Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov of Russia delivered a sour speech to the U.N. General Assembly in which he accused the United States and its European allies of hypocrisy on classical liberal values and claimed they have lodged false accusations against Russia to maintain their own power.
Lavrov suggested the promise of the United Nations’ founding was undermined and delayed by the long years of the Cold War — he was enough of a good sport to portray the fall of the Berlin Wall as a positive development — and now the U.N. finds itself confronting a world with more conflicts and intractable problems than ever, just as the sun sets on Western diplomatic, economic, and military dominance.
“It is hard for the West to accept seeing its centuries-long dominance in world affairs diminishing,” he said. “New centers of economic growth and political influence have emerged and are developing without them.”
“Leading Western countries are trying to impede the development of a polycentric world to recover their privileged positions, to impose standards of conduct based on the narrow Western interpretation of liberalism on others,” he charged.
Lavrov portrayed the West’s insistence upon the principles of classical liberalism and a rules-based international order as a scam in which firm international laws which “no longer suit the West” are replaced by “rules adapted to its self-serving schemes, which are elaborated depending upon political expediency.”
“In order to justify the revisionist rules, the West resorts to manipulation of public opinion, dissemination of false information, double standards on human rights, suppression of undesirable media, and bans on journalists doing their job,” Lavrov thundered, dropping a string of accusations that might seem difficult for a Russian to make with a straight face until one recalls the Kremlin’s seething anger at Western efforts to rein in Russian propaganda operations.
Lavrov sneered at the “teacher’s pets” among former Soviet territories favored by the West and complained about “multilateral agreements” reached behind doors that were closed to the Russians.
“This is accompanied by attempts to privatize the secretariats of international organizations and use them to advance non-consensual ideas in circumvention of unilateral mechanisms,” Lavrov said, a relatively cryptic complaint he refined into an attack on the United States for withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal or JCPOA, as it is formally known.
“Washington did not just repudiate its obligations in trying to weaken this resolution, but started demanding from others to play by American rules and to sabotage its implementation,” he said.
“The United States has set a hard line toward eroding U.N. resolutions on the international framework of the Middle East peace process,” he continued. “It suggests waiting for some sort of ‘deal of the century.’ Meanwhile, it has taken unilateral decisions on Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.”
“The two-state solution to the Palestinian issue, which is essential for satisfying the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people and providing security for Israel and the whole region, is in danger,” he warned.
Lavrov segued to Libya, accusing NATO of “blatantly violating U.N. Security Council resolutions” by bombing the country to overthrow its former dictatorship and unleashing the chaos that persists to the current day. “The international community is still untangling the disastrous repercussions of NATO’s adventure, with African countries affected the most,” he said.
Lavrov further accused the West of supporting, shielding, and working with terrorist organizations in Libya, Afghanistan, and especially Syria, where Russia considers all enemies of its client dictator Bashar Assad to be terrorists.
Lavrov spent some time lambasting the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) as corrupt Western political front because the OPCW has dared to accuse Assad of using chemical weapons, and celebrated Russia’s intervention in support of the Assad regime as a major success in combating terrorism, with final victory being international acceptance of Russia, Iran, and Turkey’s plans for postwar Syria.
“The West also has its own rules in the Balkans, where it is pursuing an open course of undermining Security Council resolutions on Kosovo and Bosnia,” he added
Lavrov blamed “coups inspired from abroad” for “destroying the statehood” of Venezuela, whose socialist tyranny is another client of Moscow, and accused the U.S. of treating Cuba unfairly in a bid to restore the Monroe Doctrine of U.S. hegemony over Latin America.
Lavrov accused NATO of practicing a similar strategy by pushing its sphere of influence towards Russia and complained at length about the U.S. supposedly destabilizing Europe by pulling out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, urging the U.S. and NATO to work on signing new arms control deals.
“The United States has lowered the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons in its doctrine,” he said. “The United States is transforming cyberspace and outer space into an arena for military confrontation.”
Lavrov called for “increased representation of African, Asian, and Latin American countries” in the U.N. Security Council to reflect a more multipolar world and multipolar global economy.
“Inclusive growth is curbed as a result of the WTO [World Trade Organization] norms being supplanted by other rules — methods of unfair competition, protectionism, trade wars, unilateral sanctions, and the blatant abuse of the status of the American dollar. All this leads to the fragmentation of the global economic space and negatively affects peoples’ standards of living,” he said.