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tv   Fareed Zakaria GPS  CNN  February 20, 2022 7:00am-8:00am PST

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this is "gps," the "global public square." welcome to all of you in the united states and around the world, i'm fareed zakaria coming to you live. today on the program, president biden says vladimir putin's mind is made up. he's decided to invade ukraine. but is there an exit ramp? if not, what can we expect and when? i will talk to reporters on the ground in kyiv and moscow about what they're seeing and hearing, as well as top former foreign policy officials joining us from munich and back here stateside. plus, i talk to condoleezza rice, the former secretary of
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state. she dealt with putin in the first decade of his rule. she will tell us what she learned. let's get started. ♪ i will bring you my take later in the show, but first let me set the scene for you. russia is now believed to have well north of 150,000 troops arrayed around ukraine, surrounding it on three sides, belarus to the north, russia to the east and crimea and moldova to the south. meanwhile, yesterday putin and his bell rugs counterpart oversaw nuclear drills, tests of ballistic and cruise missiles. also yesterday ukraine's president gave a speech criticizing the west for not doing enough to help his nation. i want to understand what is happening in the ukrainian and russian capitals. cnn's chief international correspondent clarissa ward
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joins us from kyiv and cnn international diplomatic editor nic robertson is here with us -- is with us from moscow, my apologies. nic, let me ask you what does the state of play look like? we all understand there is a military escalation, but in diplomatic terms, what are the flurry of counterproposals and counterproposals telling us? is there a growing diplomatic gap? does it seem that people are worried that gap is unbridgeable? >> reporter: it does feel as if it's growing. the flurries of diplomacy are also quite intense. we have just had a readout from the kremlin and the palace over the phone call, our 45-minute phone call between president macron and president putin and president macron followed up that call with a phone call to president zelensky for 30 minutes and president macron also spoke with president zelensky late last night so
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there is a diplomatic effort under way and it is around the minsk agreement. there is pressure on ukraine from the kremlin to agree to talk to the separatist leaders in the donbas area in the east of ukraine, the pro-russian separatist leaders. so where are we on that? i think take half a step back. yesterday we saw president volodymyr zelensky in munich saying that he is open to talking directly with president putin. he's been saying that for some time and president putin hasn't been taking him up on that offer. president putin on friday said that there would be no military deescalation around ukraine until president zelensky talked with those pro-russian separatist leaders in the east of the country, but what is happening on that front, in the east of ukraine the separatist leaders are calling for a civilian evacuation, it is chaotic, it is playing out on russian tv, it is playing out in such a way that it could be used as a manipulation over public
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opinion, eventually in fairly short order for russian forces to go into the donbas region. we've seen today cnn teams have seen today russian forces headed towards that -- that donbas area. so what does that mean? it means that the military gap in donbas in the east is growing wider and, therefore, the diplomatic gap for that one thing president putin is insisting must happen, that president zelensky must talk to the rebel leaders, that diplomatic gap is bigger. so despite these flurries of diplomacy that we're hearing from president macron, the palace saying that there would be lots more of this diplomacy in coming days, despite that it appears that the diplomatic gap is growing larger with the military gap. >> clarissa, what does it look like in kyiv? is it a city that appears to be readying itself for an assault? joe biden says that that is likely.
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and zelensky seems very confident not -- not the man who appears about to make major concessions judging by the speech nic was referring to. >> reporter: it's surreal, fareed because in kyiv the streets are very quiet but they are also calm. we do not see any evidence that people are preparing for any kind of a major assault and that's in part because ukraine's leadership has had a very different tone from the kind of rhetoric that we've seen coming from the u.s. and from the white house. they say that they see the u.s.'s intelligence, they don't dispute the u.s.'s intelligence, but there is a matter of difference in terms of the interpretation of it. they don't believe that an all out invasion is indeed imminent. now, having said that, there are very real concerns here about what is going on in the east of the country along those front lines with donbas, with the pro-russian separatists. we have seen a high amount of ceasefire violations. yesterday, saturday, was the
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highest amount that we have seen in some years, at least three years, i believe. we had a cnn team who was out with the interior minister, they came under heavy and sustained artillery fire, they were forced to take shelter and they were pinned down for some time before quickly evacuating the area. we've also seen civilian structures getting hit and shelling happening further back from that front line. so there is a real concern on the ground here that that could quickly escalate out of control. when you heard nic talking about the minsk agreements which are seen here as being very much playing out in moscow's favor, publicly the government of volodymyr zelensky, the president, has said we will not make any concessions, but privately it's our understanding that they are facing a certain amount of pressure to make some concessions on that front. remains to be seen how that will play out, as you mentioned, the tone that we see publicly from the president is far more
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strident and we heard him yesterday again in munich saying, listen, if your intelligence really does tell you that this is happening, why aren't those sanctions already being levied? why aren't those heavier sophisticated weapons already being given to us? and if the intelligence isn't as decisive as you claim it is, then please stop using this type of language because it's panicking the ukrainian people, it's destabilizing ukraine's economy and that of course plays exactly into president putin's playbook, fareed. >> nic, clarissa, thank you so much. next on "gps," what is the diplomatic space left? i will ask poland's former foreign minister and a former top white house adviser on russia. and y'all got electric cars? yeah. the future is crunk! (laughs)s) anything else you wanna knknow? is the hype too much? am i ready? i can't tell you everything.
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at the munich security conference yesterday president zelensky of ukraine asked why his nation wasn't being admitted to nato. that's in absolute contradiction to russia's long-standing demand that ukraine never be allowed to become a member of the western alliance. is there any diplomatic maneuvering room here? let me bring in the panel, radek sikorski was the foreign minister of poland, today he is a member of the european parliament. tom graham was senior director for russia at the national security council during the george w. bush administration. tom, let me start with you. it feels like the window for diplomacy is narrow. as far as i can tell what putin is doing is saying to the west, thank you for all your proposals on arms control, on troop force deployments, on all those issues, but the central issue remains ukraine and nato, and
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i'm not going to budge unless i get concessions on that. is that a fair interpretation? >> i think that's absolutely true. he's been saying this since december. he has three principle demands on nato and europe and no eastward expansion into the former soviet space, particularly in ukraine is on the top of the menu. so he needs some satisfaction on that issue and if we're going to have a diplomatic resolution to this problem, from putin's standpoint, the united states and our nato allies are going to have to be prepared to talk about the future of nato in europe and expansion. >> rodek, let me ask you before you put your foreign policy hat on, you were also deputy defense minister of poland. does this look like a full-scale invasion to you? do you imagine that the russians would be willing to pay the cost of, you know, what would be a difficult occupation in a country in which most of the population does not want a
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russian occupation? >> yes, i was defense minister and i was also war correspondent and it does look like all the pieces are in place for a massive invasion, a completely unjustified act of aggression against a democratic member of the u.n. in good standing. >> and does it look to you like -- you know, people thought there would be -- the strategy would be go into the donbas, quote, unquote, liberate those places, recognize them as independent republics like georgia, or do you think the strategy is actually go to kyiv and occupy the capital or replace zelensky with some kind of russian implant? >> they will do it in stages, first take donbas and if that goes well, if the resistance is less than putin expects, he can go further. but, you know, on nato, let's
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just remember that the west has done what tom graham proposed in our last interview a month ago, namely the chancellor of germany told him that ukraine would not be admitted into nato under his watch, and he may be in power for as long as angela merkel. this is a complete red herring. ukraine applied to join nato in 2008, was refused and nothing has moved since then. president putin doesn't want or need security guarantees. he wants ukraine. >> tom graham, does it appear to you that there is any room to maneuver, or do you think rodek is right, that at the end of the day putin seems to -- nothing less than close to total control of ukraine would seem to satisfy him? >> well, i think that putin can
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calculate the risks as well. certainly he is creating a situation in which he wants to keep the west off balance. he does want some concessions on ukraine, but my sense is that -- that there is room for a solution along the lines of what i proposed before, but it doesn't -- but it can't come from the german chancellor, it has to come from the united states. for vladimir putin the united states is the key player in the west and until there is some sort of agreement from the united states that ukraine is not going to enter nato at any time in the near future, he's still -- he's going to maintain this pressure and keep pressing until he gets that type of concession. >> all right. stay with us, we're going to ask both of you what would you do next in this complicated chess game?
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we are back here on "gps" talking about a potential russian invasion of ukraine. i'm joined by radek sikorski, former defense minister and former foreign minister of poland and tom graham formerly the top russian official at the nsc. so, radek, what would you do at this point? is it still possible to deter the russians? >> president putin should be deterred by the deliveries of sophisticated anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles. the ukrainians now have an anti-tank missile for every russian tank. you know, those stinger missiles
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were deployed in afghanistan back in the 1980s when i covered that war and they meant that the pilots had to go high. if you add to that u.s. tactical intelligence, this might be a very different war from what mr. putin expects. we should tell him in chance that we are ready to sustain a ukrainian gorilla par for ten years if need be and would increase our badges and create a gas union and thereby extract a much better gas price from him. those are the kinds of things a that would deter him. the nato issue is a red herring. i cannot unlarge nato against the will of germany and germany has said it's not happening. >> radek, what is your sense from munich and, of course, from the time when you were foreign minister, would the europeans go along with the kind of hardline strategy you are suggesting?
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>> i think when bombs start hitting population centers where thousands of people are being forced to flee, perhaps millions, the attitude will change and those things that i'm talking about will happen. the point is that some of our politicians seem to be too timid to say it to putin in advance to deter him. >> tom, do you think that some kind of military deterrent would work, because it does seem like putin has built a kind of sanctions-proof economy, $600 billion of foreign exchange reserves, oil prices at $100, gas prices up 400%. do you think you could get by with just economic sanctions? >> no, not at this point, for the very reasons that you mention. in addition, putin almost knows through his own intelligence
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sources, he has some idea about what the united states plans to do, how unified the alliance is going to be in applying those sanctions and he's already taken that into account in his planning. second, he does believe that there will be spillover effects from these sanctions into europe and elsewhere. he does believe that the russian people are tougher and more resilient than europeans are. whether that's a correct assessment or not is another matter, but that's the way he thinks. so economic sanctions are not going to be sufficient to deter him at this point. >> are there costs for the american people, tom? i mean, do you think that the biden administration has prepared the united states? obviously we are not going to go to war over this, but, you know, you could have an energy crisis like the 1970s, right? >> right. i mean, you know, the biden administration has done a superb job in rallying the alliance so far. what it needs to turn to now is preparing the american public for the spillover consequences
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of a major military operation in europe. not only is it energy prices, but if we launched the sanctions that we say we are, we have to be prepared for cyber attacks by the russians against a critical infrastructure, against our financial system. so the biden administration needs to do more so prepare the american people for the possible sacrifices that might come with deterring russia, pushing back against russia, not only in the next several days, but for months to come. we are in a new type of situation with russia, a new normal, we're going to be facing this challenge for many years forward. >> it does feel like a new world. radek sikorski, tom graham, pleasure to have you on. >> thank you. next on "gps," i will give you my take on how the u.s. is pushing its two biggest rivals, russia and china, closer
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here is my take. the biden administration has handled the ukraine crisis intelligently, formulating a policy that could be described as deterrents plus diplomacy. it made credible threats about the cost of a russian invasion and rallied its european allies in an impressive show of unity. and while correctly refusing to promise that ukraine will be barred from nato, it has offered to discuss almost everything else from arms control to missile deployments. this crisis, however, has highlighted a larger strategic failure, one that extends beyond this administration. one of the central rules of strategy is to divide your adver adversaries, but increasingly american foreign policy is doing the opposite. earlier this month in an over
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5,000-word document russia and china affirmed a friendship with no limits. the two powers appear to be closer to one another than at any time in 50 years. for russia, which is essentially a declining power, china's support is a godsend, the most significant reason why even tough sanctions against russia might not work is that china, the world's second largest economy, could help. russia recently announced new deals to sell more oil and gas to china and beijing could buy even more energy and other imports fromit could also let m various chinese mechanisms and institutions to evade american financial restrictions. china is our strategic cushion, sergei karagonov told nikkei. we know in any difficult situation we can lean on it for military, political and economic
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support. to those who would argue that this is simply a case of two autocracies gaining up it's worth noting that it was not always this. in 2014 when both countries were also autocracies china pointedly refused to support russia's invasion of ukraine. it has still not recognized the annexation of crimea. similarly, beijing did not support russia's intervention in georgia and has expressed support for that country's territorial integrity and independence. on saturday in a very encouraging sign the chinese foreign minister also affirmed ukraine's sovereignty. china and russia are both adversaries of the west, but they are very different from each other. lumping them together is a sign that ideology has triumphed over strategy in washington these days. putin's russia is a geopolitical
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spoiler state, it has invaded two neighbors, georgia and ukraine, and occupied territory in those countries, something almost unprecedented in europe since world war ii. it has reportedly used cyber warfare to attack and weaken more than a dozen democracies including the united states. it has supported allies like bashar al assad with brute force, it has murdered its opponents even when they are living in countries like germany and england. and as a petrol state it actually benefits from global instability which can raise oil and gas prices. china is different, it is a rising world power that seeks greater influence as it gains economic strength. it has been aggressive in its policies towards some nations, but as a big economic actor it can credibly claim to want stability in the world. as robert manning noted in foreign policy in 2020, beijing is not trying to replace the imf, the world bank, the wto and
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other u.n. institutions, it is trying to play a more dominant role in them. in the past beijing has voted for and supported sanctions against rogue regimes like libya, iran and north korea, though that cooperative spirit has been waning, especially in recent months. it has used its veto on the u.n. security council far less frequently than russia or the united states. don't get me wrong, china poses a critical challenge to america, but much of what we need to do to combat it is in the realm of domestic policy, enacting measures that would unleash american innovation and competitiveness. europe's greatest 19th century statesman was otto van bismarck whose strategy was always to have better relations with each of his adversaries than they had among one another. ever since richard nixon and henry kissinger drew china away from the soviet union in 1972
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for decades the u.s. was closer to russia and china than they were to each other, but not anymore. there was talk in washington about attempting a reverse kissinger, an effort to win moscow away from beijing and the biden administration moved in that direction last year, but that was a naive misunderstanding of vladimir putin whose response has been to initiate the current crisis. perhaps what was needed was not a reverse kissinger, but simply kissinger. in other words, an effort to have a better working relationship with china. that in any event is what henry kissinger has advocated. at the start of the cold war when ideology also dominated over strategy, washington lumped all communist states together. it took the u.s. 25 years and the vietnam war to learn that we should treat moscow and beijing
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differently. at the start of the war on terror the bush administration announced that iraq, iran and north korea torqued an axis of evil a mistake for which we are still paying the price. let's hope that this time we do not have to endure a long and costly misadventure before we finally recognize that we should not be helping to unite our foes. go to for a link to my "washington post" column this week. next on "gps," former secretary of state condoleezza rice. at the center of this conflict is a historical question of whether the u.s. promised never to expand nato after the collapse of the soviet union. rice was the top russia expert on the national security council at the time. then she became national security adviser early in the putin presidency. as he matured into his domination of russian politics,
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rice was secretary of state. condoleezza rice will tell us what she thinks of the evolution of that man, vladimir putin. quit cold turkey. kikidding me?! instead, start small. with nicorerette. which can lead to something big. start stopping with nicorette i'm mark and i live in vero beach, florida. my wife and i have three children. ruthann and i like to hike. we eat healthy. we exercise.
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i wanted to take a step back and put the russia-ukraine crisis in a larger historical context, so i decided to talk to
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condoleezza rice. before she hit the national and global stage, she was a scholar of political science, focusing on eastern europe and the soviet union. as the soviet union was collapsing, she served as director of soviet and east european affairs on the national security council of george h.w. bush. then under the younger president bush, she served of course as national security adviser and then as secretary of state. she is now the director of the hoover institution at stanford university. i spoke to her there earlier this week. >> condoleezza rice, pleasure to have you on. >> great to be with you, fareed. >> when was the first time you met vladimir putin? >> i first met vladimir putin when he was the deputy mayor of st. petersburg and he was serving as deputy mayor to a reformist. i remember this man standing in the corner, he looked a little bit out of place, and i walked over to him and i said hello and he said hello.
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we didn't talk very much, i don't remember much of what was said, and then in july of 2001 when i was with president bush in slovenia and i looked up and here came toward us the russian president, vladimir putin, and i thought, oh, my goodness, i now remember it's that same man. >> so when you met him as national security adviser for the first time, what was your first impression of him as a statesman? >> i thought that in that first moment when we met him with president bush for the first time that he seemed almost a little bit shy, a little bit reticent. he walks like an athlete. there is a certain presence to him as he sort of strides in, but then as you began to talk to him he didn't really look you in the eye, he seemed a little bit unnerved maybe about meeting the president of the united states for the first time. needless to say, he went pretty quickly from shy to confident to
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arrogant to me go leo maniacal, but those first few times i thought he was actually a little bit lacking in confidence. >> russia was very poor at the time, it was indebted, he needed debt relief, he needed foreign aid, the price of oil was very low. do you think that that was part of it, that as russia recovered from the post communist collapse his own confidence grew and grew? >> there is no doubt, i think, that the level of confidence of putin and others in the russian leadership grew almost exactly in line with the price of oil. it is absolutely the case -- remember that this first meeting takes place in 2001. he has only been brought in by yeltsen in '99 after the essential collapse of the soviet economy with the crisis of 1998. i do think that they were trying to find their footing and they were -- they were also -- and
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putin in particular -- he was looking for some kind of strategic relationship with the united states. >> so my sense of it at least is that he would tell a slightly different story. i remember once when i was -- i interviewed him once and on the sidelines of it he says to me at one point, he says, you know, in 1999 and 2000 -- and he spoke in english, as you know he speaks slowly and a little haltingly but quite clearly. he said bill clinton and i and even the bush administration and i, we actually talked about russia maybe joining nato, and he said look at where we have come now with nato coming closer and closer to our borders. so in his mind i think it's fair to say, right, that he viewed nato expansion as sort of kicking russia while it was down. >> it's so interesting, fareed, because he had that conversation with you, he wouldn't raise it with us. >> interesting. >> i really don't remember a
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conversation in which he raised issues about nato expansion. this came quite a bit later when he began to, as the russians have a tendency to do, misremember the conversation between jim baker and chednerotsa in which baker supposedly said he we would never move east. this was about german -- nobody was even thinking of the poland or czechoslovakia or hungary becoming members of nato. the only time that i can remember it beginning to be a problem about where nato was moving was when we began to think about putting missile defenses in poland and in romania and perhaps some intercepters in the czech republic. at that point he started to talk about the use of this territory to threaten the interest of
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russia, but before that in all the conversations that we had with him he didn't make the case that we were, quote, encircling him. >> but by 2008 the bucharest declaration nato basically says we have an open door to georgia and to ukraine. your ambassador to moscow at the time bill burns who is now the secretary of the cia wrote a series of cables which thanks to leaks we have he said -- and they were addressed to you -- said this is a terrible mistake for any russian government putting ukraine into nato is a neurologic issue, i've talked to liberals, i've talked to conser conservatives, they will never apply this. by then was it clear to you that -- >> well, you know, i have the highest regard for bill burns, but it wasn't a surprise to me that this was the way that the russians felt, but as you know,
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fareed, because you've been in and around policy making, you're often balancing two competing sets of values. we wanted to continue to have the good relationship with the russians, we had created the nato russia council, the reward was that they sent someone who didn't even speak the language. so we were trying very hard to show that nato had transformed, that it was something different, but the competing value is that nato has always had a view that it is an appliance of democracies. and to say to ukrainians or to georgians you are still in the russian sphere and, therefore, we have to cut this line at a particular point and we can't allow you to even be considered, to say to these young democracies you can never be a member of this club, that was -- that was something we weren't willing to say. when we come back i will ask secretary rice what is next for ukraine? can that country flourish when russia is determined for it to
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now back to my interview with former secretary of state condoleezza rice. i sat down with her on tuesday at stanford university. >> are you surprised given how the europeans in '08 and even
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after crimea were not very willing to put in very tough sanctions, that this time around they do seem to have come around to a view of maybe some stronger sanctions? >> well, i hear that there would be crippling sanctions, but i think we would have to see what the specifics would look like. if there was that little slip of the president that it sort of depended on the nature of what the russians did. >> right. >> and i'm not sure that we would see the kinds of crippling sanctions, for instance, banking sanctions that would deny dollar denominated transactions to the russians. if we had more limited activity. >> the president of ukraine says that maybe nato membership is a dream. do you think that at the end of the day where we are going to come out of this is everybody knows ukraine is not likely to become a member of nato, but nobody is going to say it
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formally and publicly because that would be too much of a concession to the russians? >> i suspect that that is where we'll end up, but if vladimir putin has mobilized 100,000 soldiers on the ukrainian border to the east and 30,000 or whatever it is on the border with belarus, that's a pretty big mobilization to get somebody to say something that's a penetrating glimpse into the obvious. and i kind of wonder if that's enough for him. i have a sense that putin has set in motion some things that he did not intend to set in motion and maybe there is a rethinking in moscow about what has been achieved by this huge buildup by all of these threats, by the threatening exercises that have taken place, by the narrative that has been created in the russian press and in other places about the dangers to russian-speaking populations
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in the eastern part of the ukraine. that's an awfully big buildup and one wonders whether he underestimated nato, underestimated the response that that would bring, perhaps thought that he could intimidate, maybe even the ukrainians, into something more. we will see how this -- how this comes out, but i hope he's done one other thing, which is to remind us that as much as we all want a transition from hydro carbons in support of climate policy, if that transition takes place and leaves us out, does not allow the united states to take advantage of its tremendous assets in oil and gas, we will hand the oil card to vladimir putin. >> do you think in the long run can ukraine survive and flourish
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with a russia that is determined to kind of make it fail? >> one of putin's frustrations, i think, is that he hasn't been able to make ukraine fail. despite the fact that he annexed crimea, despite the fact that he has made a mess of the third of the country in eastern ukraine, separatist movements, no ability to deal with the rust belt, the horrors of living in the donbas, despite that, the ukrainian economy has grown. not a lot, maybe 2.5%, 3%. zelensky has turned out to be, i think, a stronger president for ukraine than perhaps the russians expected. the feeling of being ukrainian is growing, particularly in the west, but not just in the west. there are young people in ukraine now who only remember an independent ukraine. and i think that part of his frustration is that this has happened despite his efforts to undermine ukraine and that
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ukraine keeps yearning to be a part of the west, whether nato or not, whether european union or not, moving closer and closer to the west, and perhaps a little bit of sense in his mind that time is running out for his vision of ukraine, the little brother. ukraine, the natural part of russia. ukraine, as he said in bucharest in 2008, the made up country, because it's really never been -- you haven't been independent that long. you get a sense of his frustration. so can ukraine survive and prosper? yes. it will be easier if the russians cannot do some of the things that they intend to do, but i remember giving a talk to a group of ukrainian young legislators a few years ago and i said i know you have a difficult international situation, but imagine if the frg, the federal republic of germany, had said for that 45
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years, well, we really can't progress until we have our eastern half. we can't get stronger, we can't build an economy, we can't build a democracy. but instead they did quite the opposite. they built a powerful democracy, they built a powerful economy, and when the time came, the east germans wanted to be a part of that, not the other way around. and so i would say to the ukrainians and to the ukrainian people, this is a very sad and difficult time. i hope that we are supporting ukraine's aspirations strongly enough. i have to say that i think that the biden administration is playing a difficult hand rather well these days and it is ultimately, though, up to the ukrainian people and their leadership to keep trying to build that strong democratic, independent ukraine that is fighting corruption and building an economy.
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it can be done. >> secretary rice, pleasure to have you on. >> thank you. great to be with you. thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week. i will see you next week. i'm brian stelter, live in new york, and this is "reliable sources" where we examine the story behind the story and we figure out what's reliable. this hour, hillary clinton versus fox. i'm going to show you what clinton's camp is saying to the network behind the scenes. plus, covid-19, mask mandates are lifting but what should the press be focusing on now? david leonhardt joins us with answers. the author of a fascinating new book about flat earthers are here. also all the latest on the shake up at current. first the media war surrounding ukraine, nufgs, nato and the u.s. the columbia journalism review dubbed it a week of whiplash