All-In with Chamath, Jason, Sacks & Friedberg - #AIS: Antonio Garcia Martinez & Glenn Greenwald debate Ukraine, moderated by David Sacks

All right, this segment is on Ukraine and we call it the Ukraine debate because we have

two great writers and thinkers up here who are on slightly different sides of this issue

of the U.S. involvement in Ukraine.

Antonio Garcia-Martinez is the author of the best-selling book, Chaos Monkeys, about Silicon


He writes a sub-stack called Pull Request and also has a great call-in show.

And Glenn Greenwald is back with us from yesterday, also a phenomenal writer, has

an amazing sub-stack all of you guys should check out as well, and a great call-in show.

So in setting up this topic, let me just say I think, you know, that, you know, in thinking

about the U.S. involvement in Ukraine, you know, there’s not a lot of debate about this

topic and in that sense, it’s pretty similar to other wars that the U.S. has gotten into.

Many of you probably are not old enough to remember when the U.S. got into Iraq or Afghanistan

and I’m not old enough to remember the U.S. getting into Vietnam, but the thing to understand

about all those wars is that they were incredibly popular at the time that we entered them and

by the time that they ended, they were not.

And now, I’m not saying, I’m not prejudging Ukraine and saying it’s one of those.

I think there’s important differences that we should get into, but I think we should

at least have this debate and we need more discussion around this.

And so for that, I’m grateful that Antonio and Glenn have decided to participate.

So, what I’m going to do is kick it to each of them for kind of five-minute opening statements

and then we’ll just get into sort of more of a back and forth and we’ll start with Antonio.



Thanks, David.

Thanks for skewing the moderation from like literally the first second, comparing it to

Iraq because I came up here to say it’s not about Iraq at all.

But yeah, so let’s just start off with I think probably most people here know that I actually

spent some time in Ukraine.

Unlike a lot of the independent voices who decided to opine from afar about Ukraine,

I felt that the American media discourse about Ukraine was completely skewed and it just

smelled kind of bullshitty to me and so I thought I had to go and actually see it.

And so I spent some time on the Polish border with Ukraine.

This was kind of in the earliest part of the war, kind of early March, and the western

part of Ukraine, which by the way, is not particularly dangerous or anything.

It’s probably no more dangerous than walking across San Francisco these days, to be honest.

But it was interesting to actually go and see.

And I took away two things.

And I wrote two subsect posts about it that I want to share with you.

Two parts of the Ukraine story.

One, the refugee situation is incredible.

It is something that you have to see to believe and even then you can’t quite understand the

scope of it.

Ten million Ukrainians, a quarter of the country is currently displaced.

Something like six million Ukrainians have left in the span of two months.

When you stand at the border at Medica, which is one of the border crossings with Poland,

what you see is you’re at it and you realize you’re at the fringes of sort of normal western

European life and you’ve entered, on the other side of that is hell that people are escaping.

And what do you see?

You see, again, the men can’t leave because they’re prohibited from leaving because they

have to fight.

And so what you see is old people or women with children, imagine a woman in her 30s

with two kids, a little rolly bag, and like a cat in a bag.

That’s the typical thing.

And just a line of them going over the border again and again and again, right?

And the Poles have been amazing in how they receive the Ukrainians, literally millions

of Ukrainians, but all the same it’s an enormous strain.

Everywhere you go in eastern Poland or western Ukraine, that’s a big open area, it’s basically

a refugee camp, whether it be a train station, repurposed warehouses, all of it.

The human situation is just kind of mind-boggling.

The other thing I’d like to share, I crossed the border, it was weird crossing the border,

there’s this line of people looking to leave and there’s like you with my little Starlink

and my little bag and my little body armor like walking across the other way, because

you can’t take cars across, everyone walks across.

And everyone’s looking at me like I’m crazy, because why are you walking in the other direction,


And so anyway, I walked in the other direction, had a driver pick me up, experienced a little

bit of western Ukraine for a few days, and I experienced what I think probably nobody

here has experienced directly, which is total war, right?

A society that’s completely and totally mobilized to repel a foreign invader, right?

I was in a city called Lviv, which is one of the western cities that sort of free Ukraine,

and everything there is either men and weapons and trucks going east or women and children

and refugees going west.

That’s all you would see.

All that would happen there.

And all of society, from the interpreter I had, because unfortunately I speak no Ukrainian,

to the driver who would drive me around, to the hacker I interviewed who was like DDoSing

Russian websites, all of them would punctuate their statements with, we will win, right?

And that’s when I realized that the big mistake that everyone had made, I think particularly

in the U.S. discourse, is underrating Ukrainian resolve and their zeal for their own nationalist

project, right?

After spending a day there, and again, remember, this is the relatively early days of the war,

Kiev is still encircled, it wasn’t clear if the Belarusians would start a western front,

it was all still up in the air, but I was starting to think, you know, I don’t see how

the Russians win this, like this just seems impossible.

Ukraine is the size of Texas, it has a population of 40 million people, roughly the size, imagine

the Russians showing up with 200,000 soldiers and trying to control California, it’s going

to be very difficult to do, particularly when literally everybody is staring at you and

saying, we will win, which is what happened.

And that’s when I realized that this whole story was very different than it’s being projected

in the United States, and that’s, I felt vindicated in going, because I think there aren’t that

many American journalists there, and I think a lot of the discourse in the U.S. tends to

skew towards Iraq, or towards projection of American political domestic neuroses, and

not the facts on the ground in Ukraine, in which you have devastated cities, you have

women and children refugees, you have literally a total war situation that the western world

hasn’t seen since World War II.

That’s the reality of Ukraine, and what I hope to debate here.

All right, thank you, Glenn.

Great, so I certainly have respect for anyone’s decision to go actually see a place that you

want to talk about.

I think that there is, though, a question of how much you can actually learn about a

country of 44 million people with an incredibly complex history, with extreme diversity of

thought in terms of the population by going for whatever it is, a week or 10 days to a

kind of sliver of that country that has extremely different views than another region.

For example, if in 2003 you wanted to go before the war in Iraq and figure out what Iraqis

thought, if you went to the Kurdish regions of Iraq, you would hear nothing but, I want

the United States to come and liberate us from Saddam Hussein.

If you went to the Sunni triangle, you would hear, if you come, if the United States comes

here, we’re going to make this a graveyard of Americans.

And similarly, if you go to western Ukraine, of course you’re going to hear, we want American

help, we want to fight the Russians to the end.

If you go to the eastern regions of Ukraine, which are Russian speaking, who identify with

Moscow, you’re going to hear the exact opposite.

So I think, you know, it’s commendable to go to a country like Ukraine.

I think we have to be humble about our ability to understand the thoughts of the population,

the reality on the ground, when you go to certain segments that you select and that

are almost likely to kind of feed back to you what it is that you’re already expecting

to hear.

The other thing I think is very important to note is that, you know, first of all, I’m

a little surprised by the idea that, I guess it was implicit that Antonio felt that the

media narrative has been off or one-sided in the sense that it hasn’t been favorable

enough to the idea that Ukraine is the victim that needs help and Russia is the clear aggressor.

I can’t remember ever reading an article in the mainstream press since the invasion that

said anything other than that, which is why, you know, 80% of Americans, the entire bipartisan

class in Washington, of both parties, are essentially unified in support of the narrative

that Antonio believes, in my opinion, with great sincerity.

I think there’s been, if anything, a kind of lack of dissent available in the United

States on the other side.

And this is one thing I want to emphasize is there has been this claim, this sort of

implicit claim, sometimes explicit claim, that the entire war is united behind the United

States, behind Ukraine, against Russia.

The reality is, overwhelmingly, most of the world is, in fact, not united behind the United

States and the NATO position on Ukraine.

Most of the global South, 15 of the 20 most populous countries on the planet either abstained

or voted no when it came time to decide whether to expel Russia from the Human Rights Council.

And some of those countries are tyrannies.

Many of them, such as India, the world’s largest democracy, Brazil, the second largest democracy

after the United States, very much deviates from the consensus in the United States.

And sometimes I think if we’re Americans and we’re living in a country in which we’re bombarded

with one message, it’s incumbent upon us to ask why it is that so much of the rest

of the world does not believe that the United States is participating in the war in Ukraine

with benevolent intentions or with the desire to protect democracy or protect against aggression,

when, in fact, the rest of the world looks at the history of the United States, not just

distant but very recent, and sees a country not devoted to protecting democracy but to

propping up tyranny, to fighting wars not to protect innocence but to sacrifice innocence

in its own interests.

And so I think that’s one really important thing is to make sure that we’re looking at

this war not as a country that’s essentially a belligerent in it but as a country that

is just a small part of the rest of the world that has a lot of opinions.

The other thing I would point out is war in general is the worst thing that humanity can

unleash upon itself.

There is no war that doesn’t involve extreme amounts of atrocities, extreme amounts of

war crimes, all kinds of hideous things.

And if you look at any war, any war, not just the ones that the United States adversaries

have started but ones that the United States has started, ones that the United States’s

allies have started, that we support, you’re going to find enormous amounts of atrocities.

And any decent person with any kind of a minimum moral compass who looks at any war

like that is going to walk away horrified and disgusted and wanting to do something

about it.

The only difference between what’s happening in the war in Ukraine and so many other wars

is that the U.S. media is constantly showing us images and stories about Ukrainian victims,

as it should.

But think about the wars that the United States has itself started or is propping up, like

for example, the war in Yemen that has been going on for many years, that is still going

on because the United States is supplying Saudi Arabia, not exactly a democracy with

enormous amounts of weapons and money and intelligence to fight that war.

And think about how much you’ve heard or seen about the victims of Yemen.

How many Yemenis have you heard from talking about their relatives who have been lost in


Or how many people who we bombed in wedding parties and the like have been lost as well?

And so I think what this can happen is it can create an imbalance in our perception.

The imbalance isn’t that the war in Ukraine really isn’t horrible, it is, but that there’s

really nothing extraordinary about what’s taking place in that war.

All wars, including the ones we start, the ones that we’re waging, the ones that we’re

supporting, have the same kinds of atrocities.

And the question ultimately becomes, does the United States really have benevolent motives

in trying to defend Ukraine instead of sacrifice it?

And secondly, does the United States have the ability to foster a positive outcome on

the other side of the world involving extremely complex cultures and histories and two countries

of very intertwined geostrategic interests that even if we did have the right motives,

would we really have the ability by flooding this country with weapons and all the other

things we typically do in wars to foster a positive outcome?

And I think that’s why the rest of the world has a lot of doubts.

Okay, thank you, Glenn.

So Glenn went on a little longer, so Antonio, why don’t I give you a couple of minutes to

respond to that, and then I want to ask you both a question.

Okay, I think I walked into the wrong thing.

I didn’t realize we were debating Yemen instead of Ukraine, Glenn.

Or Indian foreign policy instead of our own.

One thing I would say is, one thing you said is just completely wrong.

It’s not the case that Eastern Ukraine is pro-Russian.

If so, how do you explain Mariupol, a city completely destroyed that fought to the last

man with civilians literally holing up in a steel plate?

How do you explain all the successes in the eastern part of the war?

You never actually mention the facts of the war.

You’re always whatabouting other countries’ reaction to the war.

The fact that the eastern front in Russia, that the war is going very poorly for Russia.

How do you explain that fact that if eastern Ukraine is actually pro-Russian, that the

Russians are doing so poorly there?

The other thing I would say, I don’t think it’s the fact, if you look at most polls,

and it’s funny, this poll came out and instantly your friend Tucker Carlson as well as Jenny

Vance had to change their line on Ukraine because they realized that it’s hard to be

a populist if your views aren’t very popular, right?

AP did a poll.

And not just Democrats support Biden being tougher on Russian, Republicans do as well,


And why is that?

Because you have a small country that’s getting crushed by a country that’s been the historical

sworn enemy of the United States as long as anyone can remember.

I live out in the middle of nowhere in a red state Trump country in the desert outside

of Reno and people are flying Ukrainian flags along with the US flags.

I don’t think that’s because they read the New York Times, right?

The other…

So Antonio, let me ask a question.

So we recently had, well, previously Biden came out…

Can I just address one last thing there?

Okay, go ahead.

He went through several points there.

You know, the other thing I would say is that, you know, this and that country don’t support


One thing I found, one aspect of the story that I found was very interesting was that

all of Europe has shown up on Ukraine’s door to help out the Ukrainians, right?

Usually I’m both EU-US citizen, usually I read both media, it’s like the US that is

like the hard-line royal politik and then the EU that’s in like geopolitical la-la land.

I think in the case of this story, it’s been reversed and I think the US is taking Ukraine

and projecting it in its own domestic political narratives like Venice and I think the Europeans

actually see their own collective history in the Ukrainian story because whether it

be the Spanish Civil War, whether it be the Germans, they all remember what total war

actually means, what it is to stumble through destroyed streets and be a refugee and a displaced


Americans don’t have an experience of that, they can’t really resonate with that, fortunately

for us, to be clear, but I think Europeans do.

So if you go to that border area, you will see all of Europe, as far away as Spain, Denmark,

whatever, showing up to actually help the Ukrainians.

The last thing I would say is, I think one thing that unites, I think, the old left that

you would probably put yourself in with, Glenn, like a Bernie leftist, and the new right,

is that both consider two key things.

One, the US can never act abroad in a legitimate good way.

Everything the US does abroad is always a fiasco and then two, everything that happens

abroad is our fault.

Literally, the entire world’s events are downstream of a State Department phone call.

And I just don’t think that’s true.

Being in Ukraine, it doesn’t seem to me as if the US is pulling all the strings.

On the contrary, it seems like a very chaotic situation where the Ukrainians are trying

to improvise as much as they can.

So again, on the one hand, I reject the fact that the US can’t act abroad.

Well, I think it can, if you look at things, East Asia, Japan, Korea, Western Europe itself,

the US has created the conditions for democracy in the past.

Okay, but Antonio, is there a limit to why is US involvement in Ukraine?

So, you know, we had Biden basically said that Putin cannot remain in power, and then

immediately his own press secretary walked that back as a gaffe.

You then had Secretary of Defense Austin say that our objective in Ukraine is not just

to expel the Russians, but to weaken Russia as a great power so it can never threaten

anyone again.

You then had Seth Moulton, the Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, saying

that we were in a proxy war with Russia.

And then Steny Hoyer, the House Majority Leader, said we are at war with Russia.

Do you think we are at war with Russia, and is that wise?

No, we’re in a proxy war.

We’re in a proxy war with Russia.

What is the vital national interest of the United States that compels us to be in a war,

admittedly through a proxy, with Russia that has 6,000 nuclear weapons?

Even if I were to grant that we should be trying to, out of humanitarian motives, expel

the Russians from Ukraine, do you believe that we should be trying to destabilize and

topple Putin?

Let me counter that with a question.

It’s funny.

I feel like I’m debating two people.

But like I joked in my tweet, the odds are even worse for the Ukrainians, so I’ll take


But I mean, I asked you this question in Miami not too long ago, David.

You’re the one who said, oh, we’re threatening World War III.

We’re engaging in nuclear brinkmanship.

By the way, things that we did all throughout the Cold War, right?

I was raised as an 80s kid here in Miami.

We used to do this thing all the time.

At what point would you stop?

At what point do you think it’s actually worth rolling the dice?

At what point between Lviv and Warsaw and your front door would you stop and say, actually,

World War III and nuclear war is worth risking?

Because that’s an answer I don’t get out of the appeasers.

At what point do you actually put your foot down?

Well, I mean, look, what I’ve said is that I’m willing to arm Ukraine under Cold War

rules, i.e. the way that we armed the mujahideen in Afghanistan.

So we provided them with stingers, but it wasn’t a U.S. flag on the box, and we didn’t

draw, you know, it wasn’t U.S. flags on the trucks.

There were a certain set of rules by which we engaged in to avoid the risk of World

War III with the Russians.

Do you feel that’s not the case now?

I think it’s—no, because we have now defined our objectives in a much more expansive way.

And I’ll let Glenn speak for himself, because I think he would not go as far as me.

I’m sort of in—I’m willing to do a little bit more.

But no.

I mean, look, you have the president of the United States saying that he wants to basically

topple Putin.

You’ve got Austin saying that our objectives here go beyond Ukraine.

It’s basically to kick Russia out of the League of Great Powers.

And moreover, you’ve got the State Department declaring that we’re in a global struggle

between autocracy and democracy.

So we’ve defined the struggle in Manichaean terms, and if somehow Ukraine were to lose,

there’s like this domino theory where dictators are going to take over the whole globe.

And so I think we’ve invested—I would give them some help, but I would not allow

the—we—no American president has ever claimed that the United States has a vital

national interest in Ukraine, not even the president who’s done it before.


In fact, can I just make a point about that?

Go ahead, Glenn.

So, first of all, at the start of every war that we fought over the last 60 years, the

same climate if we were in the United States would prevail as the one that’s in this


Every time some comment was made that the United States is on the right side, we’re

actually doing the right thing, we’re fighting on behalf of everybody in the auditorium,

we’d woo, applaud.

It’s really good.

It’s a good feeling to feel like your country, your government is doing something deeply


So, again, I just want to show—and maybe, you know, this doesn’t matter because you

think that most other countries are primitive or arrogant or immersed in propaganda, and

we’re not.

But here are the top 20 countries by population, and the ones in yellow are the ones who refused

to support the U.N. resolution expelling Russia from the U.N. Human Rights Council.

And you can see that it’s nine out of the ten most populous countries that are on the

opposite side of all the cheering that’s taking place in this auditorium.

This is exactly what has repeated itself every time we’ve gone to war, in Vietnam, in Iraq,

in Afghanistan, in Libya, in Syria.

All Americans across the board, 80 percent, 85 percent, are on board with the war in the

beginning because it feels so good to believe your country is going to war to do something

positive, and then six months later or a year later or five years later, every single one

of those wars, overwhelming majorities say it was a huge mistake.

That at least to me would cause some humility to ask, why does that pattern keep repeating


Why am I, as an American, always so susceptible to cheering my government’s involvement in

a war when the rest of the world is telling you that actually you’re being propagandized,

that the motive the United States government is claiming to have, which is defending democracy,

is not actually their motive, as illustrated by, I don’t know why the rule is we’re not

allowed to evaluate other things the United States is doing to determine whether those

motives are real, like what we do in Saudi Arabia or what we do in Yemen.

It seems like if someone comes to you and claims that they’re acting with a certain

motive to determine whether that’s really the motive, you’d want to look at the history

of that person and whether their behavior is consistent with that motive.

That’s what the rest of the world is doing, and the reason why they find these propagandistic

claims of the United States so preposterous, because so many of them have been victimized

by the United States overthrowing their democratically elected governments, not in the distant past

but in the recent ones, here’s the next ten most populous countries, six out of ten also

deviates from the U.S. position.

And then as far as what David was saying, this was Barack Obama, so it’s not what Antonio

was saying, people on the far left, my friend Tucker Carlson, evil far-right people.

This is Barack Obama in 2016 on his way out the door.

He was confronted in a very lengthy interview by Jeffrey Goldberg, the neoconservative editor

in chief of The Atlantic, who probably did more than anybody else to convince Americans

to support the war in Iraq in 2002 and 2003 by claiming that Al-Qaeda was in an alliance

with Saddam Hussein, and he was demanding to know why Obama spent his presidency refusing

to arm the Ukrainians and refusing to confront Moscow.

And here’s what Jeffrey Goldberg in 2016 quoted Obama as saying, this is Goldberg’s quote

for Obama, quote, Obama’s theory here is simple.

Ukraine is a core Russian interest but not an American one, so Russia will always be

able to maintain escalatory dominance there.

Quote, the fact is that Ukraine, which is a non-NATO country, is going to be vulnerable

to military domination by Russia no matter what we do.

It’s realistic, but this is an example of where we have to be very clear about what

our core interests are and what we are willing to go to war for.

And then here is the current CIA director, William Burns, who’s also not on the far left

or part of the far right, who in 2008, in a memo to Condoleezza Rice when the Bush administration

wanted to expand NATO up to Russian borders, warned, this is what he wrote, quote, Ukrainian

entry into NATO is the brightest of all red lines for the Russian elite, not just Putin.

In more than two and a half years of conversations with key Russian players, from knuckle draggers

in the dark recesses of the Kremlin to Putin’s sharpest liberal critics, I have yet to find

anyone who views Ukraine and NATO as anything other than a direct challenge to Russian interests.

This has been conventional wisdom in Washington up until February 24th when it suddenly became

taboo to talk about.

Russia views Ukraine as the most vital interest to it because it was twice used by Germany

to invade Russia in the 20th century and virtually destroy it, and that Ukraine never has been

and never will be a vital interest to the United States.

Okay, Glenn, let’s go to Antonio.

Let’s give him a chance.

Okay, Glenn, I think that argument sounded better in the original Russian, to be honest.

I mean, I don’t know why you’re sitting here citing six-year-old Atlantic pieces about


Are you going to address the reality of what we’re talking about?

In that list of nations, by the way, you included such human rights luminaries as Iran and China

as having voted against it.

Let me ask you a direct question.

Should Russia be sitting on the UN Human Rights Council, a country that routinely incarcerates

journalists and has a heinous human rights record?

I mean, if you look at who else is on the Human Rights Council, like the United States,

a country that still has Guantanamo—

You’re always whatabouting, Glenn.

Just answer the question.

No, it’s not whataboutism to say you have to look at what the rest of the world is doing

in order to understand the moral framework.

Why is it that the United States, that still has people on Guantanamo for 20 years with

no trial, that destroyed the country of Iraq, a country of 25 million people that created

the worst humanitarian crisis in Yemen, that is imprisoning journalists like Julian Assange

with no charges for over a decade now, has any moral credibility to say we are morally


I know it feels good to say that, but the reality is the United States, if you look

at what it’s actually doing, which is going around the world, and it’s always done this,

supporting tyranny, not supporting democracy, propping up despots, not fighting them.

If you want to believe that there’s a way to go into Ukraine and defend the Ukrainians

and all of that, I believe that that’s what you want to do, but it would be incredibly

naive to refuse to ask ourselves whether that’s really the goal of the United States, given

everything we know about the government.

And if the goal of the United States is not the benevolent one that you hope they have

and that you have, but instead is a different one, namely not to defend Ukraine and Ukrainians,

but to sacrifice Ukraine in pursuit of this broader geopolitical goal that David mentioned

that they’re now admitting, which is to weaken Russia and bring about regime change, then

you’re cheering for a war that is completely different than the war that is actually being


No, I disagree.

And I think you’ve spent too long in Plato’s cave of Twitter, and you don’t stare at reality

anymore, to be quite honest.

None of what I showed you came from Twitter.

Excuse me, excuse me.

None of what I just showed you came from Twitter.

Yeah, no.

It came from the six-year-old Atlantic piece.

It’s even less relevant.

Just this week, the Finnish and Swedish parliaments voted to join NATO.

Why is that?

Your argument is completely backwards.

Russia’s not aggressive.

Hold on a second.

Let me finish the thought.

No, hold on.

Let me respond to the point that you sat there for two minutes staring at.

Russia’s not surrounded by NATO.

Russia isn’t aggressive because it’s surrounded by NATO.

It’s surrounded by NATO because it’s aggressive, okay?

And countries like Finland and Sweden have been living under the Russian boot, and Finland

most of all knows it from the Winter War, and that threat has been there constantly.

So again, what do you know that the Finnish and Swedish parliaments, who are trying to

make a decision for their people, don’t know, right?

If I were a country and I had the option to have the richest and most powerful country

with the biggest military, tell me that if anyone invades you, I’m going to go into war

and fight against you.

I would say, yeah, I would love that also.

That sounds like a really great thing.

Of course every country would love to have a pledge from the world’s greatest military

that if anyone attacks you— Are you seriously saying that countries would

line up to be Ukraine?

What do you know about the United States’ intentions that all of the countries I just

showed you, not including tyrannies, many of which are on the United States’ side,

but many democracies who have had their democracies subverted by the United States, who are saying,

we do not believe the United States is well-intentioned, that every time the United States involves

itself in a war, it convinces its own citizens that it’s going to do benevolent things.

But the reality is exactly the opposite.

What do you know that the entire rest of the world doesn’t?

It’s not the entire rest of the world.

It’s a huge part of it.

The Europeans who are close to the conflict completely disagree with you.

The Danes, the cuddly little Danes, are ceding lethal aid to Ukraine.

For sure.

My own country, the Spanish are.

The U.S. and Europeans are on your side.

Let me shift gears.

I want to get to another aspect of this topic.

So let’s start with you, Antonio.

What is the outcome that you would like to see here?

And right now, the way that victory is being defined by Ukraine and by our State Department

is that we kick Russia out of Ukraine, maybe even Crimea too, that’s the official policy,

and maybe we destabilize and topple Putin.

What’s the outcome that you think our objective should be here?

My ideal outcome is whatever the Ukrainians want for themselves, which seems to be, if

you listen to them, seems to be a liberal democratic Ukraine that wants to join the

greater EU Western sphere.

If you look at the Maidan protests in 2015, this is when everyone kind of revolted against

the pro-Russian leader at the time, and there were civilian shootings.

And if you talk to Ukrainians, I mean, there’s been 200 years or longer of Ukrainian sort

of nationalism kind of brewing, but the 2014-2015 protests were really a formative period where

the Ukrainians really said, this is it.

We’ve got our own country.

And if you talk to them, they’re like, we’ve had seven years of democracy.

We’re not giving it up now, right?

And if you look at things like the mass graves discovered at Buko, when the Russians pulled

back, they look at that and they say, if we fail, that’s the future that awaits us,


So they want the opposite of that.

Apparently, 80 to 90 percent of the population in Crimea is Russian and wants to be part

of Russia.

Does that go back to Ukraine or does that go to Russia?

It’s a good question.

But the Ukrainians under Zelensky believe that Crimea belongs to them.

So is he wrong about that?

Doesn’t the principle of self-determination mean that those peoples should get to decide

which country they go with?

I mean, that’s as much a question for Crimea as it is Catalonia and Spain.

I mean, you’re asking me to speak for Zelensky?

But the Russians have a naval base at Sevastopol that gives them control over the Black Sea.

And if you tell them that what Ukrainian victory means here is they get kicked out of that

naval base and lose control of the Black Sea, you have threatened them existentially.

And you know their policy with regard to nuclear weapons is it’s allowed if their nation is

existentially threatened.

So we are playing with fire here.

Is that an objective that we are willing to risk a nuclear war for?

As we did in Cuba with nuclear weapons there.

I don’t think we should be.

So we need to define our objectives here in a more limited way than just whatever the

Ukrainians say.

But here’s the reality, right?

Again, this is one of the things when you get into American political discourse.

Everything isn’t downstream of an American decision.

This will come down to the fortunes of war on the ground in Ukraine, which is partially

a function of how much aid we give them, obviously.


But it springs on those weapons, right?

Forty billion of weapons are going there and it’s just this month’s delivery.

So I mean…

And it’s a good question to ask what happens to those weapons after, which I’m sure is

a concern for Glenn as well.

Do you believe our State Department is working for a negotiated peace?

I don’t know the inner workings of the State Department.

But should they be?


I think the war stops and the Ukrainians want it to stop.

Glenn, your view on that?

I mean, there’s so many countries all over the world who want the United States to do

things that we don’t do for them.

The Yemenis have been begging the United States for six years to stop sending huge amounts

of weaponry and intelligence to the Saudis.

And you can say, oh yeah, Yemen’s a totally different country.

Yemen’s a different country, but it’s still the United States government.

And it is extremely disturbing to me, I have to say, that we suddenly seem to care so much

about the lives of Ukrainians and seem to care very little about the lives of all the

countries in which we ourselves are the aggressors.

And you can say, well, that’s a completely different issue.

But it’s not a completely different issue, because what the outcome is of the United

States’ role in Ukraine is determined by the U.S. motive.

And what you have to do to look at what the U.S. motive is, is not pick the rhetoric that

makes you feel good.

We’re on the side of liberation.

That’s what George Bush said in his 2003 State of the Union speech.

We’re going to Iraq because we love democracy, and we’re going to liberate the Iraqi people

from Saddam Hussein.

That’s what Lyndon Johnson said about why we’re getting involved in the war in Vietnam.

We love the South Vietnamese Democrats, and we’re going there to protect them from the

South Vietnamese communists.

Maybe if that had been true, those wars would have had much different outcomes.

But that wasn’t the reason.

That was the propagandistic pretense.

And so to refuse to say, I’m going to interrogate the authenticity of what U.S. motives are,

is to just wash your hands of the reality of the war instead of what you hope the war


And that’s…

Let’s give Antonio the last word.

Yeah, OK.

I’m going to give you the last word.

We’re going to give Antonio the last word, since he was a little bit outgunned here.

Not outgunned, because you did more than fine on your own, but there was a little bit of

two on one.

So we’re going to give Antonio the last word.

David, what were you guys talking about?

Italy, apparently.

Or Yemen, apparently.

But anyhow.

So when I was coming back from Ukraine, and I was crossing back, and suddenly I was, obviously

I wasn’t really a refugee, but I was in the refugee line along with all the other Ukrainians


And you’re at the border.

It’s the middle of nowhere, by the way.

It’s not like a big city or anything.

And you saw a sign in Polish that said, you’re entering Poland, and the EU flag, right?

Now, as an EU citizen, that flag never really meant much to me.

And again, not that my time in Ukraine was that bad.

But it did feel precarious, and it was a war zone, and sirens going off, and all that stuff.

To go back to what seemed like an ordered, liberal world seemed magical to me.

I had the same feeling.

I went to report on Cuba on the internet years ago for Wired Magazine, and when I landed

at Miami Airport here, it was like, man, God bless America.

I’m glad to be back here.

There’s a certain order and rules to life.

I think the global liberal order is real, and I think those who tend to shit on it,

or at least question its value, are those that typically tend not to live outside of

it, for one, and undervalue its importance in the world.

Ladies and gentlemen, a debate for the ages.

Well done.

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