Garry Kasparov (@Kasparov63) is a Russian chess grandmaster, political activist, and author of Deep Thinking: Where Machine Intelligence Ends and Human Creativity Begins and Winter Is Coming: Why Vladimir Putin and the Enemies of the Free World Must Be Stopped.
What We Discuss with Garry Kasparov:
- The part chess played in promoting Soviet Russian ideology during the Cold War.
- What it takes to become a chess champion now compared to 50 years ago and why Garry considers the game “one of the most aggressive forces of psychological warfare.”
- What can and can’t be applied from chess to politics and decision making.
- What Garry knows from experience about authoritarian governments and why we need to be vigilant against them now more than ever.
- Is our civilization poised for progress or ruin now that supercomputers can beat superhumans at tournament-level chess?
- And so much more…
Like this show? Please leave us a review here — even one sentence helps! Consider including your Twitter handle so we can thank you personally!
You may recognize Garry Kasparov as the Russian chess champion who was famously defeated by IBM’s Big Blue supercomputer in the ’90s, but among humans, he’s still regarded by many as the greatest chess player of all time — and we’re honored to have him join us for this episode.
On retiring from professional chess in 2005, Garry devoted his time to politics and writing. He formed the United Civil Front movement, and joined as a member of The Other Russia, a coalition opposing the administration and policies of Vladimir Putin. He is currently chairman for the Human Rights Foundation, and author of Deep Thinking: Where Machine Intelligence Ends and Human Creativity Begins and Winter Is Coming: Why Vladimir Putin and the Enemies of the Free World Must Be Stopped. Listen, learn, and enjoy!
Please Scroll Down for Featured Resources and Transcript!
Sign up for Six-Minute Networking — our free networking and relationship development mini course — at jordanharbinger.com/course!
Does your business have an Internet presence? Save up to a whopping 62% on new webhosting packages with HostGator at hostgator.com/jordan!
Don’t let a botched below-the-belt trim snag your summer plans — Manscaped has precision tools for your family jewels! Go to Manscaped.com and get 20 percent off with free shipping by using code JORDAN20 at checkout!
The folks at BiOptimizers understand why you’re skeptical about probiotics as a way to increase your digestive and gut health. But without sharing TMI, we can confirm its patented P3-OM superstrain actually does what it’s supposed to do! Curious? Go to p3om.com/jordan and enter code JORDAN20 for 20 percent off your order!
Saving money on your car insurance is easy with Progressive. It’s an average savings of $699 a year for customers who switch and save! Get your quote online at Progressive.com and see how much you could be saving today!
Miss our two-parter with North Korean defector Charles Ryu? Catch up here starting with episode 84: Confessions of a North Korean Escape Artist Part One!
THANKS, GARRY KASPAROV!
If you enjoyed this session with G1, let him know by clicking on the link below and sending him a quick shout out at Twitter:
And if you want us to answer your questions on one of our upcoming weekly Feedback Friday episodes, drop us a line at email@example.com.
Resources from This Episode:
- Deep Thinking: Where Machine Intelligence Ends and Human Creativity Begins by Garry Kasparov and Mig Greengard
- Winter Is Coming: Why Vladimir Putin and the Enemies of the Free World Must Be Stopped by Garry Kasparov
- How Life Imitates Chess: Making the Right Moves, from the Board to the Boardroom by Garry Kasparov
- Garry Kasparov | Facebook
- Garry Kasparov | Twitter
- Human Rights Foundation
- United Civil Front: The Other Russia
- Clash of Champions: Kasparov vs. Karpov
- Garry Kasparov: Become The World’s Greatest at What You Love Most | The James Altucher Show 227
- Magnus Carlsen vs. Garry Kasparov | Arkham Noir
- On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century by Timothy Snyder
- Why Dictators Hate Chess: Garry Kasparov on Vladimir Putin’s Meddling and America’s Response by Jacob Weisberg | Slate
- Bridge of Spies
- Deep Undercover with a KGB Spy in America Part One | TJHS 285
- Deep Undercover with a KGB Spy in America Part Two | TJHS 286
Transcript for Garry Kasparov | Deep Thinking for Disordered Times (Episode 360)
Garry Kasparov: [00:00:00] When I saw Putin rising, I just immediately realized that my country was in great danger and the world as well because I heard him saying clear and loud, "Once KGB, always KGB. The collapse of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical disaster of the 20th century." I've been saying for years that Putin was our problem but eventually, it will be everybody's problem. When they run out of enemies in their own country and the economy is no longer serving the world, they look for foreign aggression, for adventures outside of the country to blame enemies elsewhere for the collapse of the economy and social infrastructure.
Jordan Harbinger : [00:00:39] Welcome to the show. I'm Jordan Harbinger. On The Jordan Harbinger Show, we decode the stories, secrets, and skills of the world's sharpest minds and most fascinating people and turn their wisdom into practical advice that you can use to impact your own life and those around you. We want to help you see the Matrix when it comes to how these amazing people think and behave. And our mission is to help you become a better informed, more critical thinker. So you can get a much deeper understanding of how the world works and make sense of what's really happening. If you're new to the show, we've got episodes with spies and CEOs, athletes, and authors, thinkers and performers, as well as toolboxes for skill sets like negotiation, body language, persuasion, and more. So if you're smart and you like to learn and improve, you're going to be right at home here with us. For a selection of featured episodes to get you started with some of our favorite guests and popular topics, go to jordanharbinger.com and we'll hook you up.
[00:01:29] On this episode of the show from the vault here, we'll be talking with my friend, Garry Kasparov. He's a Russian chess grandmaster, former World Chess Champion, a writer, and a political activist. He's just one busy guy. Many people consider him to be the greatest chess player of all time. And now he's fighting another battle in a different game against Vladimir Putin. One thing I try to do in this interview, and I hope you all agree is I try to give Garry plenty of space to answer questions and explain the situation in Russia, and explain his own mindsets and ways of thinking. It seems to me that far too many interviewers and journalists, they just seem obsessed with showing other people how smart they are, how much they know about the situation. I tried very, very hard not to do that here. I hope it shows and makes for a better discussion. And if you're not familiar with the Russian situation in the Soviet Union situation, I still think you'll enjoy the heck out of this interview. Garry is brilliant. He's a great thinker. He really does turn everything he does up to 11.
[00:02:25] There are some interesting stories in this one as well. And if you're a specialist in this area, as opposed to a neophyte, I hope you'll find this discussion interesting as I try to hit on different angles about what makes Garry such a unique individual, both in Russian politics and why he holds a special place on the world stage, especially right now. Today, we're going to learn a lot about what it takes to become a chess champion, what can or cannot be applied from chess to politics, and the international game. And of course, the situation that we're in with respect to authoritarian governments today in Russia and around the world.
[00:02:58] If you want to know how I meet folks like Garry Kasparov and get him on this show, it's always about the network and I'm teaching you how to create a network, whether it's for your business or your personal life, your career, or just for your social circle. Check out our course, Six-Minute Networking. It's a free course, and you don't have to enter your credit card. There's no upsells. Six-Minute Networking, it's free, jordanharbinger.com/course is where you're going to find it. And most of the guests you hear on the show, subscribe to this course. So come join us, you'll be in smart company where you belong. All right, here's Garry Kasparov.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:03:29] Garry, it's funny. In the beginning of this interview, you had mentioned, "Oh, I wasn't sure if the KGB had hacked my phone," because we had a little trouble getting connected. And it was funny because it's very possible that that type of thing would happen to you, right?
Garry Kasparov: [00:03:43] Look, I was born and raised in the Soviet Union. So I'm used to living under 24/7 surveillance. And then, of course, I was politically active opposing Putin's regime. So I knew that almost everything if not everything I did and spoke somehow was known because Putin is a KGB guy. I want to remind our listeners that it was Putin's direct quote, that there is no former KGB. Once KGB is always KGB. I prefer to be suspicious rather than sorry, afterwards.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:04:11] Yeah. There's some crazy stuff in your book Winter is Coming -- great title, by the way, being a Game of Thrones fan.
Garry Kasparov: [00:04:18] Yeah. Yes.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:04:19] You know the culture well, to which you speak for sure. Your life is like a James Bond movie with, so far, less shooting and explosions, but not by too much. You were born with a different name though, Garik Weinstein. Why did you change your name or did you change your name? How did that work out?
Garry Kasparov: [00:04:37] Look, my father was a Jew -- Kim Weinstein. My mother was Armenian -- Klara Kasparova. It was a tragedy in our family. My father died when I was seven and I lived with my mother and her parents five years after my father died. So, we decided just to change my name. People had a lot of speculations that Garry's family – Garry's mother decided to change his name because it would help him in the Soviet Union, but trust me, changing from Jewish to Armenian in Baku -- in Azerbaijan -- was not a big deal.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:05:06] Yeah. It's kind of like, "Oh, okay, which group, right now, am I going to join, that's going to be less of a disadvantage?
Garry Kasparov: [00:05:13] But it was a practical consideration because I spent a lot of time with my grandfather and he had three daughters. He obviously also wanted to have a son. It was purely a family arrangement. I never denied my Jewish roots. At the end of the day, I grew up in Baku, which was a multicultural city. You may call it the southern outpost of the Russian empire, so that's why my native tongue was Russian. By language, by culture, by education, I'm Russian. As you may consider a Brit born in Sri Lanka or a French born in French Africa. And when the empire collapsed, we all moved from Baku, which became a part of independent Azerbaijan, up way north to Moscow, the capital of the country where I was born.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:05:56] You've ascended to the heights of two incredibly competitive fields. One of those fields being chess, the other one being politics. And we'll get into both of those. It seems to me that in the USSR, the Soviet Union, you get these impressions in your head as an American kid, that they like the communist countries. They take their kids at a super young age, they put them into some sort of training camp for stuff like this. Is that what happened? How close am I to reality here?
Garry Kasparov: [00:06:21] No, maybe it's a case in North Korea or in China, though I doubt about China. In the Soviet Union, there were many programs. I have to say that I benefited from centralized programs of selecting talents. By the way, chess was never a part of Soviet educational system. Chess was rather treated in the Soviet Union as the very important ideological tool to demonstrate intellectual superiority of the communist regime over the decadent West. So that's why the primary purpose of the selection was to find great talents and to make sure that the domination of the Soviet chess school continues from generation to generation. It was not difficult to spot my talent because I was so bright at age seven already. I immediately went into this network. By age 10, I was already a very strong player, a first category player, and I was picked up as one of the students, the youngest students of a famous school run by the former world champion, became my mentor, Mikhail Botvinnik.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:07:20] When I was a kid, I just sort of play around with stuff. Were you immediately drawn to chess? Like, "This is what I got to do. This is amazing. I'm going to play this all day and all night?"
Garry Kasparov: [00:07:30] Yeah. We all need a little bit of luck to select what we can do best in our lives. I cannot tell you exactly when this happened -- that I saw my parents, my mother and father looking at the chessboard. It was probably in the wintertime, 1968, 1969. So they try to solve a puzzle from one of the new local newspapers. Even in America, many newspapers carried this little section with chess puzzles. And I was fascinated by these magical pieces. These very intricate combinations. I couldn't figure out how they move, but eventually, I did it and I made even a suggestion the next day. And that was the beginning of my romance with the game of chess, that has been lasting almost a half a century. I love the game immediately and it was a perfect match like a match made in heaven for the way I could make decisions. I wouldn't say I'm very good at many other things.
[00:08:20] For instance, people believe that I should be great in mathematics. I'm pretty good. It was not my passion. I felt always much more comfortable with history, philosophy -- being humanitarian, which sounds a bit odd to non-professionals because they believe the chess players must be good in mathematics since chess is about calculation. To the contrary, it has many other elements like fantasy, imagination, intuition. I can tell you that making decisions at the chessboard was an absolute, perfect choice. I couldn't do anything better than in the game of chess.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:08:52] You mentioned that chess helps you make decisions. What do you mean by that? What are you thinking about when you look at other decisions? Do you see a chessboard somehow in your head?
Garry Kasparov: [00:08:59] No, it's not just about seeing the chessboard in my head. Obviously, I’m out of professional chess for 12 years. When I was in the midst of my professional career, I could even be dreaming of chess because it was very important just to be fully concentrated. But I even had another book, How Life Imitates Chess, where I spent thousands of pages explaining how we'll make decisions. We're all different so the way we make decisions depends very much in our character, on the way we build from our nature. Some people are more aggressive. Some people are less aggressive, but just more conservative. So we always look at, even in the same position from different angles. Some people are better built to play chess. Some people are better built to do other things. For instance, I'm very good at anticipating big pictures. I know I'm much worse in working with small details, micromanagement. And I made sure that my chess-playing style would incorporate my strengths and we'll make sure deadly weapons against my opponents.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:09:56] That's really interesting for me to see because whenever I hear about athletes and things like that, often, depending on the sport, of course, they'll say something like, "Well, you know, this is just like a game of tennis where I'm negotiating this contract with this other side." Even people who are not necessarily just athletes and I consider chess a sport for purposes of this conversation.
Garry Kasparov: [00:10:14] Good. Thank you very much. Yes, it's great to hear that
Jordan Harbinger: [00:10:17] You probably burn a ton of calories.
Garry Kasparov: [00:10:18] You do burn a lot of calories.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:10:19] Because of your brain.
Garry Kasparov: [00:10:22] Also because the chess competition typically is much longer. It's not just one day. It normally lasts for days.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:10:28] Oh, I didn't know that.
Garry Kasparov: [00:10:29] Oh yeah, but look, the typical tournament where I played, they last for a couple of weeks. And when I played the world championship match was Karpov, it was three months and the longest one we played lasted for five months.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:10:40] How was that possible? What are you doing the whole time? Are you playing 20 games of chess or do you just -- each move takes three hours?
Garry Kasparov: [00:10:46] The first match, we played 48 games, and then we had three games a week with the time outs. It's a huge pressure on you because even in between the games, you cannot take a rest. You're preparing for other games. You still live on the impressions from the previous games. It's very demanding. I always call chess as one of the most aggressive forms of psychological warfare because you have to dominate your opponent.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:11:09] So this isn't like a basketball game where it's, "Okay, fine. Best out of seven," or looking at soccer as you probably call it football, you can have a fluke win, even with the shootouts or even in a tournament-style, but 48 games, you know, who's better after 48 games.
Garry Kasparov: [00:11:24] Look, actually the match was close with no result because that was the last match that was played for six wins for one side, draws not counted. Karpov had a very good start so I was trailing four to nothing. Then many, many draws, and then he won the FIDE game, but he failed to deliver the final blow. I began winning. So I won three games, two in the row and after game 48, they felt that it was too close, too dangerous, Karpov was exhausted, especially psychologically. He didn't look good because he probably was losing faith that he could win one game. For many months, he couldn't deliver this final blow to me and they stopped the match. And then we played another match -- 24 games, next fall. I won that match and then I won the next match. We've had two more matches and I always retained my title. So we'd played five matches with Karpov, 144 games in total. That's probably the longest marathon in the history of any sport.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:12:16] This is a strange dynamic, I would imagine because after you play against somebody for so long, you probably don't like them very much, right? They're dominating you. You're dominating them, but yet you're spending so much time with these people at this elite level, that you have to have some affection or at least respect for the other side. Do you get along with people like that? Or are you like, "If I never see that Karpov guy again, it's too soon?" How do you feel about it?
Garry Kasparov: [00:12:38] You must respect your opponent. Otherwise, you will not be able just to perform well. Underestimating your opponent is one of the worst mistakes one can make. Liking is another story, especially because me and Karpov were very different. He was a darling of the communist system, always protected by the system. His rise was connected to the search of the Soviet authorities for someone who could beat Bobby Fischer, who took the title from the Soviets, which was taken in the Kremlin in early '70s, in 1972 when Fischer beat Spassky as a direct insult. The chess was treated as the very important ideological tool. So Karpov got full support. He beat all the players all the way to Fischer. Fischer then walked away, you know, retired, did play the match. Karpov became the world champion and he was on top four, nearly 10 years when we met. Though I didn't show my rebellion colors at that stage but Soviet authorities could sense that I was not a loyal party soldier as Karpov was. And also let's not forget he was ethnic Russian and I was half Armenian, half Jewish, from the deep South of the Soviet Union in Baku. It was the Caspian Seaside, where I was born. Karpov, for decades, even today, he's still a loyal soldier of the regime. He is still a member of the parliament. He has supported annexation of Crimea. So he's always with the regime and irony is that I'm always on the other side, opposing it.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:13:00] Yeah. You sure are, man. And I'm definitely going to ask you some questions about that in just a few minutes here. First though, when you were playing chess as a kid, you were always, I think, younger than everybody, right, in most of these matches?
Garry Kasparov: [00:14:06] Absolutely. Yes. I have to say that it was a very strange phenomenon for me that I entered chess competitions at a very early age, at seven, eight, nine. At that time, my opponents were 15, 16, 17, so they were older. And then at age 14, 15, I entered professional competitions. I was the youngest participant of the Soviet National Championship in 1978 at age 15. So I played the top few of the Soviet elites of the chest. It's a bit strange now being 54, just looking back and I'm no longer playing, but even as the last few years of my professional career, I played already opponents that were younger. Today, I'm looking at some of the young players, for instance, the Magnus Carlsen current world champion in the region who was born at the very end of my last match with Karpov. I played in 1990. Sounds a bit odd, but it tells you how things have changed.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:14:58] Yeah, no kidding. When you were younger than all of your opponents, was that an advantage or a disadvantage? Because I'm thinking he might have had more energy physically, but these guys might be a lot more experienced.
Garry Kasparov: [00:15:09] Of course when you face older kids in the competitions -- like you’re 10 and your opponents are 15, 16, 17, that's more of a disadvantage because they're stronger. You are still not matured, even with your talent, you cannot compensate for the lack of experience. Now, when you are 17, 18, and I was already one of the top players in the world facing older opponents, then it's already balanced because on one side that were experienced, but in the other side, you have more energy.
[00:15:36] Today, when you look at the average age of the top players, it went down quite dramatically. Because today you don't need to play in the tournament for years and years to gain the experience that you can actually get by sliding your finger on the screen or just clicking the mouse. The average professional player at age 15, 16 today knows much more about chess than Bobby Fischer 50 years ago.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:16:00] Really?
Garry Kasparov: [00:16:01] Not because he or she is more talented than the Fischer. It's ridiculous to imagine, but simply because the amount of information that is available is there. So Fischer opened new horizons, then it was Karpov, then it was myself, and then other great players. So now you don't have to learn it by playing, by moving the pieces. You can simply look at the computer screen. It doesn't make them better players, but it tells you that they can play different kinds of chess because you learned already from the great revelations of mistakes of the great predecessors. The same, for instance, if you have any college students studying physics, he or she definitely knows more about the subject that Newton or even Einstein.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:16:39] Right, that makes sense.
Garry Kasparov: [00:16:40] Simply because there's more information that's available and there are so many great things happened. It seems these geniuses open new horizons for us in the respective science.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:16:49] Absolutely. That makes perfect sense. Now, when you were first starting off when you were eight or nine and you're playing in these tournaments, I assume you started a few years before that. Were there similarly talented kids or are you just an outlier where people are like, "What the hell is this nine-year-old kid doing here?"
Garry Kasparov: [00:17:03] It was pretty clear that my talent was unique because I was just making giant leaps forward. At age seven, I was already the third category player, at eight, second category, nine, first category, and at the end of the year of 1973, I became the candidate master, which is a pretty solid achievement. There were other kids still older. I don't think I compete with the kids of my age. By age 10 or 11, I was already considered to be an exceptional player. And by age 12, I became the youngest Soviet national champions under 18. So by age 12, I won under 18 championship and by age 13, I won twice in the row.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:17:43] I was talking to my friend, James Altucher who you know and --
Garry Kasparov: [00:17:45] Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:17:46] He's a grandmaster of chess. He's been the master of chess for decades or something.
Garry Kasparov: [00:17:50] He's a legitimate chess player. We played a game of chess which is after the interview.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:17:55] Yeah. And he said, you just demolished the strategy that he's been using for decades. And it basically demolished his game, ruined this master strategy that's been working for him and he had to rethink everything. And this was like a game you were casually playing after an interview.
Garry Kasparov: [00:18:10] Okay. There's a huge gap between a player, even of his caliber and the retired world champ.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:18:17] Yes, of course. I don't think his ego was damaged. I think he was thrilled to be sitting across the table from you.
Garry Kasparov: [00:18:22] The difference between chess computers, and I'm not talking about supercomputers, I'm talking about a free chest app that you can download at your laptop. The difference between programs like Stockfish and Komodo, the best chess engines that are available on an open market and Magnus Carlsen, it's probably the same as between Magnus and Altucher.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:18:45] Oh, really?
Garry Kasparov: [00:18:46] You can't imagine how strong are these computers now. If you look at the Elo rating, so basically Magnus is in 2800 category, 2850, and best computers are playing at something like 3300 now.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:18:59] Oh my gosh.
Garry Kasparov: [00:19:00] The player of Altucher's strengths would be at 2200, 2300.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:19:04] Wow. So he's a really strong player then. No doubt.
Garry Kasparov: [00:19:08] He's a good player. Again, he's a legitimate player. It's still many, many thousand players just between 2800 and 2200. Probably tens of thousands of players, but I don't know the exact number. The interesting thing is that chess actually is far more popular today than with Fischer played Spassky or when I played with Karpov. This is another misunderstanding. People keep asking me why chess is no longer popular as it used to be and my answer is absolutely not. It's much more popular. Simply look at a number of people who are involved in the game. Look at the kids, a few months ago, I was in Nashville, Tennessee at the US Supernational 5,600 kids from all over the country took place. The reason we don't see it is because if not in 1972, there was no CNN, no cable TV, and PBS story about matching rate gap equals everywhere. In '85, when I played Karpov, that was CNN, but it was just the beginning of the cable TV and no Internet. Today, chess, there will be probably 100 times more popular than when Fischer played Spassky or 50 times as popular when I played Karpov. Chess is a part of the public space that is one million times bigger because of so many other distractions. So even being much bigger than it used to be, chess looks much smaller in this big picture that has so many other things that are available just through one-click on your mobile device.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:20:27] Of course, and looking at television coverage, it can be huge all over the world, but very few people, at least in the United States, nobody's watching chess on ESPN. It's just not a thing.
Garry Kasparov: [00:20:37] By the way, in US even soccer is not very popular as it looks on television, though I think it's one of the biggest games in the country. But because it's not on television, you don't see how popular the game is. And in chess, again, I simply look at the number of kids that are joining the program, the number of schools that are adopting the program as a very important educational tool to improve the skills of the kids. Because I have Kasparov Chess Foundation that was formed in the United States 15 years ago. And I have several entities of Kasparov Chess Foundation around the world.
Peter Oldring: [00:21:08] You are listening to The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest Garry Kasparov. We'll be right back.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:21:14] This episode is sponsored in part by HostGator. Everybody's a brand nowadays. Peter, you know this more than anyone?
Peter Oldring: [00:21:19] Oh my gosh. Am I ever? I love my brand. I mean, you know, I wear it on a t-shirt.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:21:24] Well, we all know where you made that t-shirt but that was a different ad spot. This is about HostGator. I recommend HostGator's website builder. You can easily create a professional-looking and feature-packed website that has your weird brand t-shirt logo on it.
Peter Oldring: [00:21:36] Yes, I love it.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:21:37] You know, logo or not. You can choose from over a hundred mobile-friendly templates, so your site is going to look great on any device, smartphone, tablet, desktop, and they've got a lot of little plugin type deals that you can throw in their PayPal when you want to get those -- when you want to get that money.
Peter Oldring: [00:21:51] Oh yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:21:52] SEO, so you can optimize that website. Tell them where they can get a deal on HostGator.
Peter Oldring: [00:21:56] You'll also get a guaranteed 99 percent uptime and the support team is here to help you with any issues experienced 24/7, 365. HostGator is giving you guys and gals up to 62 percent off of all of their packages for new users. Go to hostgator.com/jordan right now to sign up. That is hostgator.com/jordan.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:22:18] This episode is also sponsored by Manscaped. And yeah, they give us all this funny copy, Peter, but I thought this particular bit of feedback was really good and that we should notify everybody what kind of feedback we got from this woman named John. So what this woman named John says is, "I think advertising for men's balls is disgusting." And to be clear this is advertising for Manscaped, which is a ball trimmer that you can manscape. I'm not actually selling. They're not selling any balls.
Peter Oldring: [00:22:46] No, no, no, no, no. It's mostly about, you know, bodily hairs to be specific because some of the manscaping, of course, you can use under your arms.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:22:52] She says, "I'm trying to listen to non-sexual, non-gendered concepts." And I would say that, look again, despite the name Manscaped women are more than welcome to use the Manscaped ball trimmer to trim their own balls.
Peter Oldring: [00:23:08] Absolutely. And they can, they can name their manscaping tools if they would like to sort of personally name them for themselves. Like I call mine, Garry.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:23:18] I think Manscaped would approve of that. Manscaped has the Perfect Package 3.0, it's a great trimmer for men or women.
Peter Oldring: [00:23:26] Yes.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:23:27] And you can get 20 percent off whether you are a man or a woman named John, tell them how they can get that deal.
Peter Oldring: [00:23:32] Get 20 percent off and free shipping with code JORDAN at manscape.com. That is 20 percent off with free shipping at manscaped.com and use code JORDAN. It's dad bod season. You know, it is time to get smooth.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:23:48] Yes. And again, this is a trimmer, not actually balls.
Peter Oldring: [00:23:51] No, no.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:23:51] You're not getting any balls in the mail.
Peter Oldring: [00:23:53] Balls were not mentioned in this at all.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:23:55] No barely.
Peter Oldring: [00:23:56] Well, maybe once or twice.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:23:57] You know,
Peter Oldring: [00:23:58] And now back to Garry Kasparov on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:24:00] What do you think now that you see things like Deep Blue, which I think James Altucher actually worked on supercomputers beating chess champions. How did it feel when you got beat by that? Were you like, "Wow, this is progress," or were you like, "Damn, we're all screwed. These robots are going to kill us?"
Garry Kasparov: [00:24:17] No, it's progress. By the way, I'm always objective about the way I played chess, whether I won or lost, that I knew that objectivity was a very important element of staying on the top. I'm not just telling people that whatever is happening with machines, sort of taking over some of the jobs. It's a part of our history, the history of civilization. From early days, not even a hundred years ago, people try to come up with machines with some mechanisms to improve living standards and just to make our work process more efficient. And now we could see the machines just moving from manufacturing side, from replacing manual jobs into so menial parts of cognition. It's a natural step forward. And I think we have to look for ways to incorporate it into our working process, than mourning and spreading the doomsaying predictions.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:25:09] Of course. Yeah. Look, you're a super fascinating guy. That's one of the reasons I wanted to get you on, especially after I read the book, Winter is Coming. Obviously, you don't need to work another day in your life, but instead of coasting it and living on easy street, you're speaking out against arguably the most dangerous thing to vocally be against, which is Vladimir Putin and oppressive regimes around the world.
Garry Kasparov: [00:25:30] It's probably part of my Soviet education or cultural background. I grew up in this intellectual environment where doubts about the moral validity of the Soviet regime were widespread. I've been traveling abroad since I was 13, and I could immediately collect this information and just put it together and just realized that something was wrong in the country where I was born and raised. Then fighting Karpov and Soviet system that was behind him, made me even more aware about these challenges. And I believed that it was my duty as the world champion -- young world champion in mid-'80s -- to join the protect democracy movement that was formed on the Gorbachev's years and help my country to move away from communism into the free world. And then I just thought it was it.
[00:26:19] In the '90, I was less active, but when I saw Putin rising, I just immediately realized that my country was in great danger and the world as well because I heard him saying clear and loud, "Once KGB, always KGB. The collapse of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical disaster of the 20th century." I saw him as one of the first acts as Russian president, to restore the Soviet anthem, which is a very important, symbolic gesture, telling the world and, of course, people who born in the Soviet Union, that it was his geopolitical dream. What Putin could do if given the chance? I've been saying for years, that was our problem but eventually, it will be everybody's problem because that's what I read in books about other dictators. When they run out of enemies in their own country and the economy is no longer serving them well, they look foreign aggression, for adventures outside of the country to blame enemies elsewhere for the collapse of the economy and social infrastructure.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:27:16] So basically the changing of the national anthem back to the Soviet national anthem is kind of a metaphor for, "Hey guess what? We're going back to Soviet times."
Garry Kasparov: [00:27:25] You know, it was kind of a statement. It was not yet there because Putin, I think, was quite opportunistic. If you go all the way back to the '30s when people say, "Oh, how can you compare anybody to Hitler?" Because I did it many times. I said, "Look, we are not talking about Hitler from history books. We're talking about Hitler from 1933, '34, '35, '36, and read newspapers -- New York Times, London Times, Le Monde, Toronto Star -- they all thought about him as being an autocratic leader but nobody thought about him being able to start this armageddon. All dictators, they grab what they’re allowed to grab. They don't ask, "Why?" They always ask, "Why not?" And the policy of appeasement, hoping that, "Oh, maybe you will be satisfied with this piece and will not move forward." That was a disaster and the '30s, and that's what I'm warning will be a disaster with Putin. 70 years later, as I predicted eventually Putin went beyond Russian borders. So we attacked neighboring countries in 2007, first attack, 10 years ago in Estonia cyberattack. And then he decided that he could start attacking other countries in the vicinity of Russia, so former Soviet Union, like Republic of Georgia. He believed that he was in the position to dictate the terms to the free world, saying that, "Let's go back to the 19th century or early 20th century, where big powers could decide for small countries. Forget about all this consensus, all these arrangements, all these diplomatic negotiations. It's about big guys deciding for others, and I'm not going just to play by the rules."
Jordan Harbinger: [00:28:56] Sadly, you've been a very accurate prophet when it comes to Vladimir Putin. And it's interesting that the regime used to support your chess opponents and you were on the other side then. You're definitely on the other side now. And it seems like Putin plays political chess really well so you're just the guy to talk about this stuff.
Garry Kasparov: [00:29:11] I'm always reluctant to accept Putin as the political or geopolitical chess player.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:29:17] Really?
Garry Kasparov: [00:29:18] Look, I always say that I have to defend the integrity of my game.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:29:21] Okay.
Garry Kasparov: [00:29:22] The reason I'm saying it is that chess is the 100 percent transparent game. I have my pieces, you have your pieces. So we play the game. I don't know what do you have in mind, but I know exactly what resources you can use to do harm to me and vice versa. Now we’re talking about Putin the dictator and dictators don't have transparency. They hate transparency. That's why I always say Putin is more likely a poker player. And I have to give him credit. He's a very good poker player because he doesn't have -- he never had a strong hand. In poker, you can win with a weak hand if you can bluff, if you can raise the stakes, and if you know how to read your opponent's mind, especially if your opponent is weak or indecisive and misreads your intentions, as it happened with Bush 43 and especially with Obama, and I'm not even counting many European leaders.
[00:30:07] So Putin realized that even with a weak hand, having a pair of five, he could keep bluffing, he would win since nobody wanted a confrontation. Everybody believed that by giving up here and there, they could satisfy Putin's appetite, not recognizing that confrontation was the free world for many years or has become Putin's main chip in the Russian domestic political casino. He has nothing else to offer to Russian Republic, but the idea of Russian greatness and Russia being a fortress of good surrounded by the world's evil and Putin as the white knight, the only one who can protect it.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:30:42] You're arguing that Putin is not a master strategist, but like you said, a poker player, who's just maybe playing aggressively in the face of opponents.
Garry Kasparov: [00:30:50] He's a tactician, he's a tactician. Again, dictators who are in power for so long, they cannot afford the luxury of being a strategist. Because if you're a strategist, you start thinking long term, but dictator has to survive. And he knows that if he looks weak or too dreamy, it could be shot or stabbed by his own guys. So that's why it's all about, "I survive tonight, maybe tomorrow morning, and we'll see what happens." They're very good at that. "I could make plans, but these plans just should be connected to what I do tonight, tomorrow morning, to make sure I'm still in the game. And then I'll find something else," because he's not abiding by the rules. He doesn't care what happens after. And this is one of the fundamental problems of the free world facing Putin and other dictators. Because today, we keep forgetting that the strengths of democracy are more like chess. We can strategize, we can rely on institutions that will continue even when the president or prime minister just goes away and somebody else is in the office. So going back to the '40s, we could see that many of the key institutions that secure the survival of the free world and eventually, victor in the Cold War were built by Harry Truman's administration, like NATA, CIA, National Security Council, The Voice of America -- the propaganda outlet helped to work in Eastern Europe and in the Soviet Union -- a Marshall Plan for Europe, and it's those four institutions that couldn't bring immediate benefits to the administration, but it was like investing in the future.
[00:32:15] Many presidents that followed Harry Truman. They just worked not for the immediate benefits of the administration but definitely recognizing that it's an ongoing struggle. And so from Harry Truman to Ronald Reagan, US foreign policy was fairly consistent. There was some deviation, but they knew that there was an enemy and they had to be vigilant and to keep their act together. And then since that 1991, the end of the Cold War, the collapse of the Soviet Union, US foreign policy worked more like a pendulum swinging from one side to another, which definitely created a lot of frustration and a lot of anxiety, even joy on the other side because the bad guys realized that the United States no longer had the same commitments as before.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:32:56] Yeah. There's this irony in all of this where he knows the West will always back down so he can do whatever he wants. This is sort of standard practice for dictators, who it seems like you're saying dictators, even though they say, "All right, I'm now in power till 2035." They're planning that way outwardly, but inwardly, they're just trying to survive until the next morning. That's interesting. I had never thought of that.
Garry Kasparov: [00:33:16] Exactly. And again, he knows that he's in power for the rest of his life. Now, this is bad news, but the good news, he also does know when and how his life will end. Dictators, they know a lot, but they cannot read their own fortunes.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:33:30] Yikes. That would be a crazy way to live. Another irony here is that Putin used to root for you in chess tournaments when he was in East Germany, working for the KGB. Do you know about this?
Garry Kasparov: [00:33:40] Look, I read it, but it's one of Putin's colleagues who said it. Don't forget that the story was publicized in Russia at the time when it was not clear whether Putin wanted to be seen as the old-fashioned Soviet guy. Maybe I'm too suspicious, too paranoid. Maybe he rooted for me because I was younger and he also was on the younger generation. Maybe he thought that it would be good for the country. I don't know, but I have my own doubts that it was a real story because everything we learn about Purin from sources close to him, it's kind of a fake story called fake news, which is a typical KGB operation of misleading and misinforming and creating the wrong image.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:34:22] What sort of image would it create to know that he rooted for you back in his KGB days in East Germany? What would that do for his image?
Garry Kasparov: [00:34:29] It depends on the timing when the story was released. That's what I said.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:33:32] Right, yeah.
Garry Kasparov: [00:34:33] Maybe in the '90s, it was definitely because it was New Russia and it was Boris Yeltsin's time, democratic Russia. Maybe that was good for him. That would give him sort of better connections to new government, better image that he was kind of reformist who could be rooting for the underdog. I don't know but since I never heard him actually saying that to me, it still could be fake news. When two people are facing each other in a major competition, sometimes it's not political at all. And it could be purely psychological or maybe for some reason he was rooting for me. Though again, I have my doubts. In 1996, I was in St. Petersburg, invited by Mayor Sobchak, Anatoly Sobchak. And Vladimir Putin was his deputy. Sobchak invited me. It was just a few months before elections where Sobchak lost. And by the way, Putin runs his campaign. That's the lesson he learned from the campaign. That reelections are unpredictable. So that's why Putin never participated in reelections and never participated in any debates in his life. I was there spending a few hours with Sobchak, I had lunch with him. It's amazing that I couldn't recall seeing Putin's face around, which tells you about the KGB guy. He's one of the top officials in Sobchak's Town Hall. I'm there as a guest of honor and he's nowhere around. So that's why I have my doubts that if he really was rooting for me, that could be a good opportunity to actually show up and say, "Whoa, hey, Garry, I'm so happy you're here."
Jordan Harbinger: [00:35:59] Oh, yeah. And since he wasn't there, didn't bother, maybe he never cared.
Garry Kasparov: [00:36:02] Maybe he was there, but I couldn't see him because again if KGB guy doesn't want you to see him they can be around without you noticing them.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:36:10] He was under the table the whole time. Plot twist.
Garry Kasparov: [00:36:12] Yes.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:36:14] It's clear that you bring the same intensity to politics as you do or did to chess. What did chess teach you about politics, political maneuvering? What overlap is there?
Garry Kasparov: [00:36:23] That was the first question I've been asked and asked many times ever since after I left my professional chess in 2005, so whether playing chess would be helpful in navigating in Russian politics. And my answer instantly was no, because in chess we have fixed rules, unpredicted results. And in Putin's Russia, it was exactly the opposite. Rules change all the time but results stay the same.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:36:47] Oh yeah. Good point. Wow. I hadn't even thought about it like that, but you're right. The rules seem to be quite flexible. There was a phrase I used to hear. "Nothing is true," or, "Nothing is allowed, everything is possible." Something like this.
Garry Kasparov: [00:36:57] Peter Pomerantsev, yes, great book.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:36:59] So why is it that you don't want to be introduced as a former Russian presidential candidate? I've read that and it just seems like a strange thing to not want on the resume.
Garry Kasparov: [00:37:07] When we are talking to an American audience or European audience, the moment you say, former presidential candidate, people will go, "Oh, it's a real political battle. The man who was engaged in presidential campaign," which means you can create your political party or your organization. You can participate in debates. You can do fundraising, you can meet your voters. Nothing from this menu is available and nothing was available in Putin's Russia. It was more like a statement to demonstrate that you couldn't run against Putin unless Kremlin approves your candidates. They just stopped me by not allowing me to have a meeting in Moscow because by the rules, you have to bring 500 people in the hall and yes, you have to register them. They have to support you. I hope you don't doubt that I could afford to rent a proper place which I did. After many refusals, we actually got one and the night before our meeting, which was close to deadline of registration, they just canceled the contract, returned the money saying, "Technical reasons." The day after my scheduled meeting there, they had one of Putin's puppets running the very same meeting in the very same place.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:38:11] Whatever technical reason they had to cancel your meeting was fixed within a day.
Garry Kasparov: [00:38:15] They don't care. That's why when you say presidential candidate, it gives the wrong impression that in Putin's Russia you can compete against him politically. Putin had never participated in a single political debate in his life. It's always him talking to the people like all dictators. He talks to people answering the questions that have been selected. Everybody knows that all of these so-called direct lines are being rehearsed for weeks, people being selected, every question has been rehearsed. That's the way a dictator communicates with his people.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:38:44] So you were never a candidate because of all the BS involved.
Garry Kasparov: [00:38:47] I'd be very happy to compete with any Putin's cronies. And of course, debating with him, but it's impossible because he doesn't debate. He's a dictator. He doesn't care. All he wants is just to make sure that he pretends that he participates in a kind of political competition. But at the end of the day, whatever the process, he must be a winner at the end. So that's why they change here and there, these tiny details. But at the end of the day, it's all Putin, the victorious.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:39:12] Back in the '90s, you were shouting from the rooftops about the fall of communism, and the dangers here. Nobody believed you, which sucks. How do you manage the energy then and now of being one of the only ones delivering a very unpopular/unlikely message to a bunch of people who don't want to hear it?
Garry Kasparov: [00:39:29] Look, I don't think I'm alone -- the only one. There were many people, many great people, many brave people that marched with me in our peaceful rallies, Moscow and St. Petersburg and other Russian cities. Most of them are in exile. Many of them in jails and some of them are like a great leader like Boris Nemtsov, a former deputy prime minister, who was murdered more than two years ago in front of the Kremlin. These people, they shared my vision of the future of our country. Since Boris has gone and the very few people who, if anyone, is left who could be as loud and conspicuous as myself and I feel it as my duty to speak on their behalf. Because there are many millions of Russians that have no voice, they live on a dictatorship and for them taking to the streets or just making protests is risky, it's really risky.
[00:40:16] I didn't think before that I would have to live in exile, but four and half years ago, I had no other choice, but to leave my country since I was already part of the criminal investigation for my political activities. And late Boris Nemtsov gave me his wise advice just to leave the country saying, "You better be outside and just to do the job rather than being arrested here." Unfortunately, he didn't follow this advice himself.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:40:39] Yeah. And he ended up dead in his street within the view of the Kremlin.
Garry Kasparov: [00:40:44] Yeah. It's about 150 yards from Kremlin and that was more like an execution. Nobody believes that it could be done by anyone rather than by one of the KGB guys, because it was shot in the middle of the bridge that leads straight to the Kremlin Gates. There are more video cameras there than in Fort Knox and of course, none of them worked at night.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:41:03] Right. They were all off.
Garry Kasparov: [00:41:04] Oh, they're all off. And so the kangaroo court that actually tried alleged killers that in my view, that were not part of this crime, they didn't even ask or didn't demand Russian security that controlled the bridge and the cameras, the video footage, because they were simply told, "Not available." Period.
Peter Oldring: [00:41:24] This is The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest Garry Kasparov. We'll be right back.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:41:28] This episode is sponsored in part by BiOptimizers. There's one mineral that we often don't get enough of and that's magnesium. It's this "master mineral" powerful and over 300 critical reactions including metabolism, energy, immunity. According to Google, I did look that up because whenever anyone says energy, I'm always like, “Eh, is that true?" Yeah. Even digestion is influenced by the presence of magnesium and most supplements only contain one or two forms of magnesium. When in reality, there are at least seven that your body needs and benefits from BiOptimizers have a new magnesium product called Magnesium Breakthrough. I take it at night because supposedly it helps me get better deep sleep. And I've noticed that to be true, according to my Oura Ring here.
Peter Oldring: [00:42:08] Okay, I like it.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:42:09] They ran out for a bit, but it is back in stock. Magnesium Breakthrough is.
Peter Oldring: [00:42:14] Sorry, guys, that was me. That was me. I was hoarding.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:42:16] You stockpiling it.
Peter Oldring: [00:42:17] I stockpiled it.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:12:18] Instead of toilet paper, you just got your Magnesium Breakthrough.
Peter Oldring: [00:42:20] Yeah, I said, I don't know what's going to happen next, but I'm going to have this magnesium. I stocked it up.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:42:25] Yeah, well they have it back. And with volume discounts combined with our coupon code, which you can tell them about right now, you can save up to 40 percent off select packages of Magnesium Breakthrough, Peter.
Peter Oldring: [00:42:36] That is correct. And I promise you this, my dear friends, this deal is only available on this specific website, which is www.magbreakthrough.com/jordan. You will not find that deal on Amazon or even the company's own website. This deal is exclusively for podcast listeners and is legitimately for a limited time while supplies last, they've also completely revamped their checkout process and it's much friendlier and easier. So go to www.magbreakthrough.com/jordan and use coupon code JORDAN10 to save up to 40 percent off select packages and get the most full-spectrum and effective magnesium product ever.
Peter Oldring: [00:43:19] Support for today's episode comes from Progressive Insurance. Fun fact, Progressive customers qualify for an average of six discounts when they sign up for Progressive Auto Insurance discounts for things like enrolling in automatic payments, ensuring more than one car, going paperless, and of course, being a safe driver. Plus customers who bundle their auto with home or add renter's insurance, save an average of 12 percent on their auto. There are so many ways to save when you switch. And once you are a customer with Progressive, you get unmatched claim service with 24/7 support online or by phone. It is no wonder why more than 20 million drivers trust Progressive. And that's why they've recently climbed to the third-largest auto insurer in the country. Get a quote online at progressive.com in as little as five minutes and see how much you could be saving. Auto insurance from Progressive Casualty Insurance Company and affiliates, home and renter's insurance not available in all states, provided and serviced by affiliate and third-party insurers. Discounts vary and are not available in all states and situations.
[00:44:15] By the way, we're testing something new at the end of this show, you're going to hear a trailer, it's for our show here, The Jordan Harbinger Show. It's a past episode. This one here is Charles Ryu. He escaped from North Korea twice. So make sure you stay tuned after the show for that.
[00:44:30] Thank you for listening and supporting the show. Your support of our advertisers is what keeps us going to learn more and to get links to all of those great discounts you just heard so that you can check out those amazing sponsors for yourself, visit jordanharbinger.com/deals. And don't forget that worksheet for today's episode. The link is in the show notes at jordanharbinger.com/podcast. And now for the conclusion of our episode with Garry Kasparov.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:44:59] Geez. Unbelievable. A lot of people that you use to work with for similar causes, such as democracy in Russia, are dead, meeting similar violent ends in Moscow or elsewhere, usually via a hitman. I mean, how concerned are you for this personally?
Garry Kasparov: [00:45:12] Look, I am concerned. That's why I live outside of Russia and I try to limit some of my foreign travel, not visiting places where I believe that KGB could have an easy ride. That's the question that makes me, and especially my family very uncomfortable. So we live in New York, I have to go just around the world, just to places where people invite me to do speeches. I have to limit my travel map, eliminating places where I don't feel secure. Though, of course, we know that Putin's enemies could be in real danger, even in the UK, yet nothing has happened on US soil.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:45:47] Is it true that you don't fly Russian airlines unless you absolutely have to?
Garry Kasparov: [00:45:51] That was the case 12 years ago. I tried to avoid flying Aeroflot when I was in Russia fighting Putin -- so recognizing that in the plane, you could be offered some food or drink that may not be complementary to your health. But now it’s no longer the case, I'm out of Russia for four and a half years, so I don't have to fly Aeroflot and don't have to think about it.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:46:10] Yeah. I heard you used to bring your own food on the plane.
Garry Kasparov: [00:46:13] Living in Putin's Russia, you have to be cautious and just to make some precise calculations about what you do next. But again, I try to limit my Aeroflot flights. They were very short flights, so I could definitely make sure that I was out of danger, but it was sort of a minor problem because in 2007 I was arrested for the first time. Now spending five days in Putin’s jail -- that's far more dangerous than Aeroflot. That was the first warning. So I was arrested a few times, beaten -- and I just realized in 2013, they started this massive criminal case against a bunch of political activists that even though I was never covered and I could take a lot of risks, but it was too much, especially to consider that I have family and I decided to follow Boris Nemtsov's advice to leave the country.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:46:56] And even now though, I mean, looking at what happened to Alexander Litvinenko, who was poisoned with radioactive polonium, which literally can only come from certain places in Russia --
Garry Kasparov: [00:47:06] Yeah, absolutely.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:47:08] That's got to keep you up at night at some level.
Garry Kasparov: [00:47:10] I don't drink tea with strangers. It's about being cautious as much as you can. I try to make sure that I limit my contacts with people that I'm not 100 percent confident to the absolute minimum and just to be with someone in these meetings. But again, living in the States, I'm fairly comfortable that I can avoid the worst. Again, because I don't drink tea with strangers, I could probably feel now where the danger comes from. Though again, this is something that you cannot stop, but I will always quote General Abel from the Bridge of Spies, a great movie.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:47:42] Yeah.
Garry Kasparov: [00:47:43] Recent movie. When he was asked by his lawyer by Donovan --
Jordan Harbinger: [00:47:45] "Are you worried?"
Garry Kasparov: [00:47:47] "Are you worried? Would it help?"
Jordan Harbinger: [00:47:48] Yeah, exactly. I knew exactly which line you're talking about. You can worry all you want, and that might kill you faster than polonium 212
Garry Kasparov: [00:48:00] Eh, 210.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:48:01] 210, oh, well, I was off by two protons or neutrons. Looking at the show trials and the telephone justice and things like that -- this is something that boggles my mind. Coming from a law and legal background myself, it would just be so humiliating and judges in the United States -- as you know, in the West in general -- are often at odds with governmental power and authority. It's unthinkable to us as westerners that a judge would get a phone call from some government lackey minister and make decisions that way or say, "Oh, I guess there's no evidence of this murder," even though you know that every day when you walk to work, there are 87 video cameras recording you. What are these people doing? Are they just as scared as everyone else? Are they cronies? I mean, what's going on here with the legal system?
Garry Kasparov: [00:48:44] It's a dictatorship. I understand the sounds are inconsiderable for people who were born and raised and still live in a free world. That's the judge who looks like a judge but is not the judge. He or she is a clerk. They're just following instructions. We had so many cases. There were small cases by current standards. 10 years ago, I call it vegetarian times because for chanting, "Down with Putin," you can go to jail for five or 10 days. Now, you will end up in jail for five years, putting the same. Those are differences in numbers. It's like quantitative differences, but the qualitative differences, stand out because the trial was a mockery from the very beginning. I think one of the key cases was at early days when I was arrested, I had video demonstrating that I was arrested in a different place and it was arrested by the riot police and the head of guy there, just lying under oath -- a police officer saying, "I arrested him." I said, "What do you mean? I never met you." He said, "No, I arrested you." I said, "Where?" "Oh, I arrested you at 1:30 at Mayakovsky Square." I said, "But there's a video. I was arrested 45 minutes earlier by riot police at a different square." And then the judge said, "No, I trust this guy because he's wearing a uniform." Fullstop.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:49:56] Geez.
Garry Kasparov: [00:49:57] That's in court papers. That's 2007. Now imagine what's happening now 10 years later.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:50:02] Right, because Russia only had eight years of democracy, which means that this is already backslid that much more.
Garry Kasparov: [00:50:09] But it's very important. That this is the way that they pretended to follow the law. But at the end of the day, this is a core element of Putin's law. "We always trust the man in uniform." And so many people now are in jail. So many people just suffer immensely because the men in uniform in Putin's Russia is always right.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:50:28] That's why it's so much easier to install a dictator than to remove one because you believe what they're going to say. It's scary. The politicians that we trust the most to do what they say, are often the dictators and they're the ones who say that they're going to do the most horrible things. And so we have to be really careful with this, even in democracy. Do Russians understand they've lost so many of their freedoms? I mean, I don't mean to sound insulting or condescending, but it seems like nobody would put up with this. And yet I look at the United States as well, and I feel like we've lost a ton of our freedoms. We lose more here and there, and we might just sit back and take it to, in fact, we are.
Garry Kasparov: [00:51:00] Let's start with the United States. I live in the United States, three out of four of my kids. They are US citizens. So that's why I do care about the future of this great country. I actually, I can tell you that to the country, I think America now is awakening. I think that we should, believe or not, we should praise Donald Trump for making it clear that the danger was real. For so many years, I've been trying to tell Americans that nothing is for granted and as well, it's your problem. In Russia, in China, in North Korea, elsewhere -- in America, it's all carved into stone. Really. Are you sure? It's all about fighting for your freedom, for your rights, and now I am truly amazed to see the potential of the country that is awakening. By the way, one of the greatest things that happened is just it's how the law courts and the appeal courts, they turned down Trump's executive order –
Jordan Harbinger: [00:51:48] Refugee ban.
Garry Kasparov: [00:51:49] Exactly, refugee ban. Okay, Supreme Court may restore it, but it's a legal process. It was, by the way, big shock in Putin's Russia, how to actually interpret it because the idea of Putin and other dictators is to say, "America, it's not a democracy. A the end of the day, it's all fake. It's a coverup. The man who wins the elections will do whatever he or she wants to do. The man in the White House, whoever sits there, will decide for the rest of the country and nobody can stop." Really? Now you could look at the situation with the travel ban. It was a big hurdle for Putin's propaganda machine because the judge in Seattle, just turned down or just stopped this ban. And the judge was not arrested, was not dismissed. And instead of doing something horrible to the judge, Trump administration had to go to appeal court and lost again.
[00:52:36] That's the demonstration. How democracy works. That the separation of power is not a fake, it's real. It doesn't mean that the country's safe because you have someone in the White House who wants to do a lot of damage to the country and probably will as long as he stays in office. It still shows that the checks and balances installed by the founding fathers are very much in place. But, of course, mechanism is rusty and you have to work on it but it sends a good signal to people in Russia or in other places that democracy is a living thing. It's an institution that has to be revived all the time. Each generation should add something to make sure that mechanisms are functioning properly. It's a funny paradox. That is again, hard to explain to Americans or Europeans.
[00:53:18] In the late 80s, early 90s, when the Soviet Union was about to collapse, it was a fairly simple process. That's why I predicted it a few years in advance because I could see that the system was exhausted and people didn't want it anymore because the system could provide anything for them. People looked outside of Soviet Union to look to the West thinking, "Oh, the West has democracy and the West has much better living standards. So let's have democracy, so let's vote and that will bring us higher living standards." Democracy was installed. People voted for Yeltsin once and twice, but instead of receiving immediate benefits, many of them saw even harder times. Economic hardship was all over the place. The country was on the verge of collapse. So many of them thought, "Oh, it was not real democracy because it didn't bring, automatically, improvement in our lives." And Putin gradually took over one piece of freedom after another. But because the high oil prices have been rising rapidly, Putin could build some social infrastructure and offer something small in small numbers, but it guaranteed a steady improvement in people's lives.
[00:54:23] And for many of them who were born in the Soviet Union and who had no ideas about checks and balances and separation of powers, they saw an improvement in their lives. They still kept voting and that's why Putin believed that preserving the voting mechanism was important for him. They said, "Oh, maybe it's democracy. We live in democracy because we still vote. There's some kind of quasi-political life, but at the end of the day, we could see a steady and gradual improvement in our lives."
Jordan Harbinger: [00:54:49] It's been said, and I think this was in your book, actually, that we have to trust our institutions here in the United States and in the West and not individual leaders and individual people because one of the primary differences is between communism and capitalism or at least between totalitarian states and democratic states is that communism has this sort of autoimmune disorder that it puts into society. It doesn't do the killing itself. It just weakens the institutions, weakens the judges, weakens all of the people, and the balance of power so much that then you can't fight off anything else, like a dictator or an authoritarian. There's nothing in place to stop it at that point. You catch a cold and you die.
Garry Kasparov: [00:55:25] Absolutely. But also let's not forget the Trump phenomenon, it's not unexpected because it happens when the country is frustrated and the country has no vision of the future. People are just upset and they look backwards. Most of the Trump voters, they look backward for these golden days. They're paralyzed. They don't see any immediate benefits for them in the future. They are willing to buy any story that comes out of populists, who just don't care by lying and misleading people and just telling them whatever they want to hear.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:55:56] So is it a difference than that we have between appeasing Putin and World War III? Because I see a lot of isolationists folks trumpeting this trope all the time. "Well, you have to either appease him or we're going to go to war with Russia." Do you think that Putin would back down if he was properly challenged?
Garry Kasparov: [00:56:11] How about reading history books? That's exactly what we heard in the '30s.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:56:15] Yeah.
Garry Kasparov: [00:56:16] Appeasement or World War II.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:56:17] Right.
Garry Kasparov: [00:56:18] So we got both. No appeasing dictator is the way to actually make his appetite so big that he will cross the red line ultimate line, the choice of appeasement and the war, between appeasement and deterrence, because dictator at a certain point is not strong enough to go full monty. Because it's not just about him. He has his generals, they have colonels, they have majors, they have other members of the elite. They all have doubts. And in 1937, 1938, Hitler was not ready to start a war because the country was not ready. The top people, top brass, military brass, or top bureaucrats, they had big doubts that Germany could afford a war, but every day a dictator stays in power. Every new concession the free world makes to him, creates new momentum. So he looks invincible. He looks too powerful and nobody can oppose him. And when he decides to go crazy, there's no one around to stop him.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:57:12] Is there anything left that I have not asked you that you want to make sure you bring home?
Garry Kasparov: [00:57:16] I have to say that I'm an optimist. Just even looking at the latest development between Trump and Putin, I still believe that humanity has a purpose. We don't know exactly what is the purpose, but things should get better. But it's all about us to make the difference. That's a very important message. No one else was going to change things. Now people just don't recognize that we are empowered by the great technology. Each of us has a device in our pocket or purse that is thousand times more powerful and Cray's supercomputer in 1976. So many great things we can do by being engaged. So my message is always let's get engaged so we can do many things by promoting new ideas, by creating some new social networks, and making sure that our future will not be decided by crazy paranoid guys that are looking always back, trying just to push us in the wrong direction.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:58:05] Garry. Thank you so much. This has been really, really great, really enlightening. Love the conversation, the overlap.
Garry Kasparov: [00:58:11] Thank you very much. So, okay, so you are not challenging before the game of chess, yes?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:58:15] No, I am not going to challenge you to a game of chess. You'd have to show me what all the pieces do. That's my level of chess.
[00:58:23] Great big. Thank you to Garry Kasparov. Links to his stuff will be in the website in the show notes. Please do use the website if you buy any books or anything like that. It helps support the show worksheets for the episode are in the show notes. So you can make sure you understand everything you took away from the show here. Transcripts also in the show notes.
[00:58:39] I'm teaching you how to connect with great people and manage relationships using systems and tiny habits over at our Six-Minute Networking course, which is free over at jordanharbinger.com/course. The problem with kicking the can down the road -- if you can't do it right now, you need to dig the well before you get thirsty. Build your network before you need it even if it means starting from scratch. These drills take a few minutes a day, hence the name Six-Minute Networking. I wish I knew this stuff 20 years ago. Find it all for free at jordanharbinger.com/course. And by the way, most of the guests on the show, they subscribe to the course in the newsletter. Come join us, you'll be in smart company. Speaking of building relationships, you can always reach out and follow us on social. I'm at @JordanHarbinger on Twitter and Instagram. Add me on LinkedIn. I'm there more than anywhere else now these days.
[00:59:25] This show is created in association with PodcastOne. This episode was produced by Jen Harbinger, engineered by Jase Sanderson. Ads were fun because of Peter Oldring. Show notes and worksheets by Robert Fogarty, music by Evan, Viola. And I'm your host, Jordan Harbinger. Our advice and opinions and those of our guests are their own. And I'm a lawyer, but not your lawyer. I'm sure as heck, not a doctor or a therapist. And I hope you're doing your research before implementing anything you hear here on the show. And remember we rise by lifting others. The fee for this show is that you share it with friends when you find something useful. So if you know somebody who's interested in international politics, human rights, chess, share this episode with them. I do hope you find something great in every episode. So please do share the show with those you love. In the meantime, do your best to apply what you hear on the show, so you can live what you listen, and we'll see you next time.
[01:00:17] Now here's a trailer with Charles Ryu here on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
Charles Ryu: [01:00:22] When I was 14, I got my first opportunity to escape North Korea and go to China. Police came to our house. We are getting deported to North Korea. I got transported to a detention center. They are brainwashing us for nine months. I started working in a coal mine and I was paid only in rice. So one morning, instead of entering the mine, I walked up the path and began running. And in the distance, I saw a train come to stop this. This is my chance I need to get on the train. I finally made it to the border of the town. I'm really determined. The next day, right, I walked into the river that divides North Korea and China, which is Yellow River. And then I slowly walked into the water. I slipped on a rock and I let out a scream. A flashlight was on my back, and I heard soldiers screaming at me.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:01:09] Oh man.
Charles Ryu: [01:01:10] Foreign Language. Stop, stop or I will shoot. The guard kept screaming at me, but he never pulled the trigger. And then I went into the cornfield. I'm in China now. So I embarked on another long journey to Southeast Asia. I got to Thailand. That was the best day of my life going to a Thai prison. And then I was trying to apply for South Korea, but they didn't recognize me as a refugee. They're like, we would have to send you back to China. Chinese Government sent me back to North Korea, but you guys don't want to help me.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:01:42] And that's just the tip of the iceberg. He escaped the police. He had to run with secret police in China. I mean, this guy just has an absolutely amazing sense of survival and story. And that's episode 84 with Charles Ryu Confessions of a North Korean Escape Artist Part One and Part Two episode 84 of The Jordan Harbinger Show. Make sure you check it out.
Sign up to receive email updates
Enter your name and email address below and I'll send you periodic updates about the podcast.