Medvedev Says U.S. Threatens Security

EVIAN, France -- President Dmitry Medvedev said Wednesday that the United States' self-styled role as the world's dominant power was undermining international security.

"A desire by the United States to consolidate its global domination led to it missing a historical chance ... to build a truly democratic world order," Medvedev said of U.S. actions since the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001.

Addressing an international conference in the French resort town of Evian, Medvedev also said Russia's war with Georgia in August showed that the security mechanism in Europe, which he said was based around NATO and the United States, needed a major overhaul.

The Kremlin leader proposed a new security pact that would ban the use of force or the threat of its use and would make clear that no single country, including Russia, would have a monopoly on providing security for the continent.

In an unusually emotional speech, Medvedev said Washington passed up a historic chance for a new partnership after the Sept. 11 attacks on U.S. cities, when Moscow offered to join Washington in fighting terrorism.

The U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and Washington's plans to station elements of a missile-defense shield in Eastern Europe -- a project fiercely opposed by Moscow -- scotched that partnership, Medvedev said.

"After toppling the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, the United States started a series of unilateral actions," he said. "As a result, a trend appeared in international relations toward creating dividing lines. This was in fact the revival of a policy popular in the past and known as containment."

Medvedev said many Western policymakers were still viewing Russia through an outdated mindset formed during the Cold War. "It is a shame that part of the U.S. administration has contracted this," Medvedev said.

Russia's diplomatic relations with the United States have deteriorated recently and reached their lowest point since the Cold War after Moscow's intervention in Georgia, a U.S. ally.

Russia launched a massive counterstrike to crush an attempt by Georgian forces to retake the separatist South Ossetia region. Its troops then pushed deep inside Georgia, a response Western states said was disproportionate.

Under a deal brokered by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Russia agreed to pull out its troops by Friday from "security zones" it set up outside South Ossetia and Abkhazia, another rebel, pro-Russian breakaway region of Georgia.

In sharp contrast to his comments about the United States, Medvedev praised the EU for its handling of the Georgia crisis. Sarkozy acted as a mediator on behalf of the 27-member bloc, of which France currently holds the rotating presidency.

"I want to stress the constructive role of the European Union in finding a peaceful option for overcoming the Caucasus crisis," he said. "When other forces in the world were reluctant or incapable of doing this, it was in the European Union that we found a ... responsible and pragmatic partner."

"I believe this is a testimony to the maturity of Russia-EU relations, which have passed their test with dignity," Medvedev said.