tv QA CSPAN March 6, 2016 11:00pm-11:57pm EST
followed by british prime minster david cameron taking questions. later govern john kasich cames ohio with former california governor arnold schwarzenegger. ♪ >> this week, robert kaplan. he discusses his book, "in europe's shadow: two cold wars and a thirty-year journey through romania and beyond." brian: robert kaplan and your new book -- you started by talking about books. why? robert: i think the ultimate goal of travel is to create a geography. beautiful landscapes and treating landscapes of you do to books about them to explain their past.
those books be due to other books. often very obscure ones. we travel to learn and we can only learn by reading. the relationship between travel and good books is inextricable. brian: why a book about romania? robert: i have had a third of a century long obsession with romania because it is where essentially i started my professional life. where i realized i was finally doing what i wanted. brian: 1973? robert: my first visit was in 1973 as a backpack after college. i stayed in youth hostels from east germany down to bulgaria. that journey taught me that all these countries were the same.
what i found in 1973 was at they were all extremely different from each other because even communism could not erase their ethnic histories, geographies, cultures. that trip did not really start my session with romania. that happened later. it happened in 1981. in the fall. i was getting out of the israeli defense forces. i was in jerusalem. i found a book, a seemingly obscure book by a canadian author and expert on central and eastern europe. he talked about all of the countries of the region the way i had experienced it. an idea came into my mind that i would travel through central and
eastern europe but israel only had direct flights to bucharest, the capital of romania. that was the only country it had diplomatic relations with. i bought a one-way ticket. i had little money. i had a few phone numbers. i left for the black-and-white engraving of november. i did it because in the middle east, there were hundreds upon hundreds of journalists all covering the same story, which was the subsidiary of the cold war. when i got to romania, there were no journalists covering the main story of the second half of the 20th century, which was the cold war itself. brian: i have to ask you about being a member of the israeli defense force. you were not born in israel. how long were you in?
robert: i travel through the middle east in the 1970's. i arrived in israel with little money. i liked the country immensely. i stayed. i was drafted into the military but over time, i did not -- my liking for israel did not dissipate but i did not want to spend my life there. i had wanderlust. i wanted to see other things. brian: what did you do? robert: nothing particularly interesting. for one year. brian: the fact that you are jewish means you can serve automatically? robert: yes. i left in 1981. later, i renounced my citizenship in order to serve in government. brian: in the united states.
where were you born? robert: new york city, 1952. brian: you were here for book notes in 1996. i want to run a clip from that and see what you think about your prediction back then. [begin video clip] >> for most of the people in the world, things have gradually been getting better. one of the messages of this book is that a critical mass of third world inhabitants, things are going to get tumultuous environment over the next 20-30 years. a long-range future may be dry but the next 20-30 years and a significant part of the globe may be very bloody. it is not because of poverty so much. people do not go to war because they are poor. these places are rapidly changing and developing and developing is always violent and uneven and painful and cruel.
[end video clip] brian: how did you do? robert: i think i did fairly well. i like the way i look then better than now. a journalists cannot predict the near-term future. silly decisions are made and it is figuring world wind of human passion and individual action. journalists cannot predict the long-range future because who knows what the world will be and 50-70 five years? the best in journalist can do is to make us a bit less surprised and shocked by what is going to happen in the near term. in the middle term future -- i should say. five years. if a news story or a book makes you a bit less surprised about development in a given country 5-10 years out that is the best a journalist can do. brian: you told us to had been
to 75 countries. how many more since then? robert: i have stopped counting, i have stopped counting but i never really covered latin america much. never really covered many of the pacific islands much. there are places i have never been. i have never been to st. petersburg. there are other places. there are holes. what you travel alone? brian: robert: you want to be face-to-face with the landscape you do not want your ideas and reactions condition by somebody with you. because once somebody is with you will enter into a relationship with them and that will act as a block to the landscape your do you do not want to have your ideas and opinions conditioned by others however, you cannot completely travel alone. often you need a translator, someone to make arrangements for
you especially as i get older. but the idea, the goal is to be as abundant as you possibly can. brian: 1973 you are in romania. how monday tuesday? robert: i stayed 10 days and those with a 10 days that changed me. made me think differently about a lot of things. from there i went to bulgaria, kosovo, which was then part of yugoslavia. i went to the kosovo, serbian, and croatian parts of yugoslavia, into hungry, into czechoslovakia and east germany. brian: how many times have you been there since? robert: i went back to romania in 1982, 1983, 1984. after 1984i published an essay in the new republic called
romanian gymnastics, why it is like stalin's russia. i was no longer even a visa after that. so i did not go back until 1990, four months after the 1989 revolution. i spent two months in the country in 1990. then i was back for another month in 1998 for another book. then i went back for an extended visit in 2013. i made four extended visits in 2013 and 2014. brian: i want to run some video from 1989. we will have you explain what this is. [begin video clip] [crowd chanting]
been in power since 1965. he replaced the previous dictator. the previous dictator brought stalinism to romania. he was a brutal tyrant. what nicolae ceau?escu did was to add the north korean element to romanian stalinism in terms of the pageantry, the personality called. nicolae ceau?escu who went to north korea and most people were shocked -- but they were impressed. they said, we can do this in romania. that was the moment when the crowd turned against the dictator and the façade of dictatorship collapsed and from then on, a helicopter took him from the top of that building to an area north of bucharest.
it was there a few days later where he was executed. brian: and his wife? robert: his wife was executed. the decision was made by several reform communists who were fallen into disfavor. among them was a man who had worked for -- a stalinist in his youth, who worked for nicolae ceau?escu until 1987. talked to him about the decision to have him executed. he told me, we decided that they both had to be executed or else they could have gathered the security and intelligence around them and we might have had bloodshed going on for months. we had to stop the chaos. then i asked a naïve question,
did you have to execute her? and he looked at me like i was a fool and he said he was almost more important to execute her then to execute him. brian: what impact did that assassination have on romania? robert: it called things down. people knew that they had turned a corner. the violence stopped. order was restored under officially a democracy but in fact it was reform communist who took power. they ruled in what you would call officially a democracy that really a gorbachev-style reformed communism until the mid-1990's when full democracy finally came to romania. brian: in the middle of your writing this book, there had been major corruption trials. some people say it was the most
corruption in the world. explain that. robert: it is a good thing that it is being exposed. romania was endemically corrupt. this is nothing new. the romanian population has grown up and become more sophisticated and is demanding clean government. it is its number one demand. klaus iohannis was elected on the pledge that i will move closer to the west and i would develop clean institutions as humanly possible. brian: who had they been trying and convicting?
what kind of people? robert: often people in business. i am not sure about the exact people but basically, what was going on is a lesson is the old way of doing things will no longer work because we are going after you. brian: when did you finish this book? robert: i finished at the end of 2014 which was about 15 months ago. brian: what you want somebody wandering in a bookstore seeing your book to know about this book? why you would read it if you don't know anything about romania? robert: it is a deep vertical dive. so many of my former books were horizontal studies. here, i look at one country in death and i use it to explore great themes, the holocaust, the
cold war, the challenge of vladimir putin. romanian speaking moldova have a longer border with ukraine and poland. the challenge and also about empire, the cause is where the austro-hungarian -- the habsburg empire overlapped with czars to russian empires, the soviet empire, the turkish empire, the byzantine empire. to study romania is to study the legacy of empires. brian: what is the relationship now and also back in 1989 with this country? robert: in 1989, romania was a pariah state. when i published that article they 1984, romanian gymnastics, what i was reacting to was the fact that there was a miniature news cycle in 1984, the los
angeles olympics, when nicolae ceau?escu sent a team to compete while the rest of the soviet bloc boycotted the olympics so nicolae ceau?escu was a hero to i informed americans. the purpose of the article was to -- that he actually ran the most oppressive state in the soviet bloc. after the revolution, especially into the 1990's, romania felt very insecure like other countries and it wasn't -- it trusted the united states more than nato in brussels. it had to prove that it was a loyal ally to the united states so romania sent troops not only to afghanistan but also to iraq and it sent troops to several u.s. military exercises in africa -- wherever the u.s.
wanted allies, the romanians came along, as did the polls because they wanted to say, we are there for you in a matter what -- please be there for us. brian: what was our relationship with nicolae ceau?escu? robert: we tried to use him because this is very subtle. romania was always different than its neighbors. didn't speak a slavik language, it spoke to a latin language. always had much worse relations with russia, historically speaking, then the other countries of the warsaw pact, save for poland perhaps. nicolae ceau?escu was in a vague way following romanian tradition of separating himself from the soviet union by having what was called a maverick foreign policy. he had diplomatic relations with
israel. it was very superficial. he was no threat to the soviet union because he ran the most lockdown stalinist state in the block. the soviets were annoyed with nicolae ceau?escu and gorbachev was especially annoyed because gorbachev was all about liberal open-minded communism and so gorbachev -- the romanian revolution that killed nicolae ceau?escu in december 1989, that may have been the only one of the revelations that gorbachev actually liked. brian: how did they kill them? robert: firing squad. brian: you met with his son? robert: i never actually did -- i refer to him in the book but i never met him. brian: what happened to him? robert: his son went into exile
and died a few years later of cirrhosis, some disease related to drinking. brian: how big is romania? robert: 23 million people. poland is in high 30's-40's. it is about the size of oregon or something. what is important about your question is romania is the demographic and geographical organizing principle of southeastern europe to the same extent that poland is to northeastern europe. it is sort of the poland of the balkans in terms of his geopolitical importance. brian: how to change between 1981-2013? robert: in 1981, the colors were black and white. 2000 13, it is multicolored. in 1981, it made a profound impression on me because of the
long bread lines -- literally bread lines, people waiting in line for stale bread. mile long and it was the only communist regime in eastern europe that start its own people. 2000 and 13, bucharest is glittering, it is a mishmash, and as a lot of bad new architecture -- some good new architecture, beautiful new plexiglas vancouver-like buildings right next to vacant lots because this is part of the corruption. the property regime -- who owns what after communism has still not been resolved in many places, so you have vacant lots because nobody can legally determine who the owner is what hasn't been built upon. as a mishmash. but that is very humanizing in a way because it doesn't have some
archetypal millenarian utopian belief. brian: in world war ii, what country was at allied with? robert: nazi germany. romania had a loyal. the fields near bucharest. hitler needed the oil. romania had a dictator -- a very interesting man. he was in the terrorist, a nationalist, a realist, and authoritarian. he was not strictly a fascist because he purged the fascists from his regime early on. one his rule showed was that even realism, militaries and, authoritarianism taken a bit too far can be to hundreds of thousands of murders. brian: we have some video of his death. how did he die?
who killed him? that is in. robert: he was executed -- brian: you will see that. in a minute. go ahead. robert: he was executed by firing squad after being convicted of war crimes. fairly close to bucharest. he was convicted by a pro-soviet regime that was installed in the wake of stop's victory in eastern europe. brian: we are watching that not only did they shoot him, they came up with a pistol and shot him again and again. was that a video available -- what year did he die? robert: 1946. antonescu met with hitler 10 times in used russia, austria,
other places are from the very beginning of his dictatorship to the very end, his last meeting with hitler was in 1944. antonescu came back from that meeting very depressed. he started being depressed after stalingrad when he realized for the first time that the nazis may not win the war game where does that leave me? because up until that time he had been murdering hundreds of thousands of jews outside romania in what is today moldova and translate syria which is east of romania in what used to be the soviet union. even as -- but after 1943, he changed. he kept hundreds of thousands of jews from inside romania proper from going to the gas chambers in german-occupied poland. it was what scholars have called
opportunistic mercy. he saw that hitler may not win the war and he started to change his behavior. as a way to survive himself. when he came back from the last meeting with hitler, he knew that his days were numbered and he was overthrown in a palace coup in august, 1944. then romania switched sides. romania is interesting. it was the only country even more so than italy that actually switched sides in the midst of world war ii. hundreds of thousands of romanian troops fought ferociously for hitler at stalingrad and by the end of the war, hundreds of thousands of romanian troops were fighting ferociously against hitler in order to regain transylvania from hungary. brian: what is transylvania? robert: transylvania means be on
the forest. it is the region to the northwest of the carpathian mountains. it was part of the austro-hungarian empire. before that, the habsburg empire. central europe. gothic, baroque architecture, with its café culture, the culture of the dessert, civilization, cosmopolitanism. a connotative many good things. it is also a place with a large minority of ethnic hungarians because the region had been part of greater hungary until romanians got it back at the end of world war ii but actually i am telescoping history because the region changed hands many times. brian: how many jews were murdered in the holocaust from romania? robert: basically, hear is the
record. over 300,000 jews were murdered by antonescu's troops with antonescu's bureaucratic fingerprints all over it. in the regions outside romania but occupied by the romanian army in the midst of hitler's operation barbarossa to capture the soviet union. romanian troops got as far as odessa, the port in the middle of the black sea. i believe the number was 375,000 but it is in the book specifically. all of this is the work of some real trailblazing scholars who have really solidified the record following the release of the soviet archives, the romanian archives after 1989 in the 1990's. inside romania proper, there are
about 300,000 jews who are being kept from the gas chamber but nevertheless they were, there were 15,000 jews killed by antonescu's troops inside romania -- the most famous event being in 1941. brian: this is your 16th book. when did you decide you want to do this book? robert: i had been thinking about doing a book on romania for years and years but i wasn't sure. first i thought, i will do a project. i will start in the black sea, romania, and i will travel up to estonia and you a travel book of what used to be called by a polish leader, that before between the seas.
so i started in romania. i want to romania in 2013. but i got so swept up in it. i said, wait imminent, and maybe i shouldn't do another book about six countries, there is so much here, what am i write about what i really know about and are accessed with deeply interest keep it to that even if it is less marketable so to speak? brian: 16 books, which was at
the best sellers? robert: baltic coasts, of course. it sold so far about close to 400,000 copies worldwide in many languages. the ends of the earth to a lesser extent. warrior politics, the coming anarchy, the revenge of geography. brian: your relationship with the publisher, is at the same one? robert: i am fortunate that random house has published my last 12. brian: how does that work. in your idea? robert: i used to in the very beginning talk over ideas with editors. as i got older i kept more and more to myself. it is very self generated, very personal. a book is something that you should have to write your digital be something -- i'm going to write a book if i can get a lot of speaking fees awry can make a lot of money on this -- what is a good topic -- you know, that gels in the marketplace, books are hard to write. you don't know how they will be received. you do not know what news cycle
will be when the book is published. i had a book published in the presidential election in 2000. you know it happened then. the florida recount. so all of my interviews were publicity interviews and they were canceled. the book did well but it and not have that initial burst so because of all of these on globals, you are better off just writing that something you are possessed with, you have to do, that way you will have no regrets. brian: which book had the most impact on politics? robert: probably balkan ghosts. brian: what happened? robert: what happened was that i started covering the balkans and it is in this book, the early part of this bill, i talk about balkan ghosts. i started covering the balkans in 1981 as a set, i went back to romania every year until 1984 when i was persona non grata but i kept going back to yugoslavia every year right up through 1989, every year of the 1980's -- >> the balkans include what
countries? robert: they traditionally include romania, bulgaria, the former yugoslavia, greece, south eastern europe. what used to be called turkey, the former ottoman empire with some overlapping with the former austrian habsburg empire. in 1989, i was a deep in the midst of writing this book and i finished it at the very beginning -- no, i finished it in mid-1990 in the yugoslav crisis was still in the future, so to speak. and i had a long piece in the atlantic monthly before the berlin wall even fell in 1989 saying that the balkans will shape the end of the century
just like vietnam and afghanistan did in earlier decades. then the berlin wall fell and the media was writing heavily about the new concept of central europe, which had emerged as a new -- and old new trendy concert. central europe -- i wrote this in the wall street journal -- central europe is the latest concept that the media is beating to death but there is another concept that will arise because of great instability called the balkans which the media will soon discover and in that article i described the coming ethnic breakup of yugoslavia but i also was not fatalistic or deterministic because i wrote that if yugoslavia followed reformist notions from slovenia and others he can avoid this fate. fate has yet to be determined. as possible to alleviate. balkan ghosts was published in march 1993.
the same month i published a long piece in reader's digest which then had a circulation of 14 million where i said that we have to do something, we have to stop this, but the result was that the clinton administration took the book reportedly and used it as an excuse not to intervene in 1993, did not intervene until 1995. to me, this was ironic. if i had been arguing for intervention from 1993, in public forums -- you could say, isn't that a contradiction to balkan ghosts which paints such a depressing, dark view of the balkans and how inseparable they are? i would say no. it is precisely because of that that we have to take action because it is always the darkest human landscapes where intervention is ever contemplated in the first place. it was a direct connection. brian: what was the first time you got involved with the government?
robert: i only had a very brief superficial experience with the government. i served on the defense policy board for a short time. that was just the board that meets several times of year. robert gates appointed me. i thought it would be a great opportunity to learn. i learned an enormous amount. i think i learned more from them and they learn from them and they learned for me. the meetings were very insightful. brian: you have also had other jobs besides writing. what are they? what other jobs have you done since 1996? robert: i was a fellow at the new america foundation and that think tank started.
it was basically a foundation that attempts to be nonpartisan and tries to bring journalism into the think tank world. that is a fair description. i believe anne-marie slaughter is now the director. then i have been, i have stayed writing for the atlantic periodically since 1985, actually. i am now a senior fellow at the center for a new america security which is a boutique security defense-oriented nonpartisan think tank -- >> who runs that? robert: the former undersecretary of defense for policy. the president is richard fontaine, former advisor to john mccain. he served in the national security council. brian: what do they expect of you? robert: they expect me to write about defense and security policy and to mentor younger fellows. i have also been, i wrote a column for two years for
geopolitical company based in austin. brian: i want to show you george freeman. robert: i worked for him for two years. i found that writing a weekly column was not for me. brian: here's some video from 2014. [begin video clip] >> kaplan said recently the russian danger is not the military, but the voice of action. -- but subversive action. do you see that happening in romania? >> traditionally the russians have operated through subversion. kaplan is my good friend. we disagree.
i look at the ukraine and i see a massive intelligence failure by the russians. their intelligence and what was going to happen in kiev was bad. in this region, there is a sense that the russians are 10 feet tall and can do anything. in fact, the history of the past 40 years of russian intelligence has been a failure after failure. [end video clip] robert: george is always insightful on europe. there are few people who have been more insightful about europe than george. george saw the coming european union, the economic crisis years in advance. he has always worth listening to and he is right. he was in part an intelligence failure because vladimir putin's intelligence services have said do not worry about ukraine. turned out they cannot handle it. i think he downplays the power of russia in a country like romania because you can do a lot through purchasing media, third parties, subversion, intelligence operations, the building a network of natural
gas pipelines that tie in central and eastern europe turned russian natural gas. romania is a bit stronger in that regard because romania is unique in that it has natural gas of its own to a degree that other countries between estonia and bulgaria do not. brian: when you were here back in 2005, the first question led to this answer -- can you talk about journalism and what you think it is in your book? [begin video clip] >> you have been described as a world affairs expert, anthropologists, a travel
journalist, and a realist. how do you describe yourself? >> i am a reporter who not only reads about the area in the history where i report from because history doesn't begin the moment you landed a country on a plane, it has been going on for a long time beforehand. not only do i read about the history but i also read about relevant political philosophies that are affecting the area. [end video clip] brian: a journalist, reporter, in today's age, what do you think a journalist is? how close can you get to the government? robert: i think what a journalist needs to be is someone who goes out reporting things that are important but which until then are unreported or not reported enough about. what a journalist has to do whether it is in africa, east asia, nigeria, the south china sea, is to not only go and
report and develop sources but he also has to read seriously but the history of the area, the geography of the area, and about, as i said, the relevant political philosophy and let me just give you an idea about that. if you read hobbes, hobbes is unfairly maligned as a depressing philosopher. hobbs was actually in some way and optimistic philosopher because he believed in rescuing the chaos of the dark ages by creating a strong state and a strong state can lead to a better life for people. he called that strong state the leviathan. hobbes was somebody with answers. one of the points that he makes is that between, the difference between good and bad, good men
and bad man, the just and the unjust can only be decided if there is some coercive force above it. in other words, the u.s. is not in chaos. it has a complex legal system. you get into a car accident and exchange insurance information. it has electricity, agriculture, all this monday and stuff because there is water, there is government. first you need order -- order comes before freedom and in foreign policy interest comes before -- comes before value or values can only follow provided you have interest but without order, there is chaos and there is no justice for anybody at any point in that is what i kept in mind reporting from africa, for instance, which was, where is the order?
where is the bureaucratic institution order? anyplace can hold an election but it is building institutions that matter. brian: how many countries have you lived in? robert: i have lived in israel, greece, portugal. now i live in western massachusetts my wife and i have been there for 20 years. brian: when you were here in 1996, your son was 11. what happened to your son? robert: he is 31, married, we have a granddaughter. he works for morgan stanley in boston. he is not interested in being a journalist. he carved his own path. brian: you wrote, i am a liberal in the 19th-century sense. actually -- i apologize -- that is not you.
i thought, i wondered if that reflected on what your politics are? robert: from the profile i write about of the romanian philosopher, i am sympathetic to him. brian: from that follows my belief in admiration of 20th century liberal philosophers. robert: close. deep down, i am a conservative. many people say this, the real pillar of enlightened conservatism is edmund burke because he believed in pacing, he believed that revolutions are bad. revolutions do not solve anything. all they do is create another form of authoritarianism. burke was horrified at the
french revolution as was edward gibbon. burke believed in gradual systemic change and that is what i believe in. i have suspicious of overnight change. often leads to unintended consequences. brian: that to your book, when was the first time in history romanians voted for their leaders? robert: spring 1990. the ceausescus had been dead. election, aational
declaredcommunist was president. this began the area where romania was officially a democracy but the people running the country were essentially communist and not as extreme or as the ceausescus. that was the first time that i can remember in our lifetime where romanians went to the polls and actually voted. there were elections in the 1920's and 1930's but like other countries and eastern europe, democracy in that region between the world wars was stillborn. it produced chaotic, corrupt, uni-ethnic, anti-semitic governments. it opposed cosmopolitanism and humanism of the habsburg empire. now, it's democracy is as good as can be expected. it has a 4% economic growth rate.
it has a government, middle-of-the-road. it has got a president, klaus johannis, who is an ethnic saxon german. now get this, the ethnic romanians elected an incredibly repressed minority under the area of nicolae ceau?escu. even know he was underfunded and considered a dark horse, they elected him because of his message. and his message was, even closer relations with the west and moving forward to developing a
government institution that is clean and transparent. brian: romania's relationship with nato? robert: their relationship is unambiguous. romania wants nato to be as strong as possible. they have been a member since 2000. there are two things here. one of the understated reasons we have never said openly why he -- johannis was elected was because they had another experience with another german who ruled romania from 1866-1914. he built the modern romanian state. he built the institutions. yes, they became corrupt.
but, he started them from scratch and romanians associate his role with a strong rule that built a modern apparatus and there was this vague hope that here we have another ethnic german who can take this next stage. brian: in the middle of this book, you wander off, look at the mountains, and you bring up music. you bring up bach, stravinsky, and haydn. why? robert: i am a lover of classical music, particularly chamber music, baroque classical music. other travel writers will write about food. they will go on pages about food because they are chefs, cooks, they are good at that. i love music so naturally it comes to mind. brian: were you able to use the music while you are traveling around?
robert: i brought up music a few times. not constantly repeated. i do not listen to music -- like i don't have an ipod. i do not travel like that. i want to hear the noises. it is part of traveling. if you go to a cafe as i did in one town, in romanian moldova, the part of moldova that is inside romania. the people in the cafe, they to what iisteinging consider the most horrible music i have ever been that was part of the experience. brian: how close is romania to
russia? robert: they have a long border with ukraine which was the former soviet union so it doesn't have a border with russia per se but with former soviet russia and the ukraine. we will go clockwise from the black sea. it borders the black sea. it has a long border with bulgaria separated by the danube river. then it borders the former yugoslavia. then it borders hungary. finally, it has a border with ukraine. and finally, with moldova, formerly a socialist republic inside the soviet union. brian: if an american wanted to go to romania on vacation, and they have ever been there and didn't speak the language, what would it be like? robert: they would have a wonderful time. brian: what about the language? robert: english is widespread in romania, particularly since 1989. that is the language to know in
-- and most young people have a working knowledge of english. they would fly to bucharest, they could rent a car and drive north, the beginning of transylvania and go through the carpathian mountains and drive up through the painted monasteries to the northeast and northwest to the wooden churches. it is lovely and it is visited but it is not yet on the international tourist map so that you will not encounter hundreds and hundreds of tourists. brian: how are the accommodations? robert: they are better and better. there are boutique hotels spouting out in the countryside. brian: you wrote, the ultimate purpose of human existence is to appreciate beauty and beauty requires a spiritual element, and intimidation of another
world. robert: an intimation of another world -- brian: i'm sorry -- robert: it's fine, it's fine. yes, you know, what is consciousness? at its best, it is to appreciate beauty, beautiful art, music, landscapes. that is a tie to the spiritual. other writers have written that it is a call to action. that by contemplating a beautiful work of art, can energize someone to take moral action in some personal or political sphere. it is ultimately all about beauty in one form or another. brian: i will go back to the beginning. if you were talking to a college professor who was teaching government, political science, and he or she said, why would i
-- what would you tell them? robert: if you read this book, you have a better understanding of the holocaust, the cold war, vladimir putin, of history. people have -- one empire or another and, not just in the west but throughout central asia, china, sub-saharan africa, before the british and french came to sub-saharan africa there were sprawling indigenous african empires. this is a book that is a laboratory in one country. brian: last question, was dracula the impaler a real person?
robert: vlad the impaler was a real person who fought the turks. bram stoker used him vaguely for his dark, gothic novel about the figure we are familiar with, but the myth of dracula is nonsense, essentially. brian: next book? robert: next book is a sequel to the revenge of the revenge of geography, dealing with american geography and its relationship to foreign policy. it will be published one year from now. brian: our guest has been robert kaplan. the book is called, "in europe's shadow: two cold wars and a thirty-year journey through romania and beyond." thank you very much. robert: thank you. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] ♪
announcer: for free transcripts or to give us your comments, visit us at q&a.org. programs are also available as c-span podcasts. announcer: if you liked this program with robert kaplan, here are some others you might enjoy. pulitzer prize winning anne applebaum on her book. jay nordlinger talks about his book. and the inquiry into the sons and daughters of dictators. and margaret mcmillan, detailing the assassination of franz ferdinand and other events that led to world war i.