tv Former Ambassador Michael Mc Faul Discusses State of U.S.- Russia Relations CSPAN March 6, 2017 12:20pm-2:00pm EST
tonight on "the communicators", morgan reed, executive director of the ap app association which represents some 5000 app developers on their concern about immigration policy, privacy and cybersecurity among other issues and what its members hope to see from congress and the trump administration. he is interviewed by li zhou. >> the association was among the members of the tech community that decided to speak out against aspects of president trump's recent immigration or their eyes wonder you talk about the reasoning behind that? >> our perspective executive order was not done in a way that allowed for legal immigration of people into the country in a way that wasn't confusing. it was good to see the order was changed to allow green card holders come to let others have been in the united states who have been building amazing applications to come in. so there's good and that but the reason we spoke out is without
the little guy and just how important immigrants were to the little guy wasn't to get hurt. >> watch tonight at eight eastern on c-span2. >> former u.s. ambassador to russia delivered a lecture recently on u.s.-russian relations at george washington universities institute of public diplomacy and global communications. he shares his observations and experiences from his years of work on the bilateral relationship it also offered his thoughts on current relations under the trump administration. this is about two hours. we were shown as much as we can. >> good morning and welcome to the annual walter roberts lecture which is cosponsored by the institute for public diplomacy and atlantic council. i'm janet, directed institute for public diplomacy and global communication. this lecture is paid for by the walter roberts endowment. walter roberts was a pioneer in the field of public diplomacy
and is also a faculty member at george washington. where fortunate to have several of the board members of the endowment with us today where board chair and walter roberts daughter-in-law patricia and i don't know if bill is here or. there you go. we're so grateful for your support. ambassador mcfaul is a very busy man. you heard it here first. he's a very busy man. we have been trying to get him to come and be our speaker for two years. his ever begin with my predecessor when he was the director, and in the spirit of you never know when having good luck and we actually i was thankful that we got him here today because we think this is the perfect time to hear this lecture. interestingly i hear it on good authority from bruce gregory is
also a huge name in public diplomacy that walter roberts himself wanted ambassador mcfaul to be our speaker. so that's a pretty nice. david will introduce ambassador mcfaul so i will leave that part up to him. i want to introduce david reported for cnn, abc news and national public radio pic he's been in moscow, warsaw, rome and washington. former director of the voice of america and also our former walter roberts lecture for last year. this is another first to have last years lecture or moderating a discussion with years lecture. so a tradition we hope to continue, ambassador mcfaul. if your suggestions for next years speaker please do let us know. >> all right. >> let me tell you what the plan is. as you know we have c-span this year and we also are streaming on facebook live. in order to kind of cut down on comings and goings, ambassador
mcfaul is going to speak for about 40 minutes and then followed by that there will be a moderate discussion led by trantwo and the new that we will take about 30 minutes for questions from the audience. we hope that you will feel free to tweet. the hashtag is mcfaul@gw. when you plug your phone to tweet please make sure it assignments otherwise you will be on c-span. so with no further ado, ambassador mcfaul, thank you so much. [applause] i don't know if i should've stayed there a a computer anyway, my thanks to janice to and institute for public diplomacy and global communication for inviting me to join our distinguished speaker on the stage here today. i first met michael mcfaul in
moscow in the early '90s when he and i russian colleagues set up in moscow carnegie center and we were all watching the dramatic events as boris yeltsin killed off communism of the soviet union broke up, the first chechen war was waged, and many other events that were pretty fascinating for a reporter and for any observer from the west. he was already one of the most astute observers of the moscow scene, an, and we journalists as sounded approachable and quotable, as i'm sure you will today. as another american journal since also there earlier in those rough days, david remnick of "the new yorker" says moscow at that time was a pageant, irresistible to anyone with even a trace of democratic idealism and fellow feeling for the russians the essence of historical drama was unmistakable. there was a much human tragedies to be seen but reasons for hope, and we all debated. i'm sure you did with your
colleagues, could russia finally throw off autocratic sluggish government? wasn't there a real change in the offing? it seemed that might happen. because a friend of russia and of russians, ambassador mcfaul, then mike mcfaul worked overtime to try to encourage reforms. we knew it wouldn't be easy or quick but we thought it might be possible. it was not to be. by the time ambassador mcfaul went to moscow in 2012, his best efforts to improve the relationship were doomed to fail. in the second term of vladimir putin as president, who invaded crimea and sent little green men into eastern ukraine. the kremlin appeared to decide also wrongly that ambassador mcfaul was an intelligence officer with the task of fomenting and other color revolution in moscow. so he was followed, pressured, badgered. as remnick again from "the new yorker" wrote, they took his openhearted activism to be a
cover for canning. not too long ago david ensor was informed that he is at least for now no longer welcome in moscow. it's a dramatic time that we both watched together. before that as president obama top advisor russia, mike was one of the key architects of our nation's policy towards that country including the famous reset that allowed some key collaboration to occur before it had to be abandoned. he is uniquely placed i think o tell us today what worked in his view, vis-à-vis vladimir putin, what did not come and perhaps what might work for the new administration. now at stanford ambassador mcfaul is professor of political science and director and senior fellow at the freeman spogli institute for international studies as well the peter and held in being senior fellow at the hoover institution. he's a columnist for the "washington post," a commentator for abc news as recently as this morning, and as i said said one of the most thoughtful analysts
on a couple good relationship between ourselves and the russians. so without more ado let us now together welcome to the podium ambassador mcfaul. [applause] >> thank you, david. my mic is on. slides are up. i had to say first of all i'm shocked at how many people are here. this many people don't get up at stanford university for a lecture so i'm very impressed with gw students. i see some students enter some clad to see that. part of the reason i delayed in coming was, this city has an army, literally hundreds, maybe thousands of people that follow russia. i always keep thinking what value added do i have put why do you need me? today's news is aspect i was on "morning joe" this morning
talking about ambassador kislyak and we worked with bu but i dont work with them anymore. so rather than talk about what's in the newspapers today, which i'm sure david and i will do during the questions and answers, and if you questions about that, i have opinions about that. i thought i would come in with my more academic gap. first and foremost i'm a professor. i had all those other in the past but i was a professor before, a professor now. i will be a professor to the end of my days. i will be buried at stanford university. that's my home. that's what i'm going to do. i want to ask some the questions before we go into what does kislyak surfer lunch, okay? i want to start with reminding you, if -- i want to start by just remind you of where i see the basic story of u.s.-russian relations today. think it's one of the most confrontational moments we've
had, including i would say. it's during the cold war. people say is it a cold war are not? we can debate that later. that is not so interesting to me but the level of confrontation, i think it to go deep into the cold war to remember a time like we're in today. you can all see these basic facts so i don't need to read them to you, but russia has annexed territory, intervened in the neighborhood, carpet bombed in syria, meddling in u.s. elections. that's new. that didn't even happen during the cold war. that has happened now. we are at like an 80% negative approval rating ever putin, this we will debate later but for putin i don't think this conflict is just about some kind of narrow definition of national interest. i think for him this is an ideological confrontation. not about communism versus capitalism, communism versus democracy but it is about the
imperial america, a decadent west, and nazis in ukraine because audrey ideological terms. he thinks he is anchoring an ideological alternative to the west into the united states. in that respect it feels a little bit like a major confrontation, not different from the cold war but i would say having, in terms of the bigness other, not unlike the cold war. certainly worse than the late heirs of the cold war. likewise in terms of response to that i would say our response, we the west, with the obama administration, we are going to get to trump later, don't worry. i'm going to get to trump, don't worry. the response has been pretty big. after russia went into ukraine and his speech to the united nations, obama said there are three threats in the world. ebola, isis and russia. you can imagine that list did not go down well in moscow to
the eye with those two other entities. first time i think there's a lot of -- i give the speech of the places i feel more confident. i'm in washington, at george washington university, so i see lots of people here who might know the full title to have u.s.-russian better than i do. i think going all the way back to when jon quincy adams was our first ambassador to moscow, we've never had the chief of staff of the kremlin on a sanctions list. never. all throughout the cold war that never happened. it's happening today. nader is not focused on the russia threatened gilbert we kicked rush out of the g8. you sanctions after the elections and in our country depends on which point you look at but the majority of americans think that rush is an enemy again. if you are a republican the data shows that those republicans are less worried about the russians than they were just two years ago. i think we know what the
causality there is. generally we are back to this confrontation. all of this happened, most of this happened, when i was in the u.s. government. putin did not invade ukraine when i was a u.s. ambassador. i kept him out. [laughter] he invaded the day after i left. causation correlation, remember. but this trajectory was part of when i was in the government, and i got home. i got home in february 2014. if you have experienced this, yet experienced, david, when you been in this intense. living in russia as you did in the '90s. you get back home and your neighbors didn't really notice you were gone by the way, i was gone for five years. mike, what are you doing? i was ambassador to russia. that's really nice, you know?
we are playing notre dame next saturday. that's the most important thing. kind of people were pleasant and polite, but most people don't really care about all the stuff that happened. but i have a one neighbor, early on, like my third day back home that hurt i was back in debt and said mike, come on over. i want to talk about u.s.-russian relations. we rehearsed this list. at the end of it, by the way i guy by the name of general mattis was at the sludge just you know know. at the end of that my neighbor said mike, you really screwed things up, man. when i was in government, when i was in government we did the exact opposite. when i was in government we started in a very confrontational. it, but we ended with the end of the cold war. my neighbor is george schultz, former secretary of state for ronald reagan. and so as i got on my schwinn
cruiser, when speed cruiser, i no longer have my big black cadillac and bodyguards, you know, that conversation really jarred me. like what happened? what the hell happened between the end of the cold war, george's time in government, and the end of my time in government? this photo by the way is in mexico, summer of 2012. the meeting was way worse than that photo suggests. [laughter] so for the next 20 minutes or so, by the way, gw, to our lectures? that did not happen at standard. 50 minutes mx. people start picking up their notebooks. we've got a lot of time. i want to answer a simple question. what happened between those two photos? i want to bounce around between academic theory in my personal experiences to give you that
explanation. so the first explanation i want to talk about is just the nature of the international system, the nature of great power politics. i'm going to run a map that starts at around, about 1000 years ago. this is a map of europe. what you see happening is that some countries are acquiring new power. some other neighbors are becoming weaker big as result of that the board are changing. this is a theory of international politics. we teach at stanford, i'm sure your teacher here, structural realism is the way we talk about it. it says this is basically the way that states interact. and, therefore, what we are seeing with russia today in the west is not surprising at all. this is normal history. we are at 1387, 88.
notice crimea, it's going to take 500 more years before crimea becomes part of russia. the theories about power and the distribution of power in the international system. not just europe but the system which is to say, russia was weak after the collapse of the soviet union. probably not as weak as we thought it was but it was weak. on their knees. rush is back and this is just a natural correction. rush is not a great power, probably not i think the president, president obama really got under the skin sent a regional power or local power but they are a power in the system and are behaving like a great power in the system. what's the big deal? very popular here in moscow. very popular throughout the university of chicago. part of this is true. anybody from moldova? nobody, good. i actually love moldova.
it's a great country. i traveled there once with the vice president. he got the largest crowd ever from one of his speeches, so vice president biden also loves mulled over. nobody is worried about moldova overthrowing the international system. nobody is worried about moldova threatening europe or threatening the liberal order because mulled over to my window disrespect but they don't have power and capability to do that, right? so this story about capability is part of the explanation. if russia didn't have power we wouldn't be concerned with that. but it don't think it's sufficient explanation for a couple of reasons. one, i can think of countries that rise in power and don't invade their neighbors. and don't challenge the international order. japan and germany come to mind right away. after world war ii. even poland, poland has territorial claims that you
wanted to be belligerent with the neighbors. nobody is worried about poland. we're worried about polish democracy. i'll come back to that if you're interested but revising borders and threatening the west, we're not worried about them. even china. i spent a big chunk of most of my summer last summer in china. it's an argument we need to debate whether china might do similar things as a rising power, seek to redistribute and challenge the international system and maybe annexed territory. so in other words, power in and of itself is not the full explanation. you have to add something to the story i think to understand why russia become belligerent towards the west in this confrontation. especially for me as, to make it more proximate, right up until the annexation of crimea it was not obvious that even putin was
moving in this direction. when i was ambassador we wrote dozens and dozens of memos, cables i guess we call them, i guess still call them that. but we wrote a bunch of cables that you probably were not following and i'm not sure anybody in washington was reading our cables about it. something called the eurasian economic union. in response to the eu, he wanted to bring everybody to the former soviet union back together in this economic union. and to do so he needed ukraine to be part of it. all of ukraine, duchess crimea. he he wanted all 45 million ukrainians to be a part of this union. because those are consumers, laces for trade and investment. belarus and kazakhstan was not enough. i was a central focus of his foreign policy at the time i was there some bastard. i heard a lot about it at the
time. anybody buy anything made in russia? what did you buy? vodka, okay. [laughter] and you buy it here or did you buy there? both. vodka, that's one. anything else? you can buy that in menlo park and -- really strong beer. i would not advise it. but okay, but the point is there are very few things that russian exports abroad that are made in russia, writing ukraine come ukrainians are consumers the buy a lot of things that are made in russia. to make this work they need all ukraine, not just crimea. so why did he suddenly pivot the other way insuring in my view, that ukraine would never join this eurasian economic union as a result of his annexation of crimea and intervention in eastern ukraine?
something more proximate has to be added to the story. or over, i'm a little nervous in this craft -- moreover, especially people who speak russian, but i dare you during the q&a to go and search and find for me the speech that putin made before 2014, before february 2014, which says it is our natural rights and it is a huge disaster that crimea has not been part of russia. we need to unite it. maybe it exists. this crowd probably will find it. most crowds don't because afterwards we do that, but before it was not on the agenda. what happened more approximately that caused that to take place? last thing i will say about this, anybody at the sochi olympics with the? nobody? i was there twice. fantastic party by the way. should be, they paid $50 billion
for it. probably wasn't worth 50 billion, but it was a great event. write about that time two things were very striking to me. one is a released particle ski from jill. i saw very senior russian government official, right before, i asked why now? and his response to me was, we've had a rocky space but we're looking for engagement with you guys. this is a signal to you, united states, about perhaps another attempt at making relations better. and number two, the olympics, you can interpret it different ways, but i was really struck by the kind of, we are the new russia, not the old soviet russia. we are not challenging you guys. we want to be part of the system. that was the message of the opening ceremony, the closing ceremonies, the people that were in charge of that were people that i knew.
i was struck by one episode in particular, in the closing ceremonies. well, the episode and then a piece of it within it. first of all they had go across the stadium drawings, sketches, eight-foot, 10-foot sketches of russian authors, right? 20 or 30 of them. just think about that for a minute. how many countries could pull that off and heavy but in the stadium would know who they are? not sure we could do that here. that was pretty cool. but two of them really jumped out at me. brodsky and -- they were reclaiming the skies as part of russian history. they were no longer opposite and western. they were part of russia. and in just a few days later putin invades crimea. so if the messaging was to be we will confront the west, the folks that plan the sochi
olympics did not get that memo, okay? something else had to happen. power is part of it but that the whole part. second degree, second explanation. it's all america's fault. this one is very popular in moscow. and berkeley. [laughter] but this comes in two varieties, very contradictory varieties. let me walk you through them and tell you what i think they are not again a sufficient expedition. the first is that we were too demanding of russia and finally, putin just had to strike back. we lectured about markets. lecturing about markets in the '90s, about democracy. then we expanded nato, then we bomb serbia. can we went into iraq. we supported color revolutions and he just said enough is enough with this american imperialism.
we have to push back on america. that explains why we are in this situation. in other words, it's a reaction to what we did, not when he did, mr. putin. i want to keep myself honest, that during the course of this. over the last 30 years, i was nervous about this reaction. i was nervous that we in the west would not understand that the people inside russia were seeking to join the west and become democratic and have markets. and we would treat them rather lukewarm like, then you have this backlash against him because it wouldn't work. one of the best pieces i've ever written in my life, i published on august 19, 1990. so if you know your soviet russian history you know the importance of august 19, 1991. one year exactly to the day i published this piece, i'm sorry.
i shouldn't assume you know. august 19, 1991 is the first day of the coup later led to the collapse of the soviet union. and in this piece i was comparing the drama of the time, the soviet union still around. gorbachev is still the head of the country. i was comparing the drama to the french revolution and the bolshevik revolution, and trying to get people to think that this isn't just some kind of little reform thing. this is really big. soviet union is going to collapse by the way. i wrote that i give before data. there's going to be this revolutionary turmoil. the radicals will come to power and then there's going to be a thermidor. period that's what i write about here. napoleon, stalin, a thermidor. that's that. i think we're in right now with vladimir putin. but the caveat i said, the story is different because those other two big revolutions were at the systemic.
they were anti, the internationalist and they were in. this revolution was pro-systemic, try to come back in the system and the palm is going to be that we're not going to realize it. part of it i think is true and support of that narrative that it just showed you from before it's also true. all those things happened. but in between all that drama i just showed you from before and the current period of confrontation we are in now, there was a period that david alluded to called the reset. i was in the government for that period. january 21, 2009, was my first day working at the white house. i was part of the transition. as a look at all this interactions with kislyak i would you say we didn't have a lot of interaction with sergei. mostly not have a dozen people in our team meeting with him at the convention. we actually met with georgians
at the convention but i will come back to that if you're interested. but after we won the election and got ready to do our policy reviews, and i was in charge of the russia policy review, we sat down with the president-elect,, and the president and can describe this confrontation staff that it just showed you a couple of slides ago. he's like hey, man, i forgot the campus on. he he didn't say hey, man. [laughter] may be did but should say that on the record. he said i don't really get it, like do the russians really want iran to get a nuclear weapon? no, mr. president, of course they don't. do the russians want the alabama to win in afghanistan -- taliban. no, no, no. did you want the regime to fall apart? they don't. as we dug into the issues, concrete issues, not with all the baggage of the cold war or
putin not liking somebody from the past, leaving out cultural explanations, we came up with this idea that on certain issues, not all issues, but on certain issues there was overlap. and through a policy of engagement and re-engagement, because it had fallen off in the bush putin years, we could realize what the president-elect to talk about as win-win outcomes. that was the reset, the essence of the reset. he is about to call the first time. it's just for the day at the job job, it's my third day on the job. i usually make a joke about his here but are not going to do that. because we're on the record. i have joked about it with it since. as a walkout by the way, if you have a go to with the white house, one of the bush and administration officials a walkout to insert for bush and the surgeon for obama said you were never supposed to touch his desk. so were to the wise. i don't know if that's true but that's what i was told.
so we did this thing called the reset. in my opinion, i won't go through all this in detail, we can come back to it, but in my opinion we got some really big things done. through this strategy of engagement. i'll just go through these. this is as engaging. there we are with the president. there are with the prime minister that was a wild meeting by the way. went on for about three hours where, this is july 2009 where we really got the sense that putin thought differently. we set up this giant elaborate thing to try to make everybody engage more because it had broken down. we engaged with the business community. that's russia's richest and richest meeting here at a summit in june 2010. we engaged with civil society. this photo on the left is an interesting one. the president was a little bit late. this was july 2009. to come to the civil society event. we almost pulled it down but i
begged with them to make an appearance. he shows up and usually the president shows up, people sit down and stand up. they put the seal up and everything. but if you know him, yuri was in, still in the middle of his speech. russians love to talk. he wasn't going to stop his speech from special because it's about to get to guantánamo by the way. [laughter] and, you know, the president listened very politely about american versus russian violations of human rights. eventually he got to speak. he even met with opposition. i like to remind people of this. you can see across from him, to his left is a manual since been assessing but that is the opposition. in my opinion i'm writing a book, so write me back. i will write you back with more
detailed that we got come to paraphrase our current president, we got some really big deals done. really big deals. big deals. we signed a s.t.a.r.t. treaty. that's what they're doing right there in prague. that brought down the limits of deployed nuclear weapons in the world by 30%. that's what i did in 2010. what did you do? you know, that's a big deal. that's a huge thing. second, something you probably haven't heard about. i realize i'm not watching over you. i don't want to walk in front of david but i will walk over here a little bit. in the end was one of the biggest things i did in the government and most people don't know about it. but it's the northern dissipation network. it's a set of supply routes and all different kinds of ways to move stuff around. that goes through russia and central asia on its way to afghanistan. when we came into the government, i think about 95% of
our supplies went to pakistan. as you will remember one of the other policy reviews we did was asked back. we want to expand the way we thought about the war in afghanistan -- accpac. we had plans to sometimes take the war into pakistan and to violate their sovereignty. including very dramatically one time in 2011 as you all know about when we were in and killed osama bin laden. it was our assumption that in violating pakistani sovereignty in the ways that we did, that was not just the only time by the way, that they would tire of that and they would cut off our supply routes, which they did from time to time. we had to get a new alternative. if 95% of our supplies were depend on pakistan, that was going to make the operation against osama bin laden a lot harder to pull off. in fact, the night before that operation, the day before that
operation, i was in with the president make a phone call to a central asian leader precisely to do one more enhancement to ndn because we word about what might happen if our supplies from pakistan got cut off. i tell you that in detail because the russians allowed american soldiers to fly to the airspace first time since world war ii. they sold us jet fuel for our airplane that then went and fought in the war in afghanistan. some might even say this is close to military alliance that we were doing. that's a pretty big deal. that's a big operation of cooperation. third, i ran with the russians we put in place the most comprehensive set of sanctions ever against the arena regime, u.n. security council resolution 1929. 1929. does not happen without russia. and then four of the security i always liked remind people nonevents, dogs that don't bark,
think you'll read about. again, gw, this is a weird place. there's probably five people in this room writing the thesis about the color revolution in turkic stand. but most americans have never heard of that -- curs milo yiannopoulos. because it didn't explode in ways that we feared but i can tell you for me working at the white house at the time was without question the scariest two weeks of my time in the government. because present was over stone, two dozen people, more than that, almost 100 people were killed. it then became a more, it became down and the south, there were more tensions between ethnic uzbeks and others and 300,000 ethnic uzbeks left during this period, we need to neighboring uzbekistan. it felt like we were on the verge of an ethnic civil war, maybe even an interstate war.
i was scared to death. i'll tell you honestly. at the time samantha power sat across from the hall for me. i was reminded when not going to genocide happened on our watch. this felt like we're on the verge of genocide. it didn't happen that way in part because of domestic things locally, but in part because obama made the case that it's not an interest to see the spirit is not in your interest, let's try to defuse this together. we basically did. it was complicated but we basically did. i hear a lot about by the isis, and that's our current president. just remind you, five, six years ago, six years by now, no, five years ago we did do counterterrorist exercise together. these are russians and americans jumping out of planes in colorado springs together training for counterterrorist operations. we got some economic things done, probably not as much as we would like in this. but it was a vibrant time.
there's president medvedev out in my neck of the words at cisco. he came to stanford and gave a big speech by the way. i just signed last year and he was really reminiscing about stanford. santa like maybe he would like to become a senior fellow at stanford, given his most recent news. and don't forget that's our government in case you forgot about him. we got russians in the debit deal. we got pntr, we lifted jackson-vanik. we put a new visa regime to make it easier for business people to travel. we got a 1-2-3 agreement, a civilian nuclear cooperation that it been stuck for many years. we started at a pretty low base but the numbers were moving in the right direction in terms of bilateral trade between our two countries. by the way, people forget as you think as we been in this cold war crisis with russia for 30 years and that they've been our enemy for the whole time that
that wasn't the case. at the height of the recess, 60% of russians has up positive view of the united states and 60% of americans had a positive view of russia. that was just five years ago, okay lex so to come back to this argument about american foreign policy, it's my view that you can't cite these factors to explain our current confrontation without discussing the cooperation that i just described, right? all of these things happen before the reset and yet somewhat during the reset we managed to do all those cooperative things. so to go back as putin now love to do and say nato expansion is reason why we had this conflict. i was in the government for five years. i was on every call. i was in on meetings but one. i don't remember once a russian leader saying nato expansion is
a big issue right now. in fact the opposite. in lisbon, he sat at a table with all the other leaders and the topic of the conversation once the cameras with the way was, let's build missile defense systems together. think about a crazy that sounds in our current era and maybe we were crazy to be thinking about it back then. but back then at the lisbon summit, the cold war was over. nato was her friend. rg, is anybody from rt by chance rex in the back? rt just so you know, rt was running all this incredibly lovey-dovey stuff about a great america was and a great obama was at the end of that summit. ..
this is a quote i love, i will read it for you because you probably can't see it and i like to to read it. i just saw mr. weiner on inauguration day and i started to bring this up and i realized i should just let it go. two years ago, with a different republican party, thinking about russia, russia, this is what speaker benard said about russia
and obama. when you look at the chaos that is going on, does does anybody think vladimir putin would have gone into crimea had george w. bush been president of the united states? no. even vladimir putin would've known that bush would've punched him in the no's in ten seconds. let's cut him some slack, it was in 2014 and they tend to say strange things two weeks before an election. the truth is george w. bush actually had the chance to punch vladimir putin in the no's after an invasion because the truth is russia invaded in 2008 and it just so happen that george bush was in china at the olympics, sitting just three rows down from waldemar newton. he was a healthy fit guy.
he could've climbed up there and punched him in the nose, but thankfully he did not do that because we never do that. in all instances of intervention with the russians in that part of the world, we have never gotten to use military force to determine that. in question, maybe we can talk about this, but let me be provocative to say that the response after military intervention is more interesting. there's more variation between these cases. i would say provocatively that the obama merkel response had more similar characteristics to ronald reagan's response in 1981 then george bush in 2008. guess how many people they put on the sanctions list? zero.
so just one data point, they didn't see and lethal weapons, all the things obama was criticized of doing, they did not do back then. that gets me to my last variable , which is if it's not the structure of the international system and it's not american foreign-policy, i want to dig down into what i think is the driver of our current frustration, and that is russian domestic politics. lemmie walk you through that and we will do questions. two factors in particular are essential to understanding our current conflict. one is the change from vladimir putin as president and the other is the regime in 2011 and 2012. in september 2011, at the party congress, vladimir putin yells to everybody and he has decided to run for a third term and they will do a little switcheroo.
dimitri you get to play prime minister and i get to play president. that happened that day. couple days later, i'm staring at a lot of cameras, let me paraphrase this -- at some point along the way we discussed this transition with the president, and the way i would assess what we thought about it at the time, the u.s. government, -- i was going to tell you what obama thought about it, but we will save that for the book -- everybody laments that him stepping down for the simple fact that obama had developed a working relationship with him. they were similar in many ways. they were younger, lawyers, pragmatic, no drama type of guys, spoken paragraphs.
vladimir putin doesn't. he has a blunt style. most certainly the win-win outcome cooperation, the reset is good for russia is good for the united states, but we also assessed, at the time, including the intelligence community -- actually i shouldn't talk about that, but i think as a government we assessed at the time there shouldn't be a lot of change because vladimir putin has always been the key decision-maker. he's always been the big dog, the guy behind the scenes. he was just his marionette. what should change? nothing should change. it might be easier to have more direct interaction with vladimir putin. by the way that is the message that others from russia communicated to us. that turned out to be in correct
for one big reason and then another blown up and made more important by other actors in russia which i will get to. as we sat down with vladimir putin, turned out he had a very different worldview. they had worked together but man they were different. we could take a lot of time to talk about it but i won't. there were a lot of things that struck me in those first interaction after his comeback as president. number one we are the enemy. we are the competitor. remember, heating go to gw and take ir 101 here one here. he went to kgb school to learn about the world, and that world, when you are a young student learning about the world, that's, that's the way it's framed and he didn't change his mind about that because the soviet union collapsed and he became president.
that was very apparent to us with our interaction with him over the next few years. within that theory, he sees the world in zero-sum terms. not always, when he sees a good deal, exxon mobil, that's a, that's a good deal, that's a win-win, but if it's plus 24 america it's -2 for for russia. within that he has a particular theory about american foreign policy. he believes we use over and covert force to overthrow regimes that we don't like. by the way, there is a lot of empirical data to support that hypotheses over the last seven years. obama tried to convince him that he was different. that photo i showed you where they were having breakfast, vladimir putin went on for 20
minutes on how stupid the iraq war was, in lots of detail. the president is much more patient than i am, he just listened and listened to this tirade and at the end he said, you're right, i agree. i was against that war long before it happened. that was kind of jarring for vladimir putin because he thanks of a unitary actor. it's the cia and the military-industrial complex that define our foreign policy. these presidents come and go but those of the guys really driving thing. that's really popular now as they see the drama happening with president trump in their interpretation. as we walked out to the car, i could tell this guy most certainly looks different and maybe he will be different. he had an open mind about it but those are kind of the core assumptions he's had about america for a long time. then something's happened.
two years later first egypt and then libya and then syria and then russia, all in one year, giant demonstration against autocratic regime, still at this time peaceful him up by the way. those four photos that i showed, that concludes his hypothesis about us because we were behind that in his view. we were supporting the revolutionaries and all of these places. so earlier maybe he had an open mind that obama was different, 2011 convinced him we want different at all, particularly libya was a very important juncture. we got the support from that. i was in the meeting when he said you are right about libya and we have to do something. we are going to abstain. that was a meeting, a small meeting because he didn't want other people in the government
to hear it. two days later was criticized by vladimir putin on the record, criticizing him. this confirms his old theory about the united states, especially this event. let me explain a little bit about this for people who don't know. in between the presidential, he announced he was going to run for president and the presidential election, there was a parliament election in 2011. it was falsified by normal -- i remember us meeting and thinking it was kind of normal for russia, no big deal, we've seen this before, but this time around some things have happened that were different. there had been economic growth and the rise of the middle class that wanted more than just the deal that vladimir putin had given him before. you shut up and i'll make you rich. that was the old deal. number two they had technology. they had smart phones, they had
twitter and facebook and people started to capture this falsification, recorded and spin it around the internet. first 50 people than 5000 then 500,000 people, hundreds of thousands of people came including this demonstration. his first reaction was that he was really upset with these people. i made these people rich, they would have nothing without me, and now they have turned against me, visibly upset they had betrayed him. his next reaction was fear. these are dangerous for autocrats, like the slides i just showed. the last time you had demonstration's like this was 20 years earlier. that was the year the soviet union collapsed.
vladimir putin knows that i was there and so that's when he pivoted in this different direction. first he called them traitors to say they were not true patriots, they were our puppets. this became his argument for legitimation to win the election and then the legitimacy of his regime. that became the new story. that's exactly when i parachuted in to moscow to become the new u.s. ambassador. this is happening, we are doing these evil things. we are supporting opposition folks in his election, and then i show up and it becomes not only the united states barack obama but it becomes me personally, michael mcfall, sent by obama because i'm a specialist on revolutions, to over throw the vladimir putin
regime. that was on the nightly news. my first night in moscow as a u.s. ambassador, i haven't haven't even gotten my credentials yet. we were wandering around thinking we live in this museum and the first day out there, that's what his mission was. a leader, he is my project, i sent them to yell, why, why would a stanford guy send anybody to yell? this became my life. here i am, this was a calendar they put out. for those of you know the history was a very pivotal point with violence and demonstrator. these were posters set up all over moscow. if you can't read it says the
circus is coming to town may 6, again in the arena and if you can't see me i'm up there, i'm listed as the artistic director. he says i'm campaigning, and i'm not, that's called photoshop. i wish my hands were that big, i could play basketball better. just to give you a flavor,, if we could play a little bit of this clip so you get a sense, or maybe we can't. this was kind of standard stuff --dash he's saying here that i'm
being called because i failed in my attempt to overthrow the regime. it was a giant celebration because they knew i was coming to help them. you're going to hear that i support the liberals. i do not have a feeling like that by the way. they are coming for their instructions. my entourage, my posse, all right, you get the just. so, to take it one step further, he runs a leading news show on sunday night on channel one, here he is saying, this is just a shot from the video saying at first glance you might not think the leader of isis and barack
obama have much in common, and ideologically, but in fact they have the much of the same and that to me is why the confrontation happened. it's because he needed this enemy, he needed to turn against us. we of of course try to keep cooperating during this period but that to me is the real drama. i want to say two things -- i have tons of time. >> we need question time though to. >> i don't think this was inevitable. i think a different leader and a different time would've changed the trajectory and i would just remind you here is dimitri meeting with the opposition during this time period. he was trying to path a different way forward. when vladimir putin came in, he nixed that. second, even during this period of confrontation that really
started in 2012, the reset ended in 2012 in my view. in different places we found ways to cooperate, and that is something to remember as we think about the new administration, that you can walk and chew gum at the same time, and during that we had a couple big things done including the syria chemical weapons deal even when all the other noise was happening. then there was the last straw, the same straw, do you notice a pattern here? giant demonstration. people that we don't control sitting in washington or the kremlin or crazy ukrainians who think they belong in the european union. like we want controlling them, but they had a vote. they voted with their feet when janik overage decided not to sign up for that agreement. we tried to diffuse this, so you know. the former vice president called
janik overage multiple times trying to diffuse this. we thought we had a deal on february 21. i remember vividly. i was in sochi at the time with bill burns, our deputy secretary, we were there to close out the olympics and 12 hours later he fled, and we were confused. we didn't quite understand why he went to rust off, but vladimir putin wasn't confused. this is the americans again. this is the cia again. they doublecrossed us and they are overthrowing a leader not in egypt but in syria, right on my border, a guy that i use to support and that's why he struck back. that's why he went into crimea. when that was easy he doubled down and did what he's continued to do in eastern ukraine. and then, we will come to this in questions, we decided to go on the offensive around the
world, not just play defense, including attacking the sovereignty and the integrity of our election. there is good news bad news and i will and on this. maybe we will do the trump stuff as i talk. good news, i don't don't think he has a master designed to re-create the soviet union. some people do but i don't see the evidence. the plan changed over time. because of the balance of power, we are destined to have conflict with russia. my story is not a structural story that says different players in different places we would've had a trajectory.
he is not going to change while he is in power. he will be empowered legally until 2024 and he works out two or three hours a day. he's in great shape. and so, my prediction is that we will be in this. we are in for a long time, except for the one wild card and i'll say one thing about that. donald trump. you all know, because you live in washington, you follow the story more closely than i do, the wild enthusiasm for donald trump in moscow, at least up until the last couple of weeks. donald trump has said some things that are in russia's national interest but he said we should look into recognizing crimea and he would like to list the sanctions -- lift sanctions pretty set i'm not so sure about this nato thing. these are things that vladimir putin would want to see happen. and so, the enthusiasm for trump was real in moscow and i think president trumps enthusiasm for
this reset 2.0 israel. we will talk about that. i don't know him personally, but he seems genuine when he talks about it. moreover, the central drama of conflict has faded today compared to back in 2011, 2012 which is all these resolutions against regimes that were creating tension. the arab spring is over, the ukraine, the biggest drama is ukrainian democracy, but it's not a front and center burner in terms of our conflict with russia. there are do permissive conditions. trumps worldview and the absence of these other things, but i think give a chance. i'm not optimistic, and i will end with this. one, i think the agenda for cooperation is pretty small. back in 2009 we had a big agenda, a lot of those are off the table. ron is off the table.
wto is off the table. when you really peel it back, the things that the trump administration are seeking to talk about, i think they are naïve when they think they will pull vladimir putin away form that but that is not what he is dreaming about. second, vladimir putin does need an enemy. so to forget about we were fighting the nazis yesterday and we will partner with the nazis, that is is a hard thing to do. he has his critics as well at home. this is your expertise more than i, but it does feel like as the team is getting filled out, we have people who have a different view than the president about how to deal with russia, and i think we are probably going to see a dramatic clash between the
bannon folks and the rest of them in terms of what to do with russia. i will end by saying, as these investigations continue to surface, including page one news today, that raises the political cost of trump to make this major commitment to russia. i'm not optimistic, but we should keep watching because the last thing i said there is the one wildcard in all of it and that's our new president. i don't know what he really believes. i don't think he really knows what he believes about places like russia, but he's most certainly demonstrating a willingness and intention to do out-of-the-box dramatic things so i believe there will be a lot of drama to come in u.s. russia relationships. thank you very much. you have been very patient.
[applause] >> wow, that was quite a tour de force professor mcfall. let me ask you now to put on your former ambassador and analyst hat for moment because i will put on my former journalist hat. let's deal with today's news. tell me about mr. kitty hawk. is he the sort of person that then senator sessions could meet and not remember having met? [laughter] >> no. [laughter] so i know sarah -- him. i worked with him at the white house, i saw him often. he lives four blocks up and we were doing a lot of business and i think someone recorded and he
call came to the obama white house 22 times because we were doing a lot of business. i think it's close down, it's a mansion by the way. we went out there to celebrate start and he threw this fantastic party for all of us who were involved in getting the treaty done. ambassador is a serious guy. he's not just going to show up to talk to his senator about the capitals, that's not his style. it is hard for me to imagine meeting him and forgetting about him at all, but especially at a moment when the story of russian hacking -- i don't like the word hacking. i like the word soft. i think hacking makes it sound to grade school. that was happening when they were meeting so now he is
subsequently corrected the record to say he does remember them a man not only does he remember but he remembers the content of the conversation. >> to me, with russia, it's normal to meet with russians. i do it all the time. i. i used to do it more often when i could travel there, but what's weird about these stories is the cover-up. i honestly don't understand that. >> i want you to know of how the russians operate. how explicit do you think they would've been in discussion with trump allies about, perhaps, i'm
talking about discussions when the campaign was going on. how explicit what they have been about a conversation about what were going to do, what you are going to do and coordinate your actions. is that possible there is coordination or would you rule it out because that's not how they think and talk. >> with respect to coordination about the campaign, that is the number one question. that's the watergate moment. that's when everything gets really serious. up until this point, especially on the record as we are today, i'm not willing to speculate about that because the data is not there. the evidence is not there. that's why, by the way, i am so i am so passionate about the need for a bipartisan independent commission to investigate because that's the only way we are going to turn leakers into witnesses. if we don't do that, i don't don't think will ever know that story. what i can say about previous interaction with diplomats, of course he is meeting with senator sessions, not to talk about what his committee is doing, he could care less about that. he's talking about them to find out more about what candidate
trump is thinking and planning about foreign policy. that's obvious. if he wasn't doing that he wouldn't be doing his job. his job is to write a cable back to moscow to tell him what he thanks might be the policy of the new trump administration. let's be clear, there's no doubt the record is overwhelming including things that vladimir putin and trump said, but you don't need a phd in russian studies to see if trump says i'll look into recognizing crimea and the other says we will never recognize crimea and we will be tough on russia, guess who they prefer. i think he was prodding and trying to find out with greater fidelity what it might be like in a new trump administration. i remind everybody, we now know
senator sessions became the atty. gen. back then he was being considered for lots of jobs including secretary of defense. >> this conversation about russian america is so timely right down to the minute. i can't help -- my favorite magazine happens to be the new yorker. have you seen the cover? look who's on it. the name of the new yorker is in cyrillic. it's kind of fantastic. with the monocle disapproval new york style, vladimir putin is looking at an insect, which is not very kind, to our current president, mr. trump. this article by david remnick and others suggest that after all that's happened in the last few weeks and the departure of flynn and the drama about session, and who knows what will happen next week, possible investigations might go on.
there's democrats calling for mr. sessions to resign. i'm sure that he won't at this stage, maybe never, still we have a lot of smoke in the air. the article says, suggests that possibly trump might conclude he no longer has the political latitude to end sanctions against moscow and to accommodate russia's geopolitical ambitions. someone has looked at this relationship for as long as you have, is that possibly true or do you feel there is plenty of latitude with the new president to do deals with russia the cost domestically of doing the breakthrough things that he promised during the campaign have gone up a lot higher because of the stuff. number two, i just mentioned briefly, but let me spend a few more minutes on it. as he has begun to fill out his
team, he has a lot to go, but it's clear that there is not consensus about how to deal with russia. secretary mattis is a former colleague of mine, the last three years before taking on this assignment, i want him to speak for himself on the record at an appropriate time, but i use to speak with him quite a bit about these issues. he doesn't strike me as someone who has a romantic vision about this alliance that others like mr. bannon have talked about. hr mcmasters, another calling of mine, he has been with us often on. he came in 2001. he was supposed to be got my institute next week, that just got canceled this morning. the topic he was coming to talk about, because i had been interacting with him and his team, was how to deter russia and europe. not exactly the same framework
that you heard from candidate trump. so, i think it's been more constrained. i biggest criticism of trump, so far, in the way he talks about russia policy, and actually i would say that more generally, he mixes up objectives and means. he says, he said it at least two dozen times, wouldn't it be nice if we could just get along with russia. as if that's the goal of u.s. foreign policies, to get along with russia. i don't believe it should ever be the goal of u.s. foreign relation to get along with anyone. ally or not. that's not the goal. the goal is, from when i was in government, sanctions on iran, the goal is building russia into the wto so that leads to greater trade and investment results for america.
the goals are things that are in our security interest and our economic interest. the means are things like getting along or engagement. sometimes they need to be containment and coercive and sometimes they should be isolated and other times they should be in the basket of engagement. i think he's got that mixed up. vladimir putin doesn't have it mixed up. if the goal from donald trump is let's get along, i want my ratings in russia to go up, vladimir vladimir putin will say here, i have a great deal for you donald, here's what we are going to do. you are going to lift sanctions. you are going to endorse my war on syria. you are going to talk about steers of influence, and then in his dream of dreams, you are going to recognize crimea to be part of russia. if you do all that, i will throw you a great enter in the kremlin and we will be friends and i'll say nice things about you.
that is a bad deal for american national interest. gradually they will get around to it, but right now he has that mixed up. >> 's or anything vladimir putin can give the united states that we want, that would be worth doing some kind of trade or some kind of a deal? >> i wrote a piece for a russian radio station. i have a new column there so for the russian speakers you can read what i think about this. they asked that question to me a couple weeks ago. what i said, i said a couple things short-term and long-term. in the short term, i don't want to generalize, but when i came into the government there is this attitude of we've done nothing wrong, we have nothing to change, we are just waiting for the americans to bring our
gifts. they expect to pay out for what they did in 2016. i advised them because there's lots of worrying that this is all slipping away and just like i hinted about the intelligence community, vladimir putin thanks they, one of the most popular theories in moscow is they are the ones can constraining trump. flynn got fired because of them. the cold war warriors. that's their theory. i sent a couple things. you want to change the dynamics, why not lift the ban on adoptions. when i was in bassler, vladimir putin, in response to a law he banned adoptions to american parents. he knows he can do that, he can lift that in a heartbeat, and that would have a very positive
residence in terms of creating more space for people to think vladimir putin's not so bad. on another another space, i think the overlap of mutual interest is smaller today than it was before. >> but is it in the area of fighting isis? >> that's the one trump likes to talk about. i would remind you, that is not an original idea. we have had a counterterrorism working group for the entire time i was in the u.s. government. from time to time, i i want to e clear, we did do some sharing of intelligence that was to the benefit of most of our group. our main concern at the olympics was not about doping. our main concern was about security.
we opened up a satellite office of over 100 people, most, most of whom were concerned about terrorism. we wanted to protect our people at that site and we had good cooperation. the problem, in the larger, my friends at the pentagon would tell you, the problem with fighting isis together in syria, there's a number of problems. one, we are already fighting isis. let's remember. it's called operation inherit resolve. you can google it and see what we are doing. we have a strategy and maybe now sec. matus will make it more muscular because he's been assigned to do it. it's not obvious to those people fighting that fight that russia's involvement would enhance the mission. in fact, they think it could complicate the mission. number two, one of the complications is about intelligence. we don't share the same
definition of who is a terrorist with the russians. so to share information about targeting with them, that suddenly becomes that they are targeting people we think should not be targeted. number three, i'm not convinced vladimir putin wants to fight isis. the status quo is great for him. in my book, the chapter that i most critical, the short-term, not in the long-term, but in the short term he has achieved his objectives, all the while allowing us to fight isis. >> i will have one more question. you will be thinking about what your questions are because were coming to you in a minute. my question is this, do you think vladimir putin is brilliant or a fool? we've got syria, we've got
ukraine. >> welcome to the george washington university. [laughter] >> i would land somewhere in between those two extremes which is to say he is a very smart guy. he is not a full. i first met him in the spring of 1991. it's not like we are best buddies or penpals, but i have known him for a long time. i've observed him, i've written about him for a long time. of course, for five years in the government, i dealt with him in pretty small circles up close. i would not call him a full. i guess, at the end of the day, this is a good place to pivot, i
just don't believe in his definition of russia's national interest. that's where we clash. i want russia to be strong. i want russia to be rich. i'm not afraid of those things. that's where i part ways with some of my former colleagues in the government that saying those things, president obama actually said those two things. go look it up. he gave a really great speech, and underappreciated speech, one that i help to write. in july 2009, go look it up. it's a very different a very different kind of speech than your typical russia's speech. it's not a speech about we want to get along with you and we love you and i really love russians and let's hold hands. it's not that at all. he listed five objectives, president obama did, and at the end of each one he said i don't
understand why this shouldn't be a russian objective as well. that's the structure of the speech. my complaint or argument is that i think russia could be a great country. they could be a democratic country with thriving markets in russia could be a great power in the international system. i don't believe the strategy that he is choosing is realizing that objective. that's where i think he is insecure about those things. i think he flirted with some of those things that integration might be good, but now he is in this defensive anti- western pasture. in the long run, i don't don't think that serves russians interest.
i don't think that strategy, history proves that strategy can work for a short-term, but it's not going to work for the long-term. >> ladies and gentlemen, why don't you line up, and make the usual caveats. we are asking for questions, not speeches, and no polemics. please say who you are and ask your question. >> good morning. i cannot say thank you for that lecture, but i want to thank the voice of america because i'm here. i originated two poland. you mentioned something powerful in this lecture regarding autocratic's and elites. what's the difference. that's the number one question.
number two question, you mentioned something about police democrats and i can relate to vladimir putin. this is a known diplomatic failure. though western policy diplomat was also a failure. when the western nations interfere for independent countries and tell them what to do, how to do, do, if they don't do it, they get punished for it. vladimir putin is very smart. he sees that division because western civilization in the west has its own problems. what is the real definition of diplomacy. diplomacy in my opinion is make enemy your friend. >> while there were three questions. on the third one, i disagree with you. i think the job of a diplomat is to execute the foreign policy of the country that he serves in,
that he or she represents. in fact, i am booked in my neighbor, george schultz. when he was secretary of state, new investors would come in and he used to have this big globe in his office. he would say go point on the globe to your country. i think he writes about it in his book but i think i heard him talent antidote that most of new ambassadors would point and sam going to poland or argentina or south africa. he would spin the globe and say no, that's that's not your country. your country is the united states of america. you are going there to represent us, not to be friends with them. :
i never had one meeting with the ambassador. not one, never. i never met him. we ran into him at a celebration, the 20th anniversary and 500 cameras finally got the photo of us to together. so you need to cultivate those relationships and i most certainly did.i have very useful relationships at a high level but it was never to be their friend. it was to advance what we were trying to do. your question was about poland and i would just say here, and then an expert on poland. i lived there but i have not been following things closely. but there is this moment in
europe of which poland is part of that drama of the rise of populism, the rise of liberal democracies. victor orban even uses that phrase. and, some of those people, not all of them, think of vladimir putin as the leader of all of this. this seems to be a global thing. and i would just say two things. one, i think it is a very important question to study. i am not prepared to stay that populism in every country has the same origins. maybe some do and maybe some do not. and i'm also not sure that putin ism is the same. i would like to say there is actually populist, nationalist that think that vladimir putin is the enemy.he has to manage that.
but is it a phenomenon that is happening that i think should get more attention?my answer to that is yes. and autocrats versus leaders - you know autocrats is a word that now i'm putting on my political science hat. first off i have written a whole chapter about that in the book. i had to define democracy and you know democracy is just a system of government where competitive elections over offices that matter. where the outcome of the election is uncertain. that is basically the definition of democracy in short form. and a famous polish american says that that this is famous definition and ours is the opposite. but i'll show you that i have a whole lecture on that but not for today. all countries have elites. i don't have a definition for
that to be honest let's go to the next question. >> as the tag line says question more. so you say that the russian stands is mostly because of national domestic issues that he has responding to. >> yes. >> i am contending that the us public opinion regarding russia is the same. to give full disclosure, i was a -- delegate. we were very very upset with what happened with the democratic primary. we thought there was a lot of interference with clinton and the dnc, etc. so when that came out and when it was exposed, wikileaks exposed it. >> no, russia exposed that. let's be clear. >> my intelligence sources, which is intelligence of veteran intelligence including
bill benny who is a former director of nsa that say that is not conclusive. so they are not -- >> 17 intelligence agencies have posited is. >> i read the top of the report has a disclaimer saying we do not stand by anything in this report. >> what is your question? >> my question is, it appears many americans and i know never thought about russia throughout the day and one year than ever thought about russia except maybe vodka. now all of a sudden many americans are against russia and it seems to me that the pivot point of that was this, in my opinion, it was this doorknob of the dead -- the democratic party saying that they want to get the americans focused there. so what is your feeling? >> i disagree. but let me explain. first of all, i was trying to
get the slides in. but maybe we have taken them down. i want to underscore that american public opinion about russia is not a constant from the cold war today. it goes up and down. and i will talk and do that later. so that, the spike in anti-russian feeling among the american election happened way before this. it happened because of what russia did in ukraine. and the clinton campaign of course was trying to talk about that thinking that was going to be an important, turned out it was not important enough to drive votes. but they did is pretty clear. that happened well before this. number two, and believe me, i have had many interruptions with the supporters of bernie during the trauma. and i have many in my own family.
i appreciate the argument, your argument that you are upset about what you saw happen in the dnc. i take your point. i am not as upset and in the longer more political conversation without cameras on, i could tell you why i think there was much more i do about something i thought was smaller. that happened there. especially from a candidate only joined the party just a year before.but that is a partisan political thing we can talk about. i want you to be outraged that russia violated the sovereignty of your electoral choices. and what really upset me during that whole period was many bernie supporters, not senator sanders himself by the way. senator sanders himself was crystal clear on this issue. but they said while i do not care what the source is. it is the facts that matter. that is really dangerous for the american public. that is super dangerous. because that means you do not care that the russians stole
evidence. they stole private property. and then, they used it to influence the way that people voted including bernie supporters. why did secretary clinton lose? there are lots of reasons. one of the reasons she lost was the voting outcomes. the people that voted for obama did not come out and vote for her. well guess what? you know, i am not an expert on this but i have friends who are in the department of political science. it is pretty clear data. they did not get the turnout from millennial's. the very people that were upset about what they read about wikileaks. that is not having an effect on our election? and i just cannot believe that we are so lackadaisical about it. like i really don't care where it came from but now i know the truth. that is really dangerous. because one, i just disagree. i have read the reports. i think the evidence is
absolutely overwhelming. that was the russians. i do not think there is any doubt about it. and by the way, even a public group, go look them up crowd strike is the name.even the company that did the forensics was crystal clear. the russians do not go out of their way to much to deny it these days. you know if it was so outrageous, you would think they would be talking about it but they don't. i think it is very clear that this was a russian operation. but the other thing i know, i run on a big cyber initiative at stanford. and i dealt with cybersecurity issues. as you can imagine. because i used to work on the russia account. you have only seen the tip of the iceberg. of what russia can do, what china can do, what the iranians can do, what high school kids can do. we are sleepwalking when it comes to cybersecurity.
because i'm not quite sure why but you can see and get animated about it. what they did here was really really literally what high school kids can do.and we are not debating that. we are not talking about it. you 2018 is coming, 2020 is coming. and with a proliferation of actors. the technology is getting better and we as a nation do not seem to care that the sovereignty of our electoral process is violated. and i just wish more americans would get upset about that. i take the point about what dnc people said about bernie, they should not have said that. i get that but he himself is called upon bernie supporters to be more upset about this violation of our sovereignty. and i want you all to be as well. [applause] because we have not solved it. next question.>> good morning. thank you so much for this fantastic remarks. very interactive and great for
television. [laughter] >> who are you? >> my name is -- i am a state department correspondence. nice to meet you. >> one thing we don't have is stanford by the way. when i lectured stanford, now we are in washington. >> i have 46 questions from 4 to 6 languages. >> you can to me the rest. >> -- you describe the russian investor that he was a person. how did you categorize him as a diplomat and in particular his ability to collapse intelligence? and separately, do you think that president trump knew of or approved of the meetings by members of his team with the russian ambassador and other high-level russian contacts?
if so, why do you think he is denying he knew about it. thank you very much. >> with respect to your first question, i think the investor is a very successful ambassador. i think he is underrated. in this town. he has a different style, he has a different set of objectives maybe then some other ambassadors and so you know why isn't he showing up more four certain things i don't know. but i am impressed by him. sometimes he would drive me nuts because he was so active in developing relationships with individuals across our government. and we were not disciplined enough sometimes in our talking points to be coordinated about what we were telling sergei.
so highly difficult negotiations, controlled and specific channels. i was part of that team. and then there will be some other person in some other part of the government and they would get an invitation to go have lunch. by the way, he has a fantastic fantastic lunch. i highly recommend it. but we need to have -- that is his job and i am impressed that he was doing his job in such a successful way with the trump campaign. we should just admire that. what i do not understand on the other side, you know to your second question. i was in, as i mentioned before, i was in the obama campaign. i was at our convention in denver. i met with some russians there by the way. i remember because delegations come to these conventions.
but we must certainly did not have a number of meetings, did not meet with him there but they were members of parliament i think came. i am struck by how many meetings and how senior people, right? we now know that kushner and general flynn, multiple times gentle and that, i'm just wondering, i don't pretend i know why but you should be focused on winning the election and getting your team together during the transition, right? and hiring some people by the way. >> we are going to leave the last few minutes of this program to go live to the u.s. senate. a reminder that you can watch all of this online. u.s. senate about to dabble into get the week started. more work expected today on bills rolling back some of president obama's labor department rules.