Roger Waters engaged in a heated discussion on television, challenging a reporter’s stance on global politics and the war – but adding that it had been a “pleasure” debating with him.
CNN’s Michael Smerconish appears to have set out to push Waters into controversial territory, although the musician is well known for happily going there anyway.
The interview – which can be seen below – began with a question about the intro to Waters’ This is Not a Drill shows, where he tells the audience, “If you’re one of those ‘I like Pink Floyd but I can’t stand the Roger politics people, you better fuck off at the bar right now. When asked if he really wanted people to leave, the musician replied, “You never know; these people, if they’re sitting in a community like my audience… there’s such a sense of communication in this room between me and the audience, and between us combined with all of our brothers and sisters all over the rest of the world.
He continued, “If This is Not a Drill has any message, it’s that we need to communicate with each other.” This led Smerconish to say that he didn’t always agree with Waters’ messages, but he replied: “I only have one message: ‘Two strangers passing in the street / By chance, two passing glances meet / And I am you and what I see is me This is my message and it was on mingle it was in 1970; and basically my message hasn’t changed – I recognize your humanity but I recognize all Russians and Chinese and Ukrainians and Yemenis and Palestinians.
The discussion turned to Waters’ labeling of US President Joe Biden as a ‘criminal’ who was ‘just getting started’ after he had already hammered Donald Trump on a previous tour. Waters blamed the Biden administration for failing to stop the invasion of Ukraine from happening, saying, “This war is basically about NATO action and reaction pushing to the Russian border – which they promised not to do when Gorbachev negotiated the withdrawal. of the USSR from all of Eastern Europe.
When Smerconish argued that the United States had a role as ‘liberators’, Waters replied, ‘You have no role as liberators…you entered World War II. [because of] Pearl Harbor. You were completely isolationist until that sad, devastating and horrible day. … Thank goodness the Russians had already won the bloody war, almost, by then. Don’t forget that 23 million Russians died protecting you and me from the Nazi threat.
Drawing a comparison to the Russian view of the current conflict in Eastern Europe, Waters said, “Try to figure out what the United States would do if the Chinese put nuclear missiles in Mexico and Canada.” Smerconish countered that China was too busy “encircling” Taiwan to turn on the United States, but Waters argued: “They’re not encircling Taiwan – Taiwan is part of China and that was absolutely accepted by the US. entire international community since 1948.”
He then described allegations that China committed human rights atrocities on its own citizens as “bullshit”, saying that, unlike the United States, “the Chinese did not invade the Iraq and killed a million people in 2003”. He insisted, “You can’t have a conversation about human rights and you can’t have a conversation about Taiwan without reading.
Closing the debate, Smerconish said that when he read, he read Waters’ liner notes. The pair ended with a handshake as Waters laughed, “It’s always a pleasure.” Deadpan Smerconish: “Is it?”
The This is Not a Drill tour runs through October 15.
Watch the Roger Waters and Michael Smerconish debate
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