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Sunday, April 14, 2024 - 04:59 AM


First Published in 1994


Why It is Important to American Security - Part 1

The Tucker Carlson Interview of Russian President Vladimir Putin
Tucker Carlson interviews Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Chinese philosopher General Sun Tsu advised that good military and political leaders must know both the nature and capabilities of their potential enemies and also their own nature and capabilities. The two most common mistakes in war are underestimating your enemy and overestimating your own capabilities. The best victories are won without conflict.  

On February 6, Tucker Carlson interviewed Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin within the walls of the Kremlin, the seat of Russian government power in Moscow. Moscow is a city of 13 million residents, the largest city in Europe. Its metropolitan population is over 21 million, also the largest in Europe. It has been the capital of Russia several times in Russian history, most recently since 1918. Tucker Carlson was surprised at how beautiful and clean Moscow has become in the last 20 years. The population of the Russian Federation is approximately 145 million. Geographically, it is the largest country in the world and according to WorldAtlas ranks fifth in natural resources, depending on how you rank the value of various  strategic commodities and their diversity. The U.S. ranks seventh. Russia is not “a gas station masquerading as a country,” as John McCain once derisively asserted.

U.S. sources now consider the Russian Federation the second most powerful military power in the world. But in several aspects it probably has first place: missiles, especially hypersonic cruise missiles, air and missile defense, military industrial capacity, electronic counter-measures, tanks and armored vehicles, and cyberwarfare. Its Air Force is rated second only to the United States, and its aerospace technology is very competitive and advancing. The United States has far and away the most powerful navy in the world, and the majority of U.S. nuclear strike-power is in its nuclear submarine force. Russia has a smaller but formidable nuclear missile strike and attack submarine force. China has the largest number of ships, but they are mostly smaller shore defense surface ships. Global Firepower 2024 evaluations now rank the U.S. first, Russia second, and China third in military firepower. India is presently in a distant fourth place. Firepower, however, is rendered effective only with highly qualified, well trained, and motivated personnel. The U.S. is demonstrably degrading its advantage by implementing critical race and gender theories.  

What most Americans know about Russia in more than 30 years out of date. Russia is not the old Soviet Union, which broke up in 1991. Communists now get less than 20 percent of the vote in Russian Federation elections, which places them in a distant second place. What most Americans know about Vladimir Putin is the product of a CIA and British MI6 propaganda campaign begun in 2007 after a Putin speech in Munich that criticized the global hegemonic nature of American foreign policy. This propaganda campaign was aimed at regime change in Russia, replacing Putin with someone more in line with U.S. hegemony in global leadership and foreign policy influence. This propaganda campaign was adopted as unassailable political truth by the legacy American media and the American political and deepstate establishment. Unassailable political truth, however, is most frequently political cover for very large lies. Genuine truth may be hard to find in a hurricane of lies, but real truth is the only safe road to survival and prosperity.

      Carlson’s interview of Putin lasted over two hours, and the English transcript is nearly 24,000 words, so it is hardly digestible in a single article. Russian is one of the more difficult European languages, and Russian word order frequently differs from English. This makes instant translations vulnerable to rough grammatical edges that can cause confused understanding and responses.

I  am a fan of Carlson, but I was surprised that his initial question and several others indicated he did not have as thorough knowledge of the historical background of the Ukraine War as would have been expected. There were also some other Carlson questions on religious or philosophical issues that seemed to be worded in a form that presented an unfair trap for a political leader with a multi-ethnic constituency. Putin identifies himself as a Russian Orthodox Christian, and Russia is majority Russian Orthodox, but his astonishing 80 percent approval rating includes many Muslims. Russian Elections are scheduled for March 17-20.  About 27 minutes of the interview are on Russian history, which is essential to understanding Putin and Russian thinking and actions on Ukraine. History is not appealing to many Americans, but forming an opinion without knowing relevant history shuns truth and embraces easy propaganda.  

The format in this article will include the transcript of Carlson Questions and Putin Answers, followed by whatever commentary seems necessary.   

Tucker Carlson: Mr. President, thank you.

On February 24, 2022, you addressed your country in your nationwide address when the conflict in Ukraine started and you said that you were acting because you had come to the conclusion that the United States through NATO might initiate a quote, “surprise attack on our country.” And to American ears, that sounds paranoid. Tell us why you believe the United States might strike Russia out of the blue. How did you conclude that?

Vladimir Putin: The point is not that the United States was going to launch a surprise strike on Russia, I didn't say so. Are we having a talk show or serious conversation?

Tucker Carlson: That was a good quote. Thank you, it’s formidably, serious!

Commentary: This was confusing. Putin did not say what Carlson implied. Perhaps translation and interpretation were a problem, but it looked more like Carlson was not well informed on the background of the Ukraine War and formed his question based on misinformation or misinterpretation. Putin had two concerns and frequently repeats the first.  As a member of NATO, Ukraine would likely allow the U.S. to place intermediate to long-range missiles near the Russian border aimed at Moscow and other critical Russian cities and military installations. This increased nearness would sharply reduce warning time to interpret if there was an attack and then respond. It would increase both the threat to Russia and the likelihood of war.

Secondly, a few days before the February 24 intervention of Russian military forces into Ukraine, Ukraine had finally renounced the Minsk Agreement of 2015, and Ukrainian artillery at Avdeyevka  had increased its bombardment of Donetsk city by ten-fold, signaling a possible attack on Donetsk city to terrorize its civilian population and drive out Donbass Milita forces. The very important Minsk Agreement called for peace and Ukrainian government reform giving Ukraine’s large Russian ethnic-religious-linguistic minority equal rights and cultural respect. Ukrainian rejection of the Minsk Agreement and severe escalation of artillery bombardment on Donetsk city were seen as deliberate provocation of Russian counter-response. Any Russian counter-response would then be used as justification for aggressive Ukrainian actions to capture Donetsk city, while claiming any Russian actions were “unprovoked,” “Unprovoked”  became the major Western media  propaganda line.    

Vladimir Putin: Your education background is in history, as far as I understand, right?

Tucker Carlson: Yes.

Vladimir Putin: Then I will allow myself – just 30 seconds or one minute – to give a little historical background, if you don't mind.

Tucker Carlson: Please.

Commentary: Putin then gave a 27-minute argument from Russian history as background for Russian thinking on Ukraine, rather than an impossible 30-60 second narrative. Again, I believe the 30-second to one minute time has to be a misinterpretation or verbal slip of language.

Vladimir Putin: Look how did our relations with Ukraine begin, where does Ukraine come from?  

The Russian state became a centralized one, this is considered the year of the creation of the Russian state in the year of 862, when the Novgorodians--there is a city of Novgorod in the north-west of the country - invited Prince Rurik from Scandinavia, from the Varangians, to reign. In 1862, Russia celebrated the 1000th anniversary of its statehood, and in Novgorod there is a monument dedicated to the 1000th anniversary of the country.

In 882, Rurik’s successor, Prince Oleg, who essentially served as a regent for Rurik’s young son, and Rurik had died by this time, came to Kyiv. He removed from power two brothers who, apparently, were once members of Rurik’s squad, and thus Russia began to develop, having two centers: in Kyiv and Novgorod.

The next very significant date in the history of Russia is 988. This is the Baptism of the Rus, when Prince Vladimir, the great-grandson of Rurik, baptized the Rus and accepted Orthodoxy - Eastern Christianity. From that time on, the centralized Russian state began to strengthen. Why? A single territory, single economic ties, one language, and after the baptism of the Rus-one faith and the power of the prince. A centralized Russian state began to take shape.

Commentary: Putin explains elsewhere that the Rus were not all converted in a day. Many were already converted, and it took several years for the Orthodox Christian Faith to become an established majority. Russian has no definite article, so I have substituted “the Rus” for Rus, which might confuse English speakers. The Rus got their name from the people on the east-central coast of Sweden, who were among the founders of the mixed Slavic-Finnic-Baltic-Varangian Viking state.

Vladimir Putin: Back in the Middle Ages, Prince Yaroslav the Wise introduced the order of succession to the throne, but after he passed away, it became complicated for various reasons. The throne was passed not directly from father to eldest son, but from the prince who had passed away to his brother, then to his sons in different lines. All this led to the fragmentation and the end of Rus [Russia] as a single state. There was nothing special about it, the same was happening then in Europe. But the fragmented Russian state became an easy prey to the empire created earlier by Genghis Khan. His successors, namely, Batu Khan, came to Russia, plundered and ruined nearly all the cities. The southern part, including Kiev, by the way, and some other cities, simply lost independence, while northern cities preserved some of their sovereignty. They had to pay tribute to the [Golden] Horde, but they managed to preserve some part of their sovereignty. And then a unified Russian state began to take shape with its center in Moscow.

Commentary: Following the historical part of Putin’s interview, the questions and answers become directed to current issues and events. I will continue with this series of articles but other more timely articles may be placed between articles of this series. I may also temporarily skip from article 2 to 4, for example, and come back later with 3, etc. to alternate historical with current issues in the interview.  

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Mike ScruggsMike Scruggs is the author of two books: The Un-Civil War: Shattering the Historical Myths; and Lessons from the Vietnam War: Truths the Media Never Told You, and over 600 articles on military history, national security, intelligent design, genealogical genetics, immigration, current political affairs, Islam, and the Middle East.

He holds a BS degree from the University of Georgia and an MBA from Stanford University. A former USAF intelligence officer and Air Commando, he is a decorated combat veteran of the Vietnam War, and holds the Distinguished Flying Cross, Purple Heart, and Air Medal. He is a retired First Vice President for a major national financial services firm and former Chairman of the Board of a classical Christian school.

Click the website below to order books. http://www.universalmediainc.org/books.htm.