This is a rush transcript from Your World," March 4, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Remember when the then president of Georgia found himself in a very tense situation while battling the Russians?
Now Mikheil Saakashvili is in Kiev helping the new Ukrainian government deal with this latest threat.
I should tell you, want to remind you all that we are dealing with a significant sound delay here, so my apology to those of you trying to keep up at home and to the president.
Mr. President, very good to have you.
I want to talk about what you tell those Ukrainians you meet. How do you guide them?
MIKHEIL SAAKASHVILI, PRESIDENT OF GEORGIA: Very good to back -- to be back to your show.
Well, I certainly advise them to exercise maximum degree of self-restraint, but also to get ready for the worst, because Vladimir Putin certainly is going to -- not going to stop. He has planned for full grab of Crimea. For that, he needs to expel Ukrainian military bases there.
And you saw on your images the heroic Ukrainian military that basically were confronting much more exceeding Russian force, but they still were very brave at trying to defend their own country. But so far, it has not been -- you know, it's not been a shoot-out, but it's -- it's -- it was very close to that.
So, it's a very precarious situation. And one thing should be remembered, that Russia is -- Russia has very clear plan to stay in Crimea, because, beyond everything, Crimea has lots of shale gas. And shale gas is what is Ukraine's main hope for energy independence and for economic independence, as well as it was Putin -- Russia's -- Putin's -- Vladimir Putin's ultimate nightmare, because if Ukraine had really done the shale gas as they were planning two years from now, together with the American companies, then Vladimir Putin would have lost the biggest gas buyer in Europe.
So he has all the reasons why he's there. He has to extend his -- his stay inside Russia as the president. He needs to grab this gas and kill Europe's alternative sources of energy. And he certainly is going to -- his game is to keep the rest of Ukraine under chaos and to keep a foothold at the control of this territory for good, if he's allowed to get away with that.
CAVUTO: Mr. President, how far do you think he will push it, though? On paper, he has lost a lot of money, as have a lot of Russian oligarchs, when the Russian market tumbled, be it energy and oil and a lot of natural gas concerns that have tumbled in value on growing concerns about their stability.
So, maybe, for his own self financial preservation, he's going to want to cool it. Do you think that more than sanctions will tame him?
SAAKASHVILI: Well, he actually said that -- his people said continuously on Russian television that they said, remember last time over Georgia we also lost big part of our money? But -- but we got it back. So, it will go away.
And I think his tactic is very clear. I mean, grab the territory. Then allow the West some kind of face-saving to get -- allow to just leave the situation, switch their attention to some other situation somewhere elsewhere in the world, lay down for a while, and then extend his own political existence inside Russia, because this kind of perpetuates his political life, and then go for another land grab.
So, it will be the never-ending story of destabilization unless something is permanently done now. I think there is -- it's not about only just markets. Markets are reacting to whether the West is really serious about taming this guy.
Taming means there are lots of sanctions. Like, last time I was in Florida, it's full of kids of Russian oligarchs and oligarchs themselves. There are mansions. There are lots of Russian government officials who have bought mansions and houses and apartments and property, a lot of property there.
There -- and most of their money is in the U.S. and the European banks, I would say more than 90 percent. Putin himself is the richest corrupt guy in the world. And it's well-known -- it's well-known for fiscal -- for IRS people in the U.S., but it's also very well-documented by Russian anti- corruption crusaders.
So there's so many leverages that the U.S., if they -- if it decided can employ to stay -- to tame him. And one thing should be remembered. President Obama said he will have to pay costs for it. Now, if -- and this also is something right to say. But the point is that it was also said after the war in Georgia that you have to carry costs, and he didn't really have any serious costs.
So, he doesn't -- it doesn't cost him now. It will cost the United States. This will have wide repercussions all over the situations -- all situations on Syria, ranging from Syria to financial markets, domestic internal political situation of the United States.
It really is not going to go away. Right now, exactly like, you know, in Second World War, Nazi Germany grabbed part of Czechoslovakia because it was inhabited by Germans, ethnic Germans, under the pretext of protecting ethnic Germans. And then some Westerners said that's faraway land of which we have heard very little. This was Chamberlain, prime minister of U.K., exactly the same way some positions in the West say, well, we don't really have interests. You know, we need to -- we need to think about it.
Well, the problem is that, as we know, the things didn't stop back then in previous century and it escalated to the Second World War. Now, I'm not thinking this will escalate to a world war. However, it will escalate into a serious, grave problems for Europe, which is the zone of the U.S. vital national interests.
It's really the U.S. interests because the U.S. has benefited from the post-Second World War order, post-Cold War order in Europe. And the U.S. has everything to lose with collapse of that order. And this thing in Ukraine is going to lead to collapse of the order, of which all -- the principal beneficiary of which is the United States of America.
CAVUTO: He told a Russian reporter not too long ago that I have about a backbone, that I stand for something, and he waved his hand in what seemed to be a dismissive view of the West and maybe by extension President Obama.
Does he think the West is just too weak, too vacillating to respond, so he's going to do anything and everything he wants?
SAAKASHVILI: Look, the guy today at the press conference, he basically almost made fun of the whole world, because he was looking at the cameras and like so outright shameless to say, oh, these are not my troops. Some people purchased some military uniform, some equipment. You can get anywhere. They look like Russian troops, they behave like Russian troops, but these are not really Russian troops. These are some -- maybe extraterrestrials. They just pretend or masquerading to be Russian troops.
SAAKASHVILI: But the reality is very clear. The guy that can lie like this in the 21st century is dangerous, is dangerous.
And the reality is that the last time I met him in 2008 in the run-up to the war, he told me, well, your friends in the West promise me lots of nice things. But they almost never deliver. I don't promise you nice things, but I certainly do deliver.
And he doesn't want to be liked. You know, right now, even Kazakstan, which is usually very royal to Russia, made statement against Russian moves. There are other -- everybody's panicking around here, but he doesn't want to be liked by his neighbors.
He wants to be feared by his neighbors. He wants to be -- he thinks that fear brings real respect, not love. He thinks that Westerners try to lure Russia into some kind of love trap and strip it of its traditional properties. So his idea of the world is, the more they fear him, more dangerous he appears, more -- you know, more spooky kind of policy he implements, more he will be respected also by the United States.
That's the fundamental problem there.
CAVUTO: Wow. Mr. President, that is very powerful, to be feared. Fear me. Don't like me. Fear me.
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