Lavrov: US Wants to Dominate the World

Lavrov: US Wants to  Dominate the WorldLavrov: US Wants to  Dominate the World

Russia on Wednesday responded disparagingly to President Barack Obama’s annual State of the Union address, claiming it showed that the United States wanted to dominate world affairs.

“Americans have set a course for confrontation,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said. “Obama’s address shows that there’s just one thing at the heart of (their) philosophy: ‘We are number one’ and the rest should acknowledge that.”

“This is a bit out of date and does not correspond to modern realities,” Russia’s top diplomat added in televised remarks, AFP said in a report.

“It shows that the US wants to dominate the world,” he said, adding that “being first among equals” was not enough for Washington.

In his keynote speech on Tuesday, Obama said that “big nations can’t bully small”, a reference to Russia’s annexation of Crimea and support for pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. He praised US policies towards the Kremlin over Ukraine, saying they left Moscow isolated and its economy in tatters.

Lavrov struck a condescending note, saying attempts to isolate Russia would fail and Washington’s “aggressive foreign policy” would one day become a thing of the past. “I think it will pass,” he said.

  Growing Realization

Lavrov also appeared to commend Obama for what he called Washington’s “growing realization” that the Islamic State militants presented the most serious threat in Syria.

“The task of fighting these terrorists has been called the most important one,” Lavrov said, referring to the US president’s address. “It’s good that this understanding is growing. What’s most important is to translate this into practice soon.”

Moscow has long argued that radical militants - and not the government of the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad - present the most danger to regional security. In contrast, Washington has argued that Assad should step down.

The New York Times said this week that Washington now appeared to be supporting the idea of “more gradual change”, a shift now focusing more on the IS instead of the Assad government.

  Isolation Plot

In a separate statement, the spokesperson of the Russian President Vladimir Putin said western countries are trying to use the Ukraine conflict to topple Putin, throttle Russia’s economy, and ultimately isolate Russia.

“In the west they are trying to kick out Putin, to isolate him in international politics, to throttle Russia economically due to their interests, to bring down Putin,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in an interview published Wednesday.

“If it was not for Crimea, they would think up another reason,” Peskov said. He insisted that Russia’s economic situation was under control despite “illegal sanctions” over its annexation of Crimea and support for separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine.

“I’ll remind you what Putin said (in December): everything is under control, we know what to do, how to do it, and we have everything we need to do it.”

  No Western Solution

Peskov said Russia could not resolve the crisis in Ukraine as the West demands. “Everything that Russia can do to end the conflict, it is already doing,” Peskov said, pointing to humanitarian aid and supplies of coal and electricity.

“But Russia cannot resolve this conflict within Ukraine,” he said, adding that Kiev needs “to start talking to its own regions.”

“Germany, France, Russia and the OSCE can act as guarantors for a settlement,” Peskov noted.

“We hope the Minsk group will continue its work and as a result there will be grounds for a meeting of leaders, which is planned to be held in Astana. But the meeting will only happen if it can give some concrete results,” he said.

The Russian official cited German Chancellor Angela Merkel as saying in an interview last week that Putin should not expect an invitation to a G7 meeting because the countries within it shared common values.

“By the way, Putin isn’t expecting one,” Peskov added. “I’m sure the West will never get off our back,” he said, adding that “isolationism would be a mistake.”