Speaking this past weekend at the annual Munich Conference on Security Policy, Russian President Vladimir Putin. According to the AP:
So how many times during Putin’s tenure in office has Russia supported a proposal to authorize an armed U.N. force to be deployed somewhere in the world?
... [Putin] dismissed suggestions that the European Union and NATO had the right to intervene alone in crisis regions.
"The legitimate use of force can only be done by the United Nations; it cannot be replaced by EU or NATO," he said.
Even in the case of the genocide in Darfur, Russia has frustrated U.N. efforts to take any multilateral action.
The truth is that countries like Russia helped to create the monster they publicly criticize. The Bush administration found it much easier to build domestic support to invade Iraq because of the unwillingness of countries such as France, China and Russia to offer any multilateral alternative.
For example, Russia is one of only two countries that has consistently opposed taking the issue of Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear program to the U.N. Security Council for consideration of sanctions.
Russia has done even more than the United States has done to make the U.N. an increasingly irrelevant organization. Putin almost makes Bush look honorable.
I will agree with one observation made by Putin this weekend. At one point, the Russian prez said:
“The process of NATO expansion has nothing to do with modernization of the alliance.”In my opinion, Putin is absolutely correct. But if I had to choose between an Eastern Europe brought under greater influence of Russia or the U.S., I would easily choose the latter (even if that influence is extended via the Bush admin.).