the article believes that the 2008 NATO summit in Bucharest could also be a turning point. Georgia and Ukraine later applied for the NATO membership action plan. France and Germany blocked a NATO action document, but then-President George W. Bush casually promised that Tbilisi and Kiev would one day join the alliance. This “promise” was included in the summit’s final report.
Putin was enraged and told Bush “that’s not going to happen”. He insisted that the alliance should consider Russia’s view on Ukraine’s membership.
“Who can tell us that we have no interests there? The whole of the south of Ukraine – there are only Russians there. Ukraine simply took Crimea by decision of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the CPSU. ” pointed Then the Russian leader.
Columnist Ulman recalls that in December, the Russian Foreign Ministry submitted draft agreements with NATO and the United States on security guarantees. Moscow, among other things, urged Ukraine not to accept it into NATO and to abandon its plans to expand the alliance eastward. Washington responded by proposing negotiations on strategic stability and arms control, ignoring Putin’s basic demands.
“From him [Путина] On the face of it, he had no other choice. Ukraine was a vital Russian interest that could be resolved by war if necessary. The West did not understand this,” says the journalist.
Could US actions have prevented the war? Probably not. But not considering unintended consequences is a lesson to remember,” concludes Ullman.
Press Secretary of the President of Russia Dmitry Peskov declarationHe said that after the Munich speech, the West had a chance to understand the futility of a unipolar world, but they did not heed the words of the Russian politician.
According to the Kremlin spokesman, Putin’s speech was “quite revolutionary in terms of the directness of the presentation of urgent problems and a very coherent, logical and concentrated presentation of the worldview of the Russian side.”
Peskov emphasized that not all the problems raised by the president have gone away and must be addressed, but it was impossible to imagine that in 2007, by 2022, the world would enter the vocabulary of the Cold War era.