2014 FPI Forum: Putin's Challenge to the West

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Putin's Challenge to the West

Myroslava Gongadze, TV Anchor and Journalist, Voice of America Ukrainian Service

David J. Kramer, Senior Director for Human Rights and Human Freedom, McCain Institute

Peter Pomerantsev, Author and Television Producer

James Kirchick, Fellow, Foreign Policy Initiative (Moderator)

Video  |  Key Quotes Transcript


Key Quotes

“Since the middle of the 2000s, the Russian military and intelligence have been developing a different theory of war, which is total and permanent war, which doesn’t necessarily involve kinetic action and where the focus is on information-psychological operations. … In Russia, everything is now psy-ops. … The way they talk about information in this context has nothing to do with public diplomacy, persuasion, messaging, spin, all the stuff that we’re obsessed with. They talk about using information for subversion, demoralization – essentially as a weapon. It’s a whole different way of approaching the concept of what information can do.”

– Peter Pomerantsev

“Look how Russia developed. It’s all kluptocracy and corrupt activities. They used foreign banks, they used foreign governments, they used European banks to wash their money. And now they’ve become so powerful that it’s hard to find a way to fight with them. And I think the decision to actually put sanctions on Russia – it’s a very good decision, because first we have to destroy them economically, and then see what else we can do.”

– Myroslava Gongadze

“The push for providing lethal assistance to Ukraine is bipartisan. This is not a Republican issue beating up the Democratic White House. You have Senator [Robert] Menendez, [Ben] Cardin, [Carl] Levin – the legislation passed in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on September 17 eighteen to nothing. Nothing passes eighteen to nothing these days. That’s a sign of strong bipartisan support for providing Ukrainians the means to defend themselves.”

– David J. Kramer

“More fundamentally, I would say, the [Obama] administration lacked a real understanding of what was happening in Moscow, and it didn’t fully appreciate the nature of the Putin regime, which is a thoroughly corrupt, wrought, authoritarian regime, where Putin is hell-bent on staying in power no matter what, including if it requires jailing, killing opponents, critics, invading neighbors."

– David J. Kramer

“Putin’s goal in Ukraine is destabilization. He wants to make Ukraine ugly and unappealing to the West so that the West loses interest in Ukraine – he wants to do that to all of his neighbors. … Instability, to Putin, is much better than having Moldova, and Georgia, and Ukraine move closer to Europe, democratize, liberalize – because that becomes a threat to him.”

– David J. Kramer

Mission Statement

The Foreign Policy Initiative seeks to promote an active U.S. foreign policy committed to robust support for democratic allies, human rights, a strong American military equipped to meet the challenges of the 21st century, and strengthening America’s global economic competitiveness.
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