Putin: a historical speech, on the current situation in the world

Putin: a historical speech, on the current situation in the world

By Atilio Boron *

Along these lines, we should add the speech delivered by Vladimir Putin on October 24 of this year within the framework of the XI International Meeting of Valdai, an association of politicians, intellectuals and rulers who meet annually to discuss the Russian problem and, in this time, the worrisome world situation.
[1] The three hours consumed by Putin's speech and his extensive exchange of views with some personalities of European politics - among them the former Prime Minister of France, Dominique de Villepin and the former Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel - or with academics First-rate, like Keynes's great biographer Robert Skidelsky, was conveniently ignored by the mainstream press. The Russian leader spoke clearly, without half measures and abandoning diplomatic language at the outset. Moreover, at the beginning of his speech he recalled the phrase of one of them that said that "diplomats have tongues to not tell the truth" and that he was there to express his opinions in a frank and harsh way, as happened later, to confront them with those of his incisive interlocutors to whom he also asked a few questions. Ignored speech, we said, because in it a realistic and private diagnosis of any euphemism is drawn to denounce the apparently irrepressible deterioration of the world order and the different degrees of responsibility that fall to the main actors of the system. As that should not be discussed, and as the world has a reliable and effective leader in the United States, oratory pieces like Putin's deserve to be silenced without further ado. A short comment in the New York Times the next day, with an emphasis on some passages chosen with scandalous subjectivity; a few more notes with the same characteristics in the Washington Post and that was it. The echo of that discourse in Latin America, where the press in all its forms is heavily controlled by North American interests, was inaudible. By contrast, any speech by an occupant of the White House that claims that his country is an "exceptional" or "indispensable" nation, or that defames leaders or governments that do not fall to their knees before the US mandate has much better luck and finds very wide diffusion in the media of the “free world”. What did Putin say in his speech? It is impossible to review in a few pages his speech and the responses to the questions made by the participants. But, with the aim of stimulating a reading of that document, we would summarize some of his theses as follows. First, he affirmed without mincing words that the international system is going through a deep crisis and that contrary to self-indulgent accounts - which in the West minimize the challenges of the moment - collective security is in very serious danger and that the world is heading towards global chaos. . Political opponents burned alive in the basement of the Party of Regions by neo-Nazi hordes that took over the government in Ukraine, the downing of Malasya Airlines Flight MH17 by Ukrainian aviation and the Islamic State decapitating prisoners and waving their heads for the Internet are some of the most aberrant symptoms of what according to an American internationalist, Richard N. Haass, is the decomposition of the international system than others, situated in an alternative theoretical and political position, such as Samir Amin, Immanuel Wallerstein, Chalmers Johnson and Pepe Escobar, prefer to call it "empire of chaos." This ominous reality cannot be hidden by the beautiful speeches and publicity stunts to which Washington and its allies are so fond. The challenge is very serious and can only be successfully faced through international cooperation, without hegemony of any kind. Second, in his presentation Putin provided a detailed analysis of the decadent itinerary traveled from the postwar period to the end of the Cold War, the emergence of fleeting North American unipolarism and, in its downward curve after 9/11, the attempts to maintain the current one ( dis) international order by force or blackmail of economic sanctions such as those applied against Cuba for more than half a century, Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Syria, Ivory Coast and now Russia. An order that is falling apart and, as the title of the Meeting announced, that is torn between the creation of new rules or the suicidal acceptance of brute force as the only organizing principle of the international system. In fact, we are facing a world without rules or with rules that exist but are trampled on by the most powerful actors in the system, starting with the United States and its allies, who give up the United Nations without proposing anything in return. The Charter of the United Nations and the decisions of the Security Council are violated, according to Putin, by the self-proclaimed leader of the free world with the complicity of his friends, thus creating a dangerous "legal anomie" that becomes a fertile field for terrorism. piracy and the activities of mercenaries who pray serve one and then go to render their services to whoever offers the best pay. What happened with the Islamic State is paradigmatic in this sense. Third, Putin recalled that transitions in the world order "were generally accompanied, if not by a global war, by a chain of intense local conflicts." If there is something that can be rescued from the postwar period, it was the will to reach agreements and to avoid armed confrontations as far as possible. There were, by the way, many, but the dreaded thermonuclear war could be avoided in the two greatest crises of the Cold War: Berlin in 1961 and that of the Soviet missiles installed in Cuba in 1962. Later there were important agreements to limit nuclear weapons. But that will to negotiate has disappeared. What prevails today is a policy of harassment, bullying, favored by hypertrophied national pride with which public opinion is manipulated, thus justifying that the strongest - the United States - run over and subdue the weakest. Although he does not mention the data, in the background of his speech the concern about the exorbitant expansion of US military spending is clearly outlined, which, according to the most rigorous calculations, exceeds one trillion dollars (that is, one million million dollars ) when, when the Soviet Union disintegrated, the publicists of the empire assured urbi et orbi that military spending would be reduced and that the so-called “peace dividends” would be poured into programs to help development and combat poverty. None of that took place. Fourth, when declaring themselves the winners of the Cold War, the American leadership thought that the whole old system built after the Second World War was an onerous anachronism. He did not propose a "peace treaty", in which agreements and compromises were established between winners and losers, but rather Washington behaved like a "new rich man" who, intoxicated by the disintegration of the Soviet Union and its access to an uncontested world primacy , acted with arrogance and recklessness and committed endless absurdities. A resounding example: their continued support for numerous "freedom fighters" recruited as battering rams to produce "regime change" in disaffected governments and who soon became "terrorists" like those who on 9/11 sowed horror in The United States or those that today devastate Syria and Iraq. To make such gigantic errors invisible, the White House relied on "total control of the global media (which) has made it possible to pass white for black and black for white." And, in a passage of his speech Putin asks himself: “Could it be that the exceptional nature of the United States and the way it exercises its leadership are really a blessing for all of us, and that its continuous interference in the affairs of the whole world? is bringing peace, prosperity, progress, growth, democracy and we just have to relax and enjoy? May I say no. " Fifth, in various sections of his speech and the exchange of questions and answers with the participants, Putin made it very clear that Russia will not stand by in the face of threats to its national security. He used an eloquent metaphor to convey that message to refer, indirectly, to NATO's plans to surround Russia with military bases and to respond to the concerns expressed by some of those present about a possible Russian imperialist expansion. He said that in his country they have great respect for the bear “master and lord of the immensity of the Siberian taiga, and that to act in its territory does not bother to ask permission from anyone. I can assure you that you have no intention of moving to other climatic zones because you would not feel comfortable in them. But he would never allow someone to appropriate his taiga. I think this is clear. " This observation was also a response to a widespread characterization in the United States and Europe that disparages Russia - and earlier the Soviet Union - as "an Upper Volta (one of the poorest and most backward countries in Africa) with missiles." Undoubtedly, the message was very clear and stripped of diplomatic euphemisms, in line with his confidence in the strength of Russia and his ability to bear the greatest sacrifices with patriotism, as demonstrated in World War II. He said verbatim: “Russia will not bend the sanctions before, nor will it be hurt by them, nor will they see it arrive at someone's door to beg for help. Russia is a self-sufficient country. " In short: it is one of the most important speeches on the subject made by a head of state in a long time and this for many reasons. For his documented and stark realism in the analysis of the crisis of world order, where an exhaustive knowledge of the most important literature on the subject produced in the United States and Europe is noted, refuting in fact the repeated accusations about "provincialism" of the Russian leader and his lack of contact with Western thought. For his courage in calling things by name and identifying those primarily responsible for the current situation. Example: who arms, finances and recruits the IS mercenaries? Who buys their stolen oil from Iraq and Syria, and thus contributes to financing the terrorism they claim to fight? These are questions that neither the conventional wisdom of the social sciences nor the imperial administrators ever ask, at least in public. And that they are fundamental to understand the nature of the current crisis and the possible ways out. And for the clear warnings it sent to those who think they will be able to subdue Russia with sanctions or military sieges, as we referred to above. But, unlike Churchill's famous speech, by not counting on the favor of the empire and its immense propaganda apparatus camouflaged under the robes of journalism, Putin's remarkable speech has gone unnoticed, for now. One hundred years after the outbreak of the First World War and twenty-five after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Putin threw down the gauntlet and proposed a debate and outlined the guidelines of what could be a way out of the crisis. A little over a month has passed and the response from the dominant centers of the empire and its mandarin has been total silence. They have no words or reasons, only weapons. And they will continue to tighten the strings of the international system until the chaos they are sowing reverses their own countries. Our America must be prepared for this contingency.

Note: [1] Unfortunately that speech is only available in Russian and English on the website of the Russian presidency. A translation into Spanish was made by Iñaki for the blog The revised and corrected version of that first translation effort of the Putin's speech is available at * Dr. Atilio Boron, director of the Cultural Center for Floreal Gorini Cooperation (PLED), Buenos Aires, Argentina. Liberator Award for Critical Thinking 2013.


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