Why did we get the collapse of the USSR so wrong?

okay well today - you wanna see the

except you said hey and you would like

them still still the headless rotating

in defense that each other and it's a

very pleasure this evening to welcome

you all here this and you probably chair

and who introduced while printing and

coal again and a predecessor in a mister

taking the aesthetic Center

professor Paul um of course it a kind of

a cliche both of these one of those

people who don't need any introduction

most people in Australia and most people

under about my hands I guess when I

think of Paul do they think that

Australian Defence policy and there's a

reason for that if you look at the


Paul has had in the last 25 years

through professor emeritus at resilient

Study Center deputy secretary strategy

and intelligence director of Defense

Intelligence Organisation principal for

the 1987 white paper and the author of

the deep review which does get us back

25 years or has been absolutely at the

center of a long series of the facts

about the way in which Australia thinks

about the thing suppose you only think

about and of course the way we look at

the kinds of animals that we need to

achieve our strategic objectives in this

country and in that capacity I itch

simply true to say that Paul has made as

a bigger contribution I think I

hopefully have big

for the language of pragmatics about

defense policy then if anyone in the

history of of the Commonwealth which

house interesting back ten years it's a

remarkable set of achievements long

before he got interested in Australian

Defence policy Falls reload his first

love intellectually I may say and his

great contribution was as an expert on

the Soviet Union and as a practitioner

and not of the business of policy for

the business of intelligence assessment

well several decades before was

absolutely at the forefront of

intelligence assessment in this country

it was at a very young age he became the

head of the National Assessment staff

which was intended me to end on a kind

of predecessor of ona and played a very

leading role in the assessments that

Australia Australian government made and

had available to it on Australia's

evolving international strategic

environment and within that business he

had a particular focus on on the Soviet

Union and in that capacity he became a

very significant figure in the global

industry of assessing the Soviet Union

which was of course during the Cold War

a really really big industry and very

important industry indeed and it's um

been I think one of his pleasures over

the last few years and one of my cleat

is like a pleasure for many other

friends to see him over the last few


go back to Russia I mean literally

physically but also so to speak and

literally to re-explore some of those

questions that we worked on in

at the time of the Soviet Union and to

come back as he will with us tonight to

the fascinating question which brings

together is interested in the

intelligence business and interests in

the Soviet Union

that is why did we get it wrong but

being Paul of course I'm sure he won't

just dwell in the past

we will also bring this story up today

to ask what we can learn about the very

questions we face today by looking back

at the story of the Soviet Union and

held we saw what was happening there in

the years I've got to collapse just over

20 years ago

so Paul speaking about 20 minutes 40

minutes rather and then we'll have some

time for Q&A and wrap things up by 7


thanks to Garth and the team for putting

this together very flesh a very fitting

backdrop for your for your observations

Paul Flores

thank you your most generous and our

friendship has a very long way q if I

might incentive public breakfasts that

opportunity to thank you for your last

you know has seven years as head of the

strategic defense service center of the

enormous effort instilling wood and

proton to the center the center as you

know has changed out of sight in terms

of the size of our masters and PhD

programs and our undergraduate teaching

and not least the contract with one must

approve so thank you again I know we'll

have better attendance to do this over

the or through the Corps to Scioscia

says might my career basically both

academically this is the third time I've

been issued as the stand-off in 1968

another research school science

departments up professor Harry Rigby who

was these solid expert in Australia and

who CIA ranked in the top seven

lieutenant before and we forget at that

time we had it this university in these

research there was some of the leading


so half of my life was on the Soviet

Union and when the huge Boston mind that

one that Defense Minister Kim Beazley

rang me up in late 1984 set up I've got

a serious problem in the Department of

Defense they can today would you come as

ministerial consultants that could

really review the Australian Defence

Force militia capabilities and I must

say before I thought about it they've

all said yes but the thought did cross

my mind this Minister is asking me to

stop w a country the Soviet Union with

12,000 achievement award s 200 division

was fifty thousand times five thousand a

combat aircraft 287 reason three hundred

surface combatants because for seventy

two thousand six battalions 180 they

some rate but yes we we did it and we

changed our career at home virtuousness

leave 1985 just before the Soviet Union

man did it collapse I answered it this

evening I'm going to focus more on

trends and events it is not part of my

purpose here is even to criticize those

both in intelligence and academia most

the Soviet apologists ornithologist team

we've got the actual color

it is always difficult to predict events

but my more serious purpose is to be

critical of those here and most

especially in the United States who

didn't get the trench like who could not

see as early as I did in the late 70s

and early 80s there was something very

seriously wrong and there were

weaknesses which I must say I didn't see

as faithful but in which when I wrote

the book that you commented on for the

International Institute of Strategic

Studies in London I call it the Soviet

Union the incomplete suit the path and

that very title got into sathya trouble

with the American intelligence community

and I think you some sense that just how

dangerous it was at the time to study

the Soviet Union was forbidden fruit and

the enormous pressures some of which

were nasty personal pressures on me with

regard to not conforming to the

conventional wisdom certain elements of

the Australian intelligence community at

the time I promoted you of very briefly

of just how strong militarily this on I

mean this was a country that for the

first time in America's history was

capable of like in the United States now

from 24 hours back the nuclear war

targeting on both sides was to reduce

the America's Coast Slavic population by


about 100 million people named

non-casual extremely serious existential

threat which frankly a so-called war of

terrorism there's no relationship to and

we've forgotten that I think we have a

generation who naturally were not

brought up in this period as ambassador

you and I were every day of our lives in

the sixties and seventies and in

teenagers and it's fashionable today to

say oh it was quite a stable period the

suburbs and Americans understood the

rules of the game but I'm going to give

you some case studies where that was not

the case but never mind the Cuban

Missile Crisis which was frankly not all

that serious because the Soviets have

very limited

it is the most serious event will be

teated on the area of global nuclear war

it was 1983 and I've come back to them

and I start with a couple of quotes from

Henry Kissinger the reward oh and George

Kennan the American who develop a policy

of containment of the Soviet in kissing

his book diplomacy in 1994 he said and I

quote at one moment at the beginning of

the 1980s it was as if communist

momentum might sweep all before it and

at the next moment to history measures

time communism was self-destructive and

what he meant that there was that the

amount of defects in the Vietnam War 75

the Soviets took advantage of it the

invaded Afghanistan with a hundred and

twenty thousand troops in 1978 late 78

and were there for 10 years and was they

admit to 15,000 dead the real figures at

war like 25,000 casualties and that the

Soviet Union was taking advantage of

American weakness of perceptions of

American defeated Vietnam I record only

too well the Soviets had a biggest naval

base outside of the Warsaw Pact in

Burgos Somalia and I never went there

but I could have walked you through it

a success its have a signals

intelligence station the missile

handling facility airfields for

departments and capabilities for those

suburbs serve issues and people remember

how Malcolm Fraser that these days well

the center that person was extremely

right-wing when he was Prime Minister we

had the scare that the Soviet naval

presence in the Indian Ocean View I mean

the fact he was 3,000 nautical miles

away via was not in perspective and of

course the Soviets were helping the

Cubans to go to anger transporting human

shruti to our goal of all this we've

again we have master students now some

of whom may well be here or in their

twenties who said to me when I give them

a talk on the fourth stop you professor

Dave is there a good book on that Soviet

Union place and that kind of more thing

well yeah I've got several hundred and

you know it makes you feel like

Methuselah Kissinger also said and I

quote no world power has ever

disintegrated so totally or so rapidly

without losing a war and I want you to

pause on that so I want to take you

through the question why was there

knocked out again why didn't the Soviet

military and KGB unleash the dogs of war

final quote is George Kennan I mentioned

him and he says he found it my quote

hard to think of any event more strange

of startling than the sudden and total

disintegration and disappearance of the

great power known as a sovereign Union

so these are Titanic events we're

talking about although I from the late

seventies and then in this university

wrote of all they've got

in America the incomplete superpower

not that I reread it but I recall a

little well I knew that I was saved

things that would not be improved

I was lucky that's an Australian father

kneel upon the head of this strategic

defence of his center was the head of

the International Institute for

Strategic Studies and one and he put the

forward in my book and having published

it even though a lot of his funding came

from the other side of the Atlantic but

don't get me wrong

despite the gracious remarks of Hugh I

wasn't good enough to see that result

even he might suddenly collapse all I

was saying was it had tremendous may be

faithful weaknesses as a nature power

and wouldn't make it as an in Japan

so we do need to ask in this period

under God the cha third is perestroika

and glasnost why was it that the Soviet

elite that is the party in the Politburo

the KGB and the Armed Forces which

number numbered five million failed to

defend the Soviet study and as I've

suggested equally wide English see an

all-encompassing conflagration even more

even a lashing out to the West they want

final spasm it's a great mystery still

in many ways you've heard from you q my

experience in the Cold War I first went

to the Soviet in 1968 right across

Siberia I was writing a book at that

place and then as an intelligence

officer head of the National Assessments

staff the Secretary of the Department of

Defense the famous meandering throughout

the ten has said to me people I wanted

to go to the Soviet Union in your role

as head of the National Assessments now

go tell the Soviet embassy very well do

I want an Australian view at the side

you going to stay with that ambassador

you're not allowed to stay in a hotel

you might get grabbed and he was a very

young very nice man in many ways that he

will be interesting weather secretaries

of departments these days would have

that courage to think now sighs to go

quite regularly and have discussions

with them about their strategic intent

muscles and that was apparent the Indian

Ocean at the difference between humor

subsonic or supersonic cruise missile

might be measured in terms of arms

control the song I came here and wrote

the book in the early 80s and then you

know the rest of the story after I went

for Kim Beazley

I was appointed as director of what is

now the Defense Intelligence

Organisation and I'll come back to them

and I went to CIA headquarters where

I've even at times before to talk to

what Robert Gates who had been the

national intelligence officer the result

Union Russian linguist and was deputy

director of the CIA I'll never forget he

said to be former principal this

incompletion of the pathing it was badly

wrong this is 1980 late 86 I think maybe

year later so badly well we in the

agency we in the agency are of the view

that the Soviet Union is poised to

outstrip the United States in military

power 86 87 89 down comes the Berlin

Wall Christmas Eve 1991 I can sing the

Beatles song back in the USSR

there's one other personal anecdote to

who knows that in public I've it's not

my habits either in writing or speaking

to talk about personal issues but this

one it's about titles in the public

domain before basically appointed me in

late 84 I just finished the book I was

polishing it to send it off to the

double life SS and the position of

Director of the what is now the defense

intelligence organization became vacant

so I thought I'd be the deputy director

after the National system of staff was

taken over by women and you will

remember these people who interviewed me

on the cloud deputy said she later

became Commonwealth Ombudsman Nathan

Allen chief of the Air Force would later

became vice chief have been principal of

the senior college at West symmetry and

a public service representative and

sometimes you know when you're

interviewed for a job you know you've

done it really well

and so I was waiting for the phone call

and the phone call came from a civilian

Co Secretary of the Department of

Defense or the secretary of the Treasury

former chairman of the public service

come up and see me so I would have to

see he said well you've applied for this

job and I guess you have a strong

feeling that your body

very well he said well you are the

unanimous choice of the selection

committee however the director general

of the Office of National Assessment 1

Michael Cole will not accept you because

of the four months later I am the senior

ministerial consultant with all this

huge power to be was carefully to review

of these growing military capabilities

I'm going to see Sir William Cohen when

he says to me well for this is a turn-up

for the books and I thought is some of

the Empire's going to strike their end

of bezel stories I want to talk and I've

done this before for some of you like

this and others here including Clive

Williams we'll just go to state while I

have repeat this this will talk very

briefly about the theory of the rise and

fall of great powers and this is the

Soviet model because it doesn't fit Igbo

Paul Kennedy the rise and fall of the

great powers seminal work still rather

than their stresses throughout his work

the key role of economic power of that

big economics strong it in the manpower

you don't make it is directly but is the

Roman Empire the Dutch the French the

Spanish that rose the Americas and of

course has an enormous truth in there

there's always an exception and you

can't say the sonic meaning had a big

successful economy it was big but it was

unsuccessful in many ways other than its

military power my impression

it was a third-world country in terms of

service for supplies infrastructure and

poverty you name it it is of course an

interesting question whether it was

Soviet witnesses that have to bring it

down and look they're back to back Niall

Ferguson who many of you know argues

that one of the key explanatory

variables but for the rise and fall of

Great Powers is what he calls fiscal

crises and huge panic there's something

that the European Union is facing right

now not sweet he quotes Imperial France

has happened a public debt of 62 percent

of GDP a Spanish Empire of having a

fiscal debt of 1%

he doesn't quote the USSR and that's

have a figure for their fiscal debt but

I will tell you what their budget

deficit was it was never even towards

that very final year more than 9% so it

was nothing in critical dire straits the

economy you will read is it was

stagnating well it was actually slowing

down remarkably quickly growth rates in

the last five years I went to 1989 was

1.9 percent a Meatwad was professor of

law at Yale Law School in her book about

and talks about the role of intolerance

the torrent societies including the

early Roman Empire indeed she would I be

British mom were very tolerant societies

and as they became intolerant the

pressures of disintegration of the

Empire occurred there's this loose

I suggested issue they're willing to

ponder on and that is the immorality and

the legitimacy of the Soviet regime and

got the truth in his final years talked

about not you didn't want to dismantle

the Soviet than the stage of the

Communist Party he he called it he

wanted a more moral yo sir sir there's a

procession tomorrow USSR and I'll just

give you a couple of other quotes which

I come across bill the chose Prime

Minister nicolayevitch cough that talked

about and it's a very telling quote we

start from ourselves took and gave

bribes lied in the reports in newspapers

from high volumes wallow in our lives

and medals on one another and all of

this from top to bottom and from bottom

to top

Edward Sheldon NC good shots foreign

minister a long-serving member of the

Politburo recalls telling Gorbachev in

the winter of 1984 85 night quote

everything is wrong which has to be

changed so I think there's an issue

there whether we call it intolerance or

simple moral decay it was certainly an

issue very much on go that you're smart

you won't mind you were very briefly let

me say what I think did not cause the

collapse of being versatile its

fashionable in American circles to crow

about it

you know we're Americans forced the

sophoclean into an arms race and we

broke their back well it is true that as

far as we can calculate it the Soviet

Union was spending at least 20% of GDP

maybe more on military and more

importantly the best scientific

engineering brains were in the military

establishment special shots special food

special announcement and you need to

remember that in the Soviet period as

long as you've learned some political

dissidence the education system is

exceptionally rigorous not least to the

fire Sciences chemistry physics engine

and when you look at some of the weapons

systems not these ones that they

invented their architectural design was

different from Western weapon systems

whether it was the heaviness of the

ICBMs right the SS 18 the design of very

large sudden leaves much bigger than the

American ones or even the development

ahead of the Americans of supersonic sea

skinny missiles they were highly

innovative it's a question for people

so I don't accept the arms race bro I

think it was a burden but it didn't

break the back a second would be other

fanciful bonnet I'm sure your footage is

that Afghanistan bro as long as it's

truly a let me say the fortieth Russian

army Soviet Army was in there for ten

years just like just over there 19 years

you know brass said a hundred and twenty

thousand troops for ten years not in and

out and then to deliver the tailing you

heard the fatality as I mentioned you

didn't break the back of the Russian


it is truly caused a lot of dissent

amongst the National Service compulsory

evidence in the military you've got to

remember the Soviet military was a fool

physically offensive but the fact is

until the mountains through the CIA or

the Stinger missiles in to rip down the

very good solid the Russians so I don't

accept that one either I turn now to my

explanations and these are very

challenged as well as indeed this

assault even it is why the methodology

and epistemology of the particularly

American intelligence and academic

community of Soviet ologists got it


remember I'm not talking about the

events of the last couple of years

I'm talking about detecting the

trendline well before things bad in the

soviet and you but remember and these

are figures off the top of my head but i

think there were over two hundred

thousand people in the united states

does that mean wasabi in the full time

the whole of the National Security

Agency if you try to get a discussion in

the CIA in Australia or India or

Indonesia or tell us what the Soviet

embassy in Australia's do it for added

try to establish an embassy in harmony

or access to fishing ports and using

hydrographic and his spy so no spit

under the finger top of the head and of

course of academics and certain

universities in the United States were

heavily subsidized one way or the other

indeed when I wrote the book record with

Harry Rigby in the late sixties here on

the economic development of Siberia very

sexy stuff you that money came from the

Ford Foundation and we can guess what it

starts with

so you've had this huge community so

what were the issues and again something

like this not seeing the port for the

trees but within academia and in


including here experts studied more and

more about less and less and look when

you've got 89 target like the song which

had little in the way of transparency

there were forbidden cities you've got

to travel to I never took a camera to

the Soviet Union because you couldn't

photograph beatnik uniform railway

viaduct straight lines government

offices road overpasses you name it

people to photograph it and there was

the course was extremely high so it was

it don't get me wrong but very difficult

targets at penetrate and particularly

the military target and so you had to

get into a lot of detail the first time

I went to CIA and I said at the National

Assessment stuff I read before this is

the service I go to the agency of they

were briefed by and I can't do teach

self excerpts without right and this CIA

character said to me sir I'm a going to

brief you on the Soviet ss-18

intercontinental ballistic missile mark

2 with 10 independently targeted we

actually hit or suck and he knew about

every rhythms we look to be from the

other heads satellites the silos and the

refueling and the war has been separate

regarded by the case

so but he knew better all about

submarine ballistic missiles and asking

about tanks or something not his scene

and I have to say when I kept current

intelligence crises on my hands in the

70s and you know I could ring up an

expert Akina who was an expert on the

Politburo over the Communist Party but

them you nothing about the Soviet

military I could have the expert on the

Soviet military people tell me about the

economy I could bring the expert up on

sovereign agriculture but he couldn't

tell me about their interest rate and

that was the case in both academia and

intelligence and especially in the

United States but to a significant

extent here you had to drill down to be

noticed the danger was there's little in

the way of overarching views that the

word academics in the u.s. like

professor Vienna from Mercer in Vienna

from Columbia who chanced is armed with

more overarching ports the second one is

you know the family one of mirror

imaging you know the Soviets are going

to be just like us they will react to

international crises like us why you

know why don't they understand more that

I think it was read it was said just

before record it in 86

none of Muslims in 83 with the nuclear

Wars get ready to stare down and I've

just been reading rereading it in one of

these two books are Italian bread from

786 point in the Soviet City we're going

to check them with the premium

a nuclear strike we Americans are so

evolved yes right

there is this is a familiar theme for

those of us who come from anglo-saxon

countries and don't get me wrong at that

I don't mean back today a racial by me

come she's like Britain Australia New

Zealand and in many ways to a

significant extent the amount of states

of intersection origin have no common

land borders and they don't understand

countries that have been invariably

crossed common meant borders and I ain't

going to tell me that America has a

border with Canada who cares and only

basic that who cares I think it's very

different I think is very different when

you have a continent well let me give

you another example that is channels as

you know the Baltic republics that have

separate countries and NATO they're all

members of NATO if you take the most

northern one Estonia it has NATO f-16

fighters there the distance from that

fighter base to st. Petersburg is the

distance from Earth to Canberra and I

can tell you as a former defense

president if we have intermission

fighters in Kerrville it will focus much

because we're not used to situations so

the mirror imaging the third one is was

technological obsession particularly in

the United States particularly in

intelligence community they had very

impressive satellite photography

intercept and other capabilities that we

were highly privy to not least to not be

careful what I say because the joint

American Australian intelligence

collection facilities in the center of

Australia were almost the most powerful

in the world central to early warning

for America of they lived off the ICBM

Zeus I believe it or from that many wars

positiveness was to give the Americans

about 20 minutes boarding time and I was

centrally involved in those facilities

when we went to America to discuss those

facilities we would see the director CIA

director dia

director of NSA the deputy director of

defense to their Deputy Secretary of

State this was long before the days of

Osman is one of the days we are seeing

it intelligence officers and public

servants read the policy I mentioned it

not you know to beat up my own position

but to just show you the enormous

influence behind and how crucial we were

to the American what we thought nuclear

deterrence of the United States don't

ever stop the Technol but not the

technical of sessions were taken to

extremes in which you know I will be

terrifying record colleagues that a

particular solid submarine the Akula

which is a titanium 40 not submerged

submarine that the Americans equipment

Tracy we were told that the t-72 tank

was so strong in its lair diameter no

nato antics a missile penetrated rubbish

we were told that you might even call

this in the fancy products that no

intelligence publicly produced that was

Soviets were development charged

particle beam weapon a x-ray device into

space that would bring down our CBO's

what we still ain't offended we still

haven't found it it was central

technological obsession and for reasons

you would understand and I'm not pretty


little in the way of human intelligence

operatives penetrating the Soviet Union

I waited in vain to see you know the

coded message from the American spy in

the Politburo never sorta

never saw anything like not

there was there was also fourthly to be

more fair viewers of Soviet strengths

that I mentioned out of kissing her in

the late seventies and early eighties

where it looked as though to use they

their Soviet expression that the

correlation of world forces was moving

in favor of the sodomy the defeat of

America in Vietnam

Russia's movement into Afghanistan with

no reaction from voice Russia's buildup

in the Indian Ocean and indeed the North

Pacific and you remember Angola and of

course the territory and with the iron

fist over Eastern Europe there was a

real impression that the correlation

that moved decisively in favor Soviet

military strength and finally it was is

the one that for me was most oppressive

and that was conforming with the

conventional wisdom you haven't said my

chances of being productive because

somebody in a very senior position they

couldn't stand my views of the

sovereignty they put further than that


the very fact you visited there even

though it was with official endorsement

isn't it the intelligence officer

thought about all sorts of suspicious I

think in the academic world certainly in

Australia that was not that sort of

pressure but those pressure and there's

also the truth that the pressure and

professional group feel that you know we

had such imperfect knowledge remember

how difficult a terrible it was and how

they want be a lone figure and snow you

know salt that have come to an end and

of course all of us did certainly in the

intelligence communities there was

enormous it's threatening pressure to

conform and then a move on now just very

briefly talk about two case studies of

the dangers of American West

calculations of the Soviet threat the

first one who recalls 1983 in the Soviet

nuclear war

the second is 1986 and regularly and

there's a book here which I commend him

called the dead hand by David Hoffman

journalist in the Washington Post as

positive to Moscow in the late eighties

early nineties it is a brilliant border

with access to

that leave and I don't remember seeing

and you know thought of the art class

working very good in the immediate fall

of the Soviet Union but not now well so

let's just quickly talk 83 remember said

much more serious than Cuba it starts

off in an early 83 with the brawl over

into these French nuclear missiles

the Soviets for some years have been

deployed very threatening ss-20

intermediate range nuclear missiles not

strategic but from bases in western

Russia were capable of taking out London

house so these were not short ventures

we had multiple warheads were very

accurate the Americans responded by

developing the flourishing - which was a

mark 8 and picking under five thousand

miles an hour of something

supersonic Christmas or its morning time

from bases in West Germany to the Soviet

leadership was between four or six

minutes there was a deity a decapitate

in strike no service obviously I'm not

in this discussion of 83 I'm not

excusing the Soviets we're all in nasty


those are very threatening nuclear

capabilities against you

DSS 20 zlotys what I didn't know until I

learnt it from this book I've not seen

it contradicted some things but that

says wrong he's telling the American

secretary of Navy John layman was

decided that the soldiers need to be

taught just how powerful American naval

power so in spring of 83 northern

hemisphere spring they deployed three

aircraft carriers as the coastal can

check them one of those and they were

practicing you know operations are

trying to trigger off by getting so

close to the Soviet borders that we have

triggered off the Soviet radars and

intercepts and then you can actually

thank you that's brilliant we've now got

a radar signature and we know what

transmission you're using further into

says he then detects the Midway aircraft

carrier it went on to electronics

understand the Russians sockets lost it

and then allegedly unauthorized through

four F four teams of the open area and

penetrators Soviet territory in the

coral islands

that's Walton a Korean airliner left the

United States

Klaas 0:07 the great numbers over this

navigation system with building

technique is in the road those days in

serious error if flight mechanic there

had been an incident which I could not

to mention earlier on with the German

pilot who for the light aircraft and

landed in Red Square

and I forgot his name but that is

another issue and of course you

mentioned the soleus one was severe

instructions don't ever let back half of

the game put into mention of the outcry

what is not in this book and what I

remember as an intelligence officer

Roenick said well that was 1983 1978 I

recall a Korean airline of these London

for so going over the North Augusta it

comes back down over the Soviet

territory between Finland and firing


something was little fireplaces

seventies masala fighter said ordered

playing down and blended

I'm not saying until connected but if

you were sorry

so what this was going on and drop off

the former head of the KGB was general

secretary of the party an obsessive man

hated that West believe the West was

developing a decapitated disarmament

first tragedy ever taken leadership a

diversion to I'm sorry

he ordered the KGB rezident residence in

London and Washington to go on high

alert to detect tell tales of shorten

warning time for nuclear attack when all

this was going on without talking on the

telephone just after the events with

between their NATO launches a huge

military exercise they could make

they've done before corporate exercise

in April Archer which goes all the way

up to the lease of simulator commercial

nuclear weapons it has solid

conventional strike across the foot gap

and the use of tactical event and crop

up goes right off the edge and believes

it's about

this had been a lead-free I learned

about it since to retro Defense

Intelligence in 1987 with the just

retired to rep truth because

Intelligence Agency and the serving CIA

national intelligence officer that was

served here John Paul says the Thompson

says they all about 180 frames other

times what the first morning we wouldn't

get the compliment of nuclear war would

have been to dropped on their wealth

refined yet remember when I was 10 it

was our fuse that we might be we served

as Malcolm Fraser in the late seventies

they in a final specimen nuclear

exchange most likely Sydney and maybe

another citizen would behave because we

were so close to the Americans and the

Soviets knew from traitors in the

American establishment of TRW who would

reveal a part of the secrets of the

operations of I kept so many more down

I was told by these two Americans in

when I think of 1988 that one of the

other tell tales was that the group of

Soviet forces East Germany Sukhoi 15 or

16 were for the first time moving

tactical nuclear weapons onboard the

aircraft and ready to go with moment's

notice so when anybody tells me Cuba was

is if you'll forgive my usident

well-known epidemic expression


Oksana she danced at the CIA history

site and you can read about it you can

read Robert Gates this book from the

shadows and I saw six presidents and you

see he's got a chapter 1983 Patricia


three years later rid of it by now

unlike 83 Robert Chavez been in power

since my champion bomb to be fair when a

funder clients defero president Bregman

was questioning mutual assured

destruction use of nuclear weapons and

as you well know he's struck on the idea

with help from people like Richard Perle

and Richard pipes the idea of Star Wars

listing mystery

the Russians took him seriously it might

be far too seriously but they knew that

American technology it was better than

theirs and again as their economy

smokeable was so and my great friend and

colleague Jeffrey that unfortunately is

not here tonight he was with the

Australian Australian journalist at

Reykjavik and he can tell you what

happened it's written I think this book

two chapters so Reagan and Gorbachev

negotiating this was got the chops

proposal face one this is 1986 by 1991

94 cuts all strategic Arsenal's by 50%

take her from 12 thousand six he stood

at one place - between 1995 1997

continued reductions and eliminates all

technical nuclear weapons I still gotta

clear the salt when you may have 30,000

tactical nuclear bombers phase three by

the year 2000 says Gorbachev but get rid

of four nuclear weapons and we know he

was there thinking about this because

general Hawk Ramaiya fishy for Genesis


Rendon was very tempted until one

Richard Perle the Prince of Darkness was

spitting easier instead and there was

one story point not the 50% not

eventually the other stolen point was

Robert Jeff had written into the draft

treaty began to star wars the Americans

would keep it at the laboratory level

would not testify at Reagan asked the

advice of Richard Richard Cosette has

simply not accepted my friend Jeffrey

Barca said he was there when George

Shultz came out of his heroin long

overlap Peters definitely white looked

at the circle Gervais acknowledged every

bar and said we've got so close the

phone you know you could have asked

yourself it was natural to people like

Robert Gates and others were very

suspicious of their job but then

mysteriously think about we will repeat

nuclear weapons if this has been

cemented is that there's no guarantee

would be very happy

and where is for the stick missile


oh my no maybe you can bring down two or

three so there we are that's my story

about ok there's another book that I

compared on YouTube by Stephen Hawking

he is a professor of modern history at

Princeton called Armageddon a thirty

radius not really it's not like those


it's really good really yes a very good

question you know why was it that

literally didn't press the balance my

share to the place why was it if it

wasn't a military uprising internally or

there was a vote was 91 but he was

pathetic you sir if you look at the

videos that it was hem fisted and not

traditional form I sometimes ask myself

these counterfactuals you know what

would have happened if the military coup

in August 19 one headed by military and

play TV people as it was succeeded I ask

myself what would have happened if and

drop off the develop market and

Gorbachev only maybe this you know

polity remember my personal view is that

we still going pound Armageddon was

adverting and what sort of bloodshed

able to evolve both internally and

potentially out stone

it's a counterfactual with Bastian

I guess more seriously my personal view

is that rather than the sudden collapse

they've got the trough that have not

unleashed the powers that he didn't

understand the Soviet Union could have

gone into a long drawn-out decline

that's just as rational and explanation

as the southern coast or my friend bill

Odom who was head of the National

Security Agency a fluent Russian

linguist the new who before he died not

a magnificent four year University for

the collapse of the Soviet military

mr.thang testable he said in the book

the Southern Union could have gone for

years it's not their place in so I think

these are issues that you know certainly

is myself and they report I could go on

longer but I whether I just want to very

briefly and let me stress those of you

who want to ask me questions about

current Russia I am NOT across it in the

way I used to be most of my working

there's a special miss reading defense

policy these days what about Russia 20

years on you know today is the 7th of

November hands up those who understand

the importance of that day to the

Russian character


yes today is the 94th anniversary of the

great October Revolution Wilde said that

they lose the Jew in Canada which is

thirteen days behind on Christmas Day

still so it was just by chance that we

would gather organized today type of

this so 20 years on this December what

what has happened is it better with it

worse you know when the Soviet Union

collapsed was all this outpouring of

expectations it would be a democracy

paint is that even children later the

cosmic desert it is alleged that the

Americans on the George W Bush arena

sure though the chart that when East

Germany was incorporating the West

Germany that at the end of the expansion

of NATO but it hasn't been NATO is the

Baltic republics on the doorstep

I do hope that they said doesn't go head

and I presume that one with this sitting

and dangerous idea that incorporating

being crying into later if you want

Russia to reach or force do that I'm

sorry about

if you look at after 20 years where

Russian politics and democracy is in

comparing which with Indonesia in a much

shorter time span since 1998 we have the

elements of a blossoming democracy in

addition style and freedom of press

intuition star information is no indeed

not my personal view I suppose stand

corrected on this I think there is a

deep-seated authoritarian national

political revolution and they not yet

but mr. SP if I think Russia is a safer

place I'm supposed to go there later

this month in the Soviet period as long

as you work through silly things as an

intelligence person you are okay now if

you read the wrong restaurant at the

wrong time

life can be very strong finally this

huge foreshadow to contemporary

questions about the consequences of the

Soviet collapse to geophysical questions

or issues the first one is I put it to

you that the collapse of the Soviet

Union as quick and surprising

unpredictable as it was thought about a

very considerable dimension of American

cuprous that their great enemy of 4550

years did acquire

disappearance asleep

using our force remember all that talks

silly talk Francis Pope your honor this

is the end of world history liberal you

know capitalist democracy will waive all

right now and that will capitalist

democracies I'm not saying it's the

crisis of capitalism not saying there is

an issue of how did we get who would

believe 20 years after the end of the

couple or existential threat of

government people whenever in this

situation I think for the Americans they

were the nervous of the Russians in it

they refused basically it was no marshal

plan to the former Soviet Union

not at all they wanted to see Russia

reduced for all time I know I think many

Europeans a few and I understand that if

you share comment or as a song but you

know it would wreak I think the negative

aspects of this they said the very same

cowboy extreme economic categories

to teach the worst aspects of capitalism

about controls I think you know America

the world order at the end of history

thought it could move into Iraq I would

have shot you she did the basis is your

her specious basis of weapons of mass

destruction so I think there is an issue

that they will say were the Americans

more disciplined when there's a nasty

power like the Soviet Union you must be


the second one is something that you

might not discussed and that is other

dangers just like the focus on a

straight line extrapolations with regard

to the Chinese military effect those of

you who came to my previous public

lecture two months ago and over I were

securing our doubles agreements will

believe that China's know when it was

Hugh except who says China's got a

significant other pass that's true I yet

to see real areas of Chinese military

innovations to depend very heavily on

Russian technology or his mother tree

Tara it is true developing

cyber warfare and allegedly and to

carrier for the stiffnesses but here we

have a country China there's never

thought about before no forethought the

water has no experience of John wolf

they're fighting but remember the former

Soviet Union had all of that experience

we defeat you the greatest on this is

all set the state it was general so you

know there are these dangers has

straight-line extrapolations so I close

on too much at the end of the Soviet

Union encourage the American Cubist's

geopolitically in places like and over

abstention economically against fathers

it would not have done all those things

where the soil lead was rather so the

real discipline including about truly

being economically you were a viable

sustainable state and then this issue of

let's not follow up fall into the same

dangers as with the fall of sovereignty

of straight-line extrapolations and

China military threat and he was

reminding me coming back to those other

points about you know conformity

remember the pressures on people like me

to conform with the Americas of episodic

which we fail and we now see in

conformity with regard to the assessment

on shine which is it certainly

optimistic thank you

to study the problems that you're

talking about internally in the Soviet

Union are you aware of that and if so

how did they influence curvatures

eventual decision making respected well

I think we do like that that cover chop

was a cop's personal choice you've got a

member when I was tracking that the

Cioffi was he grew up in the Northern

Caucasus the content area his parents

were collective farmers a very committed

to the he grew up in the party of the

North Caucasus became first secretary of

the Northern Caucasus office and he was

all agriculture by the way have no

experience in parts of Russia

hence in my view is an ability to

understand what was about to happen

Estonia Latvia Lithuania they did you

try so look I think that was that

situation but you know a drop-off was

quickly extremely a very fun the very

fact that they chose somebody's young

and different when they sing in a fresh

net shinyang drop-off in a matter of


senile doctrine you know charge so we

shouldn't underestimate and drop us

running equipment whether go patch off

understood precisely what he was doing

with perestroika and glasnost we know he

didn't want to see the end of the Soviet

state and communism the ruling power

that but I think once he started tinker

with it and given there was this view of

the immorality of the system you know I

mean you know there's sort of try

quotations you've got in the period

during and after the sake of you know

chitchat and they pretend to play as we

pretend to world the rhyme that they had

about the two major newspapers crowded

the party paper in his Listia a

government paper prat that means the

truth is very soon as the news there are

new capitals is not truth in the news

if you'd asked me that question in 1993

I wouldn't have dared sort of Conformity

I think sometimes our American cousins

as you know we're the closest allies and


the United share intelligence but now

other countries you know sweeping


they ain't good on that the countries

and cultures in America is a world

complete unto itself isn't it

what do you think Cheney wants tell me

60% of American senators did not carry a


you know it wants to go these funny

places like Austria do so I think which

in leaa relatively he managed did some

blundering things

I don't subject to the Pershing to the

broader Saudis brought that on south of

the SS 20s but remember the three

aircraft carrier battle groups you know

fly across object and I forgot to

mention when that Korean airline was

doing his thing the very same day a

kc-135 American spy plane was operating

over catch a flock very close to the the

the Soviet borders kneecap check no

excuse for the Saudi to shut down the

like of course not but the answer your

question is yes

thank you very much last person why did

we get the collapse of the USSR so wrong

because the residue warmth reserved to


why I think not

two main reasons my view first of all

because of the tear and because of the

traumatic experiences of the two words

war misplaced respect and what you

outlined the dakotas was a technical

obsession and numbers of some

authorities which would you eat out the

USSR positive by saying who stood during

the first mega right there was no voice

given to disciplines there was no voice

given to European communities or other

communities he found themselves out of

use at the heart who were simply ignored

as being anti-communist and culturally

in the West it was in fact one of the

politically correct thing to support the

Soviet Union not perhaps in its totality

but you know some selective areas there

is if anything was shown as positive

it was absolutely uploaded by the whole

of the West it was you know von Drago to

like risk

what you saw before city versus I'm not

saying that there is that in my country

you that the collapse of you as a sound

coming from the Airbus was sweeping the

ambassador pilot did you see there the

people have got the interesting I mean

you know other ambassadors can't find as

usual and I just want to say to our

Friday night I watched this film called

cat in okay I commend it to you it is

just rocket massacre of 15,000 published

officers denounces

some of them as should we do it

differently I think you know it is a

serious concern in this country though

we all know the ship dignity of a

balance of power to situations that

arise of time but there are the other

people who know that the figures for

people who were learning the national

language in Australia schools and

universities including Mandarin Japanese

and information a declining at

explaining quite rapidly and yet in

America they're not under study

and so I think the issue of I was never

very good at managers there's some issue

there but I get it when I drink vodka

look at the graph but we need to

encourage in our part of the world our

region that we have experts another

language is another culture you know

Greek mythology listen to the music I

mean unknown to me it was you know at

Milan got Tchaikovsky you know it's all

starts here getting a Russian ballet

unless you get into bed you don't get it

under your finger blast you don't snow

and it disturbs me frankly we've got

these adverse trends not least with

language and culture and this university

there's four partners we're doing that

big but there's the other issue of I

know that you know we thought is

specialized but the PhDs have to be you

know a particular Casper 500 the great

lesson I learned from the Salyut was

including the academic interviewers we

they were all studying more and more

that festival s remember they couldn't

talk to me if they're an expert on the

Politburo that couldn't talk to me about

the soil military and the solid military

person couldn't talk to me about the

time and that gives to frustrate the

hell out of me when I had a currently

service crisis on my show and I think it

did lead to people not wanting to chance

that on on the earth

June I know you know as a rigorous

scholar we've got to be careful not to

have you know broad brush not rigorous

analysis but I think certainly on the

China issue I want to see more academics

and big brothers telling me what are the

weaknesses of China as well as the steps

don't tell me everything is perfect it's

going to grow forever that it's you know

the military power will be you know that

this stuff you know we need more

challenges and we should encourage our


to not conform it's not a great

offensive its best ever

I recall call that you got enormously

frustrated over the delays we've

publishing your book I think in a sudden

you've delayed something like 18 months

yes that due to incompetence on the part

of the publisher or was there something

happening behind the scenes question

that I don't even with my glass here

with the world and suspicions concerns

we forget in this instance

self-publishing at age let you know

already I mean I wrote that thought in

the Koons building was I have two desks

I'm a very active person I've say to my

research assistant chapter one whatever

subjects you bring the books and the

journals and song of one destined

hideout okay don't think that something

would type it up then we take all that

away we do have chapter ten all of which

can be met who is not a tiny business

reduce living so the business of

printing out and they're going to gallop

through store coming back the

Macmillan's press who were publishing

for the double leg of this challenge

decidedly basalt Union being complacent

which I was a great section childhood

but they want to call it the limits to

solve it down and I was there that point

out there were lots of other books about

the lilies to you know things so I just

think that lawns were extremely slow you

know British publishing and it's okay

CMOS and they they did a slot that blew

the cover design was awful they did a

limited print run that was published in

86 in 87 they did a briefly then they

asked me in 88 to do a second version

I'm working for

the Kim Beazley Australian Defence

policy and all I did was write a couple

of pages but I thought the choppy really

want a second edition at all but I don't

think there was any subterranean plot

but I meant it when I said that if

father Emil Australian the first and

only Australian director of the devil

idealistic moment could not be a

director would anybody of else unbox

have been after my only write a foreword

for POTUS today because when you read it

now it's a fairly an adult you're not

your stick this had some problems but

these your headaches a certain people

like Robert Gates deputy director of CIA

and the director Jo Navarre

whose name I don't have out of these

sorters you know very threat yeah

I was a little company I mean I think

now by the way you may have read a piece

in the perspective section of the

Financial Review on Friday last week

about the demographic problems in which

a city in Russia which are seriously

bowed out for more 47 million or 20 the

health system he alleges now is very

poor he alleges by don't downtown that

the education system is not good it is

true that you let me say unless you are

a political dissident live sorting this

in as long as you kept your nose clean

politically the educational system

particularly in the hard sciences was

first regular which is world class

mathematicians engineers

scientists I understand that's not the

case now what I meant by third-world was

I would sit here in the intelligence

community and I'd look at these overhead

satellite photographs of ss-18 ballistic

missiles in some Siberian silo or the

latest tank or whatever and you know the

American pressure was just look at that

that's better than anything they've got

which of course was up true and then I'd

fly to the Soviet Union I'd go to

Singapore and I climb in

Aeroflot which ambassador we used to

call it October smart very poor engines

they still make very cooperative with

military NGOs and civil ages that's what

the Chinese were called Thank You guards

of Moscow and you find queues everywhere

for the most simple of products this is

in the early eighties I once joined it

it was not happy - Jon kiss it was a

good way of collecting information what

the hell was really going on I thought

the party propaganda back you know many

of these are salesmen saw you sorting

the workers to

enjoy dish's I asked John to cure with a

full colonel from the tank measurement

with a black cat and he said to me in

Russian you know man

would you hand my place yeah we're

mercury NASA's Aqua queuing for he said

them but you infer oranges from Algeria

and they were they were the equivalents

in the early 80s of $30 Australia

Michaela I mean only the elite ish

people certainly went on you know in the

top bracket Butterworth people like him

who didn't go to the party shots could

have all these things the under curious

children joining us for some bananas out

of Africa and you go as I did in 68 I

was one of the first Australians over to

go to the web but Moscow that - nah

Vesuvius - academic city I could even

gotta go to court on Lake Baikal to

Brett's which was the world's biggest

fire station and terrace and you know

the villages it was 19th century Russia

and I have not been to rural Russia into

the towns like Scott and Northrop but

I'm aiming next year as we develop our

relationships that do angry with with

Russia just seen just what the life is

like in the village areas to me I don't

say exactly if they're if they're

education and health system have

degraded as much as the article I

mentioned on Friday as claims then that

is to say the least

an additional sadness for an a

magnificent culture you know you've

heard me say Russian poetry Russian

literature Russian music Russian ballet

I mean is absolutely

mechanism but they have had a history

that is profoundly sad I mean let me

quickly just remind you you know as

Russian Christianity was developing gues

wearing Kieth whereas they do crime and

whether that the little B Cyrillic

alphabets be developed we're in Kiev

just as that's getting off the ground

has started to form principalities and

so on the Mongol hordes come across and

occupy them for two hundred and fifteen

years two hundred and fifty years longer

than America's being a nation-state

I think that right and you know that

high cheekbones but more importantly the

the acknowledgement of the not and


I think talk about habits session of

czars from Eve and Grozny Ivan the

Terrible through you had been the

ambassador's gone occupied by sweeping

that the Battle of Poltava 1700 or


where's Paul Talbot Indian crime then

you have Napoleon third and Moscow top

defeated then you have Hitler it is an

extremely sad and poor history you know

again I just have to argue with the

Office of National Assessments here the

figures were the Russians lost twenty

million in the same world war rubbish

says the Director General that's just

solid propaganda world and they'll

figure now is twenty nine million dead

can you think about that figure kept any

of those you know in any major battle in

the Second World War the Soviets lost

five hundred thousand Trump shows a

nasty impressive evil regime but I think

if you know you look at the collective

history of this country and now you know

twenty years on from the great promise

where the hell is it not beautiful it's


I say that no job


because of what remains well I mean you

know the Tsar of all the Russia's

that's what he used talked about this

was the greatest geopolitical

catastrophe of the 20th century I think

that's a very hard question we write the

heartland of Russia survives is the huge

land parcel in Siberia more than twice

as lashes at the deep population of

Russia many I've mentioned the

demographic problem and he's caused by

alcoholism health it is a significantly

contracted population down from 147 tour

2007 another and the sense of it varies

with the Russian Far East has dropped 2

million from April into 6 and yet it

shares a common border with in the

northern provinces of China

unfortunately if Australia a sparsely

populated resource-rich country

at a common border with China that sort

of population I can tell you what

happiness and it will be

there's a long-necked ally do I've only

written one academic piece since the

collapse of the Soviet traps of the

system which is accurately because you

know the last 20 years I've been to

Australia defense policy regional

security and I wrote a piece for a

moderately right-wing and write journal

called the American interest of the

National Trust and it was called the

berries bed and look I think there is

enormous potential if they get their act

together they are the world's largest

exporter of natural gas and from time to

time the largest export of oil

we're not prices are fine they do really

well that works seven or eight percent

because you've met prices there for

other vast resources untapped resources

in stock really they have been a highly

literate educated people with the Purdue

education so I say I'm no longer up

today is just to weather

education systems as bad as the article

I mentioned flavors so we shall see but

it is a big ass to turn around from

where they are now it seems to me

laughter take a second use a

considerable amount of the blame for

this class the Americas not being able

to see the same two trees I review I'm

wondering since this was a Republican

group that was in there and you had some

remarks about right-wing views so I'm

taking it here more on the liberal side

if you ever done a what-if on what would

have happened or what would things be

like I mean what is the difference in

your view of the liberal versus

conservative thing that's going on in

the u.s. versus you know our public

policy or our foreign policy and despite

the fact your best ally you're a funny

long with Americans I mean like you and

I were working in defense if you think

we didn't find a challenge what we're


make sure that what we got was

Montevideo we developed it conveys the

this very contentious policy of full

knowledge and Paris with regard to Iran

facilities in other places when the

president comes next week that we've

announcement the base is going to use of

Australian facilities unlike Japan not

gonna have bases on vivarium Tara to the

reflect line guarded by the richest and

we know Australians allowed in but we

often say i q-- center centers or

sometimes wish to in addition to the

quaint form of english that our industry

but you actually spoke a foreign

language because we would actually put a

lot more effort we try to understand

that in many ways you are quite doing

you know the light on that they'll

exceptional society that building

fathers the role of religion you know

all that stuff it is true share new

world big horizons and so i think

where text as well yes no we have a very

different history on this top horrible

country the further England

it wasn't the Wild West of California no

I haven't done the counterfactual we've

mentioned I think it's a very

interesting proposition I mean it is

true that largely I'm this review no

Republican administrations I'd found

people like George Shultz very

reasonable Kim Beazley but not me fat

cap Weinberger very reasonable yeah

remember clips it's a far beyond I found

people like Richard Perle and

I did not find Robert gangs are these

people we have differences but I can't

you know the factory service Democratic

administration says yeah that's

something by the way you could do in

your country that they matter in this

country we've got such service time

seeing afford not to do that but I think

we might give our students mass of

students at the file ever thank you to

do it a counterfactual and Elijah

proposed very interesting ok therefore

thanks very much you've given us a real

feast of ideas and have teased out some

terrifically interesting points in that

in the questions between interesting to

hear from our European friends how some

of those things feel um from very close

up so look I'd like you will join me in

thanking Paul for we've really been a