Vlad Putin has rebuked the US for its ''almost uncontained'' use of force in the world, and for encouraging other countries to acquire nuclear weapons. Coming from a guy whose country has been steamrollering the Chechens for more than a decade, it's hard to tell whether that's a criticism or a compliment.
According to The New York Times:
"Putin told a security forum attracting top officials that ''we are witnessing an almost uncontained hyper use of force in international relations'' and that ''one state, the United States, has overstepped its national borders in every way.
'''This is very dangerous, nobody feels secure anymore because nobody can hide behind international law,' Putin told the gathering.
"Putin did not elaborate on specifics and did not mention the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan.
But he voiced concern about U.S. plans to build a missile defense system in eastern Europe -- likely in Poland and the Czech Republic -- and the expansion of NATO as possible challenges to Russia.
"On the missile defense system, Putin said: 'I don't want to accuse anyone of being aggressive' but suggested it would seriously change the balance of power and could provoke an unspecified response.
"The annual Munich Conference on Security Policy, now in its 43rd year, is often used as an opportunity for officials to conduct diplomacy in an informal setting.
"The conference this year focuses on ''Global Crises -- Global Responsibilities,'' looking at NATO's changing role, the Middle East peace process, the West's relations with Russia and the fight against terrorism."
Much as it is easy to criticize Putin, his main point is right. Washington's aggressive international posture and its unilateralism is destabilizing global security and triggering reactions in other states, some big, some not so big. Iran isn't the only smaller state pursuing nuclear technology (i.e. weaponry). In fact, Iran is an exception in that the West is intervening before Tehran can build a nuclear weapon. We missed that boat with Pakistan, India and, for all practical purposes, North Korea.
Big and emerging powers such as Russia, China and India are also pursuing major rearmament programmes inevitably focusing on acquiring arsenals of modern, high-tech weaponry. These moves are coupled with a responsive departure from the international control mechanisms. Bush dropped the gloves and now others are taking theirs off. This is very much part of the Bush legacy, one more thing to thank him for, global insecurity.