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Jim Zirin-Should Trump Be So Quick to Establish Good Relations with Putin?-Thomas Graham

Jim Zirin-Should Trump Be So Quick to Establish Good Relations with Putin?-Thomas Graham


♪ [THEME MUSIC] ♪>>HI THERE. I’M JIM ZIRIN. WELCOME BACK TO MORE CONVERSATIONS IN THE DIGITAL AGE. RUSSIA IS THE FOREIGN RELATIONS TOPIC DU JOUR AND THERE ARE MANY QUESTIONS. WHAT IS GOING ON BETWEEN TRUMP AND THE RUSSIANS AND WHAT IS THE BEST WAY FORWARD ON RUSSIA? DID PUTIN HACK OUR ELECTIONS AS MOST AMERICANS BELIEVE? WHAT DID HE HOPE TO ACCOMPLISH? IS THERE ANY CONNECTION BETWEEN RUSSIAN HACKERS AND THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN? DO TRUMP’S STATEMENTS ON RUSSIA THAT HE IS PREPARED TO LIFT SANCTIONS IN EXCHANGE FOR AN ARMS REDUCTION DEAL COMPUTE TO GOOD POLICY? HERE TO HELP US CONNECT THE DOTS AND PERHAPS SHED LIGHT ON THESE QUESTIONS IS THOMAS GRAHAM. TOM GRAHAM IS A RUSSIAN EXPERT WHO HAS BEEN WATCHING PUTIN FOR YEARS. HE HAS HELD AMONG OTHER POSTS THE POSITION OF SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH AND SENIOR DIRECTOR FOR RUSSIA ON THE NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL STAFF. HE IS A PROMINENT WRITER ON RUSSIAN AFFAIRS AND A MANAGING DIRECTOR OF KISSINGER ASSOCIATES. TOM GRAHAM WELCOME. >>GLAD TO BE HERE JIM.>>WE’RE DELIGHTED TO HAVE YOU. JOE BIDEN RECENTLY SAID THAT HE DOESN’T HAVE A CLUE WHAT TRUMP IS GOING TO DO. DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT HIS RUSSIAN POLICY IS GOING TO BE?>>I DON’T THINK ANYBODY HAS A CLEAR IDEA OF WHAT HIS RUSSIAN POLICY IS GOING TO BE. HE MADE A LOT OF STATEMENTS DURING THE CAMPAIGN, DURING THE TRANSITION PERIOD. YOU LOOK CLOSELY AT THOSE STATEMENTS, THEY’RE NOT INTERNALLY CONSISTENT. WE WANT TO BE CLOSE TO THE RUSSIANS. WE WANT TO WORK WITH THEM ON COUNTERTERRORISM. AT THE SAME TIME, WE WANT TO UPEND THE NUCLEAR DEAL WITH IRAN, WHICH RUSSIA IS A STRONG SUPPORTER OF. WE ARE TALKING ABOUT MILITARY MODERNIZATION, CONTINUATION OF MISSILE DEFENSE ARE TWO THINGS THAT SEND SHIVERS DOWN THE SPINES OF THE PEOPLE IN THE KREMLIN. THE REAL CHALLENGE HERE IS HOW DO YOU TAKE THESE VAGUE SENTIMENTS THAT WERE EXPRESSED DURING THE CAMPAIGN AND TRANSLATE THEM INTO A CONCRETE, COHERENT POLICY? THAT I THINK IS GOING TO BE A QUESTION NOT SO MUCH FOR THE PRESIDENT-ELECT AS IT IS FOR THE TEAM THAT HE IS PUTTING TOGETHER. AS YOU KNOW, WE STILL DON’T KNOW WHAT THE OUTLINES OF THE TEAM ARE GOING TO BE, WHO ARE THE PEOPLE GOING TO BE FOCUSED ON RUSSIA POLICY DAY IN AND DAY OUT, WHO ARE GOING TO PROVIDE THE OPTIONS TO THE PRESIDENT-ELECT?>>SPECIFICALLY, HE SAID HE HOPED TO STRIKE A DEAL WITH PUTIN, WAS THE MOST RECENT STATEMENT, TO REDUCE NUCLEAR WEAPON STOCKPILES AS PART OF A BROADER EASING OF TENSIONS. THAT WOULD INCLUDE LIFTING ECONOMIC SANCTIONS IMPOSED AFTER RUSSIA SEIZED CRIMEA AND MADE MOVES ON THE UKRAINE IN 2014. HE SAID, SANCTIONS ON RUSSIA, LET’S SEE IF WE CAN MAKE GOOD DEALS WITH RUSSIA. FOR ONE THING, NUCLEAR WEAPONS SHOULD BE DOWN WAY AND REDUCED SUBSTANTIALLY. THAT’S PART OF IT. RUSSIA IS HURTING VERY BADLY RIGHT NOW BECAUSE OF SANCTIONS. BUT I THINK SOMETHING CAN HAPPEN. THERE ARE A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO ARE GOING TO BENEFIT. MEANWHILE, SECRETARY OF STATE REX TILLERSON SAID RUSSIA POSES DANGEROUS THREATS TO THE UNITED STATES. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE MATTIS SAID RUSSIA IS ONE OF THE U.S.’S PRINCIPAL THREATS. HOW DO YOU RECONCILE ALL THIS?>>OBVIOUSLY, RUSSIA PRESENTS A SIGNIFICANT CHALLENGE TO THE UNITED STATES AT THIS POINT. IT’S A CROSS A BROAD RANGE. WORLD ORDER, VERY DIFFERENT INTERPRETATIONS OF THE PRINCIPALS OF GLOBAL ORDER, EUROPEAN SECURITY, SOVEREIGNTY, TERRITORIAL INTEGRITY, LEGITIMATE USE OF FORCE. ALSO, WE HAVE SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCES OVER CONCRETE GEOPOLITICAL ISSUES. WE SEE IN SYRIA, IN UKRAINE. SO THERE ARE PROBLEMS THAT WE HAVE TO DEAL WITH. I THINK IN THIS REGARD, REX TILLERSON AND MATTIS ARE ABSOLUTELY CORRECT THAT THERE IS A CHALLENGE HERE. THAT SAID, I THINK PEOPLE REALIZE THAT RUSSIA IS A FACTOR. IT DOES HAVE NUCLEAR WEAPONS. IT DOES HAVE A — AN IMPROVED MILITARY THAT WE SEE OPERATING IN SYRIA AND ELSEWHERE OVER THE PAST SEVERAL YEARS. IT HAS A WORLD CLASS DIPLOMATIC CORPS. IT RETAINS A WORLD CLASS SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY THAT CAN TAKE THE NEW TECHNOLOGIES AND DEVELOPMENT MILITARY APPLICATIONS. WE SEE THAT IN CYBERSPACE OVER THE PAST SEVERAL MONTHS. IT’S A COUNTRY THAT WE HAVE TO RECKON WITH. THE CHALLENGE FOR THE UNITED STATES IS TO BUILD A RELATIONSHIP WITH RUSSIA THAT ADVANCED AMERICAN NATIONAL INTEREST. WE’RE GOING TO HAVE TO ENGAGE WITH THEM. WE NEED TO MOVE BEYOND WHAT YOU HEAR A LOT IN WASHINGTON TODAY CALLED WAR RHETORIC. WE’RE NOT GOING BACK TO THE COLD WAR. GOING FORWARD TO THE TYPE OF STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP THAT THREE POST COLD WAR ADMINISTRATIONS, CLINTON, BUSH AND OBAMA TRIED. WE’RE GOING TO HAVE SOMETHING QUITE DIFFERENT I THINK IT’S GOING TO LOOK MORE LIKE A NORMAL RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN MAJOR POWERS WITH CONFLICTING INTERESTS. WE’RE GOING TO HAVE TO ENGAGE, WE’RE GOING TO HAVE TO MAKE TRADEOFFS. WE’RE LOOKING FOR A BALANCE OF COMPETITION AND COOPERATION TO ADVANCE AMERICAN NATIONAL INTEREST. >>PRESIDENT OBAMA SAID HE WANTED TO RESET OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH THE RUSSIANS. SINCE HE SAID IT, MANY BELIEVE OUR RELATIONSHIP HAS DONE NOTHING BUT GO SOUTH AND DETERIORATED. HOW DO WE SALVAGE OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH THE RUSSIANS?>>AGAIN, REMEMBER THE GOAL IS NOT TO SALVAGE IN THE SENSE OF BUILDING A COOPERATIVE RELATIONSHIP. FOR THE PAST 25 YEARS AMERICAN ADMINISTRATIONS HAVE SOUGHT TO BUILD A COOPERATIVE RELATIONSHIP WITH RUSSIA ON THE ASSUMPTION THAT RUSSIA WAS SLOWLY INTEGRATING ITSELF INTO THE EURO ATLANTIC COMMUNITY. THAT DROVE PRESIDENT CLINTON’S POLICY. IT DROVE THE POLICY OF THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION IN WHICH I SERVED. AND IT WAS THE INITIAL POSITION, I THINK OF THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION. PUTIN HAS MADE IT VERY CLEAR OVER THE PAST COUPLE OF YEARS THAT RUSSIA IS NOT INTERESTED IN EURO ATLANTIC INTEGRATION. IT SEES ITSELF AS A SEPARATE — THERE’S DEBATE IN RUSSIA OVER WHETHER IT’S WESTERN, EASTERN. WHAT IS CLEAR IS IT IS DIFFERENT. INTEGRATION IS NOT THE GOAL. SALVAGING THE RELATIONSHIP TO MY MIND REAL SLY ABOUT REENGAGING, HAVING A VERY DIFFICULT SET OF DISCUSSIONS AND WORKING TOWARDS THAT BALANCE OF COMPETITION, COOPERATION THAT I TALKED ABOUT IN ORDER TO ADVANCE OUR NATIONAL INTERESTS. AND WE GO THROUGH THAT ISSUE BY ISSUE. BUT WE ALSO NEED TO REMEMBER THAT IN THE RUSSIANS’ MIND, ALL THESE INTERESTS ARE CONNECTED. WE’RE GOING TO HAVE TO BALANCE WHAT WE DO IN SYRIA, WHAT WE DO IN UKRAINE, HOW THAT IMPACTS ON EUROPEAN SECURITY. AND ALSO LET US NOT FORGET THAT RUSSIA PLAYS A ROLE IN ASIA NOW. WE ALSO NEED TO HAVE AN ASIAN COMPONENT TO OUR RUSSIA STRATEGY. IT’S A COMPLICATED AND COMPLEX ISSUE. IT’S GOING TO TAKE A LOT OF HARD WORK A CREATIVE THINKING TO BUILD A RELATIONSHIP WITH RUSSIA THAT’S GOOD FOR AMERICAN INTERESTS.>>THERE’S AN OVERARCHING ISSUE BEFORE YOU GET TO THAT AND YOU TOUCHED ON IT WHEN YOU REFERRED TO THE UPGRADED CYBER POTENTIAL. THEY ARE WIDELY BELIEVED TO HAVE HACKED OUR ELECTIONS. JOHN McCAIN SAID IT WAS AN ACT OF WAR AGAINST THE UNITED STATES. WE’RE INVESTIGATING IT. I THINK WE HAVE LARGELY CONCLUDED THAT THEY AND PUTIN WERE RESPONSIBLE WITH THE INTENT OF INFLUENCING THE ELECTION AND SECURING TRUMP’S VICTORY. OBAMA IMPOSED SOME SANCTIONS. BUT YOU DON’T ERASE THE SANCTIONS AND PRETEND IT NEVER HAPPENED.>>THIS IS A VERY COMPLICATED ISSUE. FIRST, RUSSIA MOST CERTAINLY HACKED INTO VARIOUS COMPUTERS DURING THE ELECTION CAMPAIGN. THAT’S WHAT INTELLIGENCE SERVICES DO. I’M QUITE CONFIDENT THE RUSSIANS ARE NOT THE ONLY HOSTILE POWER THAT TRIED TO DO THAT. MY SENSE IS THE GOAL WAS NOT SO MUCH TO HELP TRUMP WIN AS HAS BEEN DISCUSSED IN MANY ELEMENTS OF THE AMERICAN ESTABLISHMENT AT THIS POINT. I THINK THE BROADER GOAL WAS TO DISCREDIT THE AMERICAN POLITICAL PROCESS. IN THE EYES NOT SO MUCH OF THE AMERICAN PUBLIC BUT OF THE WORLD. SEND THE MESSAGE, THE UNITED STATES IS HARDLY A PARAGON OF DEMOCRATIC VIRTUE. HOW CAN THE UNITED STATES STAND UP AND CRITICIZE RUSSIA FOR ITS ELECTION CAMPAIGNS, FOR THE WAY IT CONDUCTS ITS INTERNAL POLICY? THAT IS A VIEWPOINT THAT RESONATES, PERHAPS NOT IN EUROPE, PERHAPS NOT IN THE UNITED STATES, BUT CERTAINLY IN BROAD AREAS OF THE REST OF THE WORLD, LATIN AMERICA, AFRICA AND ASIA IN PARTICULAR. WHAT SHOULD THE AMERICAN RESPONSE BE? FIRST, WE DO NEED TO INVESTIGATE THIS. WE NEED TO PUT THIS IN A BROAD CONTEXT. YES, THERE’S A RUSSIA ELEMENT TO THIS. WE ALSO NEED TO LOOK AT WHAT OTHER COUNTRIES MIGHT HAVE WISHED TO DO US HARM AND NOT IGNORE THE POSSIBILITY THAT OTHER COUNTRIES ALSO ENGAGED IN LESS VISIBLE WAYS IN TRYING TO MANIPULATE THE AMERICAN POLITICAL PROCESS. WE ALL KNOW WE NEED TO FOCUS ON CYBER SECURITY. I WAS DISAPPOINTED AFTER THE INITIAL RELEASE OF THE INFORMATION ON THE DNC THAT BOTH CANDIDATES DIDN’T STAND UP AND SAY, WHAT’S REALLY AT STAKE IS THE INTEGRITY OF OUR POLITICAL PROCESS. THIS IS BIPARTISAN. WE ARE GOING TO BOTH ENCOURAGE THE U.S. GOVERNMENT, THE AMERICAN PUBLIC TO FIND WAYS TO DEAL WITH THIS. FOCUS ON CYBER SECURITY. MAKE SURE THAT OUR ELECTORAL PROCESS IS SECURE FROM OUTSIDE INTERFERENCE. THE THIRD THING THAT WE NEED TO DO IS TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO DEAL WITH THESE LEAKS OF INFORMATION. THEY ARE INEVITABLE. IT’S GOING TO HAPPEN IN 2018. IT’S GOING TO HAPPEN IN 2020. MUCH OF THE FOCUS IN THE MEDIA WAS ON LEAKS ABOUT INFORMATION ABOUT INDIVIDUALS WHO WERE ACT BEING LIKE NORMAL HUMAN BEINGS TRYING TO DO THE BEST THEY COULD IN DIFFICULT CIRCUMSTANCES AND THAT BECAME A FOCAL POINT THAT DISTRACTED ATTENTION FROM MAJOR ISSUES FACING THE UNITED STATES GOING FORWARD. WE AS A POLITICAL SOCIETY ARE GOING TO HAVE TO FIGURE OUT HOW WE’RE GOING TO DEAL WITH THESE IN THE FUTURE SO THAT WE KEEP OURSELVES FOCUSED ON WHAT’S REALLY IMPORTANT FOR THE UNITED STATES. FINALLY, WE DO HAVE TO FIGURE OUT A WAY TO RESPOND. MY OWN PREFERENCE WOULD BE TO DO SOMETHING COVERTLY, SOMETHING THAT WOULD SEND A SIGNAL TO RUSSIA THAT WE CAN DO HARM.>>WOULD YOU TURN OFF THE ELECTRICAL GRID IN MOSCOW FOR FIVE MINUTES? JUST TO FLEX OUR MUSCLE.>>THOSE OF US OUTSIDE GOVERNMENT DON’T KNOW WHAT OUR CAPABILITIES ARE. I THINK I CAN DESCRIBE WHAT WE OUGHT TO TRY TO DO. THAT IS TO DO SOMETHING THAT THE KREMLIN IS AWARE OF THAT SENDS A MESSAGE THAT WE CAN DO MUCH WORSE IF WE INTEND TO. AS A WAY OF CAUSING THEM TO RECONSIDER. MUCH OF WHAT IS OUT IN THE PUBLIC I THINK IS SOMEHOW SATISFYING TO THE POLITICAL ESTABLISHMENT BUT REALLY DOESN’T DETER THE RUSSIANS. PUTTING SANCTIONS ON GRU OFFICERS WHO AREN’T PLANNING ON TRAVELING TO THE UNITED STATES ANY TIME SOON AND DON’T HAVE A LOT OF ASSETS IN THE UNITED STATES DOESN’T REALLY SEND MUCH OF A MESSAGE TO THE RUSSIANS. TO THE EXTENT THAT THIS IS DONE EFFECTIVELY AND COVERTLY, WE’RE GOING TO BE BETTER OFF.>>CLOSING DOWN THE TWO RUSSIAN BUILDINGS, RUSSIAN-USED BUILDINGS, ONE IN LONG ISLAND AND ONE IN MARYLAND?>>THAT WILL HAVE VERY LITTLE IMPACT ON THE WAY THE RUSSIANS BEHAVE. WE ALSO HAVE DIPLOMATIC MISSIONS IN RUSSIA THAT PUTIN CAN RETALIATE AGAINST IF HE SO DESIRES. HE DECIDED NOT TO.>>YOU THINK THAT WAS WISE?>>FROM HIS STANDPOINT, YES.>>HE CAN ALWAYS DO IT LATER.>>ABSOLUTELY. HE MADE THAT POINT. BASICALLY WHAT HE IS SAYING TO PRESIDENT-ELECT TRUMP IS, I HAVEN’T DONE IT BECAUSE I WANT TO SEE HOW YOU ARE GOING TO CONDUCT YOUR RUSSIAN POLICY. BUT ALWAYS REMEMBER, THAT THIS IS SOMETHING THAT I CAN DO AND I WILL DO IF IT TURNS OUT THAT THE RELATIONSHIP IS NOT SATISFACTORY FROM MY STANDPOINT. >>LET’S LOOK AT CONFLICTS OF INTEREST. SECRETARY OF STATE TILLERSON HAS HAD DEALINGS WITH PUTIN AND THE RUSSIANS OVER MANY YEARS IN HIS CAPACITY AS CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF EXXON. GENERAL FLYNN, THE NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER, HAS HAD CLOSE TIES WITH THE RUSSIANS. TRUMP AT LEAST SINCE 1980 HAS BEEN SEEKING BUSINESS DEALS IN RUSSIA. DOES THIS PRESENT A PROBLEM? IS THIS A POSSIBLE PLUS FOR THE UNITED STATES? WE KNOW THE WHITES OF THEIR EYES OR IS THERE A MINUS?>>LET ME START WITH TILLERSON. TILLERSON OBVIOUSLY IS A HIGHLY ACCOMPLISHED BUSINESSMAN. HE IS ENGAGED IN NEGOTIATIONS WITH HEADS OF STATE AROUND THE GLOBE OVER THE PAST DECADE OR MORE. HE HAS, IN FACT, LED A VERY EFFECTIVE POLICY INSIDE RUSSIA FROM THE STANDPOINT OF EXXON MOBILE’S COMPANY INTERESTS. I THINK YOU CAN TRANSFER THAT TO AMERICAN NATIONAL INTEREST. WHAT I LIKED ABOUT TILLERSON, THAT HE IS TOUGH, HE IS FIRM AND HE KNOWS HOW TO GET WHAT HE WANTS. THAT I THINK BODES WELL FOR A SECRETARY OF STATE AND DEALINGS WITH RUSSIA. RUSSIA DOESN’T EXPECT PEOPLE TO ROLL OVER. RESPECT TOUGHNESS. THEY LIKE TO BE TREATED AS AN EQUAL. THAT’S WHAT TILLERSON DID. IF HE DOES THAT IN IT THE DIPLOMATIC ARENA, YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE GREATER CHANCES OF SUCCESS. ONE I KNOW LESS ABOUT, I THINK HE NEEDS TO MAKE CLEAR WHAT HIS ATTITUDESER TS ARE. THE SAME FOR THE PRESIDENT-ELECT. IT’S A TOUGH ISSUE. HE HAS TO EXPLAIN AS WELL AS HE CAN WHAT THE NATURE OF HIS RELATIONSHIP HAS BEEN WITH THE RUSSIANS OVER THE PAST SEVERAL YEARS. OR HE IS GOING TO CONTINUE TO FACE VERY HARSH CRITICISM FROM THE CONGRESS, FROM THE MEDIA. AND THAT WILL IMPACT WHAT HE CAN DO IN THE POLICY AREA. HE NEEDS A COHERENT POLICY. HE NEEDS TO DEMONSTRATE HOW THAT IS — WORKS TO ADVANCE AMERICAN NATIONAL INTEREST. AND THEN EXPLAIN AS WELL AS HE CAN WHAT THE NATURE OF HIS RELATIONSHIP HAS BEEN WITH THE RUSSIANS OVER THE PAST SEVERAL YEARS.>>LET’S TAKE THE PRESIDENT-ELECT WHO, OF COURSE, IS EXEMPT FROM CONFLICT OF INTEREST LAWS. DURING THE CAMPAIGN HE INSULTED MANY PEOPLE. BUT HE SEEMS TO COZY UP TO PUTIN SAYING HE ADMIRED PUTIN AS A TOUGH CONTENDER, AS A POWERFUL MAN. SINCE HIS ELECTION, HE HAS SPOKEN WELL OF PUTIN AND HE SAID, WHY WOULD WE WANT TO BE IN THE COLD WAR? NO ONE IN HIS RIGHT MIND WOULD WANT TO BE IN A COLD WAR. HOW DO YOU RECONCILE HIS VARIOUS STATEMENTS WITH THE COHERENT RUSSIAN POLICY?>>IT IS DIFFICULT TO DO. HE IS PUTTING TOGETHER A TEAM. THEY’RE GOING TO HAVE TO TAKE THOSE STATEMENTS THAT THE PRESIDENT-ELECT HAS MADE ABOUT PUTIN, PUT ALL THE OTHER STATEMENTS HE MADE ABOUT VARIOUS ELEMENTS THAT IMPACT OUR OUR RELATIONS WITH RUSSIA AND TURN THIS INTO A COHERENT, CONCRETE PROGRAM. THAT’S A VERY DIFFICULT CHALLENGE ANY INCOMING ADMINISTRATION FACES THAT WE ARE, I WOULD SAY, SEVERAL WEEKS IF NOT A FEW MONTHS AWAY FROM A FULLY BLOWN RUSSIA POLICY.>>LET’S SHIFT TO THE TALKS ABOUT COMPROMAT, APPARENTLY A RUSSIAN TACTIC OF TAPING AMERICAN POLITICIANS AND BUSINESSMEN IN HOTELS IN AN EFFORT TO GET COMPROMISING INFORMATION ABOUT THEM IN WHICH THEY CAN USE FOR BLACKMAIL OR FOR OTHER PURPOSES. DID YOU COME ACROSS THAT IN YOUR TIME IN GOVERNMENT? IS THIS SOMETHING THAT THE RUSSIANS FREQUENTLY ENGAGE IN?>>I KNOW, I WORKED AT THE AMERICAN EMBASSY IN MOSCOW IN THE LATE SOVIET PERIOD IN THE MID OF 1990s. IN MANY WAYS, THE 1990s, A PERIOD OF TREMENDOUS POLITICAL DISARRAY IN RUSSIA, THE HIGH POINT OF DOMESTIC COMPROMISE. YOU USED TO SEE THIS IN THE PAPERS ALL THE TIME. VARIOUS POLITICAL FORCES USING THIS AGAINST OTHERS. TO SOME EXTENT, THE INTEL SERVICES IN RUSSIA AT THAT POINT HAVE BEEN PRIVATIZED, ELEMENTS WORKING FOR OTHER POLITICAL FIGURES. I HAVE SEEN HOW IT PLAYED OUT IN THE DOMESTIC POLITICAL ENVIRONMENT IN RUSSIA. CERTAINLY, THEY HAVE CONTINUED TO COLLECT COMPROMISING INFORMATION. THAT’S WHAT INTELLIGENCE SERVICES DO. THE RUSSIAN INTELLIGENCE SERVICE HAVE A LONG HISTORY OF DOING THIS. IT GOES BACK INTO THE CZARIST PERIOD. I’M NOT SURPRISED ABOUT IT. THE QUESTION,HOW THEY MIGHT DEPLOY IT. MORE IMPORTANT THAN THAT, THE QUESTION IS HOW THE INDIVIDUALS WHO MIGHT BE SUBJECT TO RELEASE — IF YOU ARE CONCERNED ABOUT THIS, DO YOU BRING IT TO APPROPRIATE AUTHORITIES? DO YOU GO PUBLIC TO DEMONSTRATE YOU CAN’T BE BLACKMAILED? DO YOU TRY TO HIDE THIS IN SOME WAY? THE REAL DANGER IS TRYING TO PREVENT THE RELEASE OF THE INFORMATION. WE USED TO TELL OUR POLITICAL OFFICERS, OUR DIPLOMATS IN MOSCOW, IF YOU GET AN INKLING OF THIS, COME TO US IMMEDIATELY. WE WILL PROTECT YOU BUT THE WORST THING IS TRY TO RESOLVE THIS ON YOUR OWN. THAT’S GOOD ADVICE FOR POLITICAL LEADERS NOT ONLY IN THE UNITED STATES, THROUGHOUT THE WESTERN WORLD. IF YOU GET ANY INKLING OF THIS, THE IMPORTANT THING IS TO BRING IT FORWARD, PUT IT OUT THERE AND DEMONSTRATE THAT YOU ARE NOT GOING TO BE BLACKMAILED BY THE RUSSIANS.>>LET’S FOCUS ON PUTIN FOR A MOMENT IF WE CAN. HE CERTAINLY PORTRAYED IN THE PRESS AND IN WESTERN CIRCLES AS AN INTERNATIONAL BAD BOY GUILTY OF THE WORST POSSIBLE BEHAVIOR, EVEN AS A WAR CRIMINAL. FIRST HIS DISCRETION. DOES VERY MORE DISCRETION THAN KRUSCHEV?>>PUTIN OPERATES IN A POLITICAL CONTEXT. HE MAY HAVE A FREER HAND THAN THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES DOES AND ANY WESTERN LEADER DOES. THERE’S AN INNER CIRCLE, VARIOUS FACTIONS IN THE KREMLIN THAT HAVE TO BE MANAGED IF PUTIN IS TO MAINTAIN HIS POLITICAL POSITION. HE HAS TO DEMONSTRATE THAT ESCAPABLE OF DEFENDING THOSE VARIOUS FACTIONS AGAINST ONE ANOTHER, AGAINST DOMESTIC UNREST AND ALSO IMPORTANTLY AGAINST EXTERNAL ENEMIES. HE HAS TO BALANCE ALL OF THIS AS HE THINKS ABOUT WHAT HIS OWN POLICY IS GOING TO BE. THAT’S POINT ONE. POINT TWO IS THAT PUTIN OPERATES VERY MUCH IN A TRADITION OF RUSSIAN STRATEGIC THINKING ABOUT FOREIGN POLICY. FROM OUR STANDPOINT, HE IS CHALLENGING US. I THINK THAT’S ABSOLUTELY TRUE. FROM HIS STANDPOINT, HE IS ADVANCING RUSSIAN NATIONAL INTEREST AS HE SEES THEM. AND AS I THINK A BROAD SEGMENT OF THE RUSSIAN POLITICAL ELITE DOES AS WELL. HE IS GOING TO CONTINUE TO DO THAT. OUR TASK IS TO UNDERSTAND TO THE EXTENT POSSIBLE HOW HE SEES HIS OWN RUSSIAN NATIONAL INTEREST, FACTOR THAT INTO OUR POLICY AND MAKE SURE THAT WE ARE RESPONDING IN WAYS THAT REFLECT WHAT WE FIND DISAGREEABLE FROM OUR STANDPOINT, PUSH HIM IN DIRECTIONS THAT ARE ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE UNITED STATES BUT ALWAYS ON THE ASSUMPTION THAT HE IS GOING TO THINK ABOUT THIS IN THE CONTEXT OF RUSSIAN NATIONAL INTEREST.>>ONE OF HIS NATIONAL INTERESTS, TO RESTORE THE BOUNDARIES OF THE OLD SOVIET UNION?>>IT’S NOT TO RESTORE THE SOVIET UNION OR THE RUSSIAN EMPIRE IN MY MIND. PUTIN UNDERSTANDS THAT THIS IS A TASK THAT’S BEYOND RUSSIA’S CAPABILITIES AS THIS POINT. HE WOULD LIKE TO HAVE WHAT HE WOULD CALL A SPHERE OF INTEREST THAT INCLUDES THE FORMER SOVIET SPACE. SO WHAT HAPPENS IN CENTRAL ASIA, UKRAINE, THE CAUCUSES, AND HE WOULD LIKE THE UNITED STATES TO RECOGNIZE THAT. BUT THIS IS NOT GOING TO BE THE TYPE OF POLITICAL INTEGRATED ENTITY THAT WE HAD DURING THE SOVIET PERIOD OR THE RUSSIAN IMPERIAL PERIOD. PUTIN I THINK UNDERSTANDS THAT THAT IS BEYOND RUSSIA’S CAPABILITIES BUT PROBABLY IS HARMFUL TO WHAT HE WANTS TO DO DOMESTICALLY IN RUSSIA AT THIS POINT.>>HE PUT PRESSURE ON EASTERN UKRAINE. HE HAS CERTAINLY EXPRESSED A DESIRE TO EXERCISE CONTROL OVER MOLDOVA AND LATVIA POSSIBLY, WHICH IS A U.N. MEMBER. HOW DO YOU PUSH BACK AGAINST THIS?>>NATO MEMBER, THAT’S RIGHT. FIRST, IF YOU LOOK AT WHAT HAPPENED IN UKRAINE, HERE FROM A STANDPOINT OF THE KREMLIN, I THINK, RUSSIAN NATIONAL INTEREST, UKRAINE IS A KEY COUNTRY. IT’S THE FORMER SOVIET STATE WITH THE GREATEST ECONOMIC POTENTIAL AFTER RUSSIA. RUSSIA WOULD LIKE TO HAVE UKRAINE AS PART OF THIS EURASIAN ECONOMIC COMMUNITY THAT PUTIN ASPIRES TO BUILD. IT IS SEEN AS A BUFFER AGAINST INVASION. HISTORICALLY, RUSSIA HAS ALWAYS BEEN CONCERNED ABOUT THAT. AT A MINIMUM, THE KREMLIN DOES NOT WANT UKRAINE TO BECOME A PART OF NATO OR THE EUROPEAN UNION. THE CONCERN ABOUT THAT I THINK MOTIVATED THE ACTIONS IN CRIMEA AND EASTERN UKRAINE. WE NEED TO RESPOND IN SOME WAY. WE NEED TO UNDERSTAND THAT THAT IS WHAT MOTIVATED PUTIN. MY OWN PROBLEM WITH THE AMERICAN POLICY AT THAT POINT WAS A FAILURE TO ANTICIPATE THAT AS GOING OUT OF THE CRISIS IN UKRAINE. WHAT DO WE NEED TO DO? WHAT WE REALLY NEED TO DO IS TO FIND A WAY TO END THE CONFLICT IN UKRAINE, TO GET THE UKRAINIANS TO FOCUS ON BUILDING A COMPETENT GOVERNMENT, REFORMING THEIR ECONOMY, ELIMINATING CORRUPTION. THE BEST BULWARK ABOUT RUSSIAN EXPANSIONISM IS BUILDING COMPETENCE. UKRAINE HAS A MAJOR CHALLENGE. BUT MORE OF A FOCUS ON WHAT THE UKRAINIANS NEED TO DO TO BUILD A COMPETENT STATE I THINK WOULD BE — WOULD CERTAIN THE UNITED STATES WELL AT THIS POINT.>>SHOULD WE BE RAMPING UP NATO OR DISENGAGING FROM NATO?>>NATO IS A FUNDAMENTAL ELEMENT OF AMERICAN SECURITY. IT’S IMPORTANT TO HAVE OUR ALLIES ON BOARD. IT GIVES US LEVERAGE IN DEALING WITH THE RUSSIANS. MAKING IT CLEAR THAT WE ARE GOING TO HONOR ARTICLE 5 GUARANTEES I THINK IS IMPORTANT, LOCATING TROOPS THROUGH POLAND AND THE BALTIC STATES.>>AN ATTACK ON ONE IS AN ATTACK ON ALL?>>ABSOLUTELY. MY ONLY CAVEAT HERE IS THAT WE NEED TO AVOID OVERMILITARIING RESPONSE TO RUSSIA. RUSSIA CLEARLY PRESENTS A CHALLENGE TO THE TRANSATLANTIC COMMUNITY. RUSSIA CLEARLY WOULD LIKE TO SEE LESS UNITY, LESS COHESION. THAT PLAYS TO THEIR ADVANTAGE OVER THE LONG TERM.>>WE HAVE TO WRAP UP. IT HAS BEEN MARVELLOUS WITH OUR QUESTIONS FOR YOU. TOM GRAHAM, SHOULD TRUMP BE SO QUICK TO ESTABLISH GOOD RELATIONS WITH PUTIN?>>YOU NEVER CAN DO THINGS QUICKLY WITH RUSSIA. RUSSIA POLICY, IF IT’S EFFECTIVE, IS ONE OF PERSEVERANCE WITH A CLEAR GOAL OF WHAT YOU ARE TRYING TO ACHIEVE.>>TOM GRAHAM, THANKS SO MUCH FOR COMING BY. THIS HAS BEEN GREAT CONVERSATION. THANK YOU FOR COMING BY. TUNE IN NEXT WEEK FOR MORE CONVERSATIONS IN THE DIGITAL AGE. ALL THE BEST AND TAKE CARE. ♪ [THEME MUSIC] ♪

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