The topic of this year’s annual conference of the Valdai Discussion Club in Sochi, Russia, keynoted by President Vladimir Putin, is “Societies Between War and Peace: Overcoming the Logic of Conflict in Tomorrow’s World.”
On the podium with Putin were Reagan’s Ambassador to Moscow, Jack Matlock, former Czech President Vaclav Klaus, and Speaker of the Iranian Majlis Ali Larijani. Each of them also addressed the session, although their remarks are not yet available.
Their presence links the Valdai event with today’s Vienna meeting of the US, Russian, Turkish, and Saudi Foreign Ministers on Syria. EIR’s sources say that Kerry and Lavrov inclined towards inviting Iran to that meeting, but decided against doing so until certain internal disputes are first settled within Iran. They also discussed inviting Jordan and Egypt, which are leading Sunni powers,— like Turkey in that respect,— but which support the Russian mission against terrorism in Syria. Egypt’s support for the Russian mission has been open and explicit from the first moment. Jordan’s support is tacit, but well-known.
Putin’s opening address has only been partly published in English. In the opening segments, he warned against the “concept of the so-called disarming first strike,” and said that some probably have the “illusion that victory of one party in a world conflict was again possible,— without irreversible, unacceptable, as experts say, consequences for the winner, if there ever is one…. The threshold for the use of force has gone down noticeably.”
Later, he asked,