Former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger on U.S.-Russia Relations

This is a rush transcript from "Your World With Neil Cavuto," August 14 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


ROBERT GATES, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: If Russia does not step back from its aggressive posture and actions in Georgia, the U.S./Russian relationship could be adversely affected for years to come.


NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Think of those words, "for years to come," cold, stark words. Ring a cold, hard bell, maybe like a cold war bell?

Reaction now from former Secretary of State under President George Bush Sr. Larry Eagleburger.

Secretary, Cold War back?

LAWRENCE EAGLEBURGER, FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: No. It is not back yet, but it's on its way. That is too strong a word.

Video: Watch Neil's interview with former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger

But I think, as Bob Gates said — and, frankly, I think the writing is now on the wall. I think the Russians are intent on staying or, at a minimum, separating those two provinces from — from Georgia.

And I think, frankly, there is no question that this is going to put a real pall on — on relations between the United States and Russia, and, frankly, I hope between the West and Russia.

We — this is not just the U.S. that is involved here. I hope that we're going to spend some time persuading our allies how dangerous all this is.

CAVUTO: Now, they have a different relationship with Russia this go- round than the last time they acted up more than a decade ago. And now it has to do with oil. And Vladimir Putin knows it.

CAVUTO: You're right. You're right.

CAVUTO: So, are they less incentivized to make life difficult for Russia?

CAVUTO: How can I answer the question, other than say, yes, I am afraid they are?

But if — see, I think this is a far more serious event than simply oil or anything of that sort is involved. I think what may well — we may well be seeing here is something Russian leadership has wanted for a long time. And that is to begin to pull back some of the provinces, some of the states that have left the Soviet Union, Pull them back in under Moscow's control over time.

And I think this — this is a very dangerous first step. And I think we have to react to it as a whole. If we can, if we can persuade our allies, we must do it together.

CAVUTO: So, you think their real intent here is eventually to win back republics that essentially liberated themselves?

CAVUTO: I am worried about it, at a minimum, Neil. I think there is — I think they have had that in the back of their minds for years. Now they have the...

CAVUTO: Well, if that is their intent — if that is their...


CAVUTO: I'm sorry, Secretary.

If that is their intent...


CAVUTO: ... and it is a cold war, cold wars cost a lot of money. The last one costs a lot of money. We do not have a lot of money. What do we do?

CAVUTO: Well, I — it depends on how you define cold war at this stage, I'm afraid.

I think what I mean by cold war is, I — if you want to use that term — I think what we're going to have to do is what we can to isolate the — isolate Russia from the community of nations, although that sounds like baloney to a degree, I know, but hold them back from any relationship that gives them any advantages. And we're going to have to act as if they are a pariah nation, and see whether that ever wins them back into some sort of sensible approach to their neighborhood.

CAVUTO: Well, you're the seasoned diplomat. I am not. I do not see that working.

CAVUTO: Well, I am not sure I do either.

But what I do see is, we can't accept — look, let me back it up. There are only so — there's only so much we can do, either as an alliance or by ourselves. The Russians are on the ground. We're not going to go to war over it, lord knows. And, under those circumstances, the best we're going to be able to do is to isolate them, hopefully, and make them pay an economic and — and social price for this.

But I — there is no way, on God's green earth, that we're going to be able to undo this if the Russians don't want to undo it.

CAVUTO: All right, Secretary, thank you very much.

CAVUTO: Thank you.

CAVUTO: Secretary Eagleburger.

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