Lyn Adamson is concerned about the dispute among peace activists about the Ukraine War. Some of them, while acknowledging that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was a war crime, are willing to let Putin keep the lands that he has acquired, just to win some kind of ceasefire and end of the violence. Others believe that international law must be enforced. Andre Kamenshikov clarifies some facts about the origin of the war — the was in the Donbass when it was invaded in 2014 and can testify that it was not a civil war but a real invasion. Paul Werbos then discusses the need for a UN office of existential threats to handle such dangers as the new artificial intelligence. https://tosavetheworld.ca/episode-555-global-town-hall-apr-2023.
Ukraine, Russia, peace, war, world, Hinton, Russians, people, Russian, work, call, Lyn, NATO, talk, global, André, sense, situation, good, today
Paul Sladkus, Lyn Adamson, Marilyn Krieger, Paul Werbos, Leda Raptis, Robert Read, Metta Spencer, Alexey Prokhorenko, Alan Haber, Andre Kamenshikov
The global townhall meeting took place on Sunday, May 28, 2023, organized by Project Save the World. Participants included Metta Spencer, Robert Read, Leda Raptis, Marilyn Krieger, Lyn Adamson, Alan Haber, Paul Sladkus, and others. The discussion covered various topics such as environmental impact, open heart surgery, nuclear disarmament, the war in Ukraine, and the struggle for a public square in Ann Arbor.
Marilyn Krieger mentioned the damage caused to her house by a storm and how even simple human actions can impact the environment and wildlife. Leda Raptis mentioned her recent open-heart surgery and the fatigue caused by medication.
The meeting then turned to recent events, including the G7 meeting in Hiroshima where speeches were made about nuclear disarmament, although skepticism remained about the commitment to disarmament. The discussion also touched on the situation in Belarus, where Russia was reportedly moving tactical nuclear weapons, raising concerns about increased threats.
Lyn Adamson raised the issue of the war in Ukraine and the debate within Canadian Voice of Women for Peace about the group’s position on the conflict. She expressed concerns about the invasion and questioned the double standards applied to such actions. She highlighted the need for diplomatic efforts and called for withdrawal of troops.
Robert Read shared different perspectives on the war in Ukraine, mentioning how NATO’s expansion eastward and Ukraine’s potential NATO membership contributed to the tensions. He referenced the Minsk agreement as a possible path to resolving the conflict, emphasizing the importance of finding a balanced solution that involves powers from various countries.
Alan Haber discussed the struggle for a public square in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and the resistance faced from authorities who want to sell the land. He mentioned historical connections to the “commons” and highlighted the ongoing demonstrations for negotiation instead of escalation.
The conversation also touched on global events such as Earth Day and International Day of Peace, with Paul Sladkus sharing his involvement in organizing events and broadcasts promoting peace and environmental awareness.
Metta Spencer acknowledged the importance of the Ukraine conflict and invited participants to share their individual positions on the matter.
During the conversation, Lyn Adamson, co-chair of Whistling for Peace, discusses the divided opinions within her organization and the broader “left” regarding the situation in Ukraine. While everyone agrees that Russia’s invasion is wrong, there is disagreement on the appropriate response. Lyn mentions that her organization is calling for negotiations instead of immediate withdrawal. She expresses her concerns about the legality of the invasion and criticizes the United States for its own history of invasions.
Andre Kamenshikov, who is on a tour to engage Russians who oppose the war, joins the conversation. He shares his perspective on the situation, acknowledging the complexity of the issue. He believes that any ceasefire allowing Russia to hold on to Ukrainian territory would not be favorable for the future. He also mentions that many Ukrainians do not accept a ceasefire that leaves Russia in control. Andre emphasizes the need to focus on ending the war justly and minimizing its human toll.
Metta Spencer, the host, praises Andre’s efforts in reaching out to Russians who left the country due to the war. She asks about the success and readiness of these individuals to actively engage with their families and friends in Russia to change their views. Andre mentions mixed results in organizing events and forming groups for discussions. He expresses challenges in terms of resources and the reluctance of Russians to meet and gather. However, he believes that engaging the diaspora can provide a channel to communicate with those Russians who are not exposed to alternative media sources.
Metta Spencer updates Andre on her plans for a talk show addressing the difficulties faced by Russian men who left the country to avoid fighting in Ukraine. She mentions contacting Bob Rae, the Canadian ambassador to the United Nations, to participate in the show. The goal is to discuss the legal challenges these individuals face in seeking immigration and visas to other countries. Metta shares Konstantin Samoilov’s success in establishing a breakfast club in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, where Russians and Ukrainians gather to support each other and engage politically.
Andre expresses encouragement based on his experiences in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, where he found individuals who were less politically engaged previously but were now ready to play a role due to their circumstances. He highlights the importance of engaging these individuals and their potential to communicate with the larger Russian population.
The participants recognize the need to work towards a just end to the war and explore avenues to reach and influence the Russian population. Lyn Adamson mentions a pre-invasion poll where most Ukrainians did not want to join NATO, but after the invasion, most Ukrainians expressed a desire to join NATO due to the attack they faced. Lyn also mentions the failed implementation of the Minsk Accords and the ongoing civil war in eastern Ukraine, resulting in thousands of deaths.
Andre Kamenshikov responds to Lyn’s comments by stating that what happened in Ukraine in 2014 was not a civil war but a military conflict imposed by Russia. He clarifies that the conflict started with an invasion by a group of armed individuals supported by Russia, who took control of several cities in eastern Ukraine. Andre emphasizes that the conflict’s dynamics were different from typical internal conflicts or secessionist movements, as it was artificially aggravated by a foreign player. He argues against the narrative that the people of eastern Ukraine revolted against the government in Kyiv, stating that it was a false narrative propagated by Russian propaganda.
Lyn requests evidence to support Andre’s claims, expressing her encounters with vocal individuals who blame Ukrainian Nazis for the conflict. Andre explains that he personally witnessed the events in Donetsk in April 2014, where armed pro-Russian groups entered buildings and declared themselves representatives of the people, despite not being elected members of the regional parliament. He highlights the difference between the Crimea situation, where Russian troops brought in regional parliament members to support their actions, and the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, where no such support was present.
Alan Haber contributes to the discussion by suggesting a shift in the perception of sovereignty and the state in the globalized world. He proposes recognizing the multiplicity of sovereignties that exist within people’s hearts and promoting a vision of full spectrum cooperation instead of exclusive sovereignty. Alan advocates for restructuring the global security system towards collective cooperation rather than dominance.
Paul Werbos expresses his support for the peace movement and echoes the need for finding ways to manage conflicts without resorting to violence. He also mentions the personal connections he feels with places like Crimea and the US-Russian interactions. Paul shifts the conversation to the changing global landscape brought about by computer connections and emphasizes the need to adapt to this new era. The discussion highlights different perspectives on the conflict in Ukraine, the role of Russia, the importance of dialogue, and the need for reimagining sovereignty and global security systems.
Metta Spencer discusses the upcoming annual general meeting of Project Save the World and invites people to join as members. The board of directors, representing various global threats, will be elected at the meeting. Paul Werbos is chosen as a director due to his expertise in artificial intelligence and cyber risk. The goal is for board members to bring value to the organization and benefit from participating by sharing resources and information.
Alexey Prokhorenko and Andre Kamenshikov join the conversation from Warsaw and discuss their optimism about the changing public opinion in Russia. They mention a lack of participation in the recent celebration of Victory Day and describe a sense of passivity and fear among the population. People seem to be waiting for something to happen, and attitudes have changed over the past year and a half. While some feel depressed and uncertain about the future, others are willing to submit to whatever circumstances arise.
Paul Werbos reflects on the delicate situation in Russia and the need for a coherent and logical vision that makes sense to the people. He highlights the importance of the global digital compact, a social contract for humanity that addresses issues like fake news, weapons control, and the interface between humans and technology. Paul suggests that cooperation with Russia is crucial and mentions the potential impact of individuals like Elon Musk and Geoff Hinton in shaping a better future.
Metta Spencer expresses her desire for Paul Werbos and Geoff Hinton to discuss how to fix the problems associated with AI. She mentions Hinton’s criticism of AI and the need for regulation, as well as his recent decision to leave Google to speak freely. Werbos asserts that Hinton may not fully understand AI, while Paul claims to have funded the grant that led to Hinton’s prominence. Despite their differences, they agree on the seriousness of AI and the necessity of understanding it.
The conversation concludes with a determination to address the challenges posed by AI and to work together towards a better future, recognizing the significance of Hinton’s influence and the need for global cooperation.
The following transcript has been machine generated using “otter.ai.” Prior to using information from the transcript, please watch the video to catch any obvious errors.
Metta Spencer 00:01
On the last Sunday of every month Project Save the World hosts a global townhall for activists all around the world who have things they want to share and discuss with each other. This is the meeting for Sunday, May the 28, 2023, and our guests have already assembled and we’re about to have a good conversation. Well hello, everybody. Nice to see you all. Hello, Robert Read, and we have Leda. Yes. Hello, Leda. How are you? And we have Marilyn out in California. Marilyn is the cat lady. So tell us what’s going on with the cats these days, the Wildcats you’ve got me interested in your in your feline friends? This transcript has been machine generated using “otter.ai.” Prior to using information from the transcript, please watch the video to catch any obvious errors.
Marilyn Krieger 01:00
Well the last month not there hasn’t been too much I’ve been there’s I’m still actually focused on damage that was done to my house here on the mountains from the from the you know, those that storm, just an article that has to do with how even the simplest things that we do impact the environment, impact the wild animals, anything from turning over a stone in the water, there are these. They’re kind of lizards that live underneath and it destroyed their homes, you know, to even making trails right in the middle of the wildlife corridor. So I’m focusing on that right now a little bit.
Leda Raptis 01:43
I had open heart surgery recently. So now I’m taking all sorts of different drugs that make me tired. So that’s why I’m kind of perhaps. So So.
Metta Spencer 01:54
There are a couple of interesting and newsworthy events that have happened in the last couple of weeks. And that is of course they there was a meeting of the g7, I guess was in in Hiroshima. and of course, they made some speeches, which they were no doubt trying to sound as if they were on the road to nuclear disarmament. But we know damn, well, they’re not. And and then of course, there’s the move that test recently begun in Belarus apparently, the Russians are moving presumed tactical nuclear weapons into Belarus, at least upping the ante in terms of their threat. Whether or not that means that they’re any more likely to use them is another question. But the third thing that makes this a lucky moment that you raise, the question is that Lyn Adamson has just joined us, and Lyn always has things to say about nuclear weapons. So hello, Lyn.
Lyn Adamson 03:02
Well it seems to me that it’s getting very dangerous, more and more dangerous from the, I read the John Polanyis op ed, about our situation. And it’s unbelievable how we’ve squandered of the progress that was made in the 80s in the 90s, like through that whole time period. And, yeah, it’s really very scary together with the Ukraine situation, as well. And who is working on diplomacy, that would be really good to know, you know, like, what efforts are being made? Is our government doing anything? You know, is Bob Rae doing anything like who’s doing anything? I don’t know.
Robert Read 03:47
One thing that’s happened is that Ira Helfand a Dr. in Massachusetts, who was on the international physicians to prevent nuclear war that got the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1984, for bringing Reagan and and Gorbachev together that gave him some influence and helping two or three senators, enter a current bill into the American Senate concerning elimination of nuclear weapons, and also a letter to to the President.
Metta Spencer 04:34
Hello, Alan, How was everything in Ann Arbor?
Alan Haber 04:38
Hello? Well, it’s a very provincial town we struggle for the center of the city to be a Commons, and somehow that concept is beyond the capacity of the powers that still are, which is I fear very regressive. We had an excellent Earth Day postponed blooming with a Native American introduction kind of grounding us where we were, and bringing all the communities of town together into a kind of Agora, which was most beautiful. It was great music. These powers that be though still wants to take this land and put a price on it and sell it, and so the struggle continues, and we do have a very good, persistent, demonstration, don’t escalate, negotiate by the federal building.
Metta Spencer 05:38
Is it the Commons, do you have a common square or something and they’re gonna sell it out from under you, or what?
Alan Haber 05:44
There was a piece of land that is right in the center of the city, and we propose that as a public square, as a commons, We rely on the sense of user self-management of the commonly pooled resources that won the Nobel Prize in Economics for demonstrating the Commons was more effective in managing resources in either the government or the private corporation. So we managed to put that on the ballot, and we actually won. And so we have on the ground when trying to develop the sense of a community around a space for everyone. The city, however, refuses really to cooperate, and so the struggle goes on. The 15th of June is one of the historians of the commons lives in Ann Arbor Peter Linebaugh who wrote the Magna Carta Manifesto and The Many Headed Hydra and Stop thief and many questions on the Commons. He points out that on June 15, could be noted as Wat Tyler day who was a champion of the commons in the peasants’ revolt of 1381, which echoed the Magna Carta on the 15th of June and 1215. And trying to see our energy of movement resonating with these struggles against capital and power to take what is for everyone in the Commonwealth.
Metta Spencer 07:23
I should have introduced you a Alan, because people here probably most people don’t know that you have the history of being one of the main members of the students for democratic society, SDS, in the old days back in the 80s. And you were one of the leaders of it, and I think you were also very involved with the People’s Park event in Berkeley, weren’t you?
Alan Haber 07:48
Very, very much so. I heard that I moved to Berkeley in 1968 in the summer from New York and Washington DC after leaving Ann Arbor in 1967. And I got to go to jail. Right right at the beginning for Eldridge Cleaver and the Peace and Freedom Party. But then the next Spring began People’s Park and I become involved in that for…
Metta Spencer 08:18
Your lady is waving at us. Okay.
Alan Haber 08:20
____Yeah,, yeah she she works with the Women’s International League for peace and freedom, and for weapons free zone, nuclear weapons of mass destruction free zone in the Middle East.
Metta Spencer 08:35
This activist, activists households of all times.
Paul Sladkus 08:40
We just did the Earth Day, Earth and World Water Day concert in Times Square, five hour live worldwide broadcast. I’m a TV producer 50 years formerly CBS PBS, and I made, like 6000 shows in my life. In any case, we take over Time Square for Earth Day we did on we helped create World Water Day at the United Nations. My associate Phil Sauers. and now September 21, for this will be our 21st annual International Day of Peace event. We’ve did it mostly in Central Park in New York. I’ve been doing it additionally in Times Square for about eight years now. And we do a big live worldwide broadcast for five or so hours, and it’s called pause the world for peace.org are nonprofit 501(c)(3), and if anyone has and we have a show or so called good news broadcasts and good news planet, which is sharing we just had the honor to interview our host here on this call. And that was a big joy for me. And so for good news planet, so I welcome you to send me something, I put my email, I put other information about what we’re doing and we’ll be happy to have you involved in any manner, shape or form. We’re all in it together.
Metta Spencer 10:22
Okay, listen, I want to remind people what I do, Paul, put things in the chat and our viewers who are worldwide aren’t able to see the chat, of course, but they I will after I posted on our website to save the world.ca in a day or so I will post the chat available make that available there too. So you can find that in the comments section of the of the page for this particular global town hall. Lynn Adamson, you have a question? Is it related or are we are we going off in the …
Lyn Adamson 11:02
No this is my, my issue that I wanted to raise. and I put a couple of things in the chat. and by the way, I’m able to click on the little dots next to a message and copy it and keep it myself. So I copied your links, Paul, so that I’ll have them. But I’m a co-chair with Canadian voice or women for peace, and we’re having some internal discussion about the group’s position on the war in Ukraine. And I have a different point of view from some of the others on the board. So we’re actually having a discussion tonight again about it. So I wondered what folks here have been thinking and I put a couple of links, as I said in the chat. One was an article by Steve staples in his weekly peace quest newsletter. and he linked to this article by Joe Cirincione I believe might be pronounced like that. And yeah, and I found that article interesting, too revealing in terms of, of the what I would consider a double standard that people are applying to this invasion of Ukraine by Russia. Everybody says they shouldn’t have invaded. But we’re not hearing people say they should, therefore withdraw their troops. People are saying they should just negotiate and what does that mean around the territories that they are taking over? And I realized there’s a complicated history to this war and the many, many things that led up to it. But it’s a terrible situation, and anyway, I’m troubled because I’m a mediator. and I have been a peace team trainer in my lifetime, and we’ve always tried to apply the same principles to to an action. So invading, as I understand is against international law. We don’t support it when the US, does it. So why are we being quiet about it, when Russia does it and not calling for withdrawal from their, their invasion. So people aren’t might have something to say about it here. I understand code pink and a lot of other groups have, you know, it’s all that problem of the US. The US and NATO is like behind it all. But I wonder if, like in his article, there’s a statement that, that there were options for Russia, given what they wanted, but weren’t getting apparently.
Metta Spencer 13:50
Say it again.
Lyn Adamson 13:51
There were options for Russia other than invading Ukraine. When they were not getting what they wanted, they invaded, rather than try to use other diplomatic means to resolve the security questions that they had, concerns that they had. So I’m interested in if any wise minds on this call can shed light on to this situation.
Metta Spencer 14:15
Thank you for raising that question, because it is a number one, you know, it’s very, very important debate in the next issue of Peace Magazine. I think Robin Collins will give a an overview of that debate, and it’s certainly the most crucial thing going. So I think that let’s, let’s spend some time with this. I’ll be very interested in I can guess what some of you believe. But I won’t try to guess, I want to ask each of you to, to say, your own position on this.
Robert Read 14:55
About two weeks ago, we had a biennial, biennial national meeting of the Liberal Party of Canada which is currently in power, the government, and besides a talk by the current prime minister and one by John Chretien from the 1990s, leader. They had a discussion, they featured a discussion on the stage in auto in Ottawa, of our current Deputy Prime Minister, lady whose family’s originally from Ukraine actually, and…
Metta Spencer 15:44
Robert Read 15:44
Yeah, Chrystia Freeland and an invited guest Hillary Clinton. And the two of them had a discussion, and Hillary Clinton came out very strongly with what I think Lyn was just saying that this is just a an invasion against all principles of world order, and that was open and shut. Russia was at fault for doing that, or just us must come on, or continue until hopefully Zelenskyy’s idea of the whole territory of Ukraine being salvaged as a starting argument but I was others believe that how this war came about that from 1990 to 2020, NATO continually extended eastward, and populated this growing number of countries with some deterrent weapons. And to the point where Finland and Sweden trying to remain neutral at the north and Belarus. and Ukraine, at the South, were still not in NATO. And but the government that came in and, in Ukraine about 2015 under Zelenskyy was hinting of not just EU, which would be okay, but joining NATO. And of course, NATO has an agreement with all countries that if one was attacked, all would be considered attacked, and when they attack the attacker in return. So this is what Putin was faced with from 1990 to 2020. and, of course, in 2012-13, there’s the fighting in the two eastern provinces of Ukraine, which were primarily Russian oriented population. And by the way, were probably the kind of the heavy industry part of Ukraine. and so there was an agreement in 2014, when all of this situation I just described. And in Minsk, Capital of Belarus it’s the city where people met France and Germany, people, governments, I think maybe Britain took part and the bargaining and the Minsk agreement came to, was an agreement, which seemed to be balanced and acceptable, and was acceptable to the then Ukrainian government and the Russian. But that’s when the election took place. Zelenskyy came in power and said, no, we want to Ukraine completely free of Russian presence. And that’s been their status since, and I think that still a replica of Minsk in some way, with two other countries, maybe even Brazil, in one side and China in the other something coming to an agreement resembling Minsk, where, whereas some power in those eastern provinces, the Russians should still persist. That could be an agreement that could end the war.
Metta Spencer 19:46
Thank you. We have, we have been joined by I think it’s Andre Kamensikov and let me ask Lyn very quickly, if you will, again, sort of pose the question the way you want us to address it, Lyn. So That Andre can speak to it because Andre Kamenshikov is a Russian American, who is a peace organizer, a peaceful, full time Peace worker. and he is living in Kyiv. and he’s speaking from Kyiv. Now, it’s very important to hear the point of view of peace workers in, in Eastern Europe and in in throughout that region. Andre has just been on a trip, he’s been trying to organize Russian diaspora people in Central Asia. So Lyn if you’ll quickly re restate the question you want us to address and then I’d love for Andre to bring us up to date on what he’s been doing and what he thinks about the current state of affairs.
Lyn Adamson 20:49
Yep, I am, I put the links in the chat, again, because you wouldn’t have seen them Andre from earlier. But the there was a little article by Steve Staples in peace quest newsletter that I get weekly from him. And he linked to an article by Joe Cirincione, about the divided left over Ukraine, over the response, and I am I explained that I’m co chair of whistling for peace. And we are somewhat divided as well, within our organization on this question of what we should be calling for at this point. Everyone seems to agree that Russia should not have invaded, it’s obviously a brutal war. But then they shouldn’t have invaded, but we’re not calling for them to withdraw. And we’re just calling for negotiations. and I don’t see, which are, it’s always good to talk. I’m not opposed to talking. It’s just that keeping, it seems to be, it’s against international law, to invade, and so that we would not accept that when the US does it. and I sure don’t like the US. I don’t like Hillary Clinton saying people shouldn’t be invading. I mean, US invades all the time, which she’s really not the person to be able to, to judge another country in a sense for that. But in terms of being a peace movement, and what we’re calling for, what we what should we be trying to do at this point to be useful? We’re in a very scary point we talked about earlier in the call around nuclear weapons and in just in terms of stability and any momentum around actually resolving our problems talking about them and resolving them rather than having brutal like a brutal war. That’s just like the, the the world wars in terms of its brutality for people living there. So that’s, thats what…
Andre Kamenshikov 22:44
Yes. Yeah, I know about this division. and I, I’ve seen some discussions. As I understand there’s a conference coming up fairly soon in Vienna, where and there’s a lot of debate about that. Ah, I think even that was considered that President Lula would be there was a dressing or something like that. So I’m, actually I’m right now in Poland, in Warsaw, right next door to where Alexey Prokhorenko is, I might, he shoulds join and I might try to speak on his computer once he joins, because there may be maybe that will be somebody because I have problems with my camera. And apparently with the microphone isn’t working too well, either now. But back to your question. This is a very difficult issue, because on one hand, we as peace builders want war and violence to stop immediately. On the other, I feel that there is there is, there is you know, no excuse for the actions that this regime has done in relation to Ukraine. and any, any ceasefire today, that would allow that would allow Russia to hold on to parts of Ukrainian territory would not be a good sign for the future. And also to be quite frank, it’s not something that Ukraine, neither Ukraine’s government or Ukraine, society ____ [accept] today, it just won’t be accepted. So there can be all kinds of plans devised by China, Brazil and so forth. It’s simply not going to work because, you know, as long as one side is not ready to accept it, it’s not going to work. So I don’t see too much need to spend lots of time discussing various schemes that, you know, that simply won’t, won’t be materialized in that in that sense. And my position is the following. I understand that in the near, in the coming months, this war, the violent phase of war, unfortunately, will continue. By, what I think we need to do is we need to focus on ways, realistic ways that we can help, first of all, bring, help bring this war to a just end, sooner rather than later. And, second, do anything possible to decrease the human toll of the war. That’s what I feel where there is space to take action and to do something. But I don’t think any, any, you know, plans, in that, you know, around immediate ceasefire are realistic today.
Metta Spencer 26:19
Thank you. Now, you have been on a tour doing exactly what you said you think is a worthwhile thing, which I agree. It’s precisely one of the few really helpful things that we have the capacity to do right now. And that is get in touch with Russians who, who oppose the war and see if we can have some influence on helping them to mobilize and, and to organize and to articulate the, the position that we think they need to take. Tell us about your tour, and where things stand. Now, in your judgment, about the Russian diaspora, especially I think you’ve been in Central Asia, but you’ve been, where have you been? You’ve been around Georgia and Armenia and everywhere or what?
Andre Kamenshikov 27:06
I’ve been to Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Georgia, Germany, Poland, and Lithuania. I will probably visit Armenia at some point in the future, but I don’t know yet exactly when. And I’m right now in Poland, I’ll be going back to Kyiv tomorrow. and I traveled specifically to try to see how it is possible, and whether it is possible to engage the 1000s and 1000s of Russians, who left the country because of the war. Because they don’t want to be part of the war, because they’re either opposed to the war as such, or they simply don’t want to be mobilized, don’t want their lives to be sacrificed, whatever, they left the country because of the war. And I believe that if we can effectively work with them, then they can become communicators, become people that can speak to others to those who remain in Russia, and bring in information that people that I would say 70% of the population of Russia does not receive. About 70% of the population of Russia still receives information primarily from government controlled media sources, or government influenced social networks and so forth. It is not that they don’t have the means to get information. But it’s this situation where they don’t really have maybe the desire to listen to information that contradicts the official narrative. It’s it’s a difficult, it’s a difficult task, of course, and it’s not easy to explain to people that the things that their country is doing in their name are are so terrible and disastrous both for their own country and for their neighbors. You know, it’s nobody wants to recognize that their country in their name is committing crimes, very serious crimes. And so, some people you know, have the courage and they see that But, and that’s a significant number. But the majority does not. There are lots of Russian language, independent Russian language media that operate through various internet channels. The problem is, again, that they reach those who are already critically minded. And the question is, you know, sometimes people refer to this as the liberal bubble, maybe 20 or 30 million Russians that are more or less adequate, critically minded, understand what’s happening, but don’t feel that they have much capacity to influence. And then you have the other, you know, 70%, that’s either some of them, a small part of them are active supporters of the government, but most of them don’t like what’s going on. They’re not for the war. But, they see this, this whole, these events as some kind of natural disaster. They feel helpless and hopeless, and they, they choose to go with a tide, basically, and this is the population that is really, you know, this is kind of passively supporting the government. When people are called in to [be] mobilized, many of them don’t really resist, you know, they feel that, well, they don’t like that, but they feel okay, that’s our duty, you know, what can we do? And so, to reach these people, I hope that we can develop models within the diaspora. Since hundreds of many, many hundreds of 1000s, if not millions of people left the country over the last year and a half. I believe that if we get enough of these people who left able to effectively speak to their old circle of relatives, friends, members of different social networks, and so forth, we can get a channel to speak to those Russians who today are not listening to alternative Russian language media sources.
Metta Spencer 32:30
Are you having any luck? Because we see that you, I am so pleased that you’ve made this tour, and you must have seen 1000s of these people? How successful are you in organizing them? Or, how ready are they to participate in doing the kinds of things that you want, that is to continue actively reaching out toward their families and their friends in Russia and attempting to change them, their views,
Andre Kamenshikov 33:00
I have mixed results, I was able to organize three group events where people came together in groups and discussed that. My task right now is to try to launch a process where people will start to gather regularly to discuss these communication issues, and to improve. So right now, I am hoping to, I’m trying to launch these processes, you know, to do some pilot,. So if I can get, you know, group of 10 or 15 people in Kazakhstan, 10 or 15 people in Georgia, 10 or 15 people in Armenia or somewhere else, to regularly meet, to regularly get more more engaged in this communication process. That’s what, then I could say, okay, here we have a working model, how we can___work. Unfortunately, I’m still, it takes more time more effort than, you know, I would like it to take. So just organizing this process is a pretty difficult task. People are obviously, have many other priorities, and so people like who agree to coordinate this work in different areas, one of these people ended up having all kinds of medical problems and [is in a] hospital right now, another had to change her, her place where she lived and so forth. So it’s been you know, it’s been challenging and it also it’s very challenging in terms of resources, because, basically, you know, I have almost no resources at this point, you know, to, at least you know, pay a modest salary to people who would play this role. It is also challenging. more often to get people together. Unfortunately, Russians are often not very willing to actually meet to gather. And today, just a few hours ago was a negative experience where I came here to Warsaw, there where we planned the event with the Russian diaspora. and about 10 people signed up to the event, and no one showed up. Another problem that you have. So, you know, it’s it’s, there have been some successes, you know, in different countries, the situation is very different. The people that came to different countries are also very different. People that come to one place, you know, people come to where they can go, Poland does not allow any Russian to come to Poland today, it’s very hard for Russians to get a visa. So they only allow people who have a background of political activism who they support because they see that these people, you know, people that were arrested for, let’s say, participating in anti war demonstrations and things like that. They are able to get humanitarian visas. But the community here is fairly small. and it’s very, it’s not very organized. In Kazakhstan…
Metta Spencer 36:27
Let me bring, let me bring you up to date on something because I know you were in Tashkent and Uzbekistan. And the other people here may not remember or have noticed that we did a talk show about the plight of the Russian men who left Russia in order to avoid being sent off to a Ukraine to fight. And there are maybe close to a million of them in various places, and they have great difficulty getting visas or getting immigration papers to go to the countries where they would like to go. But I did a talk show with you, Doug Saunders was the co host. and you were speaking and Konstantin Samoilov in Tashkent and Aleksey Prokhorenko in Moscow, I mean in Warsaw. So presumably he will join us again, later in the in the conversation. Anyway, I promised to follow up on that, and do another show, to see whether we can do anything to change the predicament, the legal reaction to that countries are making by excluding some of these people when I think they shouldn’t. So I’ve been in touch with Bob Rae, and Bob is a you know, as the Canadian ambassador to the United Nations, and he has agreed to be on the show to answer your questions again. So you and Konstantin and Alexey and then there’s another man that you put me in touch with named ____ , in someplace in I don’t know, Kazakhstan I think? So we will have that conversation as soon as Bob Rae gets permission from Ottawa to participate, he has to give the consent of the ministry. But I assume he will get it? So we’ll have that conversation in a week or two, if that’s all right with you. And I did see it by chance last night, Konstantin was on another video interview with some British fellow and he was saying Konstantin started a breakfast club in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, for people, similar to his own situation. But he’s also invited Ukrainians and other, people of other nationalities. But, of course, he specifically is especially wanting to bring together Ukrainians and Russians. And he says, now, that Breakfast Club has increased, and they have 500 members, not all of course, they do they all get together in any one day, but every day, every morning, it’s a dozen or, or so people are getting together. And he said that it’s gone. It was originally conceived of as a kind of a support group for people who are were having emotional distress and having to leave their homes and, and be refugees. But now it’s gone beyond that. and he indicated that of course they are doing their organizing to do political move actions. He was not going to tell us right then and there what they’re doing. And I can understand why he wouldn’t, because they have to be careful. But at any rate, I know that you were in touch with him. and it, it seems from what he sounded like that they are having more luck, he’s having a lot of luck in getting these Russians in the Breakfast Club to to become politically engaged. Do you have anything to say about that?
Andre Kamenshikov 38:18
Metta Spencer 38:20
I would say that I was more encouraged during my meetings in Kazakhstan, in Uzbekistan than in other places. And the interesting thing is, that the people that ended up in these countries have, are usually less politically, you know, engaged previously. But now, because of the situation that they found themselves in, some of them are ready to play a certain role. And some are doing things that, you know, they mentioned that I won’t mention again, for obvious reasons here, but, but in terms of communication, we had a dialogue. Unfortunately, it was an online event with the folks in Uzbekistan, because it takes time to organize something like that. And in the four days that I was in Tashkent, you know, it usually takes, you know, a couple of weeks to actually do a group event. So I did it online, but I hope that yes, maybe it was Uzbekistan can be one of the countries where we would start this process, because their people would gather, not just to discuss other issues, but also to discuss communication, how to more effectively communicate with people in Russia. And I would want to support that, you know, in terms of also providing some, maybe some training modules to these things, and, and, kind of get people, get people into this process of being active communicators.
Andre Kamenshikov 40:46
Thank you. Okay, I’m going to call on Leda in a moment that I want to say hello to Paul Werbos, who has joined us, Paul has been on a trip of his own for several months, actually, I went he went off to Japan. and so it’s nice to see you back. Paul, I’ll call on you in a bit because I want to,…
Paul Werbos 42:47
Of course this is a very interesting subject.
Metta Spencer 42:49
Yes, we will go, We’ll come back, though, because I want to hear what you have to say about the new concerns about artificial intelligence. Paul Werbos is you might say, the father of the new, the new artificial intelligence, but he sure isn’t, he doesn’t like to acknowledge paternity In this case, I think sometimes, cuz they’re not. There he is worried about what’s what’s coming down the pike. Anyway, we’ll come back to you, Paul. But I want to call on Leda because yes.
Leda Raptis 43:20
Yeah. I was wondering, of course, the anti war Ukrainians, and Russians, they would be the I mean, right people to build the bridges between the two groups and just stop the fighting. And there are now I’m saying what I read in the newspapers, that there are lots of Russians that are sort of they’re taught to be traitors, that is they do not agree with the war and so on. And they are I mean, within the Russian army. That’s what I read, but they is it. I’m just thinking, is it necessary for NATO to expand east? ____, the times of Gorbachev, they were saying to include Russia, also in NATO. I don’t know if that’s possible anymore. After all of this fighting that has happened. When everybody wants to take their other’s guts out. I mean, that’s difficult. But is it necessary? I remember the day before the invasion. We heard in the news that they wanted to, I mean, Ukraine was bent to I mean, they wanted to join NATO. And then this is when I mean, lots of experts said that and now it’s going to be a war. So can we just go back, reverse that and say, okay, NATO not to expand? Is that going to keep both sides happy? Is that the way to bring peace? Because if if Biden says that we have to eliminate Russia, and that’s not the way to bring peace That’s the road to nuclear war…
Andre Kamenshikov 43:47
I think that there were many mistakes done, made by NATO countries in the 90s, and the first two decades of this century, They didn’t understand some of the effects that their actions had on Russia.
Leda Raptis 45:25
Andre Kamenshikov 45:26
They made, you know, of course, you know, the terrible examples of the war in Iraq. And the bombing of Yugoslavia, and the Pandora box was opened, when major NATO countries, not all but most, have recognized the self proclaimed independence of Kosovo. And I think February of 2008. All these very serious mistakes were made. And I wish they wouldn’t and probably, if they would not be made, we wouldn’t face a situation we have today. However, we cannot reverse history and we, you know, we can say that, like, you know, looking into history that, you know, the Munich Agreement of 1938 was a terrible mistake. Okay, it was a terrible mistake. and it was one of the factors that led Hitler to, you know, World War II, but we can’t reverse that. and the fact that there were mistakes made by Western powers, does not mean that, that in some way excuses, the criminal actions of the leadership today in the Kremlin. Today, I feel very uncomfortable. When I hear proposals that are made by very well intended, you know, and very good people that I respect, that our focus to bring peace, by somehow satisfying or satisfying the desires of the Kremlin. Because it’s like, you know, you can negotiate when someone is upset about something, and he takes a dagger in his hands, and starts threatening his neighbor. As long as he’s threatening, it might make sense to try to negotiate with him, and to explain with him and to find consent. But after he uses his dagger, and that starts stabbing someone, he needs to be stopped, and he needs to be punished. And unless, if, if this war ends with some kind of something that would accommodate Putin’s desires and allow him to show his defeat as a victory that might have long term negative consequences. Both for Russia, for Ukraine, and for the world in general. And at the same time, again, let’s look let’s be realistic. You today Ukrainian society will not accept any kind of settlement that will keep Russian troops on Ukrainian soil, and it’s just not gonna happen. We need to recognize this, this is the reality today. So it’s a very I understand, you know, the good intentions, but we need to also understand the harsh reality, and what it be when it makes sense for NATO to make adjustments in their policy to if, if some time, things change and Russia re emerges as a, you know, democracy should it be better heard and better integrated into these kinds of institutions? Fine, that would be a great idea. But you know, you don’t, it’s one thing before a crime is committed, and it’s another thing after a crime is committed to a different kind of situation. And we’re unfortunately today in this different situation where, you know, you, this, this war, you know, we can’t end this war by trying to accommodate the the power that that started it.
Metta Spencer 50:26
Thank you, and I want to go back to Lyn because Lyn started this and and you may have thoughts and reactions.
Lyn Adamson 50:34
I’ve been in dialogue with a friend of mine, Ukrainian Canadian friend of mine who has studied the situation quite thoroughly. She’s a real researcher, I get all kinds of stuff from her. But one of the things that she sent to me was a poll, the pre invasion poll, most Ukrainians did not want to join NATO. And the post invasion poll, most Ukrainians want to join NATO, they just been attacked, despite the fact that they were not members of NATO at the time. And, you know, so the opportunity to build on the ____ Accords that were referred to earlier, which I’m aware of, you know, and which I understand Zelinskyy when he campaigned, was campaigning to make peace with Russia. And it was thought that he that there was some chance that those could be implemented, but then they were not. And I hear all kinds of different stories about why they were not, and there was essentially a civil war going on in the eastern part of Ukraine for seven years with 14,000 deaths, something like that, in that time. So I, I’ve just wanted to point out that the mood in Ukraine and sort of what you’re saying, Robert, you can’t go back to the opportunities that were there before the invasion. Because the situation is different now. and but most peace groups, Andre, I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but Code Pink, you know, all kinds of peace groups. and even the people that are speaking in the Vienna conference, I think, are predominantly, you know, this is all a part of faults of the West. and they’re not saying you know, anything about Russia needs to withdraw and not when territory from having been the aggressor at this time. So I remain remain, very concerned about it, and probably the most hopeful thing I heard today was the idea of some dialogue between peace oriented people in Russia, and in Ukraine, into the rest of the world. And I don’t know if any of those people are going to be able to get to this Vienna conference or zoom in because it’s going to be online as well. Because I think we need some more creative ideas that are, are people powered. Because the, you know, state powers involved here, are locked into this violent conflict. So how we get that changed I don’t know. If the people in Russia are not really free to pursue their opposition to a war or government policy, because they will be punished severely for doing that.
Andre Kamenshikov 53:21
I wanted to react, unfortunately, what was just said is a key, a key mistake that, lies behind lots of the misunderstandings of what is happening today in Ukraine. What I just heard is that Lyn says that, you know, there was we know that there was a civil war going on in Ukraine for eight years. That is simply not true. What happened in Ukraine in 2014, was not a civil war. It was a military conflict that was imposed on Ukraine. by Russia. Yes, it used a, it’s used the tensions that exist in civil society in, in Ukraine, and it played on that, but it didn’t develop as most internal conflicts develop in other parts of the world where we have seen civil wars, secessionist movements and things like that happen. It happened the the logic was very different. The event that triggered the beginning of that conflict was an invasion of a group of 100 or a couple 100 people under the armed and supported by Russia, invasion that came, you know, people came across the Russian Ukrainian border, they were headed by a Russian citizen of FSB officer. And they took over a few towns, a few cities midsize cities in the eastern part of Ukraine. That happened, after that happened two days later, the Ukrainian government responded by starting at what they call the Anti Terrorist Operation. But this was not a case that you can put in line with many other secessionist movements that you’ve seen in different parts of the world. Because it was artificially aggravated internal tensions that did exist were artificially aggravated by a foreign player and the, you know, the tensions were few and supported. And basically, there simply would be no war without that initial invasion. And that even was recognized by the person that led that invasion, he openly stated that he was the person that started that, that, you know, lit the light of this war. So it cannot be described as a typical civil war that you have. And that’s something that people need to understand. and when Ukrainians hear that this is a civil war, that creates usually a very strong react. I understand why people make that mistake, and I do say that there definitely were elements of a civil war in what was happening, because there were people Ukrainian citizen fighting on both sides. But the dynamic of the conflict was very different than many, many other cases that we know. And so the narrative that supposedly the people of eastern Ukraine revolted against the who are the offspring of President Yanukovych in Kyiv, against the maidan, that is a false narrative. It’s a Russian propaganda narrative that, unfortunately, has been picked up by many people in the peace movement worldwide, and is distorted their views of what is actually taking place. Sorry, I just wanted to make this clear, thank you.
Lyn Adamson 57:45
And if you have a link to information to substantiate what you’re saying, because as you said, that is not what a lot of the peace activists are saying. And I’m dealing with some very vocal people who blame it all on like Ukrainian Nazis in the eastern regions there. And they can even provide videos, so I’ve seen their videos. So you know, I can’t have a dialogue on this without a link, you know, I can’t just say, well, Andre said, blah, blah, blah, I’m gonna have to have something more. But thank you for giving your perspective. I appreciate that.
Andre Kamenshikov 58:20
For a start, I can look for links for a start. I was personally there when it happened. So I’m, I’m a witness. I was in Donetsk. On April, I think 11th or 12. and speaking to people on the pro Russian side, and on their pro Ukrainian side, and while there were tensions in Donetsk, both sides agreed that, you know, this, there should be no violence. There were attempts of Ukrainian government to negotiate with the pro Russian people. In the evening, I think it was 11th or 12th of April,yeah 12th of April, a woman called me up from the pro Russian group that said, you know, we just met with acting prime minister. What’s his name, [inaudible]he came to Donetsk we had a very productive discussion with him, and he seems to be able to respond to most of our concerns. I, the next morning, early in the morning, I had a flight to Kyiv____ While I was flying, I was putting together a list of ideas on you know, what can be done, you know, what kind of dialogue initiatives and all can be done to help ease the tension. By the time I got to Kyiv and settled in my hotel and that came to my friends it was mid day. and when I entered the, the, the office of some of my colleagues and Kyiv, they were staring at the computer screen. Because that morning, this invasion in the city of Slavyansk, and then in the city of Kramatorsk in the Donetsk region happened. And that morning, this group of well armed people from Russia, some of them were Ukrainian citizens, some were Russian citizen, they were well armed, they came in and took over power and two Ukrainian cities, And they started basically, they started this war. and then they the first victims were victims, that people that they killed or their supporters killed in the process. That creates a wave of a strong reaction on the side. and then in response to that, Ukraine announced a this Anti Terrorist Operation and start using force trying to put down this this event. So,…
Lyn Adamson 1:01:04
Well yeah, no, but you know, that’s, that’s extremely helpful, what you just said to me, but can you give me the year then that that was?
Andre Kamenshikov 1:01:13That was April, April of 2014.
Lyn Adamson 1:01:18
Andre Kamenshikov 1:01:36
Another thing. Another thing that’s very important to say, is that a to understand is that the Russian narrative speaks about the revolt of people in the Donbass in eastern Ukraine against the change of government and Kyiv. Now, in Ukraine, it is a democratic state, every region has an elected, you know, regional parliament, including the Donetsk and the Luhansk region. And it would be natural, if people in a region are dissatisfied with their central government, that their regional parliament speaks on their behalf. For example, you know, there was a case a number of years ago when in Catalonia in Spain, the Catalonian Parliament or whatever their, you know, their regional, legislative body, I think voted for negotiating with Madrid about, you know, greater autonomy or independence, something like that. There was a whole movement there. and you know, that’s still a big issue for Spain. In the case of Ukraine, in the case of Donetsk and Luhansk. That’s not what happened. What happened was a crowd of people, a demonstration, you can say some of these people in the demonstration, were armed, gather in front of the regional Parliament’s that enters them, and basically occupies the building. And then people from this crowd, announced themselves, declare themselves as the representatives of the people of this region, not the elected members of the regional parliament. There might be a few local representatives among them. But the fact is that it was not, neither in Luhansk nor Donetsk, did the official regional legislative body vote for these changes. It was a crowd that broke in, entered the hall, you know, where they usually meet and declared themselves to be the representatives of the people. That’s not how democracy works, and the narrative that people that supposedly the people of the Donetsk and Luhansk region, revolted against Kyiv is wrong because neither of the regional legislative bodies and neither of these regions did that. It was people from the street that did that, that had no base to claim that they represent the majority of the population. That’s something that people often don’t understand. That’s different, in Crimea it was a little difference in Crimea after Russian troops took control of key locations. They did bring members of the regional Parliament. I don’t know how many, you know, was it legal to vote for? To handle their referendum on independence and on joining Russia and all that stuff? Again, not all, I don’t know, you know how many members they were, but they worked by me, they work with the members of the regional parliament. But neither in Donetsk or Luhansk, they do that, because they didn’t have that support. So they just, you know, the pro Russian groups enter the buildings, and the doubts that they are the representative, the people, that’s all.
Lyn Adamson 1:05:35
Alan Haber 1:05:37
That we have a situation that we have inherited of a global polity around state powers, which is a, at least 19th century but older image of sovereignty, exclusive sovereignty with a flag or king and an army that contended one another over borders. And that may, at some point, would have been appropriate, but in the globalized world of easy travel and Internet, and actually the amount of the dispersion of populations in diaspora, many people are have multiple sovereignties. And we need a sense in our idealism of what is the way to peace, to have a different view of what is the state, the state is the loyalty in the heart that you share with other people who have certain commonalities. And that is a situation where states overlay and are side by side and interpenetrate. And as it would be if Palestine were allowed, the Palestinians were allowed to come back and see, how do they live side by side with Israelis, these two states overlay one another. In some way that’s a similar situation in Ukraine and Russia, and rather than make a border, make a recognition that states coexist in people’s hearts. And then administratively, how do you make a spare sense of distribution of resources and so on? But that’s an entirely different question. This is a question of sovereignty, and I think we need a different sense for the peace movement to say, we need a sense of sovereignty that is not based on exclusive sovereignty but recognizes the multiplicity of sovereignties that are exist in the world now I will increasingly be so to come. Anyhow, it’s a little different take on it and looking at, you know, struggle by struggle day by day and what happened in the Ukraine, but I think we need to put forward a, a vision of how to restructure the global security system to end the war system to see a multipolarity that recognizes everyone’s sovereignty and a way of collective cooperation. As the Pentagon says, their vision is full spectrum dominance. and we need a system of full spectrum cooperation, that system changes the key, I say, to integrate all our good ideas together.
Metta Spencer 1:08:25
And I want to call on, on Paul Werbos. Because I haven’t talked to my friend for several months, you’ve been off on a trip to Japan, and I don’t know where else. So welcome back to this continent. And, and you came back just in time to to run into the buzzsaw.
Paul Werbos 1:08:52
No, no. I actually, I am used to weird coincidences on this world. It’s just unbelievable. This morning, I was at a Quaker meeting. So I’m fully into the peace issues. I really like what Alan just said, about how we need to move forward towards a global system where we don’t have to kill each other all the time. We have to figure out a way to manage things so that we’re not always killing each other. I feel so much connection to these places where my wife and I got to know each other. The Crimea, the Eastern sea, the Romanov family, the US Russian interactions, these are very, very personal. And it is connecting to a massive change, which is what I was really invited here for on the internet. We are entering a radically new era. a radically new era where at a minimum, the computer connections are fundamentally changing how the system works. Just in the last few years, there was a massive change. Last I heard the data from the Atlantic Council was saying there are now more robots than there are humans on planet Earth. And if you make policy decisions based on the assumption that oh, there are more humans in there are robots, you are not living in the real world. So is there anything we can do to reduce the risk? One of the efforts I’m really excited by, I informed Metta about early on multiple stages. There’s a thing called the Millennium project of futurists, started out being part of the United Nations University kind of grew. And they’re doing some work with the Secretary General of the United Nations. They were saying to the Secretary General of the United Nations, we want to have an office of existential threats under the Security Council. So several years ago, we started saying we need an office under the Security Council to deeply understand and study those very specific new threats, which threatened the entire human species. The existence of the human species should be the basis of that office. Initially, we got support from major people in the US and the Secretary General wanting to focus on the climate risk, which is real and legitimate. and Metta has been very helpful to us in getting a dialogue going on the climate risk, which is life or death. But then came along a guy named Xi Jinping, and then came a lot of other people saying, Hey, wait. Climate extinction is a big threat. But even bigger, are the way that changes in the internet system, artificial intelligence, artificial general intelligence, connections to human brains, and the Internet of Things, all of these robots reporting back to mama, that system as a whole, presents a threat to humanity. And so we’re talking about trying to build international networks to understand what is the threat and what can we do about it. I was very excited this past week, to hear that people in, I think Sweden and Africa, agreed with a proposal from my friend Jerry, and the Millennium project, and the United Nations to say, okay, let us do work on something we call a global digital compact. And if you look up this search term, global digital compact, it will describe a whole series of discussions which the Swedes seem to be leading right now. Aim to try to create a new agency or agreement to address the existential threats related to internet, and there are many, as I say, what’s happening in Ukraine is a small example. The minute you have autonomous weapons, under computer control, using insecure communications media, with the human beings not knowing what they have, that creates instabilities, which to me are scarier than the situation in the Ukraine. I care about the people in the Ukraine, my wife and I really, almost met each other there. But but the problem is, the whole world is at stake right now because of instabilities coming through the internet. And we really need to work on the internet instabilities, we need a new, more reliable, sustainable global system. And I’m glad that there’s some dialogue started on how to build a better system that can work. But there’s a lot of work needed.
Metta Spencer 1:13:59
You know I want to ask you a little bit about that. Because I haven’t really announced it here. But we’re going to be having the first annual general meeting of the Project save the World. And if any of you folks want to be members of Project Save the World, just send me a note saying you want to be and with your email, and I’ll send you information about how you can come to the Annual General Meeting. And then that will you will elect the board of directors, the board of directors has been chosen to represent each person, should represent one of the six global threats that that we have, as Project Save the World decided to focus on. and Paul Werbos was chosen because he knows a thing or two about artificial intelligence and we have cyber risk is one of the six global threats. So it’s now coming into its own as a real threat. So we’ll be having a board meeting. You guys will elect us to be the board of directors, and then we’ll have a board meeting. and what I’m hoping is that each member of the board will bring something to the organization such that we will, they will benefit. and their organizations and the networks and people that they represent will benefit from participating. So that in any one board meeting, the best one will be the ones where everybody feels that they go away with more benefits from interacting with each other and finding how to share resources and information than they are asked to actually contribute. You should be able to get more than you bring as a as a donation to to the organization. And so, Paul, I’m hoping that you will find ways in which Project Save the World can support the work that you’re now thrust upon you now to help us save ourselves from the impending dangers of artificial intelligence. Is that something you can give?
Paul Werbos 1:16:12
I’ll do the best I can. Yeah, we need to cooperate. We need to network and this world needs a lot of help.
Metta Spencer 1:16:19
Okay, I want a greet Alexey Prokhorenko, and we can see Kamenshikov.
Alan Haber 1:16:27
I have to check out thanks a lot. Very good. I look forward to your general meeting.
Metta Spencer 1:16:32
Bye Alan. Yes. Now Alexey and you, Andre are side by side. Now we get a good look at Andre but bring us up…
Andre Kamenshikov 1:16:43
Metta Spencer 1:16:44
From Warsaw, yeah. okay.
Andre Kamenshikov 1:16:46
His computer has a normal camera. So now you can see me.
Alexey Prokhorenko 1:16:51
Still in Warsaw? and? Well, I’m no less optimistic than I was. Probably, it’s the time is going by and no changes are happening. But I feel that change, the change is coming soon, and I have that impression. Coming from the news. I can, well coming from my talks indirectly coming from my talks with my friends, my family, I can sense that something is changing in the air. I, I feel that something in the public opinion should be changing right now. So,…
Metta Spencer 1:17:39
In Russia we should say.
Alexey Prokhorenko 1:17:41
Metta Spencer 1:17:43
How so? What did you know, and also, Andrei, do you agree with him?
Andre Kamenshikov 1:17:49
Um, I hope he’s right. Due to my travels, I didn’t have as much communications with people in Russia itself. I mainly communicated with people in the diaspora for last few months, and so I’m a little out of date with what’s actually happening internally. And I’ll need to work on that as soon as I’m back in Kyiv to update myself. So I really hope Aleksey is right, I’d like to, I’d like to hope that things are the way he sees it. Things are definitely changing, you know, on in the, in the war, but you know, how does that reflect internally in Russia I don’t know.
Alexey Prokhorenko 1:18:36
Because just there was one thing we had. We normally have a the Day celebration on May 9. And normally you would see lots of cars, next to cemeteries, many people with flowers, honoring, honoring their relatives, their fallen relatives, their older, their fathers, grandfathers who used to fight in that war in World War II. But this year, it’s different. There were no people, no cars, although the weather was fine. No people coming to the cemetery. It’s like, the whole country is pretty much waiting for something.
Andre Kamenshikov 1:19:23
There are things that are happening in society that might be difficult to judge because they’re not very visible, you know, but people’s attitudes have changed a lot, I think over the last year and a half.
Paul Werbos 1:19:42
And what is the new feeling then?
Andre Kamenshikov 1:19:50
Well, very many people are depressed people you know, people don’t are not sure about the future. They don’t wanna see what to look up to.
Paul Werbos 1:20:01
Or asking how are people really feeling now in Russia? What is the real feeling?
Alexey Prokhorenko 1:20:08
Well, people are kind of stupefied, petrified, kind of waiting for something to happen. They’re not, they’re being very passive. Not, not not like even the previous year, when the war had already started, people were rather did rather embrace propaganda did unite around the flag, so to speak. Now people are, it’s a mixture of something of some resignation maybe some passive attitude, some fear, such a cocktail of. So some may be some, even some a willingness to subdue themselves to to whatever circumstances may offer.
Paul Werbos 1:21:09
So, you know, a funny thought comes to me. So I have some connections with this world of Russia. The first rule of those connections is, don’t shoot your mouth off too much. So I should need to be careful, right? People can be very upset at very small things. But one thing, I know some things about the psychology of Russia and Germany from deep psychology and personality things.
Alexey Prokhorenko 1:21:43
Paul Werbos 1:21:44
And there’s good mathematics in both countries. Mathematics and computers are a big part of Germany and Russia, even more than the United States. And there is also a psychological trait called tolerance of cognitive dissonance. People don’t like being in a contradictory situation. It has to make sense, and if it doesn’t make sense is very, very depressing.
Alexey Prokhorenko 1:22:20
Paul Werbos 1:22:25
So to some extent, the challenge is, do we have a vision of peace and cooperation, which fits the very best modern science and technology, which makes sense. And oh, golly, I can hear the voice of the Romanovs in the background, saying be very careful what you talk about. Because this is all very delicate. This is all very sensitive. It’s incredibly delicate, it’s incredibly sensitive. But let me just say, I do hope that our new computer work, if we can move the United Nations towards a better way of addressing where we are going with advanced computers and technology and the interface with human rights and human feelings, then there is hope. And it has a lot of it does come down to how do we go about this issue of computer designs? But then we have people like Elon Musk, who are a mixed blessing. Somebody should talk about Elon Musk, why do I think he’s even relevant? You know,
Metta Spencer 1:23:48
You know, I want to ask about what you think is coming up. Last night, I listened to somebody interviewing Konstantin whom you guys both have met. And he was he was asked, is it suppose, I mean, surely, Putin’s not gonna be there forever. So what follows after Putin, and he basically says he can’t see, he can’t foresee anything good, that there’s going to be a huge conflict and and whoever takes over is not going to be anything that we would celebrate. I wonder,do you I mean, you Alexey say you are optimistic. Why would you be optimistic about what’s going on or anywhere near the Kremlin? I mean, you might be optimistic about public opinion changing, although I don’t I don’t see any basis for it myself. But I’m not. I’m not close enough to really know. But how could you be optimistic about the fact that these you know if anything, there, there is a little there are people speaking up now and then and Prigozhin is certainly shooting his mouth off and, as I understand it, the the guy who was the head of the, you know, the mayor or something of this town that these Russian guys invaded from from Ukraine. Somebody said, how, how, you know, what’s going on here and why isn’t the army protecting us? And, and he said, I agree with you. So if he’s saying something’s wrong, that needs to be fixed, that, you know, it’s it’s the thing is crumbling, that means that there are other people who were, you know, not unified as….
Paul Werbos 1:25:40
The whole world needs to be fixed, the whole world needs to be fixed, and certainly Russia is part of it, and forgive me, I’m going to become irrational. But you touched on friendly family names. So we had [Pokrov] which to me is a family name almost. Romanov Prigozhin, Russia has to be a major player. But Russia has to feel it’s not somebody’s puppet and it has to make sense to people. It can’t be like somebody in Brooklyn has a peace plan, and we listen to this person in Brooklyn. I don’t think Russia works that way. There has to be a coherent and logical vision that doesn’t make people feel anxiety, and coherence and fuzziness. It has to make sense to people. I’m hoping this this new UN activity could provide a vehicle for it, we had this major international United Nations meeting on the global digital compact, and the vision of the global digital compact. This is supposed to be a new social contract for humanity. That includes humans and computers and how they connect. It includes all of the issues like fake news, like weapons control, like money control, and if you think that money and weapons and fake news might be relevant, then it’s rather relevant what agreement can we come up with, to put these things on a more rational basis? So the global digital compact is a very important effort to create sense and order. Before everything disintegrates. Okay, listen,
Metta Spencer 1:27:36
Okay listen, let me tell you who I want you to talk to and that is this guy. I can’t think of his name at the moment because I’m old. But the guy who just quit Google and that you there was a time when you guys were sort of rivals back in the south.
Paul Werbos 1:27:53
Like Hinton maybe?
Metta Spencer 1:27:54
Hinton, yes. Geoffrey Hinton, I want to get you and him together to talk about what has to be done to fix.
Paul Werbos 1:28:02
Actually, that’s not a bad idea. Geoff Hinton, who is in Toronto. Geoff Hinton is the kind of person who really could have some impacts. He and I have never had close interactions. There are a lot of reasons why we might have problems. You want to talk about diplomacy. You got Russian and an American, you got to diplomacy problem. Okay. You got Geoff Hinton and me we got a diplomacy problem. He comes from a different part of the cyber business. But in fact, yes, getting Hinton and I together communicating on our common goals. I think that might be a good idea, and he represents Canada also, and he has a lot of potential impact.
Metta Spencer 1:28:43
Well, he certainly made the news when he decided that he would quit Google so as to be able to speak freely about his criticism of, of I think he wants them to actually stop it right now the whole AI thing, it needs to be regulated. He’s not the only one the other guy. There’s Sam Altman, or whatever…
Andre Kamenshikov 1:29:03
I know Sam, the truth is Hinton wants to stop it. But the reason he has troubles is he doesn’t know what it is. And if you could get him to lessen the ego prejudice a little, Hinton knows that I know what it is. The question is, does his human pride keep him from recognizing that yeah, I can tell him what it is because he doesn’t know what it is. and I do.
Metta Spencer 1:29:28
Oh boy. Now we’ll have a real show.
Paul Werbos 1:29:34
This is damn serious stuff. I mean, the new artificial intelligence is a technology. If you know what it is you might be able to survive it.
Metta Spencer 1:29:44
Now look here you are not going to be able to make that stick Paul.
Paul Werbos 1:29:48
Yes I can.
Metta Spencer 1:29:49
You can’t say that Geoffrey Hinton doesn’t know what AI is. He is the head honcho in ____
Paul Werbos 1:29:55
I know all about that I funded the grant which got him the money to be the head honcho when I was at the National Science Foundation, I funded the grant to Le Kuhn and to ____, which resulted in Sergey Brin, doing this project in Google. And if you go to my website, I have the video documentation of all of that. and Le Kuhn liked Hinton for human reasons. He had a personal human debt to Hinton. He liked Hinton, he wanted to help him he promoted him. And he promoted him, even though he didn’t even know the damn technology. And I don’t want to find it too, cuz I just don’t want the world [inaudible]. But he’s, I’m perfectly happy with him and having money and power and all this. If he is willing to do the work and if he’s willing to do the work of helping save the world. In that case, we should work together because he has power and I know things he doesn’t know.
Metta Spencer 1:30:51
If I invite him and we’ve been nice to him. You can’t tell me he doesn’t know anything.
Paul Werbos 1:30:55
I try to be nice.
Metta Spencer 1:30:56
Paul Werbos 1:30:57
My biggest failings come from trying to be nice when I needed to be a little tougher seriously,
Metta Spencer 1:31:04
I want you to talk to each other but not…
Paul Werbos 1:31:07
Not to kill each other. So the Romanovs have been teaching me not to kill people.
Metta Spencer 1:31:12
Okay. You got Romanovs on your mind today. Anyway, we’re all finished.
Paul Werbos 1:31:15
At least not them. Every day in truth. Every day.
Metta Spencer 1:31:24
Because you’re married to a Russian and then that’s it. Okay.
Paul Werbos 1:31:27
Of that family.
Metta Spencer 1:31:30
All right, of the Romanov family? All right. Well, that’s another story. I want to hear that story sometime. Okay, there are a lot of stories that you have to tell that I have not yet plumbed and I hope to one of these times. Anyways, 4:01pm. Time to sign off. We’ve had our moment to share ideas, and I thank you all. It’s been enjoyable. And I’ve learned a little bit maybe, I hope everybody else has to. So it’s been fun. Thank you very much. and come back next month, in the last Sunday of every month we do this. So expect to see you then. All right. Take care. Bye.
Alexey Prokhorenko 1:32:13
Thank you. Bye bye.
Andre Kamenshikov 1:32:14
Metta Spencer 1:32:16
Project Save the World produces these forums. This is episode 558. You can watch them or listen to them as audio podcasts on our website tosavetheworld.ca It will share information there about six global issues, and I hope you will too. To find a particular talk show it or its title or episode number in the search bar where the name of one of the guest speakers Project Save the World also produces a quarterly online publication Peace magazine. You can subscribe for $20 Canadian per year. Just go to pressreader.com on your browser, and in the search bar. Enter the word peace. You’ll see buttons to click to subscribe.
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