Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that America’s global dominance is coming to an end, with the U.S. itself accelerating that process with a string of mistakes “typical of an empire.”
The Russian president, speaking at the Valdai forum in the Black Sea resort town of Sochi, criticized the U.S. for implementing sanctions against Russia and other nations, arguing that doing so undermined trust in the dollar as the world’s universal currency.
“It’s a typical mistake of an empire,” Putin said. “An empire always thinks that it can allow itself to make some little mistakes, take some extra costs, because its power is such that they don’t mean anything. But the quantity of those costs, those mistakes inevitably grows.
“And the moment comes when it can’t handle them, neither in the security sphere or the economic sphere.”
The demise of the United States’ global hegemony has been a recurring theme in Putin’s speeches over recent years, as the Russian president has painted his nation as leading a new world order as a rising China, along with BRIC nations Brazil and India, gain equal footing.
At a panel session, Putin upbraided the U.S. for its military interventions in the Middle East, saying they had arisen from a dangerous American monopoly on world power.
“Thank God, this situation of a unipolar world, of a monopoly, is coming to an end,” Putin said. “It’s practically already over.”
Putin added that he wasn’t trying to offend anyone with his remarks and that he believed the end of American dominance would make the world more balanced and allow for more international dialogue.
Russia, Putin said, was ready for a better relationship with the U.S. at any time.
The Russian president also defended President Donald Trump, saying he didn’t agree with characterizations that Trump only listened to himself.
“Maybe he acts like that with someone else, but in that case they are to blame,” Putin said. “I have a completely normal and professional dialogue with him, and of course he listens. I see that he reacts to his interlocutor’s arguments.”
Putin discussed other topics as well, including the fate of Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi Arabian journalist and Washington Post columnist who disappeared into the Saudi consulate in Turkey and, according to a Turkish source, may have been murdered there.
Putin said the U.S. “has a certain responsibility” for Khashoggi because the journalist used to live there. Putin also said he didn’t believe there was evidence yet proving Khashoggi was murdered and that he saw now reason for his nation to spoil its relations with the Saudis.
He compared the case to that of the former Russian spy, Sergey Skripal, whom Russia is accused of poisoning with a nerve agent in Britain.
“If someone knows what happens, and there was a murder, I hope some evidence is provided. And dependent on that, we will make some decisions,” Putin said. “We do not know what happened in reality. So why should we undertake any steps to deteriorate our relations with Saudi Arabia?”