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tv   Washington Journal Jeffery Edmonds  CSPAN  March 18, 2018 2:40pm-3:20pm EDT

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he is protecting leaks. that does raise some flags there. he fired immediately. once he found out they were biased, he seems to be moving on from there. the key thing is bring out the facts. he put out a lot of facts and information. >> we will look at -- on today's washington journal, this is 40 minutes. theelcome the graduate of u.s. military academy at west point and the wilson center. let's talk about the situation
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in russia and the poisoning of that russian double agent and his daughter. what do we know about the nerve agent? guest: the nerve agent was produced during the soviet era. it is a reference to the products themselves that were put together to create the poison. it is a standard nerve agent that inhibits nerve -- inhibits brain activity. host: do you have any doubt that putin was behind this effort? confidentcan be especially when you have statements coming from the united states, france, germany and the united kingdom condemning this and say that they believe it was led by the russian leadership. condemnation,t what will that mean for russia? does it make any difference for vladimir putin? guest: i don't think it does.
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the intended assassination, any ifders on the road that even , thatraitor company doesn't mean the russians cannot second,k after you? there's a signal in this to the russian diaspora. you can go to london with all your money and support opposition figures, that doesn't mean the russian leadership cannot come after you. this goes back to the 1920's and 30's -- 1930's. ,he soviets infiltrated kidnapped people, assessment people. this is a trend. seeour point, the flagrant with which this was done signals that putin is not playing by rules that we recognize. host: what is his motivation?
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guest: about those three reasons , the russians see themselves up against an international order that they believe seeks to surround and weaken russia. there are no rules as to what they are willing to do to bring themselves back to the table, to be recognized as a superpower, and to have a voice in international affairs. they believe they deserve based on the history, their size, their nuclear weapons, their military. host: you can get more information at wilsoncenter.org. ,ikki haley said this past week taking aim at russia and vladimir putin. the group if the russian government stops helping its syrian ally to used chemical weapons to kill syrian children and if russia cooperated with the organization for the prohibition of chemical weapons by turning over all information
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related to this nerve agent, we would stop talking about them. we would take no pleasure in having to criticize russia. we need russia to stop giving us so many reasons to do so. russia must cooperate with the uk's investigation and come clean about its own chemical weapons program. russia is a permanent member of the security council. it is entrusted in the united nations charter with upholding international keys and security. it must account for its actions. if we do not take immediate now,res to address this salisbury will not be the last place we see chemicals used. they can be used here in new york, or in cities or any country that sits on this counsel. this is a defining moment. , number time again states say they oppose the use of chemical weapons under any circumstances. now one member stands accused of
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using chemical weapons on the sovereign soil of another member. the credibility of this counsel will not survive if we fail to hold russia accountable. the united nations, nikki haley, and a couple of points. first of all, how do we connect the dots between this nerve agent? these poisonings in the russian government involved? guest: i cannot speak to any information that may be classified. the biggest indicator is how difficult it is to produce these types of weapons. 2006,ou see, like in there was a man who was poisoned. weaponnd of material and really suggests a state sanctioned act. host: as we heard from nikki
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haley, the u.s. is a potential target. how real is that? guest: i don't know of any threats to the united states from russia for poisoning. demonstratedave they don't play by the rules. what i will but out? absolutely not -- what i rule that out? absolutely not. host: we put in place sections toward russia. will that work? guest: sanctions are the only way you can go. during the obama administration, we crafted careful sanctions to impose some pain. we need to look at that again. i don't think the kicking out of diplomats really has much impact. this is an international system that i don't think vladimir putin wants integrate. versions this now a new of the cold war between what we saw in the 1970's and 1980's?
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guest: i think that the threats are not new, the types of instability we have in our relationship is new. there are new dynamics. it is not as ideological as it was. my worry is if we job in analogy with the cold war is we are going to think like we are doing the cold war, we need new ways of thinking about this problem. host: it is election day in russia. what does that mean? guest: vladimir putin is to be the next president. the other candidates run on an implicit agreement with the kremlin. the russiant seeing media come after them. you would see the kremlin clamping down on that. they have to maintain some veneer of fair and free elections. host: my guest is jeffrey edmonds.
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-- an army veteran. let's get to your phones. we are focusing on russia election day. the investigation into spies that have been poisoned. steve is joining us from massachusetts. republican line. caller: good morning. let me try to understand this. we have the russian state taking the spontaneous, 100% risk with zero benefit assassinating a washed up long out of service, retired double agent spy in a foreign country using a unique chemical directly traceable to a 30-year-old russian -- preceding the russian election? russiansow that the aren't yet involves -- are in the end results.
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routinely probe ask inebriated with vodka. give me a break. there is nothing in the story that is not similar to saddam's bio weapons and anthrax in a six-month timeframe for nuclear launch. this is ridiculous. this many other countries have much more motivation than the russians. thank you. host: your perspective? guest: to the timing, i think even this narrative, is not just couldn't that believes the west is trying to conduct imaging change. change, manyregime believe many are anti-russian. i think you cannot discount as to why this was done. the diaspora in london is quite large with a lot of money.
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from the russian leadership perspective, they are worried about the diaspora with all this money and machinations toward the elections in 2025. what that could mean for opposition figures. they are try to send a clear signal that you -- no matter where you are at, we can come for you. host: this is a piece from "foreign policy" magazine. the saints to be desperate seems to be the method of choice. guest: when you go back to 2004 and look at victor, the candidate who is running for ukrainian president, fell ill. when he came back to the camera, his face was horribly disfigured. he did go on to be president. russian response was he ate bad sushi. to someone getting stabbed by an umbrella in london. it is a technique that we have seen.
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will nato hit back at russia for the poisoned? is anything the alliance could or should do? guest: i am not sure there is anything that nato alliance could do. the eu and united states need to look at additional sanctions. to impose some kind of punishment. host: what do you know about this agent who is still hospitalized with his daughter? guest: the timing of this, he ended up working for mi six. it came over. i don't think this is assassination was operational come in that they were worried about him getting over additional secrets. i think it is a signal to anybody who would go down that line and become a traitor in russia. putin just said that the one thing he will not forget his betrayal. host: this is a picture of him.
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york. joining us from new caller: thank you for taking my call. i wanted to comment on the recent administrative moves toward russia. rex tillerson came out against russia. he was gone. nikki haley at the u.n., steve mnuchin. it never seems that president trump is the one coming out and directly holding russia accountable. i was wondering if your guest putiny comment regarding is a former kgb agent. we know the kgb's reputation for recording the five-star hotels. the own them in moscow. i was wondering, if he could make a connection between the fact that this is a way that would not rates. president trump has never come up directly taking on the
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russians. thank you for taking my call. i would say, i cannot speak to president trump's own behavior. what i can say is the administration itself, mainly the pure cats -- mainly the bureaucrats have taken a pretty hard stance of russia. when you look at the nuclear posture review, the national security strategy, all of those things reflect a more competitive view of russia and one that betrays that is not the serial role. that is a space where large parts of the government are taking the actions they need to take. virginia.andria, good morning. yes, i am a veteran from the korean peninsula. spent 13 months there in the early 1960's. nine months in vietnam during
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the height of the offensive. it is when i was let go from the service. what i would like to say about the russian collusion in the spies. i think the first color made the most intelligent comment -- first caller made the most toes and comment about the situation. for some reason this country wants to make russia a big enemy and a big monster. they want to vilify russia when russia is really not our enemies. we get more people internal in this country and if we focus on people who have committed treason, like hillary clinton and people in the democratic party and stop distracting everything toward russia, maybe we could clear up a whole lot of problems concerning our country vital survival.
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we don't have to do it militarily but we can make compromises. host: we will get a response. guest: the leadership in russia wants to undermine western democracy and hours. in that regard, they see as as an adversary. i would characterize the relationship as a necessary one. we need to contact ourselves. guess we need to protect ourselves. -- we need to protect ourselves. it doesn't appear -- i don't think the russian leadership really want that kind of role. host: we are talking about russia/the u.s., our nato allies in the poisoning that took place. the history of this type of technique. our guest is jeffrey edmonds. we want to get your reaction from great written. first from the british prime
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minister last wednesday. >> following the murder, the u.k. expelled four diplomats. under the vienna convention, the united kingdom will expel 23 russian diplomats who have been identified as undeclared intelligence officers. they have just one week to leave. this will be the single biggest expulsion for over 30 years. it reflects the fact that this is not the first time that the russian state has acted against our country. through these expulsions, we will degrade russian intelligence capabilities in the u.s. just in the u.k. for years to come. they seek to rebuild it, we will prevent them from doing so. second, we will develop proposals for new legislative powers to harden our defenses. this will include the addition of a target power -- at the u.k.
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border. this power is only permitted in relation to those inspect -- suspected of terrorism. i have asked the secretary to consider if there is a need for new espionage powers to clamp down on the full spectrum of hostile activities and our country. mr. speaker, as i set out on monday, we will table a government amendment to the sexes bill to strip and out of -- to the sanctions bill to strip in our powers. in doing so, we will play our part in an effort to punish .hose responsible for those demandthat this will cross party support. we will make full use of existing powers to enhance our efforts to monitor and track the intentions of those traveling to the u.k. who could be engaged in activities to threaten the security of the u.k. and our allies. we will increase checksum hybrid
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sites just increased checks on private sites -- increased checks on private sites. they may threaten the life and property of u.k. nationals or residents. host: that was last wednesday. this wednesday will be the deadline for those russian diplomats expelled. guest: they can be replaced over time. certainly it might degrade russian intelligence collection in london. i do think some of the steps she mentioned about border control and monitoring russians, that is helpful. we need to look at sanctions. watch thatan exchange tonight, 9:00 eastern time here on c-span. steve rosenberg is a reporter for the bbc. he was asked about the poisoning.
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--president clinton president clinton, is russia behind the poisoning? [speaking russian] host: we apologize but those subtitle sing the russian leader focusing on agriculture and refusing to answer the question. guest: of course he is not going to acknowledge that. they may suspect that he may have done that. that could be seen as a show of strength from him. it is a kind of tongue-in-cheek aspect. host: we will go to california. good morning. guest: thank you for taking my call -- caller: thank you for taking my call. my take on this is it looks to
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me like this has been in operation from our cia trying to make russia to be the bogeyman. just smells totally of a cia op. host: why do you say that? caller: because that is the way the operate. changes by going in and starting trouble. the next thing you know you got al qaeda trouble. look at the middle east. -- you got all kinds of trouble. look at the middle east. try to do it in russia and russia stopped them in the ukraine. guest: i worked for the central intelligence agency and i am fairly confident saying that the cia was not involved in this. from as af joining us venue. -- joining us from sylvania. -- from pennsylvania. caller: i was raised as an army
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brat in europe. there is one constant in my lifetime and that is many countries in the world, the europeans, the eastern europeans, the chinese, whatever seemed to hold on to history much better than us. we are driving every thing in society -- the white male this monday. the soviets. not the russians. if we want something done, it doesn't have to get done today or yesterday or tomorrow. they will wait 100 years. if you have something in mind, they wanted done. the chinese are the same way. they are very patient people. this is not out of the realm. this is something that is going on as far back as there has been the soviet. putin gave a quote, he still lives -- he looks like a modern
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man. he is a 1950's cruise ship. ruschev guy. guest: i think there is a sense of history and the russian leadership mind about where the trajectory of russia is. know that for putin in particular, he has had a longer rise than any person he has been given with. it does provide certain challenges. host: we welcome our c-span radio audience. edmonds ais jeffrey senior fellow at the wilson center. we will go next to chris joining us from kansas. caller: yes. the same want to take track as the last caller. except with a different point. the current russian government is not the soviet union.
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the soviet union which had the uper states which was backed by the warsaw pact, that seems to be -- we are trying to complete the former soviet union with russia. we are trying to give them the same objectives. we are trying to act like they are the same nation. they are not. creating in the minds of the american people, the soviet bogeyman but we are using the russian government. it is completely different. they don't have the same military might. they don't have the same influence around the world. they are a powerful, rich nation. they do have all terrier motives to the next -- they do have all terrier motives.
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this is what they are using as a backdrop to all the truck collusion and all the things they are trying to tackle to the trump administration. guest: a great point. it is a good point to not conflate russia with the soviet union. many people are saying that the russians are try to become a superpower. that is not the russian perspective. the russians are try to remind us that the have always been a superpower. there is a believe that they deserve a spot at the table of international affairs. their military is increasing. we have to be very careful and nuanced in detail about what exactly, what kind of threat russia poses. as someone who is studied russia and putin, is anything about lottery putin that ship -- about vladimir putin that
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strikes you about his character and who he is? had a verybackground big impact on him. he is rational. rational. is very i think he operates under false assumptions about what u.s. intentions are. we are not seeking regime change. i think he believes that the exit away the counters that. i cannot speak too much as to his personality. it was shaped by his former service. host: j is joining us from georgia. caller: good morning, steve. say, as far as the hypocrisy level of some of the stuff, you know. it is really mind-boggling.
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really. i'm glad that finally sanctions were ratified, but, you know, look, chop's cabinet -- trump's cabinet, they are not on the same pages him. i don't think he is going to be cabinet.et a qualified i would like to make a point, the was missed on some of -- i'm not sure it was on the access hollywood tape but this old pension that our president has of chasing after married women of his buddies, i really think that points out a serious character flaw. i wish people would consider that, that this is the kind of guy that we are given with. thanks a lot. let me take his first
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point in asking about mike pompeo, the incoming secretary state. to ourange will he bring policy toward russia? guest: i think you will see some continuity. secretary tillerson became rather -- really pushed back against russian attempts to undermine our democracy. host: he probably knew vladimir putin that of anyone else in the cabinets. let's go back to your calls. barbara is joining us. steve. hi, all i want to say is once the kgb operator, always a kgb operator. putin's mindset was set years ago and i cannot see him changing. always up to no good. thank you. host: our viewers from the bbc parliament channel.
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guest: i don't think i would agree with that. he has become even more aggressive. with the operations in syria, it has emboldened him to push against international order. with oil and energy being number one, what are the leading exports in russia to europe and elsewhere? russia to europe and elsewhere? guest: there's food exports. energy is the primary export. i don't know we would go after that. sanctions have to be tailored to the situation. you don't want to increase instability in russia it yet to find a way to increase the costs for russians conducting this kind of behavior. host: from alabama, michael. caller: good morning. i have been listening to the calls coming in. i am a most amazed -- i am
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almost amazed. looking away from president trump. we are gettingy so many calls in favor of the soviet union or russia. putin himself is a kgb guy. they have never been a friend of the united states. fromu look at the change the soviet union to where they are today, it is not the average american or russian. putin and the top group is nothing more than a mob group that is taking advantage of the country, taking advantage of our political atmosphere here to try to bring us down even more. there is even rumors about how much is he worth? he may be the richest man in the world because they are stealing the wealth of the country and feeding them garbage. we are starting to believe the
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garbage. that is just my statement. russia is not our friend. they have never been our friend. that is what he went to syria. i believe he is involved with north korea because their missile program took off. i will go now elect to talk about that. that the kgbe helps to inform and form -- informs putin's personality. i think that his experience as president is what is really formative. when they saw nato actions in yugoslavia and early on right after the cold war, he became convinced that the western powers were not good to take russian security concerns seriously. that is what he operates off of. it is more to it than just the kgb portion. he is incredibly rich. those around him are rich.
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they are not the same thing as oligarchs. they are people in russia now who have power and that is led to them being wealthy. there is a very large wealth gap in russia. -- wewe are talking to have another 10 minutes. our phone lines are open. this headline from bloomberg news. russian hackers allegedly attacked u.s. aviation as part of a series of breaches back in 2017. guest: i don't know the specifics of that. it doesn't surprise me. it doesn't surprise me that the russians would try to find ways and our critical and for structure. not necessarily to do anything now but during a crisis, that might be useful. i think we have to be careful about protecting and denying russian ability to get into our if the structure. host: what would have the objective have been?
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guest: lets we get into a conflict with russia, they can signal that certain actions on our part might lead to them degrading power grids or disrupting transportation in such a way that people here might think, was this worth it to get enough conflict -- was it worth it to get into a conflict with russia? host: it seems, as you look back at history, there was a cordial relationship between makela gorbachev and ronald reagan. was that the case? could we ever get back to that point with vladimir putin? guest: we don't want to take that too far. warships and toward the end -- boris yeltsin was quite dissatisfied with u.s. actions. and really started to believe that we were not going to take russia's security concerns
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start. i did not see any way around -- there is no opportunity for resets. there are deep fundamental differences. this is not an international order that putin wants to integrate with. they're been previous times in his presidency that he could integrate and have a more beneficial relationship. the russians believe there is a large body of anti-russian sentiment within the united states, and there probably is. i don't see the possibility right now for any kind of reset. doesn't mean that we should not continue to communicate and try to figure out what actions see as destabilizing. we need to keep that kind of dialogue going. i don't think there's going to be any kind of positive reset. host: our next caller is from
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lexington, kentucky. caller: very insightful questions, very insightful answers. two quick questions. that mr. consider putin is as much compromise by asanized crime and in russia david k johnston? president trump is compromise by the mafia here in the united states? who is the equivalent investigative author in russia doing good work? even if we got to get it translated? who a great investigating reporter in russia that we can rely on? host: thank you for adding your
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questions. guest: on organized crime, i'm not sure that would ms. controlled by organized crime -- i'm not sure that putin is controlled by organized crime. he is aggressive and cutting out anybody who does not fit with what his agenda is. those around him, he has put in place, they are extremely loyal. that is not the same thing as organized crime. i am unsure which russian author to want to do because that is not something that is encouraged in russia. the media in russia is largely controlled i government. -- by government. host: in addition to the military background by our guest, he served in the cia. he is a part of the u.s. army reserve. sarah from england.
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that afternoon. here in england we have been following through with russian madness for the last 18 months. this whole situation with sergei and his daughter. we have seen photographs of these people in hospital. -- [indiscernible] qs chemical weapons factory. who knows what is going on there. killed kim jong-un's brother. seems a bit of a strange logic to me. an accuser is deemed to be the person in the right and you have to prove that you are innocent. i think we are endangered -- we are in dangerous territory. are notestern powers using things like nerve agents
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to wipe out political opposition. i think that is something unique that the russians are doing. i also do not think we had any role in the assassination of kim jong-un's brother. host: good morning, independent line. caller: i am an 80-year-old junkie. --ave been watching it host: you sound a lot younger than 80. caller: have to go back to 1953. i am remembering very intelligently having the great honor to be able to interview lee begins pledges but the communist party -- quit the communist party. yet been the editor -- he had dailyhe editor of the worker in new york.
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.e stressed patients he said the bolshevik revolution peopleshed a group of that were going to take over the world and the world would be communist. he said it didn't really matter who was in charge of the soviet union. they were single-minded. they were going to do one thing, and they would accomplish it. they were going to take over the world. host: paula, thank you for the call. think the are any designs in russian leadership to take over the world but they want to change the rules of the game and bring down or we can -- or we can russia. host: what worries you the most? as we're stumbling around
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in places like syria, the russians are pushing back on our ships in international waters, no worries our next event. -- my worries are an accident. interactions between their ships and our ships. is something could slip sideways and you can have some kind of military conflict over an accident. host: with regard to this president trying to pick up the red phone, is it such a thing? guest: no. host: if he needs to get in touch with vladimir putin, what is the relationship like? guest: if you wanted to talk to president putin, how could he do -- it was an interesting -- some's messages were

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