UNITED NATIONS (AP) – Russia’s foreign minister took aim at the West on Friday, saying its philosophies are out of step with the times and that it is struggling to accept what he called its diminishing dominance in world affairs.
In his speech before the U.N. General Assembly, Sergei Lavrov pointedly scorned much of the “West,” a term Russian officials typically use to refer to the United States and its traditional allies in Europe. Lavrov accused them of manipulating their citizens, disseminating false information, and preventing journalists from doing their work — all charges that the West has long lobbed at the Russian government and its predecessor, the Soviet Union.
“It is hard for the West to accept seeing its centuries-long dominance in world affairs diminishing,” Lavrov said. “Leading Western countries are trying to impede the development of the polycentric world, to recover their privileged positions, to impose standards of conduct based on the narrow Western interpretation of liberalism on others.”
The relationship between Russia and the U.S. has been deteriorating for years. The two countries are at odds on many issues internationally, from Iran’s nuclear program to Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea to the war in Syria. Relations frayed even further amid U.S. allegations that Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Lavrov accused the West of maintaining a double standard: promoting liberal values where they’re convenient but discarding them when they’re not.
“When it is advantageous, the right of the peoples to self-determination has significance. And when it is not, it is declared ‘illegal,’” he said.
To maintain this double standard, the West manipulates its citizens and its media, he said — and “impede the development of the polycentric world.”
“The fragmentation of international community is only increasing,” he said. “In our view, the reason for the current state of affairs lies, first and foremost, in the unwillingness of the countries which declared themselves winners in the Cold War to reckon with the legitimate interests of all other states, to accept the realities of the objective course of history.”
He also criticized NATO’s decision to attack Libya, which he says split the country apart. He says the West “has its own rules in the Balkans” as well. And under Western intervention, he says, Venezuela’s “statehood was destroyed before our eyes.”
Source: Miami Herald