Russia: U.S. ‘wants to dominate the world’

Russia on Wednesday responded disparagingly to President Barack Obama’s annual State of the Union address

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Russia on Wednesday responded disparagingly to President Barack Obama’s annual State of the Union address, claiming it showed that the United States wanted to dominate world affairs.

“Americans have set a course for confrontation,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters.

“Obama’s address yesterday shows that there’s just one thing at the heart of (their) philosophy: ‘We are number one’ and the rest should acknowledge that.”

“This is a bit out of date and does not correspond to modern realities,” Russia’s top diplomat added in televised remarks.

“It shows that the United States wants to dominate the world,” he said, adding that “being first among equals” was not enough for Washington.

In his keynote speech on Tuesday, Obama said that “big nations can’t bully small”, a reference to Russia’s annexation of Crimea and support for pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.

He praised U.S. policies towards the Kremlin over Ukraine, saying they left Moscow isolated and its economy in tatters.

Lavrov struck a condescending note, saying attempts to isolate Russia would fail and Washington’s “aggressive foreign policy” would one day become a thing of the past.

“I think it will pass,” he said.

But at the same time Lavrov appeared to commend Obama for what he called Washington’s growing realization that Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants presented the most serious threat in Syria.

“The task of fighting these terrorists has been called the most important one,” Lavrov said, referring to the U.S. president’s address.

“It’s good that this understanding is growing. What’s most important is to translate this into practice soon.”

Obama asked U.S. lawmakers to give him updated war powers to use American military might to go after the ISIS group.

Moscow has long argued that radical militants -- and not the regime of its ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad -- present the most danger to regional security.

In contrast, Washington has argued that Assad should step down.

The New York Times said this week that Washington now appeared to be supporting the idea of “more gradual change”, a shift now focusing more on the ISIS instead of the Assad government.

Lavrov said the article was noteworthy and suggested that it be translated into Russian.

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