David Scheffer. He was the first person to ever hold that position.
And we also have with us the former deputy director of National Intelligence, Beth Santer.
Thanks to both of you for being here. Really appreciate it. Let’s start with this arrest warrant. Do you think it’s likely that Putin will actually ever stand trial in The Hague or face any consequences because of this?
It’s possible. And it’s possible because first, this is the first step towards delegitimizing him on a legal scale, even before his own people.
Other top leaders who have been indicted, whether by the war crimes tribunals of the 1990s or even by the International Criminal Court, ultimately lost their authority, even domestically. And they then stand the risk of standing trial before any of these tribunals once that happens.
I don’t think we should assume that Vladimir Putin is in power for the next
10 to 15 or 20 years in Russia. At some point, he’ll lose that power. And when he does, I think in part prompted by this this arrest warrant against him, he’ll be subject to the possibility of arrest. That’s also true. Even if he travels to India
or Pakistan or China or North Korea.
It’s not that he will be immediately arrested, but there will be a tremendous amount of pressure put on those governments, particularly India, for example, not to cater to him, because I would suspect that some government leaders from the G-20 will actually boycott the G-20 summit if if Mr. Putin indeed is going to be present there.
They cannot as as as was stated in your report, they cannot literally sit at a table and negotiate with an indicted fugitive of the International Criminal Court or engage in diplomatic discussions without a tremendous amount of blowback if they do so. Do you agree? Do you think this will further isolate Putin?
former deputy director
Well, if you look at the autocrats that he hangs around with right now, none of these people are signatories. So, you know, Iran, North Korea, China and even these parties that are kind of the India in-between parties like India. So, you know, in some ways, I think that it almost geopolitically solidifies even more the divisions that we’re seeing in our world. You know, countries that agree and countries that don’t agree, even though the U.S. isn’t a signatory, we support this sort of the sort of indictment. Right. Morally.
So I do think that there is this division, you know, but ultimately, this just to me reinforces the you know, let me count the ways of how Putin sees this war as an existential war. Yeah.
You know, because if he loses right now, you know, the consequences are much higher. So in a way, this might make him dig in even more. Even though, I mean, it’s hard to imagine him digging even in war. But, you know, historically that doesn’t really play out. Once these individuals are actually indicted, it’s not as if they’re emboldened. They actually start to lose their authority and their political clout and they achieve international pariah status.
This this experience we experienced this in the 1990s and the early 2000s. Once these leaders are indicted, they are not strengthened and they don’t dig in. They actually start to draw back. Although we should note that Chinese President Xi Jinping is traveling to Moscow next week to meet with Putin. Do you think that this could change that or affect that at all? Not at all. And so so I agree completely with David, but I also think that, like, we’re kind of in a different geopolitical moment now where, you know, what did the foreign ministry of China say about this visit coming up?
He he said this is a moment where we are two strong powers. We are members, Russia and China of the U.N. Security Council. And this meeting has so much more strategic value than about our bilateral relationship. This is about creating an alternative world order. And to me, you know, unfortunately, I don’t think China is going to be swayed by any of this. And both of these leaders have known for a long time that ultimately Mr. Putin would be indicted. So it’s not as if this is a surprise. They knew this was coming. All right, David Scheffer and Beth Sander, thanks to both of you for your expertize.
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