Munich's Security Conference is held annually. This year marks the 49th session. Dozens of countries participated. Hundreds of world leaders attended.
They included heads of state, foreign affairs and defense ministers, as well as other senior figures. Active engagement was prioritized. Current and future security challenges were discussed.
In 2007, Russian President Vladimir Putin took full advantage. He pulled no punches. He sharply criticized US foreign policy. He called it:
"very dangerous (in its) uncontained hyper-use of force - military force - in international relations, force that is plunging the world into an abyss of permanent conflicts." US imperialism, he stressed, "overstepped its national borders in every way."
"(U)nilateral illegal actions have not resolved any single problem. They have become a hotbed of further conflicts."
"We are seeing increasing disregard for the fundamental principles of international law....No one feels safe! Because no one can feel that international law is like a stone wall that will protect them."
"Of course, such a policy stimulates an arms race. The dominance of force inevitably encourages a number of countries to acquire weapons of mass destruction."
Putin also addressed a "unipolar world." He called it one "in which there is one master, one sovereign. And at the end of the day, this is pernicious not only for all those within this system, but also for the sovereign itself because it destroys itself from within."
He added that "We are constantly being taught about democracy. But for some reason those who teach us do not want to learn themselves."
America deplores democracy at home and abroad. It prioritizes unchallenged dominance. It demands what it says goes. Russia supports peace, not war. It favors diplomatic conflict resolution.
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov attended this year's Conference. Itar Tass headlined "Moscow calls on West not to impose outside values on peoples of Middle East, Africa."
Lavrov told participants:
"We all aspire for stability and conditions for sustainable development in the Middle East and in Africa, we want the peoples of countries there to be able to move towards the democracy and wellbeing, to have guaranteed human rights, smooth supplies of hydrocarbons and other vital resources."
"If those are our joint objectives, then, we may agree on transparent and clear rules, which should be used by all players in their practical actions."
"Agree that we all will be supporting the democratic reforms of the changing countries, but not to impose an outside value scale, acknowledging the variety of development models."
"Should agree that we shall be supporting the peaceful settlement of the inner state conflicts and stopping of violence via conditions for an inclusive dialogue with involvement of all national political groups."
"Should agree that we shall refrain from outside interference, especially by force, without a clear mandate from the UN Security Council and from any unilateral sanctions. That we should continuously and firmly fight extremism and terrorism in all forms, should demand observation of rights for ethnic and confessional minorities."
"Approaches of our Western counterparts cause many questions."
"Does support for change of regimes justify terror methods? Is it possible to be fighting in one situation against those who you support in another one?"
Lavrov said answers to key questions "should be found jointly, especially regarding final objectives for the efforts to settle crises in countries of the Euro-Atlantic region, which have more uniting aspects rather than discrepancies."
Russia categorically opposes force. It wants Syrians alone to decide who'll lead them. It wants no external interference. It's got international law on its side.
Earlier Lavrov expressed concern about Israeli aggression on Syria. He called it "unacceptable."
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak also addressed Munich participants. He admitted Israel's involvement.
He said "what happened in Syria several days ago (is) proof that when we said something we mean it...and we say that we don't think it should be allowed to bring advanced weapons into Lebanon."
Israel committed naked aggression. It was unrelated to cross-border weapons transfers. Israel's objectives aren't clear. It may be to goad Syria to counterattack.
Doing so would risk greater war. It could become regional or global. History proves small conflicts at times become major ones.
Iran's Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani warned Israel, saying:
"The world is witnessing a vengeance carried out by the West, particularly the US, and some backward elements in the region against resistance."
He urged regional countries to distance themselves from Israel. He said "the Islamic awakening movement in the region would give a proper response to the Zionist regime."
On February 3, the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) said "Israeli Aggression Reveals Israel's Role in Destabilizing Syria."
Assad responded publicly for the first time. He said Israel acted in "collaboration with hostile external powers." Syria's able to confront challenges. It'll repel aggression. Destabilizing Syria won't work. Iran offers full support.
On February 2, Voice of Russia contributor Konstantin Garibov headlined "Israel's air attack against Syria heralds new regional conflicts," saying:
Doing so entails great risks. Russia's Foreign Ministry condemned Israel's attack. It called it "an unprovoked attack against a sovereign state."
Syria declared the right to respond. International law permits justifiable self-defense. Lebanese political scientist Imad Rizk called the attack's timing "symptomatic."
Netanyahu "returned to big politics." He forming a coalition government. He's negotiating for strategic advantage. He'll deal with Washington's new Secretary of State.
"It looks like the attack became the US and Israel's joint declaration" of war on Syria.
Vladimir Putin said "Israel will keep delivering blows on facilities or forces participating in the Syrian conflict. They would be either Islamist groups of troops loyal to Bashar al-Assad. I can foresee that as the crisis becomes worse, Israel could expand its participation in such attacks."
Israel allegedly fears Islamic extremists. Supposedly it's concerned about ties to Hamas and Hezbollah.
Russian Academy of Sciences Institute of Oriental Studies analyst Vladimiri Sotnikov believes "It would be a nightmare for Israel."
It's likely what Israel prefers. It needs enemies to justify belligerence. Peace, calm and stability defeat its agenda.
As foreign minister in 1982, Yitzhak Shamir explained why Israel attacked Lebanon. A "terrible danger" existed, he said, "not so much a military one as a political one."
On June 6, 1982, Israel invaded Lebanon. Fighting lasted nearly a year.
An Israeli staged false flag was pretext. Arafat was falsely blamed for Abu Nidal militants' attempted assassination of Israeli UK ambassador Shlomo Argov.
Israel got the war it wanted. Around 18,000 Palestinians were massacred. Southern Lebanon remained occupied until May 2000. Israel still illegally holds Sheba Farms.
It's a 14-square mile water-rich area near Syria's Golan. It's been lawlessly occupied since 1967 along with Ghajar, a bordering Lebanese village.
Sabra and Shatila remain symbols of Israeli ruthlessness. At the time, Ariel Sharon was defense minister. He ordered the slaughter. He let Phalangist fascists do his dirty work.
Palestinian civilians were massacred in cold blood. Women were raped multiple times before being killed. Children were murdered like adults.
Whole families were shot, stabbed, bludgeoned to death, or buried dead or alive under homes. Some were tortured before dying. Bodies were decapitated.
Corpses were charred and violated. Eyes were gouged out. Faces were unrecognizable.
Israel maliciously planned it. Sharon led it. He called it "ridding the world of the center of international terrorism." Orwell couldn't have said it better. No one to this day was punished. Israel massacres with impunity.
Haaretz contributor Gideon Levy said "Israel does as it pleases." Rogue states operate that way. Criticizing them is called "heresy and treason."
Israel overflies Lebanon's airspace with impunity. It's "taken for granted." It bombards whatever it calls dangerous. It "invade(s) any place, settle(s) anywhere. It may do (almost) anything."
It does any damn thing it wishes. Washington offers full support. They're imperial partners. They jointly plan aggression. They get away with it because who'll stop them?
"(A)nything allowed (is) shaped (in) Israeli consciousness." It's based on largely baseless assumptions. Notions about being surrounded by hostile Arabs don't wash.
It bears repeating. The only threats Israel faces are ones it invents. It menaces regional neighbors and humanity. It prioritizes Middle East dominance.
It wants regional rivals eliminated. It wages unprovoked naked aggression. Israel alone has weapons of mass destruction. Using them is prioritized if threatened.
"(T)o hell with all the troublesome questions," said Levy. Only what Israel wants matters. Rule of law principles apply to others. "Israel is allowed to do anything."
It gets away with mass murder and much more. Its right is divine, it claims. It doesn't matter what others say. Only Israeli interests count.
Saying so claims Jewish exceptionalism, specialness, and uniqueness. Israeli hardliners say they're God's "chosen people." They have a divine right to commit naked aggression. Spurning human rights comes with the territory.
They can do any damn thing they wish. They debase moral values and ethical principles. They threaten Jews and non-Jews alike. They endanger humanity.
They need to be stopped before they kill again. In response to Israel's May 2010 Mavi Marama massacre, former Congressman Dennis Kucinich asked colleagues to sign a letter to Obama, stating:
"It is not acceptable to repeatedly violate international law. It is not acceptable to shoot and kill innocent civilians. It is not acceptable to commit an act of aggression against another U.S. ally."
"It is not acceptable to continue a blockade which denies humanitarian relief. It is not acceptable to heighten tensions in a region while the United States continues to put so much blood and treasure on the line."
"No one questions the right of Israel to defend its border. (Doing so) does not extend to shooting innocent civilians anywhere in the world, anytime it pleases."
"Israel must account for our support, for the lives of our soldiers, for the investment of billions from our taxpayers."
"Israel owes the United States more than reckless, pre-meditated violence waged against innocent people."
It's hard imagining anyone in Congress today this forthright. It's likely why Kucinich lost his March 2012 primary reelection bid. Dark forces targeted him. The Israeli Lobby wanted him ousted.
They went after Cynthia McKinney the same way. Doing the right thing is costly. The Israeli Lobby ran her out of Congress twice. Ruining her political career became policy.
Virtually no one in Congress criticizes Israel. Doing it risks being a career ender. McKinney believes principle matters most. Her soul isn't for sale. Hopefully, Kucinich feels the same way.
He's free to keep doing what's right. Voices for truth and justice are badly needed. The most perilous time in world history demands they speak out. Imperiled humanity depends on it.
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.