tv Russian Influence Efforts CSPAN May 22, 2018 8:02pm-9:48pm EDT
seven eastern wednesday morning. joined the discussion. secretary of state mike pompeo -- is also expected to get questions about iran and south korea. live coverage beginning at 9 am eastern here on c-span three. and the afternoon, student victims of gun violence gather in washington at a forum hosted by the house democratic gun violence prevention task force. that is live at 2 pm eastern. you can follow both of these email@example.com, or with the free c-span radio app. next, three former cia officials talk about russian influence efforts around the globe. how they compare to soviet era cold war behavior and what the u.s. should and could do in response. the center organize this event.
all right, thank you very much, everyone, for joining us today. we are really excited about this panel today, i think we have a stellar group of speakers for you, and certainly a very interesting topic. i will not give a long introduction. i think it is quite clear that the united states and russia are in a competitive and increasingly adversarial relationship today. it is pretty clear that the cia and the american intelligence community more broadly are really at the forefront in that. both in an operational sense
because of the nature of some of the competition that we are engaged in. but also from an analytical perspective, as the u.s. government tries to understand russia, what is doing, what it might do, what motives are. and actually, what its decision- making system is, what do we mean when we say russia wants this, or russia wants that. i think we've got a great group here today, to talk about that. i will introduce each of the -- them sequentially as they speak. we will start with either clements to my right, and then we will go to my far left. and my colleague george will wrap up. peter clements, to my right, is a senior research fellow and an adjunct professor at columbia university at the school of
international public affairs. he left the cia just several months ago, after a career there on the analytical side of the agency. as director of -- as a deputy director for intelligence, for analytics programs. and a number of other key posts . it is a long time -- and we are very pleased that he could be with us today. so peter. let's start with you, and i would ask each of you to try to limit it to 10 minutes. we have a big group, i'm sure we will have a lot of questions and discussion. >> thank you for having me. it's always a pleasure to see all old friends from the intelligence community, from the think tank and world of academia and other agencies
around town. and even some media friends i have made over the years, so thank you for having me today. in the interest of time i'm going to cut right to the chase, and try to identify a core question. and give you my thoughts on that core question and hopefully frame the discussion that we have on the panel, but also during the q and a. so the core question i have been thinking a lot about is what exactly is putin going to do in the next six years, now that he has won reelection? does have a strategy? what does he really seek to achieve during this timeframe? i'm not even going to get into -- some of you may have seen that is the rate of chechnya. somebody might want to put in the constitution for 2024, that is a whole subject unto itself. i'm going to focus on the next six years. so if i look -- by the way, i think everybody will become a russia expert. it is impossible not to pick up a newspaper and everybody has an opinion on putin.
so i'm just one of them. i spent a lot of time looking at russia but i acknowledge the fact that there are an awful lot of people who are looking closely at mister and the russians from what they are doing. and reading the literature that is out there right now i'm going to generalize and say there's basically two schools of's -- of thought. the first school of thought is putin is a relatively turning away from the west and there's no way he's going to get back on track and that perspective is epitomized by a recent article, it came out in early april and i only sites that because it is a good academic friend of mine who is plugged into russians and ukrainians, told me you must read this article. this is what is really going on with putin. and i read it, and i'm not entirely where he is on it. but it was a very provocative piece. who supposedly is relatively close to mister and that theã
that the thrust of it is russia is a half blood, it is a halfbreed, between east and west and because of what has happened since 2014, since crimea, we are now on a path will russia remain that way for at least a century or maybe even longer. it will never become part of the west. that is when extreme on the spectrum. the other school of thought is no, no, no, putin is a realist. he understands there are certain things he must do to try to get russia back on track for his own domestic economic reasons, for his own political position in terms of the relations he had with key oligarchs and benefactors who benefited from this system be put in place. this argues on the economic side he understands there has to be some interaction with the west, both politically and economically if he's ever going to get russia on a fully
different track, one specifically that takes them off the mono economy curse, if you will. the utter dependence on oil and gas. if you can't start to seriously lead -- started after -- start today justify -- start to diversify -- where is mister if you get elevated at some point to become again, minister for economics or finance or better yet prime minister, that would be the biggest signal of all that has decided we must really, really reengage and they have the right guy to do this. in the recent announcement of the new cabinet position, he was not among them. he was given the position as head of the audit chamber and the federation council. sorry, federal assembly. not exactly a big powerful position but nonetheless, for those who believe this particular track, he is stored of any court -- sort of in a
holding pattern. maybe he will see where things go and let them do some things and get rid of them and elevate him. again, nobody knows. we don't have the answer to these. these are what i would call the too far ends of the spectrum. now what are some of the indicators i would look at? the things i would look for to see maybe which direction is really going. one thing i can say, with a fairly high degree of confidence, is every day you should be checking the pot for oil. i'm sure most of you do. but if you checked this morning, it is about $72 and $.30 a barrel. the brent crude is at 79 and 60. pretty high. for my money, no pun intended, the extent will stay at roughly
these levels for the coming six months, a year or so, basically he can put off the hard decisions. they are getting a windfall right now. it is certainly helping a lot. remember, this year's budget was based on $44 barrel of oil. if you nearly double that, you have a lot more money to play with. negative breathing room, if you will, to get to where we are right now, potentially even more sanctions that seem to be on tap. second factor i would look at, and this one, i've actually given a lot more thought to, is legacy, i called the legacy factor. i personally believe that is all about legacy. this is a man who is upset with russian history and of course a lot of russians are. i'm a little obsessed about it myself. i have spent most of my life studying it but putin never mentions an opportunity to reach back. most obvious, the march 18 speech, after the -- of crimea. we were all told about the
conversion to christianity, and where that occurred and how important that was to rather solidify the idea that crimea has always been and will always remain part of russia because it is so essential to its core identity. what i'm struck -- i was in moscow last december and i had not been there in several years. and i came across this gigantic statue of prince -- one of the entryways to the kremlin. in red square. it is 60 feet tall. and we have -- with his huge, huge cross, so he did not catch it, it is not only -- in the old days, but the same one who brought christianity to russia. the ukrainians had a strong reaction to this, but there is, again, this reach back into history to show why things are the way they are and why they should be this way. so to close, on the legacy
piece, i think if we are looking for potential indicators, you can have an interesting debate about what is it that putin wants to leave as is legacy? on the one hand, want to make an argument, he reincorporated crimea to its rightful place, quote unquote, back into the russian federation. he built this amazing bridge, 11.8 or 11.9 miles. which is near completion, by the way. if you get a chance, watch the video of his trip. it is almost done. sometime this summer, maybe cars will be going through, travelers will go through. that i'm sure will also be part of his legacy,. he's got broader ambition. i'm not sure where it he is,
you can of these things to the high level of confidence. what if's broader goal is actually to reincorporate even more of ukraine? and so that brings us to -- so the things you should be looking at there are two bca step up and intention, more fighting, more casualties to the point where you have a crisis with the russians had to intervene, to protect the poor locals who are being abused by the ukrainian government. and then annex yet another chunk of ukraine. for people who think this might be a possibility, you should read the book he wrote in 1990. i've always been struck by the great interest that putin personally had in him. the irony there was of course pretty obvious, they kicked him out of the country.
now we've got a former kgb officer who has embraced him. and if you read rebuilding russia, you understand why. i think there's a lot of commonality in the way they tank about the russia core. i'm going to leave that to the q and a if people want to get into these. it's a fascinating read. but i think for and these are where i would look for some of the indicators, if you believe legacy is anything that does drive his thinking, for my money , ukraine is one of the things i would look most seriously. i'm going to stop there for the interest of time. >> thank you very much, peter. so let's turn next to mel bearden. he left the cia in 1994, after a 30 year career in the clandestine services. i think, as many people know, he was the cia officer who was assigned by the then director, bill casey, to run the cia's operations in pakistan and
afghanistan, to counter the soviet intervention in afghanistan. and for that effort, actually, he received the agency's highest decoration, the distinguished intelligence metal. he also, from 1989 to 92, directed the clandestine operations against the soviet empire as a whole. and then following that was the chief of station, in bonn. as east and west germany were uniting. so someone with a very deep and rich experience on the operational side of the cia's works, and someone who has actually received not only the highest cia metal, but also several others that -- cia metals for his distinguished service there, so we will turn
to him. and thank you so much for coming. >> thank you for inviting me. it's an honor to be here. and i will cut it pretty quickly to keep this thing moving. peter is right. about putin and his view of history. and the russians in general, and how they actually know their history. and what they think about it, so for us americans, now that i'm coming from texas, shirley it is true. most americans learn history from a football coach. but what i would do is to walk you through a little bit of the operation history at the end of the soviet union from my perspective. first is deputy chief, and the soviet division there, and the
afghan adventure that was had. and then sitting in the chief's job as a soviet -- as the soviet union disappeared. 1985, when i was deputy chief was the year of the spy. we were wrapped up with a realization that cia could be penetrated in just about -- and just about every other agency in washington could be penetrated. we saw evidence of this as we watch one after another of our assets in moscow being taken down into the basement. and shot in the back of the head. when edward lee howard, who we had dismissed for -- because of suitability issues, as we said, turned out defect into the
soviet union. we have enough on our answer because -- and the betrayals went on. i did move then at the cases request into pakistan, to take over the soviet adventure. and -- in afghanistan, from 19 -- 1986 to 1989 and at that moment, the ironman grandma a very theatrical meeting with his young son max, friendship bridge, he is the hero of afghanistan. and that ended a 10 year, almost 10 year adventure in afghanistan, which i think write about some of the things that rapidly followed, into may
of the next year, the hungarians got the wire on the border with austrian people again to move rapidly from east to west, and then you had, in june, the elections. they were actually voted out. and then all through the summer, and into the fall of that year, the demonstration started in dresden, and lexington. a few hundred and then a few thousand. and then by the fall, by november, in 1989, you had the berlin wall was breached. 329 days later, germany was reunited inside nato. and one of the most stunning political maneuvers by the united states. and others. and i think a more clueless one
is -- as then the rapid dissolution, the warsaw pact on march 31, and i think they held off or moved up a day, so it would not happen on april fools' day in 1981, the warsaw pact. it slipped beneath the waves, and it was over. it was not long before a small attachment of red army soldiers marched out and held down the hammer and sickle and hoisted the russian color. and that was it. that was sort of the end of this long experiment. what i would leave you with, so that we can talk in the q and a, is that every step of the way, i think that the soviet,
the kgb, putin, and all of the kgb officers that i knew blamed us for everything that had happened. they gave us credit that was something like james angleton gave the russians credit for. in the early days of the cia. when i was in moscow, after the coup against gorbachev, i was told that we were watching cnn the whole time, and when they came out, and gates was there with him, and bush said we knew that you knew what was going on in the white house. and we just threw up our hands and went to our -- and they let this thing play out. as it did. and so i do think that, to answer one of the questions peter raise is that there is a blue -- visceral history based
on -- and perhaps all of the history of these most recent years, that it is payback time for the united states, that we in fact brought about all of this. that they may long for. and none of their kids seemed to enjoy. most. so let me leave it at that, and we can go into whatever, or however, we would like to play this out. >> maybe i could ask him about before we turn to george, kind of pointed question, as you think back to the kind of soviet operations, directed against the united states during that time period, do you see any similarities with the current environment, or perhaps differences? would you draw any particular lesson from how we
kind of manage the competition at that time that might be relevant today? >> i think we were far less vulnerable across the board. during my time, when the soviets were trying as many things as they might. nato was reasonably strong. the soviets, don't forget, would remind us every so often of who they were, maybe 40 before that. czechoslovakia, 1968, their intervention in afghanistan in 1979, so about every 10 years or so, they would do something that would remind us exactly what the soviet union was. and so any progress they might have made against us, with the -- and i think that is the only word i could use, the immense amount of solid power that the
united states had during most of that. they failed. they may have made some moves on the margins that were pretty good, and well thought through, but i think moving against a larger american target, they simply did not -- today, it is different. i think, though, that the europeans, at this point, could be managed to believe almost anything about the united states. as populations, much more readily than when we had 600ã maxi -- 600,000 -- a similar number of soviets. the rest of nato, a lot of people dismissed as generals. i think that putin, particularly , will move against us, where
we might be most vulnerable today and i think that is going to be in europe. and the nato alliance, and by extension of that, the european union itself. >> thank you very much. so let's turn, last, to my colleague, george bb. like peter, a career cia analyst, a former head of the russian analysis programs. at the agency. and a former national security aide to vice president dick cheney. now the director of our intelligence and national security program here and his delightful colleague. >> thank you. i would like to start out by misquoting one of our nation's most famous intelligence he analysts and that is mark twain. in the quote is, it is not the
things that you don't know that get you in trouble, it's the things that you know for sure that just ain't so. there is a great deal of truth in this. even though twain never actually said it, as far as i know. and today, i think we have a problem with something that we all know for sure about russia. and that is russia's intentions to the united states. so i want to review some quotes about what pumpãare prominent marketers think about these intentions. russia hopes to fatally undermine a distracted west. that is from george well. a well-known columnist. coons fundamental goal is undermining american democracy. that's paul waldman who comes from things a little bit different political point of view. russia is attempting to destroy
democracy in the united states. that is republican senator john mccain. russia is trying to bring down our way of government. that is democratic senator ben cardin. wants to make the world safe for russian autocracy, which means compromising every democratic senator of power he can find and question democracy close to home. that is a former senior state department official -- i think fundamentally, there is an aversion to our whole system, an aversion to democracy. putin does not believe in it, and views it as threatening to him, personally. i just think that it is almost in his genes, and the russian genes, to do what they did, meddling in the u.s. election and they will continue to do it. that is james clapper, now retired director of national intelligence. and clapper, he summed up all
of this in one, neat soundbite, and that is they are in to do us in. in other words, russia may not have aspired to incinerate the united states physically. although, it certainly has the wherewithal of doing that. but rather, it hopes to undermine our democratic institutions to set americans against each other, conquer our nation, by exacerbating divisions and dysfunction. there is almost nobody on the u.s. prickle spectrum today that takes issue with that. this is something that we seem to know for sure. but i would argue that this is something that could get us in trouble because we have not looked very deeply at this question. this is something that is an important function in intelligence analysis. understanding the intentions of foreign adversaries is critical
to understanding the nature of the threat, how real it is, how damaging it might be, and also, formulating effective responses to dealing with that threat. if you get the intentions wrong, you oftentimes get your prescriptions wrong. but it is not an easy thing to do. it requires what you might count analytic empathy, it is walking around in somebody else's shoes for a while. seeing things through their eyes, understanding their hopes and fears, their goals, their aspirations, their constraints they are under. nobody is very good at this. hard to do this when you know the people well. we all have scratched our heads over why a family member is doing things that they are doing trying to understand what they could be thinking. it's hard. it's particularly hard when you're dealing with a foreign adversary.
a group of people with different histories, cultures, beliefs, perceptions. so we need to approach this with a good deal of humility. so how do we do that in the case of russia? how do we compare this belief that russia is actually trying to destroy democracy in the united states? to reality? how do we do something that is inherently a subjective thing, perceptions are squishy. but tackle it in an objective way. they will offer a couple of suggestions in this. one is let's take a look at what the russians are saying about our perceptions. they are well aware of what the state of our beliefs are, about russia and russians intentions. they followed this with a good deal of interest. what are they saying about us? second thing, what are they doing? how do words, and deeds, match up? if in fact these are their
intentions, are they doing things that are consistent with those goals? and are they doing things that are inconsistent with those goals? things that you would expect to see, but you don't see. in them, the third thing i would ask, is are there ends and means and a rough balance here? do activities actually added to kinds of objectives that we are assuming they've got? something to undo this very quickly. what are the russians think about our perceptions? am going to read a few more quotes for you. anything they publish about russia is, as a general rule, total garbage. the image of putin's russia constructed by western and above all american media outlets over the past 18 months shocks even the most anti-putin reader in russia. that is from a liberal russian journalist, and a very staunch
putin opponent. so he is looking at what we are saying about russian, saying i don't recognize the country you are describing. another quote. only a blind man would see that russia and diplomats are fixated on our preserving dictatorship but observing principles. russia is aware that the regime change could result in chaos, and anarchy. as was the case in iraq and libya. more often than not, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. that's from a senior russian foreign policy advisor, and a putin supporter. last quote. with this hype is really doing is elevating the kremlin to the position of the world's meddler in chief. by reading a coherent strategy into isolated and desperate trolling and propaganda efforts of various russian institutions and individuals.
i am agnostic as to whether a strategy aimed at undermining democracies all over the world exist. but everything i know about how russia and its government works makes me doubt it. that is maxine trudeau, who was another russian journalist, liberal, and very much a skeptic of president putin. so you can see, there is a real contrast between what the russians say when they look at what we are seeing about their intentions and what we are saying. so why does this matter? it matters in part because it affects russian behaviors. the presidential election held and russia and march, one of the noteworthy results about this, constituency is typically not been great fans of putin. people living in wealthy urban areas, moscow, st. petersburg, russian diaspora, russian
citizens living abroad, or living abroad for a reason. i particularly like what is going on inside russia under putin. so living in europe, living in the united states. they voted, and much greater numbers, for putin, in this past election and the ever had in the past. why? well, part of the reason is what they themselves saw as a reaction in the west. they don't like what is going on , and it is actually causing a rally around putin affect inside russia, not something that is, i think, in u.s. interests to see. so second question. what do they do? i want to look at a couple of counterfactual's. that should cause us to question the conventional wisdom about russian intentions. so if russia regards democracy as a mortal threat, something
that by its very nature threatens the viability to russian state, is this evident in how they treat democracies around the world? i think the evidence says no, actually. and the news from a couple of weeks ago should give us pause. russian was opening victory day, may 9. celebrating the time over [null] germany and world war ii. the victory parade in moscow, where putin is marching, who is next to him? benjamin nine not getting not you. -- probably talk to him more than any foreign leader. there is a close relationship between israel and russia. do they agree on everything? absolutely not. their interests converge in some areas and divergent others, and very -- in very important ways. but they are able to manage their disagreement. in a way that is pragmatic.
there is no evidence whatsoever that democracy in israel, which is about as democratic a system you're going to find, in any way causes heartburn and russia. i think the same thing applies in india. a long-standing historical relationship there. again, india and russia do not agree on everything. there is some significant differences in their outlook, and their interests . but indian democracy, the world's largest democracy, as far as i can tell, does not cause any heartburn in moscow itself. ideologically, systemically, it is not a threat. last question. how do ends and means balance there? and here i think there are couple of things that we would want to focus on. what things would we have
expected the russians to do back in the 2016 presidential election? they were really trying to sabotage u.s. democracy as opposed to poking their finger in our i, by contrast. but one of the things that they could have done was to circulate this information that they were messing with the vote counting. now, as you know, there is a lot of evidence that they proved systems and a lot of states. as far as i know, there is no evidence of action sabotage the vote count. what is interesting here is not that they do not try to sabotage the vote count, it is that no russian propaganda, no russian no cutouts that could have had plausible deniability, which suggested that they had. and it is not hard to imagine
that the mere suggestion or rumor that these votes were somehow in authentic would have caused a big problem in the united states. a crisis of confidence that the election was in fact legitimate. why not? why didn't the russians troll a little bit of information out there that they could have distanced themselves from that nonetheless would have gummed up the works and perceptions here about the legitimacy of the election? i would further say that when you look at what the russians actually did during the election, you don't see a discernible pattern. in their advertising placements to social media, in the trolling posting that went on. the messaging was all over the map, they had no will consistent themes. it did not look like they were targeting swing states with any kind of coherent strategies.
and finally, it is pretty clear that the russians have the ability and -- in the cyber room to do things that have not happened. they can turn out the lights in key areas, at least temporarily. they could mess with wall street trading systems. this would obviously be quite provocative acts. probably regarded as acts of war, here in the united states. they would certainly have quite a detrimental effect on the functioning of our system. why hasn't russia done that? things that are within their capability? the obvious answer is well, bad things would happen if they were to do that. i think that is exactly the point. there are other higher priorities that the russians have right now, beyond destroying our democracy. i don't want to get into a great deal of discussion on this, but i would offer two
things that are probably much more important goals for the russians right now. one is they want us to knock out the democracy crusade. democracy by itself does not threaten them. it is not who we are that they are concerned about, it is what we do. attempting to spread democracy abroad, and keep our civil war and russian interests and inside russia itself, and ways of the russians believe are destabilizing that brings disorder and chaos and violence, not prosperity and order. that they find threatening, that they want to change. no question about it. they want to corral american power. counterbalance it. and they believe that russia has a critical role to play in doing that.
but destroying us, undermining our system from within, actually presents more problems for russia interests than it solves. why? well, not hard to imagine the impact on the global economy of real disorder here. russia is a part of the global economy, there is no way they escape the damaging effects of that sort of outcome, for them. who will control u.s. nuclear weapons? good question. of the u.s. really starts to implode. -- if the u.s. really starts to implode. what about the impact on other regions of instability spreading out from the united states? again, those are real concerns that anybody in moscow would have to wrestle with as they think about what their goals are vis-@-vis the united states. i will leave you with a final thought before we go to the q and a. and it is a quote from an actual american soviet expert , martin maleate.
who wrote a book that i would recommend everyone would read called russia under western eyes, looking at you and perceptions of russia over the course of history and europe and the united states. and he says that western opinion has traditionally either demonized or what he called idealized, or divine eyes, russia, less because of her real role in europe and the united states, then because of the fears and frustrations, the hopes and aspirations generated within western society itself, by its own domestic problems. and i would submit today that the united states is going through a period of rather significant domestic problems. a crisis in confidence that has generated largely from within. we are projecting many of those domestic problems and fears onto russia and pausing that they reflect actual russian
intentions. we have to look at this with a great deal more scrutiny. >> thank you very much, george. before we open it up to questions, george has sent out a thesis that i think is somewhat controversial in the context of our current debates. maybe i could ask each of you, peter and milton, to react briefly to that. perhaps you first, peter. let's focus in on our public discussion of russia's motives and intense toward the united states. -- in tents -- >> i'm in agreement that putin is not seeking to destroy the u.s. in part for the reasons that george has cited emma but also because a lot of our internal domestic problems are
in fact of our own doing. i think they very effectively have exploited it. i do agree with the intelligence community assessment that cannot in january 2017. by russian interference and there is no question that that occurred. in part because of the dislike of senator clinton. or secretary clinton. and there is a long history there, which we can get into in the queue and dave you want to do this more come about that issue but i think it is a deep long credit history that was very focused on her and they saw, you know, secondary benefits from doing this kind of intervention, but the core issue and the polarization was already there. i don't think this was generated by the russians. >> thank you very much. milton, do you have any reaction? >> i do. i don't think that vladimir putin is a realist.
he does not want to destroy us or our democracy, i think that is too far for him. but i do think that they -- that -- and i agree with peter, that they did metal. i don't know the extent to what the meddling amounted to in the election, but they were there, and they will do it again, if they can. i do think that they see some of what has been generated by issues here in america as opening of very good options for them and let's say, with nato. i think they will be pushing hard on putting pressure on nato, based on how we are creating nato ourselves. and how well they can probably work in europe. i do think that the things they have not done, and they have not done, but there are options
that are still open to them. one, i would throw to us, all of us, is i don't know what percentage of americans and -- believe that there is a file on our current president. i think it is almost everybody. it does not matter what is in the file. if at some point, it would serve the interest of vladimir putin to put something out there, within that daily mail or god knows where, it could be true or not true, it could be whatever they wanted to do to stir up trouble in washington, and they could very well and -- have that. and it does not have to be directly -- it could be the way they usually do things. and it is up to two or three cutouts and we trust that somebody was able to steal it right out of the file and it
could cause great grief here, so i think we can do great things in europe and they cannot pass that up. to have nato continuing. i don't think they can pass that up. >> any reaction at that point -- on your part? >> a couple of things, i agree with milt. i think the russians see it very much in their interest to chip away and underline nato. that is an almost universally good thing from their point of view. not very much downside. it is a target that gives them an awful lot of opportunity. one thing on the file, the steel dossier, that i think is interesting that has not gotten a lot of attention.
if the russians really wanted to mess with us on this, they could put out this information on the file that they've got on trump. whether they have it or not. and that would have a sensational impact on our domestic debate. it is not even have to be true. might even be better and more effective if it were not. but that would really throw us into a tizzy. and again, a question i think we need to ask ourselves is why haven't they done that? meeting the steel dossier itself might have been this information.
knows that the russians dislike hillary clinton. they also have a lot of people in her capital have a long history -- the soviet union and friendship with russia. in moscow in march 2016, and met with the leadership of ssb. from what i understand, -- in moscow. if you take a position -- with the russians. in context with the russian security services. there may be some hidden meaning to that. why wouldn't you at least -- that russia was prepared to create trouble. hopefully, besides. they would -- they all expected hillary clinton to win.
that's what we were told. why would they at least think --? that they wanted to create political uncertainty and polarization with the united states? >> i think it is possible. it gives them credit for a great deal of political oppression in the united states that is in -- uncommon. knowing how this would play out, for example, within our domestic debate. and, i think in retrospect, looking at how russia has reacted to what is going on here, and our perceptions of rest and our domestic discussions about russia's role in all of this. but i am struck by is how surprised they are. how much their reaction has been one of, wait a minute.
you are the most powerful company -- country in the world. the most powerful economy. all of this power, long- standing, deeply rooted political traditions. and, you have lost your mojo. you suddenly believe that we, russia,, we lost our country not too long ago. which basically, heads very little power, very little capability. a lot of ineptitude. you now fear that we are going to destroy you. they are almost amazed that that is how we are thinking. and, i don't think they anticipated it. i think this has come as a surprise to them. so, i don't rule out the scenario you are talking about. but, it doesn't strike me as very consistent with how the russians have reacted to events
here. and frankly, i think a lot of americans are surprised at how we have reacted. >> there is no question that the russians interfered. what is really in doubt here are things like intentions. and, the chain of decision- making that was behind all of this. clearly, they were involved in doing a number of things here. but, why? what motivates this? that is something that i think we are not yet looking at with very much scrutiny. this was -- peter clements. just one quick point. if you haven't reread it recently, it is really worth reading. the on classified -- on classified -- assessment when it came out. part of the -- there was, the russians did actually think that hillary probably was going to win, like everybody else on earth. part of their motivation in
trying to discredit her, put out all the stuff about her health and well-being, how cranky she could be, or whatever. that was in part designed to make her less effective as president after she got elected. and, i think they, like everyone else, was surprised at the outcome. because, more and more has come out about the extent of their interference, use of social media and so on. they actually created this problem that they now have, which is it is impossible to engage the united states. the ambassador was complaining how they won't give us the time of day. you can speak to anyone on capitol hill. it's rare to get him to get people to answer the phone. this is the net result of all the spec they have become like a little kryptonite. who is going to go close to these people, and the current political environment. and, how are we going to reengage in this environment? >> i would suggest a point, as well, dmitri simons raised as well. on the comp room -- compromise
files. my assessment is that it, again, as george pointed out, it doesn't have to be true. it would be much more interesting if it's not too. the point that dmitri made is that maybe it has already been done. i think that something bigger has been done, simply because we are doing a good enough job ourselves. if you look at any cable news outlet, it will tell you that it is the 483rd day of the trump presidency, instead of almost anything else. they can look at this and say, it is going just fine. if it were to get any better, they have that option, to throw something else out there. and, it will be believed by the necessary amount of americans. and, not believed by that other amount of americans, which gave
us what we have today. and so, it will continue to stir the pot. i think that they are amazed by what we are doing to ourselves. as perhaps we are. but i think they are paying closer attention to it then we may give them credit, and waiting for openings to do something. not to destroy this democracy, but i think it is a bridge too far. but, based on the belief that diminishing us will make them rise, and maybe it does in some western european opinion. areas. then, i think they will do it. >> let's open it up. we have, on the right here first, it anton --. and then paul and, i see you wayne mary.
>> -- i guess anyone can answer. during the soviet union -- had a very good excuse for the dearth of human intelligence on the u.s.. the closed society was hyper security conscious. russia has been an open society. and, if you believe in the level of corruption in the country, it has been -- to human intelligence being recruited. and yet one of the running themes that i hear, especially in the past -- months, is how little concept we have about the decision-making in the kremlin. is there a fundamental problem with recruiting human intelligence on the highest level of decision-making? or, is it something else in georgia -- referred to, which is that there is an inability to understand the motivating factors of russian decision- making? and, it goes back to education and to assumptions.
or, simple reliance on liberal journalists. dissidents, and exiled oligarchs, as sources of information, which lead to nonstop surprise about russian decision-making in the west. thanks. >> george. i think that was --. i would like to hear milt's comment on this actually, since he was more directly involved in that sort of thing than i was. on the one hand, i think, although russia is more open, and in some senses, more vulnerable to what you might say cash incentives, to become a source for u.s. intelligence. the kremlin is a more difficult target than it used to be back in the 1990s.
and, i think there are very specific reasons for that. but, putin being former kgb officer, is quite security conscious. from what i have read, he doesn't use a computer. he doesn't talk on the phone. so, that is a hard target. and, a lot of the senior officials in russia's government are patriotic. with the russians call --. people who believe very strongly in the guiding role, the importance of the russian state. those are not folks that are particularly vulnerable as the source of enticement that one might rely on for human recruitment. and, it is not an easy technical target to penetrate.
that said, i think that putin and a number of other folks in the russian leadership have been quite transparent about their goals. and have been, going all the way back to the so-called millennium document that putin issued back at the turn of this millennium saying, here is the condition that russia finds itself in. here is what we need to do. to move toward a better future. when you look back, i think that is pretty close to what is actually done. if you want to understand russian intentions, i think one way to do that is to look at what they have said compared to what they have done. it is actually a pretty good guide. >> >> the improvement of soviet sources, or russian sources. back in the cold where period -- cold war period, where my service was focused, almost everybody that they took into the basement and shot in the back of the head had
volunteered. these were not people who were wined and dined and developed and recruited. they had somehow dropped a note into a car, and said, call this number or something. some way of volunteering. some of them compromised themselves in the process. others like -- came to us and gave us everything the soviets would be doing on -- aircraft, to generations that will be out in the future. so, it is not that they are not recruiting. it's that they are not violent hearing, perhaps. and then, you would say, why is that? and, is it because we have had that rash of the trails inside the fbi and the cia? in that might discourage volunteers? it really has never happened until 1985. and, we were able to say,
edward lee howard wasn't really one of us. he betrayed, he was in the pipeline to moscow, so that he knew our assets in moscow, because he might be called upon to break surveillance and go out and make that meeting. oh, he was able to betray a huge number of assets. but, we got him because suitability issues, blah, blah, blah. and kicked him out. so we said, bad, but he really wasn't one of us. well, guess what? aldrich ames certainly was. and, hansen over at the bureau certainly was. and we even forget about jim nicholson. another one who certainly was. so, has that affected volunteers into this error? i don't know. but, it the story then, and i suspect, now, is that your
greatest source of assets in moscow have always been the volunteers. >> a very quick comments. to quick points. and con -- anton, i don't subscribe to the idea that russia is totally open right now. i think an awful lot of people are under surveillance. and, they are watched pretty closely. maybe they can wander around and talk to people and make this deals with some of them, but it is still a security state, in my view. secondly, i am amazed at how the narrative about what the u.s. is doing to undermine russia has permeated even well- educated people. i had a conversation with the russian academic, a person in their mid-30s, who was incredibly intelligent and pretty candid about a whole range of foreign policy issues. i made the mistake of asking how they voted in the elections. i did a little domestic he's going here. and i said, and this person said, well, of course, i voted
for putin. but it was sort of a reluctant vote. but what am i going to do? i said, you didn't want to vote for --? in this person at first laughed and said to peter, come on. are you serious? --. she was deadly serious. she was serious. that got me thinking that this narrative that they are putting out there, very well-educated people in the past i thought it'd been a lot smarter, -- this person was not getting. >> they managed to believe this kind of thing going back into the 80s and 90s as well. they look and saw george bush say -- you guys had more people in the white house and we did. the russian white house. the russian lighthouse. than we did. this belief about the american intelligence capabilities i think has always been, for good
reason --. thoughtfully inflated. >> my second point, i forgot, i think it is a lot harder to conduct espionage. this is a whole separate subject. in the year of smart phones, and the internet and cipro, running around trying to maintain any kind of cover is much, much harder. and so, recruiting people and evading surveillance on someone, it's a whole different ballgame than it was pre- internet. >> i will pylon on that one and make a controversial statement. i think the era of human recruitment and intelligences over. biometric data means essentially that you cannot put someone undercover here in washington, have them travel around the world, pose as a diplomat undercover and recruit people. it doesn't work. who they are, their identity is instantly known to governments that want to know who they are. tracking them on their cell phones, investigating the social media histories, makes it almost impossible.
so, espionage, i think, is going to go in the direction of the digital domain. it will be cyber. it is far easier to get access to people and information. in massive quantities. it just doesn't pay to try to do this through the old mains. now, there are pros and cons to that. but, it does get to the question of assessing intentions. because, downloading reams of data on a target abroad is one thing. getting that perspective on this that you can only get by talking to people, that can help you understand what it looks like through someone else's eyes, is the important part of this. something that is probably going to be harder to do as technology changes espionage. >> let's go to paul. >> and, please identify yourself. >> the parts of the comments on
-- in the field dossier. the panel doesn't say much about donald trump. which has received enormous attention in this country. -- aided in part by -- activity.'s attitude toward russia is, and how a president who is -- foreign leaders, hasn't done that to put in. my question is, what do you think is putin's perception of trump? is he seen as a useful idiot? as someone, perhaps, who is taking his policies -- doesn't really drive u.s. policy on russia? somebody whose business interest provides a source of potential future leverage, or something else? >> who wants to go first? >> there is a reason i never even wanted to broach that
subject. part of it is -- i wouldn't even know how to begin to answer that question. i have no idea what putin thinks about trump. obviously, he has tried to communicate. so has trump tried to communicate with putin. but, i use the word kryptonite very consciously earlier. i think it is almost impossible at this point. because, it is so politically charged. that you can hardly engage. and, to speculate about what putin thinks, i don't know how fruitful that is. i actually don't, can't fathom prudence head on this one. >> i would suggest that pollutants knows more than we do, in this room, and perhaps not as much as agents --. he has got all those -- accounts analyze. he has got all of that. when -- trump has said we have
got a lot of russian money coming in. he knows exactly what that meant. and, i still think he is sitting in waiting until he needs to make any sort of a move. and, trying to decide at the same time what that move might be. i think, i would throw a question out there. is putin smart enough to say, don't do anything right now. just let them do what they are doing to themselves. and, sort it out if we have to intervene at any point. or, to tweak what is going on in america. this is unique. i think we are at, in my lifetime, a unique point. that is a pretty long time. >> george. anything to add? >> it's an interesting
question. an interesting thought exercise. but, we have very little direct evidence to what putin actually thinks about him necessarily. i would offer a couple of metrics on this. one is, to what degree is trump advancing russian interests in the world? things that russia would like to see? and, i think that there has got to be disappointment there. during the campaign. trump obviously said some things which had a lot of appeal for russia. how we needed to toned back on the messianic approach to spreading democracy in the world. our involvement in regional conflicts, that russians found quite counterproductive and -- for the interest. so, for a candidate to come in. he was the only one, when you look at the republican and democratic candidates. none of them were saying, we need to rethink what we are doing in the world. trump was really the only one. i think that inspired a little bit of hope in moscow. even though they thought he was very unlikely to ever be
president. the actual track record of what has been done since trump was inaugurated, is not at all what one would have expected, what the russians would have expected judging from the campaign rhetoric. that has got to be a disappointment. the second thing is, trump is someone who believes in a strong, unified, purposeful state. the government that is adept at identifying interests, threats to them, putting together coherent strategies, implementing them. now, -- which russians succeeded in doing that is debatable. but he is someone who in principle believes that that is the rope a strong executive. strong top-down power. with that as a metric for assessing trump, again, i would imagine that putin is not impressed with the degree to which, under trump, we have had a unified, purposeful government that has its act together.
things that he prizes. oh, do i know that that is how he perceives trump? someone incompetent and not really in control? no. i don't. it is not hard for me to imagine that he might have that impression. >> thank you very much. we had wayne mary next. and then --. thank you. wayne mary, foreign policy counsel. george has given us a number of good quotes. i feel compelled to give us my favorite, which is my -- russia is never either as strong as it appears or as weak as it appears. and, this is a large part of our american problem. 20 years ago, we were persuaded that russia would be weak forever. and we talked about a world without russia and all the sorts of things. today, we look at a country that has a 12th largest economy in the world. it doesn't have a hope in hell of meeting pollutants promise to be number five by the end of his current term. we enormously inflated, were in fact, it is a relative --
compared with western europe or china, or even much of south asia. another point is, hope is trying to find what you call, western icing -- intellectual forces in russia. probably, since most of them have gotten out, the kinds of people who make contact with me, as a young american diplomat in moscow in the brezhnev era, but could come to my apartment for dinner, in the -- era. i still see some of them. they are in new york. they are in southern california. >> if you are a russian who is really unhappy, you don't have to betray your country. you just leave it. and, that loss of that quality of people, in terms of aspirations, in terms of where they want their children to grow up, is a fundamental, not only failure of current russia,
but it renders russia week in even ways that rush -- iran is not. this is a case where i think russia may be even weaker than it appears. >> any reaction to that? >> back to the earlier question on recruitment. of sources and that most of them in the coldest of the cold war period were volunteers. they could volunteer. they could drop a note in that little crack that we left in our cars in moscow. but, now, they can buy a ticket to london. or new york, if they can get a visa. and, that just simply was not something that was part of the equation in those days. so, it is a much more complicated intelligence --. i believe that so many of those
people who, if they had been locked inside, might have had the courage to volunteer. but, they could say anything they want. it was a totally different target group today. and, they are gone. >> let's come over here. >> sorry. right here. >> i am sidney freberg. setting aside united states. anything they do here is a means to an end, rather than their primary objective, as a said -- tackling --. what are the primary objections -- objectives. is it more territory in ukraine? is it breaking the baltics out of nato? or, finland icing them. what is
he actually might take in the near abroad, in western europe or the united states, to facilitate those goals? those real, right up against the border things they -- still there's. that's a great question. i do think -- ukraine is high on the list. for obvious reasons. that is a direct, national security concern. this is why putin went in there in the first place. whether he has other ambitions, that is in the category i was suggesting earlier. it is hard to know that. i will be looking for indicators. one thing i can say, though, there's a story in the paper today about sweden today. all of a sudden sweden is all talking about, maybe we should all join nato. i didn't see that coming exactly. that i suspected putin must've taken notice or something.
i was thinking, this is the flipside if you are too aggressive and too assertive. in the case of ukraine, the goal is to make sure you keep that nato threat away from your boarder. the antagonism that you have created with the west, and also with certain parts of ukraine. you might actually bring that reality closer to home. in this case, the swedes. i think in the ukraine case, i didn't mention my second alternative. is that the one about -- i want to incorporate more of ukraine. we could hype up the pressure. have a minor conflict, and then have a basis for annexation. the flipside of that is, and this is probably the one i subscribe to personally. is, the frozen conflict approach. if your goal is to keep nato out of ukraine forever, you can achieve that goal without annexing --. to maintain a permanent territorial problem, which by definition keeps them from even consideration in nato membership. and, you have essentially
neutralized ukraine. on the other hand, if you get into crisis mode and you are actually detached parts of east ukraine, the likelihood the rest of ukraine will join it, there will be a strong desire to do that. so, i suspect finding the right balance is pretty important. if shrewdness -- putin is -- not to figure that out. -- a great gather of the russian lands, to include all of ukraine and northern coccyx don. -- keswick stan. my view is the latter. but i'd don't rule anything out anymore. >> just a couple of comments. >> there has been a long- standing debate about russia, and the soviet union over offense versus defense. john mayor shiner had a foreign affairs article a couple of years ago after the ukraine annexation, saying, ukraine is the --. this is the result of russia's
defensive reaction to the possibility of nato moving into ukraine over time. any great power would have reacted this way. and, against that, there are those that argue that russia is actually fundamentally offense of in its behavior. you don't annex territory more or less by force in the 21st century, unless you have fundamentally aggressive attentions. i think the difficulty here is that it is really both, the russians are simultaneously driven by both offense of ambitions, and the sense of fear. their concerns about nato's eastward expansion are real. are they exaggerated? yes, probably. that they are still general and the only -- genuinely felt. at the same time, russia doesn't see itself as sweden. it doesn't believe that it can suddenly transform itself into
a country that generates a great standard of living for its people, but doesn't have great power and ambition in the world. i think putin, and a large swath of the russian elite, are convinced that russia can't continue to exist unless it is a great power. and that the world won't be stable unless russia plays the role of great power. so, that is essentially not just a defensive goal. the belief that russia has to be taken seriously and have the wherewithal to play a role in the world's great issues, on a global basis. what is interesting to me, is, how do you do that? how do you be a great power? had you get there? you can't just declare it and have it become a reality. part of it has to be rooted in an economy that actually generates real wealth. how do you do that?
as peter has pointed out, unless you somehow liberalize that system enough to unleash the creative powers of the russian people. how putin handles that will be a very interesting and difficult question in his next six years in power. you also have to have other great powers recognizing, acknowledging, that you are a great power in some way. right now, that is a real problem for russia. because, the world's other great powers, with the possible exception of china, which takes a somewhat condescending attitude toward russia, i believe, are not treating russia as a great power. they are showing no inclination to do that. in order to get that kind of recognition, that respect, putin is going to have to do some different things. i think. there is going to have to be some adjustment, because i think as peter pointed out, much of what russia has done in
the last few years has been counterproductive to that great power agenda. >> let me actually ask each of you a follow-up question. i think sydney and his question raised a fairly nuanced point of, where would russia take risks? and, there is a fairly well researched idea in psychology that people actually are generally speaking, people are more prone to take risks to avoid losses, than to pursue gain. do the three of you think that that is something that also holds true in the case of the russian leadership? or, is the russian leadership perhaps counter to that, and more willing to take risks for gain?
>> the very short answer for me on that is, i think that they will take risks for gain in the ukraine. i think the history of the baltic states is so different, that they would not take risks to try to bring the baltic states back in. but, i would point squarely at ukraine, as far as an area where they may take what we would define as a risk. but, depending on how they view those at that particular moment. don't forget their invasion of afghanistan, the americans had come out of southeast asia with their tails between their legs. they had this jimmy carter thing. and, they may not notice. we will be in and out of there before the americans would notice. well, they were wrong. so, i would say ukraine. >> i really like the point you
made about sometimes, with the psychologist discovered people are mope -- more prone to take risks, more out of security and defensive purposes. i would say syria totally fits that mold. that was a case where the war was going really badly. rushes mayor geopolitical asset in the middle east was at risk of being lost. it is essential to russia's position in the middle east. and, putin took a risk. i would say it was a pretty taken it -- pragmatic, relevant -- low risk. they have gotten a light out of it. now we are at the point where we will see what the endgame is. trying to manage assad is a real challenge. i would not want that job. we have seen multiple times now, where you can tell that assad's most recent visit to sochi. reading the transcript of the talks there. you do get the sense that putin is one more time, i think this is the third time i think elise.'s transition thing really needs to get moving. you need to get some traction
with people you don't necessarily like. assad is saying we are going to look at the un and talk to some people about a process. he is clearly doing the heisman here, to tell putin, i am in charger. i am not giving up anything to anybody. case you thought i might be willing to do that. putin, for a lot of reasons, most -- one of the most important ones i think, he is still smarting from a comment by a senior u.s. official that they were a regional power. way back. >> that official was president obama. >> thank you, george. i was trying to be diplomatic here. but, i do think that that is part of this. and, playing that role in syria still makes him a player. now, everyone is talking about how strong and powerful and assertive and projecting some power. they have had a chance to test some of their cool new toys, militarily. there has been a lot of gain.. but at the end of the day now, i think it will get harder and harder. the problems with the ron. they will be problems over
time. and trying to manage assad. he has gotten himself in a place that is increasingly challenging. >> very quickly. i agree. i think the russians are more likely to run risks when they perceive that they are under threat. fear is the most powerful motivator when it comes to running risk. i think that's true in ukraine. which i regard as the most important country in the world from russia's perspective. the so-called -- is the highest priority within the -- ukraine is by far the most important. that is an area where, of course, they will run the most risks. it is the highest priority. i think they believe they have got the most to lose there. i think syria also fits that. but, there is one interesting counter narrative there. that is meddling in the united states. you can, to some degree, construe that is defensive. you have got to start messing around and russia's, so were going to give you a dose of this to see how it feels and then maybe you will reconsider how -- what you are doing.
>> it is a relatively high risk thing to do. i would argue, in response to that, that the russians didn't think it was very high risk. paying a few hundred trolls to post some things on social media. it doesn't look like a real aggressive move, from their perspective. obviously, in retrospect, we have reacted to this far more vigorously than i think the russians would have thought. >> thank you very much. we have got 16 minutes here. i have for people with questions. oh, let's take them in pairs. -- reserve a few minutes for our panelists to have any final comments at the end. so john hudson, you first. >> thank you. -- i just wanted to take advantage of your knowledge of the russian system on an important development that has happened recently. this would be the april 6
sanctioning of -- and the rosaura, which has obviously had a massive impact on the global metals market, it has irritated european allies that have been affected by it. i think what has confused some people is whether or not the prosecutor was accused, or someone who is characterized adequately as a putin crony, because some people believe he is sort of a yelton era oligarch instead. can you give us a sense of -- sort of power in the russian political system, and what the impact of the targeting of him might be --. i think what i will do is just turn to one of you to answer each of these questions so we can move it along. >> we may not be able to identify -- specific intentions. but we should be able to notice major strategic -- of russia. i think, increasingly, -- about
the west is coming at the end of its 500 year dominance in the world. and, the rise of the ease. in russia does seem to be genuinely making a bit of a strategic reorientation toward asia. not just kind of, but also to what japan. and, -- a sense of what that might mean and whether that is actually happening. >> peter. i think the question came to you. perhaps we can start with that? >> i suspect there are a lot of people in the room who are better qualified to answer that. but my personal thinking is, i think there possibly -- possibly has a relationship with. absolutely. it all sounds very complicated. i have been struck by the pushback that has developed in the u.s., because people realize the implications, specifically for boeing. i think people are realizing, when you start talking about sanctioning, what are the -- steps or measures that might be
taken by the other side? things are pretty complicated there. i don't know if that answers the question. to somebody want to do --? >> a strategic realignment. if you want to add. >> i think that -- capitalist monks in asia. if you are a geostationary satellite, looking at where all the human activity was for the last 500 years, it would have looked over the mid atlantic and mainly western europe's, and sort of coming in later. i think that satellite has moved over the indian ocean a little bit. where, it is getting a look at that. there is an awful lot of demographic and political activity that is going to make that an interesting area to play around in. we will see the soviets moving over there, whether we will catch on, doesn't mean we will be diminished in the west as rapidly as others might think. but, i think that there is
something to this -- the russians are looking at that, as an area. it is very early in the day. >> i do think there is, i will call it a rebalancing. and russia's orientation toward the east and the west. clearly, i agree with circ off. russian no longer -- to the west. and, that has been true for quite some time. i don't think it sees itself as fully integrating into the east either. i think what you are seeing is, greater emphasis on relationships in asia, china, and part of what is going on between russia and japan, is russia balancing that relationship with china, as well. making sure it has hedges and
alternatives and counterbalances in that. but, overall, i think that orientation, more to the middle between east and west, the west itself is clearly been going on. >> come over here to christian white and first, and then jonathan -- we will get to you last. >> -- given all the challenges toward -- using official cover of intelligence operatives -- russia. would it make sense, do you think, to make -- [ inaudible ]. >> i have spent more time outside of the area then must anybody who has been in sight. i think what is going on, i
don't know anything about what is going on today. in the age of the iphone. the point is, in dangerous or denied operational areas, if you can get anybody out of the country, the best thing is to do that, meaning maybe not necessarily london, but you could pick any number of other places in the world. and, russians can move so much more freely than one imagines. that is the big option. we used to try to say, 10 steps ahead of surveillance to do a pass somewhere in moscow. and, yes, the argument is, the second oldest profession, or the first. i don't know. it hasn't changed a lot until about now. i guess, these are big changes. that's a nice way of saying i have no idea.
what we can do today. >> this is for george. but anyone else can jump in. you talk about the interaction with the americans. you focused on the intervention of the 2016 elections. but, -- russian challenges became far more expensive than epic you have the military challenges alone. the flyovers, the dangerous passover's of american naval vessels. and aircraft. you have the deployment of nuclear capable missiles in --. you have the deployment of these new nuclear armed or capable cruise missiles in southern russia. there are -- know that we know of, nuance control, conventional or nuclear going on. the strategic dialogue is all but dead. don't those challenges, don't you have to add those
challenges to what has happened in the election? to get a much broader picture of where the russians are? >> yeah. i think you do. but, many of the things you are talking about their are more constants than variables. -- alluded to the comment that president obama may. he wasn't the only one a few years ago. russia is basically a regional power. it poses a regional to. out of weakness, not out of strength, if i recall correctly what the president said. and, he said this after ukraine. after the annexation. after the launch of the hybrid -- in eastern ukraine. he is basically saying, hey, look. let's keep the russian threat in perspective here. now, that has changed. that threat assessment has changed rather dramatically. to
the point where we don't think russia as a region -- is a regional threat. we think they are an existential threat to the united states. the very heart of our system. and, that change in threat perception occurred while all of those things that you are talking about, the flyovers, the developments, the new strategic weapon systems, the: grant activities that you are talking about, all of that had been going on for quite some time. those are not what is driving our threat perception. are they real issues? are they real things we have to contend with in the bilateral relationship, and the multilateral activities in the international community? absolutely. but, i don't think they tell us much about how we view russian intention. >> anybody else have --? those are very -- that had been, i say, all the way back when submarines were playing games with each other, or --
missile systems. that is indeed a constant. it has been around a long time. but, i think that the package as a whole probably represents something new, what you are getting it. >> even at the height of the cold war, we were still having strategic arms control negotiations and agreements. that is not happening anymore. >> we were still developing new systems on both sides. i think. this didn't happen overnight. >> -- i wrote it. >> for a number of years, most of us would not consider russia as a main enemy. -- would disagree -- who was responsible. what were russian intentions? what were judgments? -- for better or worse, we now
consider russia as a main enemy. they are not asking, whether this is -- american mainstay. >> -- incorporate into the seney closing thoughts that you have. >> as i did with my dear friend -- who wrote the book, my main enemy. the characterization of who we were. we were the main enemy. they are the main enemy. is that, i had disagreements with people when i was at cia. some people sort of hated the soviet union because they were commies. they have also got 30,000 warheads. and, it will go more or less downrange. it is a more logical way to approach this. today, where are we?
does anybody pose that type of threat? i don't think we would ever look at china with what we know now. they have enough warheads. to answer your question, i think, i could probably say, the main enemy thing is not a bad characterization. because, who was second place? >> there is a lot packed into that characterization that i think we need to unpack and get right. and russian -- is different than --. right? main opponents, versus an enemy. russia is an adversary. it is an opponent on the world chessboard. no question about that. but, that is a different thing than believing that russia is
our primary enemy, and that its opposition to the united states is a derivation of fundamental incompatibilities between our political system and there's. why is that? because, if that enemy status is immutable, it derives from things that are constant about us and about russia. you cannot change that. it exists independent of our behavior. and, there is nothing to do other than to outcompete them. to defeat them. i don't think that is what is going on at all here. i think a significant portion of the animosity and hostility that exists on both sides derives not from the nature of the system, but because of behaviors. in the world. that we have some control over on both sides. it is the basic for negotiation and talk. backed by force, backed by
leverage? absolutely. but it is not something that is irreconcilable fundamentally. >> i agree with george. i see it more as strategic rather than --, like with china. on that list, i think there are a number of things that we should be worried about if we become obsessed with georgia. we run the risk of missing other serious issues. i worry about cyber a huge amount. that the subject for another talk sometime. i want to close with one or two quick points on the ancient china question. i was struck immediately. when the sanctions were imposed after crimea, the first place putin went with china. very, very quickly. i think within two months. by the end of the year, they signed this major new deal on oil and gas. which, it has continued since then. if you look more broadly, it is the outreach to japan. a little bit to south korea. i was also struck by the major move in the middle east, in terms of russia's efforts to
buy into a lot of, not just energy, per se, but the exploitation, the production, the pipelines, the logistics of the energy business, struck me as a little bit of an insurance policy putin was pursuing to ensure streams of revenue, because he could see what was going to happen with the sanctions. also, what the europeans were going to be having to do for the sanctions. they were as hard-line about crimea as the u.s. in closing, i want to read a great quote from the robert label book that came out a little while ago. which i subscribe to completely. he is saying, as we get into this new cold war, it is going to move the stages. and, it truly will pick when the two sides relent and seek their own detente, the earlier experience will have an echo in two respects. first, contemporary russia's preoccupation with being treated as an equal. resonates no less powerfully
than it did for the soviet union. i absolutely believe that. they want to be treated as an equal. certainly, but does. secondly, this is right spot on. second. success will depend on mutually agreeable rules of the game, where, from the beginning, the interaction between u.s. and russia has been the most broad for those countries that once comprised the soviet union. ukraine, and others. but we certainly saw it in georgia. if there are any movements or activities, where the perception is nato or even the eu is making inroads, that they see potentially as leading to nato. they will react. that, in particular, because it is the direct national security interest. it will remain one of the dicey asked. we will have to manage our relationships with those countries. >> thank you very much peter. thank you so much --.
>> washington journal, live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. coming up wednesday morning. vanderbilt university professor and author john nietzsche on his new book on how americans and japan -- fear and strife here's an north carolina congressman, mark walker, talks about conservative priorities in the house. be sure to watch the washington journal live seven eastern wednesday morning. join the discussion. >> here's a rundown on the live events wednesday on the cspan networks. at 10 am, they continue work on the defense programs bill. that lays out pentagon policy in the coming year. the senate works on several nominations, and on cspan 3, secretary of state, mike pompeo
testifies for the first time as secretary at a house foreign affairs committee hearing. our coverage beginning at 9 am pick in the afternoon, house democrats hear from high school students about gun violence. >> i think the most important thing the leaders of our great country can do is preserve our rights as citizens, not only in nevada, but for all of the country. and, in this day of censorship, i think they need to remember that we are the freest country in the world. and it needs to stay like that. >> i think the most important thing going on in our state is education. i feel like we have more resources, and more income coming to our teachers to help provide education first so that we may succeed in life. >> the most important issue anywhere, especially the state of nevada and in the northern nevada regions, is two things. one, affordable housing.
whatever affordable housing maiming. and number 2, is workforce. it is where we are going so rapidly, that we just don't have enough people to build and to fill the jobs. >> -- going on in the state. poverty. we need to add more jobs so people can work and make money for the families and have a good life >> the most important issue, i would say is keeping our environment clean and safe for all kinds of organisms and species. >> voices from the state. part of cspan's city capitals tour. and their stop in carson city nevada. >> -- as a grand strategist, with that he knew the advantages of shock and awe. this is how he unified germany in the 1860s. he instigated wars with denmark, austria, hungary. and eventually, france.
just started them himself. but then, having done that, and having a cheese -- achieved his object, which was the unification of germany, he stopped. and, he became a consolidator, rather than an instigator. and, his next 20 years in power as german chancellor were devoted to trying to build reassuring alliances, to build kind of a web of alliances with all of germany's neighbors, so they would get used to the idea of a unified germany. it is that distinction between shock and awe and knowing when to stop and do something else, reassurance. >> yale university professor, john lewis gaddis, and his book, a grand strategy. on strategic inking and leadership for contemporary global challenges. that he not a great eastern on cspan 3's -- cspan's q&a. >> next.