Jack Barsky, a former KGB spy and author of “Deep Undercover: My Secret Life and Tangled Allegiances as a KGB Spy in America,” explains how American presidents have historically been naive about the Russians. Following is a transcript of the video.
This is a much more complex world today than it was during the Cold War. Soon after the Cuban Missile Crisis was successfully dealt with, there was a sense of certainty in the relationship between Russia and the United States. The lines were clearly drawn, now this world is incredibly complex. The bottom line is the Soviets and nowadays the Russians don’t play by rules. You sit down with them and you come up with a construct by which behaviour is regulated. They will agree to it and then turn around and not abide by it.
There’s a fundamental lack of trust, historically, in Russian/Soviet society, and that lack of trust is reflected by the way leadership behaves. Americans are much more trusting and there’s a good reason for that because of American history. We may be a little too naive because we think that everybody else should be just as nice as we are. I’m not saying that everybody who lives here is nice, that’s not the point. I’m talking about the behaviour in general which trickles up and it comes from the niceness of the American people, say in the Midwest, and it goes all the way up to the top.