During a politically charged new interview with CNN, former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters offered a defence for his labelling of US President Joe Biden as a war criminal.
Waters is currently on tour across North America with his latest stage show, ‘This Is Not A Drill’, having played 15 dates in the region since early July. For the show, Waters’ stage is lined with giant screens, which at one point, display a slideshow of people that Waters has branded as “war criminals”.
Biden is shown among the cohort – right after his predecessor, Donald Trump – with a label asserting to concertgoers that the current US President is “just getting started”.
Speaking with CNN’s Michael Smerconish (who notes that he’s a fan of Waters’ music, but disagrees with him on some of his political viewpoints), Waters was asked why he considers Biden to be a fit for the inflammatory slideshow.
“Well, he’s fuelling the fire in the Ukraine, for a start – that is a huge crime,” the artist answered, rhetorically posing to Smerconish: “Why won’t the United States of America encourage [Volodymyr] Zelenskyy, the [Ukrainian] president, to negotiate, obviating the need for this horrific, horrendous war that’s killing… We don’t know how many Russians.”
Smerconish responds by telling Waters that he’s “got it reversed”, and that the artist is erroneously “blaming the party that got invaded”. Waters vocally disagrees, defending his stance by continuing: “Well, any war, when did it start? What you need to do is look at the history, and you can say, ‘Well it started on this day.’
“You could say it started in 2008 – this war is basically about the action and reaction of NATO pushing right up to the Russian border, which they promised they wouldn’t do when [the final leader of the Soviet Union, Mikhail] Gorbachev negotiated the withdrawal of the USSR from the whole of Eastern Europe.”
Dismayed by his perspective, Smerconish implores Waters to consider the US’ role as “liberators” in the war between Ukraine and Russia, to which Waters snaps back: “You have no role as liberators! What are you talking about?”
Smerconish brings up World War II as an example, which Waters quickly refutes: “You [the US] got into World War II because of Pearl Harbour. You were completely isolationists until that sad, devastating, awful [inaudible] in 1941.”
Pointing out that Waters lost his father in World War II, Smerconish offers a refutation of his own: “I would argue [that] we were always going to get [involved in World War II], and [Pearl Harbour] pushed us in. But thank God the United States got in, right?”
Again, Waters quickly refutes Smerconish’s defence: “But thank God the Russians had already won the bloody war, almost, by then. Don’t forget, 23million Russians died protecting you and me from the Nazi menace.”
Smerconish uses Waters’ reply as an opportunity to the bring the conversation back on topic, opining that “you would think the Russians would have learned their lesson from war and wouldn’t have invaded Ukraine – fair?”
Waters still appears to disagree, responding: “With all your reading, I would suggest to you, Michael, that that you go away and read a bit more, and then try and figure out what the United States would do if the Chinese were putting nuclear-armed missiles into Mexico and Canada.”
“The Chinese are too busy encircling Taiwan as we speak,” Smerconish interjects, to which Waters immediately snaps back: “They’re not encircling Taiwan – Taiwan is part of China. And that’s been absolutely accepted by the whole of the international community since 1948 – and if you don’t know that, you’re not reading enough. Go and read about it! You’re believing your site’s propaganda.”
Have a look at the full interview below:
This is not the first time Waters has made waves with his views on Biden’s ethical conduct. In April of 2020 – months before Biden won over Trump in the latest Presidential election – the former Pink Floydian branded him a “fucking slime ball” who is “so weak, and has no appeal to anybody”.
The North American leg of Waters’ ‘This Is Not A Drill’ tour will continue in Columbus on Wednesday (August 10), with a further 28 dates on the itinerary before ending in mid-October. See the full list of dates here, and find tickets to select shows here.
Last month, Waters hit out at The Weeknd and Drake, saying he is “far, far, far more important than any of them will ever be”. In a recent interview with Canadian publication The Globe And Mail, Waters asked the interviewer why his recent shows in the Toronto weren’t reviewed by the publication or any others in the area.
He was told that The Weeknd was set to open his ‘After Hours ‘Til Dawn’ tour on the same night, to which Waters responded: “I have no idea what or who the Weeknd is, because I don’t listen to much music. People have told me he’s a big act. Well, good luck to him. I’ve got nothing against him. Would it not have been possible to review his show one night and my show another night?”