One year ago today, Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was blown out of the sky by a missile that killed all 298 passengers aboard. The evidence increasingly shows that the Boeing 777 was annihilated by a Russian Buk missile launcher that has a total range of 82,000 feet. There has be no justice for that atrocity. There has not been a change in the policies of Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine. Buck Sexton spoke with World Chess Champion and political activist Garry Kasparov about the crash, Putin, the Ukraine, and more.
Below is a rush transcript of this segment, it may contain errors:
BUCK: One year ago today, Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was blown out of the sky by a surface two air missile that killed all 298 passengers aboard. This Boeing 777 was annihilated by a Russian Buk missile launcher that has a total range of 82,000 feet. The MH17 flight was hit at 33,000 feet. That was a year ago today.
There has be no justice for that atrocity. There, in fact, has not been a change in the policies that led to it. The policies of Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine.
I wanted to bring in somebody who can speak with us about this with tremendous knowledge. Garry Kasparov. He's an author, political activist. His latest coming out in just a little bit. Pardon me. Winter is Coming: Why Vladimir Putin and the Enemies of the Free World Must Be Stopped. It's out October 27th. It's available for preorder now. Garry, thank you very much for joining.
GARRY: Thanks for inviting me.
BUCK: Garry, it seems almost unfathomable that this kind of an atrocity could happen and that there would be no justice and, in fact, no real investigation at this point in time. And the latest from Putin is that he's rejecting calls for the establishment of the UN tribunal to prosecute any suspects. He's essentially saying, nothing is going to happen here. And I think he's right. Nothing is going to happen. How is it possible that he can get away with backing a policy and putting separatists in this region that shot a plane out of the sky and the international community essentially yawns?
GARRY: No, the very fact that Russia is the only state that categorically rejects the idea of international tribunal tells us that Putin knows who did it and he wants to cover it. Every other country, including Ukraine is inviting this idea because they have to find out who did it, and these people must be brought to justice.
But this tragic -- this tragic event, 298 lives are lost in the skies of Ukraine, brought down by a Russian-made missile and naturally fired by either pro-Russian forces or maybe the Russian regulars (phonetic). It's a result of Putin's unarmed aggression in Ukraine.
Everybody who talks about engagement and diplomacy and all sorts of attempts to bring dictators to the bargaining table, they ignore the fact that dictators never ask why. They always ask why not. And we would hate to hear about isolation (unintelligible). But, at the end of the day, if we don't stop them at an early stage, we pay more and more. The price goes up. And in this case, it's nearly 300 lives.
BUCK: It seems like Putin has taken the measure of the international community's response time and again and keeps finding the response to be wanting. Meaning that he doesn't think it's enough of a -- we don't pack enough a counterpunch with sanctions, with anything else to stop the policies. In fact, every time he seems to test our metal, whether it's in Georgia or the annexation of Crimea and now the continued aggression in eastern Ukraine, that as we know, it's one thing to say that this is a -- as I'm sure many do, and I know many do in Russia -- this is an internal dispute. Once you start shooting planes out of the sky with the international contingent of civilians, it should be the world's problem. There should be more of a focus on this. But, again, nothing happens here. What should be done? What could be done to make Putin actually stop?
GARRY: I've been saying for a long time that Putin was at one time Russia's problem. But it would be everyone's problem. Putin is a dictator. And he has enormous potential, Russian military and also Russian nuclear, to blackmail the rest of the world. And unless he's given an ultimatum, unless he sees a strong response from the West, start with the United States of America, nothing will happen.
And I have to say that, you know, NATO -- we could see American and NATO tanks in Estonia and Latvia. It's a small country bordering Russia. Again, the overall climate, political climate now, it's insane to stop Putin. And especially after what's happened now with Iran, where Putin has praised for helping Iran to get a phenomenal deal, I think Putin will become more arrogant because he sees nothing but weakness.
BUCK: Garry, you're actually taking me exactly where I wanted to go next. Which is, given this deal, as you said, Putin -- the Obama administration is high-fiving Putin for his help. Meanwhile, I think we know that the conventional and ballistic side of this agreement had to have some Russia collusion in here. Because where will they be buying this kind of missile technology and stuff? The most likely sellers of this will be Chinese and Russian. So it's good for the Russian arms market. And they're perfectly happy to sell them the S300. What does Putin do now that this is done? Now that he feels emboldened by this. This treaty is signed. What is Russia's policy under Putin going to be, vis-à-vis Iran?
GARRY: He sees this agreement as a step towards a big war in the Middle East. Iran now will get tons of money. It has international recognition. Iran's nuclear program, unlike was promised by the Obama administration to dismantle it, it's simply slowed down. And they can restore it at any moment. And of course, a big chunk of this $100 billion cash that Iran will receive under the terms of the agreement will go into Putin's pockets because as you said correctly, Russian weapons will be sold there.
And I believe that in this case, Putin and Obama, they're allies. Because both believe that America's power is something that should be reduced. Obama doesn't think that America should be involved in global affairs, and Putin agrees with him.
BUCK: Now, there's some places that people are already pointing to as possible flash points with Russia that have not yet flared up. People are saying the Balkans are getting quite a bit nervous. And there's been some NATO activity, where they're sort of prepositioning forces. They say it's for training forces. But to some of us, it looks like, well, it also is sort of a tripwire purpose. If not a quick reaction force purpose to have these NATO forces here.
Can you see within, let's say, a 12 to 18-month time frame from now, Russia backing another one of these -- this seems to be sort of the playbook. They find Russian speakers. Whether it's in the Baltics in the future or Transnistria or one of these places, and they'll try to push from some kind of a -- again, this separatist movement. They have swoop in. They'll be peace keepers for the Russians or something. Can you see that going, or will they just focus on Ukraine?
GARRY: We don't know what's exactly in Putin's mind and where he's going to hit next. But what I know is that when you deal with Putin, when you deal with Iran, when you deal with all sorts of dictators, you should understand that the nature of their regimes is quite different from the democratic institutions in this country or in Europe. They need enemies. And the moment they run out of enemies inside the country, they look for it outside. It's ridiculous to talk about Iran changing its behavior because the whole idea of Iranian revolution, you know, Saudis 1979 under Khomeini (phonetic) was to export revolution (unintelligible). Same for Putin. The moment he stops his aggression, foreign aggression, he will lose the rationale of staying in power in Russia. So dealing with these countries, you must understand that they will never change their behavior because it simply means they will have to relinquish their power.
BUCK: Now, Putin's popularity inside Russia at this point with this conflict that's been going in eastern Ukraine, it's increasingly clear that there's -- there's -- they say they're Russian volunteers. Then we find it's actually GRUs. And it's Russian Spetznaz. And some of these so-called separatists that are claiming they're Ukrainian or claiming that they're Russian volunteers. Or straight-on orders from the Kremlin. It doesn't seem like he's taking a hit when it comes to popularity at home. It seems like his aggressive ways and his sort of bellicose policy and the playing of the West and the United States has resulted in some pretty strong numbers for him. The polling numbers I see are astronomical compared to what a US president would expect after this many years in office. Is that still the case? Where is the sort of opposition movement?
GARRY: It's a big mistake to compare any polls taken in the United States or any democratic country compare them to opinion polls taken in the countries run by dictators. It's an element of fear. I mean, how many people are comfortable saying that they're not happy with Putin's rule? It's a country run by the KGB. And every day we see new laws being posted, Draconian laws being posed in Russia. And it would be the lost elements of civil rights and freedom disappearing, rapidly disappearing from the surface.
We don't know how popular is Putin. I mean, we don't know how popular is Kim Jong-un or how popular is Bashar al-Assad because running polls there means that you are calling people anonymously and you ask them to confess about a dictator. And they do understand this kind of information could be used against them because they were born and raised under the KGB rule.
BUCK: Garry, I know your book, Winter is Coming out in October. I assume in that book, based on what you're tackling, which is western appeasement since the end of the Cold War and the empowerment of Putin, I assume that you come out with some recommendations.
Before we close out here, Garry, what are your recommendations for how to deal with Putin and other dictators, including the Guardian Council of Iran and as you said Assad and elsewhere.
GARRY: Unfortunately, as much as we want to know to move with the globalization with peace, with trade, with development, with new ideas, we have to recognize that we are at war now. I named the book Winter Is Coming because we are entering the new Cold War. And it's up to us to stop it. There are many dictators from the world that could stay in power only being at war with the free world. And of course, America is the number one target. And the tragic events yesterday in Chattanooga, they proved that no one is safe. So we just have to understand that unless we take the challenge at an early stage, the price will go up. And whether we like it or not, we are in. And we have to defend the values of the free world again. And I believe that in this country, we must take a lead. And hopefully that in 2016, we'll see a new president who will change this suicidal course taken by the current administration.
BUCK: Winter is Coming is available for preorder now. It's out in October. The author Garry Kasparov. Garry, thank you very much for joining us. Good to have you on board here today.
Featured Image: A picture taken on October 15, 2014 shows the wreckage of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 near the village of Rassipnoe. The flight MH17 was shoot down on July 17, 2014 with 298 people on board. AFP PHOTO / DOMINIQUE FAGET