Rubble from the Berlin Wall was “hauled away as souvenirs” to countries that praise openness and personal freedom, he said, but “now there are attempts to impose new dividing lines and rules, maybe virtual, but still dividing our mutual continent.”Those contextual observations about Mr. Putin's national interests are appropriate there. But surely there's a better response than one blind to irony:
The world, he said, is now unipolar: “One single center of power. One single center of force. One single center of decision making. This is the world of one master, one sovereign.”
With the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, the American defense secretary, Robert M. Gates, and a Congressional delegation sitting stone-faced, Mr. Putin warned that the power amassed by any nation that assumes this ultimate global role “destroys it from within.
“It has nothing in common with democracy, of course,” he added. “Today we are witnessing an almost uncontained hyper use of force in international relations — military force.”
“Primarily the United States has overstepped its national borders, and in every area,” said Mr. Putin, who increasingly has tried to re-establish Russia’s once broad Soviet-era influence, using Russia’s natural resources as leverage and defending nations at odds with the United States, including Iran.
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.”Like Jordan, Syria, and Iran, Senator?
Putin may have his own ends in mind, and may feel they are being thwarted, or at least challenged, by the US. But that doesn't make him wrong in his charges, or his analysis. As David Kurtz says of the US Administration over at TPM: "Besides, do these clowns still deserve the benefit of the doubt?"