Skip to main content

tv   Timothy Snyder The Road to Unfreedom  CSPAN  July 5, 2018 6:30am-8:03am EDT

6:30 am
6:31 am
6:32 am
6:33 am
6:34 am
6:35 am
6:36 am
6:37 am
6:38 am
6:39 am
6:40 am
6:41 am
6:42 am
6:43 am
6:44 am
6:45 am
6:46 am
6:47 am
6:48 am
6:49 am
6:50 am
6:51 am
6:52 am
6:53 am
6:54 am
6:55 am
6:56 am
6:57 am
6:58 am
6:59 am
7:00 am
7:01 am
he tells lies that are so extravagant that you're meant to know that he is lying. the question is what you do about it. that's a challenge to reporters because on the one hand, do you thin cover this charismatic larger-than-life figure who seems to be able to defy reality, mr. putin. natalie mr. putin. or do you choose to cover a war? which do you choose? most of us prefer to read about or write about the charismatic larger-than-life figure who was turning fisting into reality television show because that's what the press cooperated in. when you don't cover the actual war but cover the figured was
7:02 am
lying about it you turning to news into reality television. that's the same dilemma. i don't have to spell this out. do you cover the larger-than-life figure who generates non-reality, or to cover the wealth inequality, the opioids, the things happening in the country? it's tempting to do the reality television. the third thing that was evident in ukraine which again it appears in use in a much more weight in 2016 is targeting to susceptibility. you will remember this. if you were on the left and joined facebook or some other social platform and you kind read about ukraine, what would appear under the little bunch of stuff about how ukrainians were nazis and fascist and so on. all of them, the leadership, whatever. if you're on the far right, i'm doing this for rhetorical effect, if you were on the far right and did the same thing what you would read on to him if
7:03 am
he was that ukraine was part of international conspiracy, ukraine state was a jewish construction, jewish oligarchs of knowing that stuff. that might seem contradictory but it doesn't matter because the way our cyber world works these people never contact one another, not incitement probably not in the real world either. so by spreading to stories which are both wrong and mutually contradictory. you make it very hard for there to be a reasonable discussion about what is going on. so russia could invade ukraine and delay a discussion of the actual invasion for about nine months just like arithmetically denying this. and also by putting up messages which got people riled up and disagree with one another rather than addressing the facts and grinned. which of course would happen in 2016. the messages that hit american voters were tailored to their
7:04 am
pre-existing susceptibilities. if you are free to muscled youth at messages about muslims. if you are afraid of oligarchy you got messages about oligarchy. it didn't matter if those were different people. the ideas to rile people up, prevent a a rational conversatn for taking place. the final thing evident in ukraine which is turned appear more in more sophisticated is what i call -- not everything can be controlled propaganda. you don't deny it. you don't deny that because ifu deny it in your set of the conversation come from a conversation which the question is did you do it or did you not do it? you don't deny. what you do is you surrender fairly straightforward event with multiple sexual versions. so you say it claims were trying to shoot down the russian
7:05 am
presidential claim which was so incensed that too brings us auslander at the time you say there were various ukrainian aircraft, you say the ukrainian ground air missiles trial or you say it was ukrainian overhear you, guys, ukrainian jewish oligarchs who controls airspace and shut down and you can do with the shape of his nose which actually happened on television, you create a bunch of versions which crowd out the original straightforward version. you do it right away. when mh17 was shut down, by that afternoon these versions were already out there. that's "access hollywood" tape. you might remember a half an hour when you thought the "access hollywood" tips could have get some kind of political significance. why did he have significance? because a real event in the real
7:06 am
world, that is, a presidential candidate advocate sexual assault, is quickly drowned out by fictions. the fiction that hillary clinton is a a pedophile pimp, the ficn that john podesta, what was it, bodily fluids at dinner parties. those fictions came out at the russian hack of the e-mails and they were spread by russian bots. not incidentally by the way the same russian bots that were found in brexit and worked on ukraine and the same russian bots the support the german far right. this is not all just philosophically strategic one-story. it's technically one story which brings me to the u.s. most of the book, the whole book in some sense is the russia story but i'm trying to tell in a way that makes sense of it all. what i'd like to do in last five minutes is a big disagreement about russia in the country in general.
7:07 am
where on the one side folks say we shouldn't talk about russia because there are deeper problems in america. on the other side people say we have to talk russia because russia by litter our sovereignty and chose our president. what i want to suggest is in a way of doing is right and that we have to be able to bring those two points together. on one hand, of course russian interviewed very substantially. they chose who the republican nominee is good to be wonderful repugnance at any notion that he was going to be their nominee. not not to speak of the general election. but on the other end of the reason this could work is because the weaknesses in our own politics of inevitability. let me try to spell this out. some of this authority mentioned. if you think that capitalism produces democracy then more
7:08 am
capitalism is for democracy and freer markets mean that a democracy so it's great that companies can register anonymously in delaware, right? that's cool third 285,000 corporate entities registered anonymously at a single address in delaware. that's cool. it's great that companies can do business anonymously with major u.s. banks. that's cool, right? for me at seven, $29 offshore. that's fine. that's unlimited. i'm respecting the resistance or something from you people. [laughing] the point is when you think that, when you allow that, this mechanism i just enclosed anonymous real estate purchases are the mechanisms that allow russia to put mr. trump in the american public sphere in the first place without our attitude towards the quote-unquote free market with our attitude towards that it's impossible for this kind of synthesis of russia and
7:09 am
trump, or for that matter some of the foreign country and some other american to take place. without the we look at the world, the notion that technology had to bring progress or as facebook put it, the internet access is a basic human right, has been very hard for us to see that bit mad or it could happen that whole political party could be hacked. it made it very hard for us to see that hostile actors, corporate or national could substantially change our conversations, which they did. that made it very hard for us to see that russia could target, for example, voters in michigan and wisconsin who have to be hostile towards muslims in the critical few days before the elections. we didn't see sense as it was happening. not because we didn't have the facts can we did have those facts, but because we were not capable of managing this kind of
7:10 am
thing was possible. and by the way it's worth stressing this is a war. if you spend your time either physically or mentally, reading russian sources, the russians polled the all the way through. even when they invade ukraine the russian commanders are quite clear about the fact they regard this as part of a larger offensive against the united states. which in the 2014, laugh it off but remember in 2014 that's when the internet research agency russia started working the train. it's all one story in this respect. this is war, this isn't the thing i think we just don't get. it does say something special of america that american could be subject to war and lose it without noticing the former or the latter. but we just lost a war. when a country intervenes and changes your will the lips of a company you didn't expect for
7:11 am
very good reasons you didn't expect it, you lost a war and that's not just russia's exotic 2013 military doctrine which declares that you can with the work with that engage in combat. war is about breaking the will of the enemy. combat is a means to that end. combat is not the thing itself. what the russians conclude and said openly 2010 is we think we can win a war without engage in actual combat. that is, welcome to where we are. to make the most obvious point, our notions are no alternatives made it very hard for us to understand what was happening in 2016. there were alternatives. they were always there in the world and no one of them has arrived in our country. let me close with just one more word about history. as i said this is a very, it's a very assertively conventional
7:12 am
history book and almost february. one of the like exuberantly contributed things i think about history is that at the end of the day history is about virtue. that is, that it is about good and evil. these other ideas about time, these ways of sleepwalking through time, inevitability and eternity, these are the things which make us laugh look good and evil, make a cynical, make us dismissive. if you believe in the politics of inevitability, if you believe in progress, , you have to ask what's good. the president has got good stuff. in the future there's going to be more good stuff so you don't have to ask what's good. if you think history is a big cycle that the outsiders are always coming for you, that you are innocent, they are guilty, you don't have to ask what's good. it's obvious you are good and they are bad. you don't have to ask. history makes you ask. history forces you to ask. if what you do is you say, i'm
7:13 am
going to try to understand the structures that are around as they move forward in time, i'm going to try to see the structures and see my own place inside the structures, then you have to ask, what can i do? the intended question to what can i do is what should i do? right? one of the things, what is the most impoverished things about american discussion about we are is there is a very much talk about what's good, what should be, right? how things would look if we got out of this mess. history for me as that. it's, when you're writing a history about how institutions are being challenged, instructed, , destroyed, you are reminded birches that this is additional animated, are meant to animate. when you see their place inside those institutions, this addictive place we do think the institutions which allowed me to be a today, the carnegie
7:14 am
endowment for peace and freedom house, when you see, then you can ask lookout agency to have? what kind of power do i have? what can i do? you have to ask what's good, right? i'm going to end on that note. i think the question of what's good is a very important one. and like in general, i think this is the time to try to put things together, try to make things -- make sense of things. and part of making sense of things is thing i think some things are true and some things are false. i think somethings a good and some pics are evil. that's what i'm going to end. thank you. [applause] >> tim, thank you very much. that was magisterial, just like the book. i'm going to start actually with the general question that takes a threat from where you left us and then i want to go back and get a chance to bring up a couple of things you mentioned, but given the limits of time you
7:15 am
were not able to go into too much, develop them a bit more. the broad question is as i was reading, it took me a little while to get into the power of the framework of the juxtaposition or the dialectic of the politics of inevitability versus the politics of eternity, but once i did i saw the power of it and i appreciated it. but i but i also left the book g myself, what's the third alternative? the politics of what? what would they be that would be in a better, healthier place for us or for other countries that would like a better future? >> i do a lot of things that are think are a little risky in this book and one of the risk he thinks id i do is start about ideas of time. who wants to about that? we want to be shocked, surprise, rates, elated. we want at the latest
7:16 am
revelation, but one thing that historians noticed is that ideas the time matter a lot and times are very both and really seem like they're not variable when your income. the politics of inevitability, this notion that history is over and the yada, yada. that seemed normal for lot of people a lot of time. front a lot and broken 2016. 2016. it breaks and then when it breaks you are vulnerable to other things, and one of the things i think is important is the way that eternity beckons, right? because eternity also allows you not of responsibility. it allows and not your fault. the future goes way and future went away, and that's somebody else's fault. it's the immigrants, the refugees, the blacks, summary else's fault. we've seen a lot of americans make that shift and a lot of people around the world. i'm trying to turn time into a variable, which is a hard thing because we all want to say what's time? its minutes and hours.
7:17 am
no, that's not the case. you get shocked, and the question of the booklet is just what you say, tom, what do you say when you are shocked? what i mean by the road to unfreedom, the title, the package from inevitability to eternity. the exit is what i call the politics of responsibility which is what i very briefly lived in the end what you take for granted that the time to slip in a way which you can see and understand. you take for granted that is factually even though you can have perfectly get to it. and you take responsibility for policy over a range of one year, five years, gingers out knowing things are not predictable overlong spans but also knowing what you do know makes a difference. the alternative i sketch out in about, just a tiny bit of faint light i know at the end of a very dark book, but what i could sketch out is this idea of
7:18 am
precisely of the politics of responsibility. >> let's go back to a few of the points along the way and the analysis, you have a very arresting analysis of a president putin 2011 at 12 returning the duma elections of the presidential elections can returning to power but as you say with no succession plan, having sort of frozen democratic politics into an empty ritual, although one pursued with a lot of spunk. he needs legitimacy. as you sit in the early 2000 he was able to use the chechnya war, anti-terrorism in various forms to build its legitimacy of this the price boom of oil, the benefits to the russian economy. but then his deck is a bit empty and as you say he turns to legitimacy in europe and the united states.
7:19 am
you note points in the 2000s before we didn't have that view. what he actually had not yet arrived at this date a very great hostility with the united states. >> we had an event last week here where michael mccaul, former ambassador russia, the president of the carnegie -- its interests because they both said we started in 2009 and ten. we're making some progress and then in 2011 and 12 as 12 as putin returned about we hit a wall and stop. the reset stop. they didn't really pin point so much as to the evolution that you describe. they had other ideas. they emphasized putin's shock at the arab spring. and is being convinced this must be the united states orchestrate regime change in other places as a warm-up to russia. they given there's this deep
7:20 am
structural condition of putin's rule, he's not going to change the non-secession nature of it at least for the time being and, therefore, the need for this is the united states been stuck in this relationship with russia? >> so thank you for the question. i want to address a couple of the premises. the way i try to run the first couple chapters is by following the russian sources respectfully here and in particular following what mr. putin says very respectfully. in the run-up to the presidential election of 2012 and also in the run-up to the december 2011 december 2011 parliamentary elections and russia, mr. putin publishes a series of articles in which he lays out essentially what i'm telling you. he doesn't use exactly the same terms. he doesn't talk about the politics of eternity. that's my general concept for the whole worldwide phenomenon but he talks about how russian is a civilization state, and by civilization having something which is defined by a past as he
7:21 am
defined it. the russia and ukraine are single entity because borders and law and things like that don't matter. what matters is the baptism of vladimir and what happens is the russian empire, what matters is the second world war. one of those two articles he closes on a very combative note saying for those he the who wid to separate us, he means russians and ukrainians, you know that will never happen. he's referring to the second what war as a camaraderie and arms of soldiers in red army, and that's, that was at a moment when the wind in u.s. thought they would do anything to them, right? it was a moment where no one in europe that they would do anything to russia but in the way that putin is changing the nature of international relations normatively, suddenly we are because if a a national relations is supposed to be about historical sensibilities and culture, and you can change it to that, , then europe and america, even if they're not
7:22 am
going to think of some of the company threat. and in some sense are threats if that's what you think politics is all about. again i try to follow what i think the basic problems in russian domestic politics are rather than just flashing two points what is some kind of clash between u.s. and russia. i think sometimes we do too much of it. for me the basic problem inrush is wealth inequality and oligarchy. if you are mr. putin, but the time you get to presidency round number two, you basically got the oligarchical situation cling to. you've got estate created with the security service are basically your security service. in that situation you can promise of future. you just can't because is not going to be rule of law under you because there's not going to be rule of law under you. so you have to do something else besides promising policy, and the thing you can promise is a foreign policy of spectacle which is what the wharton ukraine largely is.
7:23 am
and syria, too. in the last week in september september 2015 in the russian press, the subject change literally from wendy to the next. i think it was 22 the 29th. one day from the next from ukraine to see, bank, like that. forget about the wharton ukraine. it didn't sort out the way we expected but look at syria. it is roughly speaking the same storyline. what, if any, the and good, the legitimate leader against the overwhelming power of the west. russia's of the basic problem which we just don't pay enough attention to what europe, but what to do with europe. europe is a much more important than we are, if you russia frankly. one thing we share with the russians is weak would like for everything to be that geopolitics. it's about d.c. in moscow and with the great powers. that's a weakness we share and which we tend toward dialogue or our conversation about them. europe matter so much more.
7:24 am
europe is so much more of a relevant example for actual russians and the united states is, and russians have much more direct experience with europeans than to us. europe is a bigger economy that we are. and example of democracy, more important than american democracy. i don't just me now, i mean before 201616 as well. a lot of mr. putin evolution has to do with your. i try to follows in things he says and writes but there's a moment in 2010 where he writes an article for the german press where he says look, we admit we can't be like you but we want to integrate with you anyway. i see that as a point where everything is tottering. we want a partnership with you but we admit we can't integrate in your sense of the work. we can have the rule of law, we want to integrate anyway. the next step from that is you change many of the work integrate so it's no longer follow the same rules and suddenly it's about culture or civilization or s becomes operationally it becomes
7:25 am
heterosexuals, homosexuality, the big thing. europe becomes corrupt and so on and that's the difference between them at us. what does that mean for u.s. and russia? i-40 said my name conclusion which is had to see how we are at that we are not important for them. the europeans are much more important. what follows from it is best with the is tougher russia policy is to a european policy. i realize i'm galaxies wait from anything that is remotely a table right now but the base was never an eu policy and that a ukraine policy. those things would make a difference. it's first have a direct influence on russia. the second thing that follows is on questions, operational questions of actual security, there's no reasons why the russians and us get talk, and we do. all things have to do with nuclear weapons and actions have
7:26 am
to do with hard-core national security, there's a reason we can't talk to them if they can talk to us. there's no reason why that can't happen. >> that leads naturally to my next question, several times today and in book you describe the united states as you use the term sleepwalking, some kind of partial awakening in the last couple of years. where do you think europe is on that same scale? europe was also sleepwalking to some extent and, of course, europe, many countries a lot of diversity and different european states are many different places but can you characterize your impression of the same message your conveying when you convey to european audiences where they are in terms of the necessary understanding of what rush is and what rush is doing or wants with europe? >> boy, that's complicated because it is different in every place. i called you like poland, the national security political elite will say rush is a basic
7:27 am
threat that they won't necessarily see, , they are beginning see it now but they won't necessarily see the cyber and the psychological stuff is important. or in a country like germany there could be acknowledgment of these on the side of the center and the center-right that russia is a threat and the cyber and cyber operations work but there's a deep current of guilt which is, the main emotion the russians you with respect to german is the guilt. you should feel guilty towards us. not towards ukraine where you killed more people but you should feel guilty towards us. we want a monopoly on the guilt. that still works extremely well in germany but that's specific to germany. with britain, they try to talk to the british and he said things like you are a great empire, you don't need europe. i don't think the british pain in attention to that but the british i think carried out brexit, to coin a phrase, and isolation.
7:28 am
they didn't realize that so much was going on. for them for for a much like f, we are like that in a couple of boys. one is that our weird anglo-saxon legal traditions about for all kind of practices involving real estate which many russians find extremely convenient. the other is we really do kind of think our politics takes place in a vacuum when opposite is true. just because it only speak english doesn't mean other people don't speak english. no, that's like a basic, logical problem that we and the british both have. it doesn't occur to the bridge that whole lot of that conversation about brexit could be organized of st. petersburg. because it just doesn't occur to them that other people speak english. or, i mean, americans, right? that texas secession site which renewable people were retreating at ten times more followers in 2016 dan -- sorry, it had more followers in the texas republican party, in the texas
7:29 am
democratic party, and both of them put together. it was run by russians with really bad english. tennessee gop did at ten times more followers and was quoted and retweeted by kellyanne conway and by michael flynn. that was run by russians. it doesn't occur to us that english is a two-way street. that's especially think about britain and about us. the european story, the common story is one of how the nationstate has to sort itself out into this year and that's what makes them vulnerable. that's one thing they all have in common, but then there are the specific differences. >> in the section in the book on brexit, you are mass some quite damning facts which you put forward to make the argument that, i think he used the phrase brexit was a, quote, triumph of russian foreign policy, and you describe how that was the case, what they did. the account you give is not one that has become standard wisdom in the uk, and they are still
7:30 am
struggling to come to terms i think with what happened. but i was picturing what you wrote, you know, in the british press or in the british public life, that isn't the standard narrative, the depth of russian engagement. what accounts for the difference between the account you put forward and with the british public and sort of how political life is on this issue? .. >> into something which gets deep down into them, right?
7:31 am
i mean, the sort of material corelative of this is how much of london is owned by russia, which is a fact -- or russians -- which changes british life, but it's very hard to kind of get your mind around it. the second thing is i think it's hard for any country to imagine that certain kind of intimate forms of politics are actually subject to external intervention. the british, you know, as they always -- they'll say we've had a democracy for the longest time. yes, that's why you're vulnerable, because you couldn't imagine that it could happen, you know? you say magna carta as though that's going to ward off twitter. [laughter] but it doesn't. i mean, i've tried it, like, i get up in the morning, and i paint a star, and i burn it, and i say magna carta. it doesn't stop twitter at all. [laughter] so i don't actually do that. [laughter] but, i mean, i think it's the very, like, sense that this is intimate and that this is ours,
7:32 am
right, that made them vulnerable. and then, of course, now the brexit vote is not the most important thing in britain. the most important thing in britain is what form is brexit actually going to take, and that's very hard for them to examine. we've now -- the u.s., similar things have happened. there's a very questionable event in 2016 here as there, but then people then double down later, they take the outcome for granted, they morally commit themselves to something, and it's very hard or to, with clear eyes, investigate what happened back then. >> i'm going to come back to the audience in a minute. one more here. you mentioned the issue of homosexuality or an issue that the russians pushed in a number of ways. i was quite struck in the book the number of ways you described that. i guess i had seen pieces of it here and there, but i'd never quite come to the realization of how systematic and central it was to the narrative. could you talk more about that? because i thought that was powerful and unusual. >> yeah. first of all, just to confirm what you say, it does turn up
7:33 am
all over the place. it turns up in russian domestic politics, as i'm sure everyone here will know. passing the law in 2013 against, you know, what's characterized as homosexual propaganda changes the political climate inside russia, it creates a sense of us and them. and like all these, the way it works is somebody in the country is not us, but that somebody in the country ises also linked to a powerful international speaks right? -- conspiracy, right? so it's not just the gays and lesbians in russia, it's the gays and lesbians around the world who are notionally supporting them. it works very well -- so it's in russian domestic politics. it was in ukraine. the alliance with the -- [inaudible] in france, right? marine le pen's party, is formed in 2013 after france passes a partnership law, and delegates
7:34 am
go to moscow and talk about how awful this all is, and that's when their relationship begins which then becomes a financial relationship. so it does turn up all over the place. and, you know, american evangelicals are, this is one of the reasons why some american evangelicals admire russia, by the way. this kind of thing is much more possible to do openly there than here. it works because of the us and them thing, it also work because sexuality is just an inexhaustible source of anxiety. you can always kind of hit people with us. it's like the second world war, it's slowly losing its force in russia, slowly, slowly, but sexuality's always going to be there, right? as a way to make people try to define themselves one way or the other. and they, you know, they're pretty clever about how they do it. the last thing i wanted to say about this is once you -- so when you redefine international
7:35 am
relations as not about economics and law and, you know, social advancement and sort of objective national interests and you say international relations is actually about civilization and sensibility, you then have to have some kind of content9 for what that is. and that's actually quite tough, right? i mean, it is tough to say what american civilization, it's hard to say what russian civilization is, it's hard to say so for the time being home correctalty -- homosexuality serves as a proxy for that. we're straight and they're not. the lowest common denominator, you can't think of anything else, so you use this. >> turn to the audience. i'm going to turn to this side over here, and if you could state your question in fairly compact form and make it a question, if possible. start here and then work back. yes, sir, right here. yeah. >> dr. snyder, this is about the politics of responsibility, and
7:36 am
you decided to write a pretty are call become threat which went -- pamphlet which went all over the world. so you moved out of just your really important role as a historian. and so i guess my question is how do you view your role now? and i'm not asking it as a people magazine question, i'm asking it sort of, you know, what is our role as we move out of just our day-to-day activity. >> okay. so you threw me for a moment with the people magazine reference. [laughter] margaret atwood did mention road done freedom in vanity fair, i think it was, which is like -- yeah. that's as close as i can get to people. with the politics and responsibility of being a historian, i actually -- like, the way i've been thinking about this is i said early in the talk, we kind of have to bring what we got. for many of us, that's going to be a stretch. but it may not be a stretch which actually that deuces where
7:37 am
you come from. so history really does become on factuality, i think. history really does depend upon putting things in order over time. history really does say that we can reverse entropy intellectually. we do say these things as a discipline, really some of us do. and that does actually have political implications, at least in the present moment. like so one of the things i say in the book which i believe is history actual is a form of prettier call thought. political thought. given that the dominant climate in politics is nothing makes sense, everything is scattered, we can't remember what came first and what came second, in that environment then just doing history or being a historian starts to become political. and i think that's true about a lot of vocations and not just the obvious ones. it doesn't take much tweaking to show how being a reporter matters hugely. the book is devoted to reporters who i call the heroes of our
7:38 am
time which i sincerely believe. it doesn't take much tweaking either being a lawyer, being a physician as one sees, a little bit of professional ethics can move you out further into the public sphere than you were before. on tyranny is at once a very ambitious and not ambitious book; namely, we're in a moment where what we do actually matters a lot more than other moments. but it's also kind of simple. it says you can do this small thing, this small thing, this small thing, and it will change you and the people around you. i think the trick is to recognize that you're in a moment where the politics of responsibility matters. like, that's the trick. okay, here i am in history, it's happening around me. i see now what i can do. i think that's the trick right there. >> and right behind you there. right there, yeah. >> thank you. professor snyder, do you see what you're describing in terms
7:39 am
of the politics of e eternity going on in asia as well, or is this just a western phenomenon? >> yeah. you kind of got me on methodological grounds there because i -- so i try to work in sources that i think i understand. so when i try to sketch out putin's thought, for example, i'm trying to read him really carefully and pay attention to what he says over time. putin cites this philosopher, you know, who i mentioned briefly. he cites him in several parliamentary addresses, he cites them right after russia annexes crimea, he cites them in connection to the european union. and so i took the 40 volumes of he heene's writings and read them and tried to see what the connections were between the passages that putin cited and our contemporary reality. and those are all things i can do because of language. i can read german and russian.
7:40 am
with china it's just harder for me because i don't feel like i have that same -- [speaking spanish] tongue i don't feel like i can get into it the same way. my broad answer would be yes, and i think creating a succession problem for yourself which xi and the communist party of china have just done tends to reinforce the politics of eternity. when you block out the immediate future, the temptation to then loop back becomes all the stronger, but i don't think i'd want to go any further than that. >> come right here, and then i'll get to the back. yeah. this gentleman right here. >> professor snyder, bill taylor. thank you. you say that europe is really the important geography for the russians, and you say that this is a war and the aggression against ukraine is part of that war and they have attacked the united states, and they have
7:41 am
attacked european democracies as well. what's their, what's their priority? if russia sees europe as the most important and yet they've -- and sometimes succeeded more in the united states than they have in the battles that they've fought. >> that's a really good question. i just want to start by emphasizing it's not just me who characterizes this as a war. this is something that you get from the russians. [laughter] this is the kind of language which is kind of a matter of everyday discourse over there. and following the war in ukraine from the russian sources, i found it extremely -- i mean, at first i was struck by it and surprised by it, and then i realized in some sense these people meant it. like the head of security who sent over in 2014 from the russian federation talked about how ukraine and the united states were very similar, they had divided politics, they were both disintegrating states.
7:42 am
you know, the united states -- well, he also said demonic, artificial demonic creation and will one day cease to exist. you realize this is a serious responsibility and who does think that he's part of this larger campaign. and, you know, the russian soldiers in ukraine, many of whom -- some of whom were interviewed. we have actual interview transcripts carried out in russian as well as with ukraine citizens fighting on the russian side, and they would say things over and over again like i'm fantasizing about russian stealth fighters flying over the capitol. i'm fantasizing about a red flag flying over the white house. and after a while -- at first, it seems kind of whacko, but then you realize maybe -- what historians always do, what we're taught to do is when something strikes you rather than dismiss it, you're supposed to try to see it from the point of view of the speaker. and if you play that exercise
7:43 am
enough times, you realize there may be some patterns here. maybe they're thinking it for a reason. and in retrospect when you put sources together as i try to do in the book, you realize if you look at the chronology, the annexation of crimea is followed within a couple of weeks with the internet agency turning its attention to the u.s.. just by way of riffing on the premise of your question. i think there are two interesting things here. the first is i think the general idea which i call strategic relativism is not to make europe or the u.s. follow some model, right? it's not like the 20th century where we have some notion of communism which we think is going to be either, you know, inspiring or maybe we'll force it on you. even if we force it on you, there is a kind of template, right? there are ways it's supposed to work. we want to kind of hollow you
7:44 am
out from within so you're more like us but not exactly. more like us in the sense of higher levels of distrust, greater dysfunctionalty of the rule of law. not that we need you to have the russian orthodox church or anything like that, but we need for the things that are most functional in europe and the u.s., we need for those things to be more russia. i think it's entirely negative. but you put your finger on something which i think is important which is the relative failure in ukraine and the relative success in the united states which is something i think we have a whole hot of trouble swallowing over here -- whole lot of trouble swallowing over here. yeah, ukraine lost in terms of territory, but in terms of opinion many europeans and many americans were, just to be very blunt about it, taken in and said all kinds of whacko,er relevant things, but not that many ukrainians did. they have more practice with this kind of thing, and they're
7:45 am
native russian speakers, and they knew that they were being invaded. an interesting thing happened where there was this kind of branch where i think the russians realized that the subjective psychological part directed at europe and america was going much better than the objective, operational military part in ukraine, right? and so when people ask me do you, you know, starting back in '14, do you think russia's going to invade estonia, i've always tended to think not because they realize it was the psychological part of the hybrid war that they were clearly winning. and the military part was much, much ambiguous. you had trouble with ukraine which at the time basically did not have an a army. but they won, i mean, let's face it, they won great battles in what they call the psychosphere in the u.s. and europe. this is just a hunch now, i think they've been surprised -- i think they were surprised by how well that went, and i think they kind of follows it, you
7:46 am
know, they followed success upon success to where they reached a point where they're much 23ur9 along than they kind of expected to be. i mean, there seems to have been a certain amount of talk in fall of a oh 16 about, well, wait a minute, is this really going to work? do we really want it to work? you know, here we are. >> let's take this woman right here. i'm going to come to some people over here. thanks. >> thank you. when i think of the issues of inevitability versus responsibility, i wonder -- you seem to frame the politics of inevitability in the united states in a sort of vacuous, hopeful sense, you know? that there's this vacuous hopefulness. but what about the sense of inevitability in terms of fatalism? the fatalism that often underscores a lot of thinking?
7:47 am
i've found in certain parts of the world compared to more sort of determinism in a way e in the united states. how does that affect your construct, first of all. and secondly, when you talk about the politics of responsibility, i also think about the global refugee crisis. you know, we've almost stopped talking about trying to solve the problems at the point of origin. >> yeah. >> and people are only concerned when the symptoms arise many such a critical -- in such a critical way as they did a few years ago in europe and still do to a certain extent today. >> you could bring it to a question -- >> yeah. >> go ahead if you want to -- >> the question is that part of
7:48 am
your thinking in terms of the differentiation between inevitability and responsibility? >> absolutely. one of the ways that i got to this concept was by writing about the holocaust, in fact. i wrote a book call black earth which was about the holocaust in which i made a couple of new arguments, and one of the new arguments was that we need to take hitler's thinking about ecology seriously, that one of the source of the holocaust was hitler's idea that technology can't save us from problems of scarcity; therefore, we have no choice but to take land. and that was a kind of temporal noasmghts there isn't any future with progress. that's out. so, therefore, we have to take what we can now. and that got me thinking, you know, i was writing this in 2012, '13, '14, it got me thinking about climate change and, you know, what it means to say the science isn't true, the technology isn't going to make any difference. and what that means is you're kind of collapsing time because
7:49 am
technology and science, like democracy, can be ways of creating a sense of time, creating a sense of a predictable near-term future. if you say it's not going to work, it's not really there, climate change is not really a problem, basically you're creating a future which is going to be much worse. and when it hits you, you're not going to be ready for it. so climate change, for me, is a very good example of the politics of responsibility. it's about the one-year, five-year, ten-year future. you have to do something about it now. and it relates directly to refugees. i mean, there are many root causes of refugee crises, but one of them is precisely climate change, the decertification of what used to be called the fertile crescent this syria is one of the root causes of what's happening. it's a completely different way of thinking about the whole issue of muslims and immigration. you can think, well, we don't like immigration, we don't like muslims, you know, that's the politics of eternity talking. these people are different, and they come from there to here over and over again.
7:50 am
the politics of responsibility says the crescent-shaped part of the world where most of the muslims live is the part most directly affected by climate change. so if we want to prevent instability in that part of the world, then we have to work on climate change. so, okay. fatalism for me, like, i'm not sure -- i may not grasp what you mean, but i think fatalism tends to play into the politics of eternity, because if you think it doesn't matter what we do, right, we don't know whatted to do, we don't trust our leaders, we don't have any power, then it's just kind of the same thing over and over again. but i don't want to go into more that, because i want to take some more questions. >> we just have four or five more minutes. we're going to take this one, then come back here. okay, right here. i'll do my best but won't be able to get to -- please keep your questions fairly compact. speak up. that microphone either is not working, or you're not speaking
7:51 am
directly into it. hold on, we have another one. >> okay. is this better? >> much better. >> elizabeth wilson. thank you very much for this really stimulating conversation, and i'll make these questions short. first, i just wanted to observe that you seem to work from a premise that russia is europe and that it dee yates from -- deviates from the european narrative, and i just wanted to ask you is that -- why? what's going on there? and i really liked your economic approach to this, to the conundrums of the moment, and i'm just wondering where you situate yourself in terms of, like, economic theory and critique? you know, there's a narrative out there that you could say, okay, we have of a capitalism versus command economy, communism, capitalism i,
7:52 am
therefore, it stands for democracy. we were not able to imagine a authoritarianism coupled with a free market approach which seems to be one of the things that is emerging right now. but what is the, what's the -- on the politics of responsibility, what's the economic alternative to this market fundamental -- >> i think two questions, we're not going to have time. i want to take a couple more, tim, and then we'll finish up. this one right behind, yeah, this woman right here. and then see if we can squeeze -- yeah. >> so cryptocurrency has come into fashion in the past couple of years. can you share your thoughts on how or if this will affect the u.s. and its relationship to russia in the coming years? >> okay. this gentleman. and -- no, right behind you. right there. in the white shirt. thank you. >> where does the politics of eternity, what is the impact on
7:53 am
natural physical scientists and biologists and people like that who are trying to make a career in russia? >> okay. >> one last one. right there. >> yes. i'm bill courtney, rabid corporation. follow -- rand corporation. following up on ambassador taylor's question about europe. i agree that europe is much more important for russia than america is. yet russians sometimes behave as though the united states is more important. is this because they see us as a large superpower, because they overrate the importance of military power relative to political, economic and social power, or is there some other reason? >> great. out of that, pick and choose three minutes worth of comments. [laughter] >> okay. so whether russia really is european, i don't have -- i have no view on that. my view is that past empires in that geographical space say the british empire, the dutch empire, the french empire have followed a certain pattern
7:54 am
invisible even to themselves in which they've joined this larger project called europe. my view is that in that part of the world russia's now the first country not to join that project. and we don't want to say they couldn't do it because it was asian because, of course, the british empire was even more asian than russia was in many respects. that's not expect exactly it. but it's striking that, you know, this move towards civilization is call eurasia. and there's a whole eurasian tradition in russian philosophy, old and new, which is part of the subject of the book. and then you also had a second great question which is what -- >> economics. >> -- economics. yeah. so hayek was wrong. it's just not true that intervention by the state in capitalism leads to authoritarianism. that did not happen in austria, which is where he's from, it didn't happen in germany either. if anything, it's the contrary. in order to have these wonderful
7:55 am
individuals that our libertarian friends fantasize about, you have to have a whole lot of state intervention especially when those people are young. you can't do it without pluralism. you have to have some notion of what the state is doing to create these individuals. of so there's a dialectic there. and, you know, in the cold war the -- the welfare state won the cold war even in the united states. i mean, just look at the timing, right? we started breaking up the welfare state under reagan. the welfare state won the war, not capitalism. by then the die were already cast, you know? by then our model had proved to be better, but our model was not a pure capitalist mold. between the '40s and about 1980, the difference in wealth between the top 1% and the bottom 90% in the u.s. was closing, right? it's since the '80s to the present that it's opened up again. so if we won the cold war with the model, it was the welfare
7:56 am
state model and not -- okay. on, you know, on bitcoin i'm going to punt except to note that you grouped your two questions and say that russian scientists are now diverting supercomputer power in order to mine bit. [laughter] but, you know, the fundamental link, you know, the fundamental link science, crypto, what am i mussing? there's one other thing. am i dropping someone else's question? sorry -- >> it was the bit about europe, if europe was more important, why to they treat the u.s -- >> yeah. the serious answer about science, i don't have the detailed knowledge, but serious answer about science is science, in my view, is part of a politics responsibility which constantly throws out facts and forces you to hook at the near term future. i quite agree with the premise of your question, but it's kind of hard for us to grasp. we are more important than
7:57 am
europe narratively, right? because we are a superpower. you know, that's how mr. putin refers to us. we're a superpower. how could we have intervened in your elections, you're a superpower. and i think for russian public opinion like that notion that russia and america are somehow comparable because we're superpowers are a armies and so on, that's important narratively in that particular sense. but i think politically europe is much more important over the long run, and i think we have to learn to distinguish our narrative function and also learn not to fall into this particular discourse with them about the superpowers and the geopolitics. i think once r -- one thing that happened in ukraine was that we fell for that. this was about the superpowers and the geopolitics as opposed to being about the rule of law and the super boring association agreement with the european group on. so it's narratively important for them, and it could also, i think, be a little bit of a trap for us. >> i'd like to thank
7:58 am
freedomhouse for partnering with us, but bo all, i'd love to thank timothy snyder for traveling downed today to do this event, traveling down to carnegie after 28 years. we've changed buildings but not changed our soul. we're also in the fact business here, and it's important to us, and your lecture's a very big part of that, so let's have a round of applause -- [applause] >> there are books for sale out there, i saw you buying them, please buy some more. [inaudible conversations] >> here's a look at some books being published this week. in the monarchy of fear, philosopher martha news balm
7:59 am
looks at the polarization of american politics following the 2016 presidential election. a description of a childhood in syria. the current state of international and domestic terrorism in "the future of terrorism." 9 in "the promise of the grand canyon," john ross recalls the life of the for the person to navigate -- the first person to navigate the entire colorado river through the grand cap on. and porter fox explores america's northern border. also being published this week, historian paul thomas chamberlain provides a history of the cold war in the cold war's killing fields. and in 1968, richard biman described how politics impacted years to come. look for titles this coming week and watch for many of the
8:00 am
authors in the near future on booktv on c-span2. >> you're watching booktv on c-span2 with top nonfiction books and authors every weekend. booktv, television for serious readers. .. >> that's tonight starting at the eastern on c-span2. >> sunday night on q&a, freelance journalist on his "washington post" magazine
8:01 am
article, locked and loaded for the lord, on the sons of the late reverend sun myung moon and the church in newfoundland, pennsylvania,. >> what is going on at century church in pennsylvania is a co-mingling of a lot of undercurrents in the country, of religion, politics and guns, to a degree we haven't seen before. it's still a small church, no question about that. shawn has a worldwide following. my guess would be maybe 200 people in the congregation total up in pennsylvania, and 500, 1000, 2000 worldwide. in these days you can follow a church on youtube, all the sermons are webcast and the week. but it's that commingling of passion in america. and what does this say about us as a culture, and what, is this,
8:02 am
is this any precursor what we might see down the road? when you let the genie out of the bottle of mixing guns and religion in almost any society, it's usually been problematic. >> sunday night at eight eastern on c-span's q&a. >> next a hearing on the use of shell companies and virtual currencies by foreign countries to influence u.s. elections. it uses include a former of the treasury department office of illicit finance and representative of the cybersecurity firm dark tower here senator lindsey graham chairs the judiciary subcommittee on crime and terrorism. this is a less than one hour. >> subcommittee will come

62 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on