Analysis Of Vladimir Putin’S Speech At 2007 Munich Security Conference

The president of Russia, Vladimir Putin attended the Munich Security Conference only once since he was in put charge in 1999, and this happened in 2007 in the heart of Europe, Munich.

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In this occasion he reportedly intervened on current issues of the International Security problem not sparing anything to chance.

Putin in this speech address to the whole international scene and gives a “warning of the risks of a ‘unipolar’ world and NATO enlargement and criticizing the ‘unilateral’ approach of the US on the major issues of the world agenda” (Allevato M., 2017).

The president of Russia used the Munich Conference as a platform to denounce “the United States as a dangerous hegemon that was ignoring state borders, violating international law, and ‘plunging the world into an abyss of permanent conflicts.” (Gutterman S., 2017). Not only but also in his speech he discussed about the power of International law, the disarmament issue, NATO expansion and finally some causes of the global destabilization.

‘It was high time”, Putin said, to ‘seriously think about the architecture of global security.’ (Putin, 2007). In fact he criticized the US for its striving for a unipolar world, its unrestrained use of force and its disdain for international law. Also the President stated “The unipolar world that had been proposed after the Cold War did not take place” (Putin, 2007). For the first time since the end of the Cold War, Putin made clear that Russia does not fit in this kind of world order, he also added “I consider that the unipolar model is not only unacceptable but also impossible in today’s world.” (Putin, 2007). At that time his analysis was taken as ‘a repeat of the Cold War, but today we see that it is fully realized and this is not good for anyone, not even for Russia itself’ (Allevato M. 2017).

However the mainstream and journalists distorted his speech and portrayed it as a malicious attack, also “A decade later, the Kremlin’s repeated calls for a restructuring of world security have not produced the result Putin seemed to have in mind: a new system with Russia in a leading role on equal footing with Washington.” (Gutterman S., 2007).

“In the decade since Putin’s Munich address, ‘the main achievement is considered [by the Kremlin] to be that Russia has destroyed the U.S. monopoly on the use of force outside its traditional region and ‘won the right to violate international law’ — like the United States.’ (Florov V., 2016). In addition to that according to the Italian journalist Allevato Marta ‘Munich’s speech in 2007 was a forerunner of the end of the post-Cold War Western-centric model, in which Russia played a modest role.” (Allevato M. 2017).

The year in which the Munich conference was held was characterized by the current of gravitating instability in the Middle East, with the prolongation of the Iraqi impasse, the resumption of the insurrection in Afghanistan, the political and diplomatic crisis over Iran’s nuclear power and the interminable Israeli-Palestinian conflict. All in all the whole global scene it appeared to be instable and chaotic.

According to the writers of the article Shanker & Landler “President Vladimir V. Putin accused the United States of provoking a new nuclear arms race by developing ballistic missile defences, undermining international institutions and making the Middle East more unstable through its clumsy handling of the Iraq war.”(Shanker & Landler, 2007).

The President has harshly criticized the US policy and has claimed that the country of the United States has of overstepped its national border, not only economical but also political, cultural and educational. (Putin, 2007). Unfortunately this takes us back to the climate present during the Cold War (1945-1989) where the world was ideologically and economically divided between two superpowers.

However according to Mr. Vladimir Putin “just like any war, the Cold War left us with live ammunition, figuratively speaking. I am referring to ideological stereotypes, double standards and other typical aspects of Cold War bloc thinking.” (Putin, 2007), he also stated that the unipolar world that had been proposed after the Cold War has not taken place and it will hardly take place because the world is various and it includes a multitude of rapidly growing economies in new countries, and as we already know, economic growth corresponds to the level of international influence, and countries such as China and India reached a GDP higher than the United States and Europe have increasing international political influence, this corresponds to the establishment of a vast and varied international political landscape that includes more powers, for this reason Putin states that a unipolar system does not work in the world we are living in and international laws should have an international character to include all countries in order not to let the European powers prevail or the US. “As the greatest threat to security, Putin had indicated the unjustified use of military force against other countries. This claim was mainly directed at the United States.” (Sputnik Italia,2017)

Speaking in Munich, Putin warned that “the Russian Federation would no longer be willing to play by the rules suggested to it from the outside;” (Allevato M., 2017). In addition he claimed that Russia is part of a multipolar world and like the new emerging powers they will not be subordinated to the United States and he declared to be open to partnership with the West in all spheres, not only in security.

American military actions, which he termed “unilateral” and “illegitimate,” also “have not been able to resolve any matters at all,” and, he said, have created only more instability and danger. “They bring us to the abyss of one conflict after another,” he said. “Political solutions are becoming impossible.”(Putin, 2007).

A whole new page has opened in international relations, in which there are no more powers that can sign great agreements and decide the fate of other nations. Ten years ago, the leader of the Kremlin spoke of Russia as ‘part of the great European family’. ‘He meant that he accepted the order that came out of the Cold War, but that the great European family had to be flexible and tolerant enough to understand everyone and not just those who met his criteria” (Sputnik Italia, 2017).

However Putin speech was not accepted by everyone, in fact he has been highly criticized by the mainstream western Medias and several delegates did not liked the speech. “In 2007 no one could foresee the appearance of the ‘Islamic State’ and the extent that the terrorist threat would have. Today, however, Putin’s words on the need to review the architecture of global security in relation to the growing terrorist threat sound more relevant than ever.” (Sputnik Italia, 2017). New threats have basically appeared previously known, but which today are global in nature, such as terrorism, — said Putin. — I am convinced that we have reached the decisive moment when we must seriously rethink the global security architecture.”(Putin, 2007).

Many people in the West did not like this independent position of Russia. After Putin’s intervention in Munich, Russian-speaking moods began to spread in the Western media, Putin and Russia have become the target of the information war that ten years later would have acquired unprecedented proportions as we see today.

‘Russia can be satisfied that it has predicted the unsustainability of a unipolar world and considers it a success that attempts to impose this model have stopped. At the same time, however, the unpredictability in international politics has risen to the highest level and, as never before, the biggest cause is the United States'(Sputnik Italia, 2017).

Ten years after Putin’s ‘regional power’ speech, Russia has once again become one of the protagonists of world politics. Moscow forced the world to respect it and listen to its opinion. This transformation began right in Munich.

According to Shanker and Landler “The comments were the sternest yet from Mr. Putin, who has long bristled over criticism from the United States and its European allies as he and his cadre of former Soviet intelligence officials have consolidated their hold on Russia’s government, energy reserves and arms-manufacturing and trading complexes.”(Shanker & Landler, 2007).

The comments irritated some European leaders and prompted sharp criticism from the Americans in attendance. Senator John McCain, the Arizona Republican widely expected to make a bid for the White House, made a rebuttal that began, “In today’s multipolar world, there is no place for needless confrontation.” He said that the United States won the cold war in partnership with powerful nations of Western Europe, and that “there are power centers on every continent today.” (Shanker & Landler, 2007).

In conclusion the Russian President Vladimir Putin explained that he had not come to the conference to congratulate the participants but to debate. With determination, he urged Europeans to break the Atlantic Alliance that binds them to a warlike power from which they have nothing good to hope.

In 2007 no one could foresee the appearance of the ‘Islamic State’ and the extent that the terrorist threat would have. “Today, however, Putin’s words on the need to review the architecture of global security in relation to the growing terrorist threat sound more relevant than ever.” (Sputnik Italia,2017).

07 September 2020

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