The Defector by Daniel Silva
GLENN: From Radio City in Midtown Manhattan, third most listened to show in all of America. Hello, you sick twisted freak. Welcome to the program. As you know if you are a long time listener of this program, I read an awful lot and I read a lot of really, really excruciatingly boring books because I have to. It's like eat your broccoli. And then I will read at night usually a novel, and I go through a ton of them. And there are a few that I really, really love. One that is is this coming out today, Daniel? It is. On sale today. It is called The Defector by Daniel Silva. And it is absolutely fantastic. I think I got it, what, about a month or so ago. And I read it. One of those books you are just not going to be able to put down. There are a few books every year that I read because I have such a mass volume I have to get through that I do my own speed reading which I like to call cheating. You know, I kind of look down the page and I go, I got it, I got it. The next page, I got it, I got it. This one I read word for word. It is absolutely fantastic. And a continuation, you don't really have to understand I mean, you did a really good job of setting up the last book.
SILVA: The last book was Moscow Rules. It was my first number one best seller.
SILVA: I have you to thank for that.
GLENN: I doubt that.
SILVA: I beg to differ. And this book is truly a sequel to that book. I felt that this story had to continue. But I made certain I structured it in a way that it stood up on itself.
GLENN: Yeah, you can pick this one up and read this one and then go back and read the other one and nothing will be spoiled. But it's really a fantastic book. And the reason I wanted to talk to you a little bit is I've been looking into Russia an awful lot and I know that you are kind of a Russian guy, a Russian expert if you will and I want to spend a few minutes on talking to you about a couple of things. One, do you think we're headed towards an oligarchy. And two, you know, compare and contrast what Russia has going on right now and what we seem to be headed towards. And two and maybe we'll start here. A couple of weeks ago I was thinking that these the former Soviet Union, the dissolution, dissolving of that didn't bother me at the time but has really bothered me in the last few years because it just went away. And where were all these old communists? Where did they all go?
SILVA: They went, they melted back in, into the you know, one of the great crimes really is that no one was punished for their sins. I mean, this was a murderous, murderous regime that enslaved and imprisoned their people and, you know, the number of people who died because of Joseph Stalin, for example, we'll probably never know the true number. But really no one was ever truly called to account for it and I think that
GLENN: No. And our history books have erased it really.
SILVA: Well, they are engaged in a process right now of truly sanitizing their history and rewriting their history books to put a much more positive spin on their history.
GLENN: Stalin is becoming popular again, is he not?
SILVA: He's quite popular. Putin is extremely popular obviously, but Stalin remains a near mythical figure in Russia, and it's something that I deal with as a sub text for the novel. I truly believe that until the Russians can face their past honestly that they are doomed to repeat aspects of it. And I think they are right now. I mean, as if we needed another example of what happens in modern Russia if you oppose the Kremlin. We got another example a few days ago with this very courageous human rights worker, Natalya Estemirova was kidnapped and shot to death in Chechnya. So anyone who dares to criticize the Kremlin right now really puts a bull's eye on their own back.
GLENN: I don't think that we're not an oligarchy now. We're not a fascistic state, we're not a socialist state right now. I don't
SILVA: We're not a corporate state like they are.
GLENN: I don't think we're anything, quite honestly. We're not capitalist right now.
SILVA: I think that we are
GLENN: We're in a transition stage.
SILVA: I think our core faith in capitalism was shaken obviously by the financial crisis and the meltdown and it was very
GLENN: No, no. No, I don't think so.
SILVA: You don't think
GLENN: I don't think so. I think there are
SILVA: No, no. It was shaken temporarily and there were you know, as, after the election and that period of euphoria after Barack Obama's election, there were those wonderful magazine covers like on Newsweek and time where, are we socialist.
GLENN: Yeah, we're socialist.
SILVA: And I thought for a moment maybe I had moved to another country or that I had completely lost touch with what Americans think. And I firmly believe that we remain a center right country.
SILVA: And I believe that President Obama's falling poll numbers and approval ratings probably reflect the fact that he's starting to bump up against that when it comes to healthcare in particular.
GLENN: Daniel, in the book The Defector you have what's the name of the central villain? He's fantastic.
SILVA: His name is Ivan Kharkov.
GLENN: Talk a little bit about him.
SILVA: Ivan Kharkov is what I would describe as a loyal oligarch. They were the original oligarchs remember, the men that took the old refuse of the Soviet Union and when it was put up for sale and they were able to buy things at bargain basement prices and become billionaires virtually overnight. Most of those guys were driven out by Putin because when he was elected in 1999, he wanted the old order gone because they posed a challenge to him. There are new oligarchs now and they are what is described as loyal oligarchs and my villain Ivan Kharkov would definitely be considered a loyal oligarch. Inside his financial empire is a very lucrative and dangerous arms trafficking network.
GLENN: Okay. I think that we are developing new oligarchs here in America and not necessarily with people but with industry. GE is a very loyal oligarchic, if that's a word, entity to Barack Obama. Agree or disagree?
SILVA: I'm going to be outside my expertise. I would put my foot in it. We are not like the Russian oligarchs. There is a lot of daylight between American capitalism and Russian capitalism right now.
GLENN: No, no, and I agree with that. My question to you is did not the Soviet Union we think we put it out of business, and we did, along with Margaret Thatcher and really even Osama Bin Laden, the pressure he put on them. Then we used that pressure, we spent them into oblivion with Ronald Reagan. I mean, we did a great job. But it wasn't just the United States. But we also, what we fail to understand is we didn't put them out of business overnight. Gorbachev saw the writing on the wall and he started moving towards the more open society and then it was Boris Yeltsin who came to and made a deal in the middle of the forest in the middle of the night and said, look, we're going to be the Russian federation. Then brought it to parliament or whatever it's called over there and said, I can save you.
SILVA: Put a stake in the old Soviet Union.
GLENN: Right. I can save you if we transform. And I think that's where we're headed.
SILVA: Well, the folly of what happened to the old Soviet Union is we thought that we could take almost a century of Soviet history and centuries, millennia of Russian history that we're going to snap our fingers and that a modern, normal country was going to emerge. And, you know, I have news for you. Russia is not a normal country and it's not going to be a normal country anytime soon. I laugh every time I see the G 8 and I see the Russian leaders standing there like he's a member of the club because, you know, I'm someone that thinks that they probably need to be outside the structure of the G 8, for example, until they get their act together internally. That will be the G 7 plus Russia, China and Brazil. But, you know, if they want to be a member of the club, they need to start acting like a member of the club internally.
GLENN: Isn't the United States the for anybody that wants to transform the United States, don't they face the same except the opposite direction, the same problem? When we brought down the Soviet empire, we just think people want to be free, they just want to rule themselves, they just want to be left alone, they want to be entrepreneurs, they want to just go, go, go, go, and they don't want all that structure above them. Anybody who thinks that they are going to transform the United States
GLENN: Yeah, overnight, wouldn't that be the well, when you say overnight, I mean even Gorbachev to Yeltsin. What was that, 10 years?
SILVA: Yes. Not quite.
GLENN: We're the same we would face the same problem. Somebody who says I'm going to make this big oppressive state and I'm going to plan centrally everything that's going to go on, you'll never make this succeed because the American spirit is the exact opposite. The Russians went back and they are like, protect me, take care of me, help me out. You know
SILVA: Very paternal, they are used to a paternalistic state structure. The state is near religious in Russia. So they are used to a paternalistic, strong czarist government. I think that if Vladimir Putin bears a resemblance to powerful leaders of the past, it is not Joseph Stalin. It is a czar. He is a new czar. He has amassed incredible personal wealth apparently. And Russians are very comfortable with this. And let's try to walk in their shoes for a minute. The Nineties were unbelievably chaotic. They made and lost fortunes overnight. No rule of law. Very little just basic civil society in Russia. And Putin was able to come in and pose a certain amount of stability in Russia. And we can't underestimate what that means to the Russian people.
GLENN: When you went over to Russia, you've gone over to Russia for this book examines The Defector today. It's a great book.
SILVA: I have not gone over to Russia to research The Defector.
GLENN: You didn't?
SILVA: And I love Moscow. There is a vibe to that place that I love and that inspired me.
GLENN: I always wanted to go. Nobody will go with me.
SILVA: When I looked at the new state treason laws that the Russians are putting in place, Draconian new state treason laws and I looked at all of the interviews that I conducted when I was researching Moscow Rules, without doubt virtually all of them could be considered treasonous under the interpretation of these new laws and I just didn't quite feel the same.
GLENN: In what way? In what way?
SILVA: Because in terms of Russian people talking to foreigners. The Russian the Kremlin and the FSB believe that we are trying to spy the daylights out of them. I hope we are because they are trying to spy the daylights out of us.
SILVA: They have great mistrust of people who go over there and talk about things like human rights and democracy. I think what they fear the most is that we're going to have one of these colored revolutions, an orange revolution inside, inside Russia. That's why they go to so much trouble to try to tamp down the effect of these revolutions in eastern Europe. And so they are very distrustful of outsiders and Americans right now.
GLENN: Did you look into the eyes of Vladimir Putin at any time and see a good friend?
SILVA: No. I did hire, when I was there, the guy, the Russian speaking guy that I kept with me at all times was a Putin double. He could have been Putin's Dopple Gang or the figure in Madame Tussauds' wax museum. It was striking. So as I was going about my research for Moscow Rules, I was accompanied by Mr. Putin everywhere, or so it seemed.
GLENN: The name of the book is The Defector by Daniel Silva. It is a fantastic new book. It's ought today. I want to show you, Pat, do you have in your audio vault, do you have the video? And we should include this in our free e mail newsletter today. This is something I asked John Bolton to comment on and he says to me and I'm going to show it to you. He says to me that Obama's not trying to shake the hands of all of the advisors of Medvedev. I can't see it that way. Are you running it? Okay, go ahead. Pat, explain what it is as he's watching it.
Related Video: Obama Handshake Snub in Russia?
PAT: Okay. Here's Obama, Medvedev, and they are walking up to a group of Russian officials and Obama extends his hand; nobody shakes it. Extends it again, puts it down, brings it back up. Nobody will shake it.
GLENN: Now, John Bolton says to me, "He's not trying to shake anybody's hands." I said, that's not John, how can you say that? Look at that. I want to include this in the free e mail newsletter today, GlennBeck.com. If you are not a subscriber, go to GlennBeck.com and see this. What are you thinking?
SILVA: I've never seen that tape before.
GLENN: This just happened when he was over in Russia.
SILVA: As we were talking during the break, one thing that you didn't see that you've seen on every other previous Obama trip abroad is people lining the streets to catch a glimpse of him, people wanting to hear the speech. And Obama did make a President Obama did make an important speech while he was in Russia at the graduation of the new economic school. Most Russians don't know about it. Why? Because Vladimir Putin made sure it was not on state run television. And, you know, we have
SILVA: Why? Because he wanted to make sure that he controlled the content, and he was nervous about what President Obama might say. And he was mildly critical of Russia's human rights record. And we cannot underestimate how anti American Russia is right now.
GLENN: So what do you I'll send you home because you are going to be on the TV show tonight. I'll send you with this video so you can look at it again, maybe pass it by some of your friends. You tell me what you think this means. Do you think this is was he clearly trying to shake the hands of these people?
SILVA: I've never seen anyone walk like that who wasn't trying to shake the hands of someone. I've never seen this video before. It is shocking. It is obvious and it is obvious the message that these people are trying to send our president on their soil. And they did it in many other subtle ways that sort of went below the radar including not putting the speech on television.
GLENN: Okay, we'll talk about that. Daniel Silva, new book is The Defector. It's in bookstores everywhere. It's a novel. It's a thriller. It is absolutely fantastic. You will see the inner workings of Russia in a really, really exciting way. You can pick it up at bookstores everywhere. And we'll see you tonight. And I want to put we'll play this again and I want you to tell me what you think, on television. And if you would like, if you can't join us for the TV show tonight at 5:00, we'll put this in our free e mail newsletter so you can see it. It is truly shocking video.