Dmitry Medvedev: Twenty years on, America must abandon its Cold War mentality

Thursday 09 October 2008 00:00
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Seven years ago, because of the USA's determination to enforce its global dominance, an historic chance was missed – the chance to take ideology out of international politics and build a truly democratic world order.

After September 11 2001, Russia – like many other states – instantly, without a second thought, stretched out a hand of friendship. And we did that not only to rebuff terrorism but also for the sake of overcoming the division in the world after the Cold War. Yet, after the overthrow of the Taliban, there began a series of unilateral actions co-ordinated neither with the UN nor even with a number of the US's partners. It is enough to recall the decisions to abandon the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty or to invade Iraq.

Military bases are being set up all along the perimeter of our country. A third site for a global anti-missile shield is being created in the Czech Republic and Poland. Why, when taking these decisions, was it not possible at least to have a preliminary consultation with one's allies?

When decisions are taken in this way, without internal European consultations, one gets the feeling that tomorrow decisions could be taken to go further. Given the way that such decisions are currently taken in a unilateral way, there can be no guarantees about this – at least not for Russia. The Warsaw Pact has not existed for almost 20 years, yet Nato enlargement is pursued with special zeal. There are discussions now about admitting Georgia and Ukraine. No matter what is said, we regard such actions as directed against us.

I would like the logic of our behaviour to be totally clear. We are absolutely not interested in confrontation. Russia's successful development is possible only with transparent and equal international relations. And this guarantees the stability of the world. We must refrain from confrontational rhetoric which, by its very nature, sooner or later tends to take on a life of its own. We well remember how it used to be: everyone was convinced of its hopelessness. That all belongs to the past – just as Sovietology does. One should study the new Russia rather than reviving the ghosts of the Soviet Union.

Russia's President, Dmitry Medvedev, was speaking yesterday at the World Policy Forum in Evian, France

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