FEB 10, 07. At the annual Munich
Conference on Security, Russian President Vladimir Putin attacked the United
States for what he said was its "almost uncontained" use of force around the
world. America's "very dangerous" approach to global relations was fuelling
a nuclear arms race. He called the US a reckless power that has made the
world more dangerous by pursuing policies that have led to war, ruin and
Mr Putin stunned an audience of security officials from around the world
that included US Defence Secretary Robert Gates. He said that nations were
"witnessing an almost uncontained hyper use of force in international
relations. The US had disastrously abused its power, and has imposed itself
on other countries." The United States, he said, "has overstepped its
national borders in all spheres."
"This is extremely dangerous. Nobody feels secure anymore because nobody can
hide behind international law. This is nourishing an arms race with the
desire of countries to get nuclear weapons."
Mr Putin went on to charge that the US dominance had been ruinous. "Local
and regional wars didn't get fewer. The number of people who died didn't get
less, but increased ... We see no kind of restraint," he said.
A "unipolar" world, Putin said, "means in practice one thing: one centre of
power, one centre of force, one centre of decision-making, a world of one
master, one sovereign."
(unipolar means "a single centre of power," as differing to bipolar, and
Putin's speech has increased tensions between Russia and the US.
US Republican senator and presidential hopeful John McCain who heard Putin
at the Munich conference said: "Today's world is not unipolar ... the
Russian leader's apparent belief to the contrary raises a number of very
Correspondents say Putin's strident speech may signal a more assertive
Russia, and it may be a turning point in international relations.
What are the reasons for Putin's sudden attack on the US? One reason is that
this is a response to US plans to establish a missile defence system close
to Russia's border with the Czech Republic and Poland - formerly Soviet
satellites, but now members of the western NATO alliance.
"Why is it necessary to put military infrastructure on our border? It's
hardly connected to today's global threats. What is the threat? Terrorism
and fighting it!" he said.
Putin warned that any further enlargement of the NATO alliance would be