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David E. Sanger - “New Cold Wars” with Russia & China | The Daily Show

May 07, 2024
David, first of all, thank you, it's a pleasure to see you again. It's good to be here. It is the premise that the United States did a poor job of managing risk after the fall of the Soviet Union. Well, we certainly made a lot of false assumptions, bad assumptions. that doesn't sound the way no, it wouldn't be us, it wouldn't be us and the fundamental argument of the book is that we believed that we somehow deceived ourselves, John, in believing that Ch and Russia, each for their different reasons, would like to sign up in the Western world we were going to say look, we've got this all figured out, all you guys have to do is come here and sign on the dotted line, we're going to make a rules based democratic foundation order and everyone will be okay with that and that was supposed to be the end of History because we had just finished, Francis fugami said, uh, it's the end of History, uh, Western liberalism is triumphing and we can all, uh, just take advantage of the glorious loot we get.
david e sanger   new cold wars with russia china the daily show
For now you can't blame him alone because there were a lot of other people who blame him alone, and I signed up for a little bit of this myself, so I confess, but I have to tell you that this basically went on for 30 years. well 25 anyway because we were busy waging the war on terrorism you were just talking a little bit about that well what you talk about in the book there are a lot of stories about how George Bush thought there would be a big rebuke to M with Putin for his shared dislike of terrorism and the two of them, I mean, there are stories in there that come out of James Bond, you're on a yacht with George Bush and Putin and they just saw a very dark version of The Nutcracker, you're like It's not even the normal Nutcracker. , it's the dark Nutcracker, you're like I bet Bush really enjoyed it, I'm sure he loves anything.
david e sanger   new cold wars with russia china the daily show

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david e sanger new cold wars with russia china the daily show...

Hello, so this was in 2002, we were in St. Petersburg, we were floating down the Neeva River. on a big party boat there's a guy, wait, you were floating down the river with them, I was floating on the boat behind him, we weren't even, what are you like, tubing, they're on a yacht, that's what they do White House reporters. No, no, we were in the pools, but this time the pool was a river, right, okay, so we're following it and there's a guy serving dinner, he's a little big and burly, turns out he's a PR, he's well, jny Pan. the head of the terrible army, well, at that time, yes, he was chef Putin, okay, his only job was to make sure the meals were good and he had a really scowling look, wait, wait, wait, wait, so it's like bobby fle and then it becomes the head. from a mercenary army long before he did, he ran the internet research agency and tried to fix the 2016 election with this information, they really are a renaissance man, he really is, I mean, that's talent, that's talent, so now this seems to be working, until, George Bush wants them to go after Islamic terrorism and at that point Putin wants them to go after the shah, or at least Putin wants to use the excuse to go after the chess and that was the beginning of Bush starting to think, you know, maybe.
david e sanger   new cold wars with russia china the daily show
This guy is not who we thought he was, he looked into his soul, yeah, well you know he may have looked at the wrong Soul, so in 2007 Putin

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s up at something called the Munich security conference and says you know there's parts of Russia that have been separated from us that really belong to us to the Russia that Peter the Great created and remember Putin is not trying to recreate the Soviet Union, he thinks the guys who ran the Soviet Union were idiots, right? In his office he has a large bust of Peter the Great, so who do you think thinks he is prosaic?
david e sanger   new cold wars with russia china the daily show
It was a combination of some kind of delusion of bad intelligence, oh sure it's going to be problematic, but at the end of the day he cares more about his oil exports and his gas exports than he actually cares about this and he looks up until the weekend before the invasion occurred. there is a crime story of no The UK's invasion of Ukraine in 2022 so this is not all this is past 2014 this is all yes 2014 comes and takes Crimea Obama says I'm not going to go to war over something that used to belong to me No one applies sanctions to Russia for a year and the following year the Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, signs the Nor Stream 2 agreement, creates this pipeline that goes from Russia around Ukraine, so she does not obtain any income from it and goes directly to Europe, and he says she says: I know Putin is a reliable supplier, he's realistic, yeah, okay, it's a reasonable assumption, maybe because he hadn't really cut off the gas supply.
So what will happen seven years later? He attacks Ukraine. The United States reveals the intelligence information it obtains in late fall. This extraordinary intelligence information is sent to Bill Burns, the director of the CIA, who used to be ambassador to Russia, to say that this would be a very bad idea. Putin says "Oh I'm not, you know I won't do anything" and the weekend before everyone is back in Munich. and there's a bunch of Europeans telling me and everyone else oh, he's not really going to invade, he's just bluffing, I wouldn't risk his oil revenue four days later, he invades.
Me, Germany's intelligence chief was on guard the morning of the invasion, they had to evacuate him because he didn't believe they would invade, so what did he think that noise was? He left town more or less quickly, so this is all hindsight, although really, what could we do differently when someone is imperialistic like that? What can other powers do other than an actual war to prevent this kind of thing? There is no guarantee that tougher sanctions after Crimea would have deterred him. It seems that this is his destiny and he is fulfilling that destiny against all odds.
That's the other part of this: we impose our values ​​on Russia, China, and we think we're not going to do something that gets in the way of our economic interests, neither would they, so China is a really interesting example. Xijinping enters the scene. More than 10 years ago, Joe Biden spent a lot of time with him, traveled with him, but intelligence reports like this he is not going to challenge the West, he will take care of his economy, he will make sure everything is fine, now we find out and As you read in the book, there are secret speeches that he made almost as soon as he took office saying that we are going to increase our nuclear forces to the size of the Russians and the Americans, we are going to make sure that we accept our claims in the South China Sea mhm.
He was in the Rose Garden of the White House when she came to visit and he promised everyone that he was not going to militarize these islands that they are building in the South China Sea. A year or two later, you look at satellite photographs and there are fighter jets appearing over the islands. It looks military, that's just convenience, no. Are we lying to them or are we lying to ourselves? I think more to ourselves so you know we didn't do it. We wanted to conceive of a world in which we were again in a superpower conflict.
We wanted to live in a world in which the United States was the predominant power. We finally calmed down the Middle East. We're doing really well with that and um and uh, what could we. G focuses on competing with China, some containment of Russia and you know Biden was the one sitting in the office sitting in office when this all went down and most of the book is the story of what happens when that goes down. came down, it's the story of how the nuclear plant zapped Regan in Ukraine, the largest nuclear plant in Europe, suddenly everyone is afraid that it will become the largest dir bomb in the world, yes, of course, and there an amazing story from New York City, two years ago, October 2022, when President Biden

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s at a fundraiser at James Murdoch's house, they are nice, New York, I'm not familiar with the last name, but Go ahead, yeah, he's actually kind of the black sheep of the family, he's the Democrat who raises money for Biden, among others, so they know nice New Yorkers who walk around with their wine looking at their art collection?
The president comes in and says, by the way, we're going through something that's the closest thing to a nuclear war we've had since the Cuban missile crisis. looking at each other as if leaving that at a cocktail party. I'm sure everyone thought it was really time to go to the Hamptons. They think he drops it and then it's like, you guys have Brie like what he actually does? the people in the White House were amazing. Now call it his Armageddon speech because he just said the same thing in the Oval Office at that moment and then he turns to everyone and says, "No, that's the most important thing, now he says he tells dictators no, he doesn't." do and they say, "Okay, haven't we sown the seeds of this with our own arrogance and arrogant approach in many of these foreign policy conflicts?
We always frame things as if it's a battle between democracy and the free world and liberation and authoritarianism, but the truth is that we're fighting over trade channels and resources like this is all a function of competing capitalist powers and aren't we? We who have invaded more countries than Russia and China combined, so how can we somehow give ourselves a pass as the white hat guys when much of our politics has created much of the chaos they are taking advantage of? I'm done, I'm out of here, so there's a lot of that happened in American history for a long time, Teddy Roosevelt, you know, took over a lot of the territory, but I think in the Biden administration we've had to face these contradictions because at the beginning of the administration the president was saying exactly what you said, this is a battle between democracy and autocracy and everyone said, okay, that's pretty neat, then it's going to not be true, yeah, then he goes, then he goes to Saudi Arabia, fist bumps with MBS, right? me too. was on that trip they weren't really sure how you ever come home no, when you cover the White House you have to go with the president, see, it's part of the job um and then, you know, we move on to what's been happening in Israel and the Hamas war against Israel and, as you said before, we are in the very strange position of providing aid and providing the weapons that are being dropped on Gaza and I think this Administration has had a harder time trying to write that and it's obviously causing a lot of pain not only to Gazin but to the people in the administration who are having a hard time living with this.
Would it simplify our position if we stopped pretending that our morals are beyond the reproach of all these other countries? help us not have to s

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everyone for not living up to principles that we clearly don't stand up for well, at least we have some principles, okay, that's all we say, but you know you can't invade a country. It happened in Iraq, that's right, uh, you can't ask for regime change, what did we do in Libya? Every time we say these things, we undermine our own position. I mean, for God's sake, Iran is an enemy today because we overthrew their democratically elected government. in 1953, that's right, so at what point do we admit that this is how we're behaving?
The strange thing is right now that presidents admit that they are criticized for admitting the American mistake. Obama went and apologized to the Iranians. I'm not saying apologize, I'm just saying take off your mask and leave, do you know what this is? It seems to me that it is colonialism and imperialism in a more modern form. China is in Africa trying to extract we are trying to extract. We are militarizing economic rivalries and creating all kinds of chaos and death so apparently you are trying to get better deals. Some of their best deals protect technology, and I argue here that with China, unlike Russia, this comes first. of all of this is an incredible competitor and is a competitor in the military sphere in the technology sphere in finance in the economy and we are their best customer and they are ours and that's really what makes this different from the old Cold War, so There's a reason there's new stuff in the new Cold War Wars and there's a reason there's an S at the end.
First of all, we are fighting two simultaneously. Well, in the old Cold War, that wasn't the case. Fighting incorrect terminology, because right? The only people who never lose a war are the military industrial complex, they're the people who sell the weapons and if we continue to push, you know, the militarization of these economic rivalries, aren't we just playing with that C? going into the cycle, but if you're in a world where gaps occur, if we say okay, we're done with this, you're going to go back and build our big walls and kind of get away from them, someone fills that space and that.
Space is going to be largely occupied by China, some by Russia and other authoritarian regimes, so we have to make a really difficult and bad decision: do we want to be the ones who try to fill that void with our technology and our principles understanding that thewe violate all the time or we want to let an authoritarian regime fill that space that we know what that's going to look like it seems like what we should do is be honest about what our goals are along the way China went to Africa and made the Belt and Road knowing that it's really about cobalt and lithium and instead of us going to Africa and just building all these little military hunas that end up creating all these dictatorships that create so much chaos and pain for those.
Well, I would say now we are not doing it with cobalt, we are doing it with semiconductors, so the great story we tell here. I went to Taiwan and spent a lot of time in Taiwan semiconductors, which is the largest producer of the most advanced semiconductors. of the world, and you know, you looked at the question: does that create a silicon shield for the United States and Taiwan? In other words, the Chinese wouldn't dare take over Taiwan because they would lose access to Taiwan's semiconductors, when are we going to learn any sense that starts with would they dare, yes, would they dare, and so will we, and such and such ?
My argument here is that it's a silicon shield for a short time, John, but eventually the Chinese will learn how to make everything that Taiwanese semiconductors are making and at that point we have a real Taiwan crisis, so the book is a kind of warning about what these next 20 or 30 years will be like. It's going to be because this is not a world in which these new Cold Wars are going to end soon they are going to be the dominant theme of the next 20 30 40 years long after she and Putin are gone and long after Joe Biden and Donald Trump are gone.
I don't believe the last part about Trump never going away. I think both of them, honestly, will be like 2084 and it will be like it's another rematch between Biden and Trump. I can't believe it, two heads in a jar. uh new Cold War is now available David Serer

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