Vladamir Putin responding to a journalist at the Valdai International Discussion Club.
.Translation and Transcript of Comments
First Point. I never said that I view the US as a threat to our national security. President Obama, as you said, views Russia as a threat. but I don’t feel the same way about the US. What I do feel is that, the politics of those within the circle of power, if I may use those terms … The politics of those in power in the US is erroneous. It not only goes against our national interests, it undermines any trust we had in the United States, and in that way it actually harms the United States as well. Undermined trust, with the understanding that they are one of the global leaders, in politics and matters of economy.
I can stay silent on many things … but, as I always say, and Dominic here has just mentioned it, one-sided actions, in the continuous search for the next “alliance,” and coalitions which are predetermined, this is not the method that seeks to discuss and agree on mutual grounds of understanding. These are one-sided actions. They are carried out all the time, and they lead to crises. I’ve said this before.
Another threat that President Obama mentioned was ISIS. Well who on earth armed them? Who armed the Syrians that were fighting with Assad? Who created the necessary political/informational climate that facilitated this situation? Who pushed for the delivery of arms to the area? Do you really not understand who is fighting in Syria? They are mercenaries, mostly. Do you understand that they are paid money? Mercenaries fight for whichever side pays more. So they arm them and pay them a certain amount. I even know what these amounts are. So they fight, they have the arms, you can’t get them to return the weapons of course, at the end … when they discover elsewhere pays a little more. So they go fight there.
They they occupy the oil fields. Wherever; in Iraq, in Syria. They start extracting this oil – and this oil is purchased by somebody. Where are the sanctions on the parties purchasing this oil? Do you believe the US does not know who is buying it? Is it not their allies that are buying oil from ISIS? Do you not think that the US has the power to influence their allies? Or is it indeed the point that they indeed do not wish to influence them? Then why bomb ISIS? In areas where they started extracting oil and paying mercenaries more. In those areas, the rebels from “civilised” Syrian opposition forces immediately joined ISIS because they are paid more.
I consider this absolutely unprofessional politics. It is not grounded on facts, in the real world. “We must support civilised, democratic opposition in Syria.” So you support them, arm them, and then tomorrow they join ISIS. Can they not think a step ahead?
We don’t stand for this type of politics of the US. We consider it to be wrong. It harms all parties, including you [USA].
When it comes to consideration of our national interests, I would really like it if people like you [US journalist] who posed the questions, would one day head your government. Maybe then we can somehow reverse the situation. If that doesn’t happen, I will at least ask you to deliver my messages to your government. To the President of the United States, the Vice President, and all the other relevant people. Tell them that we do not want, or look for, any confrontation whatsoever. When you start to consider our national interests in your actions, any other disagreements we may have-they will self-regulate.
This needs to be done. Not just talked about.
You need to consider the interests of others, and you must respect other people. You cannot “squeeze” others, having considered only the benefits that you require from whatever. In economics, in your military activities, in everything. Look at Iraq. The situation is terrible. Look at Libya, and what you did there, that got your Ambassador murdered. Was it us that did this? You even had a Security Council decision for this. To establish a no fly zone. What for? It was so Gaddafi’s airforce couldn’t fly over and bomb the rebels. This wasn’t the smartest decision. But okay… What did you proceed to do to yourselves? You started bombing the territory. This is in clear contravention of the Security Council resolution. It is even outright aggression against a state. Was it us that did this? You did this with your bare hands. And it ended in the murder of your Ambassador. Who’s fault is it? It is your fault. Is it a good result that your Ambassador was murdered? It is actually a terrible catastrophe. But do not look around for somebody to blame when it is you making these mistakes. You must do the opposite; rise above the endless desire to dominate. You must stop acting out of imperialistic ambitions. Do not poison the consciousness of millions of people; like there can be no other way but imperialistic politics.
We will never forget our relationship when we supported the US in the War of Independence. We will never forget that we collaborated in both World Wars, as allies. I personally believe that the geostrategic interests of Russia and the US are essentially the same. We must focus on this interrelationship.
Here is the link to the entire session.
And the full transcript from Valdai.