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tv   [untitled]    August 9, 2012 1:30am-2:00am EDT

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welcome back here with r t here's a look at the top stories the syrian army says it's advancing into the country's key combat zone while rebels accuse the government of using heavy weaponry there something military experts say sounds on realistic. a u.n. report slams israel for taking palestinians off almost a fifth of the west bank territory turning it into a military training ground. the u.s. starts to clean up the effects of accountable weapons used to get down in viet nam during the war almost forty years ago but critics say the operation is simply part of average to wait china's growing influence in the region. and up next al gore
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enough talks with a last american ambassador to the soviet union jack matlock spotlight is next stay with us. hello again oh welcome to spotlight. on our let's see i now we're not and my guests on the show today is jack markell it's been twenty years since one of the two superpowers disappeared from the world back to the soviet union collapsed into fifteen sovereign states starting a new era in. the cold war but russia u.s.
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relations were still not that easy although moscow was considerably more friendly and rational in his behavior to his former rival so can russia and the u.s. ever be good buddies again or will the ghost of the cold war part relations forever for asking them out who watched from inside the u.s. embassy building in moscow the last american ambassador to the soviet union jack. the cold war was in full swing when the last soul bit leader mikhail gorbachev came to power in nine hundred eighty five. the so-called perestroika reforms and trying to ease tensions with the west in response washington agreed to a new torch on the arms race and economic issues if you will cause was signed since then and the cold war officially ended at the malta summit in nine hundred eighty
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nine a year later the former rivals became partners in the first gulf war. it's about look and welcome to the show thank you so much for having had to us today thank you well first of all you were appointed u.s. ambassador to moscow in nineteen eighty seven when when perestroika well was that it's early stage we are you a real enthusiast perestroika and did you have to convince well your bosses the are your people washington to to to to support gorbachev and its bonds you know it was a changing situation when i was named ambassador we were still not sure. where gorbachev was planning to go. through here and put some new diet is out we had met him. after he became general secretary and he seemed to
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be he was obviously younger more competent than his predecessors but he was a communist we hope because he was and we understood that and. my attitude was let's test him and we have put forward before he came. into office a program for cooperation and we called it four different areas we had said this is our agenda and when we put that together reagan said several things we're not going to seek superiority. we. we're not looking for military superiority we want parity we want to get the weapons as low as possible but we're also interested in things like human rights and. activities abroad by the military so. and yet everything we can at that
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point was we must cooperate to achieve an end now. now at that point. the soviet leadership gave very little attention to this i've been told by people who were in the central committee then they did not even give them a copy of that speech gromyko was in foreign ministry decided there's not a change here is this right mr burton well you said yet test gorbachev while you were the american ambassador you you were a man who didn't didn't have the right to to to make a major mistake so did you have since special trick to to really test gorbachev to know that he's not he's not cino that we're not doing something you know there were no tricks at all what i said is my own testing him we said there were no tricks no this was our policy it was a very open one but for example there was an agreement. in the first meeting that
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we would expand exchanges and include younger people and undergraduates which we not had before that we would have more access to the person so we said all right let's ask for interviews let's ask for that let's propose exchanges and these are all accepted so it was in that sense it was testing how far will he go to open up the country to improve things incoming and at the same time we tried to keep our own policies reasonable one thing about reagan was having been an actor he could put himself in the other person's place let you say how for am i right that gorbachev went further than you in the in washington never expected him to go i don't think so. he went further than soviet policy was when he came in but every agreement he made was in the soviet interest and so the problem was the policies he inherited it was not you know not that we were asking
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too much. obviously there at the time. and there was very heavy mistrust on both sides so a lot of the things we had to do was find things to do in order to build trust and that took a few years i think it really took until one thousand nine hundred eighty nine for us to develop the sort of trust that. things moved much more slowly i mean move much more swiftly excuse me but the obviously. the policies as we negotiated them and so on then there were internal changes particularly the opening up of the country the elections in eighty nine and so on and that that facilitated the
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improvement of relations greatly the you before you were appointed high ranking diplomat going back to to moscow you were one of the so-called serve youth ology in specializing in russia and the communist parties well how good were the soviet ologist if you try to look at it today how useful did they prove to be i think very useful to now those and i could dimia well obviously. they were not usually not as close to the action and a lot of people. say that well they missed the boat because they didn't predict the breakup with the soviet union well those of us working in our embassy and in the state of our or products of that program and if we had not been we would not have been able to understand that the changes were real it was the people who were not soviet ologists who kept looking at the soviet union as if it had not changed its image did you manage to wound the miracle government against wrong decisions at
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least during this period of perestroika in the collapse there as we try to in many ways you know the thing is we had. if you look at any of these problems you have to realize that we were dealing with all of them simultaneously and things were happening on both sides that affected them domestic politics on both sides affected them but. when us did i sent my first message warning the iran states government that the soviet union could break up in july one thousand nine hundred ninety eighteen months before it happened at a time when most of our specialists are homes at all that's impossible. and the reason i did was we found that the elected russian leadership was no longer wanted the union they were talking about replacing the soviet union with something like the european union when you spoke about gorbachev you mr medlock once said i quote
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it's very unusual to find a leader who will risk his own leadership in order to change the system doesn't work well your boss of that time mr reagan cold called russia the soviet union the evil empire do you personally believe that russia was the evil empire and to gorbachev's wit and he's power to change it or were this it you know wasn't as evil as reagan portrayed it well reagan never well he used that term in one speech and it was a speech to the domestic audience. one thing reagan understood the moment that he did not conflate the soviet union with russia one thing he was very appreciative of russian history he was very respectful of the victory in world war two but we were very much aware of stalin's purges the fact that stalin killed probably as many soviet citizens as hitler did now you're going to call him or maybe more now
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you're going to call that about nine empire well it isn't him higher in the sense that you have various nations many of which taken by force. most well the caucasus at one time and wait is the bulk of the baltics particular this and so on so we had to say it was an empire but but that was that was not the sum total. he hated communism and the system he did not hate russia and he gave full credit for the russian people in fact in his letters beginning with british now he would say you know given this. given the sacrifices your people have made for. our victory over fascism you must be as interesting pieces i am and you know he would put it that way in a personal way so i think he was never hostile to the country as such he was
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hostile to the ideology no question about that and many times in your career you have repeated that the cold war of which you and me were part of the cold war has ended on december seventh nineteen eighty eight that's right that's what she like to say can you enlighten us what exactly happened on that very day and why do you choose this date as the end of the cold yeah this was the day that that gorbachev made a speech at the united nations where he first of all said that the soviet military was too large and they would reduce by half a million unilaterally recognizing that it was larger than than the western forces and what second point i noticed was that he abandoned the international class struggle as a foundation for foreign policy there had been going on a debate within the soviet union with yakovlev making
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a speech in one direction and then leader. contradicting that one saying the international class struggle is remains the basis and of course the international class struggle is contradictory to a common european home or which gorbachev was in talking about that day was no more we will bury you khrushchev stuff that what that is it says jack about a lot of the last u.s. combat to this period in the spotlight will be back shortly after a break so stay with us don't go.
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what you can afford the side. radioactive fallout of government betrayal the government blockade everything law and lloyd and claude how can the truth be revealed if there's no official evidence there was indeed a very great danger to the servicemen concerned who were given no problem protection and to the people of this country generally because of the radioactive fallout. the secrets of the u.k.'s nuclear tests expert.
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welcome back to spotlight i'm not been just a reminder that my guest on the show today is jack matlock the last american ambassador to the soviet union well technically bob strauss came to moscow as an investor who placed mr matlock in august ninety one just after the coup buddy but he turned out to be the first ambassador in russia technically to actually what was the last one to the soviet union the man who said goodbye to to to to to to to the well we were talking about the end of the cold war. speaking about saying goodbye to two. when did you start understanding and i know you did say that
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yeltsin will be the next guy the next man in charge in moscow well actually we had we had hoped that the governor's office and he also could cooperate. and it was very clear that anyone that if they didn't there was no way to hold the country together and we wish the soviet union to survive as the voluntary federation that gorbachev was trying to negotiate so we did what we could to support that idea but. and i hope dried up we even after the coup i hope that well the shock will bring them together and then of course since treatment of gorbachev afterwards. made made it impossible so i would say though it was clear to us if they continued at loggerheads it was going to tear the country apart we still hope that they would find a way to cooperate this would look you more than once in the interview as you said
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that the united states and you personally don't chile favored trying to keep the u.s. to stop together we are straight because many especially in this country the thought that that washington the cia were the people who tried to make it even said i quote we would have much preferred that we won so two reasons one we didn't want to have nuclear proliferation you know twelve republics with nuclear twelve or eleven new countries with nuclear weapons as it turned out only four at it when it broke up but they had to be moved you know that was the first thing but the second thing was those of us here could see that the democratization of the country was being led by gorbachev in moscow i mean i talked to leaders in opposition and all the republics places like bill roofs back to stun they had democratic movements but
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they said our support comes from moscow and if we don't have that support we're doomed so it was clear to us you break up right now and mode. still the country is going to be left with a system like they have rather than the reform system that gorbachev was trying to achieve but still. with that when the u.s.s.r. collapsed many in washington got a feeling that we won so who was it would join almost fear in washington as long as you know a different world they're watching this country fall apart different different people reacted differently of course. you know our east europeans our our ukrainians and many others were very happy to see it break up and there were those in washington that still looked at the soviet union even under gorbachev as at least a potential enemy that it is no question about that but i'm talking about president
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bush sr. and baker our secretary of state the people who had the real power they did everything they could to support gorbachev and including a speech in kiev august first that one of our journalists called his chicken kiev speech because he advised the ukrainians and the others to sign gorbachev union treaty now obviously we had no real influence there but what we had we said left the three baltic countries regain their independence keep the rest. separate by that time because a we all understood you have the you know gorbachev knew that the baltics were nowhere. like we call it in russia of the cotton loaf it is little more but the others he wanted people to get to know them. do you think that the u.s. really did win the cold war was what happened with the soviet union result of the cold war were or no there was no way everybody won the cold war really yes and
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nobody lost and nobody long so we're going to talk to my or not is a good book nice a second book is named reagan and gorbachev how the call was. ended and everybody won because what we did we negotiated an end and we negotiated in the interests of both countries we ended the arms race the necessity for huge expenditures are and and and we've set up many areas of cooperation because the fact is that our actual if you take away the ideology of communism and that challenge of these systems then u.s. and russia have always had had a consistent interests we've always we may have been distant friends but we've been friends through most of our history so. that would have been true of federated the soviet union i mean it may not have been called
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a soviet union then it may but but. a federation of. of the many of the twelve republics is were willing. that would have suited u.s. policy very well the coup was really about ideology and systems and once gorbachev began to change the system here once he dropped the class struggle ideology and you know this began doesn't when you want to say he started winning when he dropped the you know he went one in the sense that he liberated the country from the burden of the arms race which was killing it economically and had the freedom then to try to put it on a more modern turn back and that's what he was trying to do since you you know you a man in your age your position should be becoming a pacifist but you say going to war can be good it can be a win win situation but well only because the cold war was not
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a real war of words it was not there wars on the but we're here today because it was not a war and in fact i think one of the problems we make is calling it a war it was. a confrontation and a competition and one can say that our system turned out to be the stronger one but not that one country defeated another some of your colleagues some of the new saudi targets just in the united states not only that even some of them in russia some your colleagues in russia the akademi says that actually the cold war never ended that it still continues that we still live we still living through another phase another stage was still still are fighting for superiority was still are fighting over the balkans the caucuses yugoslavia whatever the north africa do you believe this is true i don't think it's true at all so i don't think it was that at all country was going to obviously there is competition. and areas i think most are good i think is
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misplaced and it's based on false perceptions of how international relations should be conducted in the twenty first century and there i think they have been serious mistakes on both sides. and in this case and there are you're certainly right that there is a continuation of what money might call a cold war mentality on the part of some sections of our society and our governments. but i think these are. are wrong i think they do not reflect the reality of the situation the reality of the situation is that our countries need to cooperate in their own interest in the big issues and as i put it to americans russia can either be part of the solution or part of the problem for russians the americans can either be part of the solution or part of the problem and we're not going to solve the big problems global warning health
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food supplies and many other things that really face us the big ones nuclear proliferation unless we cooperate you've always been a diplomat you've never been really a politician diploma is a person who can give advice you can live look from the inside and maybe from the outside so is it true that for politicians for big politicians and big countries and big systems like russia and the usa being at war is easier to make to do business than than trying to be friends. is the easy way i mean to be elected to run the country i would never postulate that as a general situation i there are situations where a politician will use will build up an enemy image usually not in order
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to fight but in order to get appropriations star wars are started was good at it and i cried mary. and so you know i mean politicians will use fear. for their own purposes will accuse their opponent of not being sufficiently protective of the national interest defining it in ways and sometimes this can mislead people particularly if they have if they're afraid of you know of an invasion or something. i think in today's world. the only x. terminal threat either of our country has is terrorists. and nobody is going to invade either one of us. and to think that. you know and states has done some interventions it should not have like the iraq war well that's going to be over at the end of this year and it has been more to our disadvantage than yours and you know i don't see why that should be
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an issue i do think that we need more understanding about what we do about countries that are failing and particularly if they start murdering their own people we don't want to go through the twentieth century again in the twenty first where people are murdered are you know exterminated just because of their dignity and and so we we need to think through much more carefully and not look at this is if it's a cup competition for influence thank you thank you in this the map look at it really was a pleasure and a privilege to have you here in the studio off the said many years we haven't seen the seven thank you so just a reminder that my guests on the show was jack matlock the last american the master to the u.s. is and that's it but now from all of us here if you want to have your say on spotlight just drop me a line we'll be back with more first on a common found was going on in and outside russia until that day on parties and
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