Kasparov on Real Time with Bill Maher

by Frederic Friedel
5/2/2015 – We always cheer when a chess player is on a mainstream show – and handles himself well. Bill Maher, the American comedian, writer, political commentator, actor, media critic and television host, is not one to be obsequious to famous guests, and he starts off with a brief altercation when Kasparov chides him: ("Garry, shut up – I make jokes about everything.") Amusing and enlightening.

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In case you do not have 20 minutes and 11 seconds to watch this interesting segment, which is embedded at the end of the report, here are the parts that involve the 13th World Champion. Kasparov's entrance comes at around 1:45 min, when Bill Maher reminds his guests that the United States has 760 bases in 150 countries in the world – 50,000 troops in Germany alone. Kasparov reminds him that by 2013 there wasn't a single American tank in Europe.

"If your are praising Obama's 'peace record': because of this weak policy he had no choice but to bring American soldiers – a small detachment, a hundred soldiers and ten tanks – to the Russian border. For the first time in my living memory American troops are facing Russian troops in Estonia and Latvia, because those small countries are NATO members."

At this point Maher mutters: "Wake me when he takes Poland", which leads to a a short altercation. "Are you making jokes about it?" Kasparov asks? "Yes, obviously that was a joke," Maher replies. "The Poles suffered – I hope there are no Poles in the audience." Maher: "Garry, we make jokes about everything." "About the Holocaust?" Garry asks. "Millions of Poles were killed." "It's not about the Holocaust," Maher says.

"Garry, shut up. I make jokes about everything." You can see from Garry's face that not many people have said this to him since he was twelve. But Maher admits he is a big fan.

Darryl Lynn Hughley has to jump in to defuse. He is an American actor, political commentator and stand-up comedian. He has been the host of CNN's D. L. Hughley Breaks the News, a correspondent for The Jay Leno Show on NBC, and a local radio personality and interviewer in New York City.

At around eight minutes into the segment Kasparov brings up a point about Iran: "When was the first time a United States President raised the issue about the Iranian nuclear program?" He answers himself: "It was Bill Clinton in 1995, asking Boris Yeltsin to stop supplying Iran with Russian nuclear technology. Yeltsin gave him a very vague promise and Clinton didn't push him. Twenty years ago the American President already knew about the potential problem, but we are where we are..."

Jane Harman is the former U.S. Representative for California's 36th congressional district, serving from 1993 to 1999, and from 2001 to 2011; she is a member of the Democratic Party. At 12:50 min into the segment she says: "I'm trying to help get these things right. I think it's a dangerous world. I agree with what Garry said about Putin. I think that if people don't stand up to Putin what lesson are we not learning? We have to stand up to Putin..."

Dan Senor is an American columnist, writer, and political adviser. He was chief spokesman for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq and senior foreign policy adviser to U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney during the 2012 election campaign. Senor is a frequent commentator on Fox News and contributor to The Wall Street Journal.

Kasparov at 15:15 min: "By the way all Democrats and Republicans support the Ukrainian army. By the way in 1994, under pressure from Bill Clinton, Ukraine was disarmed. Ukraine had the third-largest nuclear arsenal in the world – bigger than China, France and the UK combined. The US demanded that this arsenal be dismantled, Ukraine gave it up for guarantees of territorial integrity. There is a signature by the US President and by the way the UK Prime Minister – you have to stand by your signature. It was good that they did it, but there were guarantees in exchange for moving them back to Russia.

Joseph Eugene Stiglitz is an American economist and a professor at Columbia University, recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences (2001) and the John Bates Clark Medal (1979). He is a former senior vice president and chief economist of the World Bank and is a former member and chairman of the (US president's) Council of Economic Advisers. He is known for his critical view of the management of globalization, free-market economists (whom he calls "free market fundamentalists"), and some international institutions like the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

17:35 min: When the discussions comes to why the current administration did not push infrastructiure but decided to work on the economy first, Kasparov says "But economy is infrastructure. The last construction of East River Bridge in New York was 1909."

To which Maher says: "Right, we're agreeing, and if people go across that bridge and they die it will ne a holocaust – oh, I didn't mean it that way, Garry."

You can watch the whole segment with Kasparov on Bill Maher's Real Time page, which you can bookmark for future entertainment. Or you can watch it on our Youtube embed above.

Editor-in-Chief emeritus of the ChessBase News page. Studied Philosophy and Linguistics at the University of Hamburg and Oxford, graduating with a thesis on speech act theory and moral language. He started a university career but switched to science journalism, producing documentaries for German TV. In 1986 he co-founded ChessBase.
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erikerik erikerik 5/5/2015 07:57
Ree refers to a tweet by Kasparov in 2014:'Have to shara a friend's joke:"They should take all the Lenin statues they just tore down in Ukraine and put them up at Obamacare centers!"'
This says it all. Back to the chessboard Gary.
mo245332 mo245332 5/5/2015 01:47
Does anyone take anything Maher says seriously anymore???.The guy's a joke and Gary made him look like an idiot here these second time around. Maher came off as rude, selfish and uncaring about Poles and Ukranians...Gary is more of a statesman and simply outclassed Maher yet again...I doubt Gary will be invited back...
garycgibson garycgibson 5/4/2015 11:36
As I understand it, Poland did not exist before the First World War. It belonged to three empires that fell during the war. The Poles used the Imperial conflict as an opportunity to lever land in exchange for troops. When the short lived King of Poland gave way in 1920 a newly independent Poland warred upon Lithuania. The Polish-Ukrainian war came to an end. Poland took more land from Prussia via the League of Nations. Poland was an expanding nation annexing Central Lithuania soon after. Upper Silesia went to Poland from Germany too, and some of that Polish increase and Germany decrease set the stage for revenge from Germany without a doubt. 

Other issues were German veterans that thought they could have won without the armistice (they were wrong), other vast reparations were put on Germany and the Jewish radicals were perceived as leading the revolution that forced the Kaiser and aristocracy from power. In Munich Hitler would have his beer hall putsch from the same beer hall where a Jewish political organizer led a revolt to depose the Prince of Bavaria with an 800 year history. Many a deep troubles existed. Maybe one could blame it all on the Hanseatic League and the failure of the Vikings to develop better ship design a little earlier. 

Poland was swell. yet how could the small Red Army in conflict with an expansive Poland and with America at war on the Red Army (we sent 2000 soldiers to help the White Army) and after Lenin's earlier surrender of much of Ukraine to Germany at the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk ( a model for Yeltsin later) deal with Poland in the aftermath of the First World war. Russia was in an uneasy situation, challenged on all fronts even in peace, and the people had no ability to deal with their own corrupt government. Lenin had three strokes and was out of existence with Stalin the dictator taking power and killing most all of the old Soviet Bolshevik leaders. Russian chess was probably challenged in this era to lead much. 

Russia had its troubles from Revolution obviously; how were ordinary people to deal with either the Tsar or a Dictatorship led by the Reds. Evolving out the Stalinist apparatus following the Second World War would take decades. When it finally faded away in January 1989 stability might have resumed if Bill Clinton had not blundered into taking the Ukraine from Russia. 

In the United States some have speculated that if we had not entered the first world war and had instead let the parties involved reach their own natural balance the aftermath would have been better. The United States throughout the 20th century was interventionist and often with dubious result with questionably well informed leaders making decisions to visit war upon some place for some reason that occasionally appeared to primarily benefit the military-industrial complex. The present American policy regarding Ukraine is based on greed and ignorance stimulated by the British drive to have power over more land and global economics to replace their lost empire. It is not in N.A.T.O.'s interest to create long term enmity with Russia over the issue of taking its historical heartland and denying it Dnepr River frontage. Bobby Fischer was perhaps right to visit Serbia to play chess in 1992. Fischer was a native English language speaker. 
Aighearach Aighearach 5/4/2015 10:07
Some people are saying some very... odd things about Maher's statements regarding Poland.

I'm assuming it is because you're not native English speakers, and are simply outside your depth.

The phrase, "wake me when he takes Poland" is a reference to the US response to the invasion of Poland. In Europe perhaps that is the start of the War. For the US it was not. And a major concept in American teaching of history is that this was a mistake; the war would have been easier and cost less lives if the US had gone all-in as soon as our close allies were in. The lesson was to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our allies.

It also implies that Ukraine is not important, such as Poland or other NATO countries.

And it says he is not convinced that Putin is ready for war. If he is just "Saber rattling," then it would be normal to say, "wake me when he gets to Poland." In that case it just means, wake me when the war actually starts.

So this is a standard cliche in American political discussion. The other side of it though is that we're not going to run off to war early, either; it doesn't mean we want to invade Europe casually or just because we disagree with something. NATO doesn't figure into this cliche at all, either; there was no NATO yet when Germany invaded Poland. In this cliche, "Poland" means any ally.

I'm not a Maher fan, but gosh, I'm not sure it is a good idea to jump to conclusions about foreign phrases you're not familiar with. It worked well on Kasparov, because since he didn't understand the phrase and bit anyways, it left him very open for Maher to make fun of him. Now they're 1-1 in that game.
erikerik erikerik 5/4/2015 04:50
In the latest issue of New In Chess Hans Ree makes minced meat of kasparov views on politics.
daftarche daftarche 5/4/2015 09:35
i like these topics for a change. how many well known chess players do we have who are into politics? it is interesting to see their comments on other subjects.
James Satrapa James Satrapa 5/4/2015 08:50
Yeah but Kasparov the politician is not the same as Kasparov the chessplayer. Chess has enough politics without introducing stuff that is far more volatile, and most of all, off topic.
shiv mathur shiv mathur 5/4/2015 07:10
I think Kasparov had at least some connection to chess !!!
James Satrapa James Satrapa 5/4/2015 03:33
I agree. Chessbase should stick to chess and chess related matters.
garycgibson garycgibson 5/3/2015 09:34
Bill Clinton levered a weak Boris Yeltsin into giving up the core of historical Russian Ukraine making a foundation for a lasting Russia-U.S. schism to replace the Cold War. With the cruise missile attacks on Serbia and the burning of the Koresh Christians at Waco President Clinton was on a roll. What else could Boris do? Perhaps GM Kasparov got it wrong.
karavamudan karavamudan 5/3/2015 06:35
Chessbase should stick to chess
Krokx Krokx 5/3/2015 12:19
I hope the "joke" Bill Maher made was not resembling the feelings or thoughts of US politicians. If so, then NATO is really weak! The same attitude was present in the UK and other countries (among them the US) when Hitler w a s taking Poland in 1939. If the US is sleeping (since BM told GK to wake him up) right now, then history could repeat itself very soon.

Bill Maher understands very well what could please the audience, but nevertheless his jokes about "taking Poland" or the "Holocaust Bridge" are showing a lot of disrespect. BM doesn't understand where the borders of joking are. I wonder if he would joke about "taking Poland" or the "Holocaust" if he would have lost his family members there?
shiv mathur shiv mathur 5/3/2015 11:53
Maher seems to be a total idiot, who thinks that saying any garbage and qualifying it as a joke is okay.

A joke is supposed to be funny.
elasp elasp 5/3/2015 11:15

Thank you, Garry Kimovich, for a fast and sensible reaction (to Mr Maher's flat joke about Poland).
Another quick mate!

Greetings from Poland.
alekhina alekhina 5/3/2015 04:20
It's exciting , because we see GK in the video.The talks in the video is not nice..because they are debating.
genem genem 5/3/2015 03:13
About 7 years ago Garry Kasparov appeared on Bill Maher's show. Maher asked an embarrassingly naïve question, something like - "But Putin has very high poll ratings". GK replied is a deliciously tone that was both patronizing and dismissive, something like - "What can Putin's poll ratings possibly mean when Putin controls the newspapers?".
BM knew he had been spanked for all to see, and the rest of the interview went well for GK.
After GK's segment on the show ended, BM and said to another guest - "Wow!".
BkNyChess BkNyChess 5/2/2015 10:57
So Bill Maher would not dare to say a Holocaust joke but he doesn't mind joking about millions of dead Poles?
Edward Labate Edward Labate 5/2/2015 10:54
it's too bad that GK couldn't have been more one on one with bm. That's when GK is at his best, and can expose the vulgar mental midget that bm is!!
PhythonMython PhythonMython 5/2/2015 08:00
I'm A big BM fan
dansafee dansafee 5/2/2015 07:44
i am not a bill maher fan.