08:28uh the the thesis of the book we were08:31asking08:31why is it that democratization produced08:34a politics of grievance and resistance08:37and resentment and one the simplest08:40answer08:41is that uh democratization was imitation08:44and imitation08:45uh uh is associated with the confession08:48that the other is superior you’re08:50inferior08:50and of course that produces resentment08:53but more08:54particularly if i could give you just08:55one i think uh08:57very revealing example09:00of how this uh how this developed let’s09:03take hungary as an example09:05the hungarians took standard model09:08thatcherite09:09privatization which uh uh developed in09:12the west09:13they tried they applied it in a society09:15with no private capital09:17the consequence of this was in a way we09:19should have seen it ahead of time09:21was that managers took the assets of09:24their enterprises09:25and uh used that to buy the enterprises09:27for themselves09:28creating their own private wealth and uh09:32this was the beginning of the09:34development of an appalling inequalities09:36in these uh in east european societies09:38post-communist societies unjustifiable09:41inequalities which were resented but not09:43only that09:45the the language of liberalism which is09:48the language of human rights individual09:49rights09:50was not able to capture or to articulate09:54the grievance uh experienced by those09:56who watched the public patrimony of09:58their country09:59put into the pockets of individuals who10:01were insiders10:02so the privatization of polypatrimony10:06was a uh was was experienced as an abuse10:09as a10:09as a as a crime but it couldn’t be10:12articulated in the language10:13of individual rights of liberalism and10:16indeed10:17the language of liberalism particularly10:18the language of private property rights10:20be uh beca banned blessed or justified10:24this process which was widely viewed as10:27illegitimate and unjustifiable and and10:30of course10:31personally painful if you are your best10:33friend10:34you have two friends uh uh they’re very10:37equal one day10:38in a couple years one of them is riding10:40around in limousines10:41the other can’t afford a bus ticket one10:43is eating at fish restaurants every10:45night the other10:46can’t afford a piece of fresh fruit that10:48produces resentment so the10:50the the westernization process created10:53traumas in these societies which we10:55didn’t foresee and didn’t predict10:57but that was the seedbed for this11:00populist revolt against the liberal11:02order11:03now for those of us who grew up during11:04the cold war this is going to sound11:05passing strange but there are many on11:07the right11:08in eastern and central europe that11:10consider the european union to be the11:12new11:12soviet union how can that be11:15yeah this is a very strange development11:17interesting and kind of11:18complicated so the first thing is that11:21reform elites11:23in eastern europe were very eager to uh11:26to join in the accession process to the11:29european union11:30and therefore accepted the post-national11:32rhetoric11:33of the european union that if you11:35remember was really developed to help11:37germany11:38overcome its nationalistic past so it11:40was a very post-national language11:42and that um meant that this these reform11:46elites11:47were leaving behind in their own country11:50national symbols11:51national traditions they kind of didn’t11:53speak about them11:54and therefore when resentment uh or when11:57when the west entered into crisis11:59particularly in 200812:01and the western model seemed to be less12:04than it was cracked up to be12:05and to present problems um a counter12:08elite emerged12:09in eastern europe in central eastern12:11europe mostly of provincial origins12:13who blamed everything that went wrong12:17on the fact that they the reform elite12:19had abandoned the nation12:20had abandoned national traditions so12:22this was a uh12:24the the accession process was a viewed12:26as a12:27betrayal of national authenticity12:31uh in in addition there’s another very12:34interesting factor which is that the12:35european union was12:36asking all in and hungary become12:39democratic12:39you must learn how to become democracies12:42like we in the west12:43at the same time brussels was saying we12:46are going to write all of your laws12:48so while you’re becoming democratic12:50actually your laws are going to be12:51written in brussels12:52this produced also resentment and a12:54feeling that there is something12:56uh perverse or uh arrogant about12:59brussels obviously brussels is not13:02moscow it doesn’t have a boot13:04on their throats but it did it does did13:06convey13:07a sense of uh superiority judgmentalism13:10and then i i need to uh emphasize that13:13although13:14the west did not impose democracy and13:18liberalization13:19it did judge the progress of13:22democratization and liberalization13:24and in a way westerners when they13:26visited eastern europe i saw this a lot13:28i worked there of course in the 90s13:30uh it was as if it’s in the way tourists13:33visit a zoo you know13:34you go to the zoo you look at the13:36primates you say well13:38uh they’re like us but they’re lit13:40missing something they don’t have an13:42opposable thumb13:43or they don’t have the rule of law so13:45you’re kind of saying you’re you’re kind13:46of a copy of us but you’re not a very13:48good copy13:49and probably you’ll never be much good13:51so there was a feeling of13:52being looked down upon uh which also13:55stirred resentment uh and let me just13:59say one other thing about14:00i think authenticity the sense these14:02populists are claiming that they14:04are those in touch with the authentic14:06tradition which has been14:08lost by westernization and14:10democratization so14:12in 1989 uh it’s clear that the14:16nationalists were allied with the14:19liberals in the revolt against moscow’s14:21empire14:22so in poland there was a lot of14:24basically trying to get away from russia14:25was a very important motivation now they14:28didn’t14:29speak the language of nationalism at the14:31time probably because it was not a14:32language welcome in brussels14:34but also because this was the period of14:36milosevic you know the bloody side of14:38nationalism and milosevic was a14:40communist communist so a man like14:42kaczynski would never14:43echo milosevic so there was the language14:46of nationalism was subdued14:49and when after 2008 2014 the immigration14:52crisis14:53these populist knees near felt freed14:56from having to14:57to cover their nationalism with the14:59language of liberalism so15:01it it it had felt like a kind of cage15:04in which they were trapped and they15:06broke out of it15:07and returned to this kind of nativist uh15:10way of feeling which had always been15:12there but had been muffled so it was15:15that’s part of the why populism seems15:18authentic to them15:19well let’s extend your metaphor a little15:22further if we want to talk about the15:24number one primate in the zoo boy this15:26is a terrible analogy15:28uh should we ask about russia here why15:30didn’t i i mean15:31the the many of the central and eastern15:33european countries did sort of flirt15:35with15:35liberal democracy for a while before15:38adopting illiberal democracy that they15:40have today but russia never did15:41why why did russia never try it well i15:44mean first of all you have to remember15:45that in the soviet union15:46elites have been have found it very easy15:49to15:50fake democracy have fake elections15:52because they’ve been faking communism15:53for at least two decades before15:55uh they were sort of dressed up this way15:58let’s pretend we’re having to15:59have elections these are all rigged of16:01course uh16:02and uh we know he’s going to win and16:04there’s not really any competition16:06that was very easy for them to do they16:07also in russia by the way16:10they they had a communist training told16:12them that democracy is just16:14a trick by which elites uh deceive their16:17publics16:18and hold on to power capitalism is just16:20really an elite project to16:22exploit the working classes and so on so16:25they were16:25very comfortable with that idea of16:27capitalist democracy16:29but in the end basically uh russia16:33was so injured i mean the main thing to16:36understand about the russian16:37situation is they lost huge part of16:40their territory16:41uh a huge number of their population16:43they lost their superpower status it was16:45a16:46it was a huge injury to the self-image16:48of russians which was not true in16:49eastern europe that they didn’t16:51eastern europeans didn’t have this16:52imperial swagger this imperial16:54claims that they were you know on the16:57top of the world16:58uh and actually exporting their own17:01model17:01elsewhere so that was a very strong and17:04i think the so the russians for17:06a couple decades were pretty happy with17:08just faking democracy and17:10but in the end as putin came to power17:13the resentment of being treated as17:16second-class17:16citizens as being looked down upon as17:18being taught lessons17:20by the west boiled over and uh the17:23russians17:24went from this like faking a democracy17:28to a what we call aggressive imitation17:31uh that is17:32imitation of the west which is designed17:35to humiliate the west17:36uh which is designed to show that the17:38west is hypocritical so for example17:41in the speech he gave putin gave17:44justifying the annexation of17:46crimea he basically imitated word for17:49word17:49uh western speeches about the17:51independence of kosovo17:53human rights national self-determination17:56and so forth but this was17:57very much a kind of imitation meant to18:00expose the west’s18:01hypocrisy and uh yes i think that’s18:05i think that’s a good uh way to18:07understand the putin regime which is not18:09people often uh act as if putin is a18:12great strategist and it is true that18:13he’s played18:14beforehand well but he’s not a great18:16strategist his18:17his main aim which is not strategic and18:20is not18:21helping russia redevelop itself is to18:24expose the west as hypocritical that’s18:26his18:26obsession uh and i think that’s a18:29blind alley that’s a dead end maybe a18:31blind alley but most days of the week18:33it’s not that hard to do18:34whoops there’s my little editorial18:36comment uh let me try this18:39do we have to come to the unhappy18:40conclusion therefore18:42that liberalism as we understand it is18:45really not exportable18:47to cultures that are if i can put it18:49this way wired differently18:51from those of us in the west i think18:54one of the big lessons of the 2003 war18:58in iraq18:59is that uh trying to impose a19:02democratic system after a six-week19:04military campaign19:05in a country where three-quarters of the19:06population married their first cousin19:08and so19:08it’s a completely different social world19:10you can’t just you know uh19:12impose something like this and that that19:15was such a lesson even though19:16our uh uh international internationalist19:21humanitarian internationals uh went over19:24there19:25with the uh crude and i think uh19:28defenseless uh idea that the only19:31legitimate authority with whom we are19:33going to deal are going to be authority19:35that’s elected19:36i think it’s very good to help so the19:38listeners to contrast what19:40how we behaved in afghanistan and how19:42the americans behaved in afghanistan and19:44how they behaved19:45in iraq and afghanistan we had been19:47there for decades we19:49knew all the warlords we didn’t say to19:51the warlords you must be elected19:53before we negotiate with you but in iraq19:56the religious leaders the tribal shakes19:57were set aside we had this19:59fake ideological belief that we have to20:02create authority by elections which of20:04course is a20:05is a uh it is based on historical20:08ignorance20:09democracy is a tiny spot in human20:11history20:12it has cute enormously complicated20:14preconditions20:16it doesn’t we we’re confusing the20:18absence of obstacles with the presence20:20of preconditions we thought if you get20:21rid of saddam20:22you’re going to have democracy just like20:24if you get rid of communist elite you’re20:26going to have democracy20:27and this was an illusion it’s a20:29democratic ideology that20:31idea was uh is is is it20:34uh uh ex exposes a kind of disgraceful20:38historical ignorance which was uh at the20:41basis of much of american foreign policy20:44in the post-cold war era we’ve got about20:46five minutes to go here so let me try a20:48couple more questions with you20:49your book now suggests that we’ve20:51entered an age of illiberal20:53imitation how do you see that20:56well it’s a strange uh fact that uh21:00president trump seems to be uh uh21:03accepting putin’s uh a strategic goal of21:07dismantling the european union21:09of destroying all of the international21:11organizations created by the united21:12states after world war21:14ii uh and he’s at war not only with the21:17wto the who in21:19all the world america made seems to be21:21uh uh21:22the liberal world order seems to be21:24something that trump himself21:26is uh attacking so that is a a kind of21:29imitation of and he’s using the rhetoric21:32nationalist rhetoric anti-immigrant21:33rhetoric21:34of orban and kaczynski uh and the21:38anti-western21:39uh language and also by the way21:42uh he’s the first american president who21:45has not said we deserve to rule the21:47world because we’re morally superior21:49i mean that’s a kind of not a very21:52likable uh uh position to take but every21:55american president has taken that21:57basically21:58trump says no no we’re just like21:59everyone else uh22:01well what i was personally don’t you22:03think22:04is that again be a tough case for him22:06personally to make it22:07imitate him personally yes i would say22:10but he of course22:11his basic uh thing is he resents22:14this is sort of the trump world view is22:16he resents terribly22:18the countries that imitate our uh22:21economic productivity22:22or or are horning in on our market share22:25and so on so22:26he’s a person who has claimed i think22:28the first american president ever22:30to say that america is the greatest22:33victim of the americanization22:34of the world so that’s part of it but i22:37wouldn’t like uh to say a word about22:40uh the current crisis we’re in and i’m22:43i’ve been asking myself and my colleague22:45yvonne krustev22:46we’ve been speaking about this as well22:48what does the was the current pandemic22:51tell us about the trauma of liberalism22:54and the the competition between22:56liberalism and populism22:57uh because in a way uh the23:01the previous crises of liberalism 1923:04uh the uh 2001 in which it turned out23:07that23:08defending human rights the whole uh idea23:11of defending human rights as the primary23:12value23:13seemed to give way to the battle against23:15terrorism in which rights were viewed as23:17a trojan horse for our enemies23:192008 which really showed that our23:22economic elite23:23i didn’t know what it was doing so that23:25also uh really hurt our prestige to uh23:28201423:29in which the migrant crisis uh made23:32people feel like open borders23:33were a threat to western civilization23:36and so on all these things have23:37combined and and we’re under a23:40uh we’re living in a time where those23:43three crises have seemed to be23:45accumulating in the present one23:46and weakening the liberal commitment to23:50globalization and so forth23:51openness uh at the same time23:54every political order has its own23:57disorders and populism23:59is producing its own discontents and24:01these populist leaders24:02bolsonaro trump authoritarians like24:05putin24:06strangely enough they are very afraid of24:09this crisis24:10they are not you know taking hold of it24:12and using it24:13to uh to uh uh to their benefit24:16uh there’s a way in which this kind of24:19crisis has24:20uh had is is challenging any kind of24:23regime24:24the archaeon regimes we saw that in24:25china where they’re hiding evidence24:27we see it in the west some some24:29democratic societies have done well some24:31authoritarian societies have done okay24:33it doesn’t seem to fit well into our24:36ideological24:37uh polarities so i think that’s and the24:39way i would put this in the end the24:40question open to us24:42is now in the future is is the pandemic24:45going to24:46increase our reliance on science and24:49rationality24:50belief in fact consciousness or is it24:53going to24:54uh create a uh is the panic24:57of and fear going to lead to more25:00conspiracy theories25:01uh and more xenophobia uh uh25:04migrant bashing uh so we’re on a knife’s25:08edge25:08i think and the the fate of the liberal25:11model and the liberal commitment to25:13rational decision making25:14uh and uh the uh uh25:17and its competition with these populist25:21myth makers25:22sloganeers who are always trying to sell25:24something has not been decided25:26i definitely do not think the populists25:29have the upper hand25:30i think the populists are also25:32struggling and they’re25:33not finding this an easy crisis to deal25:36with25:36so although i don’t believe that the25:39west is covering itself with glory25:41either25:42uh the whale and liberal regimes are25:44also struggling because25:46uh the the disease is hard to understand25:49and it’s hard to master25:50i i definitely don’t believe that uh the25:54current crisis is going to25:56really decide the question in favor of26:00of the populists well why don’t i26:02freelance then and just uh re-title your26:05book the light that’s failed26:07so far and we’ll leave it there uh26:10i want to thank you very much professor26:11holmes for joining us on tvo tonight26:13congratulations again on your gelber26:15prize26:15uh for anybody who wants to pick it up26:17yvonne krastieff and stephen holmes26:18collaborated on the light26:20that failed are reckoning take good care26:22and thanks for joining us on tvo tonight26:25thank you steve26:30the agenda with steve pakin is brought26:32to you by the chartered professional26:33accountants of ontario26:35cpa ontario is a regulator an educator26:38a thought leader and an advocate we26:40protect the public26:41we advance our profession we guide our26:44cpas26:45we are cpa ontario and by viewers like26:49you26:49thank you
On June 15, 1998, however, Clinton calls Yeltsin specifically to discuss Kosovo. He makes it clear that nato is considering military action to stop Yugoslav President Slobodan Milošević’s troops from terrorizing Kosovo.
.. Serbia is Russia’s traditional ally, and American military intervention will show that Moscow is helpless either to protect or influence it. It will serve as proof that Russia has lost its superpower status.
.. Yeltsin tells Clinton that he had invited Milošević to Moscow so that he can talk sense into him. At the same time, he is trying to talk sense into the American President. “Military action by nato is unacceptable,” he says.
.. Clinton tells Yeltsin that Milošević has broken his promise to Yeltsin: Serbian troops, Clinton says, have displaced two hundred thousand civilians.
.. Clinton talks about needing to take action before the harsh winter threatens displaced Kosovars, especially the estimated ten thousand who are hiding in the mountains. Yeltsin agrees.
.. Clinton calls Yeltsin to tell him that he, the leaders of France, the United Kingdom, Germany, “and the rest of the Europeans” have concluded that they must launch air strikes against Milošević. “As you know, Milošević has stonewalled your negotiator and Dick Holbrooke”—the American negotiator—“and he has continued to move his forces into Kosovo and to evacuate villages,”
.. Clinton begs Yeltsin not to allow Milošević to destroy their relationship—in his framing, it is all the Serb’s fault.
.. Yeltsin just gets sadder. “Our people will certainly from now have a bad attitude with regard to America and with nato,” he says. “I remember how difficult it was for me to try and turn the heads of our people, the heads of the politicians towards the West, towards the United States, but I succeeded in doing that, and now to lose all that. Well, since I failed to convince the President, that means there in store for us a very difficult, difficult road of contacts, if they prove to be possible. Goodbye.”
.. Nineteen years later, it seems clear that one President was being more honest than the other. Contrary to Clinton’s assertion, he and the other nato leaders certainly had a choice in the situation, and the choice they made—to launch a military offensive without the sanction of the United Nations—changed the way that the United States wields force. By bypassing the Security Council and establishing the United States as the sole arbiter of good and evil, it paved the way for the war in Iraq, among other things.
.. It also changed Russia. What was seen as a unilateral American decision to start bombing a longtime Russian ally emboldened the nationalist opposition and tapped into a deep inferiority complex. Sensitive to these sentiments, Yeltsin responded that May by celebrating Victory Day with a military parade in Red Square, the first in eight years. In fact, military parades took place all over the country that year, and have been repeated every year since. What was even more frightening were a series of nongovernmental Victory Day parades by ultranationalists. That these public displays, some of which featured the swastika, were tolerated, and in such close proximity to celebrations of the country’s most hallowed holiday, suggested that xenophobia had acquired new power in Russia. Later that year, Yeltsin anointed Vladimir Putin his successor and signed off on a renewed war in Chechnya. This offensive, designed to shore up support for the country’s hand-picked new leader, was both inspired and enabled by Kosovo. It was a dare to the United States, an assertion that Russia will do what it wants in its own Muslim autonomy.
We will never know whether Russian politics would have developed differently if not for the U.S. military intervention in Kosovo. And, of course, the new war in Chechnya and the emergence of Putin himself were symptoms of deeper problems, including Russia’s failure to reinvent itself as a post-Soviet, post-imperial state. For this, Yeltsin himself bears most of the responsibility. Still, these transcripts tell a tragic story of much more than a friendship gone sour.