tv U.S. Russia - March 1917 CSPAN August 11, 2018 8:36am-9:46am EDT
march 1917. the harry s truman presidential library and museum hosted this hour-long program. >> good evening, everybody. my name is mark adams, and education director at the harry s truman museum. welcome to our program. [applause] mr. adams: we have some excited people in the audience. i should explain that to the rest of the group. this week's the 15th annual teacher conference of the truman library and we have 55 teachers here from 17 states and they have decided to be the cheerleaders at the front of the crowd. it's great. we really do want to make sure that we pay tribute to our sponsors tonight for a program. the truman library institute is
our not-for-profit partner who actually fund of the truman library teacher conference i just mentioned it also this program tonight. the national world war i museum and memorial which i will introduce a member of the staff here in a moment as a sponsor and the harry s truman library and museum all responsible for our program tonight. we are glad you could be here. a few remarks about our speaker and upcoming programs and before i do that i would like to introduce one of our partners, the curator of education and the national world war i museum memorial, who is better partner josh who has been our partner on a variety of programs throughout the kansas city area for the entire centennial celebration after world war i. education curator of under her leadership they have broken records for public programs and educational anticipation after -- at the world war i museum memorial. she has been responsible for both online and on-site
education on exhibit programs the relationship. it's my pleasure to work with her as a partner and i will introduce her to the stage to stay a few -- to say a few words to you. laura. >> good evening. and ie is laura vote bring the warmest welcome from your national world war one museum of memorial right here in the heart of kansas city where it has been since 1926. if you haven't had the opportunity to take a walk through and see this really great exhibit that on display right now about truman's experiences in world war i, you definitely should. you don't want to miss it. here, like at the museum of memorial, we love to tell the story through the artifacts. through the things that were held, by the people who lived in some instances died during this cataclysmic events that set the
stage for the 20th and the 21st century. way for american century, one that truman very leads.aves -- i would invite you to take a look at that and come out. we have hislay 1918, which really explores part of the story about what's going on in russia. things some incredible that we just got out of russia for this exhibition specifically. you will not see it in any other space in the united states. i don't know if you can see it in any other space in russia. so now would be a great time to take a look. a no more timely time than now to get a better understanding about what's going on with the united states and russia, and
i'm really excited about the speaker. i do love teachers in the front row. that's a really great idea. all the time. welcome not only to the teacher fellows that we are so set in to be partnership with, i look forward to seeing you guys on thursday, but also to those of you who are here from the seminar that's currently being hosted at the national world war i museum of memorial as well. outre so pleased and check all of his websites to find out more. if you are listening right now on c-span, you not want to miss a future truman teaching museumnity or what are at the world war.org. there really is such a pleasure to welcome you all and it is an honor to be here on stage with mark adams, who is an incredible educator and does so much, not only for missouri, but for the nation in the work that he does in pushing out these lessons and
these opportunities to teachers and for this classroom resource. take a look at the truman presidential -- the truman library and museum -- i'm on brandon -- website. our website as well. these resources are all adjusting, but not as interesting as our speaker this evening, i'm certain. i'm going to pass this back to you. >> introductions are almost over. i promise. i do need to let you know about a future events, this life or going viral your to let you know, this month in july is the 70th anniversary of truman's executive order to desegregate the armed forces, 9981. on july 26, we will commemorate anniversary. norman jean bradford will be
here to talk about her military career from second lieutenant to that is on the evening of july 26. i hope you can join us. you can also check our website to see other events that are coming out this year. this program is being recorded by c-span, so when we come to the q&a later, we ask that you come to the microphones at the edge of the stage and wait until the microphone is in your hands before you start speaking so you can be captured for the tv broadcast. our speaker,uce you can see the title of our presentation tonight, misreading russia from 1917 to 2018, and our speaker is the assistant foreign editor for the washington post and won the pulitzer prize in 1998 for investigative reporting on the shipbreaking industry. he's a native of pleasantville, new york and he joined the sense of baltimore in 1977.
he got degrees from harvard college and columbia university and he and his wife, kathy, work for the glasgow herald is part of it -- as part of a fulbright scholarship and were foreign correspondents in moscow for a couple of different trips and the third two moscow with the in 2015.n post we appreciate him being here tonight and he is what we talking to her teachers tomorrow. in our gift shop, we have his which shech 1917," has agreed to sign for the below purchase the book tonight. i would like to invite will england to the stage. [applause] >> thank you, mark, and thanks to all of you for coming out tonight. it's a great pleasure to be here and a great honor as well. about thetalk tonight stereotypes and fantasies that
americans have been projecting on russia for more than 100 years now. turn inok a dramatic the spring of makes and 17 as americans were trying to figure out whether they wanted to go to war or not. it took a turn in a way that has had a profound effect only on our lives, but the whole rest of the world. to set the scene, i would like to begin by giving you a sense of how typically we felt about russia in the decades before world war i. i'm going to go with a painting by russian artist, not an american artist, but it captures a pretty well, i think. late 1800s ande it's called the barge haulers on the bulk of and it really captures the reputation of russia as a backward country, a
feudal country, one that had little regard for human dignity and one that subsisted on the hard labor of millions of its own people. another painting from slightly later is called the religious procession. if you look closely at this painting, you will see the man with the stick hitting the cripple, the religious procession moving forward, the haughty officials on horseback, the miserable people walking along the side. this is a very controversial painting in russia when it came out, many people found it to be extremely accurate. superstition, of of maltreatment of others, a land with a religion that seemed
to have only tenuous roots to that itstian foundation was built upon. the marchers here are heading out of sight, out of view of the painter. we are not sure what kind of a future they are really heading to. century, who was on top of all of this in russia was czar nicholas the second. man, a goodll family man of modest and moderate in his personal habits. he may have been likable for many people, that he oversaw the government that was the byword for cruelty and tierney and only for americans, but in much of the world. bad,you thought of corrupt, incompetent, in just
government in 1910, let's say, you thought of russia. that was what came to mind. nicholas launched a program of recitation which led to great repression of the when ian's, latvians, and ukrainians and particularly jews. the treatment of jews was so bad that the united states actually slept trade sanctions on russia under the presidency of william howard taft. was-semitism in those days considered to be a russian phenomenon. the jews of russia were treated far more harshly and capriciously than jews living in germany at that time. that was russia. it was like the worst place. it was shorthand for anything you didn't want an america. 1914, know, of course,
war broke out in europe. russians, joined by the british and the french and later, the italians on one side, fighting against the central european powers of germany and the austro-hungarian empire and the turkish ottoman empire. the war went very badly for most of the combatants, and particularly badly for the russians, although they weren't conquered on the field. the war in the east was much more fluid than it was in the west. which meant far greater hardships for the residents of those vast flatlands that lie between moscow and berlin. postcard showing a russian farm family sitting outside what little is left of their house after it had been destroyed in the war. this shows famous american writer and
journalist from baltimore right in the middle and the civilian hat is hl mencken, who visited berlin in january of 1917 before the u.s. entered the war. he likes the germans, he was pro-german in this shot, he is with german officers and a dog withhat we now today call romania, which the germans have captured from the russians. the russian war effort was marked by incompetence and maladministration, corruption, and terrible transportation infrastructure. scandalously organize all -- organized and administered. it was not too much of a surprise to people that buy the winter of early 1917, food shortages has started developing in the capital of petrograd,
which today we know is st. petersburg. mostly due to maladministration of railroads and to a lot of siphoning off of food by corrupt officials. red lines began forming in petrograd and people will stand in line for hours and hours and hours hoping they could get into the shop and there was still be something left for them to buy. this is a bit we are familiar with in russia and we saw it again in the late 1980's. while people were on these lines, it was a great forum in a sense, great opportunity for people to treat horror stories and to agitate, to complain about the authorities and it unrest inrowth of petrograd. ,hey were strikes and protests no one was quite sure what to make of it. fairnk we probably have a number of people from missouri here tonight. i don't know if anybody recognize this man, this is
david francis. he was former mayor of st. louis and later governor of the state of missouri. by 1917, he was the u.s. ambassador to the russian imperial court. he sent word back to washington as these protests were gaining strength, assuring the people in washington that nothing was going to come of it. no need to be alarmed, no need to be concerned, it was all going to die down. the authorities were going to be able to handle it. on march 8, the international women's day in 1917, a group of in petrograd to complain about the food shortages and then they started complaining as well about the war that was continuing. that banner says glory to women. who are fighting for freedom.
and hundreds at first gathered and there were speeches and then more joined them and more joined them and a streetcar came around the bend and protesters blocked the streetcar and took out the handle that enabled it to run in that blocks more streetcars and it was a festive, giddy moment in russian history. spread in theto northern part of the city. that night, the bolsheviks, the extreme read marxist joined them as her francis in their estimation of what was going to happen. the meeting decided the time was not right for revolution and that nothing was going to come of this. but the protesters regather the next day and the next day and every day the demonstrations got bigger and bigger. finally, the police came out and on sunday, march 11, opened fire
with machine guns, snipers on rooftops, firing down on the crowd much the way snipers in inv were fired on the crowds 2014 in this caused, of course, a tremendous outburst and outrage within russia. were virtually almost all conscripts and did not join the police, they joined the protesters. enough said linda to rad, we had a battle between soldiers and police. these are soldiers at a barricade in petrograd. we have the army fighting against police, you might say it's not a very fair fight and the police -- the government vanished. they disappeared. of theisional committee duma, this window legislature, mostly composed of liberal, cosmopolitan elite type people
who call themselves democrats assumed power, called themselves the provisional committee at first and had to figure out what in the world they were going to do. 14, thetime, it's march protests have now grown to hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people. guns of the distributed by the troops all over the city. people are raising around in cars, it was the first revolution in which the automobile played a role. and the people who were taken power were trying to figure out what to do with it. the first thing they had to do was find a map of the city and that was a big problem. they were afraid of counterrevolution by rightists. they were afraid of german attack. they were afraid of an uprising by the left. but mostly, they were afraid of the mobs who were running in almost complete anarchy through the streets of petrograd.
byamerican diplomat stopped the palace where it provisional committee was meeting and he ,ound it packed with people people sleeping on stairways, giving speeches from balconies, mass meetings going on, manifestoes being drawn up, just real bedlam and he said the aroma was a mixture of stale bread and bad cigarettes and the sweat of exhaustion. everything was kind of unbalanced for a moment and then bizarre day, march 15, -- the czar was unable to get back to petrograd and he abdicated. at his summerd palace in the outskirts of petrograd. the czar was gone. just like that. oneit was something that no
have possibly prepare themselves for. shows a cartoon by clifford berryman of the washington star and shows an attitude that was very prevalent in this particular moment, and americans certainly subscribed to it, which was the angry russian people have risen up against the czar because they felt the czar was surrounded by too many pro-german people. there was too much pro-german feeling in the imperial court and according to this theory, the russian people believed it was time to get serious about waging a vigorous war against the russians. -- i'm sorry, against the germans. that is kind of captured in this cartoon. it was quite wrong. it was entirely wrong. the people to realize it at the time. idea ofhad the bright extending american recognition was now calling itself the
provisional government. his feeling was that they were balancing teetering with possible assaults from the right, from the left, from the germans, from anarchy, and the best thing in the world would be if america, the world's oldest and greatest democrat republic could extend the hand of welcome and assistance to the brand-new democratic nation of russia. way of thinking, had become suddenly democratic overnight. his idea would over well in washington and in fact, the united states was the first government from the first nation to recognize the revolutionary government of russia. went in a carriage, because it was more formal than a car, with military and withsed in dress uniforms the navy hats that went out like
that and lots of braid looking like characters on the gilbert and sullivan operetta and he met with members of the provisional government were wearing business suits were totally exhausted, who's a stiff collars had all kind of collapsed on them. but they were very happy to have american recognition. and they assured the americans that yes, because they too were subscribing to this german come tohat the time had press the war against germany ,ven harder, with more vigor then they were going to be able to do this. they are going to do it in defense of democracy. that's what they told the diplomats in petrograd. it was a problem, in those days, which lasted for about 100 and one years i would say. that diplomats, western diplomats and western correspondents in russia, and i know whereof i speak, talked an
awful lot with that small layer of liberal well-traveled, well-educated people who have a and inlitan viewpoint those days would have all spoken french very fluently and english and in these days all speak english. there are people who can give wonderful explanations to what's going on, they are great sources, they are accessible, and because of their background, they are totally out touch with most russian people. and this was what happened then. we recognize the russians and woodrow wilson had been thinking since the beginning of the year that something better had to come out of this for that was convulsing europe. many people pointed out that thesed, france, italy and
were democratic nations and they were fighting against the autocracies of central europe. roosevelt argued this was not a war for democracy. how can you say it's a war for democracy if one of the allies is are of russia? -- and now the czar is gone. it would be a league of democracies only that would come together and try to build a better world out of the ashes of this war. you may see some residents with what happened more recently. russia of all countries, russia a democracy getting involved in the
war. severalhad committed aggressive acts, not ones that were clear-cut acts of war against the united states. mood that was sweeping the united states, there was a speech given in new york by the former secretary of ,ar and secretary of state welcoming the battle to come. he said every american, every true american heart should respond with joy to the feeling that if we enter this war, we will do our part to bring about the victory. we will be fighting the battle of the american democracy, the democracy of england, the democracy of france and the
great democracy of russia. roosevelt sent a message to that meeting greater he said if this change in a russia is part of the movement of the world to substitute democracy for autocracy in human government and build up the structure of justice and liberty from the bottom instead of accepting it from human superiors. no earthly power can stop that movement. russia must go on. ok. criticized byn puttingblicans for not the united states and the work. now you can say there is a more noble thing that can fly out of
this war, that is a democratic future. it is incumbent on the united totes to do what it can extend democracy around the world. moment, this is what we are referring to when we talk about interventionism. 1917, americaof dedicated itself to standing up for democracy around the world. this was particularly in the white nations of the world in that era. it's a change we have lived with ever since. we will talk a little bit later if we are still living in that or not. this is mr. root who was in
charge of the carnegie foundation for peace. swept with ae .atriotic feeling on april 2, 1917, woodrow wilson went to congress and asked for a declaration of war against germany. he cited what was happening in russia and the most famous line from the speech and had the most significant was the world must be made safe for democracy. there was a hush when he said that in congress. alabama started cheering and the whole chamber burst into cheers and applause. goaded to remake the world. what were americans missing?
firsts a photo of the raising of the red banner. these are protesters, but they are not protesting on the democratic government. these are red marxists. they are angry and marching down the main street. this is a large gathering of bolsheviks. these soviets were set up parallel to the provisional both laying claim to power, both not sure of who had soviets hadrly the the backing of the workers who would gone on strike and the soldiers who had defected. , therovisional government
petrograd, youf can guess who one. the government and we're going to fight the germans even harder than before. soldiers russian walking back from the front. there was a surge of desertion. cars,n soldiers on train a young russian shoulder -- soldier in a boxcar. just rodehome, many the rails. they just wanted to go somewhere. of course it wasn't long before , seized, vladimir lenin power in 1917 and established
the soviet union. grown9, americans have disillusioned with russia, but we thought we could help introduce democracy to russia. this was how we were going to do it. people marching through the street. this is in the far north. morale was terrible. they had no interest to fight whatsoever. they were there for a long winter and then they gave up and went home. they have never forgotten to this day that americans who were so enthusiastic about the democratic protests, so enthusiastic about regime change that they were trying to bring democracy to russia at the point of a bandit. i don't mean to give the
impression that wilson's ideas were all wrong and foolish. we did not bring democracy to russia after world war i. great souring of the public attitude toward the democratic experiment. there were tremendous achievements in the century that followed, driven by that will ian idea thatilson we could stick up for democracy around the world. this was the foundation of the marshall plan in 1947 which put europe act on its feet without american rifles or bullets. it was a tremendous act of building a better future from the ashes of war. truman was carrying on what
wilson hoped to achieve with the first world war. nations, whiched franklin roosevelt had brought into being. again, a gathering of nations like the league of honor were well designed. a place where nations, whatever you may think of the u.n., representatives can get together and at least be in conversation with each other. moment which will be a disasterme after wilsonian,y and --
the vietnam war. and is gerald ford brezhnev. they signed the helsinki accords. it recognized european boundaries as they were set after world war ii. people thought ford handed the soviets a big diplomatic victor. committed theso united states and the soviet european countries to recognize human rights, human rights existed and to recognize freedom of conscience. groups began banding together in
the face of harassment. they call themselves helsinki watch, standing up for the rights of individual humans. this event had more to do with the downfall of communism in 1989 in eastern europe and 1991 in the soviet union than any single event. however, as a journalist, i should pass on to you the understanding that once the problem is solved, it usually doesn't stay solved. democracy did not come to russia. by any stretch of the imagination. let's just dial back in time a
little bit. i want to dwell on vladimir putin for a minute. this is a picture of him as a young man. he was an officer in the kgb. an interesting fact about him, telling fact is he spent most of his time in east germany and became fluent in german. he was in that one part of east germany that could not receive broadcast signals from westerners. they referred to dresden as the valley of the clueless. this is where vladimir putin was oftioned all during the time glasnost and perestroika. he was trying to transform the soviet union. vladimir putin missed that
altogether. generation, he was not there for those critical moments. interestingly, by 1991, perestroika it was restructuring and it was threatening to pull the soviet union apart at the seams. undercision in washington the first president bush was the collapse of the a soviet union would be a bad thing. we were used to dealing with the soviet union and it was better to have a firm of government over these people. -- kiev tf in 1991 when in 1991. he told them not to split from moscow.
ofwas a complete misreading the situation at the time. hell-bent tos were get out of the soviet union. it.they did there was a hard-line coup aimed at gorbachev later that same month. stood up on the tank outside the russian white house, gathered thousands of protesters. the coup was awarded and the soviet union was on it's very last legs. december 1991 it, it ceased to exist. this becamest when evident it was going to happen, boris yeltsin had appeared as the most powerful figure in russia. the bush administration and most me believedcluding
russia hasstake was become a democracy overnight. exact mistake that americans made in 1917. believing a corrupt government could overnight become a working functional democracy. that doesn't happen. it didn't happen in 1917 and it did not happen in 1991. someday vladimir putin will leave the scene and we will have people say russia at last is a democracy. havee meantime, what do we in russia? what kind of partner are the russians?
journalism was shot dead in her apartment in 2006. demonstration in 2012 in the streets of moscow. theimir putin had taken presidency and was prime minister. he was going to become president again. this set off gigantic demonstrations. unorganized demonstrations. there were no political parties organizing them. week after week, hundreds of thousands of people would gather. what vladimir putin like the soviet leaders before him had taken from the revolution in
1917 was it was this kind of unorganized demonstration from dangerous is the most thing to a russian authority. he was highly alarmed by these protests. hecalled out the person thought was behind all of them. that was hillary clinton. he thought she was organizing as americanss just have been enthusiastic about the protests in 1917. the idea was to impose american will on russia and encroach on russian sovereignty. the lens through which theseir putin viewed
jarring protests when he was trying to reassume the presidency. this is how it was dealt with. thearmy did not defect to protesters. they beat up the protesters. managed to defuse the whole thing. people went to jail, people got killed. that was it. hasn't then smooth sailing since. of 2015, and old-time opposition leader, not one of the young firebrands at the front of the barricades, a guy who would been working for democracy since the fall of the soviet union was murdered outside the kremlin. that's a memorial to him. that is the kremlin on the left.
countrythe kind of russia is today. it's the kind of country our has taken a different misreading of in recent history. inyou look at what happened a16, they declared themselves dozen or more candidates. they ran across the spectrum. interventionist of the candidates running for president was hillary clinton. the one who had the most disdain for the idea that america can promote democracy around the world was donald trump. it's no wonder that vladimir putin by his own admission yesterday supported donald trump
in the election. post.s the washington i think you can argue that donald trump has taken a different perspective on russia. imagining that russia can be a reliable partner in helping to free donald trump from the organizations like the european union and nato. at their very core, they are of democratic nations that have come together to try and work out problems usually. this is what he's hoping vladimir putin can help him break free from. on my way here this morning from
was reading a book of essays by david mccullough. i will end by reading a little of what he had to say. this is from a commencement address in new york state. about around to talking 1917 and wilson had turned the country and aimed it outward and got america engaged with the problems of the world. trying was dedicated to to set the problems of the world right. here is what he wrote. point,s not the responsibility is the point. the part of responsibility always his moral choices. that is something to think
>> that freed the germans to move the russian front about the time we were getting there. way, that was an anti-american action. time, id been there in think france and the others would have gone down and lost. was a kind of feeling here that the bolsheviks were radical, they couldn't be trusted. it took a long time to have any trust toward the russians.
i was in st. petersburg in 1965, i never saw so many paddlers handling things. it makes you feel optimistic. then vladimir putin came. restore a decent relationship. it's not doing it the way it's being done now. start, the have a decent relationship, we have to look at russia with clear eyes and understand what it is and what it isn't. vladimir putin is not russia. trump is not america. we are too large countries. policy you any magic can pull out of a textbook. processng to be a long
to build trust between the countries. the western powers were not keen on the bolsheviks. additionally, they were calling for worldwide revolution against capitalist countries. people were crazy about that either. >> you mentioned the helsinki accords was one of the key factors that led to the downfall of the soviet union. can you explain that further? william: sure. no organizedn dissident movement in the soviet union or eastern europe before that time. there had been occasional dissidence who were exiled or sent to psychiatric hospitals. it gave some moral standing to
people who were brave enough to get together. a seminal publication was .ublished underground in russia this was self published. it was very unemotional. presente trying to just the facts as people gathered them. advantage of living in a time where there was increasing forces within the communist party about the objectives of the soviet union. it had run out of steam ideologically. 1980, you had solidarity in
poland. solidarity did it come to power in 1989. it gave standing at a foundation for people. it gave the west the standing to bring this up with soviet officials every time they met. >> do you think russia is too william: it is the largest country. paranoiaa russian of which believes the united states siberia, which i think is not the case actually.
the fear that there people livinglion in the asian part of russia. there are one billion chinese on the other side. democracy?ig to be a it has 11 time zones. the further east you get, it's like going west in this country. the more independent and individualistic russians become. they live far away from authority. if democracy doesn't take her in the cities, siberia is the place where it's going to happen. i think woodrow wilson would say let's hope the world is a confederation of democracies.
russia is a confederation of regional groups. in one have to break up. i never thought about that before. >> they have shared a hard and tragic history for 300 years. i wonder if that collective memory affects choices today. correspondent and a reporter look called midnight in siberia. it's a wonderful look into the psyche of modern-day russians. because of their history and their reliance on a strong man to lead them, does that keep them from sharing democracy as something they desire?
william: that's really an x question. question.nt they think democrats form of little parties and they fight with each other and it's chaos. there's a very, very smart russian jurist who argues that you can't have democracy until you have a court system, have independent, legitimate court system. you can't have democracy until you have all the pillars, the institutions of democracy. russia like quite a few other countries now has gotten very adept at following the forms of democracy. yeah, they have elections. putin serves a term. he even obeyed the constitution and stepped back are the presidency.
and they're meaningless. if democracy can take hold in russia, well, how long does it take for this country. magna carta was in 1215 and the declare ration of independence was in 1776. that's 561 years. if we come back in 560 years, if russia starts heading in the right direction, you might see a culture that really is democratic to its roots. of course, i'm being facetious. countries become michigan more democratic than that. japan would be an example and even germany. >> what was his reason for
single out her or the democratic party. not the president himself or -- >> what set these demonstrations off in december of 2011, was a parliamentary vote which was braisingly rigged. and that night protestors began gathering near the kremlin. a day or two later, clinton who was somewhere near at the time -- i don't remember where says i don't believe the elections were free an fair. and simultaneously the protests were growing even bigger and bigger. putin needed an enemy. and to his right for the blaming. >> could you speak more about the american military expedition to russia. i think you said it was 1917 or so. what was president wilson's original intent? was that how we see a moderate
peace-keeping mission or a democracy with the point of bayonet and how did the american army, the commanders interpret that when they got on the ground? did they know what the president actually wanted? >> great question. there are a couple of books about that but very briefly it was a classic case of mission creep. americans landed in northern european russia and which was a sea port where a lot of supplies have been coming into russia from the united states and from the other powers during the war. this initial idea of deployment there was to protect the stores in mer dmont to be from the germans. there was the bolshevik revolution in russia and the red army went up there. and i think i mentioned it was under british command. and they thought, you know, the
reds can't last. all it's going to take is a little bit of push and it's going to go. we'll go do to arc and i gem and go down even further and help this effort. and the americans who were there really just had no interest in that whatsoever. e -- i don't know like how senior, the most senior american officer was. but it was a national guard regimen that was doing the fighting. and they found -- the americans there found they liked the russians whom they were dealing with much more than the british whom they were fighting alongside. now, in the far east, american soldiers landed in another area which was controlled by the whites at that time. there was no fight thrfplgt there was no particular effort to bring democracy to russia or
anything like that. it was mostly to make sure that the japanese didn't land there. and again, sort of unintended consequences. it's a memory that the russians live with today, the american intervention there. >> well, as a volunteer for the national world war i museum, i'd like you to invite you to see our exhibition our display case which we call the polar bears, which is exactly what you're talking about. but that's not my question. [laughter] but i had to put that commercial in. i'm concerned about the poisoning of the consequences of the poisoning of the englishmen and the 12 -- the 12 russians not ve been charged with hijacking but whatever it's
called. yeah, yeah, thank you. here have to be some consequences to that. what do you invision as consequences to russia? > well, the poisoning of the scraples is a very disturbing event. and obviously if the russians decided that they needed to liquid date this guy, someone could have gone and shot him. the use of the nerve agent was clearly intended to send a signal to the british. there have been other such assassination of britains in russia before this. and the british up to now have just kind of let it go. i don't think they're going to let this go. i don't know. -- i don't know how they can
pursue a legal course against the russians. but clearly it has caused tremendous antipathy toward the putin government within britain. and i would say for all his support of donald trump in the 2016 election, putin has now made toxic in the united states, toxic in american politics. this hacking will go toward that. those asians will never be extradited to this country although their clears be over because they've been identified. but you know, it will take a generation at least for russia and americans to be willing to really start thinking about befriending and trusting a russian government again. so i think -- i think these events have actually kind of come to a great deal long-term cost to the russians. >> and just one last word into russia. three times and i agree with
you, they're not a democracy. they don't want a democracy. >> ok, so i have a question here. you were talking about nato as a creation. i read that in the late union, early on. to expanded into eastern union. nd they took former onksings from the -- objection from the russians and i read in some news publication like something that said like sometime during the crimea crisis or sometime amid there after in conjunction with the war in ukraine and it was
basically a howard got you type of thing and apparently he was disillusioned in russia like after nato brought out to eastern european countries in violation of some of the promises they made earlier to gombchev like during the last days of the soviet union. so i guess my question is like all to haden taken off those eastern nato members especially in the baltic states, do you think democracy would have a chance of working today instead of the situation we got there now? >> that's a really good question. people have been arguing about it ever since nato did expand. when i said nato was a wolfsonian creation what i meant it would ahere to wilson's idea of a group of nations joining in
an alliance for the creation of all of them. the -- the expansion of the east -- some people would say that the russians didn't expect much at the time. but they would decided they object to it since then. i have spoken to diplomat who is said the real motivating factor in the nato nation for adding the eastern countries was to him in germany. that if germany was left with neutral countries to its east that it brought back all kinds of bad feelings about what the germans might do. so that was a factor as well. if nato had not expanded would russia be less prickly. would they have followed a more democratic course. it might be less prickly. would it have tried to impose ts will on an estonia,
lithuania, latvia? it might have as well. short answer is we can't know, you know, with sort of a counterfactual series of events. >> yes, sir. as i read history, i see it like a sign wave going back and forth. have you tried to calculate the period of that sideway? [laughter] how often does it cycle? >> well, let's see. that's an interesting question. the two kind of key moments that are in parallel with each other in terms of america views of russia was in 1917 and 1981. when governments collapse were replaced be new governments that we thought were going to be democratic. so what's 91 night muss 17. that's 74, isn't it? >> 74, yeah. >> so i don't know. 2065, i don't know if that's
what we're looking for. i know putin will be in office until 2065. [laughter] >> that would make it a generation. >> yes, yes. >> is it all right if i ask another question? >> sure. >> when i toll one of my co-workers about this event here's what she ask if i could ask like -- i know that this meeting with -- this meeting yesterday with putin in hell sink i can has caused my republicans in congress to turn against trump or at least criticize him some for like many of his actions could bring republicans in congress to speak against him. so i was just kind of thinking how much longer do you think it will be -- until they mentally start impeachment efforts? of course -- of course this
depends whether the democrats take back congress in november? >> i'm an editor on the foreign desk, not on the capitol hill desk. [applause] [laughter] i'll think i'll punt on that question. >> good evening. mysterynt was all about in russia. are there any politicians do you think have got the measure of russia? an if so what lessons can we take moving forward from that example. >> that's a fabulous question. i'm not sure i've ever kind of thought that through. yeah, i would say harry truman probably did. i any that certainly there are many people who would argue that fdr was taken in by stalin.
i'm not sure i entirely agree with that. but truman had a very clear eyed view of the soviets and it was after all during his presidency that george ten nan wrote the famous telegraph as containment as a good policy to pursue, which we did and which was successful in the, you know, relatively brief period when you look back at it of about 40 years, 44 years. o yeah, i'll say truman. >> let's get a round of applause. [applause] >> thank you, everybody. i just wanted to remind you that mr. agland has agreed to sign books in the lobbyful we'll meet you out in the lobby if you'd like him to sign his book.
thank you again for attending the program tonight. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national able satellite corp. 2018] announcer: tonight, at 8:00 p.m. eastern, on 1968, america in turmoil. we look at women's rights. we'll discuss women protesting the 1968 miss america pageant and how women's rights became part of the national conversation transforming households and workplaces and society itself. watch 1968, america in turmoil. tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern on american history tv on c-span 3 and all nine programs are available on