February 1st, 2014
04:25 PM ET

Kissinger on why Ukraine matters to Putin

Fareed speaks with former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger about the ongoing unrest in Ukraine. Watch the full interview on "Fareed Zakaria GPS," this Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN.

You know Putin well. You've met him more than any American. Do you think he’s watching what is happening in Ukraine and thinking, the West and the United States is doing this essentially as a way of surrounding Russia?

I think he thinks that this is a dress rehearsal for what we would like to do in Moscow. And so...

Regime change?

A regime change issue. And the fact that it's happening so close to the Sochi Games will make him even more suspicious. But Putin thinks that the dissolution of the Soviet Union was a great historical disaster. So, obviously, the largest part of this independence is Ukraine, with 50 million people, and he can't be indifferent.

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soundoff (53 Responses)
  1. Victor H

    I only saw a little of the interview and hope to watch the entire interview later today. What I did watch however shows that Kisenger just wants to appease Putin and let Ukraine fall in to the hands of Russia. Russia has had its hands and FSB services involved the entire time of the demonstrations. Russia and Putin have to come to the realization that Ukraine is an indepedant country that is separate from Russia, it always has been.

    February 2, 2014 at 10:53 am | Reply
    • joe

      Give back Crim and Sevastopol which Chruchev USSR leader gave to Ukraine in 50's 20 century and then join EU.

      Ukrain was part of Russan Empire even before Communist revolution 1917.

      February 2, 2014 at 5:08 pm | Reply
      • Queen

        Maybe you would also ask to give you Alaska back, hm?

        Yeah, Ukraine was part of Empire. But I don't think Ukrainians was thrilled by communist party. The party who ruled with cruelty and intimidation. The party which made people go through 3 holodomors. The system which destroyed our elite (I mean the most educated and intelligent people: scientists, doctors and etc), some was killed, some was sent to Siber, and some had to emigrate.

        So now we have to give Crimea and Sevastopol to "ex-systemers".
        Oh, please!

        That is UKRAINE. And it's territory belongs to Ukraine not Russia!

        Stay classy!

        February 2, 2014 at 5:43 pm |
      • Rowan

        Queen, you knowledge of the history is as bad as your English.

        March 2, 2014 at 3:41 am |
      • Jenny

        Ukraine was created by soviets... There was not such country as ukraine befor . And also Malorossia and galicia was added in 1939 to the territory of UkrSSR. Krim was Russian from 1754. There are 90 percent of Russian speaking people , they are all against of new leaders and of their politics ... Whith all respect to mr. Kissinger , I don't think he knows what Putin thinks. They both have different mentality.

        May 11, 2014 at 8:07 am |
    • ffc

      I agree with you but this will not be easy. Russians think of the Ukraine much the way Americans think of Canada. They share a similar heritage and are neighbors.

      Putin will not let go very quickly, and once his teeth are in, Ukraine is doomed to his tyranny and corruption.

      I am hoping the compromise just announced will bring some piece to the country, and the citizens can decide the path forward.

      Pray for them. They deserve a better life in the EU.

      February 21, 2014 at 9:59 am | Reply
      • Delbert Childers

        It's more like the war between the States in slow motion they separate and one says no you belong with us .

        March 4, 2014 at 9:12 am |
    • No more war

      Kissinger you war monger, and fareed kissing up to the zionists. The zionists jewish companies such as gazprom, found an abundance of natrual gas near western ukraine, an area in which the president of ukraine made a deal with Russia to have gas pipes built there. The West and U.S. want to decrease the reliance on Russia and take over those pipes, which in turn, will also surrond Russia, and allow for them to further destabilize the region around Russia, to provoke war. These zionists jews must be stopped

      March 5, 2014 at 1:05 am | Reply
    • No more war

      Zionist jew kissinger's plan for russia and china to provoke world war 3...read below

      “The United States is bating China and Russia, and the final nail in the coffin will be Iran, which is, of course, the main target of Israel. We have allowed China to increase their military strength and Russia to recover from Sovietization, to give them a false sense of bravado, this will create an all together faster demise for them. We’re like the sharp shooter daring the noob to pick up the gun, and when they try, it’s bang bang. The coming war will will be so severe that only one superpower can win, and that’s us folks. This is why the EU is in such a hurry to form a complete superstate because they know what is coming, and to survive, Europe will have to be one whole cohesive state. Their urgency tells me that they know full well that the big showdown is upon us. O how I have dreamed of this delightful moment.”

      “We told the military that we would have to take over seven Middle Eastern countries for their resources and they have nearly completed their job. We all know what I think of the military, but I have to say they have obeyed orders superfluously this time. It is just that last stepping stone, i.e. Iran which will really tip the balance. How long can China and Russia stand by and watch America clean up? The great Russian bear and Chinese sickle will be roused from their slumber and this is when Israel will have to fight with all its might and weapons to kill as many Arabs as it can. Hopefully if all goes well, half the Middle East will be Israeli. Our young have been trained well for the last decade or so on combat console games, it was interesting to see the new Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 game, which mirrors exactly what is to come in the near future with its predictive programming. Our young, in the US and West, are prepared because they have been programmed to be good soldiers, cannon fodder, and when they will be ordered to go out into the streets and fight those crazy Chins and Russkies, they will obey their orders. Out of the ashes we shall build a new society, there will only be one superpower left, and that one will be the global government that wins. Don’t forget, the United States, has the best weapons, we have stuff that no other nation has, and we will introduce those weapons to the world when the time is right.”

      March 5, 2014 at 1:13 am | Reply
    • Russian-Ukraian

      You need to come to the realization that Eastern Ukrainians and Russians are one nation, one family with relatives in both countries. That's why Russians and Ukranians want to leave as one nation. They are one nation. If the choice to live in unity is given to a referendum the outcome will call for USSR restored. That's what the West is scared of because the USSR was dissolved by a bunch of traitors, not by the people of the USSR.

      March 14, 2014 at 12:38 am | Reply
  2. Sunil Misra

    Why are you, Fareed Zakaria, interviewing a man who is arguably one of the worst abusers of human rights in the world. Have you not read the Blood Telegram, Nixon, Kissinger and a Forgotten Genocide. Shame on you for giving this man who operated at the time of Allende, of Bangladesh, of Cambodia and Vietnam. He enabled genocide. I am very disappointed in you, a man I consider thoughtful and intelligent. Why don't you interview this criminal just once on his crimes? Speak for the people his policies ruined and destroyed. A henchman for Nixon. Shame for shame.

    February 2, 2014 at 1:53 pm | Reply
    • Joseph McCarthy

      hank you, Sunil for your intelligent comment here. Yes, Henry Kissinger is responsible for many tragedies that occurred worldwide. I well remember the tragedy that occurred in Chile back on Sept. 11, 1973 in which he probably engineered and led to the deaths of thousands of innocent lives. For this alone, he needs to be indicted and tried for his part in this needless tragedy. As for Ukraine, the anti-government protesters there evidently never read their history books regarding what took place in China in the last half of the 19th century.

      February 2, 2014 at 5:12 pm | Reply
      • Val

        How is late Chinese Empire can be related to modern Ukraine? Please enlighten !!!

        February 2, 2014 at 7:32 pm |
      • Anonymous

        Doubtful you remember that, "Joseph"; you had just turned four.

        February 3, 2014 at 2:02 pm |
    • j. von hettlingen

      Henry Kissenger is remarkable, despite his dubious policies in the past! He is over 90 and still mentally fit.

      February 3, 2014 at 9:37 am | Reply
      • Sunil Misra

        First, How is China related to the Ukraine. It is not. But why consult Kissinger, a man who facilitated directly war crimes? J. von: There is NOTHING dubious about Kissinger's direct facilitation of war crimes. We don't typically choose war criminals, whose bloody footprint extends from Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Africa, Bangladesh, and South America as sources of wisdom. He is a war criminal. He is a proven war criminal. He is without any moral authority and with no honor. China? He facilitated the dealings with a nation that engages in murder and imprisonment of human rights activists and lawyers, and is committing genocide in Tibet by drowning that free nation in unwanted Chinese carpetbaggers and settlers. Kissinger is a war criminal and I am surprised a man like Fareed Zakaria seeks the opinions of murderers. Again, read The Blood Telegram. And thank you for your kind comment, Joseph McCarthy, and I hope that is not a name you have chosen to operate under but is your actual name.

        February 4, 2014 at 1:17 pm |
    • Chilean

      The best thing Kissinger ever did was to help us get rid of Allende
      March 2, 2014

      March 2, 2014 at 10:55 am | Reply
  3. JAL

    Keep the Olympics safe and fun.

    February 2, 2014 at 2:23 pm | Reply
  4. Eithne Davis

    Why do you have that old criminal, Henry Kissinger on your show? He was involved in the most scandalous and criminal foreign policy actions of the United States and therefor his opinion is worthless and should be ignored.

    February 2, 2014 at 3:52 pm | Reply
  5. Val

    I hope that Fareed's audience had to sit through this interview only out of respect to the past achievements of the speaker. I'm guessing Kissinger is trying to defend American blind eye on the situation in Ukraine. Obviously Iran is more important now for the Department of State, and Russian alliance is crucial in this issue. It is good though, that Kissinger's appeal to historical ties between Ukraine and Russia came out weak. It sounded so unnatural of him granting Russia the right to exercise imperial/colonial power in the region.

    Presented in this manner, the arguments were clearly meant to be withdrawn because the logic here can be easily extended to Baltic states, Moldova and Georgia. Someone can even stretch it to Alaska. I am not suggesting who would make such a stretch. Perhaps, the bold leader who promotes oppression of human rights and police managed economy that cannot survive without intravenous oil therapy combined with natural gas breathing apparatus. No clarity there, but only one thing is certain for me – self reliant Ukrainians will have to prevail. So help them God.

    February 2, 2014 at 4:01 pm | Reply
    • joe

      Give back Crim and Sevastopol which Chruchev USSR leader gave to Ukraine in 50's 20 century and then join EU.

      Ukrain was part of Russan Empire even before Communist revolution 1917.

      February 2, 2014 at 5:07 pm | Reply
      • Val

        I am familiar with history of Ukraine and can trace when and which parts of Ukraine belonged to which empire back to mid-evil times. Historically Crimea belonged to Russia just for about 200 years, before that it belonged to Ottoman empire (Turkey), even earlier it was a country of its own and had a king (khan) . It is preposterous, though, to reverse the history and the right thing to do here is to let people of Crimea choose for themselves. Laws of Ukraine allow for such procedures and Crimea has a broad autonomy to organize a referendum to decide on this matter.

        February 2, 2014 at 7:24 pm |
  6. joe

    Queen, you don't understand what I wrote. I am not talking about communist party. EMPIRE was before Communist came to power. Plus not only people in Ukraine had bad time, but also people in Russia and other republic.

    Alaska was sold to USA, Crim was not. I am talking about 20 century not few centuries ago.

    2015 Ukrain schedule eleciton so elect new President, Klichko, Timoshenko ....

    February 2, 2014 at 6:13 pm | Reply
    • Queen

      Dear Joe,
      Could you please read between the lines but not just "read".
      I know when was Empire and who ended the glory time of Empire.
      Of course not only Ukrainian poeple had a bad times
      but WHO and what was the reason for BAD TIMES?

      Good you don't ask Alaska back!

      Crimea was GIVEN to Ukraine WITHOUT NO CONDITIONS!
      And the gifts can't be given back!

      Ukraine won't give territories on right and left just because someone claim it belongs to them.

      P.S. Joe, sometimes you have to recognize sarcasm. And as I said read between the lines.

      Stay classy!

      February 2, 2014 at 9:40 pm | Reply
      • Вадим

        А кто тебя будет спрашивать? Ты живешь за счет России.

        February 3, 2014 at 12:15 am |
    • Baanm

      Me from ukrain. Me like pepperoni pizza.
      Yes good. Mmmmmm.

      February 3, 2014 at 12:41 am | Reply
  7. Queen

    Kudos to Val !!! 🙂

    February 2, 2014 at 9:41 pm | Reply
  8. steve m

    My heart goes out to the Ukraine people. I hope they keep there indepence from russia. The question remainds does the EU have enough cash to bail out Ukraine ?

    February 4, 2014 at 1:59 am | Reply
  9. Marko Kovacevic

    It's interesting to see a Realist's take on what's going on. People such as Kissinger and Brzezinski have anticipated what's going on in Ukraine and their thinking and discourse is by and large embedded in the structure of International Relations (and anarchy). Even though this materialist and historicist thinking might appear simple and self-explanatory, it's still something the predominant lenses through the Great Powers are seeing the world. The world is rather complex and there are many perspectives on it – but Realism still dominates the political realm.

    February 4, 2014 at 4:58 am | Reply
  10. UkrainianPete

    Dr. Strangelove Putin or: Why I Stopped Worrying and Love Ukrainian Borscht

    February 4, 2014 at 5:57 am | Reply
  11. Matt

    It was a mistake to do it in the first place better to leave the Ukraine neutral it cannot be pulled into either orbit. It will break up into pro Russian and pro Western provinces. If Putin gets away with annexing a part of the Ukraine and fights for the pro western provinces then Poland would be next as the Ukraine is no longer a buffer but part of Russia. So that leads to further expansion splitting Poland in half. If the Ukraine is neutral then he cannot justify annexing. He is the aggressive and not acting in self defense. That is how he sees it self defense. How far is a person willing to take self defense to what outcome. So every so many years both pro western and pro Russian governments come to power via elections. If Russia and the EU stay neutral it is not problem if one or the other tries to take advantage under the term of that Government. This happens. Compromise is the best way out but Putin does not want compromise unless he is forced, I will give you 16 billion now you have ddisappointed me so you must give 3 billion first. That is because a limited compromise from the Ukrainian President. So the logical outcome will be more violence, a civil war, Russian annexation by request of pro Russian provinces and a fight for the pro western provinces. The EU has to decide if it comes down to the knuckle are you willing to fight. If it is not over the annexation of all the Ukraine it will be over half of Poland. If he believes you are not up to the knuckle you will be seeing him in Poland. This is one of the worries the Polish have.

    February 8, 2014 at 10:51 pm | Reply
  12. lucy

    Please do not put names of Kissinger and Brzezinski in the same pragrah. They are opposites.

    February 24, 2014 at 5:43 pm | Reply
  13. itsnotwhatyouknow

    Funny; I thought is was all the rich natural gas reserves in western Ukraine. Silly me!

    February 28, 2014 at 1:11 am | Reply
    • Counterpoint

      LOL – Hey we could name the operation to protect Ukraine "Operation Independence Liberation" for Ukraine... like "Operation Iraqi Liberation" – the precursor to "Operation Iraqi Freedom" before someone figured out the acronym was "O I L"

      March 4, 2014 at 1:34 pm | Reply
  14. mark

    Russia needs to return to russia. This is not their country. Putin states they have to protect their citizens. Let their citizens go back to Russia. If mexicans dominated Texas ahen should Texas become Mexico. Russia is breaking international law. Their intrest is not the people but to have military navy in good position off this penninsula. They are afraid Ukraine of joining the european union. The United States as well as all other countries should have the naval ships off the coast of ukraine. They need to stick up to Russia. Give Russia no alternative either leave Ukraine or Fight the United Nations. What if North Korea went into south korea. Would we help. Putin can't be trusted.

    March 3, 2014 at 10:06 am | Reply
    • Counterpoint

      Yes, let's roll out a few B-52's and fly them near Russian Airspace, and have NATO test fire some MRBM's in Europe. By all means – Escalate this to a real Crisis! (just in case – I am being VERY sarcastic)

      March 4, 2014 at 1:30 pm | Reply
    • Joanne

      Also you need to go home too that it is your place as I can see you don´t know nothing about story. Do you know where stay a coutnry called Portugal. Go see to the map. I can give you a small help. Ask to Spanish people to make war to Portugal. Portugueses e Espanhois são como irmãos. Go learn foreing languages too. Russian as many ties with Ukraine more than EU or USA. This is just interests, I told to Ukrainians do not trust either in the U.S., EU and Russia

      March 14, 2014 at 7:24 pm | Reply
  15. Counterpoint

    It's coming to a point where we are meddling in every other countries affairs – What would our reaction be if Mexico's government was overturned in a military coup, and the new government was Anti West and Pro East (Russia / China / Etc...) We would most certainly have troops in Mexico City by the end of the next day, after the coup to "Defend Democracy" Additionally, Putin is a much stronger leader than Obama, Obama was busy looking at the world through "Rose colored Glasses" when Putin's forces Crimea.
    Furthermore, does anyone have the opinions of the of the Ukrainian Russians considered? Wasn't the former president elected? Was that by the Russian Populations influence? Are we backing the minority who is pro-west?

    There are too many open questions –

    March 4, 2014 at 1:23 pm | Reply
  16. Chris Connolly

    As I explain on my blog, A Yellow Guard, Kissinger is mostly right in what he wrote in the WaPo about Ukraine, but he falls down a little (metaphorically – he is 90 after all) towards the end: http://ayellowguard.blogspot.com/2014/03/kissinger-is-mostly-correct-on-ukraine.html

    March 6, 2014 at 6:00 pm | Reply
  17. Val

    i agree on many points with this man, these are first: the egos of the men with power and second , Crimea is strategically important to Russia, its the exit to the sea, of course Putin wont let go on it. And of course no government cares about the Ukrainians, but i know that Russian people do care, its an independant country, but our nations are strongly connected and we have relatives here and there, so i am against splitting us with some alliances and unions, besides i dont see how joining EU can help Ukraine when at the moment they dont have a reliable government that they can trust will use the money given by Europe for the good of their country? Otherwise when EU will claim back, the situation will be worse. But of course the people dont realise of that, the main reason for the masses is visa cancellation between EU and Ukraine, as if all the country is going to move to Europe, when the key is to make the life better in your own country! But the reality is that many people will really go to Europe because in Russia and Ukraine we believe that life is easier somewhere else.

    March 7, 2014 at 12:47 pm | Reply
  18. Russian-Ukraian

    The West has lost all its credibility with Puitn and Russians in general no matter where they live. It was promised to Russia that after USSR break up the NATO would not advance to the East. What do we see today? Litva, Latvia, Estonia are NATO states. Georgia backed by USA went to war with Russia, and now Ukraine (not Ukranian people) – the thugs who took the power talk about joining NATO...

    Putin always called West partners and he will continue to do so. But the West needs to realize there is no credit of trust left in the West. All credit given to the West is wasted. All gone.

    So West better sober up and leave the fate of Russia and Ukraine to their people to decide. This will be a true democratic solution.

    The thugs that took power in Ukraine didn't take it to give back to the people. They took the power to keep it, or give it to the next appointees of the global elites.

    March 14, 2014 at 12:45 am | Reply
  19. Joanne

    Henry Kissinger it is a great is a great intelligence that the United States should be proud, competent, responsible and with great knowledge and experience in diplomatic policy.

    March 14, 2014 at 7:10 pm | Reply
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