tv World Apart With Oxana Boyko RT July 23, 2017 10:30pm-11:01pm EDT
a lot of welcome to worlds apart the russians have long taken americans more seriously than the americans took that is until the russia gave the american obsession with their logic the election hacking and the ensuing policy paralysis have dismayed many in moscow showing washington in a way read listen before as lacking in confidence and mabel to pull itself together how accurate is this impression to discuss that i'm now joined by matthew craning a senior fellow. at the atlantic council mystic craning it's great to have you on
the show thank you very much for joining us thank you for having me on it's a pleasure to be here while it may be a pleasure for you to be here but i'm sure that you are not going to fall under suspicion of colluding with the adversary because of appearing on our t.v. no i'm not worried about that i think it's important for americans and russians to have a dialogue to important countries and we need to do a better job of understanding each other i absolutely agree with you but you know that if you're if you read the publicly available parts of the u.s. intelligence report on russia suppose that interference into american elections you would know that r.t. is not just any ah there russian media it is said to be a major part of russia's influence campaign i apparently influencing the american elections by the very fact of its existence you worked in the intelligence sector before is that report representative of the quality of work that the american intelligence community usually dot's there will two points one i do think that
russia is very sophisticated and its information operations both in the united states and around the world and i think that our team is a part of that and so that's why i think it's important for people like me to come on and express my views to counter the things i disagree with in terms of the intelligence community in the united states i did work in the intelligence community as you pointed out and you know it's very difficult to get even two intelligence analysts to agree on something very independent independent minded people so when you get multiple intelligence agencies agreeing that russia interfered in america's elections and they concluded that with high confidence i have i have no doubt there are analysis and i think that that's correct that russia did interfere in the elections i don't think it was to help donald trump because of any collusion there's no evidence of that but i think that russia has other reasons to want to undermine democracy in the west and. and the united states well you just
mentioned the word interference and previously i heard you say that you are absolutely sure that russia meddled in the american elections. can you explain to us what you defined by meddling and is that some kind of a ferris activity that. only russian gauge is in or is it something that even the united states allows itself to deal and a given moment well according to our intelligence agencies it was the russians who hacked into the d.n.c. databases that released information on wiki leaks that were embarrassing to the clinton campaign and to protest and so again according to these intelligence agency reports this was done to interfere in the american elections to weaken confidence in american democracy to embarrass hillary clinton that i think russia and everybody else expected would win the election in terms of interfering in the domestic politics of other countries you know i think that's been a tool of great power politics going back for for many centuries but countries like
the united states also have an interest and defending the integrity of our democratic system and i think protecting our elections and responding to those who would try to interfere to show them that there are costs to interfering in american elections well but then mr crean you know that's at such an interesting point for our russians here because. what americans or these intelligence agencies mean by interfering in the american elections is essentially publicizing allegedly publicizing truthful information about hillary clinton isn't that american public can tie told to that information to make an informed decision about who they want to lead the country well you know we have the democratic system here i think is great for many reasons but one of it is one of the reasons is that there is competition and so the republican party also has incentives to find out information about him. clinton to run
a campaign on the issues that they think are important to point out the weaknesses of clinton to point out the strengths of trump so i don't think it's the right or responsibility of a foreign power to intervene it's an american election not a russian election and let us. point out that the arab russian interference was never proven there was never any sole attack provided by the intelligence agencies they just mentioned r.t. as a major part of that persuasion operation and i just wonder how can you reconcile these two supporting the the findings of that report which you obviously have confidence in and again appearing on our t.v. two was said to be in that report to be a russian media weapon don't you think that you are now allowing your expertise to be weaponized by the russian propaganda and yourself playing into so-called russian hands off on demining down merican democracy because all of us am asking you some
critical questions here sure well first on the point of the intelligence agencies i have full confidence in the report and they concluded with high confidence and. i don't think they would have published that without solid evidence so i don't think they can release the actual evidence because that could reveal sensitive sources and methods you know in the u.s. system is as you've probably seen has had a lot of leaks many people in the u.s. government who are unhappy with things are going off and leak to the media so i think if there were any reason to doubt this conclusion there would likely be people within the u.s. system going to the media in terms of me lending my expertise to to russian propaganda i think i do think that r.t. is propaganda arm of the russian government and helps to spread. information that helps advance russia's interests and so that's why i think it's important for people like me to come on if it weren't me it would be somebody who was less capable who had maybe. two has got
a job presenting the american point of view well and three are very grateful for you spending some time it does but since you mention decent for mation i just want to ask you ask you to give us one specific just one specific example of the dissent from ation that this channel has perhaps sure the syrian chemical weapons attacks my understanding is that he doesn't like to talk about the fact that russia is supporting a dictator and the middle east has gassing his own people russia portrays the r t portrays the ukraine conflict as a civil war where as. we see it was russia invading a sovereign state redrawing the map of europe for the first time since world war two so those are two prominent examples but i think there are others where. r.t. and russia has been very clever about portraying things in ways that might benefit russia but that maybe don't fully square with the us to contradict you a little bit here as you perhaps know there is no the has been no investigation into the syrian chemical attack so whatever happened in syria you cannot side as
a fact this is there is some information that your intelligence agency is really i really think there is another information that is being released by the russian intelligence agencies as somebody who has been in syria who spent years reporting from syria that's very interesting to me that you would say that the russians are somehow misrepresenting the syrian conflict because even the president that you seem to support now donald trump has apparently moved his position on syria he just stopped supporting the cia program that was arming and training syrian rebels is that not representative of perhaps the fact that the american position on. syria was somewhat misaligned with the reality on the ground to begin with so first you know russia and the united states have very different domestic political systems and i think there are advantages and disadvantages one of the advantages of the us system is it is very open and transparent the. russian system less so so you know
when there's. agreement among the intelligence agencies about an assessment again i have high confidence in that i think if there are reason to doubt it there'd be leaks and other things russian intelligence i have less confidence and it's a more close system i think it's easier to keep secrets and spin spin analyses but on the on the point of the changing policy in syria i think you're right you know u.s. has the united states has several objectives in syria one is to prevent chemical weapons use to is to defeat isis and take territory back from isis and then third is you know dimon how assad's behaved recently i think the united states would prefer a different government in syria one that can control the country without gassing their own people but that's a third priority from a u.s. point of view number one is the feeling isis number two is stopping chemical weapons attacks and so i think trump's recent changes is something of a nod to reality that for some time the forces that the united states was
supporting against assad under obama weren't receiving adequate support weren't performing very well but then mr craning don't you think that in addition to being a nod to reality this is also an indication that the american public was perhaps misled about the root causes of the syrian conflict from the very beginning because . you can say all you want about the change in the terms of policy but it is quite clear that the rebel force that the americans supported was one of the in any case democratically minded people i mean those people have been a true. involved in brutal atrocities and i'm not trying to say here that the assad regime is an example a regime nobody is saying that but the main goal of the russian policy in syria was the preservation of the syrian state and i suspect that this is something that even mr trump now agrees with well i think the preservation of the syrian state has passed a couple. years ago it's been
a brutal civil war the country's falling apart and so i think the goal needs to be to rebuild it with a government that can represent all the various interest groups and you know i don't think anyone in the united states is naive i don't think it's going to be switzerland it's not going to be that kind of democracy but you would want a government that is represented and legitimate and i think assad's lost all legitimacy at this point so again gassing his own people and some of the other atrocities and you're absolutely right those are the people fighting against assad aren't saints and you don't really want to be back and say instead of civil war you want people who will who will fight but i think that their credentials are much better than the credentials of assad and yet despite those much better credentials the new american president has just terminated that his support for for that rebel group you know what always strikes me in the. in american analysis is that americans have all always been making some excuses for themselves they can always
find just if occasion put out own policies and justify it from that point of view but they never allow the same for russia or any other adversary and i had to spend that you may not like russia on many grounds but why cannot you give your adversary a fair analytical treatment well i don't have any hostility toward russia i think it's a great country i mean you walk into the kremlin the red square you see that it's a great country with great history like many russian people but i think if you compare russian and american foreign policy there's no comparison and the united states has made mistakes to be sure but i think it has a good record i mean if you look at the role the united states has played in the world since the end of world war two setting up institutions creating a real world based order promoting democracy in europe and asia promoting globalization you know the world i think is much more stable peaceful and free today than it was in one thousand nine hundred five and that's. to us foreign
policy well it's not if the united states wasn't wasn't the only player in the international system and the united nations for example was also created with russia's help but when you say that there is no comparison between the united states and russia i would totally agree with you because russia is not responsible for iraq russia is not responsible for libya russia is not responsible for syria how can you claim that the world is a better place because of the united states when you have three brutal conflicts that have killed hundreds of thousands of people displaced millions and a you can still say that the the united states made the world a better place how come i can say it without reservation the united states has also turned europe from a place that had multiple great power wars into a place where you have democracies aligned nato aligned with the united states you have peace stability freedom economic prosperity and russia's trying to undermine that you know ask countries on russia's border ukraine georgia do they want to be part of russia or do they want to be part of the west and the answer's clear russia has to go to war to prevent those countries from making sovereign decisions about
where they'll be aligned but they would prefer to be part of the west part of the e.u. and part of nato because because of what the united states represents and stands for in the world well mr craning we have to take a short break now but we'll be back in just a few moments stay tuned. you can revolted against the dictator but what about the day after i think we as the people did not give much thought about that and so that's the way. the resolution does not build nations. and certainly does not build states. what hope to do you should. be put. soaps on the lawn. to get accepted or rejected
welcome back to well the parts business you pray me a senior fellow at the atlantic council is a craning just before the break we were talking about this tenuous relationship between russia and the united states don't you think that this analysis of who is with us and who is against us who wants to realign itself with the united states or but russia is a little bit outdated because i can tell you for sure that most good doesn't see even the ukrainian politics in these terms i don't think it's outdated all of nato is you know twenty eight members with just a lot of new member into nato montenegro some more countries trying to join trying to be part of the west ukraine and georgia are both interested in joining but were stopped by russian invasion and then you look at east asia you have south korea japan australia others all proud members of the us alliance so yes we have
difficult issues with different differences of opinion with countries like turkey yet they're not talking about withdrawing from nato still still a nato ally i'm not sure who russia's allies are maybe a couple of former soviet states but nothing like the western alliance you know thirty of the best governed wealthiest countries on earth over fifty per. scent of world g.d.p. so really really no no comparison there well if there is no comparison and yet. week after week we are hosting a major has of state here in russia and it's true that the russia doesn't have these large network of alliances simply because russia does not believe that alliance this is the way to conduct foreign policy it's a very expensive way off advancing your interest and to be honest with you i think it's not a very efficient one even president trump have spoken about it and has been telling the media about. the fact that the you know sometimes ally scan.
show a propensity for piggy backing and not fully carrying the bird and security of trade and so on and so forth so there's just a conceptual difference in the way russia and the united states approach those issues but i want to ask you something about a particular relationship between putin and trump because you know there has been a lot of speculations about the american media you said before the. wait for the responsibility for the deterioration of relations between russia and the united states rests squarely on put in shoulders you see it in very categorical terms but how do you explain them. being willing to reach out to russia we now know that they had only they had two meetings on the sidelines of the g. twenty summit don't you think that is in a way encouraging putting the bad behavior well first on on alliances you know i think russia did like having alliances during the cold but the world has changed
yes exactly they they realize they didn't want to be part of the russian sphere of influence any more they threw russia off their back and they became democratic and capitalist and joined the west and you're right that it is burden sharing it with alliances is always an issue u.s. presidents for many years have asked nato allies have asked allies in asia to contribute more and i think that they're doing that now and nato in particular because of the russian threat since russia's invasion of ukraine since two thousand and fourteen nato members now realize the threat from russia and are spending more so i guess we do have moscow to thank for that helping with the burden sharing on trump and putin you know i think it's natural that trump would want to come into office and improve relations with russia i think it would be great for the world great for the united states states great for russia if we had better relations and this is an unusual to trump both bush and obama came into office wanting better
relations with russia and so i think it makes sense the trump will try this but i do think that the recent downturn is not due to anything the united states did but russia's behavior absolutely i didn't expect any other explanation on your part but . on the interesting thing that you just said that both bush and obama attempted to have a some sort of a reset with russia but one critical difference now is that rochelle two thousand and seventeen is not the russia of two thousand and eight it's a country with a totally different perception of itself. it sees itself as a global power and it's not going to engage with the united states on the american or western terms it's going to engage on equal footing do you think donald trump is ready for that well that may be the way that russia sees itself i'm not sure that anybody else sees it that way russia is a peer of the united states when it comes to nuclear weapons but its economy is smaller than the size of italy's you know economic international alliance system is nonexistent so russia is really
a regional power some experts in the united states are rather than grouping russia as a kind of other great power like china are considering russia more like a state like iran or north korea a country with nuclear weapons or nuclear program trouble some but not really a major power well he not being very charitable here but russia may not have a large economy but it's pretty influential as far as the foreign policy decisions are concerned and i'm sure you're with a group with a number of american analysts who say that russia may have a poor hand but it's playing that had extremely well the united states is the reaches country in the world do you think it place its hand equally well well i do think that russia has been more assertive on the international stage in recent years it has made itself a player in syria and in eastern europe i think that's true i think it's playing a destabilizing role not contributing to the kind of rules based order that we tried to establish together at the u.n.
after world war two the united states has certainly made mistakes but again overall i think the united states is doing a lot of things well working now to address the north korean nuclear issue we worked for a decade building an international coalition to address the iran nuclear issue to to address isis so sure there are there are challenges but i think the united states is continuing to play an important leadership role in the international system and nobody is trying to diminish the international. the important international role that the united states is playing i just don't understand why the americans as the benton diminishing russia's role because because although each human is that you now list that they wouldn't have been possible without russia's participation all those issues that you have mentioned russia was right there at the table with the americans you know russia did play a helpful role in the iran nuclear negotiations i think that's true russia also played a helpful role and the six party talks but it would be great if russia would contribute
to the rules based order i think in other ways as well looking to find a peaceful resolution to the conflict in syria looking to find a peaceful resolution to the conflict in ukraine russia could scale back its threats against western countries so i agree that russia has played a helpful role in some areas but i think there are other areas where it's been less helpful from an american perspective while it's been last helpful from an american perspective simply because the united states insists on the regime change and how i just don't understand how regime change in syria in libya into the rule based order that you keep referring to well it seems that it's russia that's interested and regime change and ukraine the united states would like to have a country there that shows its own leaders that decided for itself whether it was part of the e.u. are nato or more closely aligned with with russia but russia is not letting them have that choice and i you know agree that. regime change is
a destabilizing choice and has led to serious consequences in certain places some of which were unforeseen but in the case like syria this is an american regime change policy far from it the united states wasn't involved in syria assad own people rose up against him with all due respect american allies played a major role in supporting insurgency in syria let's call it insurgency even though we're really talking about jihadist international jihad movement there and when you say they hate the united states didn't. in your role how about the cia could be called versus a program that trouble just council this week i mean that's that counts as engagement i would think well that was very late and very limited i was working in the department of defense at the time of the syria uprising and i can tell you it caught us all by surprise you know i was one of the first people advocating that we should move to oust assad he was a bad leader of syria and enemy of the united states and my arguments fell on deaf
ears the u.s. position was to stay out of this and it wasn't until many years later that the united states started to get involved in a very limited way but not nearly. as significant a way as russia russia intervened used force against the syrian people with this. in a way that i think has continued to contribute to civil war the united states under obama and kerry were trying to negotiate a settlement to this for many years but yet though the war continues to rage with the help of russia assad and iranian forces and now the new american president wants to enter into a cease fire agreement with with all those nefarious forces that you just mentioned speaking gears a little bit because we have only a few minutes left mr craning i would like to ask you about the new appointment that the white house recently proposed for the ambassadorship post here in moscow jon huntsman he's your colleague at the atlantic council. he's nomination is still
to be confirmed by the senate but it looks like he has a pretty good chance what do you think about this choice well i think it's an excellent choice i'm a senior fellow at the atlantic council jon huntsman has been the chairman of the atlantic council for several years so i've gotten to know him personally and you know truly i think he's one of the most impressive human beings that i know so i think you know he's been an excellent diplomat and singapore and china and i think he'll be an excellent diplomat for the united states and. russia so i hope the russians find him as agreeable and as impressive as i do and i you know maybe ending on a note of optimism here that maybe huntsman will be able to help broker. some agreements between the united states and russia on some of the issues that still divide us it's interesting you say that because according to c.n.n. mr huntsman was previously considered for the secretary of state position the fact that he's now being found to russia is that in any way indicative of the way that
they trumpet ministration. may side to these bilateral relationship oh i think it's a sign that the trump administration yes takes the relationship with russia very seriously saw the ambassador post in moscow as a very important host you know there are many positions that haven't been announced haven't been filled yet but ambassador to russia huntsman as ambassador to russia was announced way back i believe in in march so this was one of the first high level appointments that trump announced and so i think i think yes that it signals that trump thinks the ambassador post in moscow is important and that u.s. russia relations are a priority well good to know that mr craning we have to leave it there we really it really appreciate your being here hope you don't run into any credibility issues because of that and viewers please share your comments and i'll tweet or facebook and you to pages and i hope to see you again same place same time here on worlds apart.
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