ELIZABETH WOOD: So, good afternoon. It looks like my mic is working. Welcome to this exciting panel on US-Russian Relations, What's Next? I'm Elizabeth Wood, and I am Professor of Russian and Soviet History. I teach courses that are cross-listed in political science and history on Russian history, Soviet history, post-Soviet history, and I run the MIT Russia program.
Unfortunately, Angela Stent is not going to be able to join us today because of the snow already hitting Washington, DC. But we're very lucky that we have three very distinguished speakers, Barry Posen, Andrei Kozyrev, and Carol Saivetz, who will replace Angela Stent.
This talk is part of the Star Forum. It's being live streamed, if you have friends who want to watch it at home. It's co-sponsored by the Center for International Studies, the Security Studies Program at MIT, and the MIT Russia Program. We have a couple more Star Forums coming up.
One is on April 10th, Unfinished Revolution, the Challenge of Consolidating Tunisia's Democratic Gains, and then on April 3rd, we have Women's Empowerment, Are Global Development Organizations Helping or Hurting? Both of those are part of the Star Forum.
There are flyers for them at the back. There's a sign up sheet if you want to join the Star Forum mailing list. And of course, they're advertised all over the MIT campus. But definitely, join the mailing list if you'd like.
Special thanks to Michelle English, Laura Kerwin and John Tirman for organizing this symposium. And one more event to announce. On May 3rd, Andrey Kortunov the head of the Russian international Affairs Council, will also be speaking in the MIT Russia Series. So if you want to join the MIT Russian mailing list let us know that. Maybe you add a note to the Star Forum list.
So my job today is a brief one. I want to briefly announce the three speakers and then have them take it away. The first to speak will be Andrei Kozyrev, who was the very first Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation, after its independence in 1991. In 1974, he graduated from the Moscow State Institute for International Relations, in Russian known as [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH], and then earned a degree in historical sciences as well.
He joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1974 and served as head of the Department of International organizations from 1989 to 1990. In October of 1990, he became Foreign Minister of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. And then he stayed as part of the what's now called the Russian Federation when the Soviet Union broke up in December of 1991. He has been writing on Russian affairs since then, as well as consulting to businesses. He emigrated in 2010 and actually lives in the United States.
Our second speaker will be Carol Saivetz, who is well known to many of you as my co-chair for the Focus on Russia Series, which is also sponsored by the Security Studies and MIT Russia Programs. Carol received her PhD from Columbia University in political science. She has written about Soviet third-world relations, the Israeli Hezbollah war of 2006, Russian attitudes to Arab Spring, and especially the energy competition in and around the Caspian and the Black Sea. At MIT, Carol teaches a course on Russian foreign policy if any of you are interested.
Finally, Barry Posen is the Ford International Professor of Political Science at MIT, Director of the MIT Security Studies Program, and he serves on the Executive Committee of the Seminar 21. He has written three principal books and scads of articles. The three books are Restraint, A New Foundation for US Grand Strategy, Inadvertent Escalation, Conventional War and Nuclear Risks, and The Sources of Military Doctrine, which has won all kinds of awards.
But I think the most important thing is to say that we're meeting at a very interesting time, when Russian President Vladimir Putin has just been re-elected for another six-year term with a 76.6% turn out of the vote, maybe. We've just had the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in the UK, in Salisbury.
We've had a number of contract soldiers killed in Syria, the Wagner group. And so we have a number of questions our panelists may want to consider. We're at Putin 4.0. What does this signify for Russia? What do we think Putin is going to do next? Is he going to go for a life term like Chinese President Xi Jinping?
What will happen in relations between the US and Russia. That was a very interesting slip, because I was going to say are we in-- are we really now thoroughly in Cold War 2.0? What will happen in response to the Skripal case? We already know that 23 diplomats have been expelled from Britain.
What does it matter that Trump and Putin spoke today? What's going to happen in Ukraine? What's going to happen with nuclear issues, given the saber rattling between these people? So lots to talk about and thank you all for coming.
ANDREI KOZYREV: Good afternoon. Do you hear me well? I was criticized during my career for being soft spoken.
AUDIENCE: You could lean in a little bit.
ANDREI KOZYREV: Particularly-- I have here something, so it should be adjusted-- particularly soft spoken to the Western audiences, who, as I understood, soon I have a lecture of Russian propaganda, the state propaganda. So I am speaking on myself. My views are not the Russian government views. It's just my personal views, enlightened to a degree by the writings of our panelists and all this knowledge which is around here in America.
What's next? My answer is twofold-- in the long run, meaning not necessarily in time terms, though it might be also in time terms, but in influence and significance, and in the short or medium term.
In the long run, what is next depends on Russia. What happens with the regime, how long Russia will be still going on Putin's role. Whether it's Putin himself or his regime, that's more or less the same. When I say Putin, I don't mean necessarily, though, also of course, personality, but I'm speaking of regime. So in the long run, if the regime changes for the better, then there will be prospect for improvement of Russian-American relations.
In the middle term, or short-term sense, the key to what's next is in Washington. Because Putin is stable on his course. And he made it very, very clear in his recent address to the rubber stamp parliament in Russia, which is called a Russian version of the State of the Union, [INAUDIBLE], he made it very clear that his agenda for the next at least, very least, six years, is guns instead of butter internally, and blackmail, including nuclear blackmail and all other aggressive actions in the foreign policy. So that's given.
How far and in what exactly forms he will pursue this agenda depends on the push back or no push back, as it happens so far from the United States, and in general, the West. Because the United States used to be leader of the free world.
So that's as simple as that. Now Putin really makes a lot of scores, both domestically and internationally, from being able, for last period, which includes also unfortunately great president like Obama. And in my view, he was a great president. It includes Bush and Clinton, that he could play a big gun, a strong man-- not only strong man in the sense of dictatorship inside Russia, but internationally most powerful man, heading an economy which is 13 to 14 times-- times, not percent, but times-- smaller than that of the United States.
| you add that to the United States GDP, the GDP of other NATO countries, that is more or less European Union, enlarged European Union, then you will have it double. So against NATO or against collective West, if you add to that Japan, it would've been more than 30 times-- times.
So there was a Gulliver in Lilliput's country. And he was like a giant respective to the Lilliputs. Now we have a Lilliput in giant's country, in giant's environment, but behaving like a giant. And those have chosen to behave like Lilliput. And Putin said as much, both in that speech and in the parliament, and in that, I think it was a brilliant interview, which Megyn Kelly from the embassy took with him.
The interview was brilliant because she pressed him. That's how you talk to this guy. She pressed him with facts, and of course, he was obfuscating, he was [INAUDIBLE], he was lying. But occasionally, he would say very serious. So he should be taken seriously, even when he speaks, though it's double speak, of course.
But anyway, sometimes he says exactly what he thinks and what he's up to. He said it is not projection, but management of power what matters. This is very significant statement exactly, and nothing new of course. Mark Twain once said that it is not the size of the dog what matters in the fight, it's the size of the fight in dog what makes a difference.
In Russia, it was echoed more or less at the same time by Ivan Krylov-- famous fable, every Russian knows this fable. It's more or less like Krylov explains the rationale of a dog barking at an elephant. And the dog says, yes, I am barking at the elephant because it makes me feel good, and everybody thinks that I am a strong participant, that I am a bully without any fight. So without any fight I become seen and regarded as a big gun, as a big bully.
Well, that's exactly what is happening. And Putin said, also in his interview, also very, very remarkable thing, he said even if-- of course, he's tried to deny Russian interference in the American democratic process-- but he said even if there had been an interference, I couldn't care less. Exactly, why should he? Even today, American president, supposedly a leader of the free world just again said that he never-- he did not raise that. He just congratulated him-- that is, Putin-- for his winning of elections-- elections.
So if an American president thinks that those were elections, we are in big trouble, not only in Russia, and maybe even not so much in Russia. But of course, it demoralizes my friends, my democratic friends in Russia. Because that's exactly what Putin was and is looking for, is any kind of legitimization of the sham procedure. It's not election. It's just a voting procedure.
I grew up in the Soviet Union. And we had elections every-- believe it or not-- every 40 years, we had elections, we voted, not only inside the party, but also 100% of the population voted at the election, so-called parliament, or all kind of state bodies in the Soviet Union.
So nothing new. I know how with these election, these voting procedures are managed. So it's legitimization-- he's legitimized. There is an interesting saying in Russia. It's my domestic, my own kind of translation. It's like a debt is validated by pay off. So I think the debt is validated already with this legitimization for Putin.
And believe me, with no push back, Putin will be there paying back for the endorsement for the legitimization for this debt in 2018 and in 2020 with his trolls. So what's next? I don't know what-- English is my second language, so I'm not sure that collusion, cooperation, understanding, mutual indebtedness, whatever it is the right way to put this, but that's one scenario.
And that relationship will be very tense. And Putin will do a lot of bad things, but probably to America, to American people, to Western people, but not to Marine Le Pen or some other. He will be very, very useful and helpful to some Western leaders. He will do a lot of harm to Russian people, but will benefit from that as he does himself and his regime. That's one.
The other scenario is, like Congress, both American Congress, voted overwhelmingly in both chambers for push back against Putin's interference in America, you know, the law. If that law is fulfilled, if that law is abided, both in letter and in spirit, which is not the case so far, unfortunately, but there still is a possibility, then Putin will find his limits. He will never push or brinkmanship to something like real, real, confrontation.
All this empty talk about those imaginative, probably mostly, imaginative invincible nuclear weapons, that's a sham again. And it's an attempt to blackmail. I mean, what changes, even if he had these weapons, so what? I mean, what changes? Nothing changes.
The so-called mad equation that is mutual assured destruction, it is with us for the last 60 years. Nothing changes. If you add to this another 100, whatever, invincible missiles, and another 1,000 nuclear weapons, that doesn't change anything. So in America, as an American taxpayer, I will be very, very distressed if they continue to increase nuclear arsenal.
Because there are more than enough nuclear weapons, more than enough delivery systems to guarantee destruction of Russia, and of course, Russia destructing America, in 40 minutes. It's just 40 minutes before launch and total and complete destruction. It's mutually assured destruction.
So this kind of blackmail, the nuclear blackmail, it leads nowhere. I mean, it should be just discarded and it doesn't mean anything. Though, of course, cyber warfare, or so-called hybrid warfare, like in the Ukraine, or direct warfare, air warfare, like in Syria, that does matter. And that's where they push back also should happen in all these spheres. So what's next? Let's see.
CAROL SAIVETZ: So as Elizabeth said, Angela couldn't make it at the last minute. The weather gods seem to be angry at Washington, DC before they're getting angry at Boston for the next time. I don't know if Angela would agree with everything I'm going to say, but I do know that she would argue both for countering Russian aggression and for also, at the same time, trying to find ways to deal with Vladimir Putin and to engage with him.
I thought I would take a slightly different tack from Andrei's, and look at some of the discussion about what the sources of the current conflict actually are, and then speculate about where we might be going forward. There are lots of different narratives about how we ended up in this Cold War 2.0. And I guess we could discuss whether or not it really is Cold War 2.0.
One set of explanations deals with NATO expansion. Some people would argue that it's all about broken promises that were made to Gorbachev in the time that we were negotiating German reunification. Others would argue that all those promises were just about Germany and not about the rest of the former Eastern Bloc.
Yet a different set of scholars says no, no, no, those weren't the important negotiations. The important negotiations were during 1993, when we see a shift on the part of the Clinton administration between negotiating for a partnership for peace, which of course included Russia, and then the shift to NATO expansion, which was really part of sort of an intra-administration debate in Washington.
Regardless, we do know that Putin actually approached W when he was in the White House and asked about Russia joining NATO, and he was rebuffed. I don't understand how Russia ever could have been incorporated into NATO, but nonetheless, the approach really did take place.
I think that Putin came into power determined to restore Russia's superpower status. And that he initially sought to do that in effect by bandwagoning with the United States. In searching for what I call a seat at the table, he offered help to George W. Bush after 9/11 and actually cooperated in many respects with the operation in Afghanistan.
Yet, within months, the Bush administration proposed the next round of NATO expansion. So again, if that was one of the irritants, the next round, which included the Baltic states, did not help. And the Bush administration also abrogated the ABM treaty. And this was all within months, I would argue, of Putin taking a risk to support us in the fight against the Taliban.
I think that Putin was also looking for ways to be not only a superpower, but the co-equal power to the United States. And we might argue that the Medvedev period was a trial balloon. It was a different approach. It didn't have to do so much with security, but it had to do with building up Russia's domestic economy, and technological base, and everything else. But that was a very short lived period in there.
I don't think any of these explanations is mutually exclusive. I think one of the bottom lines is that Putin is desperately afraid of democracy, because things really did begin to change in the period of the Arab Spring. And if you combine what he saw the United States policy being in the Middle East as people took to the streets to throw out corrupt dictators, Putin also saw in 2011 demonstrations occurring in Moscow and other major cities after the flawed, corrupt, Duma elections.
And there were hundreds of thousands of people who took to the street. And this was what he saw as us advocating people power, us advocating democracy promotion, and it suddenly came to roost on Moscow's streets, right near the Kremlin. You have to keep in mind as well that Hillary Clinton, at that point, was Secretary of State, and that she reached out to the demonstrators and supported their efforts to protest the elections in Russia.
And then what happened in Ukraine is, of course, part of this narrative. Maidan, again, I would argue was an example of people power, this time overthrowing a corrupt dictator who happened to be a buddy of Vladimir Putin's. I think I would argue as well that the fear of losing NATO-- the fear of losing Ukraine was to the EU. It has to do with norms, it has to do with transparency. It was not about NATO expansion, because NATO expansion was not on the table for Ukraine at that point.
And we all know what happened next. We have the annexation of Crimea, the ongoing fighting in eastern Ukraine. And don't forget, it is still going on today. It's not on the front pages of the paper anymore, but people are being killed on a daily basis. And then, of course, the sanctions and the counter sanctions.
I have to say that even with this history of all these problems, I'm frankly surprised that we are where we are today. It's worse than I could have possibly imagined even two or three years ago.
Putin seems to believe his own rhetoric. He's made it clear that we're the enemy of the Russian Federation. But as Andrei said, on the one hand, even as he's made very aggressive statements, I think that on the other, we have to be cognizant of Russia's economic weaknesses.
Russia's a superpower because it has nuclear weapons. But Russia is not a superpower in terms of its GDP, or technological prowess, et cetera. And I think we have to keep that in mind. But what have we seen?
We've seen the cyber attacks, the interference in Western elections. We're all focused on 2016. But we now know that Russia was involved in Brexit. We know that Russia supported Marine Le Pen in France. They've been involved in the Italian elections. And of course, there's the poisoning of Sergei Skripal, which Elizabeth mentioned in the outset.
I also see, as Andrei does, that this presentation at the State of the Union address, or the equivalent thereof, with the new missile technologies was intended as much for domestic consumption as for foreign policy. Yes, it's a threat against the West, but it's also an attempt to prove to the Russian people that he is a great leader, and that he is bringing back Russia's superpower status.
And frankly, I was shocked. If you look at some of the public opinion polling in Russia, the loss of superpower status actually does seem to resonate with the population at large. So to prove that Russia's a player again on the world stage actually played well, especially before the election. And sort of putting on my conspiratorial Russian hat, I don't think that the poisoning Skripal was a coincidence that it happened two weeks before the election. In fact, Vladimir Putin and his spokespeople have thanked the Brits for responding as they did, in helping drum up support for Vladimir Putin in the election.
I thought that Syria was possibly a place where we might have cooperated with them. But of course, Russian actions there really belied any chance that we would coordinate our efforts, even though we have the de-confliction zones and everything else.
So here we have Putin has just won re-election. Interestingly enough, there are lots of videos online. If you go to YouTube, you'll see lots of videos of ballot stuffing and all other kinds of ways that they got the numbers up to where they were. He supposedly wanted a 70% turnout, and then wanted to get 70% of that 70%, which brings you to around 50%.
Instead, he got a 63% turnout. But the vote, the percentage of that vote that actually voted for him is 75%-76%, depending on which figures you look at. And of course, President Trump today called Vladimir Putin and congratulated him on his great electoral victory. And they apparently are going to meet soon-- whatever.
I think that people voted for Putin because they're afraid of the instability that they saw during the Yeltsin era. Putin is a leader that they know. Even as Putin's deciding between guns and butter, as Andrei said, they'd rather have less butter and not take a chance on a dramatic change going forward. And as I said, I do think the grab for superpower status resonates with the population.
I think that Putin is feeling emboldened, and yet, at the same time still fearful of democracy, transparency, et cetera. I think we should expect much more probing. And I think we need to be prepared, particularly to protect our infrastructure.
I don't know about you guys, but the report last week from the Department of Homeland Security about the Russian attacks on nuclear power plants, and the electric grid, and those kinds of things is frightening to me. Forget rigging the vote in 2016, that is much more frightening. And we have to figure out what to do about that.
I do think that we also need to engage. I think a standoff, a-la Cold War is not necessarily productive. One area might be in the nuclear weapons. Now that Putin has announced all this new technology, which may or may not be real, it might be a chance, an opening bid in how do we get to some kind of parity.
The START treaty is still in existence and is still being obeyed, although we know that there are violations on the Russian side of the INF treaty. The Russians are particularly concerned about our maybe non-existent anti-ballistic missile defense systems and everything else. And that's why all the talk about the cruise missiles that will evade our ABM systems.
Some scholarship proposed a way forward. Michael O'Hanlon of the Brookings Institution proposed a four-step approach. I think it's sort of pie in the sky, but I'll mention it anyhow. The first would be for us to announce that there's no more NATO expansion. That goes back to my explanation at the beginning.
The second would be some kind of Russian demonstration of willingness to consider that the post-Soviet states may want to be associated with the EU. That didn't fly so well in Ukraine, and I'm not sure that that's actually a very realistic proposition. He also calls for resolving the so-called frozen conflicts within the post-Soviet states, like the Donbass, South Ossetia, et cetera.
And then he says that Russia should acknowledge that the neutral states, or what he calls neutral states, may cooperate with NATO on issues like peacekeeping. Frankly, I don't see any of these things flying at the moment, certainly with the mindset that Putin is currently in.
A lot of scholars feel that Putin is looking for what they're calling a new Yalta, and old fashioned spheres of influence that says the post-Soviet space is Russia's and we should keep our noses out. O'Hanlon's proposal might be the other side of that kind of a view of the world, our version of Yalta. But I think that they're not coincidental and they're not going to-- that there's a lot of distance between the two kinds of proposals.
I don't see any chance for a grand bargain going forward. Maybe baby steps, maybe communication, but nothing more than that. But I do think that some of it's going to be conditioned by what happens here in the United States. I haven't mentioned the Mueller's investigation yet. And I think that that has an impact on what's going to happen.
I think Donald Trump is definitely guilty of money laundering, or at least abetting Russian oligarchs laundering money. But if there's proven to be collusion, whatever that might turn out to be, I think there's no way that the current administration can approach the Russians to begin any kinds of conversation at all. So some of it's really going to depend on our domestic politics as well. So that's it.
ELIZABETH WOOD: It's up to you.
BARRY POSEN: I guess a decision was made. So I don't want to sail under a false flag here. I am the only person on this panel who is certified not to be a Russian expert.
ELIZABETH WOOD: That's why I asked you.
BARRY POSEN: I'm a certified non-Russian expert. I'm going to talk about two things. I can't resist the opportunity to flog an article I just wrote in Foreign Affairs called The Rise of the Liberal Hegemony, which is about Trump's foreign policy. And I want to talk about what I take from his foreign policy to be. Don't take me too seriously on that, because it could change tomorrow. And then I'll try and talk about what's that got to do with Russia.
First of all, we have to look back a little bit. And this relates a little bit to Carol's story. More or less, since the end of the Cold War, the US foreign policy establishment, and here I include Republicans the Democrats, settled on a strategy, which I and some others have called liberal hegemony. There were some debates across, and perhaps even within the two parties, about details of the strategy. But on the broad brush aspects of it, there was agreement.
Basically, it had two aspects, which are captured in the idea of liberal hegemony. First, the US must try to preserve the unusually superior material and political power position that it realized at the collapse of the Soviet Union. The United States was unusually powerful, even relative to past hegemony. And it took us like, you know, a nanosecond to go from, huh, this is interesting, to it must be preserved forever. This is so great, this must go on.
And then, the second aspect of it was that the US should try to turn its Cold War alliance of largely liberal, capitalists, free-trading, democratic, domestic and international rule of law devotees, pliant allies, that coalition with which we won the Cold War, into something else. And that coalition should be turned into the US led liberal world order, which is what people in Washington now all like to call it-- the US led liberal world order, i.e. former adversaries and new rising powers should get with the program and sign up with the US led liberal world order.
Now, we spend a lot of time claiming that there is a US led liberal world order, and that Russia and China are subverting it. I think this is wrong. I think they never joined the US led liberal world order. They chose to have transactions with it, but they did not join up. They did not acknowledge the American leadership position. They didn't want to be in this world that the Americans had lived.
Now, for our establishment, those states and leaders who oppose either element of this US plan are at best misguided, and at worst are rogues or outliers, to be coerced or destroyed if they're weak enough, cajoled and outmaneuvered if they are too strong to coerce. Now, as laudable as some aspects of this project may be-- and who doesn't like democracy, who doesn't like liberal world order? I even kind of like international trade. I love single malt scotch, and I'll be unhappy if it's gone.
As laudable as this is, it did produce one odd outcome, which is the US has been very sharp elbowed. The United States has been at kinetic war twice as frequently in the post-Cold War world as it was during the Cold War, twice as often. So this US led liberal world order was not a peaceful world order. It was not a world order where life just went on pretty much as normal.
The United States, when we found someone that we didn't really like, because of their serious challenges to the order, we were not very reluctant to try and rub them out. And that's the world that the Russians saw. I'll just say, to reveal my true nature, these wars have caused a lot of people to be killed, Americans and others, cost us a lot of money.
But there were some people who were killed in these wars who had it coming. There were people who had it in for the United States, and some of them had it coming. So there are even wars that I support, despite my overall skepticism about this grand strategy.
Now, when Trump ran for president, he uttered many criticisms of this policy. So much so that some labeled him as an isolationist, and they still do. A few even asked me, a known critic of the foreign policy consensus, whether I felt I had a soul brother in the candidate. My usual answer was that even a stopped watch tells the right time twice a day.
Now, I wasn't just trying to be funny, although as you can see, I'm often guilty of that. I detected no real systematic analysis underlying Trump's particular foreign policy utterances. They just seemed to be kind of certain things that had bothered him over the years.
Now, what we have seen, what we can observe in the administration's national security activities, as we've seen them unfold in the last year, was not predicted by those who thought Trump would be an isolationist. And that's why I coined this term, illiberal hegemony.
It's illiberal because he is not very concerned with free trade, but rather seems to imagine that a favorable balance of trade in goods for the United States is achievable and connects to good American jobs. In past times, we would have called these ideas mercantilist.
He is not enamored with international institutions, rules and regulations, to regulate trade or deal with the environment. And I expect sometime in the next months or years, our relations with the United Nations will get worse. It's just a matter of time.
He doesn't like other international institutions either. He seems to have antipathy to the European Union, which is about something, and I'm not sure what, but he has that antipathy. He is not concerned about spreading democracy. People in his administration will utter things about Iran's failure to be a good democracy, because it's the club to hit the Iranians over the head with, but they could care less about spreading democracy.
And though it is more easily said than done, this administration shows no apparent concern with any international competition of ideas, particularly a competition of ideas with fundamentalist Islamist groups. ISIL and AQI are to be rubbed out. There's no plan to win any argument with them to discourage their followers. Our plan is just to kill them as we find them.
And we can see, in the relationships with Saudi Arabia, that Trump has no concerns about the ongoing Saudi propensity to promulgate a particular version of Islam that seems to be conducive to the recruitment of young men to terrorist causes. He doesn't seem to be concerned. In fact, nobody in the American foreign policy establishment seems to be concerned with this problem.
So illiberal, but in a security sense, still quite hegemonic. Here, I look at the Trump administration's defense policy and look at its regional security strategies. Depending on how you count, and it's very hard now because the budget changes every day, day and problem of timing, but either in 2018 or in 2019, we will see a 20% increase in defense budget authority for the Pentagon from what was approved in 2016 and 2015. It could be in 2018, 2019, or both.
And this is only the beginning of a hope for buildup of considerable proportions in a defense budget that already dwarfs the defense budgets of most of our competitors and most of our allies. This is a gigantic defense budget. The nuclear posture view which reviews US nuclear weapons policy, to include procurement of weapons, takes a more ferocious tone than in the past.
The Obama administration had already approved a major recapitalization of the nuclear forces. And the Trump administration is adding more. And in that posture or view, both Russia and China are called out as potential adversaries.
The Department of Defense national defense strategy also calls out Russia and China as peer competitors, and insists that the US must be ready to fight major power wars. The US military is to stop being so concerned with counterinsurgency and start to get concerned with major power wars again. Who are these major powers? I think we know their names.
Regional security, in the Middle East, the president seems determined to do something about the Iran deal, otherwise known as the JCPOA. He wants to destroy it because it does not get around permanently out of the nuclear energy business, it did not address Iran's ballistic missile program, and it did not reverse Iran's regional foreign policy. In short, he wants an agreement in which Iran essentially surrenders to the United States.
Now, these objectives are very high and they could easily imply war. And as part of this, we have a renewed love affair with Saudi Arabia, including continuing support for their not very successful and quite brutal war in Yemen. In Asia, the president seems determined to do something, re-- the North Korean nuclear weapons program. My own guess is that the negotiations now planned don't really lead anywhere, unless there is a good chance of conflict there as well.
We've also seen a bit more Naval activity in the Pacific, including maneuvers with India. We've seen more freedom of navigation operations in the Pacific. And generally, an ever more truculent attitude towards China, both on security and trade.
In Europe, which the president doesn't even especially like, we've added another $1.5 billion to the rechristened NATO Reassurance Initiative, which the previous administration began. We're now up to spending $5 or $6 billion over and above what we spend on this 75,000 or 100,000 troops who are already in Europe. Another $5 billion or so a year just to kind of try and deter the Russians and make the East Europeans feel better.
We've seen an accelerated US exercise and presence program in Eastern Europe, an expansion of the prepositioning program for military equipment. And we seem to have thrown a few more dollars at Ukraine and given them license to buy some weapons which were not previously approved, including sniper rifles, which you could probably buy anywhere. But more interesting, the javelin anti-tank guided missile, which is actually quite a lethal missile.
The global war on terror, after musing about leaving Afghanistan, they have instead doubled down. The Obama initiated campaign against ISIL in Iraq and Syria has been carried through to at least a kind of victory. The cities where they lived, we have taken. Whether the organization is dead or not is another question.
We dropped many more bombs in both places in the year since Trump has been president than we were dropping before. We are staying on with thousands of troops in Syria and Iraq, 2,000 or more, probably more to deal with Iran than to deal with ISIL or anything else.
So overall, we see a pretty ambitious effort to keep the US number one militarily, not only an extent military power, but in terms of military presence and superiority in the same three key regions that past administrations have identified. This is not an isolationist grand strategy. It is a military grand strategy. It is a realist grand strategy of a type, but it is not an isolationist grand strategy. Right now, we have two wars on the agenda, one in Korea and one in Iran. And it's a coin toss which one happens first.
Now, of course, the big question for the panel is what about the Trump administration and Russia? Here, all I can offer is a kind of rank speculation. We know that the president holds back on condemning Russia for its mischief here and abroad, or ordering much of any activity by way of punishment or counter-measure. He has, however, not stopped those in his administration and the national security establishment who are responsible for countering Russian military power from focusing on Russia as a threat and doing so openly.
He may even believe US military power is an asset in dealing with Russia. He just doesn't want to talk about it. But from the point of view of Russia as a political threat, he and his administration seemed remarkably quiescent. And the general suspicion, as Carol mentioned, is that this is a kind of thank you for past Russian services provided to Trump, of one sort or another.
If Russia has some kind of leverage, it is hard to see what additional behavior, short of the Russians invading another country, would cause a stronger reaction than we have seen from the Trump administration. And hence, it will be up to others to demonstrate more energy in countering these Russian activities.
| this raises the immediate question of who. And it's just not obvious that the Europeans, who are the other liberal democracy in their gun sights, are really that interested in a true brawl. British expulsions of Russian agents excepted.
Now, it's always a good idea to have at least one other hypothesis on hand when you try to explain a policy. And here, I'll offer you another one that relies entirely on straws in the wind. And it could be in sync with the first strategy, but a little bit different spin.
We know that Trump talks to Henry Kissinger. And Henry Kissinger argues that back in Cold War days, the US opening to China, which he and Richard Nixon engineered, helped to back foot the Russians. This is Dr. Kissinger's story in all of his diplomatic histories that he's written about his diplomatic achievements, that they found a way to use China to back foot Russia.
Now, it's not clear in the story what we got for back footing the Russians, but the evidence is clear in historical record that his contacts with China drove the Russians to distraction. It is also the case that Dr. Kissinger liked secret back channels and liked secret diplomacy.
He in fact had one with Russia, through Ambassador Dobrynin, which is chronicled in a big book you can get from the US GPO, which has all of the documents of both parties, including Dobrynin's reports home. And you can see in those documents that Dobrynin was driven to distraction, and the Russian government was driven to distraction by rumors of Kissinger's approach to China. Of course, the initial approach to China was also kept secret.
Now, we know that President Trump is really concerned about China, really concerned. And we know that he mistrusts most of the US security policy apparatus, with the possible exception of United States Marine Corps. So I do wonder whether Trump in his own way-- and I stress in his own way-- picked up the idea from Henry Kissinger that maybe the US could leverage China through some kind of entente with Russia, in the same way that Nixon and Kissinger believed that they leveraged Russia through their entente with China. And might also believe that such an entente could only be engineered through secret diplomacy.
Now, this is only a working hypothesis. It's not a conclusion. And it does not exclude the possibility that Russia has some kind of peculiar leverage on the president. But be that as it may, this hypothesis as well suggests that Russia has some running room. Because if the president entertains it, he surely expects to engineer in his parlance a pretty big deal. And will be loath to give up the possibility of such a deal.
ELIZABETH WOOD: So we will now open the floor for questions to our three distinguished speakers. There are mics, yeah, there's mics. Go ahead and we can repeat the question if people can't hear it.
AUDIENCE: Hi, everyone. My name's Richard. I'm a PhD student from MIT in applied mathematics. I want to ask about the 2016 Russian interference of the US election. This is not the first time that Russia or the Soviet Union spread misinformation against Western democratic institutions. Yet, the Western response against this information campaign has been consistently weak.
In the long term, what should the West systematically do to improve its defense against fake news coming from Russia. And in the short term, what should happen between now and November the 6th, before we see fake news generated by the IRA saying, I don't know, Nancy Pelosi invented AIDS or something? Thank you.
CAROL SAIVETZ: You're the US expert.
BARRY POSEN: No, I'm not. I'm actually-- I'm one of those guilty fly-over people. I live on the East Coast or the West Coast. And I really don't know anything about what happens in between. I would say that-- this is what occurs to me.
First of all, the Russians and others who mess about in American electoral politics are pushing on an unlocked door. In fact, efforts to sow dissension in the United States are also pushing on a period of dissension that's already very intense.
So the Russians aren't guilty of creating this. They're guilty of exploiting it and exacerbating it. And they exploit it and exacerbate it because of what my colleague, Steve [INAUDIBLE] might call failures in our national information system, which has been profoundly re-engineering it, and mis-engineered since the demise of the big television networks and heavily curated news.
I think a lot of the problem calls from the fact that we no longer have curated news in this country. We have a giant sort of torrent of circulating information of varying quality, opinions, and whatnot. So this is a system that we created. And some of it was in the news today.
And the people who are in that business are going to have to control it. It's not something the state can do. People have to have ethical predispositions to control things like Facebook. When I say control, I mean to police them for errant nonsense. There has to be an ethical predisposition on the part of these companies. It's going to be very hard to legislate.
This is a kind of-- I'll be naive here-- but this has to be seen as a kind of patriotic duty. Now, what the state can do, with the state must do, is go over our actual electoral tools and instruments with a fine tooth comb and wrap them in as many layers as protection as we conceivably can, so that there can never be any question about counted votes.
That's essential. And that requires some money it's not a gigantic amount of money. I think the figure of a billion dollars has been talked about. Well, given that our defense budget is going to $600 billion, you'd have thought that maybe we could find a billion to protect the integrity of the American electoral system.
So that's obviously a key thing that we have to do. And then finally, and this is a hobbyhorse of mine, and some people will think it's naive. I think we have a serious problem across Western Intelligence, the Intelligence systems. And that's basically that even when they have real detail on what the Russians have done, because they're so concerned about protecting the family jewels, they will not reveal any of it.
They're obsessed with preserving their tools. And by the way, they're not very good at it. Because we lost all these offensive cyber tools to cyber burglars. But somehow, whatever it is they use that caused them towards the end of the campaign to say, look, we know the Russians interfered, but they wouldn't provide any evidence whatsoever, other than some stupid discussion of what RT had done.
It is central. And this is what Mueller's investigation has actually done much better. The indictment of these Russians has details in it. So when we have evidence, someone needs to look at the evidence and say, this is the war. This is the political dispute. We have to use this evidence. And if we compromise a source and method every now and then, so be it.
ELIZABETH WOOD: All right, let's take something from this side.
AUDIENCE: Hi, my name is Vlad. And I have a short question. So considering that the economy of Russia is approximately the size of that of Italy nowadays, what is their main source of power, what is Russia's main source of power? And considering that the Cold War is over and Russia is not anymore an ideological adversary, why is it still portrayed as such an antagonist?
ANDREI KOZYREV: I think I will try to add something to previous answer. I agree with what you said. But I think what would be very, very helpful, and what is urgent even, is to make a government, that that's what government, that's what our state can do. Make it clear that Russia is adversary. Like Cold War, in the Cold War, after the Truman administration, it was very, very clear. And that's important.
It's not just words. It's not empty words. It sets, so to say, the music. And this music is listened all over the world and inside the country. Let's assume that Junior Trump was just naive meeting with the Russian agents, or whatever, this so-called attorney, or whatever it is.
Naive, yes, that's interesting. The guy is 40 years old. And maybe he really believed the previous narrative, also state narrative, promulgated by the Bush senior administration, then all American administrations and all governments in Europe, that Russia now is totally different and think maybe I kind of overplayed my hand.
I persuaded them, but I said we wanted to be. But we failed. We wanted to fundamentally change Russia. But I own it. We failed to do that. Russia did not change. It is the Cold War. It is not even the Cold War number two. It's just the same old, good Cold War. And you say that there is no ideology. There is an ideology.
And Putin explicitly explained it again in his recent remarks. The ideology of autocratic, some say kleptocratic regimes, against democracy. That's the point. That was in the Soviet Union.
I grew up in the Soviet Union. I was once a member, of course, of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. In my time, nobody took it literally. Nobody actually believed in communism. Everybody knew-- I mean, of course we were seeing the international party, and we were speaking of communism, that everything was communism, and we were called communists.
But it was bureaucratic organizations. It's the same as today's so-called United Russia. It's been a bureaucratic organization, called party, which another tool of an autocratic regime. So actually accept that the red flag was changed to tri-color. When we were in the so-called White House on 1991 August 19, yes we meant it.
And it was for real when we were waving the tri-color flag against the Soviet red flag, because we wanted, as I said, we wanted-- we tried, we tried seriously. But we failed. So in the end, it's just red flag changed for non-red to tri-color flag. But that should be made official policy. It should be told.
And it's-- you know what, it's international. Some people say that it's not Cold War, because Cold War was global. It is global. Just look at China. China and Russia again are allies ideologically, or politically, against the United States. Why? On the same ground, on the ground of ideology which juxtaposes a leadership in China, which has no end. One person has now no limits how long his power.
Same story as Putin. Putin already 18 years in power. And believe me, the six years, it's a joke. I mean, he will be sitting there in real power as long as he wants. And with all due respect, but Medvedev, he was just the puppet. So nobody took him seriously inside Russia. It was so obvious.
There was a joke that his wife, Medvedev's wife, after so-called election, when he was elected, president came to him and said, today you will have a dinner with the wife of the president. She came to Medvedev. And he said, oh, it's OK, but does Vladimir know that? So that's a very popular joke in Russia.
So I mean, yes it's global. And look at this, Russia, for last five years, or last-- yes, already 10 years-- for last 10 years, provides financial aid and material aid to Cuba. Number one I think was at times Venezuela, Syria, and North Korea. That's four out of five top recipients of Russian aid for the last 10 years. That's official data. It's not even from the papers. It's official data from Russian government.
I mean, that sounds familiar to me. When I was in the Soviet Foreign Ministry, that was the list. So I can dwell upon that. It is the same Cold War, which never actually ended, though we tried to end it. And the West was too quick to believe that when I said we are trying our best, help us with that, that was my message.
They would kind of take it, oh they did it, and relax. Oh, OK, that's done, a done thing. That's why they didn't come much to help, as much as it was needed at that time. There was help. I mean, all this is-- what is the name, what is the word-- nonsense-- that the West was not helpful, that the West humiliated Russia. I was there.
They West, the American administration, Bush Senior, Bill Clinton, they were helpful. They did a lot for Russia. They helped us to collect the nuclear weapons from other states. They helped us to sit in the Security Council, which I regret now. I was fighting for that.
But who helped us to keep the Soviet seat? It was not automatic. Automatically, it should be, by international law, there should be a conference of all 15 former Soviet republics, now independent states. And you could imagine what kind of conference it would be. It would be probably be still today discussing who is to succeed the Soviet Union in the Security Council, and who is to succeed the Soviet Union as the sole owner of the nuclear arsenal.
But who helped us? It was Baker. I can tell you names, the names. It was Douglas Hurd from the Great Britain. It was Duma, the foreign minister of France. And all together, we worked with Chinese, and they just nodded. They said, it's OK. Because those were the nuclear powers which mattered.
So I mean, it was tremendous help, but not enough in economic terms for us to succeed. But failure to succeed is ours. It's not American. It's not the West. It's not expanse, enlargement of NATO. It's a joke.
They would never-- my successor, who was in my time head of the security apparatus of the KGB successor organization, mind that, and he would not take NATO for any price. He wanted NATO to be dissolved. And his logic was very simple. It was not NATO enlargement what bothered him.
It was that the Warsaw Pact was dissolved. The Soviet Union was collapsed actually. So the same should happen in the West. NATO's should be dissolved and probably America should collapse. Like Texas and California should go independent, something like that, to match. Otherwise, it's unfair. That's the idea of fair treatment.
So everything else, it's just baloney. It's just propaganda. So it is the Cold War, and the States still can do a lot. And if young people, if the guy had an idea, like in the Cold War, that yes, it's ideological, political, enemy power, he would probably not meet with them. And that there would be probably no collusion. And even Mr. Trump himself, he could have heard about that, that yes, it's [INAUDIBLE] power, you should not do business with them, at least politically, not economically.
To make myself clear, if America and the West stands against Putin, the stronger America stands against Putin, the more that there will be potential for serious interactions, for serious deal making, and for real productive dialogue. That's why I'm-- I am a diplomat, I am not the military-- I am all for dialogue, for diplomacy. But diplomacy without strong push back, it's a losing game. It's no good. It's a sham, like elections.
The Russians, and Putin, in particular, they should be taken seriously, as I said. And they need to respect the interlocutor. They will sit at the table and negotiate seriously, but with a serious partner, with a partner who is strong. If they see the partner on the other side of the table is weak, and his response feeble, they take him not as a partner for dialogue. They take him as prey.
ELIZABETH WOOD: All right, let's hear the question, true question.
AUDIENCE: The feature article in the Wall Street Journal on Friday showed what widespread and deep support President Putin has in Russia, especially among young people. So I don't think that's really in doubt, unless the Journal is part of Putin's propaganda machine too. But the question, it's not really clear whether the so-called illiberal world order is going to be any worse than the liberal world order.
After all, it was Obama that destroyed Libya. It was Obama that was killing people every week with his drones. It was Obama who set up his national security state, which is why Snowden is in Russia now instead of in this country. So I mean, the question is, it's not such a bad idea if someone, like President Putin, or she, or whoever it may be pushes back against American aggression, whether its liberal aggression or illiberal aggression, is it? We need someone like that.
I don't say that-- and I don't think anyone does-- is Putin is perfect. But what the United States has done through its liberality, and in interfering in inter-affairs of countries around the world certainly demands that a uni-polar world be challenged by somebody, doesn't it?
BARRY POSEN: Just to make one point, in the article, I actually don't take a position on whether illiberal hegemony is going to work better or worse than liberal hegemony. I think it remains to be seen. There's a sizable body-- some of it is social science, and some of it is ideology, and sometimes the two mixed together-- that believes that liberal hegemony is somehow easier to run. And there are reasons why that might be true.
But there are too many variables. And it could turn out that the liberal hegemony is not harder to do. But neither of them is easy to do, and neither seems destined for peace. So I wasn't putting a value judgment on it one way or the other. I just think it remains to be seen.
And as far as push back is concerned, I'm just not-- I guess I wouldn't put it in the kind of ethical context, in the same way I wouldn't put it in Andrei's ideological context. I have a kind of-- despite my somewhat sarcastic discussion of Henry Kissinger, I have a sort of Kissingarian view of the world. Great powers compete.
And I don't want to call our competition with Russia and China a Cold War and get people riled up about it. The last time we got Americans riled up about a Cold War, a lot of mistakes got made. So I would just assume accept that we live in a world in which great powers are going to compete. And sometimes, they compete in ways that are unsavory.
And our job as Americans is to make sure that these other powers don't change things in a way that's really inimical to our security. But it's also to look into ourselves and ask is our particularly expansive-- [INAUDIBLE] but our expansive view of what it takes to keep us and our friends secure, does it really make sense? And are the policies we've developed to pursue that expansive view working all that well? And that's where I've kind of lodged my query.
ELIZABETH WOOD: All right, we'll take the next question.
AUDIENCE: Thank you. My question is to Kozyrev.
ELIZABETH WOOD: Mr. Kozyrev?
AUDIENCE: Yeah, as the diplomat here. And it's in terms of US Russian relations, Russia has a rather unified front. Their various political [INAUDIBLE] speak of a similar voice. Where as the US, for example, Trump and Nikki Haley have two often different public stances. Do you see there being a need for either to change in order to work together or to engage each other better?
ANDREI KOZYREV: Yeah, first of all, let me add a little bit. There is no such thing as harassment and consensual relations-- consensual harassment. There is no such thing. There is no such thing as liberal hegemonism or liberal imperialism. Full stop.
And I remember my daughter, she went to Columbia. She graduated Columbia. And once she said, imagine our professor, liberal professor there, said maybe socialism is not much worse than capitalism and dwelled upon that. And they said, that's a point of view.
But she said I could not but raise my hand and make a remark. She said, I lived there. I am coming from there, from socialism. Because she was 13 when the Soviet Union collapsed. So she said, I lived there. That was the answer.
So if you live in the Putin dominated, or Putin-like dominated world, you would not like it, believe me. It is a big difference. Now, as far as I remember, America never spoke in one word. And that's the strength of American democracy. There are different points of view. The Congress is not a rubber stamp. Duma, or parliament, whatever you call it, in Russia-- and that's the strength of America, the variety of views.
And it's very inconvenient being foreign minister or dealing with America and having to consider all these differences, which I to do daily. There is White House, there is Congress, there is a Foreign Relations Committee, one controlled by Republicans, one controlled by Democrats. George Bush, Sr., he lost the elections, if you remember, and the policy became weak and weak.
They wanted, I think, to help us more, but they could not. Then Clinton came, and the young beauty also came to Clinton. And then what happened, that he was weak, and he could not deliver. He could not even focus on the Russian-American relations, which is understandable, maybe before scandal, and after scandal, in particular.
Anyway, yes, that's the reality. What I would like though, that at least the White House speaks clearly, consistently, and on at least basically on the side of democracy, which means not calling, not congratulating a dictator for winning this sham elections, if only out of respect to my late friend, Boris Nemtsov.
There could be two serious potential contenders, had it been a free and fair election. It was Boris Nemtsov, but he was killed. And there is still Alexei Navalny. But he's either locked, or just deleted from the list of candidates.
So if you consider this to be any kind of election-- election between whom? Selection between whom?
CAROL SAIVETZ: Can I jump in for a second? I think that it's-- I think it's an oversimplified view to think that there are no policy discussions within the Kremlin as well. I mean, yes, Putin is a very different kind of leader from any US president, there's no question about that. But there is a policy process there too.
And it's not necessary that it's one guy versus all these disparate voices in the Trump administration. I think that's really an oversimplification.
ELIZABETH WOOD: Let's take the next question.
AUDIENCE: I just have two quick questions for Foreign Minister Kozyrev. And I have to say first, that for what it's worth amongst liberal American scholars of Russia, you're very greatly admired. And thank you for your cosmopolitanism and vision. But I do have two questions for you.
And I appreciate your allusion to Gulliver's Travels when you were talking about the need for America to push back against Russia. But I wanted to ask you very concretely, how are we supposed to do that, especially given Barry Posen's account of how we're sort of overactive militarily these days in various ways around the world, and not that successfully.
I mean, it seems like it's not just about being powerful these days, but also understanding how to wield power, and also the problem of wielding power ethically. So if Russia took out our power grid, does that mean we take out Russia's power grid? How exactly are we supposed to respond substantially, with teeth, while avoiding military catastrophe and keeping the door open to diplomacy?
And then the second question is, with the leaders of China and Russia these days talking all the time about national interests, real politic, as a Russian, do you at all respond to that framing of foreign policy? Maybe not the way national interest is being defined currently by Putin, but the idea that Russia might have a national interest that's different from that of the United States?
And if I can just stick in a third question, totally unfairly, but again, I totally admire you, but when you were just saying it's unfair for Trump to congratulate Putin on a rigged election, I hate to say it, I feel like I'm betraying things that I deeply believe in, but Yeltsin's second election wasn't entirely fair either. I'm so sorry, I admire you. I really, really do.
ELIZABETH WOOD: We only have a very few minutes. We're supposed to end at 6:00, so we have three minutes. Those are great questions.
ANDREI KOZYREV: Very, very good questions. You know, as I said, it's very important to set music. Then, diplomats, military, economic, all branches of government start to play by this music, even public starts to play, even Facebook. That's a young guy there that's a genius in computer science. My son is now studying computer science in Cornell. I don't even understand what he's talking about.
But anyway, so this guy is a computer genius. He created a great company. But nobody told him-- again, he does know that Russia-- now he learns that it's toxic. But in the Cold War, if it was a more clear message from Washington, that would set up in mind, even of Zuckerberg-- he's not a politician-- but he would think, oh, Russian, probably we should be cautious at least.
That's how it works. That's why I say that it's very important to pass the word from the government. That's what government can do. Government in America cannot dictate Zuckerberg what to do. But he will listen, definitely, out of patriotic, out of whatever. That's number one.
Number two, I mentioned the law. Let us not invent anything. There is a law passed by the Congress, which actually demands action. And that action is very good. That's exactly what they will do. Just we need the administration to implement the law. They published the list, maybe except for one or two names which are questionable in that list.
Otherwise, that is the Russian ruling class, which participates in Putin politics, including aggression, including aggression in Ukraine, which is undeniable. So it's undeniable fact. And this ruling class benefits, not only oligarchs, but everybody on this list, they serve the regime. They benefit from the regime.
And the law says first publish the list, then discuss it a little bit, and then take action. That is sanctions against this group of people. So just do what the law demands to do, and we'll see how it works. It will work.
It will work very, very powerful. It's much better than nuclear empty threats or something. So next, what was it, do we have time?
ELIZABETH WOOD: I just want to give Barry and Carol a chance, if they want to add one last word, or one last thought in relation to these questions.
CAROL SAIVETZ: I think you pose a really good question, what should retaliation look like if something like this would happen? I think we have to be careful. I think we have to be moderate, because it would be very easy to trip over into some kind of more nuclearized military confrontation.
If you look at the Russian nuclear strategy, it says that they would use nuclear weapons if they were an existential threat to the existing government. Would they see our attempt to shut down their electric grid as some kind of existential threat? I think we really have to be very nuanced in our approach. But that doesn't mean that we shouldn't do something.
ELIZABETH WOOD: And, Barry, the last word.
BARRY POSEN: I think Andrei and I have kind of a disagreement, which is I think it's entirely reasonable for the Russians to not want Ukraine to be in our orbit. It's entirely reasonable. If somebody wanted to put Mexico in their orbit, we would oppose it. In fact, we always have opposed it.
Canada and Mexico are in our orbit, and if anyone tried to change that, there would be hell to pay, right? And we did try and change it. The Europeans tried to change it in a political sense. And it's perfectly reasonable for the Russians to assume that where EU treads, NATO will follow. These are perfectly reasonable things.
Now, I'm not going to-- I'm not going to be an apologist for the methods that Putin used to try and short circuit this. They tried bribery and corruption, and that worked for a while. Then we back footed over on that one. They reached into their bag of tricks, and all they had left was little green men, and that's what they played.
I think they overplayed. And I think they've paid a little price for that. Maybe not big enough, maybe there's more people to sanction, more ways to annoy them, tit for tat. Yeah, sure, that's the way you have to play the game. But we have to ask ourselves strategically, do we want to be married to the Ukrainian regime?
I see no reason whatsoever. There's nothing special about this place that helps us. There's nothing special about this place from the point of view of American ideals, or from economics, or from anything else. I'm not saying I want them to be back under Russia's thumb.
But I have no problem with having a deal with the Russians that says we'll stay out if you stay out. This country has to find its own way. We'll stay out if you stay out. Simple as that. Boom-boom, they're not coming into you, they're not coming into NATO. It's fine.
I have no problem with that. It doesn't affect American national security really one whit. Now, it's a sad thing that the Ukrainians don't control their own destiny. But the Ukrainians haven't done a very good job getting control of their own destiny. And if they're not going to do a good job getting control of it, how is it that that should be our business?
There are many, many major international issues that need to be settled. And the Russians, in fact, are strong enough to ask for a say. They're too poor to have a big say, but they're not so weak that they have no say. That's international politics. It's the way it works.
ANDREI KOZYREV: [INAUDIBLE] speaking for Russian government. It's not in the offer, you stay off, and we stay off. The offer is you stay off and we stay in.
ELIZABETH WOOD: So with that, let us thank our speakers for a very interesting panel.