Sputnik: What are your thoughts on President Putin's speech? Did anything what he said come as a surprise to you?
Harvey Wasserman: No, but I think it was brilliant. I mean, as an American, we look at Donald Trump and then we look at Putin, and Putin is obviously much more intelligent than Trump; and I think he has Trump in his back pocket, because a lot of financial dealings Trump has done with Russian billionaires — which I think many of them were probably illegal and will definitely haunt the Trump administration. What I've seen with Putin's talk he is truly talking about weapons that are on another level of technology and which will ultimately be much cheaper than the ICBM [intercontinental ballistic missiles] / B-52 type of nuclear deterrence.
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What he [Putin] has put forward really is a hi-tech model that is really going to be impenetrable. Now whether Russia actually has these weapons is another story that does not matter. I mean what Putin has done here is that he set the table for the ability to have a major deterrence without spending all the money on it. And obviously Russia needs its limited capital to do the kind of things he talked about, which is to reduce poverty and to, you know, raise the standard of living in what's otherwise a poor country.
The big frame, that's dragging all the countries of the world down, but especially Russia, is all this defense spending. So if Putin can put forward a model where he can credibly add a deterrence force without having to spend a ton of money on it, then he has actually achieved a great step forward this century. We should all know that nuclear weapons are completely unusable. A nuclear weapon basically is a match in pool of gasoline and any use of any nuclear weapons on this planet will doom our entire species. And I wish people would start talking about that. What I am hoping is that Putin has made these threats and that they are Credible, but he does not actually have the weapons he is talking about.
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Sputnik: Some experts said that Mr. Putin's speech was a plea to the United States to start dialogue again. What is your take on that?
Harvey Wasserman: I think it's true. I think he is dealing with someone in our White House in America is not intellectually capable of having a discussion on this level. Donald Trump's mental abilities are simply not on a level that could credibly deal with things like a nuclear deterrence and I don't think he has anybody around him who has that capability, certainly not Jared Kushner or his daughter Ivanka. So we are in a situation now where the weapon that Russia has is a prime minister or a leader who is more intelligent than the one in the United States.
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The European leaders — [German Chancellor] Angela Merkel and so on — I think they understand what's going on. But I think what Putin has done here is a master stroke: He has invoked technologies that I pray do not exist but which we can't really be certain exist, and then the whole our strategy of deterrence to keep your opponent off guard. So what he has done here maybe is established a nuclear deterrence without having to pay for it. And I hope to God that he and other people around Trump are smart enough to understand that the use of a nuclear weapon is a species suicide and under no circumstances should any nuclear weapons ever be used. [Barack] Obama was on the right path we need to abolish all the nuclear weapons but in the meantime this hi-tech game playing is actually a master stroke.
The views and opinions expressed by Harvey Wasserman are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.