Harrison Salisbury interview about Soviet Union

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MPR’s Dan Olson interviews Harrison Salisbury, former New York Times bureau chief in Moscow, who discusses Soviet motives for the detention of a U.S. reporter in Moscow; the impact of the Chernobyl incident on Soviet official; and based on his visit this year to the Soviet Union, an assessment of the current state of affairs there.

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(00:00:00) Well, I think there is more to it than that. I think there are two things that the Soviet is doing one. I think they're trying to give themselves some bargaining material to trade off against their un employee whom we arrested on Espionage charges about 10 days ago. The knee lock does not have diplomatic immunity needed to their employee and this has been done in the past. It's been done on both sides is so well-known tactic in the Espionage business if you get caught get somebody else and if you don't make the trade immediately while you'll make it down the line someplace on the other hand when they take a man like Daniel off who is a an American correspondent a well-known correspondent a person who whose arrest is bound to stir up a storm. They've got a little hot potato there and I suspect that they have a second purpose here and that is a warning to the other correspondence to just take it easy. Don't get Two rambunctious and travel around the country too much watch your contacts with Soviet citizens. Are you may get into trouble to it's been quite a while since they have arrested or expelled an American correspondent. I myself don't expect to see this case dragged on a long period of time as far as Dineen office concerned, but I do expect it to have a certain warning significance. There is another interesting thing about this technique. It has almost become the standard operating procedure of the KGB to plant some Espionage papers on an individual and then immediately charged him with Espionage the first case that I recall of this was a case of a former American Diplomat named Freddy barge horn who was a professor at Yale. He was over in Moscow in 1959. I happened to be over there at the same time. Freddie was staying at the Metropolitan Hotel. Was coming back to his hotel one day and a man on the street and we never seen before just in the crowded Street bumped into him and shoved an envelope into his hands and Freddy automatically as you would took that envelope man disappeared and immediately. He was surrounded by KGB people who said ah, ah spy secret papers and so forth and so on. Well, it was a terrible future or about this damn thing and Freddy was released after about four or five days, but it sent a message. I being in Moscow at that time the message came to me and that was don't take any papers from anybody and I remember my son was over there. That was the summer of the American Exposition and I told Mike I said don't take any papers from anybody of anybody hand you an envelope don't do it with your hands. Next you do anything rather than take it one night. I came back to the Metropole Hotel. My son was there and he said to somebody left you this packet of papers. I (00:02:53) oh my God. Oh my God. (00:02:54) I picked up this packet of papers and I ran with it out of the hotel having wrapped it in. (00:02:59) Pravda so nobody would know I (00:03:01) had it and it dumped it in the nearest trash box and came back shaking to the hotel. I still don't know what was in it (00:03:09) for all we know the Soviets may have bit off more than they can chew in this matter because this has raised quite a furor in the United States. Do you think they have that impression? Did they misjudge this the United States response to what would happen when when they took mr. Daniel off into custody? I (00:03:27) think they may have it's not the first time and they're not too good at judging foreign responses. We've seen that over so many years that it shouldn't surprise us at all. They don't want I think to jeopardize a summit if if indeed is going to be a summit which I happen to be a skeptic about United States actually has played a little cool on that regard. So White House wild announcing the arrest has not said that they will call off the summit as a result of that. So there may be more froth in the headlines and the permanent results, but Question about it. It's given. Once again, it's given the Russians a black (00:04:04) eye in the in (00:04:05) the eyes of public opinion in the west and quite properly so because they just shouldn't do this sort (00:04:10) of thing. Well you planted the seed for the next question which I was going to hold on till a little bit later, but it's a good time to ask you you are skeptical. There's going to be a summit. Why is (00:04:19) that? Well, I tell you why I'm skeptical in the first place. The Russians have been very cool to this idea from the very beginning. I was over there in May and at that time this was right after Chernobyl the Russians that I talked with had just about given up on the idea of a summer. They said it just won't work. The Americans are not giving up we have to have something to work on and we don't see the possibility of doing it. I've watched the the pros and cons closely since that time. The Americans actually have been quite conciliatory beginning about in June. We made a number of gestures to the Russians to indicate that we are willing to have a summit that we are. Need to modify our position in one way or another but I have not seen any hints of modifications which are sufficient to cause a Gorbachev to say, okay, we'll have it I have to say that the in general the Russians are very skeptical of the basic desire of the United States to negotiate a genuine arms control program a genuine standstills of our nuclear weapons are concerned and I do think that they don't want to have a publicity Summit one in which each side can make propaganda think they want some results this time. So I will be surprised there may be a summit sometime next year, but I would be very surprised if it occurred this year (00:05:43) will probably come back to that issue of the summit as we proceed through this discussion. And now we moved to another current event as we speak on this day as September 3rd in the news the capturing of to Soviet Freighters by the Iranians. Who would have captured other vessels in the past in their war with Iraq, but would appear to be playing a very dangerous and provocative game with the Soviet Union in taking Soviet Freighters and bringing them to portent unloading them. What's going on here. Do you (00:06:15) think it looks to me like a case another one of these cases which occur among governments of one hand not knowing what the other hand is doing and that's not I mean, I almost expect that in the case of you ran because when all wonders whether anybody knows what they're doing over there, it comes against an interesting background in which the Soviet and Iran had begun to make steps toward easing their relations. We haven't paid much attention to this but the relations between Iran and the Soviet Union been just about as tense as they have in between ourselves and the Soviet Union only last week Iran agreed and Soviet agreed to resume section of oil shipments across the border from Iran to the Soviet. And now I think this is quite meaningful to Russia because they have a very critical power problem as a result of Chernobyl in the shutting down of all these nuclear plants and they need to have oil production in that particular area. They need oil shipments in that area to meet many of their commitments. So as soon as that happens or immediately after that, then the Iranians go and grab a couple of Russian Freighters, which is bound to send the Russians right up through the ceiling just as it did ourselves and the British and many other people these are not the first Freighters that they've interfere with and it always produces a very strong response. I just don't think the really that the Iranians do know what they're doing. And I think that this will I think the immediate crisis will be papered over in one way or another the fighters will be given back or something of that kind but it will put a chill in the beginnings of this new easier (00:07:58) relationship between Iran and Sure, but apparently the Soviets have been supplying material to the Iraqis. Is that right in the six-year-old war between the Iranians in the (00:08:07) Rockies? This is no question about it. They have the Iraqis. Well, let's say that the Iraqis are more the Russians are more on the side of the Rockies in the air on the side of Iran their relations with Iran have been extremely primitive all the way through the Ayatollah period but so so they have been doing that. I mean this is nothing unusual or many people have been providing arms to Iraq. I wouldn't be surprised if some of our arms get through to your rack. I don't know how they do it, but they get them from all kinds of sources and the Iranians have interfered with all kinds of shipments toward Iraq. So it's simply a one more complicating factor in an enormously complex and difficult situation there in the (00:08:53) Gulf. Well as we're skipping about among the current events involving the Soviet Union in the Knighted states, let's take another event of about a year ago. That is all of a sudden current again with the publishing this month of mr. Hirsch has booked on the flight of 0:07. Korean Airlines flight and the book. We haven't seen I haven't but we've certainly seen the article in Atlantic Monthly. Mr. Hirsh basically as best I can tell absolves the Soviet Union of any outright shooting down of this plan and says, it was a mistake and what shall we make of this? Mr. Salisbury is is mr. Hirsch has investigation. Do you buy it? (00:09:37) Yes. I think I have to buy it because her she's a very careful investigator. And as you know, he's not the first person to arrive at this conclusion in essence. This is in fact the official American conclusion after originally denouncing them at provocative act and no excuse and so forth and so on after very careful investigation our Of agencies including the CIA and all the rest of them came to this precise conclusion. And I think that actually much of size information does come from the agency when they looked over all of the records and they looked at the very close resemblance between the ss7 Mowing and the plane which we use out there for electric Espionage. There is a resemblance there. The the Espionage plane is bigger, but in the night and the Silhouettes being much the same and they didn't get a very good look at it and we they knew we were flying and buzzing around out in that area. It's a quite a plausible error what the book does resent I think are some of the conversations that we picked up and we hadn't publicized before between the pilot and his commander and between his commander in Moscow at show quite clearly that they were they were in a great state. I want the double to do and they communicated with the Moscow. And the pilot was it was very uptight about the orders to shoot the plane down and so forth and so on but it does show a number of things were is more conclusive on a number of things. I think than we've seen first of all the chaos, which really was exhibited in that Far Eastern Air Command of the Soviet Union. They were unable to get to get a fix on the plane as it went across the sea of our courts are courts and they were unable even to locate it there shows very poor air defense there then the difficulty of communications. They finally had to communicate in the clear because the hot phone wouldn't work. I love that because that's always what's happening to those hotlines. They don't work. So the pilot of the the command in Vladivostok takes an open phone, which of course we Monitor and ask Moscow. What in God's name do we do? Well, it gives you a chilling really a chilling picture of the inside of this Defense command because the question might have been not should we shoot the plane down but should we drop the atom bomb? And if that happens in their structure, could it happen now as well? I think I know enough about telephone lines and all that sort of thing to know that it's not impossible. The scenario is not (00:12:15) impossible. Another very chilling part to me of mr. Hirsch has reportage is the fact that the Soviets apparently have in the past made similar mistakes on their own aircraft presumably even some civilian aircraft. This would be a very troubling finding I would (00:12:33) think well, of course, it's troubling there's no question about it and it is true that the Hearst does report that there have been incidents of this kind now having been through several Wars myself and having known of many many instances in which we and every one of the military forces have shot down a great many of our planes by accident. We don't ever do it by a by deliberately but in the confusion of war in the split-second decisions that have to be made in the fact that human beings who are doing this are tired. They're worn out the apparatus that use no matter how sophisticated is not is not perfect. Those mistakes are made and many people lose their lives as a result of it in. Time you don't expect that sort of thing to happen, but it does happen and if we only look at such simple things as air traffic control in the unfortunate accidents that occur here with a with a vast array of people whose whole purpose is to prevent accidents and still these things slip through you just plot that into a military scenario a war scenario and you know that they're going to be terrible terrible errors and when you get into the nuclear field when those errors occur, they have a glittering consequence and we have had just within this past year. We've had so many Sensational examples of of fantastic apparatus that suddenly goes on the blink. We had our Challenger disaster terrible thing to happen considering the care than everything that you got. We went into that. We have the Chernobyl accident and we then begin to look at accidents and we see accident after Accident in the Rocket Field misfires and all that sort of thing. We suddenly turn up nuclear accidents all over the world fortunately. None of them with those terrible consequences. Although there have been two or three including one in the Soviet Union many years ago, which probably had consequences just as bad as Chernobyl (00:14:36) you were in the Soviet Union this past summer met you pointed down to what did you hear and see regarding Chernobyl? (00:14:44) Well into time I was there which was just about a month after Chernobyl the atmosphere. I was with a number of very high ranking people. It was a conference that I was attending and many of these people are very high in the government and I can only describe the atmosphere is still being one of stunned horror at the at what had happened and the dangers consequence. So what happened even then although we had Miss made many remarks in our press about the consequences of this. I don't think we Had yet gotten the true magnitude and danger of this thing as as they said then and as I said in much more detail in these official reports this great through your 400-page report on the seminar that they conducted in Vienna which shows how clearly that the the accident is still ongoing. As a matter of fact that core of the reactor is still alive and it is still capable of detonating again, if it's if it's too closely covered if it heats up and it seems as though you cannot keep the thing from you can't cool it off except over a long period of time. I was told in May that it could go on in the state perhaps for years. It sets one mind-boggling when you think that this one nuclear core May smolder there in the Ukraine 10 20 years from now. And everybody constantly having to watch it to keep to be certain that it doesn't have worse consequences. I as a result of that. I went back and looked up at the looked up the research which was done by the emigres Soviet scientist. Roy mid did if in London who is a biologist and a botanist on an earlier disaster that occurred out in the URLs, which is not very well known it was never announced by the Soviet Union. It was years actually before we discovered what had happened. But this was a this was an accident that occurred in one of their early military uranium and plutonium producers and it was an accident not in the in the reactive core, but it was an accident of the of the of the refuse material the waste material from the reactor which had been disposed of by putting it into a trench. They didn't realize They put it in this trench. They thought it would simply gradually sink into the Earth and be disposed of in that way. They didn't realize that there was a filter effect in Earth which separates separates out the radioactive material so that they actually created a radioactive core which exploded and that devastated a very large area probably larger, even than the one that was devastated by the Chernobyl explosion it they didn't know they didn't know what was going to happen. They didn't know what to do with it when it had happened they wound off their the wound up. There is an area of perhaps a couple of Thousand Miles Square, which is still not to be entered by human beings. It spend off they have to kill and have over the years killed every animal and every bird that enters it to keep them from carrying radiation off into other areas. They have to watch all the time that radioactive material doesn't get into the air and fly around these are the long-range consequences that we never even Think of and we've only begun to think of in the case of the Chernobyl thing where they now say, well we have to take all that topsoil away and bury it someplace and they hope that they can get it all but the fact is it keeps working its way up and into the atmosphere in the form of dust and scattering around birds, eat seeds and materials that are radioactive because of exposure they deposit them somewhere else. God knows where the chain ends and I hope the only good thing I can hope coming out of this is that we will now begin seriously all of us as many American scientists now are doing to to understand the long-range effects of any kind of a nuclear explosion or blasted all of this coming out in the case of Chernobyl with from one reactor Which is less than the less than would happen with one nuclear bomb if it exploded and when you think of the you know, there are Of thousands of these devices which would be loosed in any war and to suppose that there could be any Earth after that. It's fantasy. (00:19:27) Within the fairly recent past we were treated to videotape taken by Soviet television of Chernobyl and made available to American television. The latest example of what has I guess in the opinion of some perhaps you two been fairly uncommon openness by the Soviets about this disaster. What's the cause for this relative openness? We're (00:19:50) seeing I think there are two things one is a very well are both fairly positive one is directly positive Gorbachev is trying to introduce what he calls glaus most openness in the press in general get away from the old time secrecy the strict controls of the police and the censorship and all that sort of thing because I don't know whether he thinks this is good in principle, but he thinks in practice it's needed if the country is going to get off the spot out of the morass that it's in you've got to stir things up and so he is deliberately encouraged this and it was going along before Boom it got hit in the head by Chernobyl. I mean, they just came into a defensive posture the old-fashioned defensive posture. But now they seem to be coming out of it again and moving along on that course and I think that is a very good course for them to be on you see in there carrying it out in other fields. For example, when they when the big passenger liner sunk in the Black Sea, they announced it immediately. They announced the death toll and all that sort of thing, which is a is it a hundred eighty degree turn from anything? I'd seen in the Soviet Union's I think since the Soviet Union was formed there always had this policy of covering up every negative aspect of their life. Now, they're going the other way on it and I think that is good. Now there is however, of course a propaganda value to them as they see it in publicizing the tragedy of Chernobyl the depth of it. The danger of the nuclear reaction and it's widespread effects on the world. It reinforces the arguments which they have been making very strongly that we must get nuclear weaponry under control that we it is impossible to envisage a nuclear war because it would destroy humanity and they are deliberately I think using the and using choir don't think they're exaggerating it at all, but they are spreading this word out. So people can see. All right. This is what we're talking about and it is a very powerful propaganda weapon and let's (00:22:03) take this further then on this topic of disarmament in the Soviet position on this have the Soviet officials seized the opportunity here and essentially caught the United States off guard in terms of how effective the Soviets are being apparently in capturing World attention on their various disarmament proposals. They seem to be finding the United States that have A loss for words. What's your (00:22:29) reaction? I think this is true. And I think this is Gorbachev did two things in the wake of Chernobyl. He he authorized a very sharp attack on the way their television news and their news in general was being handled. He criticized or had his officials criticize their initial handling of Chernobyl and in general this clapping down attitude. And in response to that they have begun to open themselves up at the same time and perhaps more important than that. He summoned a conference of practically all Lehigh diplomats in the Foreign Service, which I believe he had done fact. I know he addressed personally and in essence he was saying we've got to get over from away from the old stick-in-the-mud diplomacy. We've got to use our brains. We must be more imaginative. We must be more responsive to events. We must be more practical we must get results. Now is a result of these two things. We have seen the openness the comparative openness in their propaganda and we have seen a flexibility in diplomacy, which we have not seen before. I cannot recall a past period when the Soviet Union has come up with so many things both in the propaganda and diplomatic field designed to further their policies and they every day. It seems they have a new technique a lot of these are barred from us because after all we are the people who originated many of these things were not using them so well now and in their hands, they suddenly find a sort of stuck on the old Battlefield and unable to respond to a new flexible. It's like a having a new coach in football. If you will who brings in a very Shifty bunch of backfield a quarter bag a very good passer smart ends instead of the old heavy lineman and the depending on the full-back crushing crushing through the lines. Now, they've got something different. I don't think our defense is caught up. That (00:24:30) yet. And that leads me to wonder how much we know about the early history of this man Mikhail Gorbachev who we have some knowledge of his past 10 or 20 years. I suppose in the Soviet Union, but I have not read a great deal about where this man comes from. What do we know? What can you tell us about the personality of this individual his past? What is going on inside? This man's head. (00:24:58) Well, I tell you I don't know an awful lot about him. I don't know anybody who knows an awful lot about him. I know a little bit about where he comes from he is he is a man who is much younger than we've ever had in this position in the Soviet Union. He is a man who is who was a child at the time of World War Two. He's a man whose whole career has been made after Stalin's death very important because that was the Eight Watershed before this we've had nothing but men who really were trained and lived and worked under Stalin and that great great tile of secrecy and police and Terror the last period since Downs death while it is not pleasant by our shatters is so different from the terror of Stalin's period that it reads a different outlook on the world and Gorbachev seems to be a man who was well educated. He doesn't seem to have anything very unusual in his background. He came up through the party apparatus just as all of them have nothing special there either he came he's done. Well so far as we know and each one of his chores or he wouldn't get along he obviously is a good politician now that it's important to be a good politician in the Soviet Union just as is anywhere because you may be a dictator, but you have to work with people and with an apparatus and with an In a bureaucracy and all that sort of thing. He's able to do that. He tries to get out of his country tries to make himself accessible to people he is very good with the man in the street or the man in the factory. Now, this is a political technique which any politician learns to use and he's not perhaps as good as Khrushchev was who was an expert in that particular sort of thing, but he's not bad. He's not bad at all or doing that. He's quite willing to use his wife and this is a very interesting thing because Raisa Gorbachev is the first wife of a party secretary who's really played a major role and she does play a major role not only accompanying him publicly abroad but she also has a personality of her own and she's taken a very important role not very well known in this country in the arts and culture and writing and things of that kind to that he/she is taken as her particular area. She's encouraged new. I hear she's encouraged more freedom among those people. She she is also encourages style. And this is first time there's been a first lady in Russia. Whose had anything like style. She's not perhaps right out of a Paris bandbox, but she at least is two or three steps in that (00:27:54) direction. But from my Western vantage point this seems to me to be nothing more than the inevitable cycle of a more or less open slightly charismatic leader coming along in the Soviet Union and in a few years, we'll see the old arm come down the hook. Come on stage pull them out of the picture and the door will close the air will stop flowing and movie be back to business as we have seen it in the West in in the Soviet Union a much more regimented (00:28:20) State. Well, this can be there's no question about it. I would be the last person to say that the garbage has got it made in the first place that he's got the Soviet Union on a course, which is going to be (00:28:32) Distant in (00:28:32) the future. He's young enough so he can have a good long run at it if he plays his cards, right? Well that mean that his successor will follow this course, we have no way of doing it knowing it most successors do not follow the course of their predecessor. I don't care what system it is in so we have no way of knowing that all we can say is that for the moment he seems to be on a better course than some of his predecessors (00:29:00) and he seems to have some affinity for agriculture based on what we can tell he he he may he may get some results out of Soviet agriculture that apparently some of the other leaders have been unable to get (00:29:12) well, I'd like to say something optimistic about social agriculture, but I having seen it over a period of 40 years. I'm not optimistic about it. I'm not optimistic about it basically because it is in the hands of the managers of State Farms, which is Corporate Farm. Or in the hands of the collectives which is government-imposed farming and in spite of many efforts by Gorbachev and he's a specialist in that field and others probably the biggest efforts were made by Khrushchev to change the situation. It is a non responsive agriculture. They put an awful lot of money into it production is much higher than it used to be but can comparative to their needs it has not they have not been able to improve it that much. I don't see anything which Gorbachev or any of the rest of them have done or are likely to do which is going to resolve that problem. I think the only way that you can really get a dramatic boost in production is to give the farmer incentive and I do not see in Soviet Union a willingness to give that incentive to cut people loose from the government red tape and all the rest of it so that the parents say, okay. I'm going to grow a lot more wheat because it's going to be money in my pocket and I that of course Is the secret of the Chinese success in agriculture, they simply said okay make money. Well peasants love to make money and they make money by raising more wheat more rice what you name it and the country has the grain it needs to feed itself Soviet Union has never been willing to do that. In fact, Stalin founded his agriculture on the theory don't make money and so he eliminated the kulaks the most successful Farmers. They were tight-fisted to people maybe not very pleasant, but they sure raise crops. He killed them off or send them to Siberian ever since then he's been in a mess far as I can see it's going to be in a mess into the infinite infinite future and that is maybe Gorbachev is smart enough to deal with that. It's a it's a very tough problem. He's got to go you got to go against 60 years of tradition and law and everything else (00:31:25) in the manufacturing sector. Are you equally as pessimistic there we have mr. Gorbachev was saying alcoholism. No, Acceptable we've got to cut off the bottle and any reason for optimism and Soviet manufacturing. (00:31:38) I am almost just pessimistic about manufacture not because of alcoholism. I think he's made an enrolled in the alcoholic problem though how permanent that can be. I don't know, you know alcohol is a very difficult problem to handle the problem in industry is bureaucracy it again goes back to the basic system if the basic system is going to be based on such things as fulfilling a quota. And the quota is fixed by the manager of the plant deliberately below his capacity because he wants to be able to exceed it and thereby get a bonus and he doesn't want to be caught out unfulfilled fulfilling his corner. You have a built-in Factor against increasing production. If you also generally speaking reward the factory on the weight of production rather than the number of gadgets you then find the man turning out 100 heady gadgets instead of 1,000 light ones and either way. It's a disaster. I have very very little hope that they're going to be able to control that problem. Once again, the Chinese I think have the answer they have joint ventures with capitalist. They bring the Hong Kong entrepreneurs in to show them how they can make money in their factories. Will the Russians do it? I don't think so. (00:33:04) Well, you mention the Chinese now couple of times. And so this is a good point at which to bring up the issue. I think there was a news account not too long ago of somebody in the Chinese Army being shot across the border with the Soviet Union in this apparently long-standing border dispute that they have thousands of troops massed on both sides of their common border there. What's going on between the Soviet Union and China. Are they trying to make up a little bit and trying to bridge some differences? (00:33:31) Well, there actually are trying to make up and they have made up a bit and this shooting is a pretty good example of how far they've made up in a four five years ago. It would have been a great stink about it and denunciations on both sides and all that sort of thing this time everybody tried to soft-pedal it. The reason is that each side sees some virtue in cooling things off. They would both of them like to get those hundreds of thousands of men reduced the ones that are on the on the frontier. The Russians have maybe 800 thousand on their side of the frontier of the Chinese probably have a million two hundred or three hundred thousand. That's a lot of men doing nothing over a long period of years, they'd like to get those people into some more useful occupation. Also, there are bonuses for increasing trade along the frontier. China is a good market for third-rate Russian Machinery. There isn't enough demand for it and third world the Chinese can use it it's effective in those very backward reasons. It doesn't cost a lot and the Chinese would be glad to have it the Russians can use Chinese food because they don't produce much along their Frontier in the Chinese do they can ship Rice and Grain across the frontier and it's a reasonable trade so that there is a good there's a good basis for that kind of thing. The Russians can import a certain number of export a certain number of factories to the Chinese of they want to all of this creates a Better atmosphere and in both cases, it puts a little bit of indirect pressure on the United States. We know they're not going to go to bed with each other. But on the other hand how far are they going to go? You see we had that situation with a Chinese vis-à-vis the Russians for a while very favorable for nip diplomatic. Negotiations Russians would dearly like to get it back the other way and I think we're too smart to let him do it and I don't think the Chinese want to I know they won't go to bed with each other but that threat, you know, you can make money on (00:35:36) it. Star Wars Soviet Union is said to have a Star Wars research programming. Is that so and indeed if so about how far along do you think it might be? (00:35:48) Well, I don't think the Star Wars program in the Soviet Union is very far along we spent a lot of money on ours. I don't think it's very far along either the Russians. I think if you were to get them to speak honestly on that would say we can't afford Star Wars it would bankrupt us. If you insist on it. We will have Star Wars we will match you and we will back up to our people. We'd use the police with squeeze the bejesus out of them and we'll stay with you step by step but it ruins our country to do it and they're almost saying that now in private we labored into it. I think for two reasons some people in Washington think we can bankrupt the Russians and when the when the war that way and other people really I think mr. Reagan is one of them really believe in Star Wars thinks we can produce these Miracle devices and it will bring peace to the world. I happen to believe that that this is sort of a pipe dream. I really don't think that it can be I don't expect to live to see it happen. And I think somewhere along the line it's going to we're going to turn off on that but it won't be under the Reagan administration because this is something which mr. Reagan believes in and he's not going to give it up. (00:36:59) What is the health of the Soviet military is it well run is the morale of the troops High his the equipment good. (00:37:09) Well, I think it is pretty good. I think that if you were to talk to Soviet generals the general staff, they'd have many criticisms to make about their their military forces today. I don't think they're terribly happy about its performance in Afghanistan. I know that during the Vietnam war that many Soviet military were very jealous of the Americans because of the American Military because they felt that the American Military how to unequal opportunity to test out new weapons new techniques and things of that kind in Vietnam and also in Korea for that matter and they had not had an opportunity to do it now. I don't really know to what extent we benefited militarily by Vietnam and Korea, but the Russians felt that we must be benefiting and perhaps we did we developed the helicopter gun platform and things of that kind there must have been people therefore in the Soviet Army who Welcome the idea of Afghanistan. They could try out their platforms that they built in Imitation of ours their techniques that they had imitated us on but when you look at Vietnam and you mean you excuse me, but it's a natural mistake when you look at Afghanistan and see the results. They remind me so much of yet Nam the advanced technique in the inability to really cope with a primitive enemy who's in whose dispersed. He's in Hills using mountains and you can't get at him with all this Advanced Hardware and I think that they're learning perhaps on a smaller scale because it it's much smaller than Vietnam that advanced electronic equipment is not really the answer in Guerrilla War. I think that the the Soviet Army is a pretty efficient military machine. It probably is the best military machine (00:39:01) on the (00:39:01) land that exists. I don't think the Soviet Air Force is anywhere near up to the American Air. Should just is not it is always several steps behind in technology. I don't believe that there are nuclear weaponry is up two hours. I think that ours is not only larger but much more advanced technologically. I think that there are certain areas where they're supposed. I'll bet you anything their heart. Their artillery is the best in the world. It's always been fine. I wouldn't be at all surprised to know that their armor is better than ours and things of that kind. It wouldn't surprise me to know that their actual fighting Soldier is able to endure much more than we with much less support. I don't think they need the PX at our army has to have and lug along all those different things I think are true, but that it is really an efficient organization. If you armies are let's face it. They aren't they they're a great big dependency on the on the body politic and I think that's true of their army as well as ours. Although they do use their army for some civilian purposes. They use it to dig ditches and build roads and things out in the Wilderness Area build railroads and things of that kind. I still doubt that it is anywhere near the Fearsome outfit that it sometimes pictured but in Europe, I think it is. I think that the Red Army can yes, they can get in their tanks with their artillery and everything else and their planes and they can move more go right through Europe. I don't know that our forces over there are capable of stopping him. Maybe they are but I somehow have a feeling that the Red Army would give them a big big fight and I think that's the reason why we have so many nuclear weapons in there because we're not so sure that the our Ground Forces could really stop them (00:40:51) have any of the Soviet officials or Soviet people you have visited with him. We're in the Soviet Union as you State this summer 1986 said that anything has been gained by the invasion of Afghanistan. (00:41:05) I don't know of a single Soviet who feels anything has been gained there and I talked about the ordinary people. I think it's a disaster really a terrible disaster you talk about the high officials and I've talked to some very high ones and they regarded as a disaster to they say it's the usual argument we had to go in there was no alternative the Anarchy we faced Attica you had to do it we didn't want to do in now. We want to get out and you won't let us get out. That's their that's their line. It is a disaster for them. They haven't gained anything and they don't know how to get out. (00:41:38) What in your view is at work now that either gives you reason for pessimism or optimism about relations between the Soviet Union and the United States? (00:41:50) I tend to think of relations now between the Soviet Union and the United States is being on hold. They're not very good, but they could be much worse. I don't expect them to improve materially under the Reagan Administration and this is because basically as far as our side is concerned. Mr. Reagan doesn't trust the Russians. He has a very very negative opinion of them. He's expressed that quite openly he doesn't make any bones about it. He is also a takes a negative attitude to most of the things that are proposed by their their side he and particularly some of his advisors propose things which are extremely negative in Soviet terms on the Soviet side. They feel that it's not a moment when much is to be gained by negotiation. They feel the United States is taking a hard line. They themselves take a hard line in response. They make proposals, but I feel quite certain that whatever the proposal is. It will be turned on in Washington Washington makes proposals but they feel certain that he turned down in Moscow. It's not the sort of a situation where you get effective negotiation looking back at the periods when we have negotiated with the Russians and negotiated. Well, I turn basically to the Nixon period because it was a very effective period and it was effective because at that time there was a desire on each side to do business. Mr. Brezhnev wanted to do business with us. Mr. Nixon wanted to do business with mr. Brezhnev. I don't see that factor existing at the present time on the other hand. I don't believe for a minute that neither mr. Reagan or mr. Gorbachev and his associates want to make War I think they would regard this as the greatest catastrophe that could possibly happen. They want to keep the world from war but they are unwilling or unable to take those small steps which are needed to Deuce the tensions in the world at this time, perhaps things are a little bit better in 1986 than they were in 85, but that has depended really on accidental circumstances on the circumstance of a plane shot down the circumstance of someone being arrested the circumstance of an incident involving a third party take Libya as an example or something in the Middle East all of these different things happening which keep the relationship in the state of tension. It would not surprise me to see it continue in that same state for another two or three years.


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