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Putin and the Presidents: William Taylor (interview) | FRONTLINE
- Published on Feb 18, 2023 veröffentlicht
- William Taylor served as the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine from 2006 to 2009 under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. In 2019, he served as chargé d’affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv under President Donald Trump. He is currently the vice president for strategic stability and security at the U.S. Institute of Peace.
The following interview was conducted by the Kirk Documentary Group’s Michael Wiser for FRONTLINE on Sept. 29, 2022. It has been edited for clarity and length.
This interview is being published as part of FRONTLINE’s Transparency Project, an effort to open up the source material behind our documentaries. Explore the transcript of this interview, and others, on the FRONTLINE website: www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/in...
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Comments • 1 232
This is excellent. I was always admiring Mr. Taylor and his views and judgements. I think everybody should hear this.
Great insight to how this WAR progressed where Ukraine and Russia are. Bill Taylor’s done a phenomenal job and knows Ukraine from his time being Ambassadorship to Ukraine. Excellent Video.
A man with impeccable integrity. Unfortunately seldom seen theses days… especially in government. Good on you Mr. Taylor.
Slava Ukraine. Victory and peace to its citizens and military.
@Sanju Shah glory to Russia 🚩🚩🚩🚩💪💪💪
Just a totally excellent interview. So informative, from a man who knows.
He actually doesn't reveal anything that isn't already public knowledge. He knows how to cover his own behind.
To the ignorant people who know nothing!
Wonderful and insightful interview.
Thank you for this interview with Mr. Taylor. He has great knowledge and experience on this topic. I hope more people watch this.
Have to give credit to the interviewer - great questions good interview
The whole series: "Putin and the Presidents" has been excellent. Thank you Frontline !!
There’s another series called I think ‘The Putin files’, excellent also. Silicon Curtain also has brilliant interviews.
Yeah, if you're interested in listening to some nobody tell lies for upwards of an hour, they're grrrr-eattt!! 😂🤦🏽♂️
@ItAintRocketScience really? What lies did he tell? Support your claim that it was a lie with source citation presenting hard and credible evidence that it was a lie.
@ItAintRocketScience So, you have no evidence to cite and present.
Didn't think so - but you deserved the opportunity.
Extreme bias (or simple-minded trolling) blinds one to balance and reason, to facts and to truth.
"Today Georgia, tomorrow Ukraine, then the Baltic states and then the time will come for my country - Poland" - Prophetic words of President of Poland Lech Kaczynski at the rally in Tbilisi, Georgia, during the 2008 Russian invasion of Georgia. He paid with his life for these words!
PBS, thank you very much for these interviews
This series of long-form interviews is fantastic, thanks
it's fantastic anti-Russia propaganda, agreed
So it should be , why should only Putin be lying nonstop
@rd1943 I'm not going to start lying just because others do, and that's because I have something they don't --integrity
@Marcos Vidal What do you consider propaganda?
@You’re in a cult biased or misleading information used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view
It's a dangerous moment indeed. But it's far more dangerous to let Putin get his way.
The collapse of the Soviet Union was the most wonderful geopolitical event of the century.
Another awesome conversation-thanks for sharing this with us
Very interesting, thank you
mr taylor is good dipllmat a kind of perspn we need im govt
I love this. A man with this composure and guile deserves more credit. No matter the bluster and cloak-and-dagger of politic du jeur, knowing that people like this are actually at the helm helps innumerable citizens sleep at night.
when lying meets poetry. That's you
Well spoken and distinguished man. Surprised he didn't mention the Chechen War...
And of course he never has a bad word to say about George W. Bush.
He implied that by giving voice to Ukraine joining NATO without pushing it over the line actually put a target on Ukraines back.
@William Young He's a diplomat. I understand that's not a very well known type of thing these days when saying shocking and controversial and even rude things will get you a lot of attention. But a diplomat is careful and says things in a way that doesn't offend. Diplomacy. He was also very careful in criticizing Mr. Obama. These folks aren't usually the blue red divide types, if they are good at their jobs. They aren't usually critical of US Presidents.
Absolutely wonderful human being showing the best of our country on the deepest level with every time the truth being carefully articulated. Thank you so much for your service and a glimpse into a secret world.🙏❤️🙏
Victory to Ukraine 🇺🇦
I appreciate these background "source" interviews SO VERY MUCH! Thank you.
This series is really wonderful in its great depth and clarity. Greetings from Sweden
@It's Australia Day Every Day Woke is a joke......
Very well investigated journalism 👌
This channel is definitely at the front of the line!!
in leftist propaganda yes...
This is an incredible interview. I feel so much smarter just from watching it.
I think that this is the most informative interview on this subject.
This is the most bias interview I've ever heard not informative get your facts right man
Thank you Mr. Wiser for your thoughtful questions and bringing smart and most experience individuals in their fields, making the interviews very interesting.
Brilliant interview. Very informative. From Ireland. 👍🇮🇪🇮🇪🇮🇪🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸
Thank you such an interesting interview and for supporting Ukraine.
Very good interview, great learning.
Very informative, loved it!
When an EXPERT talks, we listen!
To what message..?
Very interesting interview with Ambassador Taylor. He clearly knows what he is talking about!
This clip is so insightful. One of the best so far
I was with him all the way until the last bit of his final sentence.
If that's so you've been deceived 90% and that's enough to get the LIE through...
Whistle blower? Say his name. Alexander Vindman, American hero.
Individuals with as much Power and Prestige as he had don't like Whistleblowers.
@Kenny's Art work Kenny’s dead!
I don't think the name of the whistle-blower was ever revealed.
I like him! He’s so innocently cool with his facial gestures :) remeber the meme he made during congressional hearing?
His lying proves he more a criminal than a truth loving man...
Very good. US is very lucky to have this man. We all are.
Great interview. Thank you Ambassador Taylor.
Journalism at its best. Thank you, PBS.
Superb from Mr Taylor let's be honest the best summary of this chaos.
So much understanding of history and personality.
Very well put. Bad start, but it got very good as you went along! Thanks sir!
Very interesting and informative.
I’d also love to see an interview with Angela Merkel!
@41 mins. One problem with Crimea was, that Russia already had a military force in Crimea prior to the invasion (in Sebastopol) and that Crimea is easy to keep, with only a landbridge to defend.
That is an excellent point which hadn't occurred to me. Any picture of how Putin interacts with US Presidents would certainly be given an extra layer of depth by also discussing how he interacted with Merkel.
But Crimea had no water other than the canal from the North.
@Anthony Cook Merkel spoke Russian, grew up and did well in the DDR, and gained political influence from the increased natural gas imports and Nord Stream 2.
@Michael Waldmeier yes, and that’s a very interesting geopolitical feature: Ukraine probably shut off the water supply after the 2014 invasion.
@Michael Waldmeier Hi Michael 🙂
As far as I know, at the time when Merkel was at school in the DDR, it was pretty much standard to learn Russian. Nowadays all German school students learn some English (I'm saying this as an expat living in Germany, btw), but back in the day, West Germans learned English and East Germans learned Russian. That was just the way it was, so I don't think we can use that to help us form an opinion of Merkel.
But I do think it's fair to criticise the naivety of the "Handel durch Wandel" (change through trade) dictum that regulated German-Russian relations under Merkel's stewardship. It was naive at best, cynical at worst, and it sold out a number of other European countries, including Ukraine.
Right now, in 2023, Germany is hosting 1 million Ukrainian refugees, and overall doing a very good job of it. That's not something to be minimised. For example, the UK - whose media inexplicably seems to see itself as the moral compass of this conflict - have only taken about 20,000 refugees. So y'know, they can FRO to their Murdoch sex dungeons and never come back. One million refugees is a lot of state resources and a lot of care to devote to people who need it.
That said, there probably is a parallel universe in which Merkel got far more serious about the threat from the Kremlin, and this full-scale invasion was deterred by a much more robust response from Europe to the Crimean annexation - including the closure of Nord Stream. In this respect she definitely has to carry the can somewhat, and the recent interview in which she expressed "no regrets" shows that she isn't (yet) willing to do that.
One last point: if you're looking for German Chancellors who definitely *did* benefit personally from the Nord Stream deal, Merkel's predecessor Gerhard Schröder is probably your guy.
Schröder helped the original deal go through, all the while accepting personal sleigh rides from Putin through the Russian snow, and then went on to become both chairman of the Nord Stream project itself, and later chairman of the Russian oil company Rosneft. He is a sickening, nauseating man, who celebrated his 70th birthday with Putin in St. Petersburg while war raged in the Donbas in 2014.
Not a person who would be easy to meet in person without being sorely tempted to punch him in the face ;-)
Anyway, regardless of whether we agree or disagree about some of these issues, I'm glad we can have this discussion. Have a good one, Michael :-)
Kyiv is the Motherland, Moscow is the descendant. Let's get that straight.
Kievan Rus’. Rus’ is an old for Russia. Where exactly did you find Ukrainian even in the name. Kiev used to be one of many other capitals of Rus’. You have a complete ignorance of a history for one. And secondly try listening to professor John Mershiemer. He talked about this exact war back in 2015. Know your facts
I love Chicken Kiev !!! That’s how much I know about Ukraine.
@Daniela Minnekhanovalol Mershiemer, the notorious Russian simp. To the Rus people, Kyiv and the region of Ukraine was a primary region of their society. A society that connected the Vikings, particularly the Swedes, Finnish and other baltic peoples, with Constantinople. Mostly via the migration of peoples and trade via the Dnipro river.
They may have only used the term Ukrainian more recently, but the center of mass for the ancient Rus societies flowed down the Dnipro river towards Constantinople. If you could say that a single settlement was a capital at that time, its a toss up between Novgorod and Kyiv. Truthfully, they were independent societies with different power structures.
Moscow and St. Petersburg were not part of that society. In fact, they basically didn’t exist. They didn’t come into play until the time of the Tsars. (Peter the great founding st. Petersburg, Moscow being a tiny fringe settlement that was wiped out by the mongols, and much later developed by the Tsars)
The current administration of Russia has about as much legitimate claim to the Rus as a national ancestor as Americans can claim ownership of the Native American’s societies as theirs. Aka, they are primarily outsiders who conquered and ended the existence of those societies.
Sure, some of those ancient people have decendants living in the country. Some aspects of their cultures continued. But 1) The Rus were never a unified empire. Its a catch all term for a wide range of settlements and ethnicities of people. Its a historical melting pot that ties mongolia, greece and Scandinavia together. They are the settlers of major trade rivers.(Just like native tribes varied and originally settled america) 2) Those societies have long since been dominated by outside forces. The mongols/tartars, slavs, muscovites, and many others all had their heyday. Just like the Europeans who dominated the original settlers of America.
So if the United States were to claim that Canada isn’t a real country because some peoples of the Huron Confederacy traditionally inhabited Toronto, its about as valid as Moscow saying that Kyiv is really part of their ancient heritage of the Rus, even the the Rus people were most concentrated in Ukraine and Belarus.
@Raft Guy 👌That is the true story! 👏🤝
Motherland, Fatherland…..it all smacks of vile nationalism.
This series has been excellent
Love these productions❤
Loved the interview.
Please keep this series going. Absolutely top tier journalism!
Great interview. Great info's , questions and answers based on facts. Ambassador William Taylor seems to be very confident and serious on telling the plain-truth. Bravo to you Mr. Ambassador
Almost everything Taylor said is a lie...
You don’t get to be an ambassador without being a skilled liar that’s what I’m seeing here
Insightful, informative, great interview - Glad the United States has people like Mr. Taylor.
These interviews have been among the most enlightening, eye opening pieces of journalism I've seen.
I trust frontline and PBS. Best programs on 📺
Terrific human being.
He's purposely leaving out tons of context. Hes a good source if your only looking for the western position.
@Drew Zimmerman well said ... unfortunately its very easy to see someone as a terrific human being, when they say what you want to hear, rather than the truth ... these are the opposite of good people
I love listening to intelligent adults talk about foreign policy. The idiots and children are far too common and far too vocal these days.
Frankly, PBS seems like the most objective and informative news out there these days.
It doesn’t seem like it, it is.
LOL - koolaid goes down easy
@GeoMaddock Which koolaid? Would you prefer 2 or 3 minute analysis by people that have no idea?
@GeoMaddock Koolaid, sheeple, blah blah blah. Have an original thought.
I’ve been a subscriber since 2014 I’m glad I know what’s going on thank you 🙏 @frontline
I wonder why western European states said no to George Bush, when he was such a calm, reflected and rational politician.
I was guilty of being anti-GB too, but I’ve grown and learned since then… he did a damn good job, given the circumstances. I’m still a democrat, but I also feel drawn toward sane republicans these days. Too bad there aren’t any currently….
I think ambassador Taylor is referring to President GW Bush, not the father HW Bush. President GW Bush didn't have have the same reputation as his father, accused improperly of being an alcoholic and elected only because he was a Bush family member. In fact, the first year or two of his Presidency was dominated by neo-conservatives led by VP Cheney. In the end, GW Bush proved himself of special mettle when he reversed course in the middle of his administration and turned it inside out expelling the neo-conservatives that ran his administration led by VP Cheney in the first couple years and Bush led his Presidency for the remainder of his term. IMO very few people or Presidents would have done what GW Bush did, that showed GW Bush was more of a person than a lot of people thought. President GW Bush was respected much but turned out to be a better than expected President.
Putin does not think that the US is behind all of Russia's problems. Putin's rhetoric is best seen through the lens of his domestic failures. All Russian dictators, from the Tsars on, needed an external enemy for their regime to survive (besieged fortress syndrome). The Kremlin fears China beyond description. So, the West, being pretty much harmless to Russia is the only and easy choice. Putin knows that blaming the West is a fallacy.
@Tony Su your point and mine are separate issues
Letting intelligent and articulate people actually speak with honesty and without interruption is great journalism. Thank you, I enjoy Frontline.
It’s that Frontline narrator in the beginning of every episode that catches my attention. “TONIGHT ON FRONTLINE….”
Yes! Bill Taylor is the f-king man! That VOICE!!!
God bless America! Amazing interview.
Why should God discriminate?
Proves how fragile freedom is!
Great to see Arsene Wenger doing his bit for world peace
to be real in my mind in 2014 the reaction came after they shot down a plane the flew over ukraine
I love this man
Great speaker William Taylor, intelligent great voice ..
A great voice that reveals nothing.
Ukraine should have never given up its nukes. That is the worst lesson of this war.
Bottom line is that you are better off leaving the sleeping dragons 🐉 lye or face the wrath of the mighty Eagle 🦅. Let freedom ring. Let the whole world know who are listening!
The Taliban sure learned their lessons not mess with America. “Thanks for leaving us your weapons stupid Americans!”
PBS really going for the Errol Morris vibe.
A lesson on how to defend and fight a bully. Putin only understands one thing. Might meets might. Get rid of Putin and the war is over. But my fear is that this doesnt end well.
"Not a superpower, just a regional power. " Well, Germany in 1933 was not even considered a regional power ...
Frontline PBS is the perfect match to french LCI. Like twins.
Putin kept showing us who he was but we failed to see. It's no wonder he felt confident that his invasion of Ukraine would be a fait accompli. By taking putin at his word or deluding ourselves that he would see reason the West appeared naive and weak which played into Putin's hands. All he had to do was to keep making agreements as it suited him and bide his time till he could rip them up and proceed how he liked. It appears obvious that where Russia is concerned we are better to take advice from the Baltic states.
The difficulty is that you often need to focus on more than one thing at a time. The PRC and Russia are both problems.
What a pro
This is outstanding!
I like this dude b/c he sh*ts on the Russian offensive wrt Ukraine.
Great interview! Thank you!
Fascinating insights. Unfortunate that NATO to knocked back member initiation of Georgia and Ukraine.
Great interview, I learned so much. I have a random question are you wearing a toupee? I adore it.
2M + Subscribers. We are moving forward in Truth.
Thank you, Frontline!
Putin is very scared that his people will see from Ukrainians that they can govern themselves and that is why he has to rail against the US-so “his” people rise up thinking they are with, rather than against him. He remembers Dresden and fears the mob…
The Putin Files is also a great Frontline series!
😅😂😂 Damn mimi Just couldn't Do it🤣
It's interesting compared to Snyders interview, the ambassador seems to largely take Putins enmity with the USA to be sincere, whereas Snyder seems to emphasize that this is a largely cynical strategic fiction.
I’m very concerned about the things going on at this time take where so important, and not taking at serious by the government at this . 54:20
Glory to the brave Ukrainians defending democracy and freeing their land from Russian invaders, murderers, terrorists and war criminals 🇺🇦 god bless Will Taylor ❤
What do we in America know about democracy (which if we had one wouldn't be so great for its mandate to impose the will of the many upon the concerns of the few anyway)? How is it even possible to achieve democratically-elected representation by artificial constraint of the (fully -lobbied) candidate pool to two (fully-lobbied) parties? Rhetorical I'm not being personally aggressive with you 😐 or trying to sound that way. I'm just pointing out it isn't even necessary that our elections are real with a semantic trick like the very term democracy at work falsely implying informed dissent within a governed electorate never rises to a majority.
Just is what it is man. All governments are plutocracies because no impulse to govern over others arises from anything but self-interest...which is a big duh that we are not accidentally dumbed-down about. One-party sells people too stupid (maybe naive but distracted by greed) to realize ripoffs like student loan forgiveness of course come right out of their very own taxes and the other one pretends to be about smaller and less government while legislating such bullshit as marriage and reproduction. Even the most nobly idealistic soundly-chartered government is inevitably corrupted because politicians are like beauty pageant contestants. Like I said, is what it is. So yay democracy but AFAICT our mutual misapprehension of Slavs is that we do not fathom that they are more cynical than me and they do not believe we are as idealistic as you.
Glory to the Brave Ukrainians defending their variety of corruption.
@Paul Bryant Good point.
Weird to think how back in 2012 it was the Republican, Romney, who was harder on our stance with Russia versus the Democrat, Obama, who was more willing to work with them.
These people, this person, is worthy of holding a diplomatic post. Experience, education, training, where-with-all and common sense and sympathy are what should be required for such a position. This is what we should expect from any governmental official, elected or not. Braying asses in white furs and glossy lipstick are cute but ineffectual....at best.
I like this guy
Condi-who most republicans adore, was against Ukraine joining NATO as far as I understand….the institute that Condi is powerful at, has done almost NO analyses of what has been happening in Ukraine!
Thanks Amb. Taylor!
Bad sign if Bush lectures you about morality lol
In July-August 2019 everything was “on hold”in Ukraine. They were waiting for their parliament (“Rada”) starts working. Nobody knew what direction the Ukrainians would choose. New President, new representatives, new Attorney General, etc.
that was the reason of dealing the military help
I am so sad that our Western European allies said no to Ukraine and Georgia 😢
Why? It would be WWIII now.
thanks, i enjoyed this.. bless us all
I learned something new I didn’t know, Good, video! 29:24
catastrophic consequences.......words that only a bully would understand
Interesting insights here.