Why Denuclearization Is Crucial To Stabilizing U.S.-Russia Relations

Melvin Goodman has more than four decades of experience working in American intelligence, including 24 years at the CIA, where he specialized in U.S.-Russia relations. After resigning from the CIA in 1990 over corruption involving top officials in the agency, Goodman went on to advocate for whistleblowing and accountability in the intelligence community.

In this week’s episode of KCRW’s “Scheer Intelligence,” Goodman sits down with Robert Scheer to discuss Goodman’s experience at the CIA and explore the future of U.S. policy toward Russia. In the course of the conversation, Goodman says the U.S. and Russia need to resume denuclearization for any chance of successful dialogue between the two superpowers.

Goodman and Scheer discuss current relations between the countries, with Scheer noting that Goodman’s expertise in the matter makes him a perfect guest, considering current political tensions.

“There are too many areas of mutual interest that are much more important than most of the differences we have with Russia,” Goodman tells Scheer. “When you look at arms control, disarmament, counterterrorism, nonproliferation of strategic weaponry, the Iran situation, the North Korean situation—the United States and Russia are completely in agreement in those areas.”

“Trump is clueless about major areas of strategic substance,” Goodman continues, adding that many key members of Trump’s administration also are unfit to start a dialogue with Russia. “This is an administration with no institutional memory whatsoever. It’s incredibly pathetic.”

Goodman also thinks the U.S. failed to accurately analyze intelligence leading up to Pearl Harbor and the 9/11 terror attacks, and he says the media regularly fall for “government lies,” such as claims that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. The conversation concludes with Goodman making the case that the U.S. and Russia must resume denuclearization to begin a peaceful discussion on foreign policy. He adds that we are in a particularly crucial time because many of Trump’s top military officials are “anti-arms control, anti-disarmament and anti-Russia.”

Last month, Scheer and Goodman talked about related issues. Scheer moderated a panel featuring Goodman, in which the former analyst discussed CIA internal failures and his role in trying to expose them.

Goodman also recently published “Whistleblower at the CIA: An Insider’s Account of the Politics of Intelligence,” a book about his time in the agency.

Listen to the full conversation and to past editions of “Scheer Intelligence” at KCRW.com.