Director Oliver Stone, who’s recently released series “The Putin Interviews” stirred up controversy among liberals who accused him of being a Russian propagandist, appeared on the Liberty Report with former Texas Congressman Ron Paul to discuss the documentary, his views about former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, and why the US’s aggressive approach to containing the purported threat posed by Russia has led to a breakdown in relations between the two powers.
Stone said he’s been “interested” in Russia since being raised as a conservative in New York City, claiming that his father instilled a “fear” of Communism and Russians in him at a young age. In the early 1980s, Stone visited the country for the first time as a screenwriter with the idea of interviewing several dissidents. He has returned several times since. In particular, Stone has become interested in the case of Snowden, whom he praised as “the most American of patriots.”
“I was interested in Russia – I went back into the 2000s. The Snowden story occupied me. And of course, it’s so ironic that he the most American of patriots is living in Moscow because he has to. It’s the only country in the world that would give him asylum - in other words it’s the only country in the word that can deny the US what it wants which is Snowden.”
“[Putin] explained to me that Russians wanted an extradition treaty with the US for years, but nothing doing, because there are a lot of Russian criminals in America who stole money from Russia. He did nothing wrong in Russian terms so they gave him asylum - now its 3 years 5 years whatever its going to be. I wish Ed well I really do.”
Stone tried explaining Putin’s point of view regarding the breakdown in relations between the US and Russia that has occurred since the end of the George W Bush presidency, saying the US’s decision to install new ABM defenses have greatly unsettled Russians, who see their installation as an encroachment.
“We come around now to this period in 2017…for some reason an improving US-Russia relationship deteriorated completely. Mr. Putin in his interview goes into the ABM treaty, he goes into the expansion of NATO and the American support of terrorism in the caucuses while the Russians were helping them in Afghanistan.”
“That’s an important issue for them. Many American lives were saved. I think you talked about those three issues NATO, ABM, the support of terrorism.”
The ABM installations, in particular, are threatening a policy of “nuclear parity” that has existed since the Soviet Union, Stone said, adding that the notion that Russia is a threat to the US is “insanity,” given Russia's weaker economy and less powerful military.
“ABM destroys the nuclear parity that existed. When Mr. Bush tore that up in 2001, that was a signal that the US wanted nuclear superiority, or a first strike option.”
Stone also shared a story about watching the movie “Dr. Strangelove” with Putin, who he said was greatly moved.
“I showed him the movie Dr. Strangelove…and he watched it very serious about it. He said this movie was very accurate of that time and it’s still accurate today.”
Circling back to the issue of nuclear deterrents, Stone said he’s worried that rising tensions around the world could trigger a “nuclear confrontation.”
“I’m saying I have reached that age when I am not really concerned about what happens to me but… it’s not just about the US, but about the whole planet and I feel a nuclear confrontation, an accident, could happen tomorrow. But you put ABMs in Poland and Romania - that’s a gigantic mistake.”
“An ABM can be converted overnight from a defensive missile to an offensive missile. They’re surrounded from the North the East and the West by US missiles and we don’t seem to realize it.”
Stone says he’s “scared for America,” explaining that many US citizens prefer to blindly accept media spin that’s favorable to the US establishment, without questioning it, or trying to understand Russia’s point of view.
“It’s a good thing I went through JFK when I was younger…there’s been a lot of controversy around my movies. I’m scared not for myself because I’m at that age, they can’t destroy me anymore, but I’m scared for America, I’m afraid they’ve lost their sense. I’m afraid there’s a lack of foresight and leadership.”
Stone denied allegations that he provided questions to Putin ahead of time, and said the four-part documentary is a great opportunity for Americans to learn more about Russia’s enigmatic leader.
“Over four hours you can listen to a man who’s been there 16 years talk about the balance of power. We live in this spin cycle like a laundry every day it’s a crisis and I think that’s the way we like it, it creates more money but this is not a view of the world.”