In a bit of irony, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the Kremlin and Western interests, namely the United States, under the Obama Administration, should make another run at peace. Amid ongoing fears and predictions that the scenario in Ukraine may spark the beginning of World War 3, Lavrov suggests Moscow is willing to consider diplomacy to edge towards stabilization.
Foreign Minister Lavrov, appeared on Russian state television Sunday and appealed to the United States for attempts at talks that would ease tension between the two nuclear-armed nations. Of course, there was no mention or allusion to threats of World War 3 should sanctions remain in place through 2014, but fearmongers and conspiracy theorists were likely hanging on to his every word.
Sergei Lavrov referenced “resetting” relations, theoretical terminology that was repeated several times when Hillary Clinton was still Secretary of State.
In 2009, after Obama was elected POTUS, it was Clinton who suggested the two governing bodies work on pathways to peace, that were jeopardized or deferred under the presidency of George W. Bush. Even then the foreign affairs climate was rife with talks of a third world war if calm heads didn’t prevail.
Nonetheless, as open as Putin and the Kremlin appear, the all-familiar themes of blame continue to emerge, and Sunday’s television address by Lavrov was no exception.
“We are absolutely interested in bringing the ties to normal but it was not us who destroyed them. Now they require what the American would probably call a ‘reset’.
“The current U.S. administration is destroying today much of the cooperation structure that it created itself along with us. Most likely, something more will come up – a reset no.2 or a reset 2.0.”
Russia’s Vladimir Putin is enjoying a growing presidential approval rating back at home. The savvy former KGB operative is reaping the benefits of a propaganda campaign against the West by accusing Obama and NATO of orchestrating a coup in Kiev. As a consequence, pro-Russian rebels and factions in Ukraine are involved in a quasi-civil war.
World War 3 buzz sparked last month when Putin made comments, arguably portentous in scope, about his country’s military prowess and nuclear weapons capability, while addressing a youth forum, wrote The Daily Beast.
“I want to remind you that Russia is one of the most powerful nuclear nations. This is a reality, not just words. We must always be ready to repel any aggression against Russia and (potential enemies) should be aware… it is better not to come against Russia as regards a possible armed conflict.”
While Vladimir Putin downplayed World War 3 rhetoric and ordering a nuclear first-strike to annex additional USSR once-held territory, his continued aggression and rhetoric raises the specter of using nukes to obtain his objectives, citing a Reuters report on the “2.0 reset.”
The Russian emissary’s tone on Sunday was a bit muted. Especially when compared to the day before at the 69th United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters when he assailed Obama and the EU in a blistering attack over attempts to interfere with its affairs in trying to mitigate the ongoing crisis in Eastern Ukraine.
Meanwhile, Russia said now is the time to upgrade its aging arsenal of atomic weapons, furthering speculation from World War 3-watchers that a global confrontation is not a matter of “if,” but “when.”
Lavrov spoke to RT about Russia’s impasse with the West over the annexation of Crimea, which Moscow says was at the beckoning of a majority of Russian-born Ukrainian residents. He argues that dissidents are distorting the true picture on the ground. The Kremlin believes Ukrainian residents, many who are holdovers from the old Soviet Union under Nikita Khrushchev, want to rejoin Russia.
The gridlock, as it has been since the beginning of the Ukrainian crisis, is wrought with denial from both sides. Obviously, no one wants to have blood on their hands in possibly starting another arms race or worse: World War 3. Putin and Lavrov’s position is that the West is steeped in the belief that it must be the mediator of global affairs.
“There’s no room for petty grievances in politics. I very much hope that the United States will finally… realize that they can no longer act as the prosecutor, the judge, and the executioner in every part of the world and that they need to cooperate to resolve issues.”
The foreign minister denies that Russia’s actions are deliberately creating a Cold War. Additionally, he said pundits should not assume Russia’s desire to upgrade its nuclear and conventional arsenals proves it is preparing for a third world war. Moscow is of the position that, based on the provisions within the New START treaty, it is lawful — and expected — for the two nuclear nations to upgrade their defensive arsenals.
Russia’s foreign minister insists that his government is open to diplomatic solutions in the absence of sanctions, and a resetting of peace initiatives is still possible. Moreover, it’s not likely that the two political adversaries will risk World War 3 over the crisis in Ukraine, but the ongoing posturing from both sides is unsettling.
[Image via: The Daily Beast]