Roger Waters, the 78-year-old founding member of Pink Floyd, is ruffling feathers again this week with his take on the Biden administration’s policies regarding the Russian invasion of neighboring Ukraine.
As he asserted during a recent CNN interview, the president is behaving like a war criminal and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is making things worse in Ukraine and throughout the region.
Waters recently embarked on a solo tour that includes Biden in a series of photos under the banner of “war criminals.”
Host Michael Smerconish pressed his guest on the incendiary display, but Waters stuck to his guns in admonishing President Joe Biden.
“Well, he’s fueling the fire in Ukraine, for a start,” the musician said. “That is a huge crime.”
He went on to insist that U.S. officials should encourage Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy “to negotiate, obviating the need for this horrific, horrendous war that’s killing … we don’t know how many Russians.”
Of course, countless Ukrainian citizens have also been killed during the conflict – and Smerconish accused Waters of seeking to place the blame on the invaded country instead of the regime behind the invasion.
For his part, Waters said he believes the blame lies with NATO, which he said has been stoking tensions between Russia and Ukraine for well over a decade.
“You could say it started in 2008,” he replied. “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 [former Soviet Union President Mikhail] Gorbachev negotiated the withdrawal of the USSR from the whole of Eastern Europe.”
When the conversation shifted to China’s record of human rights violations, Waters offered a similarly controversial stance.
“Who have the Chinese invaded and slaughtered?” Waters asked.
When Smerconish replied “their own,” his guest responded incredulously: “Bullocks! That’s absolute nonsense! Absolute nonsense!”
His remarks caught the attention of some high-profile Chinese officials, including at least one who shared a relevant clip from the interview on Twitter.
"#Taiwan is part of China. That's been absolutely accepted by the whole of international community… And if you don't know that, you are not reading enough."–Roger Waters, co-founder of rock band Pink Floyd pic.twitter.com/mqkL7VcPXr
— Hua Chunying 华春莹 (@SpokespersonCHN) August 7, 2022
His rhetoric also sparked plenty of backlash in America and around the world. In his reaction on Twitter, former Ukrainian ambassador to Austria slammed Waters for his shifting opinion on the Russian invasion.
“First you say there won’t be a war, because [Russian President Vladimir] Putin is too good,” wrote Olexander Scherba. “[Then] there is a war – and you say well, it’s a war for a good reason. Why don’t you already move to Russia, you gutless, heartless, merciless, lost little person?”