Former Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov defended Russian foreign policy on Syria and the United Nations in ICC Auditorium on Thursday evening.

“Russian Foreign Policy in the 21st Century” was sponsored by the Center for Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies.

Ivanov referred to Syria and how the international community should react swiftly to deal with its crisis.

“Any further delay with dealing with the conflict will be detrimental to everyone, to the Syrians, the Middle East, to the global community at large,” Ivanov said. “If nothing is done by the international community in the near future, Syria is likely to turn into a failed state with a ruined economy, broken infrastructure, paralyzed political institutions and plenty of military hardware floating around.”

Ivanov discussed Russia’s place in the international community and its relationship with the United States.

“In my view, a lot of Western interpretations of the Russian foreign policy are not accurate and demonstrate a lot of political bias,” Ivanov said.

He then dispelled three myths that he thought characterized the U.S. view of Russian foreign policy: Russia as an isolationist state, Russian foreign policy aimed at complicating life for American politicians and Russia shifting its focus away from the West toward the East.

Ivanov used Syria as an example to show the incompetence of the international in dealing with conflicts.

“The modern international system has an evident deficit of governance. Since the end of the Cold War, not a single major international conflict was successfully resolved,” he said.

He pointed out a trend of rising regional conflicts, which he believes will continue and yield new crises and casualties.

“This trend means that all of us clearly failed to meet our responsibilities in maintaining international peace and stability,” Ivanov said.

Nevertheless, he attested that states are now unified against a common threat against security and shared challenges.

“It would not be an exaggeration to say that today we have a global consensus on matters of international security, something that we did not have for the most part of the previous century,” Ivanov said.

To combat these problems in international affairs, the former foreign minister offered some of his own ideas based on his experience as a statesman and diplomat.

According to Ivanov, the United Nations is the most legitimate and experienced international entity skilled in dealing with international security problems. He proposed that measures should be taken to improve the organization.

“To make the United Nations more efficient and more productive, we need to change our attitudes towards the institution,” he said. “In my view, we can change the U.N. only if the members of the great powers can put their interests aside and convince themselves to work together in order to resolve security problems.”

Dominic LaMantia (COL ’17) said that Ivanov offered insight into Russian foreign policy.

“It was interesting to hear both his personal views of the foreign policy realm, more specifically on Russian foreign policy in particular,” LaMantia said. “His [belief in the] importance of the U.N. in future foreign policy endeavors was very interesting. I’m not sure if I completely agree with it, but it’s something worth considering.”

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