One leader supports peace and stability. The other thrives on violence and wages imperial wars.
One believes nation-state sovereignty is inviolable. The other endorses the divine right of intervention.
One affirms UN Charter and other rule of law principles. The other discards them as quaint, old fashioned, and obstacles to achieving global dominance.
Expect these doctrines to clash.
Under Putin, Russia is back proud and reassertive. He's not about to roll over for America, Eurasian issues especially concern him. He wants Moscow's influenced increased, national sovereignty respected, and rule of law principles observed.
The 1648 Treaty of Westphalia established the principle of state sovereignty. It considered it immune from foreign interference or intervention.
During the 18th and 19th centuries, philosophers like Immanuel Kant said states, as well as individuals, should be subject to international law. Force by one nation against another should be prohibited.
His "Preliminary Articles" provided ways to prevent war. They included:
(1) Prohibiting secret peace treaties that tacitly include the possibility of future war.
(2) Abolishing standing armies.
(3) Prohibiting national debts from provoking external conflicts.
(4) Affirming that no state shall forcefully confront others.
Three other articles included ways to establish peace:
(1) Every state constitution should be republican.
(2) The law of nations shall be founded on a federation of free states.
(3) The law of world citizenship shall respect "Universal Hospitality" conditions.
Kant defined "Universal Hospitality" to mean unrestricted global free movement.
Post-WW I, the League of Nations failed to prevent war. So did Kellogg-Briand. Signed by America, Germany France, Britain, Italy, Japan, and nine other nations in August 1928, it promised wars would no longer resolve "disputes or conflicts of whatever nature or of whatever origin they may be, which may arise among them."
Parties violating this mandate "should be denied the benefits furnished by this treaty."
The 1950 Nuremberg Principles defined crimes against peace to include:
"(i) Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances; (and)
(ii) Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the acts mentioned under (i)."
Signed in June 1945, the UN Charter failed "to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war...."
How could it when belligerents like America put their rights above international laws, as well as their own constitutional and statute ones.
Wars thus rage without end. Washington endorses permanent ones. Aggression is considered America's divine right. Inviolable international laws are spurned. New World Order considerations are prioritized.
Wars of aggression are called liberating ones. Humanitarian intervention is pretext for waging them. Peace is illusory because it's spurned. Putin and Obama clash on these fundamental principles.
On February 27, 2012, Moskovskiye Novosti (The Moscow News) published the text of Putin's foreign policy comments on "Russia and the changing world," saying:
Moscow faces "key foreign challenges...." Decisions made affect "our economy, our culture, and our budgetary and investment planning."
Given America's belligerence, they also impact Russia's survival.
Moscow pursues "an independent foreign policy." It will continue doing so. Global security depends on cooperation, not confrontation. Washington stresses other priorities.
Putin affirmed the "inalienable right to security for all states, the inadmissability of the excessive use of force, and the unconditional observance of the basic principles of international law."
Failure to abide by these principles assures destabilized international relations.
Washington and NATO conduct "contradict the logic of modern development...." Expansion assures confrontation. Global security and stability are undermined.
"Regrettably," America and other Western nations remain dismissive of Russia's concerns. Aggressive wars masquerade as liberating ones. They undermine state sovereignty. Doing so creates "a moral and legal void..."
The Security Council and other UN bodies long ago breached their mandates. Nations usurp their obligations with impunity. Force is lawlessly used against sovereign states. America and NATO consistently undermine global peace.
States are victimized by "humanitarian" intervention and "missile-and-bomb democracy...."
Washington and key NATO partners "developed a peculiar interpretation of security that is different from ours."
America is "obsessed" with using force to "becom(e) absolutely invulnerable." The more it tries, the greater the destabilizing consequences.
Absolute invulnerability for one nation assures none "for all others" outside its aggressive alliance. Middle East and other uprisings replaced one "dominant force with another even more aggressive." It's also hostile to popular needs.
Destroying nations to save them is cover for global dominance. Russia stands fundamentally opposed. "No one should be allowed to employ the Libyan scenario in Syria."
Washington keeps advancing the ball for it. Conflict resolution is replaced by warmongering interventionism. Putin's doctrine endorses cooperation, not confrontation. Given a chance, diplomacy works. Protecting civilians requires ending violence, not escalating it.
People yearn for democracy and deserve it. America wants unchallenged dominance and dictatorship. On vital geopolitical issues, Russia and America remain fundamentally at odds.
"....US attempts to engage in 'political engineering' " undermine relations. Washington's missile shield targets Russia aggressively. It "upsets the military-political balance established over decades."
"Russia intends to continue promoting its security and protecting its national interest by actively and constructively engaging in global politics and in efforts to solve global and regional problems."
"We are ready for mutually beneficial cooperation and open dialogue with all our foreign partners. We aim to understand and take into account the interests of our partners, and we ask that our own interests be respected."
In April 1999, during NATO's war on Yugoslavia, Tony Blair addressed the Chicago Economic Club. He presented principles of his "doctrine of the international community." It became known as the Blair Doctrine.
He couched his ideas in misleading newspeak. He advocated "just war." He endorsed humanitarian interventions. He proposed five questions needing answers to decide:
(1) Are intervening powers sure?
(2) Are diplomatic options exhausted?
(3) Are military operations feasible and prudent?
(4) Are intervening powers committed for the long term?
(5) Are national interests of targeted states involved?
If yes to all five, intervention is justified, he claimed. Now it called "responsibility to protect (R2P). It's as spurious as illegally attacking Yugoslavia in the 1990s. It culminated with 78 days of bombing in 1999.
Affected people in targeted areas still haven't recovered. Rule of law principles were blown to peaces. The scenario repeats in all NATO wars.
Invoked humanitarian considerations now justify NATO interventions. Bush governed by them. So does Obama. Romney will as well if elected.
Putin stands fundamentally opposed. So do China and other key Russian partners. Loggerhead disagreements promise greater confrontations ahead.
Humanity depends on which side wins. At issue is preventing global war and neo-serfdom.
Allied with leaders intolerant of imperial dominance, ordinary people have a chance. Sustained resistance is the only chance to live free in peace. They're worth laying everything on the line for.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled "How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War"
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.