15 December 2018
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286 days have passed since the Salisbury incident - no credible information or response from the British authorities                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     278 days have passed since the death of Nikolay Glushkov on British soil - no credible information or response from the British authorities

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

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Mr President, Colleagues, In the modern world, an efficient fight against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is becoming increasingly important for global and regional stability and the reliable security of all states without exception. Constructive cooperation in this area is an important component of the efforts to shape a positive international agenda. I think everybody agrees that the UN Security Council resolutions that outline specific measures against violations of non-proliferation must be strictly observed. Resolution 1540 remains the basis for this and contains obligations for the member states to take specific measures to prevent non-government agents from accessing weapons of mass destruction and their components. The UNSC decisions taken in pursuance of this resolution are particularly important as they include sanctions for handing over any types of weapons to terrorists. There have been incidents of such handovers and they must be thoroughly investigated.


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.


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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.


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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”.



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