Evian forum's anti-Munich ideas


MOSCOW. (RIA Novosti political commentator Dmitry Kosyrev)

The first World Policy Conference in Evian, France, is over. Some of the heads of state and government expected did not show, and some of those who did come left after making their speeches. Is this good or bad?

In principle, the success of a major forum depends on how soon the global political community accepts its ideas and molds them into action plans. This means officials of different levels should participate in such brainstorming events.

The success - or failure - of the first Evian forum will become clear in a few months. If it proves a success, it will take several years to implement its ideas, which may be very difficult.

So far, one of the key events in Evian was the duet of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and French President Nicolas Sarkozy. I am referring to their speeches and less formal interaction with the forum participants.

Medvedev's speech was crystal clear: the world must join forces to overcome the current financial crisis. This is exactly what the world waited for someone to say.

To begin with, we should calm down and stop using confrontational rhetoric, the Russian leader said. Secondary considerations should be forced to the background in some cases.

In the event of an economic crisis, Medvedev said, we should above all think about ways to preserve the results of human endeavor and maintain a befitting quality of life, including Russia and all other countries and regions, because the economy has long become a global affair.

When the recent tragedy happened in Tskhinvali, which the Georgian troops shelled and later invaded, killing innocent civilians, we had to think above all about saving human lives. All other considerations were secondary to that task, the Russian president said.

The current economic crisis is more important than ideological differences between Russia and its partners in Europe and America. In this respect, we are thinking as partners, not as rivals or adversaries, Medvedev said.

Moscow's position of principle as put forth by Medvedev may be more important than even some of its actions. A relevant example is Russia's readiness to provide a 4 billion euro loan to Iceland to save it from financial catastrophe, as expressed at the time of the Evian forum.

Next Medvedev spoke about his plan to rehabilitate the global financial sector, which is not unlike the ideas of President Sarkozy.

The essence of Medvedev's five points is that financial transactions must be transparent, responsible and accountable, with the uncontrollable issue of unsecured obligations curtailed.

The Russian president also clarified his earlier idea of a collective security treaty for Europe. The five principles of European security include the underlying principle of equal security for all, without domination by any one country or organization.

I wonder if journalists will describe the Evian forum as anti-Munich. I am referring to the Munich security conference in February 2007, where Vladimir Putin spoke about elements of Western policy Russia did not - and still does not - accept.

Some unwise media presented his speech as Russia's challenge to the 20 or 30 countries that are collectively referred to as "the West" or "the Atlantic community."

Medvedev has repeated many provisions of Putin's Munich speech, but nobody was shocked this time. Long before Munich, Russia offered its assistance to the United States after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. And Putin said in Munich what Medvedev repeated in Evian - that there are crucial problems on which Russia and the rest of the world, including the West, must take a common stand.

Medvedev reminded the audience in Evian that the world had missed an historical chance to cleanse international relations of ideology and to start building a truly democratic world order.

In 2001, Russia extended a helping hand to the U.S., hoping to finally bridge the gap that divided the world since the Cold War.

However, the U.S. decided to "privatize" global solidarity against a common threat, expecting its partners to pursue a policy approved in Washington, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at the UN General Assembly.

This led not only to a senseless war in Iraq, which Russia and all the key European countries did their best to prevent, but also attempts to split Europe into "old" and "new" parts and to nurture anti-Russian regimes, including in Georgia.

This era has come to its logical conclusion, Lavrov said.

At the dawn of a new era in international relations, President Medvedev said in Evian that Russia was at one with its Western partners in the fight against global threats. Will they take Russia's hand this time? Time will tell.

However, this is not enough for Russia because international problems do not wholly depend on differences between it and the West. They have deeper roots going back to the fear of global change eating out Western civilization. In fact, this is why the Evian forum was created.

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti.

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