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Putin Speech: "America Has Nothing to Offer the World Except Domination"
Putin just gave another speech. I translated his last major speech because it's time people in the West understood what's happening - too many still think the war in Ukraine is about Ukraine. As before he states his real motivations with a speech that is entirely about the West.
Important to note that he is speaking to the Valdai Discussion Club, which has many delegates from the rest of the world. In many ways he is speaking to them.
The TL:DR of it is that he is making a pitch to the nations of the world which sounds something like this:
For too long America has been taking advantage of you and we are fighting back - let’s work together for a multipolar world.
One of his key suggestions is that the UN Security Council must be changed to be less dominated by the West. He ends the speech by essentially hinting that the West’s time in charge is over, which he says is natural and inevitable.
At several points he suggests that Europe should free itself from America’s umbrella and join Russia and others.
It’s a pitch for a new global world order.
A couple of disclaimers because people are stupid:
a) I am a vocal critic of his war - I translate his speeches so people understand what drives and motivates him
b) This is not a literal translation, more of a summary with certain non-central parts omitted.
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He opens by talking about how international law has been replaced by "rules" in reference to the idea of the international rules-based system. These rules were invented by "you know who" (the US) and these rules are illegitimate. As he claimed before.
Because of its desire for power, the collective West has caused an economic, military and humanitarian crisis. By fanning the flames of war in Ukraine, with its provocations in Taiwan and the resulting destabilisation of the global food and energy markets.
The West is playing a dangerous, bloody and dirty game. It does not respect the sovereignty of nations (his irony game is strong today) and ignores the interests of others. Last December, Russia made proposals on international collective security which were "thrown out". Again.
"When they sow the wind, they will reap the whirlwind." - direct quote.
In the modern world, you can't sit this one out. Be under no illusion - the crisis has taken on a global dimension.
Humanity has only two options:
One is to continue to accumulate problems which will inevitably crush us all. The other is to find solutions together. They may not be ideal, but they could make the world more stable and secure.
I believe in common sense and that's why I believe that the new centres of power in the multipolar world and the West will have to start a conversation about our collective future on an EQUAL FOOTING (emphasis his). The sooner we start the better.
One of our collective problems is climate change and biodiversity. But there are other forms of diversity: cultural, civilizational, political. The West's agenda is to wipe out this diversity and homogenise everything. What's behind this?
The West's own potential is diminished and so they try to stop and block that of other civilizations.
By imposing their values and consumer culture, they want to create a universal culture. They may not say so openly, although sometimes they do, but that is how they act. They insist that their values must be accepted by everyone.
He quotes Alexander Solzhenitsyn's Harvard address in which Solzhenitsyn noted that the West suffers from "a continued blindness of superiority which upholds the belief that the vast regions everywhere on our planet should develop and mature to the level of present day Western systems". Solzhenitsyn said this in 1978 and nothing has changed, says Putin.
This "racist and neocolonial blindness" has become even uglier in the last half century with the creation of the so-called unipolar world.
What can I say about this? The belief in your own perfection is extremely dangerous. It is a step away from the belief that you must destroy those with whom you disagree. To "cancel" them as they say.
Think about it. During the Cold War, at the peak of the stand-off it did not occur to anyone to deny that other peoples had their own cultures, art, science etc.
Yes, there were restrictions on scientific, educational, cultural and even, sadly, sporting links between our countries but even Soviet and American leaders understood that the cultural sphere must be handled with care and respect for your adversary. And what's happening now? The Nazis burned books, while the descendants of the founders of liberalism and progress are banning Tchaikovsky and Dostoyevsky.
Cancel culture is destroying everything that's living and creative, preventing freedom of inquiry in economics, politics and culture.
Liberal ideology is unrecognisable. Whereas classical liberalism meant that each individual is free to speak and act as he sees fit, in the 20th century liberals started claiming that their "open society" has enemies. And the freedom that these enemies have must be restricted and cancelled.
They've got to the absurd point where any alternative point of view is declared harmful propaganda that is a danger to democracy.
He quotes Dostoyevsky's Demons in which one of the characters, a nihilist, describes his imagined perfect future:
"By exiting unbounded freedom I conclude with unbounded despotism".
That's where our Western opponents find themselves today.
He quotes another character in Demons who says "we need ubiquitous betrayal, reporting of fellow citizens to the authorities and spying. Society does not need talent and ability. Cicero's tongue is cut out, Copernicus has his eyes removed and Shakespeare is stoned to death".
That's where our Western opponents are headed. That is what Western Cancel Culture is.
(At this point Putin thanks his assistants for finding him the quotes 🤣)
What can we say about this, he goes on? Cancel culture will not cancel the geniuses of human culture, it will instead come for those who have decided that they are entitled to do with it as they please. They may be confident beyond belief, but their names will be forgotten, and soon. While Pushkin, Dostoyevsky and Tchaikovsky will live on.
The Western model of globalisation was built on erasing diversity and difference. It was neocolonialism with a clear objective: to reinforce the West's unchallenged economic and political domination.
This was done by seizing control over the natural, intellectual, financial human and economic resources of the entire planet. This was presented to us under the pretence of "global interdependence".
Russian philosopher Alexander Zinovyev who said over 20 years ago that the "survival of Western civilization at its current level requires the entire planet and all the resources available to humanity".
That is what they want! That's exactly how it is. The West has given itself a massive head start in this system because it set its rules and principles like the ones they keep going on about now.
But the moment other countries, especially large Asian countries, began to profit from globalisation the West immediately changed the rules. And their "sacred principles" of free trade, economic openness, fair competition and even property rights got thrown out of the window.
Another example: for years Western politicians told us: "There is no alternative to democracy!"
But they were talking about their so-called "liberal democracy". They despise other forms of popular rule (narodovlastie) and reject them with a disdainful superiority. This has been going on for a long time, since colonialism. They consider everyone second-rate people and themselves the exceptional ones.
The overwhelming majority of the international community is demanding democracy at a global level. We reject the authoritarian diktats of certain countries and blocks. That’s genuine popular rule at the global level. Surely Western “democrats” must welcome this expression of billions of people seeking their freedom?
But no. Instead they claim this is “undermining the liberal rules-based order”. They use economic warfare, sanctions, boycotts, colour revolutions and coups. One of these occured in Ukraine in 2014 - they supported it and even announced how much they spent on it. They are impudent. They have no shame.
They killed General Soleimani. You may think what you want about Soleimani but he was an official of another country. They killed him in another country and took the credit. What is this? What kind of world is this?
Washington talks about the “global order” but every day this so-called order multiplies chaos and is becoming more and more intolerant, even in respect of the Western countries themselves. They don’t have a problem introducing sanctions against their own allies, who bow and take it.
Hungarian MPs attempted to enshrine Christian values in the EU and this was seen as destructive provocation. In Russia, we have all the world’s major religions and we respect each other’s values instead of cancelling them.
But this is not how Americans think. They’re not attempting to seek creative development. They have nothing to offer the world except dominance. I am confident that a true democracy in a multipolar world means that any people, society or civilization can choose its own path and its own social and political system.
If the US and Europe can choose their own path, then so can Asian countries, Islamic nations, the monarchies of the Persian Gulf and countries on other continents. And so can Russia. No one will ever tell our people what kind of society we should be building and what principles it should be based on.
A great danger to the West’s ideological, economic and political monopoly is the emergence of alternative social models which are more effective, exciting and appealing than what we have at the moment. The emergence of such models is inevitable. American politican commentators are openly talking about this but the people in charge don’t listen to them.
Civilizations must interact on the basis of a set of common values. Of course, each one has its own set of values but, in truth, we are only superficially different. Everyone accepts the higher value and spiritual essence of humanity. That is the common foundation on which we can build our future.
I want to emphasise that traditional values are not some fixed list of axioms that everyone must follow. The difference between traditional values and neoliberal values is that traditional values are always unique because they emerge from the traditions of that society, its culture and historical experience. That’s why traditional values cannot be imposed on others. They must be respected and treated with care as the choices made over centuries by the people of that country. That is our understanding of traditional values and most of the people on the planet share this view. That makes sense because it is the traditional societies of the East, Latin America, Africa and Eurasia that make up the foundation of the world’s civilization.
Respecting the specific nature of different peoples and civilizations is in all our interests. Even the so-called West. As they lose their dominance, they are becoming the international minority. (Emphasis his)
And I want to make clear, their right to their own cultural differences must be respected. I want to emphasise, this must be treated with respect but on a par with everyone else.
If Western elites believe they can fill the minds of their people with odd but fashionable ideas like dozens of genders and gay parades, that is their right. But what they do not have the right to do is demand that others follow them down this road.
We can see that Western countries are going through a difficult demographic, political and social process. That is their business - Russia does not interefere in this process and has no intention of doing so. Unlike the West, we do not go into other people’s backyards. But we are counting on the triumph of pragmatism and the hope that Russia’s dialogue with the true, traditional West and other equal power centres in the world, will become an important contribution to the building of a new multipolar world order. Multipolarity is the only way that Europe can recover its political and economic independence.
Let’s not hide it, we all know this. They talk openly about this in Europe. Right now that independence is - and I’ll say it gently so as not to offend anyone - severely limited. (emphasis his)
The world is diverse by its very nature. And Western attempts to make everyone follow the same template are objectively doomed to fail. An arrogant pursuit of global leadership and, in effect, diktat does nothing but undermine the authority of Western leaders, especially the United States.
Where once to see a country disagree with the United States was rare, sensational almost, today it has become normal, with many countries saying “no” to Washington. But they keep pressing. This is a mistake, it leads nowhere. But that is their choice.
The West will have to pay a higher and higher price for attempting to maintain its hegemony. If I was Western elites, I’d think about that, as American commentators and politicians are already doing.
In this time of conflict, I would like to say that Russia, being an independent country and civilization, has never considered and does not currently consider itself an enemy of the West.
But as I said, there are now at least 2 or maybe more Wests. But there are at least two: the West of traditional, primarily Christian, values of freedom, patriotism, a rich culture and now also Islamic values, as significant populations of many Western countries practice Islam. We have much in common with this West including our antique roots.
But there is another, aggressive West that is consmopolitan and neocolonial which acts as the weapon deployed by liberal elites. And Russia will never accept the diktats of this West.
I will never forget the price we paid when I became President in 2000 to squash the terrorist nest in the North Caucasus which was openly supported by the West, you’re all adults in here, you know they provided financial, intelligence and political support. We all lived through this. They didn’t just support the terrorists, they nurtured them in many ways. We know this.
But even after these terrorist bands were crushed, thanks not least to the courage of the Chechen people, we made the decision to not look back. To not act like victims. To continue to build relationships, even with those who were working against us. Russia will build relationships with anyone who wants to do so on the basis of mutual benefit and mutual respect. I would have thought that would be have been in our common interest.
Thankfully, Russia survived the challenges of that period. It has survived and grown stronger. It has dealt with the problem of domestic and international terrorism. Our has economy survived and grown. Our defense capability has improved. We tried to build relationships with Western countries. With NATO.
We had a simple message: “Let’s stop being enemies. Let’s live in peace. Let’s maintain dialogue and improve trust. Peace.”
And we were being honest: we understood how difficult coming closer together would be but we were went for it anyway. And what was the answer to this? In almost every area of potential cooperation the answer was “No!”. Instead we got constantly growing pressure and the creation of pockets of tension on our borders. What is the point of this pressure? They’re not doing it for practice. The point is to make Russia more vulnerable, to make it an instrument for their own geopolitical purposes. That’s how they do it - they turn everyone into an instrument to use for their own purposes. And if you refuse, you get sanctions, economic restrictions, coups, where they can do them, and so on. And if they can’t do any of those, the goal is simple: destroy them. Take them off the political map. This scenario will never happen to Russia.
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Russia is not throwing down the gauntlet to Western elites. Russia is simply standing up for its right to exist and develop as it chooses. Russia has no intention of becoming a new hegemon. Russia does not want to replace unipolarity with bipolarity or tripolarity, or swap Western dominance for Eastern, Southern or Northern dominance - that would inevitably lead to a new dead end.
Russian philosopher Danilevsky said that progress is not when everyone is moving in the same direction (as our opponents are attempting to encourage us to do) because this would lead to the end of progress. Progress, he argued, is to explore the entire field that represents human history in all areas. No civilization can claim to be the peak of human development.
Dictatorship can only be replaced with freedom for the development of different countries and peoples. The new world order must be based on law and it must be free, organic and fair. This must happen in the global economy. Russia believes the emergence of new international trading platforms is inevitable, including for international settlements. Such platforms must be outside national jurisdiction. They must be secure, depoliticised, automated and independent of any single point of control. Can we do this? Yes, of course. But it will take the cooperation of many countries. This will remove the opportunity for abuse of the new global financial infrastructure and allow us do business effectively, safely and profitably without the dollar and other so-called reserve currencies.
Especially, since having used the dollar as a weapon, the US and the West in general have discredited the institution of international financial reserves. First, they devalued them using inflation in the dollar and Euro area and then they just pocketed our gold reserves. Settlements in national currencies will inevitably grow.
New centres of power in the multipolar world have already made unique scientific and technological advances in all sorts of areas which can effectively compete with Western transnational companies. We have a common interest and the total can be greater than the sum of its parts. The profits should go to the majority and not individual transnational corporations.
(he complains at length about how trade with the West leads to the destruction of domestic manufacturing and says that when Russia trades with other nations it is not predatory like that)
We need integration, not Western globalisation by diktat. This is why Russia advocates for the creation of new structures that involve the cooperation of neighbouring countries whose economic, social systems, resources and infrastructures complement each other’s. These structures are the economic foundation of the multipolar order.
Discussions in these frameworks produce the true unity of humankind which is much more complex than some Western ideologues believe. Humanity will not unite around being told “Be like me, do what I do”. Unity comes out of including everyone’s opinion, with careful consideration for the identity of each country and people. Long term cooperation is only possible on this basis in the multipolar world.
In this connection, we should perhaps consider whether the structure of the United Nations, including its Security Council, should be more reflective of the diversity of the world. Asia, Africa, Latin America will play a bigger role in the future than we are led to believe and this is obviously a positive thing.
(he talks more in detail about cooperation and trade between non-Western nations and explains that Eurasian civilizations should work together including the western tip of Eurasia (Europe) which would be welcome in this grouping except “some of their leaders are hampered by their belief that Europeans are better than others and don’t even realise that they have become part of someone else’s periphery, essentially vassals who often don’t even get a vote”)
The collapse of the Soviet Union broke the balance of geopolitical power. The West decided it had won and declared a unipolar world order in which only its will, culture and interests had a right to exist. The time of unchallenged Western dominance is at an end. The unipolar world is becoming a thing of the past. We stand on a historical frontier and face probably the most dangerous and unpredictable but also important decade since the end of WWII.
The West cannot control all of humanity on its own. But desperately keeps trying. The majority of the peoples of the world are no longer willing to put up with it. That is the main source of tension in our era. This is, as they say, a time of revolution: those at the top cannot [change] but those at the bottom are no longer willing to tolerate [the status quo]. This situation can produce a conflict or a series of conflicts that threaten all of humanity, including the West. The main historic mission today is to resolve this tension constructively.
Changing Landmarks (see: https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-1-349-26532-9_5) is always a painful process but it is natural and inevitable. The future world order is taking shape before our eyes and in this system we must hear the concerns of all without imposing our single version of truth on others.