Russian President Vladimir Putin blasted the United States Saturday for the "almost uncontained" use of force in the world, and for encouraging other countries to acquire nuclear weapons. Evidently Robert Gates`, Pentagon chief, putting Russia on top of the list of possible enemies in his public speech in Congress, made Putin be more harsh than usual.
Putin told a security forum attracting top officials that "we are witnessing an almost uncontained hyper use of force in international relations" and that "one state, the United States, has overstepped its national borders in every way. "
"The legitimate use of force can only be done by the United Nations, which cannot be replaced by EU or NATO," he said.
Putin warned that a U.S.-led "unipolar world" was unacceptable and had led to more wars and conflicts in the world. "The unilateral illegal action has not resolved any problem."
The U.S. policy of "uncontained hyper-use of military force" was " very dangerous" and "nobody feels secure anymore," Putin said, adding that it drives many countries to develop weapons of mass destruction.
Putin criticized the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) for becoming a "vulgar instrument for ensuring foreign policy of one country."
Putin did not elaborate on specifics and did not mention the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Speaking of the Iran nuclear issue, the Russian leader stressed that the international community should address the concerns of Iran as it seeks a solution to Tehran`s nuclear crisis.
"We should not corner Iran into a hostile environment," Putin said.
There is no evidence, after all, that Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons, he said.
The Russian president said the international community should " be more patient and work together" to solve the crisis.
But he voiced concern about U.S. plans to build a missile defense system in eastern Europe likely in Poland and the Czech Republic and the expansion of NATO as possible challenges to Russia.
On the missile defense system, Putin said: "I don`t want to accuse anyone of being aggressive" but suggested it would seriously change the balance of power and could provoke an unspecified response.
"That balance will be upset completely and one side will have a feeling of complete security and given a free hand in local, and probably in global, conflicts?" he said. "We need to respond to this."
Asked if he had any reaction to Putin`s charges, Defense Secretary Robert Gates just shook his head and said no.
Putin`s spokesman Dimitry Peskov said the Russian leader did not intend to be confrontational, but acknowledged it was his harshest criticism of the United States since he was elected in March 2000. -AP