Since President Donald Trump took office, we’ve heard plenty about Russia. Some have said tensions with the country could lead to conflict – even another world war.
In this podcast special, Al Letson talks to former top NATO commander Richard Shirreff, who spells out these fears – which are very real for him – in his new novel.
Head over to revealnews.org for more of our reporting.
Follow us on Facebook at fb.com/ThisIsReveal and on Twitter @reveal.
And to see some of what you’re hearing, we’re also on Instagram @revealnews.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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From the she's for investigative reporting in p r eggs, this is our legs believes I care special, where I have endeavoured conversations with people. I find interesting, and hopefully you do too so Russia's.
Possible. Meddling with american politics is haunting the Trump administration in congressional. Here is this week the head of the FBI said his agency is investigating any ties between Donald Trump presidential campaign and officials in Moscow. Lawmakers also suggested russian aggression real and in cyberspace
Could we divide Europe General Sir Richard Sheriff used to be NATO's deputy Supreme Allied Commander for Europe and as soon as he retired, he wrote enough?
filling out how world war three could begin. If Russia invaded smell,
all neighbouring NATO member, I asked him why write fiction if he thinks the threat is real, while it's written as a wake up call
it's written a novel in order to try and reach the many people for whom defences pops not front and centre of that interest. I write it because
I think that we are in a very, very dangerous place with Russia.
For me, the wake up call came with the invasion of kroner in March Twenty fourteen, which took place just before I stepped on from that
seven years as a serving officer in the military because, effectively what Putin started with that invasion and then, of course, subsequently the invasion of Iraq,
It was a very dangerous dynamic and the dynamic is dangerous because it could lead to a clash with NATO over the Baltic Sea
it's less rewind a little bit and go to the history of the area of gay. So when you talk about the three Baltic states, where they are part of the USSR, they were
out of the USSR. They were all soviet republics, they are part of NATO and they of course, therefore come under that
unconditional guarantee than an attack on one, is an attack,
on all. So there are a lot of russian or ethnically russian
people living in these baltic states. Latvia has taught us seven percent russian ethnic population, Estonia about twenty percent,
and Lithuania down at about seven percent. Amid it has to be said that I think the vast majority from my experience, the vast majority of russian speaking
Latvians. Estonians or Lithuanians are very proud to be citizens of those three countries, but what we saw with Putin
in Crimea and then, of course, in the Ukraine, invasion is manipulation of ethnic minorities, and that presents a real threat, saw am assuming
that these scenarios play out in your novel or scenarios that you seek it.
Been in real life. So what are those while the scenario,
in the novel, portrays the manipulation
Minorities is the clever sophisticated Kremlin, inspired propaganda of the use of special forces and, of course, and politically relevant from american audience. The use of cyber attacks and
followed up by a and overwhelming conventional attack, based on the correct assumption that NATO
is really unable to do anything concrete to defend those states. This is not so much about Russia and they, Russia Achilles part of his, but its mainly to send a message that the that NATO
How do you might put it that the NATO emperor is wearing police can be clothes if NATO goes away? If the United,
states no longer is the big partner in NATO. What happens in Europe Motor collapses violence? Will?
is absolutely dependent on american leadership, America's independent from the start,
and without America, then NATO is nothing. Would you can see
the west is antagonized Russia, perhaps deliberately
expanding NATO you're right up against its borders- I don't buy that. I certainly do
by the notion that the Baltic States, Poland and the Warsaw Pact, former Warsaw Pact countries, should not have been a bit it Indonesia, these are freedom, loving countries they
More than met the criteria,
for NATO membership and
it can and is able to defend them. What I would concede, though, is that the decision
in two thousand and eight to promise NATO membership to Ukraine.
And Georgia was absolutely impinging,
on was gonna, get up the nose of whatever russian president is occupying the Kremlin other time and from a military perspective. Of course such a promise carries,
that unconditional guarantee of collective defence of that was an empty promise. Some afraid. I think that was
blunder right now, where we stand as as things are, if Russia goes into one of the Baltic States, it come
Briggs NATO unless NATO is willing to go in and actually do something about it and I'm curious, like is,
There, the will in NATO now to go in and actually engage. You exactly
Now on the head that right now, if Russia decided to attack and invade one of the baltic states
NATO's simply doesn't have the means and the capability to defend it. So it would be presented with two alternatives. Number one is to sit back
accept it and say well come on, they were part of the Soviet Union Far
the countries which we know little, let's roll with it. That would mean the collapse of NATO. The second alternative is NATO.
As we will mountain invasion and recapture the baltic states and ran liberate the baltic states. That would require a military effort which, frankly, would
would make the invasion of Normandy looked like up. None of that sort of major effort- and I don't think NATO
the means or the capability or the political will to do that? Yeah, I was about, say, like down Trump campaign
on the fact that NATO is not holding up there into the deal as far as financially. How does that shift, while an unheard of Mr Tromp is absolutely right? That.
All the nations of NATO have signed up to the region
and a minimum of two percent of GDP spent on defence. Now, at the moment, there are only five nations spending that minimum and so effectively what is happening is that the United States,
under writing. European defence and that's not good enough dealing trunk- can make them pay up. I don't know is the answer to that. I think the the danger of the
tromp approach is that NATO is an alliance based on trust and friendship and cooperation and that sort of transactional approach where the big stick is only likely to alienate. So I grew up during the cold war.
The end of it. I was born in seventies and I remember how the cold war felt as a kid in the perception of.
Russia that I had is as a child was it like. Russia was an oppressive place, they were
our enemy and we should be worried about them. What would you say to the american public about the dangers of Russia? While I think I would say that we look at persons word,
ten days and should be very worried, come in here
There is a man who has changed the boundaries of Europe by Force whose ripped up the post, cold war,
dirty paradigm order of things who has
like a ruthless approach to international politics and is prepared to use the politics of on and blood to achieve
his aims, is also a man who is very families.
Sabotage now as an unquestioned dictator in in Russia. That is clearly a metaphor for Russia and the russian people. So I think my message would be be strong enough:
hence maintain strong defences in order to do
any further incursions and any further attacks and, of course, to deter the ultimate horror, which is a war with Russia, and I sense a horror because it would it
There are enough to build a nuclear war as well. So what
when I hear you bring up nuclear weapons in nuclear war? I just feels like something: I'd read it
novel. Doesn't I there's a part of me that just like doesnt Putin know if he goes to
nuclear warfare- that nobody winds- I mean Putin strikes me
as as a very smart man who has figured out how to consolidate power,
who has figured out how to manipulate call? You know populations into doing exactly what he wants, and so I guess you know. If he's that smart, can't you see that
it's a zero sum game like you can't win. If we go into nuclear war, why of course you're? Actually right? Nobody wins.
We go to nuclear war, but here nevertheless, is a must
and whose regime integrates nuclear weapons into every aspect of their defence doctrine
and is counting on the fact that the West will blink first in the event of a confrontation involving nuclear weapons.
And that is a recipe for disaster, because the butt
Chauffeur miscalculation is massive. Now, no
national human being will ever, of course countenance the use of nuclear weapons, but I would
Let me point out that human beings aren't rational and history the realities of the human dimension
The strategy is irrationality and miscalculation. That's the view of Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump
from former NATO Commander General Richard Sheriff, he uses military
Periods to write a novel based on his real life concerns. It's called twenty seventeen war with Russia
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Transcript generated on 2019-12-21.