August 23rd, 2015
01:39 PM ET

Former SACEUR Gen Wesley Clark: “…what the Ukrainians have been seeking is some - basic updated anti-tank gear. ...it should be supplied.”

Please credit any usage to “CNN’s FAREED ZAKARIA GPS”

The following transcript is of an interview by host Fareed Zakaria with former NATO Supreme Allied Commander for Europe, General Wesley Clark (ret.) and Poland Parliament member [formerly Minister of Defense & Foreign Minister for Poland], Radislaw Sikorski. They discussed which negotiation tactics they would use on Vladimir Putin, whether a NATO base is needed in Poland, and whether America should provide assistance to Ukraine.

MANDATORY CREDIT for reference and usage: “CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS”

VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS

Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander General Wesley Clark (ret.) on how to confront Russia on Ukraine

Poland Parliament member Radislaw Sikorski on how to stop Russian aggression in Ukraine

On GPS: Should there be a NATO base in Poland?

TEXT HIGHLIGHTS

Poland Parliament member [formerly Minister of Defense & Foreign Minister for Poland], Radislaw Sikorski 3-step strategy to deter Vladimir Putin: “…what I think we should do is – first – convince President Putin that the NATO area is out of bounds for Russian military adventurism. Secondly – try to convince President Putin that if he moves further into Ukraine, he will face a prolonged conflict that he cannot win. …thirdly – we should persuade him that time is not working in his favor - that Ukraine is reforming itself, whereas the conflict is costing Russia too much, and then I believe he might be – willing to make a deal and withdraw from the occupation of Ukraine.”

Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander General Wesley Clark (ret.) on negotiating with Vladimir Putin & Russia: “Russia has a lot of interests in the world. And Ukraine is one of them. But we have to make it clear to him that the territorial integrity of Ukraine - that's non-negotiable. You can't invade a country. You can't give to Russia the right to interfere and intervene in the internal affairs of these states in its area. ...We pledged, during the Cold War, that we would prevent this kind of - we set up NATO to prevent that. We brought new members into NATO. We have to stand on our commitments. That's essential to the rule of law worldwide.”

Sikorski on what led to Vladimir Putin’s adventurism: “Well, President Putin spoke of Ukraine as an artificial country already at the NATO summit in Bucharest in 2008. And as we know, some of those plans in Georgia, for Crimea, for Ukraine, had been laid down before. President Putin - had largely misspent the oil boom's money, but he has invested heavily in his armed forces. And we are now seeing the results of that.”

Gen. Clark and Sikorski on whether a NATO base is needed in Poland: “[SIKORSKI]: Well, there are NATO bases in Britain, in Germany, in Spain, in Portugal, in Italy, in Turkey and your generals are saying, one after another, that the actual threat is from the East. So where do you think our major bases should be? I guess where they are needed, huh? [ZAKARIA]: General Clark, would you agree? [CLARK]:  I do. …the key here is that Mr. Putin can't believe that he can bully these countries and the United States in particular. We'll look aside. You know, NATO was our creation. We've always been the leader of this alliance.”

Gen. Clark on America providing assistance to Ukraine: “…what the Ukrainians have been seeking is some very simple, basic updated anti-tank gear. And we have it and we’ve refused to supply it. I think it should be supplied.”

FULL INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN GPS HOST:  Last week, the outgoing Army chief of staff, General Ray Odierno, told reporters that Russia was the most dangerous threat that the United States faced because of the trouble Moscow was causing in Ukraine.  That trouble has been, by all reports, intensifying in recent weeks. Odierno closed by saying that we should pay a lot of attention to Russia and its actions there. So that's what we are going to do today.

We have two guests who have dealt with Russia politically and militarily. General Wesley Clark was a U.S. four-star general and NATO Supreme Allied Commander in Europe. And Radek Sikorski was for eight years the foreign minister of Poland, which, of course, shares a border with Ukraine. Before that, he was defense minister of Poland. He is now a member of Poland's parliament. General Clark, you have visited the area and you have a pretty bleak assessment. First, tell us what is happening on the ground?

GEN. WESLEY CLARK, FORMER NATO SUPREME ALLIED COMMANDER: Well, what's happening on the ground is there is about a 450-kilometer zone of contact. And along that zone, the separatists under Russian command and control are probing and bleeding the Ukrainian military.  Behind the separatist forces, about 50,000 Russian main force units are staged on the border between Ukraine and Russia and could intervene if Vladimir Putin pulls the trigger.

ZAKARIA: What would you say to somebody like Henry Kissinger, who are - who has argued consistently said that, look, you cannot stabilize Ukraine without the cooperation of Russia; Russia has to be involved in this and that this policy of confrontation is fundamentally the wrong way to go?

CLARK: Well, because this is all about linkage. And it's a question of interests. And so what Putin has done is he's played linkage against us.  What he's done is he's said to the American administration that if you want my cooperation on Iran, don't push me too hard on Ukraine.

We have to play linkages right back. So Russia has a lot of interests in the world. And Ukraine is one of them. But we have to make it clear to him that the territorial integrity of Ukraine - that's non-negotiable. You can't invade a country. You can't give to Russia the right to interfere and intervene in the internal affairs of these states in its area.

I was with the president of Bulgaria. He said - he said this is just crazy. He said we're acting like Putin has the right to come in and tell us what to do, just because he's a bigger country. That's what the 20th century was all about. We said borders were sacrosanct. We pledged, during the Cold War, that we would prevent this kind of - we set up NATO to prevent that. We brought new members into NATO. We have to stand on our commitments. That's essential to the rule of law worldwide.

ZAKARIA: Radek Sikorski, how did - how did we get here? I think that there was a sense that Putin had annexed Crimea, this triggered a reaction in the West. The West came together, you know, imposed sanctions on Russia, and we thought that this would deter Putin. We thought that, you know, this would - this would, in some way, stop Putin from more adventurism. What happened?

RADEK SIKORSKI, FORMER FOREIGN MINISTER OF POLAND: Well, President Putin spoke of Ukraine as an artificial country already at the NATO summit in Bucharest in 2008. And as we know, some of those plans in Georgia, for Crimea, for Ukraine, had been laid down before. President Putin has - had largely misspent the oil boom's money, but he has invested heavily in his armed forces. And we are now seeing the results of that.

ZAKARIA: But what does this tell you about his intentions? Is he - I mean what does he want to do? What is the goal here?

SIKORSKI: Well, it's very difficult to gauge anybody's intentions. What we can determine are the outcome of their actions. And what I think we should do is, first of all, convince President Putin that the NATO area is out of bounds for Russian military adventurism.

Secondly, I would try to convince President Putin that if he moves further into Ukraine, he will face a prolonged conflict that he cannot win.

And then thirdly, I think we should persuade him that time is not working in his favor - that Ukraine is reforming itself, whereas the conflict is costing Russia too much, and then I believe he might be - might be willing to make a deal and withdraw from the occupation of Ukraine.

Ideally, we need a process in which the European Union and the United States should participate that would fix all of the frozen conflicts on the former Soviet periphery - so Transnistria, Caucuses and a couple of others.

ZAKARIA: Wes, you would like us to do - you would like the United States to do a lot more to support Ukraine. You would like to arm Ukraine more. Do you think that’s - is that a viable strategy given that Russia, I think the last number I saw, outspends Ukraine 20 to one in terms of defense dollars?

CLARK: Well, you have to drive up the cost to Russia of aggression. And you have to convince them there is no quick and easy military option.

So the Russians have a lot of modern technology in there. They've got long range missiles. They've got unmanned aerial vehicles. They've got a lot of electronic warfare. And what the Ukrainians have been seeking is some very simple, basic updated anti-tank gear. And we have it and we’ve refused to supply it. I think it should be supplied.

ZAKARIA: Radek, should there be a NATO base, a forward base, in Poland?

SIKORSKI: Well, there are NATO bases in Britain, in Germany, in Spain, in Portugal, in Italy, in Turkey and your generals are saying, one after another, that the actual threat is from the East. So where do you think our major bases should be? I guess where they are needed, huh?

ZAKARIA: General Clark, would you agree?

CLARK:  I do.

ZAKARIA: That would be a major change in policy on that point of agreement.

CLARK: It would, but you have to adapt the policy to changing circumstances. And the key here is that Mr. Putin can't believe that he can bully these countries and the United States in particular. We'll look aside. You know, NATO was our creation. We've always been the leader of this alliance. We haven't relied on Germany or Britain or France to say, you lead us, boys, and we'll be there with some logistics. We were the leaders. They came to us after World War II.

We saw it through the Cold War. Now nations in Eastern Europe are coming to the United States and asking for leadership. We should provide it.

ZAKARIA: General Wesley Clark, Radek Sikorski, pleasure to have you on.

###END INTERVIEW###


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