tv Russian Influence Efforts CSPAN May 25, 2018 5:16am-6:59am EDT
web of alliances with all of germany's neighbors so they would get used to the idea of a unified germany. so it was that distinction between shock and then knowing when to stop and do something else, reassurance. >> yale university john lewis gattis anhis book on strategy. sunday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span's q&a. now, the scepter for the national interests hoist a panel discussion with -- center for national interests host a panel discussion. this is an hour and 40 minutes. there's a hush. i guess that means i should start. all right! thank you very much, everyone, for joining us today.
i'm paul saunders, the executive director for the center for the national interests. we're 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's quite clear that the united states and russia are in competitive and increasingly adversary relationship today. it's 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're engaged in. but also from an analytical perspective as the u.s.
government tries to understand russia, what it's doing, what it might do, what its motives are, and actually what its decision-making system is. what does it mean when we say, russia wants this or russia wants that? i think we have a great group here today to talk about that. i will introduce each of them senator roberts went usually -- success consequently as we speak. d -- sequentially as we speak. peter clemmons to my right is the senior research fellow in an abjacket -- abjuct senior research professor.
he was the deputy director of intelligence for analytical programs and in a number of other key posts. peter is a long-time russia watcher and we're very pleased that he could be with us today. so peter -- >> thank you so much. >> -- let's start with you. and i would ask each of you to try to limit it to ten minutes. we have a big group. i'm sure we'll have a lot of questions and discussions. >> first, thank you for having me. always a pleasure to see a lot of old friends and colleagues from the intelligence me, the think tank, other agencies around town and other media friends i've made over the years. so thank you for having me today. i'll cut to the chase and try to identify a core question. give you my thoughts on that
core question and hopefully framed discussion that we have on the panel but also during the q&a. so the core question i've been thinking a lot about is: what exactly is putin going to do in the next sucks years now that -- six years now that he's won his election? some may have seen the story of him wanting to run in 2024. there are already headlines in russia. that's a whole subject in and of itself. i'll focus in on the next six years. by the way, i think everybody has become a russia expert. it's impossible not to pick up a newspaper and everyone has an opinion on putin. i'm just one of them. i spend a lot of time looking at russia. but i acknowledge there's a lot of people looking closely at mr. putin and the russians and what they're doing. in reading the wide range of literature that's out there now, i'm going to generalize
and say there's basically two schools of thought i'm seeing emerge on where putin may be headed the next six years. the first is that putin has turned away from the west. no way he's going to get back on track. and that perspective is epitomized by a recent article in "global affairs." came out in april. i only cite that because a good academic friend of mine that's very plugged in to russians and ukrainians. he said, peter! read this article! this is what's going on really! i read it. it was a very provocative piece. and the thrust of it is basically that russia is a half blood. it is a half breed. it's between east and west and because of what's happened since 2014, crimea, we have a
path where russia will remain that way maybe a century or longer. it'll never become part of the west. the die has been cast. that's one extreme. the other school of thought is, no, no, no, no. putin is a realist. putin understands there are certain things he must do to try to get russia back on track for his domestic, economic reasons, for his own political position in terms of the relations he has with colleagues who have benefited from this cronyism system he's put into place. and this school argues that on the economic side, putin understands there has to be some interaction with the west both politically and economically. if he's ever going to get russia on a different track that takes him off the mono economy curse, if you will.
if you can't do that, they'll always be susceptible to the oil market. the sign that those people say is critical, is where is mr. kudrin? if he's elevated to be mr. for the economics or finances or prime minister, that would be the biggest signal of all that putin has decided, we must be engaged. i have the right guy that'll do this. he was not among the last meeting together. not a big, powerful position. but nonetheless for those who believe this track. he's sort of in a holding pattern but still there. his name is still out there. maybe putin will see where things go and let him do hard things and get rid of him and
elevate kudrin. these would be the two far ends of the spectrum. what are some of the indicators i'd look at? the things i'd look for to see which direction putin is going. everyday you should be checking the price of oil. i am sure most of you do. if you checked this morning, texas west crude is up $72.30 a ball. 72 -- a barrel. the brent crude is pretty high. for my money, no pun intended, to the extent these prices stay the same levels the next six months, year or so, putin can put off the hard decisions. they're getting a windfall right now. remember this year's budget was
based on $44 a barrel. if you double that, that gives you more breathing room to get through where we are right now with all sanctions they're facing and even more sanctions that seem to be on tap. second factor i'd look at -- and this one i actually have given more thought to. that's legacy. i call it the legacy factor. you personally believe that putin is all about legacy. this is a man who is obsessed with russian history -- and a lot of russians are. i'm a little obsessed about it myself having city did youd it. but -- having studied it. but putin never muscles out on an opportunity to look back on history. we were all told about vladimir and the conversion to christianity and how important that was to solidify the idea that crimea will always remain
part of russia. what i'm struck -- i was in moscow last november and i hadn't been there in several years. and i came across this gigantic statue of prince vladimir as one of the entryways to the kremlin. it's 60 feet tall. and we have vladimir with this huge, huge cross. so if you didn't catch the symbolism, it's not only prince vladimir in the old days but the same one who brought christianity to russia. the ukrainians had a strong reaction to this. but there it 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're looking for potential indicators, you could have a debate on what is
it putin lives as his legacy? one could make the argument he reincorporated crimea to his rightful place, quote, unquote, to the russian federation. he built this amazing bridge at 11.9 miles which is nearing completion by the way. if you get the chance, watch the video of putin's pitch out there. it's almost done. sometime this summer they were talking about maybe cars going through it. i'm sure that'll be part of his legacy. but it's linked to crimea. if he has broader ambitions -- and i'm not dismissing this although i'm not sure that's where he is, but you can't know these things with a high level of confidence. what if that broader is to reincorporate more of ukraine? and so that brings us to
lou honkes. more casual leads to the point where you have a crisis where the russians have to intervene to protect the poor locals that have been abused by the local government and annex another chunk of ukraine? for people who think this may be a possibility, you should read the piece "rebuilding russia" from 1990. i've always been struck at the great interest putin has in the author. the irony was obvious. the kgb that kicked him out of the country. we have a former kgb officer that's embraced him. if you read "rebuilding russia," you'll understand why. i'll leave that to the q&a.
it's a fascinating read. but i think to putin -- and this is where i'd be looking at indicators -- if you believe legacy is something that drives his thinking, for my money, ukraine is a place i'd look most seriously. i'll stop there in the interest of time. >> thank you very much, peter. so let's turn next to milt 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 cia's operation in afghanistan and pakistan to counter the soviet intervention in afghanistan. and for that effort, actually, he received the agency's
highest decoration of the distinguished intelligence medal. he also from 1989 to '92, directed the clandestine operations against the soviet empire as a whole. and then following that, he was the chief of station in bond as east and west germany were uniting. so someone with a very deep and rich experience on the operational side of the cia's work and someone who has actually received not only the highest cia medal but also several other cia medals for his distinguished service there. so we'll turn to you. >> thanks for inviting me, paul. it's an honor to be here. i'll quickly cut to the chase
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. for us americans and now that i'm coming from texas, it's surely the truth. most americans learn history from the football coach. but what i would do is to walk you through a little bit of the operational history at the end of the soviet union from my perspective. first is deputy chief in the soviet east germany division. and then the afghan adventure that the soviets had. and then sitting in the chief's job 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 the cia could be used in every agency in washington, it would be pen straited. we saw the -- penetrated. we saw the evidence of this as we watched 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 because of suitability issues, as we said, turned up defecting to the soviet union, we thought we found our answer. indeed we had not because still alive and well. and the betrayals went on.
i did move then at bill casey's request into pakistan to take over the soviet adventure in afghanistan from 1986 to '89. and at that moment, general borrus of the iron man in a very theatrical meeting with his young son maximum. friendship bring. he majority offed out of afghanistan as the hero -- he marched out of afghanistan as the hero of afghanistan. that ended a ten-year, almost ten-year adventure in afghanistan which i think brought about some of the things that rapidly followed. to whit, in may of the next year, the hundred good samaritans good june, the elections.
we -- hungarians rapidly began moving from east to west. and then the elections in poland where communism was voted out of a warsaw pact country. and then into the summer and fall of that year, elections started. a few hundred and then a few thousand. and then by the fall, by november in 1989, you had the berlin wall breached. 329 days later, germany was reunited under nato. that was one of the more stunning political maneuvers by the united states and others. and i think a more clueless
clueless gorbacov. i think march 31st -- i think they moved it up a day so it wouldn't happen on april fools' day. the warsaw pact slipped below the waist and it was over. it wasn't long before a small detachment of red army soldiers marched out on a criminal -- kremlin wall. that was it. that was the end of this long experiment. what i would leave you with -- we can talk in the q&a -- every step of the way, i think the soviets, the kgb, putins and kgb officer blamed us for everything that 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 berlin wall, i was told we were watching cnn the whole time and bush came out and gates was there with him. and bush said, we knew you knew what was going on in the white house. we just threw up our hands! and he let this thing play out as it did. and so i do think to answer one of the questions peter raised is that there is a real history based and perhaps both the history of more recent years that is payback time for the united states that we, in fact, brought about all of this.
that they made long before. and none of it for their kids were able to enjoy most. so let me leave it at that. and we can go in to whatever -- however we'd like to play this out. >> maybe i could ask before we turn to george. kind of a pointed question. as you think back to kind of the 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 lessons from how we managed the competition from that time that may 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 -- they remind us every so often who they were. hungry in 56. maybe '48 before that. czech 1968, their intervention in afghanistan about 1969. so about every ten years or so, they'd do something to remind us exactly what the soviet union was. and so any progress they may have made against us with the immense -- and i think the only word i could use -- the immense amount of self-power that the united states had during most of that period -- failed. i mean, they have made loss on the margins pretty good and
well thought through. but i think moving through the larger american target, they didn't fail. today, it's different. i think that the europeans could at this point be managed to believe almost anything about the united states as populations much more readily than when we had 365,000 young american g.i.'s working across the gap. a similar number of soviets. the rest of nato dismissed. i think that putin particularly will move against us where we may be most vulnerable today. and i'd say that's in europe, the nato alliance.
and by extension of that, the european union itself. >> thank you very much. thank you. let's turn last to my colleague, george. like peter, career analyst. a former head of the russian analysis programs at the agency. and a former national security aid. and a delightful colleague. >> thank you, paul. i'd like to start out by misquoting one of our nation's most famous intelligence analysts. and that was mark twain. and the quote is: it's 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. um, 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 towards the united states. i want to read you quotes about what prominent americans are saying about these intentions. russia hopes to fatally undermine a distracted west. that's from george will. well known conservative columnist. putin's fundamental goal is undermining american democracy. that's paul waldman. comes from a different political point of view. russia is attempting to destroy democracy in the united states. that's republican senator john mccain. russia is trying to bring down our way of government. that's democratic senator ben
carden. putin wants to make the world safe for russian autocracy which means crushing democracy closer to home. that's a former senior state department official. i think fundamentally, there's an aversion to our whole system, an aversion to democracy. putin doesn't believe in it. and he views it as threatening to him personally. i just think that it's almost in hisgenes to do what he did in the meddling of the elections and he'll continue to do it. that's james clappard. and he summed up all of this in one neat sound byte. and that is, they're in to do us in.
in other words, russia may not appear to incinerate the united states physically, although it certainly has the wherewithall of doing that. but rather it hopes to undermine our democratic institutions action to set americans against each other, conquer our nation by exacerbating divisions and dysfunction. there's almost nobody on the u.s. political spectrum today that takes issue with that. this is something that we seem to know for sure. but i would argue this is something that could get us in trouble because we haven't looked very deeply at this question. and this is something that's an important function of intelligence analysis, understanding the intentions of foreign adversaries is critical to understanding the nature of the threat, how real it is, how damaging it may be, and also formulating effective responses to dealing with that threat.
to get the intentions wrong, you often get your prescriptions wrong. but it's not an easy thing to do. it requires what you may call analytic empathy. that's walking around in somebody else's shoes for a while, seeing things through their eyes. understanding their hopes and fears, goals, aspirations, the con trains they're under. -- constraints they're under. nobody is really 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're 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 analytic humility.
how do we do this with russia? how do we compare the belief that russia is trying to destroy democracy in the united states to reality? we do a subjective thing. perceptions are squishy. but tackle it in a real way. couple suggestions. one, let's look at what the russians are saying about our perceptions. they're well aware of what the state of our beliefs are. they follow this with a good deal of interest. what are they saying of 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 consist within those goals? and are they doing -- consistent with those goals? and are they doing things inconsistent with those goals?
and the third thing, do their activities add up to the types of objectives that we're posing they've got. what are the russians saying about our perceptions? i'll read some 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 antiputin reader in russia. that's from a liberal russian journalist and very staunch putin opponent. so he's looking at what we're saying about russia and saying, i don't recognize the country you're describing. another quote: only a blind man would not see that russia's
diplomats is not fixating on decaying regimes but principles. more often than not, the road to hell is paveed in good intentions. that's from the senior russian foreign policy adviser, a putin supporter. last quote: what this hype is really doing is elevating the kremlin to the position of the world's med letter and chief by reading a -- meddler and chief by reading a coherent idea. i'm an agnostic abjuct as to whether a -- ago insistic as to whether an ideology exists.
so you can see there's a real contrast between the russians say when they look at what we're seeing about their intentions and about what we're seeing. so, why does this matter? well, it matters in part because it affects russian behaviors. the presidential election held in russia in march. one of the noteworthy results about this. con stuff went cities have not tip -- constituencies have not been doing so well in russia. those living abroad for a reason -- they don't particularly like what's going on in russia under putin. they're living in europe, the
united states. they've voted in much greater numbers for putin in this past election than they have in the past. why? well, part of the reason is what they themselves site as a reaction to what they call rusophobia in the west. that's creating a rally around putin effect. not something in u.s. interests to see. so second question: what do they do? here i want to look at a couple of counterfacts that should cause us to question the conventional wisdom of russian intentions. so if russia regards democracy as a mortal threat, something that by its very nature threatens the viability of the russian state, is this evident in how they treat democracies around the world? i think the evidence says, no, actually. in the news from a couple weeks
ago should give us some pause. russia was celebrating victory day, may 9th. celebrating the triumph over nazi germany and world war ii. victory parade in moscow. putin is marching. who is next to him? benjamin netanyahu. who, in fact, talks to putin probably more often than any other foreign leader. there's a close relationship between israel and russia. do they agree on everything? absolutely not. their interests concerning in some areas and diverge in others in very important ways. but they're able to manage their disagreements in a way that's pragmatic. there's no evidence whatsoever that democracy in israel -- which is about as democratic a
system as you'll find -- in any way causes heartburn in russia. a long-standing historical relationship there. again, india and russia do not agree on everything. there's some significant differences on their outlook and interests. but indian democracy, the world's largest democracy, as far as i can tell doesn't cause any heartburn in moscow itself. it is not a threat. last question. how do ends and means balance there? and here i think there are a couple things that we would want to focus on. what things would we have expected the russians to do back in the 2016 presidential election if they were really trying to sabotage u.s. democracy as opposed to poking
their finger in our eye by contrast? well, one of the things that they could have done was to circulate this information that they were messing with the vote counting. as you know, there's a lot of evidence that they probed vote counting systems in a lot of states. as far as i know, no evidence that they actually sabotaged the vote count. but what's interesting here is not that they didn't try to sabotage the vote count. it's that no russian propaganda organ, no russian linked troll, no cutout that could have had plausible deniability suggested that they had. --
a why didn't the russians throw a little bit of disinformation 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 if you look at what the russians did during the election, you don't see a discernible pattern. in their advertising placement in social media, in the trolling postings that went on. their messaging was all over the map. they had no real consistent themes. it didn't look like they were targeting swing states with any kind of coherent strategy. and finally, it's pretty clear the russians have the ability in the cyber realm to do some things that haven't happened. they can turn out the lights in key areas at least temporarily.
they can 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 did that. that's exactly the point, i think. 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, they want to knock us off
the democracy crusade. democracy by itself doesn't threaten them. it's not who we are that concerns them. it's what we do. attempting to spread democracy abroad, in ways the russians believe are destabilizing, bring disorder and violence, not prosperity and order. that they find threatening and want to change. no question about it. and 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 russian interests than it solves. why? not hard to imagine the impact on the global economy, real
disorder here. russian is a part of the global economy. there's no way they escape the damaging effects of that outcome for them. who would control u.s. nuclear weapons? big question 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 with the united states. i'll leave you with a final thought before we go to q&a. and it's a quote from an actual american soviet expert, martin mallia, who wrote a book i recommend everyone to read called "russia under western eyes." looking to change 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 idealize russia less because of her real role in europe and the united states but because of the fears and frustrations, the hopes and aspirations generated within western society itself by its over 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's generated largely from within, projecting many of those domestic problems and fears onto russia. i think 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 set out a
thesis i believe is somewhat controversial in the context of our current debates. maybe i could ask each of you peter and milt just to react briefly to that. perhaps you first, peter. >> is there a specific part? >> well, uh, let's -- let's focus in on our public discussion of russia's motives and intent towards the united states. >> i am in large agreement with the idea that i don't think putin seeks to destroy the u.s. in part for the reasons that george has cited. but also because a lot of our internal domestic problems aren't from our own doing. i think they have exploited it. i do agree with the intelligence community assessment that came out in
january 2017 about russian interference. there's no question the data occurred in part because of the dislike of senator clinton. -- secretary clinton. and there's a long history we can get into in the q&a about that issue. but i think it's a deep, long rooted history very focused on her. and they felt secondary benefits from doing this kind of intervention. but the core issue of polarization was already there. >> thank you so much, peter. milt, do you have any reactionsesome. >> i do! i don't -- reactions? >> i do! i don't think putin who i think is a realist wants to destroy us or a democracy. i think that's too far for him. but i do think that they -- that their -- and i agree with
peter. they did meddle. i don't know the extent what their meddling amounted to but they were there. and they will do it again if they can. i do -- i do think they see some of what's been generated by issues here in america as opening up their options and, let's say, with nato. i think they'll be putting pressure on nato based on how we're treating nato ourselves and how well they can probably work in europe. i do think that the things they haven't done indeed they haven't done. but there are options that are still open to them. the one i'd throw out to all of us is i don't know what percentage of americans and the
liberal believe that there's a rusophile. at some point, it would serve the interests of vladimir putin to put +++la(ue, 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 --.