Putin’s Road to War: Eugene Robinson (interview)


so we’re thinking of starting a movie with something recent that will get us to think about who vladimir putin is and it’s a few moments you mentioned as being like something out of the cayman insubordination which is this national insurance gather that he has with his advisors vladimir putin i don’t know if you’ve watch the whole footage but but this ornate room monster chamber exactly putin feet into the room by himself his top national insurance advisors are sort of arrayed um on the other side of the area um if you could describe that moment and and what you see in precisely the theatrics of what’s going on inside this moment where they’re on the procession to campaign well it was a exceedingly very strange moment because you had uh putin um at 20 feet down or more from uh his part national security unit they’re sitting in in an display like um like school children maybe or um supplicants of some kind and he and he goes in a row and they were required to sort of get up and and and assurance their their fealty to this thought of of recognizing these two breakaway ukrainian republics uh in the east and it’s a it’s a awfully really strange moment i means that we appreciate a great deal of strange things in the age of covet and people distanced in a manner that was that they wouldn’t ought to have before but this this was like something different uh this looked more like uh something you would see in a royal court than than you would see in a in a modern governments and um and then the moment when the heading of the foreign intellect service um doesn’t relatively give the right answer and doesn’t quite um say utterly sir we should recognize these republics and and um at one point i believe putin says do you subsidize this and he says i is supportive it and putin thrusts again because that’s not quite the same thing um he’s saying i is supportive it if if you go ahead and do this thing uh that i have some doubts about uh clearly have some doubts concerning and propagandizes him and propagandizes him and pushes him until finally uh he he asks for a yes or no will you are able to you reinforce it and then lastly he says he says yes but to kind of dress down uh heads of state of of the equivalent of the cia in that manner something i have never seen uh before uh and to have it staged for public intake in that way uh was just very strange and very troubling very troubling that um that a boy with such power such absolute power is behaving in that way what does it say about where power is in russia what does it say about putin himself about how he ascertains himself about what he ascertains as his capacity in that moment it was of the view that strength in russia is vladimir putin that power is centralized in putin maybe in a way that it hasn’t been centralized in any russian or soviet commander since stalin to me it it seems that he has more ability than khrushchev had more capability than brezhnev had because it’s all centralized in him there’s no suggestion that there as there was in the soviet epoches that that there was a polar bureau a central committee um some some group of apparatchiks who uh if um pushing really came to jostle uh could could change heads of state of authority there’s no committee regulating the the the implementation of vladimir putin it’s putin himself uh and everyone has to to pledge loyalty fealty to putin in tell to to maintain any slot any status in the government uh in an nearly groveling channel uh and and again we have not seen this uh since uh in russia since the working day of stalin i mean it’s an incredible extent of dominance you see in that moment but there’s also a question of how does he understand what is going on these are also the people who are his advisors who are supposed to be telling him you know this is what developments in the situation is on the sand what is it what does it divulge about putin’s comprehend of or or whether people are able to give him hard facts it certainly suggests to me that putin who after all has can actually been in part for two decades uh who’s who’s very experienced at this who’s had some success uh as uh as a as a supervisor um believed to be basically knows it all um and and one does not have the impression that he’s particularly interested in the parliament of his aides and certainly not uh in rulings that is in breach of his own um he to me seems um and here i am thinking its own history carries this out he has said that the dismemberment of the soviet consolidation was the greatest geopolitical tragedy of the century i think he truly believes that and i think he if you are able to would virtually reassemble the soviet empire the russian dominion um and he’s not i don’t think he’s crazy i don’t think he’s going to um tomorrow infest latvia or estonia other nato countries that used to be incorporated into the soviet uniting but i’d but i believe he has a special thing about ukraine he seems to always have had this this almost mysterious historical consider of ukraine’s uh usefulnes to russia its relationship to russia and i think he is determined that ukraine not be an an independent western tilted commonwealth i think he conceives ukraine really is part of russia and he is determined to the fullest extent that they are able to to make this geopolitical devastation that separated uh ukraine from russia is this putin’s war is this russia’s war you know we think of the iraq battle and the bush administration certainly led us into that but there was months-long campaign to bring congress and others along and uh ability good or bad that they were putting out there in this war does it feel to you like this is really about vladimir putin as much as it is about russia as a country oh this this war to me feels very much uh about vladimir putin and and not really certainly not about the russian people i don’t think it’s about uh his his aide-de-camps it’s not about his government it’s not about riches or anything like that it’s it’s it’s not as if uh ukraine is a great source of of oil or something that russia um uh could use in that way i think it is putin’s war very much now there was a build-up to it in uh certainly a building and strengthening that ukraine noticed um he noticed the the hyperbole coming out of the kremlin noticed um putin’s uh warning arms uh build up on the borders uh you know greatly before uh it it became an intrusion army um and um you know the world wasn’t compensating attention arguably wasn’t compensate fairly notice um but um but it but this is invigorated and and carried out by here i am thinking vladimir putin and his own uh gumption of his neighbourhood in uh in russian history his character in russian biography i think he wants to be a great historical figure uh for russia i think he wants to be in the line of even the unspeakable peter the great catherine the largest lenin and stalin i think it’s putin the great is what he wants to be uh and and and one of the deeds uh that putin the great will have accomplished is reuniting russia with ukraine what we’re going to picking back up is in this 2015 -2 016 time period as putin he’s gone through 2014 he’s clutched crimea he’s urged struggle in the eastern region of ukraine and uh the u.s has had sanctions but doesn’t react as strongly as some as some wants to know if and he’s contemplating what he’s going to do next um he’s about to uh launch intervention in the american election in 2016. Who do you think is putin at that moment you are familiar with if if you think about it um the ventures “re extremely” grew for putin um uh by what happened in ukraine you know first there was the um the the orange change and then the made on rebellion and um uh these a few examples of parties parties supremacy of people rising up uh to say no in the case of ukraine to a supervisor whose um who whose agenda was this this tight close relationship with russia and putin um and and obey centre to the russian system and and and to russia’s desires um uh and the person or persons rose up against uh that chairwoman in ukraine and um so in in a certain sense um putin is she’s certainly a humanity who recollects of his own self-interest and and there’s a possibility clearly with this close example in ukraine the brother country of russia to have beings rise up like that it could happen in russia and i think putin is thinking defensively in those times and he’s thinking how do i made to ensure that never happens in moscow how do i make sure that what happens in the primary square of of kiev never happens in red square well what do you think looking back on him would do him think you know i’m going to see take threats to to launch a intervention in an american election i’m going to be increasingly aggressive um well was that the turning point um well his interference in the american ballot certainly represented uh a ratcheting up of um of of his hazard long-suffering i suspect um on the other paw um number 1 i think putin speculates the west is inherently weak and is likely to be pushed uh to a certain point and he and and he pushes to that site and if he doesn’t get um a action uh he propagandizes some more and and um so he recollected he could push that far uh and he saw a clear potential benefit in a deepen of u.s posture and programme toward russia and attitudes and um and and read potentially um first it might have just been a chance to realise mischief um and and and make perturb for um for for the u.s because if the uss is worried about him its own um uh political um uh crisis that doesn’t really have time to worry about russia and what russia might be doing um but i think he came to see the sincere chances to to change u.s programme programme to soften u.s fight uh to his assignment of cementing uh his not just his own superpower but russia’s dominance and russia’s predominance over uh the former soviet association sphere and what must he take at the end of that where he’s interfered in the election he’s been called on it he watches you know whether it’s the help of the russians or not he watches trump be elected there’s some sanctions and there’s they kick out some statesmen but what assignment does he take at the end of the day uh from he took this risk and he took this risk and and it paid off for him and so he must take the lesson uh that i can push further that i can i can do more and i represent look at the relationship he had with donald trump um who stand next to him in uh in helsinki and and essentially said uh i make vladimir putin’s parole over the word of the u.s intelligence community uh as a shocking thing for a u.s president to say and do so i think as long as trump was president i think putin felt uh he had a free hand essentially to pursue his own points without much nervousnes of us intervention or pushback uh in any way not even rhetorical pushback the various kinds of of pushback that that you would expect and if the united states is um it sort of backs off um that here i am thinking creates space for a similar departure i think is the word uh in europe and the united states truly uh “re going to have to” has to lead in this rapport and has historically um and without this kind of u.s leadership i think putin felt unbound um and and unconstrained and um here i am thinking the result is what we’re seeing now inside of russia there’s increasing repressions on protesters um he’s jailing november he’s amending the constitution to become director for life um what what’s his approach inside russia during those times um leading up to now and what reformed for him well you know in inside russia um uh i think the longer he was in capability um and retain he’s been there for 20 times i think he was fairly systematic at um at fixing sure he had no adversaries uh in in superpower there’s no digit uh around him who who challenges him or who who is who even looks like a successor to him um i was careful not to not to allow that i don’t think he’s particularly religious but i think he he came to to ascertain himself as virtually consecrated to lead russia at this moment uh and to lead russia back to to greatness and if if that is your legislated assignment uh if that is what you were supposed to do then um there aren’t a lot of the restriction on uh the the means you can use to to achieve that goal right so jailing the foe uh becomes not only an uh an behave of self-interest in getting rid of a possible uh dissident but it becomes in the national interest because it is in the national interest for putin to lead russia back to greatness therefore it is in the own national interests to jail uh navalny this is a national interest to um to poison and and and kill opponents and and um and put them out of windows uh and and and the sort of thing that we’ve seen uh from putin it is in the national interest uh not to have uh the various kinds of opposition and phrase of public um of public demeanours that we that we view in the other former soviet republics that became independent and western leaning people um that’s not in russia’s level of interest in in his attention i think in russia’s best interest ought to have him as its strong governor uh indefinitely because he is leading it back to greatness you know we often “ve been thinking about” the soviet epoch but but it’s almost more czarist with except he is the state as you’re describing it yeah exactly it is almost more more czarist i mean you could you know one one could argue that stalin who converged so much power in himself was rather czarist uh as well um but but not any of the other soviet union leaders with the exclusion of lenin i suspect but um but the subsequent soviet leads um were are the most um like the foreman apparatchik whose turn it comes down and nothing threatened uh to become czar of all the russia’s uh and and um and that very much seems to be the method putin feels of himself as more of a czar than uh as a president and in overseas during this period he seems like he’s emboldened i mean you mentioned the poisons they’re happening in the united kingdom he’s uh deploying units into syria and doesn’t seem to mind the you are familiar with denunciation the allegations of you are familiar with war crimes that that russia gets accused of um what’s his approach during that period leading up to now to foreign program i think he has he has realized and understood that he does not have to stay within what most of us shall be examined by international norms because in the end what is anybody going to do to him right i represent how um you are familiar with rank has its liberties nuclear weapon being a nuclear society um a nuclear-armed nation has its advantages and one of those advantages is that societies then that may criticize you that may disapprove of what you’re doing that may be appalled and and um and repelled and outraged by wars you’re taking “re going to have to” stop the car they can’t go to war with russia because it’s suicidal to do so um reciprocal assured shattering uh is uh is still a concept that various kinds of labor and it’s a fact of our lives and so i think he learned that he can sort of move it to the limit and then beyond because in the end um the united states is not going to go to fight against russia france and and britain are not going to go to war against russia nobody’s going to go to war against russia because if you do that you are signing your own death warrant and and that of of of millions of innocent people you’re you’re killing your own country as well as as well as his and so um since that can’t happen he can propagandize as far as he demands trump loses the election somebody who was sort of imparting him in some ways a green light to do what he was doing and and biden comes in but at the same time putin must be watching january 6 the withdrawal from afghanistan what do you think he’s seeing in in biden in the united states in this run-up to the decision to go into ukraine i think he misperceived uh chairperson biden i think he underestimated him as a manager and underestimated uh its own position uh his backbone as um uh as a lead you identify january 6 you you view an america that is divided um uh that is uh chaotic and you can assume that it’s it’s going to be less effective in opponent you insure the withdrawal from afghanistan and um you know russia also withdrew from afghanistan or the soviet union did i mean it’s not um so so perhaps um perhaps you take a lesson from that or maybe not i think you look at afghanistan and you understand a united states that may not have the gut for confront russia if it does take action like he’s taking in ukraine you look at a united states not consequently in in recede but by the united states that is is not advancing boosting the great interest and boosting its uh influence in the world so i think i think he’s been surprised at the at the strong and the unity of the responses both worldwide and within the united countries i think he saw more department inside the united states about how to react if he took a pace like like the one he’s taking now i think he expected us to be slower in reacting i don’t think he expected the sanctions to be as tough as they are and i think he’s probably concerned about further paces that could be taken to sanction the oil and gas industry which would hurt even more we began talking about that national security gratify but something that is really striking during the era of begrudge when you look at the pictures of vladimir putin that he’s on video forum with parties that when he is in person uh he’s at the end of the long table time and time again what does it say about putin to see these idols of putin apart what is it what does it propose nothing about it is very very strange i necessitate again even in the age of covert when we establish social distancing and we don’t be engaged in in in tight assembles without mass the course we used to um even even then the the room he supports uh physical distance makes his aides or anyone who’s talking to him genuinely um roughly on a lower airliner on a lower level um it it suggests that he considers himself as a part and above um all of those he interacts with um i i you noted that when chairperson macron france for example came to to visit again “youve had” them sitting at opposite aspirations of this impossibly long table i mean there’s there’s no sort of medical reason why uh even in the begrudged days why there had to be such great distance between them uh and so it has to be deliberate and it has to be a deliberate practice of saying uh i’m apart from you i’m above you and you have come as a supplicant to expect something of me and i will award it or i will not um but there’s no ability of of kind of uh discussion as equals uh and and you can by propagation wonder if he guesses he has equals so in the film we’ve watched him what he’s watched the collapse of the soviet league he’s watched the government of the united states you know in his view humiliate him and and try to undermine him my question is is this the moment that in his own brain his lifetime has been building up to the attack of ukraine does this does this feel like when “youre reading” his address and recognize what he’s saying uh like the culmination of his life the culmination of biography leading to this moment for him um you know i do study uh this is a consummation i do think he realizes his his animation as having led him to this point to this momentous spot but i don’t think he is believed that he’s finished yet i don’t think uh uh if he subdues ukraine uh and even though he reunites ukraine with russia i don’t necessarily think he feels he’s he’s finished uh and he has written his gift i really think he interprets himself as as repair russia to absolute greatness in the world and reassembling basically the russian dominion you are familiar with this is the tsarist conglomerate the soviet empire whatever whatever it was uh that doesn’t mean i think he’s going to uh again uh start invading nato countries uh i don’t think he’s completely mad but if he gets away with ukraine i do review he will um continue to push and here i am thinking he what he will push for is one of um at least effective neutrality from the countries around his borderlines i think he is surprised probably now that he hasn’t gotten that hitherto and that um that in fact um those nato countries and even countries that are not now part of nato like like finland um uh and finland has been various kinds of neutral but i think he’s surprised that those countries are leaning forward and praising what he’s doing so brutally but i’m not sure he’ll be entirely restrained i think he meets firstly he has to deal with ukraine this is more difficult than he could have imagined um and uh accepting he achieves eventually what he wants to accomplish in ukraine um then i think he you know i think he demands more i i really do putin seems to be a very savvy hustler he minimal investment in the election and he gets great makes the crimea raid is something you know they’re able to mount without a military invasion or without military without engage but in such cases it seems like he doesn’t understand the capabilities of the russian military he doesn’t understand the attitudes of the ukrainian beings he doesn’t understand what the response of the west will be what what happened why does this seem so different in his understanding or how it seems like he understands what’s going on well you know we talked about that length that he establishes a physical distance um from his from his aides from from interlopers um you know i i think that that’s a visualization of um his his distance from um uh from actualities that he genuinely should have and should have been able has become still more in touch with so um he should have been more in stroke with the capabilities of the russian army and its absence of evident readiness to to really carried out under an operation of this size uh i think he was uh certainly uh not in touch with what beings in uh what the person or persons of ukraine were really feeling um and um how strongly they felt um about their own independence and their um their independence from russia from moscow um he was out of touch with that he was out of touch with how the world community would greeting and again i think he is uh he is a bit dazed by this by the forte and consensu of the responses and so if if you isolate yourself you put yourself above everybody else and and and you you merely listen to people who tell you yes and tell you what you want to hear then you get you get a lot of bad information and you miss a good deal of related and good information and and you be brought to an end uttering mistakes and the path this invasion has departed so far um it’s it’s been nothing like what he expected or what he demanded and um now he has a firepower uh eventually to do to kiev what he did to grozny in chestnut i intend he can you can just pummel it into into into rubble uh and uh and win that way uh and that may be what he intends to do ultimately that originates it a kind of purex victory but um uh he does he depicts no clue of being willing to back down you said that one of the purposes of what this was about was was putin’s fear of democracy of uprising in the streets of what it was that ukraine represents and right now we have this spitting image between zielinski and putin how do you think he views the ukrainian chairperson i think he probably realise zolensky as a real threat to him um not only to his job uh in ukraine to what he’s trying to do in ukraine but uh to to him personally um now “youve had” this worker democratically elected former comic putin might have dismissed him as uh as kind of a joke uh initially um i do believe that you are familiar with his his idea of how to how to get how to carry out this invasion uh you know involves sort of sweeping in and and coming zielinski off the off the situation and i think he probably visualized that zolensky um once russian patrols started uh registering ukraine that zolensky would immediately flee into exile and would set up a some sort of government in deport that would uh actually to putin’s quality of deem be irrelevant and you know let them have the radical authority in deportation and i’ll have my authority in kiev um and um the fact that that zielinski did not run away and more than that that he became um this incredible commander became the face of fighting and a emblem for the whole world in accordance with the rules that he has has to be a real surprise for putin and um any and he must be wondering you know how can i how can i rid myself of this annoying ukrainian chairman you know how can i be disposed of this chap because um uh when you look at the way he has mobilized uh the ukrainian uh impels the ukrainian parties um he’s rallied the leaders of uh and people of the world uh in opponent uh to this invasion i don’t conclude putin seen there used to be any such figure in ukraine who could uh who could accomplish what zelinski is reaching i entail and it sort of raises the changes the nature of the fight you are familiar with between a territory polemic to one of you know an dictatorship republic kind of ideological conflict what are the ventures for putin at this minute how much has he gambled in this invasion you are familiar with because we’re looking at the arc of “peoples lives” how important is this time and what’s at stake for him well this is a really important moment for him because um you know he bridged the rubicon right he i make “hes been gone” in i review um i i think it would be very particularly difficult for him uh to back down at this stage you know he was offered various sort of uh off ramps and he hasn’t made them to this point so um uh you are familiar with does he really press on and in part i think it depends on the on the performance of the russian military members and whether it is possible demonstrate kind of more effectiveness than they have thus far at anything other than cannon and husk metropolis which they’re very good at that but but in areas of actually actual tactic in areas of of uh you know resupplying thrusts at the breast and whatever they’re you are familiar with it’s not working the method he he craved it to work but i don’t see how he backs down at this point you know i don’t see having extend this far uh and incurred the costs that he’s incurring how does he then say oh okay never mind so what’s the end game now and and i think he is certainly smart-alecky enough to see that it is actually an unattractive promise to think of of having to to fight a long-running potentially really effective insurgency in ukraine that’s being armed and fueled by the west but that may be he may view no other option but to keep going and to then battle that revolt indefinitely knowing you know that it’s a mire for him but he stepped into the quagmire and i don’t receive him at this degree deciding to back out i think he’s just gonna keep waiting forward you know putin who speculates the u.s has been trying to launch a coup against him who watched gaddafi being dragged in the streets and said that could be me i symbolize the regime it must be very personal stakes for him at this moment too well i i think it is it is very personal for him and his central focus has to be on on ukraine and what’s happening there but he has to be searching you are familiar with out the area of his eye at um uh at his um defense ministers at his um you know the the uh officials uh around him um at the oligarchs who have so benefited um uh from his guideline but who which are currently um are being penalise in uh in in material paths and who are going to who are now going to suffer and he has to wonder um uh whether um you are familiar with he he has determined himself more prone internally uh by doing this uh than uh than he would like to be the threat to him might not be um you know being dragged out of the the kremlin by a a gathering of of citizens um it is likely to be being um you are familiar with deposed or assassinated or whatever um by an effective cabal of oligarchs and and and maybe defense officials and others who get together and and say we have to stop this madness we need to focus on putin and on his motivation it’s a profile and where he came from but one of the amazing things about it and the reason the accounts feel so important is the consequences of the present decision you are familiar with one serviceman making a decision what what are the consequences for the world for ukraine for russia of a decision that that putin very much established on his own well look at that i entail really look at what what’s happening this is a world historical moment and uh that we are able to look back on uh and say um this is one of those moments when things big things reformed look at germany the um uh greatest fiscal dominance in europe has historically been in since world war ii has been incredibly skittish about uh about arming even itself much less sucking uh forearming others about any sort of militarism because of its world war ii uh past uh and its world war ii crimes and now germany um you know supplying lethal weapons to ukraine deciding to to devote more than uh two percent of its gdp on the military um deciding to kind of appendage up in a manner that was um that was unthinkable i necessitate it was inconceivable last year not just not just not only 10 several years ago last year it was inconceivable that that that germany would be be doing this you ogle at the forward action of nato arms to the sort of eastern front of poland and romania and and how the united states and uh and the nato allies are are literally moving violences uh forward to position in those countries in a way again that would not has not been able happening here uh a year ago and would have been seen as as you know provocative and unnecessary and what are you why would you do such a thing well um now it it seems very required um and you look at the kinds of decisions that um uh that presidents elsewhere are will still have to perform i necessitate um uh you know how long is president xi of pottery uh willing to condone uh this invasion um uh how long does he you know is he uh um there are benefits to him from this relationship with russia um china is playing an even longer game and it and it doesn’t involve i think um um uh uh being seen in lockstep with russia um so i wonder about that i wonder about um you know the other sort of rising asia superpower uh india another uh nuclear-armed position uh traditional relationship with russia that’s where it gets india comes most of its advanced artilleries uh more uh even under narendra modi who who doesn’t mind being various kinds of an outlier among global leader there’s going to be a lot of of of of adversity within uh india um uh to to you know to really rethink that relationship with russia given what’s happening happening in ukraine i think he’s he has reshuffled the the floors of the of the international say in a um you know one move one man one decision one move um one other man um chairperson zielenski because after all you know it’s interesting its own history is not so um deterministic privilege you know one person can make a huge difference and vladimir putin is making a huge change i was only argue that vladimir zielinski is also making a huge divergence in the world by by his courage uh in confronting putin my last-place question is how risky is is putin at this moment he’s obviously there’s this talk of you know world war iii and and nuclear menace there’s a threat to the international guild and the legislation of nations how perilous is he uh how risky should we think that he is at this moment we should think that putin’s really dangerous i mean you know it really because he has brought us to a place where miscalculations um uh become potentially um catastrophic i think most of the talk about you are familiar with nuclear combat and and uh the third world war will be nuclear and that sort of thing is uh yes that’s bluster and he’s threatening and and um and and you don’t make him literally but by the same token by doing what he’s he’s done and by speaking the route he’s speaking um blustering and threatening in this nature he you are familiar with definitely other strong countries um have to sort of has become still more um alerting and um and be more prepared and and uh and and start “ve been thinking about” events and uh you know the bright administration’s been very careful not to employ u.s coerces on higher alert not to not to kind of um take the enticement in that way and i think that’s because of the realization that you you don’t just wanted to um promontory by accompany closer and closer to the cliff because you might slip uh and and uh and a slip is um unthinkable it’s uh it’s the end of civilization as we know it uh it is lethal uh so you can’t slip he’s playing a unusually putin is playing a very dangerous game with his his rhetoric and so uh he he he really increases the prospect that we blunder uh into some sort of cataclysmic nuclear exchange and um you know i don’t think that will happen but here i am thinking there’s a much greater likelihood of that happening today than there was a month or a year ago mortal we talked to once said that putin’s like a rat and when he when you corner this rat he can always ingest his way out of it that’s when he’s most risky how close are we to uh to watching putin get in that corner and how could he uh contend his way out of this do you think if if that’s a really true description i think that may be true i symbolize because i don’t see putin um uh you are familiar with time sort of throwing up his hands and saying okay i give up i’m um uh you know and and withdrawing i don’t see that um i do discover the likelihood uh that at some item he would make a face-saving off-ramp uh of you know declared ukrainian neutrality or some something like that i see that alternative but um but um but not soon i symbolize i i i i i affectionately to be expected that some of the lunacy we see now is an act i i dearly hope that he’s um he’s he’s sort of playing uh a crazy on television and he’s not actually a madman um that he’s uh i i i hope a great deal of well is is calculated to scare us because um uh because if he’s if he’s really serious um uh then you know we’re we’re really clamped he’s got ms nukes on alarm and i i just you know i don’t waste a lot of go am concerned about nuclear war frequently and and i studied “weve had” go to the point where the world had to think less about that but um but we’re not we’re not that’s a that’s a longer scope issue for the world countries i think and it’ll be interesting to see if you are familiar with assuming and i do think this will resolve somehow other than with the ruin of the world uh it’ll be interesting to see if this reignites any interest in um any renewed interest in nuclear arms control and in in kind of lower that temperature around around the world or if it has the opposite gist and in fact points up stimulation other developed societies that could easily acquire their own atomic weapon like south korea um germany um you know all the developed commonwealths could could have hurtled nuclear programs and have nuclear arms and you know in practically no time and so does this end up compiling more people want to become nuclear armed that would be a nightmare scenario and again not thinkable a year ago very plausible today my question’s about nato uh so trump had been bashing nato for years and uh he even talked about removing the united regimes from nato so i was wondering if you could tell me a little bit about that rancour that trump had towards nato and how putin would have perceived that you know what did what did he see in trump’s treatment of nato well you know i don’t know if putin recognizes nato as an actual menace to russia an actual threat to him or um or a humiliation and but he does i think or did feel humiliated uh when nato kind of expanded um right to the border of russia he discovers nato here i am thinking as essentially an anti-russian partnership not a not an alliance of sort of western security but an alliance against russia i think that’s the way he witnesses it and and you know he’s not the first russian chairman to have um uh to have really quality that the kinds of territorial demilitarized zone um between um moscow and western europe um uh you know it it um that seems to be almost a fetish of of russian leaders that um that that field coming through you know belarus and and and ukraine that’s their big one of the purposes of that buffer um zone that sort of protects russia from its full potential adversaries in the west those possible enemies in the west are now embodied by nato and his view and it seems to exactly become him exceedingly embarrassing uh the idea of nato being privilege at russia’s russia’s margin um uh and i think that seems to be sincere anxiety on his part whether it’s legitimate or not it seems to be genuine uneasines

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