Vladimir Putin is a frequent keynote speaker. In Sochi this year, as I related in a previous column, the overarching theme was "global shake-up in the 21st century: the individual, values and the state."
Putin addressed it head on, in what can already be considered one of the most important geopolitical speeches in recent memory (a so-far incomplete transcript can be found here) – certainly his strongest moment in the limelight. That was followed by a comprehensive Q&A session (starting at 4:39:00).
Predictably, assorted Atlanticists, neocons and liberal interventionists will be apoplectic. That's irrelevant. For impartial observers, especially across the Global South, what matters is to pay very close attention to how Putin shared his worldview – including some very candid moments.
Right at the start, he evoked the two Chinese characters that depict "crisis" (as in "danger") and "opportunity," melding them with a Russian saying: "Fight difficulties with your mind. Fight dangers with your experience."
This elegant, oblique reference to the Russia-China strategic partnership led to a concise appraisal of the current chessboard: