This is a rush transcript from "Your World With Neil Cavuto," October 19, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: All right, well, this is a Fox News Alert: news reports that Russia is developing a bigger and better missile right now. This thing will be able to travel up to speeds of Mach 6, three-and-a-half times faster than any other missile that is out there — this is on the heels of the U.S. dropping plans for a missile shield that would be near Russia`s borders and protect pretty much all of Western Europe.
Former Secretary of State Larry Eagleburger says President Obama needs to take a tougher stance with Russia, because being a nice guy obviously doesn`t pay off. Secretary, good to have you. What do you make of this?
LAWRENCE EAGLEBURGER, FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Oh, I think it`s — you know, doesn`t it sound familiar of about 10 years ago, only, this time around, we are not being — we`re not going to deter the Russians. We`re just going to lie down and play — play nice, I guess.
I really — the secretary of state went to Moscow recently, and this is what she got in the way of an answer to her suggestions that there ought to be some reciprocal attempts to cool things between the two countries and, at the same time, to get them to cooperate on Iran. And what do we get in response? We get a new missile, apparently.
CAVUTO: And, so far, no — no harsh words from Russia against Iran.
But what do you think of — of what Putin is thinking here and what Medvedev is thinking, that they`re obviously either strategizing differently here, or do they think that the president will be soft on these issues, not respond on these issues? What?
EAGLEBURGER: Well, in my judgment — and I am prejudiced, I suppose - - but my judgment here is, they have decided we have a president that rolls over and plays dead every time he gets anything tough said to him.
I think they have judged that this president of ours is not one who wants to confront, not one who is going to be tough. And, in fact, every message he has sent to the world, recently, at least, ever since he came into office, has been one that would lead every — every other person who wishes us no good to judge that they can play around with us and we don`t do much in response.
So, I think Putin has, particularly, has judged our president to be weak and unready to confront, even when he should.
CAVUTO: But, you know, Larry, one thing I have learned from you all these years, and dating back to your days as secretary of state, is that I never believe anything that I am publicly hearing from leaders. You know what I mean?
CAVUTO: You`re a different story. But you know what I`m saying, that this all could be posturing, that he couldn`t look like he`s caving into Obama`s sort of Woodstock moment here? So, he is going to sound a little tough, but, behind the scenes, he might be talking to Iran or he might be going slow on this thing just to appease his — his base at home.
A very optimistic view, perhaps a very naive view, but what do you make of that?
EAGLEBURGER: I wish it were true, Neil. I really do. But I have to tell you, I do think that we cannot take him at his word that he`s got this new missile that will do all of these things. That may be total baloney.
But I`m afraid I don`t think, behind the scenes, he is doing something to try to persuade Iran to get off its nuclear weapons. I just don`t think that`s in the — in the cards. I — he may not have the missile.
EAGLEBURGER: But I think he`s going to play the game that they have played for so long, and here we are at it again.
CAVUTO: So, when Ronald Reagan was talking about Star Wars and this elaborate defense shield, the Russians, more or less, quickly came to the table at the time, Mikhail Gorbachev, more to the point, because they realized desperately how — how — how expensive that would be, and it would just drain them.
CAVUTO: Now we`re getting the opposite here. What do you think happens?
EAGLEBURGER: Well, I think the — first of all, I`m — I am back again to saying that I think they see us spending ourselves into poverty.
I think they can make this threat, whether it is real or not, but I — at this time, I think they see themselves in a very advantageous position as far as their relationship with us is concerned. We have asked them for help on Iran. We have not gotten it. She goes over to — the secretary — the secretary of state goes over to Moscow, talks nice.
We pull off the missiles that were going to go to Poland and Czechoslovakia, and I think we probably expected something in return. And they — we have not gotten it. I don`t think we will. I think — and, again, in my judgment, a great deal of this, if not all of it, is pure and simple judgment of our president and his posturing — or his positions, rather.
CAVUTO: All right.
EAGLEBURGER: And I think they have decided he is a pushover. So, they`re going to play this game.
CAVUTO: All right. Well, Larry, you are off the White House Christmas party list, but away you go.
CAVUTO: Larry Eagleburger...
EAGLEBURGER: I have been off it for a long time.
CAVUTO: Good seeing you again.
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