25 September 2018
Moscow: 20:55
London: 18:55

Consular queries:  
+44 (0) 203 668 7474  
info@rusemb.org.uk  

 

SPEECHES, INTERVIEWS, ARTICLES

13.10.2014

Can Bombs Ever Be a Substitute for Diplomacy? (by RIAC President, Professor of MGIMO-University Igor Ivanov)

Igor Ivanov RIAC President, from 1998 to 2004, RF Minister of Foreign Affairs, Professor of MGIMO-University, RAS Corresponding Member

The 19th-century German military theorist Carl von Clausewitz gave a classic definition of war as the "continuation of policy by other means." Considering the strategy of the West during various crises in recent years, it would seem that U.S. and European leaders have radically revised that idea and now view war not so much as a continuation of policy as they do an alternative to it.
The most recent confirmation of this observation is Washington's bombing campaign against the Islamic State. Since operations began two weeks ago, Britain has joined the campaign and France intends to do so. Officials claim that the bombing will last for many months and possibly even two or three years.
At the same time, the West has made it clear that it will not cooperate with the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad and has expressed doubts about the effectiveness of cooperating with Russia in resolving the most acute crisis in the Middle East.
Do serious politicians and experts in the West really believe that bombing will solve the problem of Islamic extremism in the Middle East? Has Washington learned nothing from past experience using force in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan? Does anyone really believe that war can serve as an effective substitute for diplomacy and foreign policy?
You do not have to be an expert on Islamism to understand that extremism and terrorism in the Middle East have deep socio-economic and political roots — and that Islamism stems in part from multiple instances of Western intervention in the affairs of the region.
It does not take a political clairvoyant to predict that the destructive bombing campaign will inevitably inflict "collateral damage" on civilian targets in Iraq and Syria, and just as inevitably lead to the rise of anti-U.S. and anti-Western sentiment in the Middle East — only further fueling the very Islamic extremism that the West is attempting to eliminate.
And finally, it does not take a Talleyrand or a Metternich to understand that the global community cannot achieve a lasting solution to extremism in the Middle East without the participation of Syria, Iran and Russia. It has been said, in one form or another, that "if a hammer is the only tool you have, everything around you seems to require pounding." If aerial bombing is all that the current U.S. leadership is prepared to use to address the security problems in the world, Washington will always find plenty of targets for its precision bombs.
However, such "foreign policy" will probably lead to the opposite result of the one intended. It might apply pressure to several extremist strongholds in Iraq and Syria, but it is unlikely to solve the larger problem of extremism in general.
Is there an alternative? It seems that the only viable solution is to form the broadest possible coalition of political forces interested in combating extremism together with launching consistent and concerted multilateral efforts to isolate extremists and cut them off from moderate groups of Sunni and Shiite Muslims. Among other things, politics is the art of compromise. In this case, it is important that the fundamental interests of all the responsible players — both within and beyond the Middle East — happen to coincide. That provides a basis for joint political action.
U.S. President Barack Obama came to power criticizing the unilateral use of force by his predecessor, George W. Bush. Six years ago, his team in the White House proclaimed a focus on multilateral diplomacy and inclusive political decision-making. Perhaps this the time to return to those principles.
Multilateral dialogue, the joint search for political compromise and consideration for the interests of all partners could serve as the basis for resolving not only the crisis in the Middle East, but also for restoring the trust between great powers that is necessary for addressing other pressing international problems.




LATEST EVENTS

07.09.2018 - Remarks by Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations, following the UNSC meeting on the incident in Salisbury

Q: Do you expect British sanctions on Russia soon? A: We are not expecting or afraid of anything. Taking to the account how things have been developing during the recent years we do not exclude anything. This discussion and yesterday’s speech by the British Prime-Minister in the British Parliament are not coincidental. I think that’s looks like a prelude to a new political season. Q: So, Ambassador it’s really coming from the highest level in the UK. A: It always comes from the highest level. Last time when the incident took place it also came from the highest level. Q: But it seems that you are not taking it seriously. A: We are taking it very seriously. We were saying it all the time. Why we’ve been asking for cooperation with the UK from day one. Only few minutes ago Ambassador Pierce was referring to an ultimatum that Boris Johnson made in his letter to the Russian Ambassador in London when the incident took place presented as a request by the British site to cooperate while in fact it was a demand to to accept the gilt. At the same time our requests which we sent to British authorities constantly through OPCW and bilaterally were ignored.


06.09.2018 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks at Bolshaya Igra (Great Game) talk show on Channel One, Moscow, September 4, 2018

Question: Today we have a special guest in our studio, one of the main participants in the “great game”, someone the future of the world really depends on in many ways: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. We are happy to welcome you in the Great Game studio. Sergey Lavrov: Thanks for inviting me.


22.08.2018 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's comment on UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt's anti-Russian claims

At a joint news conference following talks with Foreign Minister of Serbia Ivica Dacic Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov commented on UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt's urges to European partners to slap their own sanctions on Russia in connection with the Salisbury incident.


16.08.2018 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's interview for "Salisbury Journal"

The Russian Ambassador said he stands together with the people of Salisbury in a meeting with the Journal last week, as the United States announced new sanctions against the country. Speaking at his official residence in Kensington Palace Gardens on Thursday, Alexander Yakovenko said: “We are together with the people of Salisbury.”


24.06.2018 - Greeting by Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko for the Znaniye school Family Day (Ealing, 24 June 2018)

Dear friends and guests, I am delighted to welcome you at a Family Day celebrating Russia and the World Cup. Today, Russia is the place to be for the whole world. It is a great pleasure to hear fans from all continents appreciating Russia’s hospitality, friendliness and openness to everyone. Right now, people from virtually every country see the 11 host cities, from the Baltic Sea to the Urals on the border of Europe and Asia, and realize how diverse and beautiful our country is. We’d like to bring a bit of Russia and the excitement of the World Cup to Ealing, for those who couldn’t make it to the tournament. By the way, so far both our teams are doing very well, and let us hope they keep up this good work. We cheer for both Russia and England but I’m afraid this can change if both teams meet at the semi-finals.


20.06.2018 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers to questions at the Primakov Readings international forum, Moscow, May 30, 2018

Mr Dynkin, Colleagues and friends, Ladies and gentlemen, I am grateful for a new opportunity to speak at the international forum named after Academician Evgeny Primakov, an outstanding Russian statesman, academic and public figure. It is indeed a great honour for me. I consider Mr Primakov, with whom I worked at the Foreign Ministry in the latter half of the 1990s, my senior comrade and teacher, as probably do the majority of those who crossed paths with him at one point. Holding this representative conference under the aegis of one of Russia’s leading academic institutes – National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO) that also bears Primakov’s name – has become a good tradition. The Primakov Readings have earned a reputation as a venue for serious dialogue of authoritative specialists on the most pressing issues of international politics and the global economy. Today, there is no lack of buzzwords used by politicians, experts and scientists to capture the current moment in international relations. They talk about the crisis of the “liberal world order” and the advent of the post-Western era, “hot peace” and the “new cold war”. The abundance of terms itself shows that there is probably no common understanding of what is happening. It also points to the fairly dynamic and contradictory state of the system of international relations that is hard to characterise, at least at the present stage, with one resounding phrase. The authors of the overarching theme of the current Primakov Readings probably handled the challenge better than others. In its title “Risks of an unstable world order’ they provocatively, and unacademically, combine the words “unstable” and “order”.


21.04.2018 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's talking points at the Press Conference, 20 April 2018

Since we met last time a lot of events took place: - Military strikes of the United States, UK and France against Syria in violation of the international law - Mission by OPCW inspectors to Douma - Speech of Prime Minister May in Parliament in support of the British aggression against Syria - Special meeting of the OPCW Executive Council (18 April 2018) - New developments in the classified case of Salisbury poisoning of Skripal family - No meaningful developments on the Glushkov case - and Cyber security threats I plan to comment all these issues. And I will be happy to answer all our questions, if you have any.


17.03.2018 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's interview for "Mail on Sunday" (full text)

Q: Bearing in mind that the US, France and Germany have said they agree with Britain that all the evidence suggests the attacks in Salisbury were the responsibility of the Russian state, what credibility can be placed on the denials issued by the Russian Government? A:We don't know if UK presented any evidence to US, France and Germany - highly likely none - but if they did, why not present it through the channels outlined in the Chemical Weapons Convention? Universal legal principle is presumption of innocence, and the burden of proof lies with the British Government. Its record includes the Iraq WMD dossier - you will remember that at some point doubting US and UK claims was considered a wild conspiracy theory. It is not any more.


26.01.2018 - Main foreign policy outcomes of 2017

In 2017, Russian diplomacy addressed multidimensional tasks to ensure national security and create a favourable external environment for our country's progressive development. Russia maintained an independent foreign policy, promoted a unifying agenda, and proposed constructive solutions to international problems and conflicts. It developed mutually beneficial relations with all interested states, and played an active role in the work of the UN, multilateral organisations and forums, including the G20, BRICS, the SCO, the OSCE, and the CSTO. Among other things, Russian policy has sought to prevent the destabilisation of international relations, and this responsible policy has met with broad understanding in the international community.


17.01.2018 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at the unveiling of memorial plaque in Sayes Court Park

Dear Mayor, Dear Councillors, Lady Joan, Ladies and gentlemen, It is now 320 years ago that a truly remarkable man set foot in Deptford. As you know, the Russian Tsar Peter, later named the Great, visited Western Europe in 1697—1698 under the nickname of Peter Mikhailov, with his Grand Embassy. He was eager to find out about the latest achievements in science and technology and create new diplomatic alliances. Of course, England couldn’t escape his attention. He mostly studied shipbuilding at the famous Deptford Dockyard, but he also met King William III, and, reportedly, Isaac Newton. Peter’s landlord, the famous John Evelyn, was also a respected scientist – a founder member of the Royal Society.



all messages