Sam Nunn on Vladimir Putin and the Danger of Silence

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Sam Nunn, distinguished professor in the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs, interviewed with AJC correspondent Jim Galloway about Vladimir Putin's upcoming visit to the U.S.

Galloway writes:

“Sam Nunn still keeps a small office on the fringes of the Georgia Tech campus. The post-industrial location belies its clout. On Tuesday, just down the hall from the former U.S. senator, was a welcoming party for the newest member of the Tech faculty, retired Adm. James ‘Sandy’ Winnefeld, who recently stepped down as vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Maintaining high-level contact with the Russians has been something of a crusade for Nunn. Last year, in the face of the Ukraine crisis, he wrote the White House to urge the Obama administration to deploy a special envoy to Putin. Nunn suggested Colin Powell. Nothing came of it.

I asked Nunn why he thought high-level silence, whether Democrat or Republican, was dangerous. ‘I think that you start with the premise that Russia is the only country in the world that can destroy the United States while we’re having this interview – if it lasts more than an hour,’ he replied. Well, then.

We don’t talk about nuclear war much anymore, but the threat still exists. One glitch in Russia’s warning system, or ours, and the world is toast. ‘When you’re not communicating, accidents are more likely. When you’re not communicating, suspicions are more difficult to deal with,’ Nunn said.”

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Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts, Sam Nunn School of International Affairs

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  • Created By: Rachel Miles
  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created On: Sep 24, 2015 - 1:10pm
  • Last Updated: Oct 7, 2016 - 10:27pm