CHARLIE ROSE: Today on FACE THE NATION, breaking news this morning as the search for missing Malaysian Air Flight 370 continues and Russia's grip on Crimea tightens.
Recovery efforts off the coast of Vietnam and Malaysia continue after Malaysian airliner carrying two hundred and thirty-nine people, including three Americans vanishes. We'll have the latest on that story. Then, as Russia moves more troops into Crimea, international diplomatic efforts make little progress. We'll talk to former Vice President Dick Cheney and former Secretary of State Jim Baker about the crisis and what if anything the U.S. can do.
Plus, we'll hear from former Obama National Security Advisor General Jim Jones. And as conservatives meet in Washington, we'll check in with former vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan about the future of the Republican Party. We'll also have analysis from a panel of experts.
Sixty years of news because this is FACE THE NATION.
Welcome to FACE THE NATION. I'm Charlie Rose sitting in for Bob Schieffer. We're watching two big stories this morning. First, as recovery teams search the waters between Malaysia and Vietnam for the missing Boeing 777 that disappeared from the radar early Saturday morning, there are new questions about some of the passengers on that plane. We start with CBS News correspondent Seth Doane in Beijing. Seth, what's the latest?
SETH DOANE (CBS News Correspondent): Good morning to you, Charlie. The search for Flight 370 has widened to include twenty-two aircraft and forty ships from eleven different countries, including the United States. People from the NTSB and the FAA have also been sent into assist with the investigation. Today in Malaysia, authorities there say that they were reviewing radar images that seem to indicate that the plane may have turned back just before it lost contact with controllers. There they are also looking closely at security camera footage from inside Kuala Lumpur Airport, specifically focusing on two passengers who were traveling on stolen passports. Two-thirds of the passengers on board this plane are Chinese and family members here in Beijing have been taken to a local hotel where Malaysia Airlines is offering what little comfort, what little information they can, though, today the airline did tell those waiting family members that they should begin to prepare for the worst. Charlie.
CHARLIE ROSE: Thank you, Seth.
Joining us now CBS News Justice and Homeland Security correspondent Bob Orr who has also spent many years on the transportation beat here at CBS. So the question everybody is asking, how could a plane simply vanish?
BOB ORR (CBS News Homeland Security Correspondent): Very rare, Charlie. A plane at cruise altitude is in its safest phase of flight. It almost never happens but it does happen. In June of 2009, there was a very famous case, Air France 447 coming out of Brazil en route to Paris, it gets over the South Atlantic and it just vanishes. It took us months to find any of the wreckage.
CHARLIE ROSE: But is there normally some kind of distress call?
BOB ORR: Yes. And that's what have-- that really is what has people so concerned right now. At thirty-five thousand feet you would think that the pilots have time to say, hey, we're in trouble here and to give some hint as to what system might be failing if that's what they are up against or what event has happened on the airplane. But I have to tell you, it's not completely uncommon for pilots to get so focused on the problem at hand that they don't have time to notify anybody. They're top and it's drilled into their heads, fly the plane first, diagnose the problem, fly the plane first, and then tell others about your problem.
CHARLIE ROSE: And so what do we know about the passport cases of two people who seem to have purchased their tickets at the same time using false passports?
BOB ORR: Well, we know this is a failure of the screening system there in Malaysia--
CHARLIE ROSE: Right.
BOB ORR: --to start with because there's no way that two people with stolen passports should be allowed on that airplane. Interpol had reported these as stolen passports. Those numbers were posted, that should have been stopped. That said, we don't know what these people were up to. Were they just traveling for some criminal enterprise, were they traveling to seek refuge in some other country, were they part of some kind of scheme or were they terrorists? And this is why the intel folks in this country and in Great Britain and around the world really are going through all the facts that we know and there aren't very many at this point, Charlie, trying to figure out was this a terror event? And if it was a terror event what role if any, did these two people play and were they the only people on the plane with passports--
CHARLIE ROSE: So if there were two passports that were fake, there may be more?
BOB ORR: Well, that's a possibility. In fact, the numbers have been all over the place. We heard there might be four suspicious passengers. The Malaysian authorities have been a little bit fuzzy on the details.
CHARLIE ROSE: Mm. Is now the suspicion moving towards terrorism?
BOB ORR: I wouldn't say that. I would say that that's one of a couple of things that happened. Whatever happened happened quickly and it was a cataclysmic failure at high altitude. There's a couple of possibilities here either you had a systems failure, compounded, perhaps, by pilot errors and responding to the first failure that's what we call a cascading series of failures or maybe there was an event, maybe there was terrorism, a small bomb like Lockerbie, for example, punches a hole in the plane and at that altitude the plane is ripped apart. But when the wreckage is recovered and when we find the black boxes that data and those forensic pieces of evidence will give us a lot more.
CHARLIE ROSE: And if there is a midair explosion generally there is a trail of debris.
BOB ORR: Yes. And if the plane broke up at a very high altitude, I would expect that trail of debris to be over a hundred miles maybe more. So that's a big clue. If we find the plane and it's relatively localized, that will tell us the plane likely (AUDIO CUT) hit the water intact.
CHARLIE ROSE: Bob Orr, thank you.
BOB ORR: Thank you.
CHARLIE ROSE: There is also news overnight in Ukraine. Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk announced today he will visit the U.S. this week. This, as more Russian troops moved into Crimea. Russia government is also threatening to suspend international inspections of the nuclear weapons after the U.S. imposed sanctions late last week. Former Vice President Dick Cheney joins us now. Good morning.
DICK CHENEY: Good morning, Charlie
CHARLIE ROSE: Tell me what our options are, today?
DICK CHENEY: Well, I think-- I worry one would begin to address a crisis by the first thing we do is take options off the table. I don't think the administration should do that. And this--
CHARLIE ROSE: Have they done that?
DICK CHENEY: In a sense saying no military. He seems to operate that way most of the time. There are military options that don't involve putting troops on the ground in Crimea. We could go back and-- and reinstate the ballistic missile defense program that was taken out. It was originally going to go in Poland, Czech Republic, Obama took it out to appease Putin. We could do training exercises in Poland, joint exercises. We can offer military assistance in terms of equipment, training, and so forth to the Ukrainians themselves. So there are--
CHARLIE ROSE: There is some activation of military forces, are there not?
DICK CHENEY: With some activation--
CHARLIE ROSE: In terms of-- of having forces come and-- and-- and make their appearance there.
DICK CHENEY: On our part?
CHARLIE ROSE: Yes. And NATO.
DICK CHENEY: I'm not aware of any detail. NATO, I'm sure NATO will think about it.
CHARLIE ROSE: Right.
DICK CHENEY: It's very important to NATO. A lot of the NATO members were part of the old Soviet empire, Warsaw Pact, the Baltic States, Poland, Hungary and so forth. And they are very worried when they see Putin absolutely ride rough shot over solemn commitments he made and that the government of Russia made like the-- the Budapest Memorandum when Russia, the U.S., and Britain guaranteed the borders of Ukraine in return for Ukraine giving up their nuclear weapons, very important and-- and Putin has just blown that off. He's gone right through it and people begin to wonder is his word ever good for anything.
CHARLIE ROSE: So that's the question. Do you believe that President Putin believes that President Obama is weak and will pass through his red lines and, therefore, he should be tested?
DICK CHENEY: No. I-- well, I don't know whether he believes it should be tested. I think there's any-- no question or I believe he's weak. He has seen the so-called reset policy that's led to the giving up on the ballistic missile defenses, for example.
CHARLIE ROSE: Mm.
DICK CHENEY: We have created an image around the world, not just for the Russians, of-- of weakness and indecisive-- the Syrian situation is the classic. We got already to do something, a lot of the allies sign on. At the last minute, Obama backed off.
CHARLIE ROSE: But don't you think that-- that the President is trying to do and take all the diplomatic stake-- stake-- steps that he can take now?
DICK CHENEY: I think he is but I also think he hasn't got any credibility with our allies. I just happen to speak to a couple of members of European parliament within the last couple of days who indicated that, you know, the-- their quest for the Europeans to cooperate on sanctions is more difficult than it would have been because of what happened with respect to Syria that, in fact, they got ready to go. And at the last minute the U.S.-- President Obama backed off. So he's-- he's got a much higher mountain to climb in order to try to-- to mobilize European governments to come on board for something other than military action.
CHARLIE ROSE: Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates for both President Obama and President Bush said today, "I do not believe that Crimea will slip out of Russia's hands," suggesting that the Russian troops will not leave and that there will be a different situation on the ground in Crimea.
DICK CHENEY: That's very possible. But I don't--
CHARLIE ROSE: Can we stand that in your judgment?
DICK CHENEY: Well, in my judgment, we have to recognize the fact that this is a-- this is an egregious violation, if you will, of treaty commitments, of solemn obligation on the part of the Russian government to recognize the boundaries of the newly independent states of the old Soviet Union and-- and the Warsaw Pact. And that was one of the most significant developments in the twentieth century. And Putin is-- is simply ignoring all of those commitments. I don't think he should be able to do that without paying a price.
CHARLIE ROSE: But, as you know, in Georgia, that people will make the case that Russian troops remain--
DICK CHENEY: Right.
CHARLIE ROSE: --and that it was a very different situation because we did not or we're not able to respond more.
DICK CHENEY: Right. That's true.
CHARLIE ROSE: So what's the lesson of that in-- in your own administration?
DICK CHENEY: Well, the lesson-- the lesson of that, I think, it was-- it came at a time sort of at the end of the Bush administration, beginning of the Obama administration but it was of deep concern, for instance, in Western Europe. We did take some steps in terms of providing assistance to-- to Georgia. We have ships in the region and so forth. So there were steps taken but they weren't effective in terms of driving Putin out. Part of the problem in that case there was a question about who actually provoked whom with respect to the Georgia and the Russians.
CHARLIE ROSE: Do you believe sanctions will be enough?
DICK CHENEY: I don't know. I don't have any way to evaluate. I think they ought to be.
CHARLIE ROSE: And if they are not, I mean, you know, how much of a confrontation does United States want to engage in on the ground?
DICK CHENEY: How much-- the real question is how much do you want to allow Putin to ignore those agreements, very, very important agreements that ended the Cold War, led to the reunification of Europe and the liberation of millions of people from-- under the boot hill, if you will--
CHARLIE ROSE: Yeah.
DICK CHENEY: --of the Soviet Union. That was one of the most significant events of the twentieth century and now he's starting to chip away at that. He's trying to reverse those developments very clearly with respect to Crimea and I do not believe that we should allow him to do that without paying the price.
CHARLIE ROSE: But the question then is if we-- you do not believe we should allow him, what are we prepared to do to stop him?
DICK CHENEY: You know, that's the key question. But I--
CHARLIE ROSE: And what's your answer then?
DICK CHENEY: And my answer is reinstate the ballistic missile defense program in Poland. He cares a lot about that; conduct the joint military exercises with our NATO friends close to the Russian border; offer up equipment and training to the Ukrainian military. Take steps that will guarantee and convey the notion, especially to our friends in-- in Europe that we keep our commitments. So far that's in doubt. And I think it's a matter-- much a matter of sending a strong signal that the U.S. will keep its commitments to our-- our friends and allies, that's been in doubt for some time now because of the policies of the Obama administration and this becomes a crucial moment.
CHARLIE ROSE: So you think those nations in-- those Baltic nations should be nervous--
DICK CHENEY: Right.
CHARLIE ROSE: --as to whether NATO and their members of the NATO--
DICK CHENEY: Right.
CHARLIE ROSE: --lives will come to their defense?
DICK CHENEY: Yeah. We have a treaty obligation under Article 5 of the NATO Treaty where the attack against one is an attack against all. And we absolutely, I think, will find if you go to Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia today that our friends there recognize. They've got Russian minority populations inside. They were under the control of the old Soviet Union for decades and now they're free and independent states but they depend upon the United States for leadership and guarantee in the Soviet Union.
CHARLIE ROSE: So what happens if the Crimeans say we want to join Russia?
DICK CHENEY: I don't know. We'll have to see what happens to that. Obviously, it's an argument about whether or not they can do that given the-- the-- among other things, the Budapest Memorandum of 1994.
CHARLIE ROSE: And, of course, the Russians say that there was an unconstitutional coup in Kiev.
DICK CHENEY: Right. So there's a-- a debate, obviously, in a way, and I don't know how it's going to unfold. But I think-- I think Putin is-- I think he's got domestic problems at home. I don't think that this is a situation where there aren't vulnerabilities from the standpoint of the Russians.
CHARLIE ROSE: But there's also the energy weapon, too. I mean, if-- can we, in a sense, provide the money and the energy--
DICK CHENEY: Mm-Hm.
CHARLIE ROSE: --to the people in Ukraine in Ukraine so that, therefore, they'll feel less pressure from Russia?
DICK CHENEY: Energy is also a weakness for Russia. They depend on energy, on petroleum for fifty percent of their GDP. If the price of oil drops a few dollars, they go into recession. It accounts for most of the budget in-- in the Russian government so for him to be, again, talking about cutting off sales, that's a two-edged sword. It does not necessarily mean that it's going to create a bigger problem for the-- the customer than it does for the supplier.
CHARLIE ROSE: We could be looking at a new Cold War?
DICK CHENEY: Well, I don't know that it will go that far but I think there should be no doubt in anybody's mind that the United States is going to do everything we can to mobilize NATO, our Western European friends and allies to make certain that Putin gets the message that this kind of behavior is not acceptable and-- and we won't tolerate it and he can't do it without paying the price.
CHARLIE ROSE: Thank you, Mister Vice president.
DICK CHENEY: Yeah, sure, Charlie.
CHARLIE ROSE: Good to see you. Joining us now from Sea Island, Georgia, this morning, Republican Congressman Paul Ryan. Good morning, Congressman.
REPRESENTATIVE PAUL RYAN (Budget Committee Chairman/R-Wisconsin): Good morning, Charlie. How are you doing?
CHARLIE ROSE: You heard what the vice president said, do you agree with him?
REPRESENTATIVE PAUL RYAN: I do, I do. I think we should definitely revisit missile defense. I think if President Obama himself revisited missile defense that would be a very strong signal. I think you could charitably describe the reset policy as naive wishful thinking. And there are a lot of things, I think, we can do to turn course and make a difference. And-- and I think the vice president laid out some good options. We should also bolster NATO's eastern defenses as well.
CHARLIE ROSE: Do you believe sanctions will work? I mean do you think that this Russian President is so intent in terms of trying to restore Russian influence that sanctions will not be impressive to him?
REPRESENTATIVE PAUL RYAN: Well, my crystal ball is no clearer than yours is, Charlie, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't give this every ounce of effort. I don't know if that's going to work. I think Putin is, as you describe, but I do think there are vulnerabilities within Russia that he has politically that can be exploited. I think we should consider targeting some of the oligarchs around him that are his enablers and he is their enablers. I think we are a country with vast--
CHARLIE ROSE: How would you target-- how would you target them?
REPRESENTATIVE PAUL RYAN: Well, I-- I think-- I think you target-- you target their-- their ability to travel. You target their international reserves, their-- their-- you try-- you target their holdings overseas that-- that are illicitly gained through this cleptocracy of the Russian economy. One more point I'd say we are a nation with vast energy reserves and potential but with a government that has seen as hostile toward developing those energy reserves, let alone exporting those energy reserves, if our government changed its tune on that, if we told Europe, we are going to green light these languishing permit applications for exporting LNG, natural gas to Europe. That could do a lot to send the signals that we are intent on loosening Russia's grip on its energy to Europe and that we're going to be a reliable ally to loosen their grip, they get their money from petrol, about half of their budget comes from-- from energy. If we could compromise that by developing American energy, creating jobs here, lowering prices, I think that would be a huge step in the right direction. We're going to move on that in the House and I would-- I think the President would have a great opportunity, change tune, resets failed, missile defense--
CHARLIE ROSE: Let me--
REPRESENTATIVE PAUL RYAN: --smart sanctions, energy.
CHARLIE ROSE: Now let me move to CPAC and you were one of the speakers. You said there needs to be a vigorous debate and it's taking place. Whatever happened to bipartisanship in foreign policy?
REPRESENTATIVE PAUL RYAN: Well, we used to have it. When we had Scoop Jackson Democrats; when we had Cherry Truman Democrats; when we had Kennedy Democrats; President Kennedy Democrats; we had bipartisan foreign policy. This is not that kind of an administration. This is a far more progressive left administration that I think is uncomfortable with America's super power responsibilities and status hegemony. And so I don't think that's what you have with this administration. I think it's-- it's-- it's-- it's a coincidence but the irony is very bitter. The week that Vladimir Putin invades Russia--
CHARLIE ROSE: Let me--
REPRESENTATIVE PAUL RYAN: --and the President brings a budget to Congress cutting our military deeply, so I just don't think you have that kind of administration that lends itself to good bipartisan foreign policy.
CHARLIE ROSE: Let me take you back to CPAC in-- in vigorous debate. On the one hand, there was Governor Chris Christie who talked about an inclusive party, on the other hand there was Senator Ted Cruz who talked about, you know, a different message. I mean what's happening in terms of those two polls of the Republican Party?
REPRESENTATIVE PAUL RYAN: They're within a big tent. That's my-- that was my point in my speech in the-- in the Republican Party. We are not having disagreements with each other on principles or even policies. The disagreements that--
CHARLIE ROSE: There is.
REPRESENTATIVE PAUL RYAN: --have had occurred have been really over tactics. And so I think we should all put it in perspective. I called the Battle of Ideas, its creative tension. And I don't think there's really this vast civil war in the Republican Party that like many in the left like suggest there is. I think we're a party with a vibrant debate, adding ideas--
CHARLIE ROSE: There--
REPRESENTATIVE PAUL RYAN: --solving problems, and I think that's going to be-- I think we're going to be okay.
CHARLIE ROSE: There's no better place to participate in a debate than to be a presidential candidate, as you know, because you've been a vice presidential nominee.
REPRESENTATIVE PAUL RYAN: Hmm.
CHARLIE ROSE: So, therefore, the question is, if you look at Iowa in a straw poll, sixty-seven percent of the people said they want you to run for President. Do you want to run for President?
REPRESENTATIVE PAUL RYAN: Mm. Oh, I'm a friendly next-door neighbor in Wisconsin. So--
CHARLIE ROSE: Yes.
REPRESENTATIVE PAUL RYAN: --what I think I ought to do is focus on my job here in-- in Congress. Janna and I are going to sit down in 2015 and give it the serious continue-- conversation, consideration that are required for keeping our options open. But right now I have responsibilities in the majority in the House of Representatives that I feel I ought to attend to and then I'll worry about those things after the selection.
CHARLIE ROSE: Would you rather be speaker of the House?
REPRESENTATIVE PAUL RYAN: No, I've already kind of ruled that one out. I-- I-- I think there are other places that I'd rather be than that.
CHARLIE ROSE: Yeah. Thank you so--
REPRESENTATIVE PAUL RYAN: John Boehner is doing a fine job. I-- look, I know he's controversial but he's doing a very, very good job.
CHARLIE ROSE: Thank you very much, Congressman Paul Ryan.
REPRESENTATIVE PAUL RYAN: Thanks, Charlie.
CHARLIE ROSE: We'll be back in a moment. Stay with us.
CHARLIE ROSE: We're back with retired Marine Corps General Jim Jones, who is a former NATO military commander in Europe and served as President Obama's National Security Advisor. Welcome.
GENERAL JAMES JONES (Former Obama National Security Advisor): Thank you, Charlie. Good to be with you.
CHARLIE ROSE: So what should the President that you served do now in Ukraine?
GENERAL JAMES JONES: Well, I think a-- a-- a lot of the things that are-- are happening between, not only the United States bilaterally with Russia but also the international community, is-- is pretty much what-- what needs to be done. I think you-- you don't want to knee jerk and overreact. And-- but you want--
CHARLIE ROSE: What would you call knee jerking and overreacting?
GENERAL JAMES JONES: Well, a lot of the things that-- that we're talking about, you know, in terms of some of the tit-for-tat gestures that only tend to exacerbate the situation. This is a strategic question, I think, that has long-term strategic consequences. And it's-- it's more about economies and-- and-- and about the future of-- of the region than it is about, you know, troop displacements right now.
CHARLIE ROSE: Okay. I want to talk about economy. But one more question about force. I mean is the United States and is NATO doing anything because of this crisis, it's different from its normal rotation?
GENERAL JAMES JONES: Well, NATO is-- is not at the centerpiece of this, but NATO is doing-- is participating along with the international community, with the U.N., the EU, the OSC as-- and-- and doing the things that it can do and-- and using instruments that it has. For instance, the NATO-Ukraine Council, the NATO-Russia Council, is-- is in full gear. And they are doing things with regard to military exercises that are appropriate and-- and not inflammatory. But-- but they also-- NATO needs to reassure its friends and allies to the east that we are-- we are one in this. Twenty-eight countries are-- are one unit and the United States is leading it.
CHARLIE ROSE: What could cause this thing to fall-- get out of control? So the one thing leads to another, leads to another, leads to another, all of a sudden we're looking at-- at a hot cold war.
GENERAL JAMES JONES: I-- I think precipitous moves that-- that-- that-- that-- that preclude people from being able to step back from it. And-- and you get to the point where you-- you-- you get boxed in. I think this is a point right now where Mister Putin has to understand that if he doesn't figure a way to get out of this that the long-term consequences for-- for him and for Russia could be-- could have serious consequences in terms of the economic relationships and the isolation of Russia with regard to Europe.
CHARLIE ROSE: Put in the energy equation because of-- of what impact that could have.
GENERAL JAMES JONES: Well, you know, four countries, interestingly enough, yesterday four countries sent letters to Speaker Boehner and I think majority leader in the Senate that's Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, and Slovakia, asking the United States to accelerate its shipments of energy to Eastern Europe, in particular. This just underscores the fact that in a long-- in a-- in a long term-- and maybe even midterm scenario, our energy potential has-- has the-- the capacity of lowering the dependence of Europe on Russian energy, and, therefore, affecting the economic viability of-- of Russia for a long term.
CHARLIE ROSE: Is what's happening self-evidence of the fact that the Russian reset did not work?
GENERAL JAMES JONES: Well, the Russian reset was predicated on the goodwill of the president of Russia and the President of the United States, and for the first couple of years we have that. And-- and-- and there are elements of the reset that-- that had they been allowed to continue, would have-- would-- would have mitigated against what's happening right now. Unfortunately, a key player changed. We have a new president in Russia who-- for whom the reset is not, obviously, as important.
CHARLIE ROSE: General Jones, thank you.
GENERAL JAMES JONES: Thank you very much.
CHARLIE ROSE: We'll be back in a moment.
CHARLIE ROSE: We've got a lot more FACE THE NATION coming up. Stay with us.
CHARLIE ROSE: Some of our stations are leaving us now, but for most of you we'll be right back with a lot more FACE THE NATION. Don't go away.
CHARLIE ROSE: Welcome back to FACE THE NATION. I am Charlie Rose. We're joined now by former Secretary of State James Baker who joins us this morning from Saudi Arabia. Good morning, Mister Secretary.
JAMES BAKER (Former Secretary of State): Good morning, Charlie. How are you?
CHARLIE ROSE: Good. Let me begin with President Obama and the way the United States is handling this crisis. What are your impressions of what the President has done so far?
JAMES BAKER: Well, I don't have any substantial disagreement with the way the administration has been handling it so far, Charlie, although, I will say this: I'm not sure that all of this would have happened had we, you know, stuck with our so-called red lines and that sort of thing. And so I sort of support the idea of moving carefully with this, moving prudently. This has-- has all the potential of spinning out of control. It is clearly the most serious East-West confrontation since the end of the Cold War. And for someone who was the last secretary-- last U.S. Secretary of State during the Cold War, it's very disappointing to me to see that we're moving now from cooperation with Russia to confrontation again. That's very, very disappointing.
CHARLIE ROSE: What are the risks?
JAMES BAKER: Well, the risks are very substantial. I mean the risks could involve more than just a small new Cold War, which I think we are pretty much in right now. I mean I look at this as a Cold War like and we don't need to go any further down that path. It could lead to some serious problems in the heart of Europe. And that would not be a good thing. So, I am very hopeful that the-- that the President's message, President Obama's message will get through to the Russian leadership, sit out and talk with the Ukrainians. It's-- it's, of course, important that the Ukrainians understand that Russia has historical interests in-- in Ukraine and particularly in the Crimea and particularly in their naval base there. But it seems to me that with a little bit of good faith on both sides those kind of things can be worked out. Now, having said that, I don't think anybody knows what Russia's intentions are from here on out. Do they intend to try to take the eastern half of the Ukraine? They have obviously said they're going to try and annex Crimea, even though, that would be unconstitutional under Ukrainian law--
CHARLIE ROSE: Yeah. When you need--
JAMES BAKER: --and, even though, there are-- even though-- there are places in the Russian Federation who would dearly love to leave the Russian Federation, places like Dagestan and Chechnya.
CHARLIE ROSE: When you say references to a red line, do you believe that Vladimir Putin thinks Barack Obama is weak and would not respond?
JAMES BAKER: No. I don't-- well, I really don't believe that. If-- if-- if President Putin was privy to what went on in taking down Osama bin Laden I don't see how he could think that he was he was weak. But I worry that he might feel that he's inconsistent that-- that we take a position here one day and the next day we do something else. I mean we were going to bomb Syria and then the very next day, no, we're going to send it to the Congress for resolution. So all I'm saying is, I support the idea of moving prudently here, moving carefully. There's a lot at stake. And I just don't think we can let the rhetoric get out in front of reality.
CHARLIE ROSE: And do we have to give President Putin a way out?
JAMES BAKER: Well, I think in a political problem like this that's what diplomacy is all about, of course, finding a way where both sides can walk away from the table and-- and not feel totally shamed and humiliated. But guess what, there's not even a table yet. The Russians have been unwilling to sit down and talk with Ukrainians. That was the number one request from President Obama. That was a very natural, normal, and-- and proper request.
CHARLIE ROSE: What does President Obama do if President Putin will not take the Russian troops out of Crimea?
JAMES BAKER: Well, I think-- I think what-- I think what the administration is saying to the Russians is, look, you ought to sit down and start a dialogue with Ukraine. You ought to let monitors from either the OSCE, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe or the U.N. come in there so the world can see what's actually going on. And then you ought to get-- bring your troops back to their bases. Now, what do you do if they won't do that? Well, you know, we've already put on a few financial sanctions, I think, sanctions on some of the leadership that's responsible for the situation we're in today. There's a lot of other things, of course, that we can do, a broad-based political and economic sanctions. We could-- we could talk about moving some forces in NATO to the western border of Ukraine so they would be there but depending on what the Russian intentions are. Suppose the Russian intentions are to take the eastern half of Ukraine. That would be very, very damaging and very-- that could trigger one heck of a conflagration. So we need to have some troops on the ground in that eventuality.
CHARLIE ROSE: And so isn't it--
JAMES BAKER: And I do think, too, I think, you know, you know, Charlie, we-- I testified-- I didn't testify I'm sorry but I worked with the Obama administration on the new START agreement-- the new START nuclear arms treaty. And one of the things that was done at that time was for the United States to put on hold the idea of a missile defense system in Poland, the Czech Republic, and other places in Eastern Europe. You know if this is the way the Russians are going to behave, there are things like that that we could do. And-- and, perhaps, we ought to give some consideration to that.
CHARLIE ROSE: There are those people who suggest that President Putin is a very smart strategist. There are others who say his intense nationalism overrules his rationality. What do you think?
JAMES BAKER: I don't-- I don't agree with that. I have met on several occasions with President Putin. I first met President Putin when he was an assistant to Anatoly Sobchak who was the President-- who was the governor of Saint Petersburg or the mayor of Saint Petersburg. And Sobchack was seemed to be a reformer supporting the idea of democracy and free markets. And Vladimir Putin worked for him. I don't think for one minute that he's not in control of his senses. I think he's very smart. He's very-- very caging. He is an ardent Russian nationalist. But you know you can be a Russian nationalist and still not take actions that are inconsistent with a stable world order.
CHARLIE ROSE: What do you think of the fact that the President of Russia and the President of the United States are having these lengthy phone conversations, is that the way to go or should that be handled by secretaries of state and foreign ministers?
JAMES BAKER: No, I-- I think there's nothing at all wrong with that because there's a lot at stake here. And, you know, if we're going to finally get to a dialogue, if we're going to finally find a way to try and work out a diplomatic solution to this problem, I think it's very good for the leaders to be-- to be talking, face-- not face to face, but talking to each other. And-- and you know, and that doesn't foreclose secretary of state from talking with the Russian foreign minister. They're doing a lot of talking, too. And that's not-- that's good.
CHARLIE ROSE: Who has the strongest hand at this moment?
JAMES BAKER: Well, you know, the-- the biggest-- I think-- I think the burden of deescalating here really has to fall on Russia because it's Russia who sent troops into the Crimea, now they will say they weren't Russian troops, but if you believe that you believe in the tooth fairy. I mean, they were-- these-- these troops were driving Russian vehicles with Russian plate, armored vehicles, with Russian military plates on them, and normally an indigenous militia doesn't drive around with armored vehicles with Russian military plates on.
CHARLIE ROSE: Any concern you have that while the focus is on Ukraine in Syria, President Bashar al-Assad will take advantage of this on the ground?
JAMES BAKER: Well, I don't know that-- I don't know that this opens up an avenue for Bashar al-Assad to-- to take advantage of it. I really don't. I mean I think that as far as United States is concerned and our allies are concerned, we can probably-- we can probably conduct foreign policy and chew gum at the same time. I don't think there's any problem with dealing with two-- two different situations. I really don't think that.
CHARLIE ROSE: Is your best guess that diplomacy will work?
JAMES BAKER: Well, I would like to think that it could because, you know, there's nothing in it-- there's-- there's no good solution here, there's no good end game and as far as I can see for the Russian Federation here. I've-- I've already said to you that I think that the Ukrainian government needs to do some things and one of those things is to recognize Russia's historical interests in the Crimea particularly in-- in Eastern Ukraine in their naval base. But-- but those things can be done and I think that-- that there almost has to be a diplomatic way out here because continued escalation could very well lead to-- to serious mistakes on the part of one side or another. And we don't need another shooting war in the heart of Europe.
CHARLIE ROSE: Secretary Baker, thank you so much for joining us.
JAMES BAKER: Thank you, Charlie.
CHARLIE ROSE: We'll be back in one minute.
CHARLIE ROSE: Excuse me. We're back with our panel, Rich Lowry is the editor of the National Review and also a Fox News contributor, excuse me. Jeffrey Goldberg writes for Bloomberg View and The Atlantic. Peter Baker is the White House correspondent for the New York Times and we're also joined by CBS News State Department correspondent Margaret Brennan and I begin there, what's the latest?
MARGARET BRENNAN (CBS News State Department Correspondent): Well, Charlie, Secretary Kerry spoke yesterday, the day before with the Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov. They're still not agreeing to sit down and talk directly to the Ukrainians and that is where the bulk of the diplomatic efforts are being focused right now, just talk to each other whether it's directly or through an intermediary. So they believe that they're chipping away at this, but there's really been no change to the Russian position in terms of agreeing to sit down.
CHARLIE ROSE: Mm.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We are in Paris on Thursday and on Wednesday with Secretary Kerry, I mean, Sergey Lavrov pretended not to even know who the Ukrainian foreign minister was despite the fact, he had arrived in the city on the secretary of state's plane.
CHARLIE ROSE: Yeah.
MARGARET BRENNAN: So nothing is changing there, the facts on the ground have not changed and we've actually seen these international monitors being blocked from going into Crimea.
CHARLIE ROSE: And that was the point that Secretary Baker was trying to make in terms of talking to Ukrainians. There is also Crimea right now.
PETER BAKER (New York Times): Yeah.
CHARLIE ROSE: Bob Gates, former secretary of defense, said Crimea is lost.
PETER BAKER: Yeah-- yeah.
CHARLIE ROSE: How does the administration see Crimea?
PETER BAKER: Well, look, their first priority since this happened is to try to prevent it from spreading, right? They recognized that actually reversing Putin's hold over Crimea is-- is not something that's going to happen in the immediate short-term. That the first priority was preventing him from going on further into the rest of Eastern Ukraine and create basically a split country. Whether or not they can live with Crimea as sort of either an annex part or an enclave, isn't quite-- is unclear, but that's what the Russian playbook has been before. They have done this in Georgia; they've done this in other parts of the former Soviet Union.
CHARLIE ROSE: I would love to have been in on the phone conversations.
PETER BAKER: Yeah.
CHARLIE ROSE: What are they saying to each other?
PETER BAKER: They have talked for it-- President Obama and President Putin have talked for an hour at a time, an hour and a half at a time, some of that, obviously, is taken up by translation, so that cuts off the actual amount of conversation, but there's a lot of, I think, Putin talking about his grievances, trying to explain how he sees Crimea, how he sees the new Ukrainian government as illegitimate product of Western interference. And President Obama I think is pushing back on that, but trying to get him to-- to agree to some sort of off ramp, that's the phrase he uses off ramp. But, of course, President Putin is hitting the accelerator. He's not taken the off ramp.
CHARLIE ROSE: Is there any sense that how far the administration is prepared to go?
PETER BAKER: They try to take it kind of slow at first. They put on some modest sanctions, not very many at this point with the idea that they can point to the Russians and say we're going to go much further if you don't reverse course. But there doesn't seem any sign that that's having an impact.
CHARLIE ROSE: You've been writing about this. Tell me where you think the President has not done enough.
RICH LOWRY (National Review/Fox News Contributor): Yeah, well, I think the Russians would have gone into Crimea probably regardless, but when the President of the United States is not respected or feared around the world it does create a more permissive environment. And I think some of the statements have been kind of other worldly.
CHARLIE ROSE: Mm.
RICH LOWRY: John Kerry and others are saying these are 19th and 20th century acts, is the problem Putin has is he can't read the calendar correctly and where all power politics is the thing of the past whereas if this stands it will be the second time in six years that Russia has effectively changed international boundaries by force of arms. Now I think some of the policy steps that the administration has taken last week or so are in the right direction but we need more and we need to persist.
CHARLIE ROSE: More sanctions, more things like that or more movement of troops or what?
RICH LOWRY: Sanctions I think are key, especially when it comes to the corrupt elite in Russia and that's almost a redundancy. All these people and-- and the government and people around them are very rich. They love to park their assets over here in the West because all of them need so-called off ramp to coin--
CHARLIE ROSE: Right.
RICH LOWRY: --the phrase if things bounce the wrong way for them in Russia. So if you cut them off from here and, importantly from Europe, which might be a little easier said than done, that will hurt.
CHARLIE ROSE: Syria, do you think this is going to have an impact in terms of Syria while the President is focused in-- with Russia and on Ukraine and not on trying to get something done in Syria?
JEFFREY GOLDBERG (Bloomberg View/The Atlantic): Well, I mean Syria is in a terrible spot. But I think there's actually a strange thing going on that people haven't noticed yet which is that I sense that the administration is doing more now to help the rebels, especially on the southern front out of Jordan than they previously were. Some of the statements coming out about Syria have been from-- say more muscular. There has obviously been the director of National Intelligence, who a couple of weeks ago talked about Syria as a direct national security threat to the United States. The-- the deputy secretary of state has talked about this as a national security threat. I'm wondering if the President has been slowly dissuaded by the behavior of Assad, by the behavior of Khamenei, and the behavior now of Putin into thinking that anything is discussible or that we can talk through any problem and I'm wondering if-- if we're moving into a phase that Jimmy Carter moved in after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, where he said, okay, enough with the belief that I can just reason with everyone. I don't know if we're there, yet, but I think they're shifting in that direction a little bit.
CHARLIE ROSE: Mm. Do anybody think that's a possibility?
MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, you are seeing more robust arming and effort in the south of Syria but I think broadly speaking, you know, the U.S. was embarrassed after that last round of peace talks that Russia just didn't deliver the regime in the way that in many ways they had estimated they would be able to.
CHARLIE ROSE: They fell behind the schedule.
MARGARET BRENNAN: They fell behind the schedule on the CW, they fell behind at the peace talks by-- yes, they brought the Syrians to the table but they didn't negotiate--
CHARLIE ROSE: Mm.
MARGARET BRENNAN: --anything when they got there. And so I think that has led to a reevaluation of some of the policy. Politically, though, I think it is embarrassing and makes the administration sensitive to this public scrutiny that has erupted around Ukraine.
CHARLIE ROSE: Mm.
MARGARET BRENNAN: And this question of whether we should be reliant on the Russians in a diplomatic sense to deliver anything at this point.
JEFFREY GOLDBERG: The sense that I get, Charlie, real quick on this is-- is that, you know, the President has always had a special carve out for North Korea. The North Koreans are crazy, everybody else I can deal with. I have a feeling based on some conversations around the administration that they're moving into a different understanding of Putin not as crazy necessarily, but as a guy who can't be reasoned with and that's going to have broad policy.
CHARLIE ROSE: Reasoned with because he's obsessed by the idea of restoring Russia's grandeur?
JEFFREY GOLDBERG: Reasoned-- right. Because he had-- because in other words, just like the Iranians or the Syrians, they just have different goals. And the goals are not compatible and that can't be worked out. Everything is about bringing everything to the table. Well, you know, there are two different tables at a certain point.
CHARLIE ROSE: Mm.
RICH LOWRY: This-- you know, George W. Bush didn't exactly have a cold eyed realistic view of Vladimir Putin, right, at the beginning. But all you needed to know happened in Georgia in 2008 when Russia invades, a little more ambiguous case than this one, but reset was about basically saying to the Russians, all is forgotten and forgiven over that. And let's work together and we got really nothing of substance from it. Because the Russians will help us, and this goes to Jeffrey's point, exactly to the extent it is in their own interests and no further. They're happy to have us fight Islamic radicals in Afghanistan because it's a common enemy. They are happy to forge a face-saving deal for the President over serious chemical weapons so long as they can further buttress that regime and help it crush its own people. With all due respect, to Secretary Baker-- they're happy to sign the new start nuclear treaty which was a laughably bad deal for the United States.
CHARLIE ROSE: Mm-Hm. The question of the Crimea is interesting, what's happening there today. And you hear of Gates saying, Secretary Gates said it's lost.
RICH LOWRY: Right.
CHARLIE ROSE: You have other people suggesting we got to use more-- more force, more pressure on Putin. What's the risk here of a renewed Cold War?
PETER BAKER: Well, I mean we ought to be careful about overstating things. But I think obviously it's a-- it's a risk of a very bad period of hostility. You heard William Hague, the British foreign secretary today say that if Putin were to move into Eastern Ukraine, that-- that it would be a real chance of a real shooting conflict, he said--
CHARLIE ROSE: Right.
PETER BAKER: --which is not something you--
CHARLIE ROSE: A hot war.
PETER BAKER: A real hot war. And-- and it's hard to imagine but it's-- it's certainly plausible these days. And it's important to remember that the Ukraine is important to Russia in a way that we don't fully understand here. I mean it's not simply another country. This is part of Russia's history, its culture, its-- its sense of identity. And we have to understand that in order to deal with--
CHARLIE ROSE: And from a diplomatic point is how do you make them understand you understand that--
PETER BAKER: Right.
CHARLIE ROSE: --and at the same time serve your own interests that the Ukrainians should be able to decide their own future.
PETER BAKER: Right. Exactly.
CHARLIE ROSE: Yeah.
PETER BAKER: People in Crimea might actually want to be part of Russia but can they do it at the point of a gun in effect. Can you have a fair referendum with--
CHARLIE ROSE: Yeah.
PETER BAKER: --Russian troops there. That's a-- that's a different beast.
MARGARET BRENNAN: And will the administration continue to be able to encourage Ukrainians to hold their fire essentially--
PETER BAKER: Right.
MARGARET BRENNAN: --and not be provoked. That has been a consistent message, thank you for your restraint this could be a lot worse. And I imagine that when the prime minister comes here to Washington this week that's going to be a conversation again, how to prevent this from escalating.
CHARLIE ROSE: Mm.
JEFFREY GOLDBERG: Before we go down the road of, is this the new Cold War, I mean it's important to remember in the Cold War there was a global competition for the United States.
CHARLIE ROSE: Right. right. Right.
JEFFREY GOLDBERG: I mean they were in Angola, in Nicaragua, and across the-- now we're talking about places that are Russian majority Russian-speaking right up--
MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.
JEFFREY GOLDBERG: --against Russia's border that we're competing about. So Putin is on the back foot still. And this is not about the global Russian empire.
CHARLIE ROSE: This is not a power of equality.
RICH LOWRY: But I don't think anyone is really talking about threatening Russia's legitimate interests in Crimea. And it already had some autonomy. No one was talking about kicking them out of that base there. So this is an entirely concocted neo-imperial play for power.
PETER BAKER: Lots of reaction to what he sees in Ukraine as being a threat. So he sees the new government coming in, tossing out Yanukovych as part of a Western conspiracy to move further. It's-- it's the next extension of the--
CHARLIE ROSE: He believes deeper that the--
PETER BAKER: He believed--
CHARLIE ROSE: --West had something to do with overpowering Yanukovych.
PETER BAKER: Yes. And he-- and this is the extension of NATO expanding all the way was where they feel very hemmed in, they-- he's on the back foot in that sense and he feels quite threatened as a result. There's also a domestic component. This is-- this is, you know, politics at home, he's never been more popular since 2012 when he came back as president.
MARGARET BRENNAN: I think it's interesting here because we tend to brush aside the financial crisis there. But capitalism in so many ways is the administration's sharpest weapon and tool in this case, they believe when dealing with Russia. When it comes to sanctions, when they say, look what's happening to their markets right now and they can't afford Ukraine to implode.
CHARLIE ROSE: Interesting point too. Jim Jones made a point about energy. I mean we do have new weapons at our disposal to use. And if, in fact, they can rally the NATO countries, they have a better and more effective weapon. But people have expressed some misgivings about whether Germany is prepared to do that or not.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.
PETER BAKER: We're on a different page than Europe right now. That's the important thing.
CHARLIE ROSE: Exactly.
PETER BAKER: Because they're tied into Russian economy in a way that we are not.
CHARLIE ROSE: We'll be right back. Stay with us.
CHARLIE ROSE: Thanks, Rich. Thanks, Jeffrey. Thank you, Margaret. And thank you, Peter. That's it for us. Bob Schieffer will be back next week. I'm Charlie Rose. Be sure to tune in tonight for the CBS EVENING NEWS and tomorrow for CBS THIS MORNING for the latest on the missing Malaysian Airlines jet and the crisis in Ukraine. Thank you very much for watching FACE THE NATION.