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[00:00:01]

In the name of the hard working Americans who make up our forgotten middle class, I proudly accept your nomination for president of, you know.

[00:00:13]

In 1992, when Bill Clinton was running for his first term as president of the Soviet Union had come apart and America was the only superpower left standing in the Cold War is over.

[00:00:28]

Soviet communism has collapsed. And our values, freedom, democracy, individual rights, free enterprise, they have triumphed all around the world with the exception of a few rogue states.

[00:00:43]

Everyone wanted to embrace democracy now and everyone but the United States, including a great Cold War enemy, Russia or so America's leaders want to believe. And so it is with great admiration for your historic achievements that I and I ask all of you to join me in raising a glass to you. Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin, president of the Russian Federation.

[00:01:14]

On the surface, Bill Clinton and the new Russian leader, Boris Yeltsin, made a show of being friends, even allies, during the start of Bill Clinton.

[00:01:25]

We have put him up. If you want to say, first of all, that when I came here at the invitation of the president of the United States, Bill Clinton, I did not at that time have the degree of optimism with which I now and the party.

[00:01:41]

But as the 1990s wore on, the euphoria that followed the Soviet Union's collapse faded away and a new resentment toward the U.S. took root in Russia.

[00:01:54]

Much of that resentment had to do with NATO, the Western military alliance created after World War Two in 1949, joining in a united front from the Tropic of Cancer to the North Pole, the Atlantic democracies pledge themselves to a 14 point mutual assistance pact in case of attack on any one of them to NATO's members promise to defend one another against the Soviets.

[00:02:18]

An attack on one of them was an attack on all, and they pledged themselves to democracy and the rule of law, a statement of the lessons of history as the United States strengthens its leadership among the world's democracies.

[00:02:36]

Starting in 1993, the U.S. pushed to expand NATO to include nations like Poland and Estonia that had been part of the Soviet empire. The expansion would bring the American led Cold War alliance right up to Russia's border. Diplomacy as political warfare. George Kennan, the State Department's most famous Kremlinologist, had invented the idea of political warfare back in 1948. Now, writing for The New York Times opinion page, Kennan warned that America was making a huge mistake by expanding NATO.

[00:03:17]

He said it would subvert Russia's budding democracy, could potentially lead to a new Cold War. Over the years, two American secretaries of state had personally assured Russia's leaders that the NATO expansion wouldn't happen, at least not anytime soon.

[00:03:36]

But it did. And once Yeltsin realized what was happening, he was furious and confronted Clinton directly. Yeltsin was convinced that Washington was trying to use NATO to rule over Europe and command the fate of its nations. It is a dangerous illusion, Yeltsin said, to suppose that the destinies of continents can somehow be managed from one single capital. But the United States pressed ahead, leaving Yeltsin angry, humiliated and powerless to stop it.

[00:04:12]

Then in 1999, just 12 days after NATO admitted three new members, the newly expanded military alliance went to war, bombing a European capital, Belgrade, in the heart of the former Yugoslavia.

[00:04:27]

Its warplanes attacked a nation which for decades had been in Russia's sphere of influence.

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The bombing campaign aimed to punish the war criminal who ran the country, a man who happened to be Russia's strongest ally in Europe. A few months later, Yeltsin resigned and a new president came to power in Russia. Today, the clear winner of the Russian presidential election, Vladimir Putin, began to establish the Putin era. Vladimir Putin, the career spy, talks about establishing what he calls a dictatorship of the law.

[00:05:00]

While Putin was even more embittered than Yeltsin to find an American led military alliance at Russia's doorstep. Years later, at a press conference, Putin blamed many of the world's problems on American triumphalism after the Cold War.

[00:05:17]

You have to understand that they the West didn't stop after the Berlin Wall. And this is the most important problem for today's international relations. Partners didn't stop and they decided that they are the winners, that they are the new empire and all the rest of vassals. You have to be pushed to the ground you are selling. Like the roots of Putin's anger.

[00:05:38]

America lie in the rubble of the Soviet empire. And what happened when the United States pushed to promote democracy throughout the Kremlin's fallen domain? We are living with the consequences of his revenge. I'm Tim Weiner and this is World. In this week's episode, How America's Expanding Power Created a backlash and post-Cold War Russia and led to a new era of 21st century political warfare. The destruction of the Soviet Union began in August 1991 when the head of the KGB and the Soviet defense minister staged a coup in Moscow.

[00:06:41]

Good evening. After six years in power and being responsible for the dismantling of hardline communism, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev was ousted.

[00:06:49]

Today, they have. The leaders of the coup wanted to stop Gorbachev's policies of openness and political reform. They put him under house arrest. Tanks rolled through the streets of Moscow. They shelled the Russian seat of government, which is called the White House.

[00:07:08]

Yeltsin himself is denouncing Mr. Gorbachev's ouster and is calling for a general strike to return Mr. Gorbachev to power. But at this hour, the hard liners who engineered the overthrow appear to have physical control of the capital for three days.

[00:07:24]

The fate of a nation hung in the balance, but out of the crisis, a new and independent Russia was born.

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It actually was the final stage of the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

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That's Andrei Kozyrev. He was a young Soviet diplomat at the time, and he was in the Russian White House when the troops tried and failed to take it over.

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The Soviet Union was a of structure around the democratic forces, defeated the coup that they wanted to be free and to be a normal country.

[00:08:04]

Tonight, Mikhail Gorbachev is again president of the Soviet Union, the man who tried to bring him down or either under arrest or being hunted. Boris Yeltsin, the Russian president, once dismissed as a loose cannon on the Soviet political scene, has stared the cannons down and emerged as the man who kept the Soviet Union from being plunged backwards. The pace of events today has been difficult.

[00:08:27]

Andrei Kozyrev became Russia's foreign minister, a post he held for five tumultuous years. He was the person who called President George H.W. Bush in December 1991 to tell him that the Soviet Union was dissolving. Andrei, tell me more about this. You're in a hunting lodge deep in the woods in Belarus, and sitting on the desk in this hunting lodge is a large black rotary telephone. And you look at this phone and you say, I need to call the president of the United States to declare that the Cold War is over.

[00:09:09]

You pick up the phone and then what happens and then I think what number to dial? And thanks God, I found a number of the State Department and I called that number and a lady on duty said that she was not in the mood for stupid jokes. And I tried to explain that I was not mad, but that it was very important that the two presidents talk.

[00:09:48]

You convince her that you are the foreign minister of Russia and that you need to talk to the president of the United States. Then what?

[00:09:55]

She looked for somebody like a diplomat or somebody, you know, like a manager.

[00:10:02]

Let me talk to your manager. But that was Sunday. So probably just a couple of diplomats on duty. She did not probably believe me, and I was persuasive enough. She switched to a diplomat and I spoke to the diplomats and diplomats switched me to his superiors. So it was like probably four steps or five steps or four or five people in the State Department that I had to talk to. Only after that they connected to the White House. And then it was again, like three to four steps before it was actual president Epiphone.

[00:10:54]

And offsets, OK, if that's a decision of the Russian people and the peoples of other republics like Ukraine and others. Good luck. And then I translated the message.

[00:11:13]

And so the Soviet Union and decades of Cold War came to an end. In effect, the alliance struck by the three Slavic republics in a country house and below Russia terminated the central government and the Soviet Union in its place, a commonwealth of independent states led by Boris Yeltsin's Russia, Leonid Kravchuk, Ukraine and the Belorussia of President Stanislav Shushkevich combined. In Washington, the president and the State Department wondered what kind of country Russia would become even before today's announcement.

[00:11:47]

Secretary of State James Baker said the U.S. recognized Soviet reality. I think the Soviet Union, as we've known it, no longer exists. I think that there will continue to be efforts to maintain some sort of a center who is to say what the powers of that will be. But it's Russia and the United States sought to redefine the relationship with the Cold War, gave way to a cold peace. We've been hearing from Andrei Kozyrev, who was Russia's foreign minister from 1991 to 1996.

[00:12:36]

He served Boris Yeltsin as the country was trying to find its place in the new world order.

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So now it's 1993. You are the foreign minister of Russia, the new Russia, and you're looking to the United States and its new president, Bill Clinton, to help your country become a democracy. Bill Clinton clearly thinks that he can talk Boris Yeltsin into becoming a Democrat. But does Yeltsin have a grasp? Of what democracy would look like in Russia. That was the problem with the Yeltsin administration, that Yeltsin was very good to destroy the Soviet Union, but he had a very vague idea and did not have the stamina to actually destroy the old system, but replace it with democratic structures because he wanted to be involved.

[00:13:38]

He wanted to take the place of former Soviet leaders rather than to install democracy. Though Yeltsin rejected communist ideology, he retained authoritarian powers. He started to rule by decree in 1993, making legislators powerless to challenge presidential orders when they defied him. He cut off their electricity, phones and hot water. Yet President Clinton hoped he could become a Democrat brick by brick. Through your tireless and steadfast efforts, you have laid the foundation for a democratic Russia. Your nation has now an elected president and parliament, a constitution, an increasingly free economy and an open society.

[00:14:36]

Yeltsin was unpredictable and often drunk, but Clinton stood by him because, as you put in private, Yeltsin drunk was better than his anti-democratic rivals sober. And after parliamentary elections in 1995, it seemed like those political rivals might make a return to power in the presidential election the following year in the world's biggest country. Tonight, Russian voters went to the polls to elect a new parliament, and the early indications cannot be very comforting to President Boris Yeltsin. The first returns suggest the communists have struck a responsive chord based on the early results.

[00:15:15]

Millions of voters have sent him a message. And the messages. We don't like what you're doing.

[00:15:21]

Clinton became the first and only American president to campaign openly for his Russian counterpart. In speeches, he praised Yeltsin as the father of Russian democracy.

[00:15:33]

I will say again, I know that there have been times in the last three months when many Americans traveled with their own economic difficulties, have asked why their president would be so involved in trying to support the process of democracy in Russia. That can be a symbol of democracy in a very troubled part of the world.

[00:15:51]

If democracy can stay alive there, they can prove that Clinton is comparing Boris Yeltsin, who is not a Democrat, to Abraham Lincoln. He is helping secure enormous multibillion dollar loans to boost the economy. He's doing everything he can to help Yeltsin win reelection. That's true.

[00:16:13]

I mean, to my mind, that was a mistake, especially since Yeltsin was running with a tiny little slogans that anti American slogans that that was the irony.

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On July 3rd, 1996, Russians went back to the polls.

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This morning, I spoke with President Yeltsin to congratulate him on his victory and on the victory of the Russian people.

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Ultimately, Yeltsin defeated his ex-communist and neofascist opponents and won re-election.

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You know, in January, a majority of the of the people of Russia said they wouldn't vote for him for reelection. And so he said he's had a remarkable turnaround. He sort of took the comeback kid label away from me, but he sounded quite bad.

[00:17:03]

President Clinton had been trying to do two opposing things at once. He was supporting Yeltsin in the name of Russian democracy, but he was undermining it by pushing the expansion of NATO. Yeltsin told Clinton, I see nothing but humiliation for Russia. If you perceive America proceeded. And after Yeltsin won reelection, he grew weaker and his anti-democratic foes grew stronger. I asked Andre if the NATO issue inflamed the old guard, the KGB and military veterans in the government who had always seen America as the enemy.

[00:17:44]

Absolutely.

[00:17:45]

The main force behind the restoration of the Soviet type of government in Russia and NATO foreign policy was the KGB, which was not reformed. If there is a deep state somewhere, I cannot see it in America. But here it is in Russia and they restored. They are like in the Soviet Union under new banners, not under the banner of communism, but under the nationalistic banners, and now those ballots are waving in Russia in full strength. By 1997, despite the increasingly fierce Russian opposition, the expansion of NATO became inevitable.

[00:18:46]

The United States Senate has begun the process of formally approving the planned expansion of NATO. Three new members, all former rivals from the fallen communist bloc, are to join the alliance with a grudging approval of Moscow at an appearance in March 1999.

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Two things happen in quick succession. NATO grew to include three former Soviet satellites Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic. Then, 12 days later, NATO went to war. The U.S. led coalition began bombing Belgrade, the capital city of the former Yugoslavia. It was an attack on the heart of the Serb Republic, led by the warlord Slobodan Milosevic, who had been committing genocide against his enemies for years. The bombing aimed to stop the killing. It was an act of war in the name of peace.

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But Russia's leaders saw it as proof that Washington wanted to overwhelm the Kremlin's dwindling influence in the world by going to war against Moscow's closest ally in Europe. I asked Andrei Kozyrev how the Kremlin reacted, Kremlin was furious because every game by the free world is seen as a defeat by them because they are against democracy. They are against the free world. It wasn't the Soviet times and unfortunately, it was by the end of the 90s. And unfortunately, it is today as we speak.

[00:20:26]

And it's a zero sum game, just as it is quote for them. And it's it's it's very sad.

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Yeltsin had begged Clinton to call off the bombing. He warned him that it would be seen as an attack on Russia itself. His prediction came true as Vladimir Putin later told a reporter the bombing ruptured Russia's relationship with the United States. They have come to believe that they can decide the destinies of the world. Putin said this happened in Yugoslavia. We remember 1999 very well despite the bombing campaign. Milosevic held on to his power the next year. In 2000, he would hold an election.

[00:21:14]

The likelihood that he would try to rig it was high and so America would switch from military warfare to political warfare. More on that after the break. When the KGB veteran Vladimir Putin came to power at the turn of the 21st century, the dream of Russian democracy was dead. Putin was an autocrat and he had very few friends. Among the leaders of the world, the handful of allies he did have were Soviet style strongmen in nations that were still in the Kremlin's dwindling sphere of influence among the strongest of Putin's allies, with Slobodan Milosevic, the war criminal who ruled Serbia a goal when the U.S. and NATO bombed Serbia in 1999 was to stop Milosevic from killing his own people.

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My fellow Americans, our mission is clear. In short, if President Milosevic will not make peace, we will limit his ability to make war.

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But when the bombs stopped falling, Milosevic was still standing. And so the United States went back to the drawing board for a new mission to dislodge him. It was a political warfare operation that was led in public by American diplomats and democracy advocates. But it had a secret component to President Clinton, signed an order authorizing the CIA to use covert action to subvert the dictator at the ballot box. The CIA financed and supported Milosevic opponents to the tune of millions of dollars.

[00:23:04]

It met with key aides to the Serbian opposition leaders and handed over the cash, something it had been doing in foreign elections since 1948. And the recipients of the help became vital sources of information on the struggle against Milosevic. Doug was spent nearly 30 years in the CIA's clandestine service, and in 2000 he turned his attention to what was happening in Serbia. Doug, let's start with Slobodan Milosevic, one of the more hateful people in the post-Cold War world, who was he and what was he doing in the 1990s while he was becoming a Proteau dictator, I suspect would be the best way to describe it.

[00:23:58]

He became a true believer of Soviet style communism, which served him well politically, as well as certainly serving him well when he needed the relationship with the Russian Federation.

[00:24:12]

He is, among other things, a mass murder. He killed thousands of innocent Muslim civilians.

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The pictures that stunned a nation show Serbian policemen pulling Bosnian Muslims out of a truck to be executed, forced to lie on the ground, bullets sprayed over their heads. The men then taken to a field and shot point blank just six of the more than 7000 Bosnian Muslims massacred in the town of Srebrenica.

[00:24:39]

The atrocity he led, the largest slaughter of innocent people since the Holocaust of World War Two. There was nothing that even approached the scale.

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And I think in many respects, Slobodan Milosevic was an equal opportunity, genocidal maniac in the largest majority of his victims were innocent, the Muslim citizens of what you and I now know as Bosnia Herzegovina. But he slaughtered a healthy number of Croatians along the way. You know, for Milosevic, you know, genocide was a perfectly acceptable leadership tool. Doug, why did the U.S. and NATO decide to make war against him? I think they believed that they had already witnessed unimaginable slaughter and that this regime as an institution, not individuals, as an institution, needed to have a reckoning, needed to have justice.

[00:25:45]

And in some respects, depending on your perspective, you know, a healthy amount of revenge as well. And so I think it all turned on a humanitarian motivation. And so I think NATO said enough is enough. We need to stop this right now. And it's all humanitarian, but ultimately underpinned by the moral suasion of the United States of America.

[00:26:11]

On day thirty seven of the air war against Serbia, NATO planes carried out hundreds of sorties.

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Tonight, NATO bombs knocked some TV off the air again. In all, there have been 300 combat missions today, some of the heaviest bombing of the war, but one.

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And at this point, Milosevic has a few friends in the world. But they're mostly in Moscow, aren't they?

[00:26:31]

I mean, he was a true believer of the Soviet style of communism. So it is no surprise that, you know, his ideology and Putin's ideology were quite well matched.

[00:26:43]

And from a Putin perspective, Slobodan Milosevic was about as similar in outlook and in ideology to Vladimir Putin and the fact that the Russians didn't have very many allies and that the Serbs end up sharing some Slavic ethnicity with the Russians. And I think also that the whole notion of suffering, I think that exists in Russia and the the sense of humiliation which fuels Vladimir Putin's foreign policy today, it's fueled that then it was a way for Russia to really reassert itself, having come from what they viewed was a tragedy and and the humiliation of disintegration of the Soviet Union.

[00:27:34]

And it was a great way for them to extend political and military power and influence into a part of Europe that, quite frankly, even NATO hadn't yet really had much penetration except for some 500 pound bombs. But it was a very natural natural alliance and natural instinct on the part of Putin to support Slobodan Milosevic.

[00:28:03]

It's now 2000. Air power does not dislodge Milosevic. Milosevic is still standing. He's a sitting president running for re-election. He has been formally charged as a war criminal, but he's running anyway. He's backed by the new ruler of Russia, Vladimir Putin. What is he doing to win re-election? You know, there had been a nascent opposition in Serbia for about nine years. So there was some foundational work that had been done. The people of Serbia were starting to become disenchanted with this brutal repression.

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And like any despot does, you know, you start disappearing people.

[00:28:55]

And I think it was a very brutal fashion.

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If I remember correctly, a new student movement was rising up against Milosevic. It was called outport, the Serbian word for resistance. Use the one weapon that autocrats fear most. Laughter Here's one member of what we're talking about, the power of political humor in a 2002 documentary about the group.

[00:29:21]

Everything we did must have a dosage of humor because I'm joking. You're becoming angry. You're always showing only one face. And I'm always, again, with another joke, with another action, with another positive message to the wider audience. And that's how we collected the third party in the whole story, which is the very important, the publicity.

[00:29:47]

The people on the ground poor found many ways to mock Milosevic. They threw a public birthday party for him with gifts, including handcuffs and a one way ticket to the war crimes tribunal in The Hague. Though they were arrested and jailed by the hundreds, they were unifying the people against the regime, it took massive amounts of courage for those young women and men to really stand up to Milosevic.

[00:30:17]

And even then, it was very difficult for them. And quite frankly, I suspect that if you interviewed any of them, they would tell you that in the early days of 2000, it was quite dicey and they had no idea or no expectation that they would succeed with their oppositionist goals. And worse yet, they didn't have any oppositionist skills or capabilities. And that's where the West and the United States of America came in. They no longer reverted to the traditional tools of regime change.

[00:30:53]

They actually decided to use the political process nascent. It was, and certainly full of courage as it was. But they saw that the greatest opportunity for regime change in Yugoslavia was going to be through legitimate political processes.

[00:31:14]

So does the resistance is growing up, even gets members of the security forces and the media to defect to their side? And of course, the United States is giving overt and covert support the support. And I have the sense that American diplomats and spies have a clear picture of the inner workings of the opposition than Milosevic and his spies.

[00:31:37]

Do I allow for the fact that Milosevic didn't have a good operating picture of actually how capable of poor was was becoming and how vulnerable his own political machine was becoming at the same time, because his inner circle was certainly not giving him accurate ground truth, because that was certainly as most despots who lead today, you know, those that kind of information.

[00:32:08]

This is upsetting, I think, to what forces in its whole of government approach is the United States bring to bear to support the resistance in Serbia in 2000, the US government come up with the acronym Dayme, you know, diplomatic, intelligence, military and economic.

[00:32:25]

The diplomatic effort far dominated any of the other efforts. The military piece, 78 days of bombing.

[00:32:35]

There is no no further need, which leaves diplomatic, intelligence and economic.

[00:32:41]

The economic piece got folded in to the to the diplomatic piece because you didn't have to do much to convince the average Serb citizen that the economy was horrible.

[00:32:55]

Quite frankly, the economic piece was very obvious. It also was was a matter in the messaging. The diplomatic piece was significant. I think 41 million dollar congressional appropriations is provided. Almost all of that was expended by the Department of State and USA for international development. A lot of policymakers really, you know, like like using Thor's hammer, by the way, that the U.S. military. But in this particular case, they've already done that. We're not going to do it with bullets.

[00:33:27]

We're not going to do with bombs, but we're going to use the full spectrum diplomacy, economic pressure and covert operations, which is political warfare in a nutshell, correct? Absolutely.

[00:33:41]

I mean, what you described was what I would say was political warfare one on one. And so essentially, the United States of America ran a campaign against Slobodan Milosevic, nonpublic, to say the least, by providing expertise, data to make decisions, capabilities to refine and target the message, not just the content of the message, but actually the precise, effective delivery of the messages. And that expertise was provided by the United States of America to the opposition to the poor leadership.

[00:34:20]

And they very effectively use the lessons that they learned from us and applied it very well indeed.

[00:34:29]

Among other things, American taxpayers are paying for thousands of cans of spray paint used by the Sudan activists to write anti Milosevic. Graffiti on walls across Serbia paid for 2.5 million stickers with the slogan he's finished. What else is going on? I think the program itself was ostensibly and officially over. I mean, pollsters meeting with our poor leaders, you know, in Budapest, nonpublic, to be sure. But I think the traditional classified piece was quite small indeed and contributed for sure, whatever it was.

[00:35:09]

But I think the bulk of the work was, quite frankly, very overt. We now know, because it's on the record that President Clinton signed a covert action finding authorizing the CIA to do something about Milosevic, specifically defeat him in the 2000 election. Now, over the years and decades, the best weapon of political warfare that the CIA had in the Cold War most of the time was cash, and it financed the opposition in Serbia. Isn't this something CIA has always done, which is making friends and influencing people among the potential future leaders of a nation?

[00:35:49]

Having been a chief of station four times, I can assure the American people that, you know, we are part of the foreign policy machine of the United States of America, but our job is to develop relationships with institutions and relationships with individuals in those institutions to help move US foreign policy objectives forward in a way that is less public than the State Department. There are times when that less public dimension is much more significant than the overt piece. It's not unusual, for example, for any nation to benefit from their intelligence service relationships with intelligence service counterparts, because it is not surprising that politicians, you know, would disagree and nations will overtly find themselves at periods of great tension.

[00:36:52]

And it is the intelligence services of respective nations whose job is to kind of keep the bow of the ship heading in the right direction and to be have healthy relationships available once the political tensions are resolved through more traditional diplomacy. So, yeah, you bet. That's what CIA's role is to, you know, develop relationships. Those those relationships are absolutely critical to providing US policymakers with non-public information. So presidents and junior policymakers, cabinet officials can make informed decision.

[00:37:34]

The United States can't do it all themselves. So the lifeblood on our own self-preservation is truly through those relationships that are bilateral or multilateral, something that is quite absent today.

[00:37:49]

On September 14, in the year 2000, the people went to the polls to determine Milosevic fate. If no one won 50 percent, the top two finishers would go to a runoff. When election totals were released, the government claimed that the opposition party fell just short of 50 percent, but the people didn't believe the government's numbers, so they took to the streets.

[00:38:17]

Are you shocked? Tonight in Belgrade, the opposition is calling for a national campaign of civil disobedience until Milosevic steps down.

[00:38:26]

There are all kinds of suggestions that Slobodan Milosevic is losing his power within his country. President Clinton made it official today that he should resign and said he would lift sanctions on Serbia as soon as it happened.

[00:38:38]

For three days, Belgrade was brought to a standstill by widespread protests.

[00:38:43]

Tonight, the pillars of Milosevic's support are crumbling. The patriarch of the powerful Serbian Orthodox Church has urged him to step aside. Yugoslavia's top general now says the army will not use force against protesters. And several members of the election commission resigned today because they said they were pressured to falsify results.

[00:39:03]

Finally, Milosevic gave in to the will of the people and he resigned. Less than two years later, he went on trial for war crimes in The Hague. He died in his jail cell before the verdict. The political warfare operation to defeat Milosevic at the ballot box was a smashing success. The combination of overt and covert action helped push a war criminal and a Putin ally out of power and toward prison. But as far as anyone knows, it was the last operation of its kind carried out by the CIA.

[00:39:41]

Soon, another kind of warfare took priority. After the Cold War, when America projected its power into the realm of the fallen Soviet empire, it wanted to make democracies out of countries that had suffered under the Kremlin's oppression. NATO was a means to that end. You had to look like a democracy to join, and many nations wanted to be America's new allies, but Vladimir Putin saw this as a renewal of the Cold War and he pushed back, projecting his own power in an undeclared war against the West.

[00:40:26]

In a 2014 press conference, he talked about the sense of betrayal. He felt the growth of this military alliance was there.

[00:40:36]

Didn't they tell us after the fall of the Berlin Wall that there will be no NATO expansion to the east? And yet it started immediately after that, two waves of NATO expansion?

[00:40:46]

Isn't that a wall when you say, OK, they didn't dig trenches, but this wall is a virtual one and they started creating it.

[00:40:53]

For most of the last 20 years, Putin has been waging political warfare against that virtual wall created by the United States and he's been winning battles today. Many nations that signed up to join NATO are under his political influence and sliding back toward autocracy. But America didn't see that counter-attack coming. Because after 9/11, political warfare against Russia was no longer on the agenda. Instead, American intelligence became an instrument devoted to the war on terror as President George W. Bush tried to impose American democracy on the Middle East at gunpoint.

[00:41:40]

My fellow citizens, at this hour, American and coalition forces are in the early stages of military operations to disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger.

[00:41:53]

In the end, we were so focused on transforming the Middle East that we became half blind to what was happening in the rest of the world. Meanwhile, a vengeful Putin started pushing back against Western democracy. It began in 2007 with a sneak attack, the world's first cyber war, and a dress rehearsal for a plot against America. And that's the next episode of With. One is presented by Caden's 13 Jigsaw Productions and Prologue Projects, the show is written by me.

[00:42:41]

Tim Weiner and produced I Know My Husband, Andrew Parsons and Leon NEFA with editorial support from Madison White. The story is based on my book, The Folly in the Glory America, Russia and Political Warfare, where one is executive produced by Chris Corcoran, Alex Gibney, Stephen Fisher, Stacey ofMan, Richard Borrello, Joey Mara and John Schmitt.