Wow! In an address to the United Nations last Friday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov proclaimed that the United States and other Western nations were in decline and having difficulty accepting that fact. Specifically, Lavrov said the West’s philosophies are out of step with the times, and the west is struggling to accept its diminishing dominance in world affairs.
Lavrov continued, “In our view, the reason for the current state of affairs lies, first and foremost, in the unwillingness of the countries which declared themselves winner in the Cold War to reckon with the legitimate interests of all other states, to accept the realities of the objective course of history.”
My first reaction was to wonder if Lavrov was intentionally describing the world his country, Russia, is trying to bring into existence. Exhibit A is President Trump, who in actions consistent with what Russian President Putin wants, has withdrawn the United States from its usual role in world affairs, thus diminishing its dominance.
How so? By attacking The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). NATO is the organization that unites the United States, Canada, and European Allies in collective defense. The centerpiece of the treaty, signed by President Harry Truman, requires member states to come to the aid of any other member in the event of an attack, especially by the Soviet Union (now Russia). Therefore NATO is something Putin opposes.
In addition to raising legitimate concerns about the relatively low level of financial support some NATO members provide, Trump has long questioned U.S. involvement overseas. He has also gone to verbal war with some of our strongest allies, including especially England, France, and Germany. Trump’s continuing assaults on NATO are indeed weakening this critical organization.
Further, Trump is weakening smaller countries like Ukraine by gutting the funding for the European Deterrence Initiative. This initiative was started by the Obama administration to provide support for countries fearful of encroachment by Russia.
Back to Lavrov. Remember that Trump hosted him and the Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak at the White House in May of 2017 where Trump did at least three outrageous things. He told his Russian guests he had solved the Russian election interference investigation problem by firing FBI Director James Comey. In a near treasonous act, he shared classified U.S. intelligence on ISIS, possibly endangering the life of an Israeli spy who provided the information. And we have learned in the past few days that Trump also told his Russian visitors that he did not care about their 2016 election interference.
The buddy-buddy relationship with leaders of Russia continued at the U.N., where Lavrov praised Trump’s speech to the General Assembly. Lavrov told the Associated Press that one positive takeaway from Trump’s remarks was “that the U.S. would not impose its way of life on others.” This was a worthwhile warning, but it also praises Trump’s international policies.
In his speech, Trump condemned globalism and put forth nationalism as the proper approach to foreign affairs. Astonishingly, he criticized globalism at the home of the world’s foremost globalist organization, the United Nations. The United Nations organized on a globalist principle that developing relations among nations can help maintain worldwide peace and security. Also, it holds that such ties can solve economic, social, cultural, and humanitarian problems.
Simply put, Trump stood before U.N. members and told them he did not believe in their work. Even Lavrov was more complimentary of the U.N. In his speech, which in essence was anti-globalist, Lavrov credited the United Nations with preventing World War III.