False Bravado and Self-Contradiction Illustrate Putin’s Misrule

It is entirely natural for a country that justifies aggression and does not abide by international rules to become increasingly isolated and weak. This text, full of false bravado, highlights the misgovernment of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Russia has revised its Foreign Policy Concept for the first time in seven years. It defines the United States as the “inspirer, organizer and executor of anti-Russian policy” and condemns the United States and Europe for adopting policies that undermined Russia, leading to the current situation in Ukraine.

Russia has trampled on the U.N. Charter, which pledges respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of other states, and invaded Ukraine. The concept is nothing more than a sophistic attempt to turn the invasion into a war with the West.

The previous concept released seven years ago included Russia’s constructive cooperation with the United States. It called the European Union an important partner, and also stated that Moscow would seek good neighborly relations and mutually beneficial cooperation with Japan. The fact that Moscow itself has denied these ideas seems to have proved Putin’s misgovernment.

The United States, Europe and Japan have tightened sanctions against Russia, delivering a blow to that country’s economy. The increase in the number of Russian soldiers killed in action has also hit Putin’s regime hard. The Kremlin should be aware that this “weakening” of the nation was not initiated by the West, but was brought about by Russia itself.

Furthermore, it cannot be overlooked that the latest concept clearly states that decisions of international organizations that collide with the Russian Constitution may not be applied in Russia. It also acknowledges Russia’s “special status” as a transnational state.

This is tantamount to declaring that Russia will not abide by international law if Moscow deems it to be to the detriment of its own interests. It is an irresponsible assertion that can only be interpreted as Russia having forgotten its own position as a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council.

Russia’s abuse of its veto power, a privilege of being a permanent member of the council, is creating confusion in the international order. The current situation, in which the functioning of the council is paralyzed by a state that makes no secret of its lawlessness, cannot be left unchecked any longer.

The new concept positions China as Russia’s most important friendly country and emphasizes the strengthening of relations with Beijing.

It can be said that this reflects the current situation in which Russia is forced to rely on China both economically and militarily. Undoubtedly, the longer the aggression in Ukraine drags on, the greater Moscow’s dependence on Beijing is bound to become.

Putin advocates the elimination of dominance by the Western hegemony and the establishment of a “multipolar world order.” He may believe that the rise of China presents an opportunity to realize these claims, but when all is said and done, Russia will never have the power to occupy a corner of the multipolar global order.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, April 27, 2023)