tv Public Affairs Events CSPAN October 31, 2016 4:04pm-6:05pm EDT
who doesn't depend on the elections. they prefer to stay at home this sunday. so this is how the actually media has influenced the public. because we had so many fake stories in the state. so people just prefer not to go. for example, reading something on the internet. the internet is a very, very interesting factor. i will focus because actually nowadays the russian's media system seems to be.
they see how they can influence the public. and we have the internet segment, which is growing very, very, very fast. russia now is one of the leader, if we judge by the numbers. russia is the five place in the world by the number of program connection users. and some prefer to focus on this public. at the state media, i can say. medoza is the portal created two or three years ago in latvia. the audience is russia. and in covering all kind of news.
first they wanted to phone us on the critics of russia's space policy. but then they understood they could develop just the so-called soft news like discussing the parks in moscow. and they really succeeded. they succeeded because of the very root level of russian language. this russia we have the lack of journalists really able to speak nice russian. actually, to put the confirmation freely and just in a few words. because if you open the newspapers. on my channel we have some situations where i hear the
voice of the host and i cannot understand how it is connected to the real life of the people. because it's always some strange russian so people tend to switch off the tv and go back to the internet. but still the structure is segmenting more and more. because even in my holding we have several channels. we have actually 11 channels in the whole. so there is sports and culture channels and the news channels, of course. i am from the channel which is focusing on the 24 hours news. and we have the -- our first
federal channel. but we are all channel. we call the main channel the federal one because it covers all the people and people are referring to russia. even we have a big difference between the first channel and us. because when we focus on news for the 24 broadcasting, 24 hours news broadcasting, we understand our viewer is -- sometimes it is people from the government. and sometimes these are the businessmen who really want to receive some information. maybe numbers. maybe some statistics. and they don't need any politicking there. that's why it shows the
discussions. they always go to the first channel. sometimes these discussions they seem so much professional because of the first factor and the lack of the time. and the second factor is we have the problem with not only with the journalists but with experts as well. they go to the state television. they talk only one problem. and they can say everything. they can go without any preparation. no numbers, nothing. just higher education. you understand that you don't have any desire for it anymore. because it's just to be opinions and you need the information. so the second factor which is
very important now and it really influences the russian media and will be influenced into my mind in the russian media intpra fracture is russian media constrain constraints. we can say it could be a persecution from the government. but we cannot deny that just many newspapers and many tv channels didn't have enough money. and now we see this week we have one more develop in the news. one of our best channels, life news, it was dissolved.
and it was dissolved because they don't have enough money. they really sometimes it was positions that could be in the opposition to government. . the social aspects. sometimes we have the lack of economic news, social news. news, for example, about the hospitals and the quality of the news about the education and actually connected to the foreign affairs, the high politics. so this is our problem, the
second problem in our constraints. between the government and the state media, i have to tell one thing. every week, we from the state media. not only we. we also have the echo of moscow, the liberal radio station which goes there. i won't tell where. as well. so every week we have the meeting at the government. so the chiefs of the tv channels and the radio stations and the big newspapers, they go there, only there. because it should be authorized people because we could have some speculation always. and it is is important because it is the security. so they go and they have dispatch about how to cover this
or that news. but we don't have direct bands. the only direct band is somehow the news connected to the work topics. but i believe this is very understandable because this is the problem of national security. so that's why sometimes people from the ministry they call us and ask us not to show this or that parts of our reports because, for example, you can see a plane there and this jet shouldn't be showed yet to the public. is so we try to work on this. from my experience working close we have the normal exchange of information.
i can ask them for, for example, kiev where we don't have anything. we really have the con strapbts working with kiev. so our reporters can be at no government media. we exchange information. sometimes i give them the whole putin talking. this is normal. we don't have any problems with them. with foreign media. as maria pointed out, really our government has limited the foreign presence.
the reason is sometimes the foreign capital in the newspapers and through the channels, sometimes russia's tycoons and oligarg want to work in russia. to this method to influence the russian public. and they were not popular. these years, 15, 16, they showed we don't have so much in common with them. they are still people from the beginning of the century this century. we are trying to get it developed.
i want to say a word about propaganda. we myself, i receive lots of negative things from working state media. anyway, propaganda used to be to write, to explore, to go and explain people. there is nothing bad in it in the word itself. but it actually has the problems of how it is is perceived in the nation and how it is in reality.
in many state channels people have self-limitingation. so even though we have examples they are calling us and asking why are we not showing this or that topic. these can be very funny stories. we should understand that people who are working for putin, his inner circle. and people they all differ. and this or that ministry could be not in a good relation with the other ministry.
we receive lots from them. for example minister of culture trying to do this. minister of transportation trying to do that. that's why the person of the chief of the channel, we need to analyze. it will be our decision not the governmental decision. i guess i shall end. >> thank you very much. i'd like to perhaps ask each of you a question before we open up for questions from the audience. i'll try to be very brief. but i want to get to press each of you on a particular point. ana, in your case, on one hand, you talked about this -- it sended like weekly meeting
between government officials and heads of major channels and newspapers where government officials are explaining how they would like russian media to cover the news. but at the same time you just said a minute ago the government is not calling and trying to block a particular story or something like that. so what i'm trying to guess is this meeting happens, the head of these organizations get this input from the government. is there an expectation that they will act on that and there is an enforcement mechanism if they don't? is it instruction, advice, a suggestion? how would you characterize that?
>> this is the advice. it depends on what is the topic. for example, if they go back to the war, news, and military. yes, it could be -- they could call and call again ask to do something. but still. we don't have any enforcement mechanisms. it used to be. it used to be. but it was five, four, maybe six years ago. now we try to put it in the way of consultation. maybe multipresence consultation. ahead of the channels and newspaper they award to the government, ask the government
to provide some information. the government should provide information. because we are to explain this to the public. >> thank you. maria, i would like to ask you a different question about media in russia that are independent from the government. and i'm trying to use my language precisely. you mentioned ntv, a channel that president putin put down after confrontation with its owner. it was clearly independent from the government. on the other hand, it was not so independent for mr. going cent sky and his lit cal objectives. many that are independent from the government are nevertheless very dependent on particular individuals and their financial
resources and their own political objectives. do you feel that media like that certainly they contribute to a ma right of different perspectives in russia. that is typically a good thing. do you think they can realistic serve the public interest? >> well, i guess that depends how you define media freedom. to me it is the plurality of the owners. what we need here in the united states as we do need in russia, we need different owners of different media of different interests that would provide an audience with alternative viewpoints, right? the problem in today's russian coverage, the absolute majority
of russians don't have any option of viewpoint. the only one they get is provided by the administration, that is suggested to the state tv channel during these meetings or otherwise communicated. the majority of russians are all left without any alternative positions. of course you can say they have internet. first of all, russia's internet freedom actually declines as the coverage increases. russia is one of the largest internet coverage in the world. but the more people have access to the internet, the less free internet becomes. i already mentioned certain websites, some of them are closed. some are still available. but from russia without special
mirrors. others are changing their consent. and the problem is also that russians themselves are not looking for alternative viewpoints. it is very -- you probably have a high concept about the mind. the same thing we observe consistently with when with we look at the way russians use the internet. whatever message they get, 90% of them get from the tv channels. this is the message they didn't really want contradiction to. they don't want to know russia is not a great power. they want to be the political victories of the country. so they look on the internet and they look for pictures. >> some things are truly universal. >> that's really pleasant to know. they look for content that confirms their opinions.
the "new york times" is completely independent. in my opinion, they are bipartisan. it is great that you have access to both of them and can come up with your own ideas. that's exactly what i would like to see in russia. we didn't see a lot of that in russia. >> thank you. let's open it up from questions from the audience. keith and then melinda. if you could please identify yourself as you ask your questions. >> keith, american university. i wanted to pick up on the issue of propaganda. where you might distinguish between what we call propaganda and propagating instead of ideas is the factual basis of what's being propagated. several of us on the u.s. side
have a sense that there are deliberate false hoods put out known by the state media to be false. and i'm wondering if you could comment on that. so, for example, maria brought up mh-17. also the crucifixion stories. some of these were objectively not traoufplt true. and that's different from putting on a different version of events. >> some of these things were shameful for us. when i saw the report with the crucifixion in ukraine of a boy, it was shameful. and then -- >> it was not true, right? it. >> was not true. >> the government really called the first channel and they asked to remove this report actually. because it was shameful.
but this is the point -- this is the theme with us and ukraine. we have this myth being told and told again. actually two years now. this happened actually that was the point i pointed out. we don't have enough experts and enough good reporters. this is the problem. the reporters who are able to do some fact checking and to provide the arguments and provide the proofs. this is a very important thing. judged even by the internet. the second or third we have a very big amount for investigative journalism in russia. we actually do not have qualified reporters who had this
or they try to do and they really try to do an investigation in two or three days, which cannot be done. and especially with the image 17 problem. or the investigations we have in russia, first they didn't want to try to ask the government to provide some information. they were actually afraid. and then really i can say that as i personally covered mh-17 as well. they were really too restrictive on this topic. because they themselves had to perform the investigation first to understand for themselves what actually happened. because the first it happened. what was it actually.
so we had a very huge recommendation in our state news channel. for i guess half of a year we touched this topic if we have, for example, mr. putin talking on this. and then we are just showing them talking. some topics really i can feel they don't have their own position, the government don't have their own position on some topics. and they are moving with a huge lag like this. >> thank you. please otherwise yourself. >> hi. malin. i have a question for maria. i really wanted to know about russia nowadays. where would you say it fits at
the media space after the government tried to narrow it down and register in media outlets. how reliable would you say it is? thank you. >> thank you for the question. definitely a lot of russian bloggers, journalists, once they realize the conventional media space was closing, they moved into the blogthe osphere and became tremendously successful. but the government realized that and so we see the censorship being shifted to social media as well. it depends on more social media in question.
russia has a very big associate networks which is analogous to facebook, conduction. he created it pretty much from scratch. definitely copied facebook in a way. a lot of people were communicating there. during the initial process in 2011. they were kicked out of russia. it was sold a kremlin owner. the majority of the russian position, however, kind of predicted that kind of development. so they moved to facebook. and there is an academic article that shows facebook played a major role during the 2011-2012 for the op session.
yet the government definitely understands it. the kremlin is actually smarter. when you follow the kremlin, it is is usually smarter than we give it credit to. they are right now making consistent attempts to control the social media or internet with it for an ownership structure. twitter, facebook were immediately demanded to provide -- asked to provide access to the russian security service. it discusses the way and prosecution of the internet. in general we know that most of the internet communication that happens in russia, russian service is backed and sent to the intelligence. the information is so huge it is just impossible for the government to process it.
they received this information doubled on or tripled because the way the insurance controlled. and it is quite unclear what kind of ministry -- how enormous a ministry should be to be able to process all of that information. and recently we also placed new attack of hackers attack position. i actually was one of the victims of the e-mails. the same hackers who are engaged in the cyber attacks against the u.s. there have taken part in that. often quite successful in undermining that position. for example, that happened in june. one of the opposition parties primaries the primaries were attacked and pretty much enter
mined because of those attempts. so we see the kremlin is definitely aware and trying to implement a lot of to take it under control. there is consistent talk about creating some kind of firewall of kphaoeu niece style. and people are optimistic about that. given new developments, i wouldn't be too optimistic. the kremlin is going in the direction of&at some point the firewall might be possible. >> sorry, please. >> i need to mark the sites that were really close in russia with the isis propaganda. the reason they were closed on russia's territory i believe you have the same problem in the
united states of america. and europe has the same problem as well. we in russia are really educated in creating new firewalls to make that firewall not working. we can make some discussions there. or we can even create a new platform. so any closures in russia, it sounds a bit strange. it is authoritative, which actually bans the site is one of the most liberalist authorities. even if we can compare it to europe. because if we see how many sites
are banned in rush sharks the number is not so big. and if we talk about the opposition. yes, there were closures, but the closures were in the year of 2008 and 2009. and then they changed the policies. so now you can be banned for terrorism. the topic was terrorism. so that was his problem. >> it did publish the polls. how many times was the message
sites with all kinds of isil propaganda, movies. the communication between people who are hiring some. it was really strange. the site closes. and the next day you have the same site with the same content. so it was quiin september last r with this. >> thank you very much. >> i write a foreign affairs column for "the boston globe". thank you both. it was really fascinating, your remarks. i unfortunately have to leave early. maria, first to you. you presented that you had a
situation at some point where you had five publications and were willing to accept your writing because it was considered so critical. i want to know about the repercussions you have faced and if not, why not? ana, you work for state media but obviously are a critical thinker. i wonder if you worry about whether you were being manipulated by the state. just a brief answer. thanks. >> i try actually in my messages to justify both sides to understand what's going on. at least that's the way i view that. and i think that was the reason why i was in view to any kind of attacks.
i was relatively fine. people who do enough, who publish in russia and live in russia also they are constantly under all kinds of attacks on personal relation or that people -- their relatives being put in jail. my relatives are there. so a lot of people are definitely suffering and it's getting worse and worse and worse. >> i have to say the trolls are after we as well saying i have sold my soul to the government. the same kind of prosecution.
not a rubble from the federal government of russia, i assure you. this is actually nonsense. talking about me being manipulated. am i? this is very, very hard to answer. i am the personal numbers. and i'm really into lots of documents. when i try to understand something myself, i try to understand how was it. maybe i was manipulated. for example, with the story in 2011. i was covering the protests. it was very cold and raining. i saw lots of people. i saw the marginalization of the crowd there.
but actually, yes, it was kind of the government has exaggerated the power of the opposition. because there were lots of people there. even the people who wanted to resurrect the russian empire. they were really strange people, this strange crowd. and afterwards we have the reports of the station that the opposition somewhat structurized and somehow were influential and went out to the park and had some -- was quoting something of the russian government. yeah, it was actually kind of exaggeration. yeah. >> thank you very much. other questions? umida. >> i work for c and e.
i have two questions. we hear there is some kind of new trend. if people are not watching the news and they know they are manipulated. but then there are a lot of entertainment which russian media is very skilled and have really good entertainment. so they fold a lot of political messages inside, do you see this? my second question is so does vladimir putin control media or people around vladimir putin control media? you mentioned dosht and the former editor published a book and he talks about how people around putin actually want to put all of these banners, sochi,
so putin himself would be convinced. i want to find out who controls media in russia. is it the man, the center, or the people around him. >> yes, definitely there is a huge development i think to be able to comment on it. there are different shows broadcast that are associated to the media. it's very popular form of this, you know, shows that discuss -- where the news is discussed. right now it is the most popular in russia. we see a lot of these new shows. and at times it is is outrageous what is being communicated by the hosts in these show. for example, several times they suggested russia can transform
the united states or that heart be burned or something like that. i'm sorry to say that the recent -- this has a lot of political message. i think it was broadcast to be channels very detailed discussion of the relationship of russia. that's what they discussed. and that's quite important. the reason i point this out is it is often shown as very moral, the western messages that are ultimately aimed at destroying russia's morals. but when you actually analyze the content in the russian media you realize that it is you have sympathy around this. and the broadcasting, the minds for us to journalize in the
future. in another important part, the element that responds to questions is the russian tv shows. it was recently analyzed that the tv shows that are popular right now, most of them, 30% of them have been the main character as a good character. be it a policeman. i don't know. a very brave fsb officer. we even had broadcast interpretation of homeland in russia where, again, another fsb was fighting against a muslim terrorist. this is very important. the message is translated everywhere. only the good guys are the security guys. even else, special business are corrupt and bad militias. that is the common message you receive on tv. so definitely the the political message is communicating types of shapes and forms.
now, as to our other question who controls and who specifically implements these policies, putin definitely is not, you know, holding his hand on every single thing that's going on. in fact, he's the one responsible for the general trend. but then we have an administration with a bunch of people responsible for interpreting, implementing this trend. and by the way, as ana pointed out, it is very off on the keys that the serve ants the officials trying to serve the president or interpret his narrative correctly, his message correctly, they off, as we do sometimes. and it is generally less seen than you do the on opposite. or we do a desire or we interpret what it can desire. in general it is a benevolent act. if they are a little bit
overdutying it, then prosecute them only mildly. that is a characteristic of this service. so presidential administration is understanding is responsible for the majority of the policies when it comes to control over the media. of course there are a bunch on of lower level actors. you see something happening at the regional level, it has something to do with the desire of a particular governor or mayor. it is important not to think that putin is behind every single act of censorship but behind the overall trend and the overall dynamics. >> sorry. >> both of you answer whatever
part you want. i was recently talking to a very sophisticated russian who is close to russia and the about t of transformation of the russian media scene over the last 15, 20 years. and he is old enough to remember the end of the soviet period and says that, you know, the people who remember that period and then went through the '90s, and you know, watched the current russian media, and they, since they have experienced sort of the current media, they are cynical and skeptical and don't really buy into it. but the younger generation, the people who came to maturity in
the last two decades or so, they don't have any frame of reference, and they buy into this stuff. and they watch it and they believe it, and it is, and it is, that is the real prudent base. it is the sort of the nationalistic and the patriotic kind of the group that the media carats to. so my first question is do you agree? and the second related question is, you know, when i am in, and i have to say that i'm not a russian speaker and the others around the table are r and at least i have been exposed enough to know, and see that what the russian media machine has produced is really quite reremarkable. and i have to ask myself, where did this come from? as we all know that in the soviet period, the russian propaganda was horrible. i mean, it was laughable.
and so i asked myself how in a relatively short period of time did the russians become so adept at doing this? both with their own population, but also with r.t. and other channels that they have into the west? who wants to go first? >> well, that is a lot of things. >> you go first. >> okay. so for the first question, i rally believe that it depends on the those who think critically and experience, because when you say it about the people who remember this soviet union, and me, myself, i remember the soviets in the 1990s as well. and so this is the ability to
judge by your experience the youngsters, and yeah, they are adjusting in the 20s, and they don't have enough experience to be a judge, but there's nothing, and there is actually, it depends on them for the develop a more critical mind, and plus, we have the creativity by and for the youngsters, and it is called the snop, and the snop is a critical project that is somehow a closed society of people who are communicating inside of the newspaper, and the internet project, and they have the limitation by the users, and we have to be a part of, to part
of this snop society, and discuss it there, and part of this society, but they are the last to say they are persecuted. and the example for the second question. so i believe that we have really used some western use in the beginning because of the money, and to have people very well educated, but people in britain have propaganda as well. they have the shows with the security officers as well. tv shows and whatsoever, and so we have learned and tried to do
these things, the same stuff here in russia. i can say one thing about the current russia's president, so typical from his team. i used to be the p.r. officers in the russia's larger world company and mikhail gorbachev and then they work for mr. putin and they really succeeded with the propaganda of their own company, and just remember, me, myself, being a first-year student i saw the ads on the tv made by them and it is really cool. like nobody in russia could do the same thing. i guess this is one of the reasons of course. >> but it did not keep their
boss out of jail. >> yes. >> and also the employees and the supplied to the kremlin for the great cardinal behind it. a lot of the kremlin policies until recently. and now, to the first question, and by the i way, i am surprised to learn that snop was part of the younger generation, because as i was a part, it was to my knowledge just for the despots and then for the russian community, but it is not for the younger. >> and no, no, nor for the russian community as well. >> not the younger -- >> no, not me, i am subscribed to them. >> and don't take it personal, but, now, when it comes to first of all the patriotism, and putin orientations amongst the
youngsters and the younger generations, and in russia of those the about 20 years old, and this is unfortunately the reality that we do face, a and loft the sociologists have confirmed that now there are several publications on the issue. back in 2015, i was in high school economics where they the discussed it, this new generation is much more putin, patriotic, and more russia greatness and anti-western which is with the more exposure no the western media and lifestyles in general, and the western world because they have traveled there much more often than their parents do. the interesting dynamics is that actually not observed in russia, but also in a lot of the european countries which is hungry or where you will see the remarkably the younger generation being representative of more conservative views, and
so it is part of the overall reaction of the liberalization of the 1990s and it is my theory, and we can discuss it on the separate occasions. now, i, myself, for example belonged to the previous generation of the period of when my opinions were formed, and you could choose something through political means so just by contesting the politician, or the local representative, you could do something, and that saved a lot of the contemporary my age and younger people, and in the big cities who are now members of the opposition, and the media outlets for example, and mikhail is about my same age, but the next generation, formed and shaped in the putin presidency, and pretty much that is the only person they remember, and if you were born in 2000 or a little bit before doesn't know anybody else. they are definitely expose d to
this narrative of the great russia, and they are very susceptible to it. and a large role by the families. and russia has been shown that the family has the largest impact on one's political views. and definitely, also, compare odd to the comparative framework, and we are have discussed that these younger people do not compare themselves to the way life used to be in the soviet union, and that is to not only for russia, but for other european countries, and they did not remember that. in fact, everything they are taught nowadays about the soviet union is very cool, and great country, and show the americans who are the guys here, and the things were good. right. so they have been brought up with the sentiment that is confirmed by the families and the new message they received, and they are comparing their lives to the lives of the
western youngsters and the people their age, and so they are not happy. so in order to catch up, they have started to pick up a combination of the patriotism and the result of the exposure no the west going to the same movies and shows and listen to same music and discuss the same thing, and the same idols, and to the talk about the other content of the russian media, it is a very important question. first of all, russia has very incredible innovators there. it is incredible how many are there and it is sad to think of how great the country could have been if it were a little but more free. and now, to be solvent, the kremlin decided that the way to go in today's world is the soft
power, and sips then, you will see the trend and also you have some money from the revenues. in the 1990s, everybody was poor, and no money. and the kremlin took some of the western strategists and some came from other countries such as england and learned a lot. the responsibilities like not only within the kremlin, itself, but also within the western companies that come to russia and other parties that are favored by the kremlin. the result is in fact, the entertainment, and quite a good like to my understanding quality of the content, and not in terms of the message that has been communicated, but in terms of the way that things are done. >> production. >> yes. and so that results in the
kremlin message being quite competitive and especially when it comes not to the western, and to be channeled elsewhere obviously, and the content is much more content there, and the channel channels in the kremlin is wone way, and here in the west, much more. and so it is come pettive and it gives come ppetitors in the easn europe and central asia, a a nd then of course, in the domestic audience when it come ts to the comparison of the kremlin media, and the western media. and obviously, the kremlin resources have much more money, and much more attractive and appealing, but when it comes to the foreign report such as in kazakhstan and in the baltics, they provide a potential weapon
in the fifth column of the countries which is how you get into the ukraine and everything else is a lot of activity is supported by the kremlin, and they say that it is done, and the expressions there, and it is interesting to see what the k m kremlin message says. and that is very dangerous to just have the kremlin message. >> let me add just briefly from my own personal experience on the production value, i watched several months online this very high profile russian television documentary for the domestic audience about the return of
crimea to russia. crimea, the way back home -- the english translation of it, and it was a very compelling film. they had interviews with putin and then cut to reenactments and cut to interviews with people in crimea and the security o officers, and it was very, very effectively done. no question. dmitri and then jacob hallberg and those are the last two. >> thank you. well, thank you for the powerful presentation, and i'm very impressed with how brave both of your prez sentations were. and i will ask you a very straight forward question. as i listen to you, i thought that will there was an agreement on one issue that whatever the russian's fate, the russia media
machine, the propaganda was doinging, that there was some purpose to it, there was some seeking behind it. can you explain what the hell the kremlin is doing in terms of allegedly trying to interfere with the american elections. mr. putin today spoke to the so-called club that i don't know how the describe it, but people in the past, and myself once included, and that it is an interesting group. in many respects. but then, anyway, speaking to the interesting group today, mr. putin said that it was almost insulting to suggest that russia would be interfering with the american e elections, because the united states is a super power and a great democracy, and how could that happen that russia would have the resources to interfere with the american
elections, and mr. putin may want to deny the technology, but he is accused of many things, ruthlessness, and dishonesty and the lack of integrity and corruption, but he was not accuse odd d of being an incomp idiot. and if he is getting reports as i assume that he is that whatever russia is doing in the united states to influence the elections, this is quite counter production that they prefer trump and doing damage to his campaign, and the promotion of the russian image in the united states is doing the opposite. so what is going on? are we imagining the russian interference or we don't understand the purpose?
[ laughter ] >> okay. okay. this is really a very laudable thinger for us. i just remember the first poll, and i believe it was bloomberg or -- bloomberg it was. where mr. pew tiutin was named candidate, and we didn't know how to react on this. we in russia, you have elections and you elect your presidents and you will elect a new administration, and we do not want to influence somehow on it. but, the thing is that we didn't start with it, because i believe
it started from the information of the campaign here in the u.s. it started in somewhere when first time for the 25 years if i am not mistaken that russia and the cold war somehow is now the again the factor that can influence the selections campaign, and it is a very, very strange. >> i read that confused, and i think that you had the interpretation of what russia is doinging with the election and why? >> well, thank you. it is an excellent question. in my opinion, there is no question that the kremlin is engaged, because they have been engaged in multiple institutions in the united states and the cyber attacks. we have been discussing this issue actively with a bunch of
russian experts and the predominant thought in the russian community, and in the russian expert community that they were denying the enga engagement, but today, the evidence is so overwhelming that they cannot deny and they say it is much more trolling which is the tactic to scare off the united states, but i will point out that it is not the first time that the united states is not the by any means the first case where similar attacks have been happening. the kremlin has been implementing the sidebar attacks in different countries, and the first incident relates to the soldier when the scandal of the removal of the former monument of the soviet soldier and it was a huge wave of attacks against a bunch of the media and the institutions in estonia where we
can also remember the georgian war when they came in and the ukrainian war, and the political and the media came under a similar attack. no question that this new development is not the same line, but the same question, dmitri, is what is the kremlin trying to achieve. unfortunately, i cannot explain all of it, and thinking behind the strategy, but in my opinion, there is an element of the discontinuing of escalation between the two powers that is probably the way to show that russia is not scared of anything, and to the talk boldly and provocative, and also if succeededle would provide the kremlin a response to any accusation regarding the fake nature of the elections in russian, and now to respond that here it was also very unfair, and if that is successful with that type the of election.
but the important factor is the up certificate pof the far right candidate or the potential or allegedly for a russian candidate that we have observed previously in other occasions in other country, and russia has been talking to other actors who would be el helpful in the abolition of the sanctions against russia. no matter how minor the actor is in any country such as france, italy, hungry, poland, slovakia, czech republic, russia is usually found to be connected to that person, and they are quite instrumental and not to underestimate the resources available to the kremlin from the previous, from the past. all of this, the officer, secret agents, and especially when they have a lot of money available, and constantly in use. so there is no doubt that the
krem slin goi -- kremlin is goig to try to make it to keep hillary from winning, and for donald trump. the interesting question is why they have seen the critics of donald trump have been exposed to links to russia, and f following the kremlin media speaking today in russia that appearing in all of the news that turned out to be from the forces, and this is something that has to be investigate here. >> actually, hillary clinton with all of the things that could be said about her, russian administration don't have any connection with the trump or the hillary camp, but still, we don't have a position towards hillary clinton, and plus, one
important person from the hillary clinton campaign works with russia on one of the judicial cases here in the united states of america. so i don't know. whether they have the contradiction. >> all right. the last question from the editor of the "national interest u "jacob heilberg. >> i will keep it quick. >> yes, okay. >> and so both of the prez presentations are testimony to the fact that the russian educational system must be rock solid, because the english beats many of the native language panelists that we have here. or a number. my question is the educational system may still be fine, but you can have a all of the propaganpro that you want, and the media, but the statistics -- you can have all
of the propaganda that you want, but i just read that 60% of the russian economy is state owned of businesses. the economy continues to deteriorate. what's your prognosis for russia's future? is the putin regime actually stable or is this a mirage? in 30 seconds or less. maria? >> yes, thank you for the question. in fact, it is a not a random number, and it does not come out random, and the kremlin has been consistently implementing the policies to distribute the large part of the assets and the control. whether it happens purposely or just so many interest groups under the kremlin who are trying to, you know, like kind of
adding news assets under the kremlin control is a different question, but i personally believe both. there is definitely an interest on the kremlin side to get, to get the important assets under control, because it provides against control, and power, and strengthens the system from the viewpoint of the decision-makers. but when it is definitely come ting to the long term from the side it is bad, but from the political peperspective, it is good, because all of the independent business owners are a foundation of any dem kocracy and they tend to have their own interests, and this is what the kremlin does not want. the majority or the largest asset assets in the russian economy is the economic structure today have conditional ownership which means that you may think that, i don't know, somebody like a company owns a particulars asse,
but informally does, but it belongs to somebody else other than the kremlin, and now so, this structure is bad econom economically, but politically, it brings some benefits, because it eliminates any sort of independence in the society, because any dps ependent in the control, and you can't be independent when you start. so nonetheless, the economic prospects for the russian economy are not looking good, and that is one of the reasons why the economics of the state in 2001 towards the geopolitical victory, and the kremlin is trying to justify itself and explain the existence against the west, and so that is the confrontation with the west is necessary. however, i have spoken to my economics friends, and they have said that the economy is
slightly recovering recently, and people are start ting to ge jobs where there were no job s t all a year ago. and in the forecast of the future economy will be developing slowly, and mostly close to stagnation. that is why the sanctions should be in place, and the western sanctions against the russian companies, but it does not mean that in the near future the economic problems will kind of change somehow the system. that is unlikely, because the systems of the putin type, they are based on this very nuanced system of redistribution that comes from the very top, and corruption is very instrumental in it, and it is like the glue that keeps the whole thing together. this kind of the system does not form just because of a crisis.
you need many years of this continued stagnation for some serious problems to come for people to the realize that things cannot continue like this. so i would not expect anything bad to happen in the near future unfortunately. >> and you can have the last word. >> thank you very much. it is the income of the state, and the whole russian federation. let's say that of course we are very much still dependent of the natural resources, but now we can note that we have the inquiries of defense sales and so military, and military companies are playing the bigger role. and now, this year from the september of 2015 to september of 2016, we are in the campaign in syria, and this is the best
advertisement for the russian arms. and we have lots of the contracts being made for this, and so probably the income from this context because of the soft and of course just, well established contracts. and so in the coming years, we an huge factor that will support russia's economyk and plus, this one is more important. and for example in moscow, we have the authorities have the liberated the regulation of small business, and small, and yeah, small business, and be small entrepreneurs, and people are looking aggressively at it, and when they have sometimes know that this is the lack of their own will to try to act,
because now they can be, they can form a small business with no force in a short time, so this is one of the main problems of the government will have to do something to explain to its own people, okay, if you want to be a great russia again, somehow, you shall do and try to do something yourself as well. >> thank you very much. and please, join me in thanking our panelists. thank you so much for being with u
between 1846 and 1873, and after that, it is lectures in history of native americans and westward expansion and more lectures in history of the western claims. and today is of course, halloween and last week, the white house featured historical character s characters in period dress. take a look. >> i am portraying george washington, and also, mr. m madison, i also saved the recordings of the constitutional convention where my husband served as secretary for president washington when we ended up with the article of
confederation failed. but i wish it were wednesday, because i would love to have ice cream and you could tell me where you were from and we could share the recipes at a subsequent gathering at the white house. any questions? >> what did you -- >> well, different people reported it several ways, but if my husband was to have a second term, i would serve pepperment ice cream and also oyster ice cream which is not as well received as the others. >> this is also where on the new year 1902, i met here for an
hour to meet every american who wanted to come through the door, and i stood here. she held a bouquet of nflowers and she did not want to the shake hands and she held a bouquet of flower ers so she wouldn't have to, but i shook every hand, 3,000 hands in 2 1/2 hours a and this is the room that we did that in, and then we would often entertain people in the red room before a state dinner of some sort. and the east room, well, if any one person is responsible for hitting that into the splendid reception room, it is ms. roosevelt, because she was magnificent. and believe it or not, one year, we entertained about 2,000 people in that room. and i don't know how they stood shoulder to shoulder, but the work got done, the and then afterward they came down and she
is the one who started the trend of the musicals and such in that room. before then, it had not been e used for much, and was a stale and stodgy place. the magnificence of the white house is in good part the responsibility of edith roosevelt. c-span brings you more debate debates this week from the key senate races. tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern live from c-span, rand paul and democrat jim gray debate for the kentucky seat. and wednesday night at 8:00, live coverage on c-span of the louisiana senate debate from a field of candidates and republican congressmen charles boustany, and john fleming and john kennedy and david duke and at 9:00, the republican senator kelly ayotte, and governor has
s san debate for theh new hampshie seat. and from now until the e lk shup, look for debates here on cspan.org, and listen on the c-span radio app. c-span, where history unfolds daily. on election day, november 8th, the nation decides our next president and which party controls the house and the senate, and stay with c-span for the coverage of the presidential race including the campaign stops with hillary clinton and donald trump and their surrogates and follow the key house and senate races with the coverage of their candidate debates and speeches. c-span, where history unfold s daily. this week on c-span 2, we are featuring political radio programs with the national talk show hosts, and tuesday morning from 6:00 to 9:00 a.m. eastern, politics with a left leaning
perspective. live from washington, d.c., and then wednesday also conservative talk show host hugh hewitt. and then live thursday, noon to 3:00, the progressive radio host tom hartman, and then friday, from 9:00 a.m. to noon, it is mike hargan. and now, the poll icy analys of whether the u.s. should engage with relations with russian. this is from the mccain institute of leadership. this is going to iran little over one hour and 20 minutes.
[ applause ] >> thank you very much, and good evening, ladies and gentlemen. thank you for coming on the slightly rainy evening. it is the furn chuck, trust me [ laughter ] and i want to welcome you to the mccain institute, and the next in the series of debates on foreign policy issues. i'm curt voccer and i have the honor of serving as the director of the mccain institute. we were founded in 2012 in tribute to the legacy senator mccain, and the mccain family, and going back generations. pleased to see navy uniforms here in the audience. the focus of character-driven lead
leadership and we see ourselves as do-tank and not a think-tank, because we want to know what we can accomplish and then we go out the do it. we do it in the areas of character driven leadership, humanitarian, and national and international security and local law and governance, but we do like a very good debate. so we have schedule ad seize of these, and we have done 20 of these over the key policy questions that the united states needs to address. two years ago, we did a debate about russia. and the question at this time was, is it time for containment? but given the discussion that we have had throughout the course of the presidential campaign about russia, it seems the more pertinent question is after the u.s. presidential election, is it time to reengage with russia? that is the topic of tonight's debate. before we move on, let me do a few more housekeeping items, and you can learn more about the mccain institute by going to the brand-new refurbished website which is www.mccain
institute.org. you do it from your chair, because we have wi-fi here in the memorial auditorium, and you can see it on the back page. it is usn 001 and the password is there as well. with that, you log on, and we encourage you to tweet and comment and actively participate in the event this evening. the #midebate for the hashtag. and so that is all of the housekeeping there. we are delighted to have c-span with us here this evening, and greetings to all of the viewers there. and we are live web casting this debate, a debate, and we do keep these archives and put them up online on the website, and the youtube channel, and so you can go back to these, and we do try to produce a shorter version if if you were not here tonight, and you want to go back to get the short version of what points
crystallize the event, we will have that. and we have an excellent, excellent panel to debate the tonight. and we ve we have a standard organized debate rules. four minutes opening on each side, and a two minute question, and then two minutes to rebut. i will be the moderator and give equal time to both sides, 2:00 each, and then gradually come to you sh you, the audience, and think about what you would like to do to add to debate, but please don't give a comment, but just a question. and so now that we want to the argue that it is time to reengage with russia after the presidential election, and we have a former colleague tom grand, and he was a u.s. foreign service off se, and political officer in moscow, and in the
early and the mid-90s, and even before that, and even the late 1980s as russia was changing, and then again at the second tour in moscow, he was really h helping the u.s. government understand what the oligarchic system was there, and then went on the work at the time counsel bob zelic, and joining tom is the executive director forcente interests, and the the editor of the publication and runs that center. and on the opposite side, no, it is not a good idea to be reengaging russia right now, we have another friend and former colleague, and david cramer is the senior director of human
rights at the mccain institute, and former freedom house president, and president of democracy and human rights and labor and former deputy secretary of state for russia and ukraine, and at the same time i had a similar position. with david this evening is elena who is the euroasia atlantic counsel center, and born in y ukraine and got her ph.d. here in the united states and arguing the case that now is not the time to reengage with russia. so to kick us off, i want to pose the question, is it time after the u.s. presidential election for the united states to reengage with russia. i want to turn it to tom grand to start us off. >> thank you, tom, and thank you to the mccain institute for hosting this event. both paul and i and i think the
others are happy to be here. the crisis in russia marked the end of an era in u.s./russian relations. the plan to integrate into a free market democracy has failed. to be a new approach is wone of the new priorities of the next administration. to bear in mind three point, first, the world today is radically different from the one that we faced 25 years ago, and the global balance of power shift i shifting from europe to asia, and new technology for diffusing the power and changing the way that societies interact. in the interkconnected world is beyond us even in combination with the allies and isolate another major power. second, russia may be in a prolonged period of stagnation, but for any purpose and time spent, it makes time for the policymaking, it will remain a significant power. it has a world class diplomatic
core, a talented scientific community, and capable military. the nuclear arsenal, and the vast resources, and the location in the heart of eurasia makes it a major player of importance to the united states, in europe, in the middle east, and east asia and the arctic. third, russia opposes the u.s. in parts of violating the european principles, and orders and leadership. we cannot ignore the challenges, but with that said, dealing with the transnational issues of the vital interest to the united states such as the strategic balance and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and international terrorism is going to be much more difficult if we
do not engage russia. moreover in east asia, it is making no sense to drive russia into the brace of china which is a strategic competitor, and finally as a new world order is e emerging from the current turbulen turbulence, we need to include russia in a way that is consistent with the long term interests and values. in these circumstances, we cannot contain or isolate russia nor is it in our interest to do so. likewise, we cannot build a partnership, and nor in our interest to try. rather, the task is to construct a balance of participation and cooperation that best advances america's national interests. what then should be the first steps of the new american administration? the immediate task is twofold to ensure that the current co competition in the middle east
and europe does not spiral out of control, and to prevent the relationship of becoming a adversarial one in which the primary goal of each side is to forge the others, and the three steps that we can take almost immediate lu, a immediately, and we have the rewards of russia, and avoid misunderstandings that lead to unavoidable crises and we need to do this so that we can elaborate our own policies and implement it effectively. and we have to tone down the rhetoric. and evilizing putin does not help us to achieve the goals, and we have to put in power with moscow, policies a senior-trusted official in order to send a coherent message to moscow, and then finally, the last thing that we need to do is to think of russia in a global context. the crisis is syria is connected
to the crisis in europe, and so it will have consequences off what russia does with china and the rest of aa sha, so in the interconnected world, we need to engage russia and keep in mind the properle balance of cooperationb and competition. >> thank you very much, tom. ran a few seconds over, and we will do the same for david and his team. >> great. thank you very much. and thank you, tom, and to paul for joining elina and me in the debate, and thank you all for comi coming. what kind of regime would our colleagues have us reengage with? it is critically important to look at the record and let me describe the last 17-plus years that it has been ruled by vladimir putin. it is a russia that shares neither the values nor or interests and it is clear that putin came to power in 1999 as a prime minister, and president the following year against the backdrop of mysterious bombings in september of '99 that killed
brutal force against those in chechnya, and that is sum lar to what he did in syria. and he has cracked down on the rights of russia since the breakup of the soviet union, and he has cracked down journalists and activists thrown in jail and harassed and killed and hunted down those who opposed the regime even those who lived in the west, and created a massive theocracy and the best export to the west is corruption, and the s cyber attack gaiagainst estoniad ukraine, and kidnapped an estonian intelligence officer in 2014 the day after president obama visited, and invaded jordan in 2008 and failed to live up to any of the sarkozy cease-fire plans that were brought up, and invaded ukraine of course in 2014 and illegally crimea has failed to live up to a single agreement in the minsk
agreement put forward and the responsibility of the shootdown of the mh-17 that killed 298 people. cut off energy to neighbors in the height of winter and launched a brutal military c campaign in syria in which the targets are not isis, but any opposition to assad, and dl deliberately targets convoys and bakeries and is centers in aleppo, and causing unprecedented death and suffering amounting to war crimes. he has no regard for international law or following through on the goodwill negotiations including the cease-fire that u.s. and russia struck on syria. russia is withdrawn from the cfe treaty, and nuclear capabilities in ka leningrad, and he has engaged in missile sites as well as muscle flexing with the dangerous and reck leless hacki
efforts, and to say nothing of mettling into the west's election, and souks to block neighbor's aspirations for closer ties to the west and denying them their right to determine their own future and trampling on the sovereignty and territorial integrity and how many more neighbors does he have to invade or how many more syrians have to be killed or how much is the crackdown insooide russia before those who would a advocate for the reengagement strategy would not only be futile, but possibly dangerous. >> and what david is describing is not a set of random acts and this is a pattern and a pattern of complete disregard for international law, which russia signs and then willingly breaks. a pattern of no respect for
sovereignty and independent state, and a brutal disregard for the basic human rights. this pattern is going to show us that russia is not a trustworthy partner, and many administrations both democratic and republican have tried to engage russia, and they have failed and that is because russia is playing a game of smoke and mirrors and just this week in the f.t., the financial time times, they gave an oath and said in the interview that russians are to turn a new page. the next day the deputy foreign minister of russia said that the next four years will be very difficult and no change will come. we have seen this movie before. it is smoke and mirrors. >> what we have detected is two differences and one is tone about how we look at russia, and the other is tactical and russia is a problem and looking against
u us, and that is why we need to engage in them versus engaging in that way to only encourage worse behavior in the future. pa pau paul? >> let me say several things in response to elina and david, russia is a authoritarian, and we should treat them the same as other authoritarian countries like china and saudi arabia and others who are close partners of the united states. we find a way to deal with the governments because we believe that the united states has important interests at stake and we don't have another choice. relatedly, can the united states have a meaningful impact on the
policy relevant time frame. i argue, no. we don't know how quickly the russian political system may evolve or if it will at all. we have the russia that we have, and we need to deal with the russia that we have. now, the united states and russia have different interests in a number of areas. it is not easy to deal with partners who have different interests. there's an issue of trust, absolutely. but look, we successfully got rid of most of the chemical weapons without trusting each other. i feel that was an accomplishment, and we don't actually need to trust russia in order to be able to accomplish things with russia, and what we need to do is to be able to understand how russia defines
its interests and to structure our engagement with russia in a way that creates realistic untensives and penalties that -- realistic incentives and penalties in ways that reflect our own interests. >> and then david and elina back to you for two minutes. >> thank you. just in response, we are not calling for isolationism, and cutoff of the relations. even in the cold war when we face ad bigger adversary of the soviet union, we had after knews -- avenues of cooperation, and we should still be able to find those with russia, and we should, and perhaps in the arctic, and perhaps nonproliferation, but the di ploem si only works when you know that the partner on the other side of the table will abide by the agreement that you reach. and russia can take steps to show that they can be a
trustworthy partner, and the door is not closed in any way, and this is not about complete polarization of relations or isolation outright. russia could take the steps, and for example, abide by the minsk agreement, and pulling the so soldiers out of eastern ukraine, and so that could give crimea back to ukraine, and they could stop ruthlessly murdering syria, and propping up a dictator, and stop threatening the world with a nuclear power. and talk about ramped up rhetoric. it is not us who needs to tone it down, by it is russia. it could do all of those things, but it chooses not to. >> and let me look at it first to look at tom and paul. paul gave the example about engaging rush sharks and wesrus
of the chemical weapons, but then us looking at syria would say, yes, but they used other weapons in the civil war and it got worse. so can you give me an example of how engaging russia and when it work ad and when it has produced a good result. >> how much time, two minutes? >> yes. two minutes. >> it is not about trust, but it is when interests align. if you go back to the bush administration, afghanistan in the first three months against al quay da and the taliban, and with e e -- we had superb cooperation to overthrow the tollb taliban like we did. looking at the nonproliferation like we did in the bush administration, we signed a n number of agreements with russia and how the secure the nuclear facilities and not just russia, but globally, and we put together a global partnership to
combat nuclear terrorism which has four or five dozen members. if that is something that we talked about all of the time, but it is still in effect, and still plays a vital role in securing our interests, and russia's interests. people will argue, but we have tone with russia a number of issues and the strategic balanc balance, and whether you agree or not, it is a significant accomplishment for the obama administration, and we did it with russia because the interests overlapped and not because we crushed each other, but put it in a modern mechanism to provider for our ability to monitor when we don't have sufficient trust. again, the iran deal is something that will be as controversial, but yet, the two countries came together with four other countries in order to put together something that put off the development of weapons in iran for at least ten years if not longer. so when the interests align, there are many things that the united states and russia can do
together that are advantageous to us. the if we cut off the engagement, and put on the table that only if you follow this set of rules, if you agree with this can we work in the third areas, we are going to harm our own interests, and we are not going to get what we need in order to make ourselves secure, make our allies secure, ad advance prosperity around the globe. >> and so let me turn over to your team. and go ahead. >> i agree with a lot of what tom said, both the bush and the obama administration came into office eager and interested to work with russia. and tom cite ad number of the accompli accomplishments that were tone between both countries and the governments on both sides, and yet at the end of the bush administration, the u.s./russian relations were this the worst state since the the end of the cold war. obama comes in, and reset the policy and wipes the slate clean and here we are with the obama
administration winding down and we are in a worse state of relations there with rush sharks and what is the common putin's don't always coincide with what should be russia's national interests. putin's number one interest is staying in power. his second interest is staying in power. and his third interest is, guess what, staying in power. we'll do whatever is necessary, including making up these myths that the west is trying to overthrow him. it's nonsense. he got spooked by the arab movements in 2011. he has to drum up this notion that we're trying to overthrow his regime when in reality we're not. >> can i jump in here? the first clinton administration also started trying to cooperate with russia, and when they left office with bernice, relations were at their worst state since the break up of the soviet
union. it's a cycle. it's not simply putin. i think there's a larger problem of how we deal with russia that we haven't come to terms with. in thinking somehow you simply remove putin that things get better, that this is a personal issue, that it's about putin and his desires i think misses a major point. we've got a russia problem that we have to deal with. there's structural aspects to this. unless we think through those, we're never going to come to a type of engagement or a type of relationship that's going to advance american interests. >> let me just add one point to what tom said. i think we have become accustomed over the last 20 years to a form of engagement with other countries in which we tell them what we want them to do and they do it. in the immediate aftermath of
the cold war it was understandable why that would work. russia was a profoundly weak country. it was dependent on the united states and the west for the imf, the world bank, for money to keep the economy afloat and to keep the political system stable. that's not the case anymore. we cannot realistically hope to work with russia in a manner that imposes our preferences. it has to be a back and forth. that's the way that international diplomacy has worked. that's the purpose of international diplomacy. >> okay. let me give the other team a chance here. >> just quickly, we don't have a russia problem. we have a putin regime problem. sure, it's not just one individual, although of course
he is the decisive figure in russian politics. it is a regime. it's corrupted the whole political elite to a large extent. i would say we have a russia problem. i don't think we have problems with russians. we actually have a lot in common with russians and a lot has been done through exchanges. we do have a problem with the leader of the country who demonizes the west, belittles us, and threatens our allies. that's the problem. similarly, it isn't a lack of communication. how many times has john kerry met with sergei? it is not lack of communication. chancellor merkel, how many phone calls has she had with putin? >> what's the alternative universe that you want to create? so tom and paul are making a
case that we have a lot of interests, we may not like everything that russia does, but we have to talk to them and get done what we can, and tom had a list of things which if those are on your list to do russia could play a role, so what's the alternative? >> the alternative is that we have some sort of tougher policy towards russia. there have to be consequences for what it has done in the international order, for its invasion of sovereign countries, for its mass murder of civilians in syria. we have to reinvest in our relationship with our allies. standing up to russia's human rights abuses, and investigating russia's best export to the west, which is corruption. russia needs to clean up its act. it's not telling them it's our way or the highway.
that's not absolutely what this is. the russian people and any people in country should have the choice as to the path their country takes, and the russian people currently do not have that choice given the regime they live in. so containment has worked before and it can work again. >> we still have a little time. i know you said don't waste time, but let me explain it. i think it's critically important that we bolster russia's neighbors, that we support democratic economic security development in all of these countries whether they are nato members with article 5 guarantees, which i think does put them on a different level, or aspiring countries. in having countries in this gray zone, countries like ukraine and georgia and muldova, is incredibly dangerous. i think what we would argue is we try to erase this gray zone,
make it clear they are welcome to join our institutions, and i think the other side would argue we should focus on u.s.-russian relations at the expense of these. >> let's hear what the other side says. >> with respect to the gray zone, look, i don't want a gray zone either. the problem is that we ourselves created this gray zone because we declared at the nato summit in 2008 that ukraine and georgia would become members of nato at some unspecified future time when it was quite clear that there were serious differences within the nato alliance about making that happen. so we, ourselves, created a situation in which actually there was a strong incentive for russia to take advantage of that gray zone. now, it was their decision to do it. it wasn't our responsibility that they chose to do it.
but we created that situation. i think we have to be honest with ourselves about that. >> the only point i would make is russia is in the gray zone. so the question is what do we do at this point in order to, in fact, create the opportunities for the types of states that you're talking about in ukraine and georgia. and i think finding a way that you can take this or minimize the geopolitical competition and engage with both ukraine, georgia, and other countries is vitally important. that's the challenge today. it's not wishing that we didn't have gray zones. we've got them and russia happens to be in them. >> i want to take one issue with what paul said which is let's be clear here. we did not create the gray zone. this is just absolutely not true. we have to remember what nato is and what the eu is. these are voluntary organizations that countries must petition to join that meet
certain requirements. nobody is strong arming these countries into joining nato or even the eu. they feel threatened by russia, and they seek to join these institutions because they feel threatened and they feel their security is at risk. so the assertion that we, the west, the u.s., is creating gray zones is not true. it's russia that seeks to create gray zones because it seeks a buffer zone to protect itself from what it sees as a threat, but that perception is also a false one. >> let me just add quickly. >> and i would like to respond to that. >> go ahead, david, first. >> just picking up on that point, paul, ukraine and georgia applied for a membership action plan. we supported it. as we all know, map wasn't offered, so the language that chancellor merkel and president bush came up with was a compromise, a forward-leaning
compromise i'll grant you that, but it was ukraine and georgia's choice. in contrast, russia leaves country no choice but to join the eurasian economic union. they hold literally a gun to their head. that's why you saw armenia back out of the eu agreement and other countries. there's a huge difference between the way we treat those countries and russia. >> i think there are two separate issues here. look, it's the right of ukraine or georgia or anybody else to decide that they want to be an ally of the united states or that they want to be an ally of nato. it's the right of the united states specifically under our constitution, something that's assigned to the u.s. senate, to decide whether or not we want a
particular country to be our ally. those are two separate decisions, so i fully respect the aspiration of the governments of ukraine, georgia, or anyone else to be an american ally, but it's our decision on the basis of our assessment of our interests whether or not we want a particular government to be our ally or not. secondly, in this particular case we created actually the worst of both worlds because we made a commitment that these governments would become members of nato in a situation in which it was very apparent for the reasons that you acknowledge because there were disagreements inside the alliance that it wasn't going to happen anytime soon. so we created a situation in
which from moscow's perspective there was a danger that in the future ukraine would become a member of nato, which they viewed as very threatening, but it isn't now. >> can i ask a question? so would you reverse the decades' old policy of nato to close the door on aspiring states and assign these countries to a russian sphere of influence? >> i'm not saying is we should close the door on anyone or assign anyone into the russian sphere of influence. what i'm saying is it is america's decision. i don't want to outsource to other governments the decision about who gets to be an ally of the united states and when. >> let's pause here for a second. paul, what you're saying is we created the gray zone because we said they could be members of
nato and we didn't follow through. now they aspire to that. russia doesn't like it and they're kind of just in this limbo. but underneath that i would argue a question as to whether russia has a legitimate say or voice as to what these countries ought to be because the only reason it's an issue, the only reason nato allies are uncomfortable with this, is because of their relationship with russia. sure, you can decide what these countries get to do. >> i would argue that russia didn't get to decide. i would argue it's not for us to say whether or not russia has a veto. russia actually has in reality a veto, which it exercised. neither one is likely to make any progress toward becoming a member of nato in any politically relevant time frame
that's been pushed very far into the future. if you would ask me what i would want, i would want a situation in which russia's concerns are discussi discussed in some kind of a mechanism that allows for the united states and its allies to address them through diplomacy and other kinds of interaction rather than russia taking unilateral steps, which from our perspective i think are much more counterproductive. >> tom, do you want to jump on in this as well? >> that's not what i'm talking about. i disagree with that. i disagree with that. we talk with our european allies
about the fate of russia. we talk to ukrainian allies about the fate of russia. i think the issue here is what are you trying to achieve and how do you best achieve it. whether we agree with whether russia has legitimate interests or not, russia has told us for the past 25 years ukraine is a red line for them. they would react. they reacted. we weren't prepared to deal with that reaction. that's poor policy making. that's poor state craft. so you need to understand what the other side is doing, how they think about it, how they might react, and that needs to be factored into your policy. if we want to bring ukraine into the west, we don't have to achieve that today or tomorrow, but we need to have a real plan that takes into account russia's attitudes, russia's possible reactions, and put that in place and eventually get there over time. the flaw is that in 2014he