At Munich, Putin accused:"The United States has overstepped its national borders in every way. This is extremely dangerous. It results in the fact that no-one feels safe because no-one can feel that international law is like a stone wall that can protect them."
Whatever his intentions, they seem to have back-fired. European listeners said that it showed the West must square up to a brash and combative new Russia, both in the Putin era and beyond.
“We should take him at his word. This was the real Russia of now, and possibly in four or five years time it could go further in this direction,” Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt told Reuters on the margins of the annual Munich gathering. “We have to have a dialogue with Russia but we must be hard-nosed and realistic. We must stand up for our values.”
Within a day of lashing out at US foreign policy Russian President Vladimir Putin has arrived in Saudi Arabia at the start of a trip to three of Washington's closest allies in the region. He will also travel to Qatar and Jordan. He has become the first Russian head of state to visit the Kingdom. In a meeting with King Abdullah, Putin discussed Iraq, the Palestinian/Israeli conflict and oil.
Russia was a key player in the Middle East during the Soviet era and analysts say Moscow wants to restore its influence. Putin's trip reflects improved relations between the two nations following on from the King's visit to Moscow in 2003.
Riyadh revived its ties with Moscow in 1990 after the fall of communism. At an international conference in Munich on Saturday Putin attacked the US saying Washington was making the world a more dangerous place by pursuing policies aimed at making it - in his words -the "one single master".
The gelded Russian press saw it differently:
MUNICH, February 11 (Itar-Tass) - Russian vice-premier and Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov claimed that the speech by Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Munich conference was frank and non-confrontational.
“Our relations with the European Union, including Germany, are so ripe that we can speak openly, without hypocrisy and the Cold War philosophy,” Ivanov noted, replying to questions by conference participants. “I don’t think that that was an aggressive or confrontational speech, not at all.”
“We are not interested in thrusting our Russian opinion on anybody. We just speak what we think, but we do not intend to participate in decisions, which are pressed upon or taken without Russia,” he emphasized.
Final Comment: Some things never change. In the early 1950's in, "The Fall of a Titan", Igor Gouzenko, a turned KGB agent said it best. "The only thing a communist understands is a cocked gun to his head."
Add to that, a turned-off oil pipeline. What a sweet day it will be when the US imports the last drop of oil.