tv Firing Line With Margaret Hoover PBS May 15, 2021 5:30am-6:01am PDT
>> "the king's gambit," this week on "firing line." a soviet-schooled chess prodigy who became the king of the game. >> kasparov wins. brilliant. >> garry kasparov was the world's number-1 player for two decades, but lost to a supercomputer named deep blue. he's a pro-democracy advocate... >> this regime is criminal. it's a police state. they arrest ople everywhere. >> ...calling out vladimir putin and authoritarians around the world. >> i am a looming target for putin's regime. >> now living in the united states, as russia flexes its military muscle, what does garry kasparov say now? >> "firing line with margaret hoover" is made possible in part by...
and by... corporate funding is provided by... >> garry kasparov, welcome to "firing line." >> thank you for inviting me. >> you are joining us from new york city, where you live now and have essentially been living in exile from russia since 2013. you were briefly jailed in moscow in 2007. and in a recent interview, you responded to a question about whether you would return to russia by saying, "what is the point of becoming a martyr?" and that you could do more ainst putin from outside russia. what would happen to you if you returned to russia? >> looking at what happened to alexei navalny recently or to late boris nemtsov, one of the great leaders, who was shot in 2015 in the center of moscow.
there's so many of my friends and colleagues who marched with me in our peaceful rallies. almost all of them are either in exile, in jail, or worse. putin's russia -- it's a full-blown dictatorship that doesn't allow any dissent within its borders. and i believe that staying alive, staying free abroad, i could do much more by revealing the truth about putin's regime and also helping to unify the russian opposition. >> russian dissident alexei navalny did return, as you mentioned. >> it was a heroic move. he was poisoned. they tried to kill him. he survived after several weeks in a coma. and then he decided to come back, and now he's in jail. and i have bad news. i don't believe that he will see daylight outside a prison cell as long as putin stays in power. >> his treatment by putin and
the ssian government has triggered massive protests across the country, bualso, on the other side, has inspired a brutal crackdown from russian authorities. now, we have seen new images of navalny since he has broken his hunger strike. and you wrote that there is a real possibility that he could perish in prison. what happens if he does die in prison? >> i have more bad news. nothing will happen. and that's tragic. nothing will happen because the free world still treats putin as a legitimate leader. yes, there will be some kind of, you know, protests, a bunch of empty words from washington, london, all the capitals, but then, business as usual. so, putin just has been testing how resolute the free world was in response of navalny's treatment, and he found out that it was -- there was nothing to fear. >> what should president biden do about navalny?
>> he had a very encouraging start, you know, by calling putin a killer, you know, just -- and that was well-received by all of us because that's who putin is. and then i don't know why, you know, he offered putin the meeting. for putin, that's all he needs. it's not about the content of the conversation. it's about the fact that the president of the unid states, the leader of the most powerful democracy in the world, is offering putin a summit. that's how dictators reinstate their legitimacy and project the image of invincibility. >> federal authorities are monitoring a cyberattack that has crippled the colonial pipeline, which runs from texas to new jersey and transports 45% of east coast fuel supply. the fbi says darkside ransomware thought to have come from eastern europe, possibly russia, is responsible. now, president biden has said there is no evidence, so far, that the russian government is involved, and the russian government, of course, denies direct involvement. what do you think,
garry kasparov? >> of course russian government will deny it. this is the way every dictatorship works. this is the way kgb dictatorship works. attacking america, whether it's american democracy, whether it's american infrastructure, whether it's american interests worldwide, cannot happen without the direct instructions from the very top. >> the biden administration has come in and has rolled out new sanctions in response to russians' election interference, to cyberattacks, like the solarwinds breach, and also for the russian annexation of crimea. so, 10 russian diplomats were expelled, but is this enough? >> no, absolutely not. it's much better than we saw on the trump, because trump also imposed sanctions, but we all knew that it was all kind of fake. and putin knewt. and i believe we're still yet to find out why trump was so friendly to putin and why, you know, he was willing to accommodate putin's bidding. but now we've reached a point
where just, you know, traditional measures like, you know, expelling diplomats -- this is -- it's not going to work because it doesn't affect putin. you expel diplomats, he expels diplomats. so, putin cares only about his direct interest, and it's money. and it's not just his money, but money of russian oligarchs. and as long as america and europe are not ready to go after this money, to impose sanctions on oligarchs, putin -- from putin's perspective, it's -- yeah, it's a lot of noise, but no action. >> satellite images show recent russian military build-up near the border with ukraine. the u.s. approach towards russia, as you well know, during the cold war was largely one of containment, one that prevented russian expansion abroad. as russia flexes its muscles now, what should u.s. policy towards russia be? >> you said this word -- "containment." you can call it deterrence. in the world we're living toy, the cyberthreats are just, you
know, far more relevant than the nuclear threats. and i think america needs a policy to address the cyberthreats with the same resolution as america imposed deterrents and containment during the cold war. >> will there ever be an opposition movement or a set of events that could force putin from office? look, we all know that the regimes like putin's -- and we can look back in russian history -- they are always vulnerable when and if they suffer major due political defeat. the moment dictatorship shows its weakness in the eyes of its subjects, that's the end. and by the end of 1989, the soviet empire in eastern europe collapsed. in less than three years, the soviet union ceased to exist. putin has to face the same reality, and, unfortunately, there were many opportunities that the free world missed. one of them, i believe, was syria in 2013. president obama blinked and did not remove assad, syrian
dictator assad, who used chemical weapons against his own people and, you know, crossed the redline imposed by the u.s. president. so that was a moment. and there were many other moments where american presidents and european allies could actually inflict a major defeat on putin. right now, ukraine could be this case. but unless putin suffers this kind of defeat inside the country, he has enough resources, both financial and political will, you know, to spill blood, because he has no allergy for blood. and that's why no opposition movement can succeed without regime being weakened in the eyes of masses. 100,000 people is not enough 200,000 -- not enough. 5 million will be enough. but for these people to join the protest, it's -- and even if they have a shortage of food, they still need to recognize that regime is getting weaker and not stronger. >> you said that russia is a
full-blown dictatorship. do you think that americans understand that? >> no, they don't. americans -- thetend to believe that russia is -- somehow, it's a flawed democracy, and they always call putin "president putin," though we should, you know, call him, you know, his name. he's a killer and he's a dictator. >> reagan famously said... you're the chairman of the human rights foundation. do you worry that here at home, in the united states, reagan's message has been forgotten? >> absolutely. we can look at the current state of the gop, of the republican party. what's happening now there just reminds me of george orwell, that it's the, "at the time of universal deceit, speaking truth is a revolutionary act." so you cannot speak the truth, and one big lie now is supported by many more lies. but the problem is that this is not happening on one side of the political spectrum. you know, these far-right
groups -- they're being emboldened and energized by a very radical agenda coming from the left, when they hear, "defund the police." that's what they use to rally their supports. and this divide is getting wider and wider, the gap between opposing voices. and the moderate voices -- they are -- they're being lost. and my concern is that -- as someone who lives in exile and as the chairman of the human rights foundation, i've been in touch with dissidents around the world -- that america is no longer seen as an example for othe. so we need america to go back, but for america to take a lead, to be a moral leader of the free world, it has to fix problems domestically. we're no longer talking about promoting democracy. we should talk now about defending democracy. ironically, you know, after spending my life fighting for democracy in the soviet union and russia, i'm trying to share my experience, helping americans to understand the real threat to democracy in this land.
>> are you more concerned about threats to democracy here in the united states or the rise of authoritarianism abroad? >> this -- those are two sides of the same medal. that's why i'm hoping that, you know, we'll find some kind of a middle ground, because i believe the majority still believes in moderation. and i'm here to tell you that, you know, america has to go back, back to what it was. it sounds pretty to americans, but for us, it was really, you know, a beacon of hope. >> trump may be gone, but his influence over the republican party is not gone. liz cheney has been ousted from leadership of the republican party, and on the floor of the house of reprentatives this week, she said this. >> today, we face a threat america has never seen before. a former president who provoked a violent attack on this capitol in an effort to steal the election has resumed his aggressive effort to convince americans that the election was stolen from him.
he risks inciting further violence. >> if our freedoms are only a generation away from extinction, are we closer to true danger to american democracy than we think? >> but trump is no longer president, thank god, but he dominates the republican party. and the story of liz cney, the sad story of true conservative -- so, we may agree or disagree with her on many issues, but she stands her ground. she believes in certain things and she spoke about them and she was punished for speaking the truth. and how many republicans were ready to actually -- to go to her defense? almost none. >> very few. too few. >> yeah, exactly. >> can america lead again? what's the playbook for america leading thworld again? >> i would say it's not about whether america can lead. america must lead if we want democracy to survive globally. you need a leader. otherwise, the space will not
stay vacant. there's no vacuum. if america walks away, you know, you have xi jinping, you have putin, you have other terrorists and such coming in. so there's no alternative for american leadership. >> you know, there's a growing curiosity in the uted states about socialism, especially on the left. you have called socialism "uniquely toxic." what can you tell young people about your experience with socialism? >> just read books, look around. >> wthought we'd won the argument, garry. >> yeah, you won the argument. >> yeah. >> socialism was always a failure. you can look at every country in the world, you know, that used the socialist model, they all failed. and, by the way, it's very important to understand that socialism -- when we talk about socialism, we're talking about, you know, state control of private enterprises and the means of production. it's the -- you should not, you know, point out sweden or finland or denmark and say, "oh,
they're socialist." that's not true. those are socially democratic countries. democratic socialists different. >> it is different. >> so, again, it's just the history tells us that, in an open competition, socialism and socialistic -- also, the socialistic models -- they've failed and they lost fair and square against capitalism. it doesn't mean that capitalism is perfect. nothing's perfect in this universe. but we cannot argue about advantages of the free market and liberal democracy. and that's why so many people today still -- they're still dreaming about coming to america, because they know this is the country where they can apply their talents and get the best reward for their resolution, their dedication, and hard work. >> you know, over the past year here in the united states, there's been a lot of talk about this term "cancel culture." what do you make of this phenomenon?
>> for many of my friends who live outside of the united states, it sounds -- diplomatically, it sounds odd. they just don't understand. >> mm-hmm. >> you know, the extremes of cancel culture met with surprise, confusion by many of activists, democratic activists, worldwide. and, again, i grew up in the soviet union. i know what it means to have only one textbook that tells you, "this is right, this is wrong." and, also, we knew, in the soviet union, that -- you know, it was a joke that the soviet union was a country with an unpredictable past, because things could change. u know, you have a new government, a new leadership of politburo, and then they start changing the history books. it seems that some people in america now, some most radical proponents of cancel culture -- they want to go as far. >> you said, garry, in a 2003 documentary...
would you have gained the mastery of your craft in chess if it weren't for the training under the soviet regime? >> look, yeah, it's a fair point. so, i grew up in the soviet union and i benefited from the system that was designed to find talent and to train this talent. the fact is that it was done not to promote chess or education or culture, but simply to demonstrate the ideological superiority of the communist regime over the decadent west. i mean, it doesn't change the fact that i did benefit from it. whether my talent could be found and developed as successfully if i was born and raised elsewhere, i don't know. but at a vy early age, i recognized the shortcomings of
the regime, especially because i -- as a chess player, i could travel abroad. that's quite an irony. so, my first trip abroad was in 1976, when i was 13, and a trip to france, you know, made me think about the realities of life back in the soviet union. >> you were quoted in the new york times recently, a column by nick kristof about a 10-year-old chess prody, tani adewumi, who was a refugee living in a homeless shelter in new york city when he started to play chess and is now one of the youngest chess masters ever. >> that's a great story, great story. i'm very happy for the boy and his parents. and it proved my beliefs that talent does exist everywhere. the difference between some countries and others is -- it's opportunity. the moment you provide opportunity, you always find talent. and america today offers more opportunities than any other
country in the world. >> you helped make playing chess popular also through the popular series "the queen's gambit." >> [ laughs ] >> i'm gonna show the audience a clip of that show. take a look. ♪♪ >> he's not doing what he's supposed to do. >> shh! >> first of all, i have to confirm the authenticity of the scene. so, it's the -- as a consultant of the show, i told scott frank that, you know, i would do everything i could to have the real games. so i spoke to vasily borgov, marcin dorocinski, the polish actor who played the soviet champion. and he spent endless hours watching me play to make sure that, you know, the way they
take the pieces so it will be very, very authentic. by the way, originally, scott wanted me to play borgov, but i just had other engagements. but i went through the script and, also, i added elements that made it more relevant to the -- you know, to the kgb role that it played in chess. so, the scene in the elevator -- this is when borgov spoke with the kgb guy. so, i invented this one. [ conversing in russian ] >> you invented that scene? i didn't know that. i remember that moment so well. >> yes. it's -- and i think it was very important to demonstrate the role of the kgb in this process. they always followed borgov. and also him understanding the real threat coming from beth harmon. >> i mean, chess has a reputation, of course, as being a male-dominated field. will the show's female lead, beth harmon, attract more women to the chessboard? >> absolutely. absolutely. again, it's stereotypes.
it's all about nbers. you know, you have to make sure that more girls play chess. so, the fact is that judit polgár, the strongest female player ever -- since age 13, she played only male opponents. at one point, she made it to top 10. so it tells you that it's doable, but, again, it's all about numbers. it's all about opportunities. >> 24 years ago this week, you famously lost a chess match to ibm's deep blue computer right here in new york city, and you have since come to peace with that loss, but you say you were "the first knowledge worker whose job was threatened by a machine," right? >> [ laughs ] >> that's true. >> you know, one study from mit concluded that robots could replace as many as 2 million workers in manufacturing alone by 2025. what do you say to the millions of people who fear they are to lose their jobs from -- at the hands of machines? >> look, from the early days of
human history, we ys, you know, invented machines to release us from some kind of work. so machines made us stronger. machines made us faster. now we have a problem because we're dealing with machines that should, in theory, make us smarter, but are intelligent machines. and we are scared. and the facts are that intelligent machines -- they are tools invented by other humans. and what is happening now is that many jobshat can be done by the machines -- those are the jobs that are not -- do not require true human creativity. so it means that, you know, we just have to depart from the old-time compliment -- "oh, he or she works like a machine." mnh-mnh. now we have to do the opposite. it's we have to learn to work as humans. i lost in 1997, after winning in
1996, and i realized, "you can't beat them, you join them." that's the wave of the future. collaboration is an answer, but collaboration means that we have to bring our unique qualities, which is creativity, fantasy, dream. i don't want to sound callous, you know? i know many jobs will be lost on the chopping block of automation. but, again, this is some jobs lost, new jobs created. how many things we can actually -- we can do and how many great discoveries, you know, that are waiting for us if we have ambitions. and i believe that intelligent machines will help us to realize our wildest dreams. >> in 1978, william f. buckley jr. welcomed the journalist and author malcolm ggeridge to the program, and they were discussing the russian novelist and political prisoner aleksandr solzhenitsyn. take a look at this. >> solzhenitsyn's enlightenment, which is one of the most wonderful of our time, came to
him in the gulag... >> yes. >> ...not before. >> yes. >> people forget that solzhenitsyn, if he'd wished, could have had the life of a sort of corrupt gorky. >> mm-hmm. >> he could have been the great writer. gorky is the best example who was prepared to be a sort of performing seal, ultimately, for the regime. and solzhenitsyn could have had all that. he could have had his nobel prize. he could have traveled about the world. he could have addressed audiences and everything. and it was only because of what he learnt in the labor camp, that that was intolerable to him. >> you were influenced by soviet diident aleksandr solzhenitsyn. as you now are a dissident yourself in a wa-- right? -- what do you consider the political responsibility of the artist, the athlete, the celebrity, the russian public figure who has left the regime? >> what i believe is important today for a celebrity -- it's to be consistent. if you defend fundamental human
rights and you fight all sorts of abuses in your country, you cannot, you know, pretend that it's not happening elsewhere. and that's why, you know, i have a very critical opinion about some of the very famous american athletes, who are very active in the united states, pointing out at the wrongdoings and the ills of the society and, at the same time, feel no shame to receive payments -- very generous payments -- from dictators around the world. so, consistency is very important. >> who are you talking about? >> lebron james number one. yeah, it's very clear. >> from china. >> so, listen, the man who was just promoting the racial justice here and not just, you know, receiving money from the chinese, he spoke against those in america who tried to point out at the genocide of uighurs and suppression of voting rights in hong kong.
consistency is very important, because the moment you show this inconsistency, so you damage the cause, because people don't believe you. they just say, "oh, it's because you can make money on that." so you'd better shut up, you know, but not, you know, just showing double standards in different places in the world. so i believe i -- you know, i was always consistent, yes, and, you know, i'm happy to take a stand, and it doesn't change whether, you know, i talk about american foes or american allies. as the chairman of the human rights foundation, i can tell you that -- and oslo freedom forum -- it's our signature event that i've been doing for many years. so, we had guests and speakers and human-rights activists from all the countries no matter whether they were pro-american or anti-american. >> garry kasparov, thank you for joining me at "firing line." >> thanks again for inviting me. >> "firing line with margaret hoover" is made possible in part by...
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