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Putin’s Anti-US Rant Wakes Up Europeans

From the dictator lovers at Reuters:

Europe wary after Putin tirade

From correspondents in Munich

February 12, 2007

The West has reacted to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s anti-US tirade with Washington saying he was out of step with the times while some Europeans saw it as a wake-up call from a tougher Russia.

Mr Putin’s charge that Washington was fuelling a nuclear arms race in a quest to subjugate the world to "one single master" stunned a conference of top security officials in Munich yesterday.

Yet while US officials mostly played it down as empty rhetoric divorced from the real world, European listeners said it showed the West must square up to a brash and combative new Russia, both in the Putin era and beyond.

"We should take him at his word. This was the real Russia of now, and possibly in four or five years time it could go further in this direction," Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, at the Munich meeting, said overnight.

"We have to have a dialogue with Russia but we must be hard-nosed and realistic. We must stand up for our values."

New Pentagon chief Robert Gates, a former CIA director, shrugged the comments off as blunt-talking from an old spy and said it had not stopped him accepting an invitation from former KGB agent Putin to visit Russia.

"One Cold War was quite enough," Mr Gates told the meeting.

In Washington, the White House expressed disappointment at the speech. US spokesman Kurt Volker said he listened to Mr Putin with a sense of disconnect from reality.

"That was like a parallel universe. The rest of us were in there talking about common challenges," he said.

In a speech delivered for maximum effect before a Munich audience packed with senior ministers and security officials, Mr Putin attacked the concept of a "unipolar world" and said US actions abroad had made conflicts worse.

"What is a unipolar world? No matter how we beautify this term it means one single centre of power, one single centre of force and one single master," Mr Putin said, slamming notably US plans to site missile defence systems in ex-Soviet Poland and Czech Republic as a potential threat to Moscow.

It came a day after Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov – a possible successor to Mr Putin in the Kremlin – launched a similar broadside to bemused NATO counterparts in Seville on Saturday…

Nikita Khrushchev’s shoes were unavailable for comment.

Meanwhile, also from Reuters:

Putin starts landmark visit to Saudi Arabia

Sun 11 Feb 2007

By Andrew Hammond

RIYADH, Feb 11 (Reuters) – President Vladimir Putin arrived in Saudi Arabia on Sunday in the first visit by a Russian leader to the kingdom, as Moscow sought to restore old Soviet-era links with Middle Eastern countries.

Russia will be looking at the Middle East peace process as well as business opportunities: it wants to win a place for its arms makers in the Saudi market and explore energy tie-ups, although Russia denies having plans to join a "gas OPEC".

King Abdullah gave Putin, who launched a harsh attack on the United States on Saturday for fuelling a new arms race, a red carpet welcome and urged Moscow in remarks published on Sunday to help revive the Arab-Israeli peace process.

"There is no doubt that Russia has an important role in achieving peace," the king said in an interview with Russia’s Itar-Tass news agency published in Saudi media…

Mr. Putin is so concerned about nuclear proliferation he is going to Saudi Arabia to arrange to do for them what he has done for Iran.

That is, he wants to sell the Saudis and the rest of the oil-rich Middle East nuclear reactors — so they can buy or make their own nuclear bombs.

And of course he hopes to sell them some missile defense systems and other advanced weaponry.

Of course the Cold War never ended. The Soviets simply called a time out because they were strapped for cash.

Now with their new oil wealth and their nuclear arms dealing, that is no longer a problem.

And of course, thanks to the US, Russia has just been admitted into the World Trade Organization. So the gloves are coming off.

And don’t even think about all those billions of dollars we gave them.

No mindless stupidity good deed ever goes unpunished.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Sunday, February 11th, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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