US Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Sunday called for
partnership between the United States and Russia to address global
concerns such as terrorism.
"We all face many common problems and challenges that must be
addressed in partnership with other countries, including Russia,"
Gates told a security forum attracting senior officials from around
the world. "One Cold War was quite enough."
On Saturday, Putin told delegates that the Bush administration
had "overstepped its national borders in every way" through its
"unilateral, illegitimate" actions. In a no-holds-barred speech,
Putin also said US policy had incited other countries to develop
nuclear weapons as defense against "almost uncontained use of
In the fiercest criticism of Washington's policies during his
seven years in office, Putin said America was destroying the
international legal system by bypassing the United Nations and
resorting to the unilateral use of force.
Washington's policies and whether they are fomenting a potential
new Cold War has dominated the three-day gathering of 250
ministers, military and security officials from around the
Gates said Putin's speech had reminded him of the Cold War
period, but that it was time to move on.
"Russia is a partner in endeavors," he said. "I think no one
wants a new Cold War with Russia."
"But we also wonder about some Russian policies that seem to
work against international stability, such as its arms transfers
and its temptation to use energy resources for political coercion,"
Gates agreed that the war in Afghanistan was a test for NATO's
ability to successfully overcome a major global challenge.
"The challenge posed by violent extremism today is unlike
anything the West has faced in many generations," he said. "In many
ways it is grounded in a profound alienation from the foundations
of the modern world religious toleration, freedom of expression and
equality for women."
Viktor Ozerov, the head of the defense committee in Russia's
upper house of parliament, openly questioned whether the United
States was seeking a new Cold War. Gates' comments to Congress last
week, caused Ozerov's reaction, since the new US Defense Secretary
stated the United States could not predict developments in places
like Russia, North Korea, China and Iran, seemingly painting these
states with the same brush.
Ozerov also mentioned the "Jackson-Vanick" amendment which
restricts Russia-US relations. Imposed in 1974 to expedite the
emigration of Jews from the Soviet Union to Israel, Congress has
not yet repealed this amendment for Russia although it has already
done so for other former Soviet Union states.
"When you say that we have to adopt the values of the West, we
are prepared to move to them but not all of them if such values say
you can deliver military blows outside the resolutions of the UN
Security Council," Ozerov said.
Russian Defense Minister Sergey Ivanov on Sunday further
defended President Vladimir Putin's heavy accusation against the
United States over NATO's expansion.
"I don't think Putin's remarks are aggressive," he told reporters
at a press conference following the high-profile security
Putin's remarks were simply a reminded that the United States is
breaking promises it made a decade ago that NATO would not expand
closer to Russian borders, said the minister.
Russia, for its part, has no intention of starting a second Cold
War, he added.
Russia remains committed to the non-proliferation of arms, but the
United States' military spending has increased exponentially since
the Cold War, sparking grave concerns across the world, said the
Other speakers also referred to Putin's remarks.
"None of us find it easy to switch from the Cold War phase to
shared global responsibility," German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter
However, Steinmeier also delivered a jab to the United States.
"Many in the US are now learning that democracy cannot be imposed
by military force," he said.
The three-day Munich security meeting that ended Sunday focused
on NATO's role, the Middle East peace process, transatlantic
relations, the West's relations with Russia and the fight against
Putin Slams US Foreign Policy in Munich
(China Daily via agencies, Xinhua News Agency February