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Professor Steven Cohen analysis of the USA Russian relations: Architects of American policy towards Russia and Ukraine are destroying American national security

Stephen F. Cohen - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Stephen F. Cohen's grandfather emigrated to the United States from Lithuania (then part of the Russian Empire) only able to speak Lithuanian, Russian and [2]

Stephen Cohen was born in 1938 in Owensboro, Kentucky where his father owned a golf course,[3] and attended Indiana University Bloomington, where he earned a B.S. degree and an M.A. degree in Russian Studies. While studying in England, he went on a four-week trip to the Soviet Union, where he became interested in its history and politics. Cohen, who received his Ph.D. in government and Russian studies at Columbia University, became a professor of politics and Russian studies at Princeton University in 1968, where he taught until 1998, and has been teaching at New York University since.

Cohen is well known in both Russian and American circles. He is a close personal friend of former Soviet Pres. Mikhail Gorbachev, advised former U.S. Pres. George H.W. Bush in the late 1980s, helped Nikolai Bukharin's widow, Anna Larina, rehabilitate her name during the Soviet era, and met Joseph Stalin's daughter, citation needed]

Since 1998, Cohen has been professor of Russian Studies and History at New York University, where he teaches a course titled "Russia Since 1917." He previously taught at Princeton University. He has written several books including those listed below. He is also a CBS News consultant as well as a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Cohen has a son and a daughter from his first marriage to opera singer Lynne Blair, from whom he is divorced. Cohen is now married to Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor of the progressive magazine The Nation, where he is also a contributing editor. They have one daughter.

... ... ...

Cohen asserts that US foreign policy is responsible for the continuation of Cold War hostilities between the two countries despite its ostensible end in 1991, citing NATO's eastward expansion as evidence for his hypothesis.[8][9]

Munk Debate[edit]

Cohen participated in a Munk Debate over the proposal "Be it resolved the West should engage not isolate Russia…" He, together with Vladimir Posner, argued in favor. They were opposed by Anne Applebaum and Garry Kasparov. The opposing side won by 10%.[10]


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[Sep 04, 2019] What We Still Do Not Know About Russiagate by Stephen F. Cohen's

Notable quotes:
"... It must again be emphasized: It is hard, if not impossible, to think of a more toxic allegation in American presidential history than the one leveled against candidate, and then president, Donald Trump that he "colluded" with the Kremlin in order to win the 2016 presidential election -- and, still more, that Vladimir Putin's regime, "America's No. 1 threat," had compromising material on Trump that made him its "puppet." Or a more fraudulent accusation. ..."
"... Was it plausible, for example, that Trump, a longtime owner and operator of international hotels, would commit an indiscreet act in a Moscow hotel that he did not own or control? Or that, as Steele also claimed, high-level Kremlin sources had fed him damning anti-Trump information even though their vigilant boss, Putin, wanted Trump to win the election? ..."
"... Nor was Russian "meddling" in the election anything akin to a "digital Pearl Harbor," as widely asserted, and it was certainly far less and less intrusive than President Bill Clinton's political and financial "interference" undertaken to assure the reelection of Russian President Boris Yeltsin in 1996. ..."
"... Nonetheless, Russiagate's core allegation persists, like a legend, in American political life -- in media commentary, in financial solicitations by some Democratic candidates for Congress, and, as is clear from my own discussions, in the minds of otherwise well-informed people. The only way to dispel, to excoriate, such a legend is to learn and expose how it began -- by whom, when, and why. ..."
"... Why did Western intelligence agencies, prompted, it seems clear, by US ones, seek to undermine Trump's presidential campaign? ..."
"... the repeatedly hapless Comey seems incapable of having initiated such an audacious operation against a presidential candidate, still less a president-elect. As I have long suggested, John Brennan and James Clapper, head of the CIA and Office of National Intelligence under Obama respectively, are the more likely culprits. ..."
"... First and foremost, Russiagate is about the present and future of the American political system, not about Russia. (Indeed, as I have repeatedly argued, there is very little, if any, Russia in Russiagate.) ..."
"... At every "debate" or comparable forum, all of the Democratic candidates should be asked about this grave threat to American democracy -- what they think about what happened and would do about it if elected president. Consider it health care for our democracy. ..."
Sep 04, 2019 | www.thenation.com

It must again be emphasized: It is hard, if not impossible, to think of a more toxic allegation in American presidential history than the one leveled against candidate, and then president, Donald Trump that he "colluded" with the Kremlin in order to win the 2016 presidential election -- and, still more, that Vladimir Putin's regime, "America's No. 1 threat," had compromising material on Trump that made him its "puppet." Or a more fraudulent accusation.

Even leaving aside the misperception that Russia is the primary threat to America in world affairs, no aspect of this allegation has turned out to be true, as should have been evident from the outset. Major aspects of the now infamous Steele Dossier, on which much of the allegation was based, were themselves not merely "unverified" but plainly implausible.

Was it plausible, for example, that Trump, a longtime owner and operator of international hotels, would commit an indiscreet act in a Moscow hotel that he did not own or control? Or that, as Steele also claimed, high-level Kremlin sources had fed him damning anti-Trump information even though their vigilant boss, Putin, wanted Trump to win the election? Nonetheless, the American mainstream media and other important elements of the US political establishment relied on Steele's allegations for nearly three years, even heroizing him -- and some still do, explicitly or implicitly.

Not surprisingly, former special counsel Robert Mueller found no evidence of "collusion" between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. No credible evidence has been produced that Russia's "interference" affected the result of the 2016 presidential election in any significant way. Nor was Russian "meddling" in the election anything akin to a "digital Pearl Harbor," as widely asserted, and it was certainly far less and less intrusive than President Bill Clinton's political and financial "interference" undertaken to assure the reelection of Russian President Boris Yeltsin in 1996.

Nonetheless, Russiagate's core allegation persists, like a legend, in American political life -- in media commentary, in financial solicitations by some Democratic candidates for Congress, and, as is clear from my own discussions, in the minds of otherwise well-informed people. The only way to dispel, to excoriate, such a legend is to learn and expose how it began -- by whom, when, and why.

Officially, at least in the FBI's version, its operation "Crossfire Hurricane," the counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign that began in mid-2016 was due to suspicious remarks made to visitors by a young and lowly Trump aide, George Papadopoulos. This too is not believable, as I pointed out previously . Most of those visitors themselves had ties to Western intelligence agencies. That is, the young Trump aide was being enticed, possibly entrapped, as part of a larger intelligence operation against Trump. (Papadopoulos wasn't the only Trump associate targeted, Carter Page being another.)

But the question remains: Why did Western intelligence agencies, prompted, it seems clear, by US ones, seek to undermine Trump's presidential campaign? A reflexive answer might be because candidate Trump promised to "cooperate with Russia," to pursue a pro-détente foreign policy, but this was hardly a startling, still less subversive, advocacy by a would-be Republican president. All of the major pro-détente episodes in the 20th century had been initiated by Republican presidents: Eisenhower, Nixon, and Reagan.

So, again, what was it about Trump that so spooked the spooks so far off their rightful reservation and so intrusively into American presidential politics? Investigations being overseen by Attorney General William Barr may provide answers -- or not. Barr has already leveled procedural charges against James Comey, head of the FBI under President Obama and briefly under President Trump, but the repeatedly hapless Comey seems incapable of having initiated such an audacious operation against a presidential candidate, still less a president-elect. As I have long suggested, John Brennan and James Clapper, head of the CIA and Office of National Intelligence under Obama respectively, are the more likely culprits.

The FBI is no longer the fearsome organization it once was and thus not hard to investigate, as Barr has already shown. The others, particularly the CIA, are a different matter, and Barr has suggested they are resisting. To investigate them, particularly the CIA, it seems, he has brought in a veteran prosecutor-investigator, John Durham.

Which raises other questions. Are Barr and Durham, whose own careers include associations with US intelligence agencies, determined to uncover the truth about the origins of Russiagate? And can they really do so fully, given the resistance already apparent? Even if so, will Barr make public their findings, however damning of the intelligence agencies they may be, or will he classify them? And if the latter, will President Trump use his authority to declassify the findings as the 2020 presidential election approaches in order to discredit the role of Obama's presidency and its would-be heirs?

Equally important perhaps, how will mainstream media treat the Barr-Durham investigation and its findings? Having driven the Russiagate narrative for so long and so misleadingly -- and with liberals perhaps finding themselves in the incongruous position of defending rogue intelligence agencies -- will they credit or seek to discredit the findings?

It is true, of course, that Barr and Durham, as Trump appointees, are not the ideal investigators of Intel misdeeds in the Russiagate saga. Much better would be a truly bipartisan, independent investigation based in the Senate, as was the Church Committee of the mid-1970s, which exposed and reformed (it thought at the time) serious abuses by US intelligence agencies. That would require, however, a sizable core of nonpartisan, honorable, and courageous senators of both parties, who thus far seem to be lacking.

There are also, however, the ongoing and upcoming Democratic presidential debates. First and foremost, Russiagate is about the present and future of the American political system, not about Russia. (Indeed, as I have repeatedly argued, there is very little, if any, Russia in Russiagate.)

At every "debate" or comparable forum, all of the Democratic candidates should be asked about this grave threat to American democracy -- what they think about what happened and would do about it if elected president. Consider it health care for our democracy.

This commentary is based on Stephen F. Cohen's most recent weekly discussion with the host of The John Batchelor Show . Now in their sixth year, previous installments are at TheNation.com .

Stephen F. Cohen Stephen F. Cohen is a professor emeritus of Russian studies and politics at New York University and Princeton University. A Nation contributing editor, his most recent book War With Russia? From Putin & Ukraine to Trump & Russiagate is available in paperback and in an ebook edition. His weekly conversations with the host of The John Batchelor Show, now in their sixth year, are available at www.thenation.com .

[Aug 17, 2019] Debunking the Putin Panic by Stephen F. Cohen

Highly recommended!
Aug 17, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

STEPHEN COHEN: I'm not aware that Russia attacked Georgia. The European Commission, if you're talking about the 2008 war, the European Commission, investigating what happened, found that Georgia, which was backed by the United States, fighting with an American-built army under the control of the, shall we say, slightly unpredictable Georgian president then, Saakashvili, that he began the war by firing on Russian enclaves. And the Kremlin, which by the way was not occupied by Putin, but by Michael McFaul and Obama's best friend and reset partner then-president Dmitry Medvedev, did what any Kremlin leader, what any leader in any country would have had to do: it reacted. It sent troops across the border through the tunnel, and drove the Georgian forces out of what essentially were kind of Russian protectorate areas of Georgia.

So that- Russia didn't begin that war. And it didn't begin the one in Ukraine, either. We did that by [continents], the overthrow of the Ukrainian president in [20]14 after President Obama told Putin that he would not permit that to happen. And I think it happened within 36 hours. The Russians, like them or not, feel that they have been lied to and betrayed. They use this word, predatl'stvo, betrayal, about American policy toward Russia ever since 1991, when it wasn't just President George Bush, all the documents have been published by the National Security Archive in Washington, all the leaders of the main Western powers promised the Soviet Union that under Gorbachev, if Gorbachev would allow a reunited Germany to be NATO, NATO would not, in the famous expression, move two inches to the east.

Now NATO is sitting on Russia's borders from the Baltic to Ukraine. So Russians aren't fools, and they're good-hearted, but they become resentful. They're worried about being attacked by the United States. In fact, you read and hear in the Russian media daily, we are under attack by the United States. And this is a lot more real and meaningful than this crap that is being put out that Russia somehow attacked us in 2016. I must have been sleeping. I didn't see Pearl Harbor or 9/11 and 2016. This is reckless, dangerous, warmongering talk. It needs to stop. Russia has a better case for saying they've been attacked by us since 1991. We put our military alliance on the front door. Maybe it's not an attack, but it looks like one, feels like one. Could be one.


Disturbed Voter , July 30, 2018 at 6:32 am

Real politik. Don't bring a knife to a gun fight. Don't start fights in the first place. The idea that American leadership is any better than mid-Victorian imperialism, is laughable.

Jerri-Lynn Scofield , July 30, 2018 at 8:15 am

Here's the RNN link to part one: The Russia "National Security Crisis" is a U.S. Creation .

integer , July 30, 2018 at 7:12 am

AARON MATE: We hear, often, talk of Putin possibly being the richest person in the world as a result of his entanglement with the very corruption of Russia you're speaking about

Few appear to be aware that Bill Browder is single-handedly responsible for starting, and spreading, the rumor that Putin's net worth is $200 billion (for those who are unfamiliar with Browder, I highly recommend watching Andrei Nekrasov's documentary titled " The Magnitsky Act – Behind the Scenes "). Browder appears to have first started this rumor early in 2015 , and has repeated it ad nauseam since then, including in his testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2017 . While Browder has always framed the $200 billion figure as his own estimate, that subtle qualifier has had little effect on the media's willingness to accept it as fact.

Interestingly, during the press conference at the Helsinki Summit, Putin claimed Browder sent $400 million of ill-gotten gains to the Clinton campaign. Putin retracted the statement and claimed to have misspoke a week or so later, however by that time the $400 million figure had been cited by numerous media outlets around the world. I think it is at least possible that Putin purposely exaggerated the amount of money in question as a kind of tit-for-tat response to Browder having started the rumor about his net worth being $200 billion.

Blue Pilgrim , July 30, 2018 at 11:39 am

The stories I saw said there was a mistranslation -- but that the figure should have $400 thousand and not $400 million. Maybe Putin misspoke, but the $400,000 number is still significant, albeit far more reasonable.

Putin never was on the Forbes list of billionaires, btw, and his campaign finance statement comes to far less. It never seems to occur to rabid capitalists or crooks that not everyone is like them, placing such importance on vast fortunes, or want to be dishonest, greedy, or power hungry. Putin is only 'well off' and that seems to satisfy him just fine as he gets on with other interests, values, and goals.

integer , July 30, 2018 at 12:03 pm

Yes, $400,000 is the revised/correct figure. My having written that "Putin retracted the statement" was not the best choice of phrase. Also, the figure was corrected the day after it was made, not "a week or so later" as I wrote in my previous comment. From the Russia Insider link:

Browder's criminal group used many tax evasion methods, including offshore companies. They siphoned shares and funds from Russia worth over 1.5 billion dollars. By the way, $400,000 was transferred to the US Democratic Party's accounts from these funds. The Russian president asked us to correct his statement from yesterday. During the briefing, he said it was $400,000,000, not $400,000. Either way, it's still a significant amount of money.

JohnnyGL , July 30, 2018 at 2:54 pm

I hadn't heard about the revision/edit to the $400M, thanks!

Seems crazy to think how much Russo-phobia seems to have been ginned up by one tax-dodging hedgie with an axe to grind.

Procopius , July 31, 2018 at 1:11 am

There's something weird about the anti-Putin hysteria. Somehow, many, many people have come to believe they must demonstrate their membership in the tribe by accepting completely unsupported assertions that go against common sense.

Eureka Springs , July 30, 2018 at 7:58 am

In a sane world we the people would be furious with the Clinton campaign, especially the D party but the R's as well, our media (again), and our intel/police State (again). Holding them all accountable while making sure this tsunami of deception and lies never happens again.

It's amazing even in time of the internetz those of us who really dig can only come up with a few sane voices. It's much worse now in terms of the numbers of sane voices than it was in the run up to Iraq 2.

CenterOfGravity , July 30, 2018 at 12:52 pm

Regardless of broad access to far more information in the digital age, never under estimate the self-preservation instinct of American exceptionalist mythology. There is an inverse relationship between the decline of US global primacy and increasingly desperate quest for adventurism. Like any case of addiction, looking outward for blame/salvation is imperative in order to prevent the mirror of self-reflection/realization from turning back onto ourselves.

integer , July 30, 2018 at 9:28 am

we're not to believe we're not supposed to believe we're supposed to believe

Believe whatever you want, however your comment gives the impression that you came to this article because you felt the need to push back against anything that does not conform to the liberal international order's narrative on Putin and Russia, rather than "with an eagerness to counterbalance the media's portrayal of Putin". WRT to whataboutism, I like Greenwald's definition of the term :

"Whataboutism": the term used to bar inquiry into whether someone adheres to the moral and behavioral standards they seek to impose on everyone else. That's its functional definition.

Rojo , July 30, 2018 at 12:25 pm

Invoking "whataboutism" is a liberal team-Dem tell.

Amfortas the Hippie , July 30, 2018 at 2:20 pm

aye. I've never seen it used by anyone aside from the worst Hill Trolls.
Indeed, when it was first thrown at me, I endeavored to look it up, and found that all references to it were from Hillaryites attempting to diss apostates and heretics.

Jonathan Holland Becnel , July 30, 2018 at 8:22 pm

Eh, probably

John Oliver, whos been completely sucking lately with TDS, did a semi decent segment on Whataboutism.

Eureka Springs , July 30, 2018 at 9:52 am

The degree of consistency and or lack of hypocrisy based on words and actions separates US from Russia to an astonishing level. That is Russia's largest threat to US, our deceivers. The propaganda tables have turned and we are deceiving ourselves to points of collective insanity and warmongering with a great nuclear power while we are at it. Warmongering is who we are and what we do.

Does Russia have a GITMO, torture Chelsea Manning, openly say they want to kill Snowden and Assange? Is Russia building up arsenals on our borders while maintaining hundreds of foreign bases and conducting several wars at any given moment while constantly threatening to foment more wars? Is Russia dropping another trillion on nuclear arsenals? Is Russia forcing us to maintain such an anti democratic system and an even worse, an entirely hackable electronic voting system?

You ready to destroy the world, including your own, rather than look in the mirror?

rkka , July 30, 2018 at 9:52 am

You're talking about extending Russian military power into Europe when the military spending of NATO Europe alone exceeds Russia's by almost 5-1 (more like 12-1 when one includes the US and Canada), have about triple the number of soldiers than Russia has, and when the Russian ground forces are numerically smaller than they have been in at least 200 years?

" to put their self-interests above those of their constituents and employees, why can't we apply this same lens to Putin and his oligarchs?"

The oligarchs got their start under Yeltsin and his FreeMarketDemocraticReformers, whose policies were so catastrophic that deaths were exceeding births by almost a million a year by the late '90s, with no end in sight. Central to Yeltsin's governance was the corrupt privatization, by which means the Seven Bankers came to control the Russian economy and Russian politics.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semibankirschina

Central to Putin's popularity are the measures he took to curb oligarchic predation in 2003-2005. Because of this, Russia's debt:GDP ratio went from 1.0 to about 0.2, and Russia's demographic recovery began while Western analysis were still predicting the death of Russia.

So Putin is the anti-oligarch in Russian domestic politics.

Blue Pilgrim , July 30, 2018 at 12:17 pm

"While it's true that power corrupts"

I know of many people who sacrifice their own interests for those of their children (over whom they have virtually absolute power), family member and friends. I know of others who dedicate their lives to justice, peace, the well being of their nation, the world, and other people -- people who find far greater meaning and satisfaction in this than in accumulating power or money. Other people have their own goals, such as producing art, inventing interesting things, reading and learning, and don't care two hoots about power or money as long as their immediate needs are met.

I'm cynical enough about humans without thinking the worst of everyone and every group or culture. Not everyone thinks only of nails and wants to be hammers, or are sociopaths. There are times when people are more or less forced into taking power, or getting more money, even if they don't want it, because they want to change things for the better or need to defend themselves.
There are people who get guns and learn how to use them only because they feel a need for defending themselves and family but who don't like guns and don't want to shoot anyone or anything.

There are many people who do not want to be controlled and bossed around, but neither want to boss around anyone else. The world is full of such people. If they are threatened and attacked, however, expect defensive reactions. Same as for most animals which are not predators, and even predators will generally not attack other animals if they are not hungry or threatened -- but that does not mean they are not competent or can be dangerous.

Capitalism is not only inherently predatory, but is inherently expansive without limits, with unlimited ambition for profits and control. It's intrinsically very competitive and imperialist. Capitalism is also a thing which was exported to Russia, starting soon after the Russian Revolution, which was immediately attacked and invaded by the West, and especially after the fall of the Soviet Union. Soviet Russia had it's own problems, which it met with varying degrees of success, but were quite different from the aggressive capitalism and imperialism of the US and Europe.

Not every culture and person are the same.

BenX , July 30, 2018 at 3:28 pm

The pro-Putin propaganda is pretty interesting to witness, and of course not everything Cohen says is skewed pro-Putin – that's what provides credibility. But "Putin kills everybody" is something NOBODY says (except Cohen, twice in one interview) – Putin is actually pretty selective of those he decides to have killed. But of course, he doesn't kill anyone, personally – therefore he's an innocent lamb, accidentally running Russia as a dictator.

rkka , July 31, 2018 at 9:11 am

The most recent dictator in Russian history was Boris Yeltsin, who turned tanks on his legislature while it was in the legal and constitutional process of impeaching him, and whose policies were so catastrophic for Russians (who were dying off at the rate of 900k/yr) that he had to steal his re-election because he had a 5% approval rating.

But he did as the US gvt told him, so I guess that makes him a Democrat.

Under Putin Russia recovered from being helpless, bankrupt & dying, but Russia has an independent foreign policy, so that makes Putin a dictator.

Plenue , July 30, 2018 at 3:54 pm

"Does any sane person believe that there will ever be a Putin-signed contract provided as evidence? Does any sane person believe that Putin actually needs to "approve" a contract rather than signaling to his oligarch/mafia hierarchy that he's unhappy about a newspaper or journalist's reporting?"

Why do you think Putin even needs, or feels a need, to have journalists killed in the first place? I see no evidence to support this basic assumption.

The idea of Russia poised to attack Europe is interesting, in light of the fact that they've cut their military spending by 20%. And even before that the budgets of France, Germany, and the UK combined well exceeded that of Russia, to say nothing of the rest of NATO or the US.

Putin's record speaks for itself. This again points to the absurdity of claiming he's had reporters killed: he doesn't need to. He has a vast amount of genuine public support because he's salvaged the country and pieced it back together after the pillaging of the Yeltsin years. That he himself is a corrupt oligarch I have no particular doubt of. But if he just wanted to enrich himself, he's had a very funny way of going about it. Pray tell, what are these 'other interpretations'?

"The US foreign policy has been disastrous for millions of people since world war 2. But Cohen's arguments that Russia isn't as bad as the US is just a bunch of whattaboutism."

What countries has the Russian Federation destroyed?

witters , July 31, 2018 at 1:30 am

Here is a fascinating essay ["Are We Reading Russia Right?"] by Nicolai N. Petro who currently holds the Silvia-Chandley Professorship of Peace Studies and Nonviolence at the University of Rhode Island. His books include, Ukraine
in Crisis (Routledge, 2017), Crafting Democracy (Cornell, 2004), The Rebirth of Russian Democracy (Harvard, 1995), and Russian Foreign Policy, co-authored with Alvin Z. Rubinstein (Longman, 1997). A graduate of the University of Virginia, he is the recipient of Fulbright awards to Russia and to Ukraine, as well as fellowships from the Foreign Policy Research Institute, the National Council for Eurasian and East European Research, the Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies in Washington,
D.C., and the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. As a Council on Foreign Relations Fellow, he served as special assistant for policy toward the Soviet Union in the U.S. Department of State from 1989 to 1990. In addition to scholarly publications
on Russia and Ukraine, he has written for Asia Times, American Interest, Boston Globe, Christian Science Monitor, The Guardian (UK), The Nation, New York Times, and Wilson Quarterly. His writings have appeared frequently on the web sites of the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs and The National Interest.

I warn you – it is terrifying!

http://npetro.net/resources/Petro-FF+Spring+2018.pdf

Carolinian , July 30, 2018 at 8:55 am

Thanks for so much for this. Great stuff. Cohen says the emperor has no clothes so naturally the empire doesn't want him on television. I believe he has been on CNN one or two times and I saw him once on the PBS Newshour where the interviewer asked skeptical questions with a pained and skeptical look. He seems to be the only prominent person willing to stand up and call bs on the Russia hate. There are plenty of pundits and commentators who do that but not many Princeton professors.

Thye Rev Kev , July 30, 2018 at 9:04 am

It has been said in recent years that the greatest failure of American foreign policy was the invasion of Iraq. I think that they are wrong. The greatest failure, in my opinion, is to push both China and Russia together into a semi-official pact against American ambitions. In the same way that the US was able to split China from the USSR back in the seventies, the best option was for America to split Russia from China and help incorporate them into the western system. The waters for that idea have been so fouled by the Russia hysteria, if not dementia, that that is no longer a possibility. I just wish that the US would stop sowing dragon's teeth – it never ends well.

NotTimothyGeithner , July 30, 2018 at 9:45 am

The best option, but the "American exceptionalists" went nuts. Also, the usual play book of stoking fears of the "yellow menace" would have been too on the nose. Americans might not buy it, and there was a whole cottage industry of "the rising China threat" except the potential consumer market place and slave labor factories stopped that from happening.

Bringing Russia into the West effectively means Europe, and I think that creates a similar dynamic to a Russian/Chinese pact. The basic problem with the EU is its led by a relatively weak but very German power which makes the EU relatively weak or controllable as long as the German electorate is relatively sedate. I think they still need the international structures run by the U.S. to maintain their dominance. What Russia and the pre-Erdogan Turkey (which was never going to be admitted to the EU) presented was significant upsets to the existing EU order with major balances to Germany which I always believed would make the EU potentially more dynamic. Every decision wouldn't require a pilgrimage to Berlin. The British were always disinterested. The French had made arrangements with Germany, and Italy is still Italy. Putting Russia or Turkey (pre-Erdogan) would have disrupted this arrangement.

John Wright , July 30, 2018 at 11:11 am

>which is oddly not easy to locate on its site

It appeared to me that Aaron Mate knew he was dealing with a weak hand by the end of the interview.

When Mate stated "it's widely held that Putin is responsible for the killing of journalists and opposition activists who oppose him."

There are many widely held beliefs in the world, and that does not make them true.

For example, It was widely held, and still may be believed by some, that Saddam Hussein was involved in the events of 9/11.

It is widely believed that humans are not responsible, in any part, for climate change.

Mate may have been embarrassed when he saw the final version and as a courtesy to him, the interview was made more difficult to find.

pretzelattack , July 30, 2018 at 11:35 am

iirc he didn't say it was true.

Elizabeth Burton , July 30, 2018 at 7:18 pm

The Crimea voted to be annexed by Russia by a clear majority. The US overran Hawaii with total disregard for the wishes of the native population. Your comparison is invalid.

vato , July 31, 2018 at 3:37 am

"Putin's finger prints are all over the Balkan fiasco".How is that with Putin only becoming president in 2000 and the Nato bombing started way beforehand. It's ridiculous to think that Putin had any major influence at that time as govenor or director of the domestic intelligence service on what was going during the bombing of NATO on Belgrad. Even Gerhard Schroeder, then chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, admitted in an interview in 2014 with a major German Newspaper (Die Zeit) that this invasion of Nato was a fault and against international law!

Can you concrete what you mean by "fingerprints" or is this just another platitudes?

ewmayer , July 31, 2018 at 6:05 pm

"Somebody called it Trump derangement syndrome."

I believe that the full and proper name of the psychiatric disorder in question is Putin-Trump Derangement Syndrome [PTDS].

Symptoms include:

o Eager and uncritical ingestion and social-media regurgitation of even the most patently absurd MSM propaganda. For example, the meme that releasing factual information about actual election-meddling (as Wikileaks did about the Dem-establishment's rigging of its own nomination process in 2016) is a grave threat to American Democracy™;

o Recent-onset veneration of the intelligence agencies, whose stock in trade is spying on and lying to the American people, spreading disinformation, election rigging, torture and assassination and its agents, such as liar and perjurer Clapper and torturer Brennan;

o Rehabilitation of horrid unindicted GOP war criminals like G.W. Bush as alleged examples of "norms-respecting Republican patriots";

o Smearing of anyone who dares question the MSM-stoked hysteria as an America-hating Russian stooge.

[Jun 19, 2019] Washington's Dr. Strangeloves by Stephen F. Cohen

Notable quotes:
"... What is the significance of this story, apart from what it tells us about the graver dangers of the new US-Russian Cold War, which now includes, we are informed, a uniquely fraught "digital Cold War"? Not so long ago, mainstream liberal Democrats, and the Times itself, would have been outraged by revelations that defense and intelligence officials were making such existential policy behind the back of a president. No longer, it seems. There have been no liberal, Democratic, or for the most part any other, mainstream protests, but instead a lawyerly apologia justifying the intelligence-defense operation without the president's knowledge. ..."
"... As I have often emphasized, the long historical struggle for American-Russian (Soviet and post-Soviet) détente, or broad cooperation, has featured many acts of attempted sabotage on both sides, though most often by US intelligence and defense agencies. ..."
"... Now the sabotaging of détente appears be happening again. As the Times article makes clear, Washington's war party, or perhaps zealous Cold War party, referred to euphemistically by Sanger and Perlroth as "advocates of the more aggressive strategy," is on the move. ..."
"... Détente with Russia has always been a fiercely opposed, crisis-ridden policy pursuit, but one manifestly in the interests of the United States and the world. No American president can achieve it without substantial bipartisan support at home, which Trump manifestly lacks. What kind of catastrophe will it take -- in Ukraine, the Baltic region, Syria, or somewhere on Russia's electric grid -- to shock US Democrats and others out of what has been called, not unreasonably, their Trump Derangement Syndrome, particularly in the realm of American national security? Meanwhile, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has recently reset its Doomsday Clock to two minutes before midnight. ..."
Jun 19, 2019 | www.thenation.com

Occasionally, a revelatory, and profoundly alarming, article passes almost unnoticed, even when published on the front page of The New York Times . Such was the case with reporting by David E. Sanger and Nicole Perlroth , bearing the Strangelovian title "U.S. Buries Digital Land Mines to Menace Russia's Power Grid," which appeared in the print edition on June 16. The article contained two revelations.

First, according to Sanger and Perlroth, with my ellipses duly noted, "The United States is stepping up digital incursions into Russia's electric power grid. Advocates of the more aggressive strategy said it was long overdue " The operation "carries significant risk of escalating the daily digital Cold War between Washington and Moscow." Though under way at least since 2012, "now the American strategy has shifted more toward offense with the placement of potentially crippling malware inside the Russian system at a depth and with an aggressiveness that had never been tried before." At this point, the Times reporters add an Orwellian touch. The head of the U.S. Cyber Command characterizes the assault on Russia's grid, which affects everything from the country's water supply, medical services, and transportation to control over its nuclear weapons, as "the need to 'defend forward,'" because "they don't fear us."

Nowhere do Sanger and Perlroth seem alarmed by the implicit risks of this "defend forward" attack on the infrastructure of the other nuclear superpower. Indeed, they wonder "whether it would be possible to plunge Russia into darkness." And toward the end, they quote an American lawyer and former Obama official, whose expertise on the matter is unclear, to assure readers sanguinely, "We might have to risk taking some broken bones of our own from a counter response. Sometimes you have to take a bloody nose to not take a bullet in the head down the road." The "broken bones," "bloody nose," and "bullet" are, of course, metaphorical references to the potential consequences of nuclear war.

The second revelation comes midway in the Times story: "[President] Trump had not been briefed in any detail about the steps to place 'implants' inside the Russian grid" because "he might countermand it or discuss it with foreign officials." (Indeed, Trump issued an angry tweet when he saw the Times report, though leaving unclear which part of it most aroused his anger.)

What is the significance of this story, apart from what it tells us about the graver dangers of the new US-Russian Cold War, which now includes, we are informed, a uniquely fraught "digital Cold War"? Not so long ago, mainstream liberal Democrats, and the Times itself, would have been outraged by revelations that defense and intelligence officials were making such existential policy behind the back of a president. No longer, it seems. There have been no liberal, Democratic, or for the most part any other, mainstream protests, but instead a lawyerly apologia justifying the intelligence-defense operation without the president's knowledge.

The political significance, however, seems clear enough. The leak to the Times and the paper's publication of the article come in the run-up to a scheduled meeting between President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G-20 meeting in Japan on June 28–29. Both leaders had recently expressed hope for improved US-Russian relations. On May 4, Trump again tweeted his longstanding aspiration for a "good/great relationship with Russia"; and this month Putin lamented that relations " are getting worse and worse " but hoped that he and Trump could move their countries beyond "the games played by intelligence services."

As I have often emphasized, the long historical struggle for American-Russian (Soviet and post-Soviet) détente, or broad cooperation, has featured many acts of attempted sabotage on both sides, though most often by US intelligence and defense agencies. Readers may recall the Eisenhower-Khrushchev summit meeting that was to take place in Paris in 1960, but which was aborted by the Soviet shoot-down of a US spy plane over the Soviet Union, an intrusive flight apparently not authorized by President Eisenhower. And more recently, the 2016 plan by then-President Obama and Putin for US-Russian cooperation in Syria, which was aborted by a Department of Defense attack on Russian-backed Syrian troops.

Now the sabotaging of détente appears be happening again. As the Times article makes clear, Washington's war party, or perhaps zealous Cold War party, referred to euphemistically by Sanger and Perlroth as "advocates of the more aggressive strategy," is on the move. Certainly, Trump has been repeatedly thwarted in his previous détente attempts, primarily by discredited Russiagate allegations that continue to be promoted by the war party even though they still lack any evidential basis. (It may also be recalled that his previous summit meeting with Putin was widely and shamefully assailed as "treason" by influential segments of the US political-media establishment.)

Détente with Russia has always been a fiercely opposed, crisis-ridden policy pursuit, but one manifestly in the interests of the United States and the world. No American president can achieve it without substantial bipartisan support at home, which Trump manifestly lacks. What kind of catastrophe will it take -- in Ukraine, the Baltic region, Syria, or somewhere on Russia's electric grid -- to shock US Democrats and others out of what has been called, not unreasonably, their Trump Derangement Syndrome, particularly in the realm of American national security? Meanwhile, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has recently reset its Doomsday Clock to two minutes before midnight.

This commentary is based on Stephen F. Cohen's most recent weekly discussion with the host of The John Batchelor Show . Now in their sixth year, previous installments are at TheNation.com . Ad Policy Stephen F. Cohen is a professor emeritus of Russian studies and politics at New York University and Princeton University. A Nation contributing editor, his new book War With Russia? From Putin & Ukraine to Trump & Russiagate is available in paperback and in an ebook edition.

[Jun 02, 2019] Russiagate Is The #1 Threat To US National Security, Cohen

Jun 01, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

The systemwide US Russophobia that reached its nadir with Russiagate has created a "catastrophe" for both domestic politics and foreign relations that threatens the future of the American system, professor Stephen Cohen tells RT.

War with Russia could easily break out if the US insists on pursuing the policy of " demonization " that birthed Russiagate instead of returning to detente and cooperation, New York University professor emeritus of Russian history Stephen Cohen argues on Chris Hedges' On Contact. While NATO deliberately antagonized post-Soviet Russia by expanding up to its borders, the US deployed missile defense systems along those borders after scrapping an arms treaty, leaving President Vladimir Putin devoid of " illusions " about the goodwill of the West – but armed with " nuclear missiles that can evade and elude any missile defense system ."

" Now is the time for a serious, new arms control agreement. What do we get? Russiagate instead ."

https://www.youtube.com/embed/-wc94DRFCik

Cohen believes the conspiracy theory – which remains front-page news in US media despite being thoroughly discredited, both by independent investigators and last month by special counsel Robert Mueller's report – is the work of the CIA and its former director, John Brennan, who are dead set against any kind of cooperation with Russia. Attorney General William Barr, who is investigating the FBI over how the 2016 counterintelligence probe began, should take a look at Brennan and his agency, Cohen says.

" If our intelligence services are off the reservation to the point that they can first try to destroy a presidential candidate and then a president we need to know it ," Cohen says.

" This is the worst scandal in American history. It's the worst, at least, since the Civil War ."

And the damage wrought by this " catastrophe " hasn't stopped at the US border.

The idea that Trump is a Russian agent has been devastating to " our own institutions, to the presidency, to our electoral system, to Congress, to the American mainstream media, not to mention the damage it's done to American-Russian relations, the damage it has done to the way Russians, both elite Russians and young Russians, look at America today , " Cohen declares.

"Russiagate is one of the greatest new threats to national security. I have five listed in the book. Russia and China aren't on there. Russiagate is number one."

And the potential damage it could still cause is enormous.

Source:RT


Im4truth4all , 48 minutes ago link

Amazing, 30 million dollars spent for an investigation that produced nothing and some believe that Russiagate is still reality. This paranoia is unbelievable except for a psychotic public - pathetic.

Dickweed Wang , 2 hours ago link

If the neo-con/Nazi assholes embedded in the M.I.C. and the US government continue down this road of demonizing and antagonizing Russia it is not going to end well for the people of the US. Putin and the rest of the Russian leadership have made it crystal clear that they are only going to be pushed so far. The problem is when Russia snaps they are going to do their damdest to try to cut the head of the snake off in one shot. There's a good chance they could actually pull that off.

Snout the First , 2 hours ago link

Just exactly what did Russia do to "meddle" in our election?

- Did Russia hack the voting machines and change votes?

- Did Russia make illegal campaign contributions to Republicans?

- Did Russia facilitate people voting who weren't eligible to vote?

What exactly did Russia do?

[Jun 01, 2019] How Did Russiagate Begin by Stephen F. Cohen

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... War With Russia?: From Putin & Ukraine to Trump & Russiagate ..."
"... The relatively obscure Papadopoulos suddenly found himself befriended by apparently influential people he had not previously known, among them Stefan Halper, Joseph Mifsud, Alexander Downer, and a woman calling herself Azra Turk. What we now know -- and what Papadopoulos did not know at the time -- is that all of them had ties to US and/or UK and Western European intelligence agencies. ..."
"... The important news is Barr's expressed intention to investigate the role of other US intelligence agencies, not just the FBI, which obviously means the CIA when it was headed by John Brennan and Brennan's partner at the time, James Clapper, then director of national intelligence ..."
"... I argued in The Nation , Brennan, not Obama's hapless FBI Director James Comey, was the godfather of Russiagate, a thesis for which more evidence has since appeared . ..."
"... Thus far, Barr has been cautious in his public statements. He has acknowledged there was "spying," or surveillance, on the Trump campaign, which can be legal, but he surely knows that in the case of Papadopoulos (and possibly of General Michael Flynn), what happened was more akin to entrapment, which is never legal. ..."
"... Barr might ask Schumer what he meant and why he felt the need to be the menacing messenger of Intel agencies, wittingly or not ..."
"... But Barr's thorniest problem may be understanding the woeful role of mainstream media in Russiagate. As Lee Smith, who contributed important investigative reporting, has written : "The press is part of the operation, the indispensable part. None of it would have been possible had the media not linked arms with spies, cops, and lawyers to relay a story first spun by Clinton operatives." How does Barr explore this "indispensable" complicity of the media in originating and perpetuating the Russiagate fraud without impermissibly infringing on the freedom of the press? ..."
"... Ideally, mainstream media -- print and broadcast -- would now themselves report on how and why they permitted intelligence officials, through leaks and anonymous sources, and as "opinion" commentators, to use their pages and programming to promote Russiagate for so long, and why they so excluded well-informed, nonpartisan alternative opinions. ..."
"... The Washington Post ..."
"... Such is the seeming panic of the Russiagate media over Barr's investigation, which promises to declassify related documents, that The New York Times ..."
"... Finally, but most crucially, what was the real reason US intelligence agencies launched a discrediting operation against Trump? Was it because, as seems likely, they intensely disliked his campaign talk of "cooperation with Russia," which seemed to mean the prospect of a new US-Russian détente? ..."
"... Nor, it seems clear, did the CIA stop. In March 2018, the current director, Gina Haspel, flatly lied to President Trump about an incident in the UK in order to persuade him to escalate measures against Moscow, which he then reluctantly did. ..."
"... The New York Times ..."
"... "Spygate is the first American scandal in which the government wants the facts published transparently but the media want to cover them up." ..."
Jun 01, 2019 | www.thenation.com

... ... ...

The third possible explanation -- one I have termed "Intelgate," and that I explore in my recent book War With Russia?: From Putin & Ukraine to Trump & Russiagate -- is that US intelligence agencies undertook an operation to damage, if not destroy, first the candidacy and then the presidency of Donald Trump. More evidence of "Intelgate" has since appeared.

For example, the intelligence community has said it began its investigation in April 2016 because of a few innocuous remarks by a young, lowly Trump foreign-policy adviser, George Papadopoulos. The relatively obscure Papadopoulos suddenly found himself befriended by apparently influential people he had not previously known, among them Stefan Halper, Joseph Mifsud, Alexander Downer, and a woman calling herself Azra Turk. What we now know -- and what Papadopoulos did not know at the time -- is that all of them had ties to US and/or UK and Western European intelligence agencies.

US Attorney General William Barr now proposes to investigate the origins of Russiagate. He has appointed yet another special prosecutor, John Durham, to do so, but the power to decide the range and focus of the investigation will remain with Barr.

The important news is Barr's expressed intention to investigate the role of other US intelligence agencies, not just the FBI, which obviously means the CIA when it was headed by John Brennan and Brennan's partner at the time, James Clapper, then director of national intelligence. As I argued in The Nation , Brennan, not Obama's hapless FBI Director James Comey, was the godfather of Russiagate, a thesis for which more evidence has since appeared . We should hope that Barr intends to exclude nothing, including the two foundational texts of the deceitful Russiagate narrative: the Steele Dossier and, directly related, the contrived but equally ramifying Intelligence Community Assessment of January 2017. (Not coincidentally, they were made public at virtually the same time, inflating Russiagate into an obsessive national scandal.)

Thus far, Barr has been cautious in his public statements. He has acknowledged there was "spying," or surveillance, on the Trump campaign, which can be legal, but he surely knows that in the case of Papadopoulos (and possibly of General Michael Flynn), what happened was more akin to entrapment, which is never legal. Barr no doubt also recalls, and will likely keep in mind, the astonishing warning Senator Charles Schumer issued to President-elect Trump in January 2017: "Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you." (Indeed, Barr might ask Schumer what he meant and why he felt the need to be the menacing messenger of Intel agencies, wittingly or not .)

But Barr's thorniest problem may be understanding the woeful role of mainstream media in Russiagate. As Lee Smith, who contributed important investigative reporting, has written : "The press is part of the operation, the indispensable part. None of it would have been possible had the media not linked arms with spies, cops, and lawyers to relay a story first spun by Clinton operatives." How does Barr explore this "indispensable" complicity of the media in originating and perpetuating the Russiagate fraud without impermissibly infringing on the freedom of the press?

Ideally, mainstream media -- print and broadcast -- would now themselves report on how and why they permitted intelligence officials, through leaks and anonymous sources, and as "opinion" commentators, to use their pages and programming to promote Russiagate for so long, and why they so excluded well-informed, nonpartisan alternative opinions. Instead, they have almost unanimously reported and broadcast negatively, even antagonistically, about Barr's investigation, and indeed about Barr personally. ( The Washington Post even found a way to print this: "William Barr looks like a toad ")

Such is the seeming panic of the Russiagate media over Barr's investigation, which promises to declassify related documents, that The New York Times again trotted out its easily debunked fiction that public disclosures will endanger a purported US informant, a Kremlin mole, at Putin's side.

Finally, but most crucially, what was the real reason US intelligence agencies launched a discrediting operation against Trump? Was it because, as seems likely, they intensely disliked his campaign talk of "cooperation with Russia," which seemed to mean the prospect of a new US-Russian détente? Even fervent political and media opponents of Trump should want to know who is making foreign policy in Washington. The next intel target might be their preferred candidate or president, or a foreign policy they favor.

Nor, it seems clear, did the CIA stop. In March 2018, the current director, Gina Haspel, flatly lied to President Trump about an incident in the UK in order to persuade him to escalate measures against Moscow, which he then reluctantly did. Several non–mainstream media outlets have reported the true story. Typically, The New York Times , on April 17 of this year, reported it without correcting Haspel's falsehood.

We are left, then, with this paradox, formulated in a tweet on May 24 by the British journalist John O'Sullivan: "Spygate is the first American scandal in which the government wants the facts published transparently but the media want to cover them up."

This commentary is based on Stephen F. Cohen's most recent weekly discussion with the host of The John Batchelor Show . Now in their sixth year, previous installments are at TheNation.com .

[May 13, 2019] Russiagate Zealotry Continues To Endanger Western National Security

It is true that "Russiagate is the worst, most corrosive, and most fraudulent political scandal in modern American history."
Notable quotes:
"... But equally alarming, Russiagate continues to endanger American national security by depriving a US president, for the first time in the nuclear age, of the diplomatic flexibility to deal with a Kremlin leader in times of crisis. ..."
"... A major subject of the conversation was unavoidably the growing conflict over Venezuela, where Washington and Moscow have long-standing economic and political interests. Trump administration spokespeople have warned Moscow against interfering in America's neighborhood, ignoring, of course, Washington's deep involvement for years in the former Soviet republics of Ukraine and Georgia. Kremlin representatives, on the other hand, have warned Washington against violating Venezuela's sovereignty. Increasingly, there is talk, at least in Moscow policy circles, of a Cuban Missile–like crisis, the closest the United States and Russia (then Soviet Russia) ever came to nuclear war. ..."
"... To the extent, however remote, that Venezuela might grow into a Cuba-like US-Russian military confrontation, would Trump be sufficiently free of Russiagate allegations to resolve it peacefully, as President John Kennedy did in 1962? Judging by mainstream media commentary on the May 3 phone conversation, the answer seems to be no. Considering the mounting confrontation in Venezuela, Trump was right, even obligated, to call Putin, but he got no applause, only condemnation. ..."
"... Senator Amy Klobuchar and Representative Eric Swalwell, both candidates for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, also expressed deep suspicion regarding the Trump-Putin phone talk. Swalwell was sure it meant that Trump "acts on their behalf," that he "is putting the Russians' interests ahead of the United States' interests." (Voters may wonder if these candidates and quite a few others who continue to promote extremist Russiagate allegations are emerging American statesmen.) ..."
"... Russiagate's unproven allegations are an aggressive malignancy spreading through America's politics to the most vital areas of national security policy. A full nonpartisan investigation into their origins is urgently needed, but US intelligence agencies were almost certainly present at their creation, which is why I have long argued that Russiagate is actually Intelgate . If so, James Comey, then FBI director, was present at the creation, though initially in a lesser role than were President Barack Obama's CIA Director John Brennan and intelligence overlord James Clapper. ..."
"... Comey recently deplored Attorney General William Barr's declaration that US intelligence agencies resorted to "spying" on the Trump campaign. (In fact, Barr mischaracterized what happened: The agencies, first and foremost Brennan's CIA, it seems, ran an entrapment operation against members of the campaign.) Comey warned Barr that he will discover that Trump "has eaten your soul." ..."
"... It would be more accurate to say -- and certainly more important -- that baseless Russiagate allegations are eating America's national security. ..."
"... That, doc, is the raison d'etre of Russiagate. That's how far this coup d'etat in Washington has gotten. The showrunners/secret coupsters finally going public with the previously surmised fact that they, not Trump, are running the show and that DJT is just their official tweetsman. ..."
"... So fake news and fake collusion now rule the country? NOT! The President has more power now then he had prior to the Mueller Report being released, the report shows clear obstruction from the Mueller team as they failed to do the basics in investigation, ..."
"... the Mainstream Media has become a threat to democracy and the number one enemy of the American People while "endangering national security" for us all. ..."
"... The mainstream media is a wholly controlled subsidiary of the Military-Industrial complex, via secret government programs such as Operation Mockingbird and doubtless several others. ..."
May 13, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Russiagate Zealotry Continues To Endanger Western National Security

by Tyler Durden Sun, 05/12/2019 - 23:30 3 SHARES Authored by Stephen Cohen via The Nation,

If Venezuela becomes a Cuban Missile–like Crisis, will Trump be free to resolve it peacefully?

Now in its third year, Russiagate is the worst, most corrosive, and most fraudulent political scandal in modern American history. It rests on two related core allegations: that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an "attack on American democracy" during the 2016 presidential campaign in order to put Donald Trump in the White House, and that Trump and his associates willfully colluded, or conspired, in this Kremlin "attack." As I have argued from the outset -- see my regular commentaries posted at TheNation.com and my recent book War With Russia? -- and as recently confirmed, explicitly and tacitly, by special prosecutor Robert Mueller's report, there is no factual evidence for either allegation.

Nonetheless, these Russiagate allegations, not "Putin's Russia," continue to inflict grave damage on fundamental institutions of American democracy. They impugn the integrity of the presidency and now the office of the attorney general. They degrade the many Democratic members of Congress who persist in clinging to the allegations and thus the Democratic Party and Congress. And they have enticed mainstream media into one of the worst episodes of journalistic malpractice in modern times .

But equally alarming, Russiagate continues to endanger American national security by depriving a US president, for the first time in the nuclear age, of the diplomatic flexibility to deal with a Kremlin leader in times of crisis. We were given a vivid example in July 2018, when Trump held a summit with the current Kremlin occupant, as every president had done since Dwight Eisenhower. For that conventional, even necessary, act of diplomacy, Trump was widely accused of treasonous behavior, a charge that persists. Now we have another alarming example of this reckless disregard for US national security on the part of Russiagate zealots.

On May 3, Trump called Putin. They discussed various issues, including the Mueller report. (As before, Putin had to know if Trump was free to implement any acts of security cooperation they might agree on. Indeed, the Russian policy elite openly debates this question, many of its members having decided that Trump cannot cooperate with Russia no matter his intentions.)

A major subject of the conversation was unavoidably the growing conflict over Venezuela, where Washington and Moscow have long-standing economic and political interests. Trump administration spokespeople have warned Moscow against interfering in America's neighborhood, ignoring, of course, Washington's deep involvement for years in the former Soviet republics of Ukraine and Georgia. Kremlin representatives, on the other hand, have warned Washington against violating Venezuela's sovereignty. Increasingly, there is talk, at least in Moscow policy circles, of a Cuban Missile–like crisis, the closest the United States and Russia (then Soviet Russia) ever came to nuclear war.

To the extent, however remote, that Venezuela might grow into a Cuba-like US-Russian military confrontation, would Trump be sufficiently free of Russiagate allegations to resolve it peacefully, as President John Kennedy did in 1962? Judging by mainstream media commentary on the May 3 phone conversation, the answer seems to be no. Considering the mounting confrontation in Venezuela, Trump was right, even obligated, to call Putin, but he got no applause, only condemnation. To take some random examples:

None of these "opinion leaders" mentioned the danger of a US-Russian military confrontation over Venezuela or elsewhere on the several fraught fronts of the new Cold War. Indeed, retired admiral James Stavridis, once supreme allied commander of NATO forces and formerly associated with Hillary Clinton's campaign, all but proposed war on Russia in retaliation for its "attack on our democracy," including "unprecedented measures" such as cyberattacks.

Russiagate's unproven allegations are an aggressive malignancy spreading through America's politics to the most vital areas of national security policy. A full nonpartisan investigation into their origins is urgently needed, but US intelligence agencies were almost certainly present at their creation, which is why I have long argued that Russiagate is actually Intelgate . If so, James Comey, then FBI director, was present at the creation, though initially in a lesser role than were President Barack Obama's CIA Director John Brennan and intelligence overlord James Clapper.

Comey recently deplored Attorney General William Barr's declaration that US intelligence agencies resorted to "spying" on the Trump campaign. (In fact, Barr mischaracterized what happened: The agencies, first and foremost Brennan's CIA, it seems, ran an entrapment operation against members of the campaign.) Comey warned Barr that he will discover that Trump "has eaten your soul."

It would be more accurate to say -- and certainly more important -- that baseless Russiagate allegations are eating America's national security.


Real Estate Guru , 16 minutes ago link

President Trump Calls Out FBI Director Christopher Wray: "the director is protecting the coup gang"
Posted on May 12, 2019 by sundance
This is good to see. Finally President Trump indicates he is well aware of the intents and motives of FBI Director Christopher Wray covering for the illegal coup effort:

President Trump may have been aware of Chris Wray's corrupt disposition prior to today; however, this is the first visible indication he understands the internecine organization of it. Hopefully we can start the countdown clock to Wray's exit.

Next up, Chris Wray's #1 strategic hire, current FBI Legal Counsel Dana Boente.

Real Estate Guru , 20 minutes ago link

President Trump Calls Out FBI Director Christopher Wray: 'The FBI Has No Leadership; The Director is Protecting the Same Gang That Tried to Overthrow the President Through an Illegal Coup'....

He will be fired soon.

francis scott falseflag , 25 minutes ago link

Russiagate deprives ... a US president, for the first time in the nuclear age, of the diplomatic flexibility to deal with a Kremlin leader in times of crisis

That, doc, is the raison d'etre of Russiagate. That's how far this coup d'etat in Washington has gotten. The showrunners/secret coupsters finally going public with the previously surmised fact that they, not Trump, are running the show and that DJT is just their official tweetsman.

Sounds right to me.

would Trump be sufficiently free of Russiagate allegations to resolve it peacefully, as President John Kennedy did in 1962?

But Trump wouldn't be the one peacefully resolving anything. He was deprived of it by more important powers that be. So he'll only get an award from the MSM for his portrayal/impression of a 21st Century American statesman/politician.

Which will set the bar quite high for future Trumps-to-come.

VWAndy , 1 hour ago link

Corruption is the biggest threat to mankind. All this other stuff is just for show.

TeethVillage88s , 51 minutes ago link

GWB seized all kinds of power after 911, Bill Clinton got big power for Fast Track of WTO & NAFTA, Presidential Signing Orders or Executive Powers become Increased as I remember under GWB then expanded under Obama, Bill Clinton took extended time in bombing campaign in Balkans above congressional war powers act, but GWB seemed to have complete war powers in his admin, Dirty War Powers included,... Point is that Democrats & Republicans, the Money Party, the One Party conveniently forget that powers granted to Dems or GOP... are then available in corrupt universe of USSA...

Senator Amy Klobuchar and Representative Eric Swalwell, both candidates for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, also expressed deep suspicion regarding the Trump-Putin phone talk

How will Dims feel when the Next Obama get in and people want to witch hunt all his first phone calls for foreign leaders?

HopefulJoe , 1 hour ago link

So fake news and fake collusion now rule the country? NOT! The President has more power now then he had prior to the Mueller Report being released, the report shows clear obstruction from the Mueller team as they failed to do the basics in investigation, they also purposefully ignored the obvious to continue with the fake investigation in order to impede the President. The President is now more powerful as ever as the slow and methodical take down of the left deep state continues. In the coming weeks it will become more and more evident to the masses that the President was clearly correct and the attempted coupe of the President was real and has failed. The mainstream media will become even less relevant despite all of their efforts.

Congress will soon have no choice but to act in protecting free speech and the hand of all the CIA controlled media will be tied and bound for generations to come...

libtears , 1 hour ago link

The real Russia Gate is the Russians got all the classified emails from Hillarys server

VWAndy , 1 hour ago link

Everyone saw them except the US genpop. Russia,China,Israeli, UK everyone. Thats what she was selling is my guess. Prolly had the whole fn country up for sale. Like a ebay for selling off everything. Cops, judges, senators and congress people. Who is to say they were not just selling it off by the slice like pizza?

CaptainObvious , 1 hour ago link

And the Chinese, and the Koreans. Hell, I wouldn't be surprised to find the Nigerian scammers got a piece of that action.

LEEPERMAX , 2 hours ago link

THE RUSSIAGATE SCAM has shown us . . .

the Mainstream Media has become a threat to democracy and the number one enemy of the American People while "endangering national security" for us all.

IntercoursetheEU , 1 hour ago link

Christoper Steele is still at work: https://twitter.com/PoliPsyche/status/1127015531654070277

r0mulus , 1 hour ago link

The mainstream media is a wholly controlled subsidiary of the Military-Industrial complex, via secret government programs such as Operation Mockingbird and doubtless several others.

It is likely that the MIC, long puppeteered by shadowy financial forces through the Federal Reserve and Bank of England, is doing everything it can to prevent Trump from disturbing it's long running plans to encircle and subdue Russia via Mackinder's "Heartland" theory. Preventing Trump from reaching across the divide to constructively engage with Putin and Russia to break the economic stranglehold on their country is paramount to their strategy.

One would be right to wonder why the British government is so intimately engaged in all of these provocations. Could it be that they fear a loss of power and influence that could result from a continental Europe more closely aligned with Russian interests? This question is central to our current dilemma here in the states, unfortunately.

It's absolutely vital that the American people learn of the treachery of the British elites before it is too late. Perfidious Albion, indeed...

Real Estate Guru , 2 hours ago link

Compared to Nadler, Pelosi, Schiff, Waters, Comey, Hillary, Obama, Mueller, the MSM, CNN, PMSNBC, and all the rest of the loonatic left, Uncle Vladmmir Putin looks pretty good!

Dasvadaniya comrades!! (of course I am kidding you schmucks!)

LMAO!! what a joke these people are.

Do the declass Trump! And the IG Report!!! NOW!!!

[May 09, 2019] Russiagate Zealotry Continues to Endanger American National Security by Stephen F. Cohen

Notable quotes:
"... Stephen F. Cohen is a professor emeritus of Russian studies and politics at New York University and Princeton University. A Nation contributing editor, his new book War With Russia? From Putin & Ukraine to Trump & Russiagate is available in paperback and in an ebook edition. ..."
"... What we are witnessing now is the almost complete ignorance in the MSM and among people like Clapper about the extraordinary damage done to the Russian economy under Clinton in the 1990s, a story well told by Mr. Cohen in the book "Failed Crusade." The immense hypocrisy of accusing Russia of interference in 2016 leaves me breathless. The US has been interfering in the affairs of every major country on earth, beginning with War of 1812 ..."
"... I recall an interesting comment by Mao Zedong about the Cuban Missile Crisis in which Mao said that Nikita Khrushchev was stupid to put missiles in Cuba and he was a coward to take them out. ..."
"... Based on the recent conversations between Stephen Cohen and John Batchelor, I'll paraphrase Mao's comment to say that the intelligence agencies were stupid to originate Russiagate and the Democrats and their media allies are cowards not to stop it. ..."
"... Pompous comes out and says the US is back and we're a force for good. This in the face of widespread destruction all over the Middle East, hundreds of thousands of dead, the creation of numerous groups of crazy zealots that we created, cultivated, and supported to be our proxies in the overthrow of elected governments. All of that death and destruction, including that perpetrated by our proxies is 100% the fault and responsibility of the United States. But Pompous and the American people in general are so myopic that they don't see all that. Thank you, worthless press. If the press actually told the American people what was being done in their name, I think most of us would be disgusted but they don't. They cheer lead for the beltway and their imperial pretensions. ..."
"... If Clapper and Brennan actually created a sting operation against the Trump Campaign, would you denounce that act? If Obama had approved such an operation, would you believe he was ethically entitled to do such? ..."
May 09, 2019 | www.thenation.com
N ow in its third year, Russiagate is the worst, most corrosive, and most fraudulent political scandal in modern American history. It rests on two related core allegations: that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an "attack on American democracy" during the 2016 presidential campaign in order to put Donald Trump in the White House, and that Trump and his associates willfully colluded, or conspired, in this Kremlin "attack." As I have argued from the outset -- see my regular commentaries posted at TheNation.com and my recent book War With Russia? -- and as recently confirmed, explicitly and tacitly, by special prosecutor Robert Mueller's report, there is no factual evidence for either allegation.

Nonetheless, these Russiagate allegations, not "Putin's Russia," continue to inflict grave damage on fundamental institutions of American democracy. They impugn the integrity of the presidency and now the office of the attorney general. They degrade the many Democratic members of Congress who persist in clinging to the allegations and thus the Democratic Party and Congress. And they have enticed mainstream media into one of the worst episodes of journalistic malpractice in modern times .

But equally alarming, Russiagate continues to endanger American national security by depriving a US president, for the first time in the nuclear age, of the diplomatic flexibility to deal with a Kremlin leader in times of crisis. We were given a vivid example in July 2018, when Trump held a summit with the current Kremlin occupant, as every president had done since Dwight Eisenhower. For that conventional, even necessary, act of diplomacy, Trump was widely accused of treasonous behavior, a charge that persists. Now we have another alarming example of this reckless disregard for US national security on the part of Russiagate zealots.

On May 3, Trump called Putin. They discussed various issues, including the Mueller report. (As before, Putin had to know if Trump was free to implement any acts of security cooperation they might agree on. Indeed, the Russian policy elite openly debates this question, many of its members having decided that Trump cannot cooperate with Russia no matter his intentions.) A major subject of the conversation was unavoidably the growing conflict over Venezuela, where Washington and Moscow have long-standing economic and political interests. Trump administration spokespeople have warned Moscow against interfering in America's neighborhood, ignoring, of course, Washington's deep involvement for years in the former Soviet republics of Ukraine and Georgia. Kremlin representatives, on the other hand, have warned Washington against violating Venezuela's sovereignty. Increasingly, there is talk, at least in Moscow policy circles, of a Cuban Missile–like crisis, the closest the United States and Russia (then Soviet Russia) ever came to nuclear war.

To the extent, however remote, that Venezuela might grow into a Cuba-like US-Russian military confrontation, would Trump be sufficiently free of Russiagate allegations to resolve it peacefully, as President John Kennedy did in 1962? Judging by mainstream media commentary on the May 3 phone conversation, the answer seems to be no. Considering the mounting confrontation in Venezuela, Trump was right, even obligated, to call Putin, but he got no applause, only condemnation. To take some random examples:

§ Democratic Representative David Cicilline asked CNN's Chris Cuomo rhetorically on May 3, "Why does the president give the benefit of doubt to a person who attacked our democracy?" while assailing Trump for not confronting Putin with the Mueller report.

§ The same evening, CNN's Don Lemon editorialized on the phone call: "The president of the United States had just a normal old call with his pal Vladimir Putin. Didn't tell him not to interfere in the election. Like he did in 2016, like he did in 2018, like we know he is planning to do again in 2020 . You just don't seem to want us to know exactly what was said . Nothing to see when the president talks for more than an hour with the leader of an enemy nation. One that has repeatedly attacked our democracy and will do so again." (Lemon did not say on what he based the expanded, serial charges against Putin and thus against Trump or his allegation about the 2018 elections, which congressional Democrats mostly won, or his foreknowledge about 2020 or generally and with major ramifications why he branded Russia an "enemy nation.")

§ We might expect something more exalted from James Risen , once a critical-minded investigative reporter, who found it suspicious that "Trump and Putin were both eager to put the Mueller report behind them," even for the sake of needed diplomacy.

§ Senator Amy Klobuchar and Representative Eric Swalwell, both candidates for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, also expressed deep suspicion regarding the Trump-Putin phone talk. Swalwell was sure it meant that Trump "acts on their behalf," that he "is putting the Russians' interests ahead of the United States' interests." (Voters may wonder if these candidates and quite a few others who continue to promote extremist Russiagate allegations are emerging American statesmen.)

§ Not surprisingly, a Washington Post opinion writer argued that the phone call meant "Trump is counting on Russian help to get reelected."

None of these "opinion leaders" mentioned the danger of a US-Russian military confrontation over Venezuela or elsewhere on the several fraught fronts of the new Cold War. Indeed, retired admiral James Stavridis, once supreme allied commander of NATO forces and formerly associated with Hillary Clinton's campaign, all but proposed war on Russia in retaliation for its "attack on our democracy," including "unprecedented measures" such as cyberattacks.

Russiagate's unproven allegations are an aggressive malignancy spreading through America's politics to the most vital areas of national security policy. A full nonpartisan investigation into their origins is urgently needed, but US intelligence agencies were almost certainly present at their creation, which is why I have long argued that Russiagate is actually Intelgate . If so, James Comey, then FBI director, was present at the creation, though initially in a lesser role than were President Barack Obama's CIA Director John Brennan and intelligence overlord James Clapper.

Comey recently deplored Attorney General William Barr's declaration that US intelligence agencies resorted to "spying" on the Trump campaign. (In fact, Barr mischaracterized what happened: The agencies, first and foremost Brennan's CIA, it seems, ran an entrapment operation against members of the campaign.) Comey warned Barr that he will discover that Trump "has eaten your soul."

It would be more accurate to say -- and certainly more important -- that baseless Russiagate allegations are eating America's national security.

This commentary is based on Stephen F. Cohen's most recent weekly discussion with the host of The John Batchelor Show. Now in their sixth year, previous installments are at TheNation.com .

Stephen F. Cohen is a professor emeritus of Russian studies and politics at New York University and Princeton University. A Nation contributing editor, his new book War With Russia? From Putin & Ukraine to Trump & Russiagate is available in paperback and in an ebook edition.


Phillip Sawicki says: May 9, 2019 at 7:52 pm

What we are witnessing now is the almost complete ignorance in the MSM and among people like Clapper about the extraordinary damage done to the Russian economy under Clinton in the 1990s, a story well told by Mr. Cohen in the book "Failed Crusade." The immense hypocrisy of accusing Russia of interference in 2016 leaves me breathless. The US has been interfering in the affairs of every major country on earth, beginning with War of 1812.

In case people have forgotten, The US sought to annex Canada. The Canadians resisted, and so then the US set up a false flag attack in 1845 to start the Mexican-American War. Hundreds of interventions in other countries, but if someone is alleged to have done so to us, it's a capital crime. What arrogance!

Victor Sciamarelli says: May 9, 2019 at 4:17 pm

I recall an interesting comment by Mao Zedong about the Cuban Missile Crisis in which Mao said that Nikita Khrushchev was stupid to put missiles in Cuba and he was a coward to take them out.

Based on the recent conversations between Stephen Cohen and John Batchelor, I'll paraphrase Mao's comment to say that the intelligence agencies were stupid to originate Russiagate and the Democrats and their media allies are cowards not to stop it.

Another point is that the downside of the policy elites' belief in "American exceptionalism" is that it is also a trap. They claim our "indispensable nation" rests upon values and principles such as the rule of law, respect for human rights, and freedom of speech, even though reality often tells us something different.

Thus, if Putin is a thug, if not a murderer, who attacked the US, undermined our democracy, and is an autocrat who cares nothing about our values and principles, then what place is there for diplomacy because you can't negotiate or compromise our immutable principles and values.
Another observation is we often hear the statement that, "All options are on the table." This sounds tough to an American mind because it includes nuclear weapons. All options means all options. Nonetheless, someone else might interpret this to mean you are not confident or certain that your conventional forces are capable of doing the mission and you are more likely or willing to resort to a nuclear weapon. This can make any confrontation whether in Venezuela, Ukraine, Syria, or Iran more dangerous that it needs to be.

In addition, Trump has sent an aircraft carrier group to the Middle East. The Guardian on May 6, 2019, stated that according to one report, information passed on by Israeli intelligence contributed to the US threat assessment.

If we are now approaching war based on Israeli intelligence then I think we are also approaching our Dr. Strangelove moment.

Jeffrey Harrison says: May 9, 2019 at 11:55 am

Arrogance, myopia. Those two words define the US today.

Pompous comes out and says the US is back and we're a force for good. This in the face of widespread destruction all over the Middle East, hundreds of thousands of dead, the creation of numerous groups of crazy zealots that we created, cultivated, and supported to be our proxies in the overthrow of elected governments. All of that death and destruction, including that perpetrated by our proxies is 100% the fault and responsibility of the United States. But Pompous and the American people in general are so myopic that they don't see all that. Thank you, worthless press. If the press actually told the American people what was being done in their name, I think most of us would be disgusted but they don't. They cheer lead for the beltway and their imperial pretensions.

This Stavridis bozo is a prime example. "all but proposed war on Russia in retaliation for its "attack on our democracy," including "unprecedented measures" such as cyber attacks." I realize that we are in a post proof world where any claim, no matter how inane, is automatically taken as proven. No actual proof required. The "attack on our democracy" is based on this totally bogus claim (never proven) that Russia hacked into the DNC's e-mails (on a server that no law enforcement agency ever inspected to prove the claim of hacking) that undermined our democracy by revealing how corrupt and slimy the DNC actually is. All the while we're so myopic that we don't see the Republican party destroying our democracy from within with voter ID requirements for a non-existent problem, gerrymandering themselves into a permanent majority of a minority, voter suppression schemes such as purging voter rolls, closing polling places, and generally making it difficult for people to vote.

But this Stavridis bozo wasn't done yet. The Russians he claims perpetrated unprecedented measures such as cyber attacks. Really? The only cyber attacks that I'm actually aware of in the US were actually perpetrated by the Department of Homeland Security who was playing bureaucratic turf games. The admiral's ignorance is in full display when he forgets the STUXTNET worm that absolutely was a cyber attack on Iran by the US and Israel, and that the NSA hacked the personal cell phone of Angela Merkel, the Prime Minister of Germany, and the trick revealed by Ed Snowden that the NSA would open computer boxes destined for certain countries and install chips that would allow us to control the server, or that the only known backdoor in a piece of Hauwei equipment was installed there by the NSA.

I'm suspecting that we need to clean up our act a lot more that most of the rest of the world.

J McCormick says: May 8, 2019 at 11:57 pm

So much scorn heaped on members of the opposition party and the media and what I hear here is a call for respect for and deference to the office of the presidency.

If there is cause for concern and worry , and I fervently believe that there is , I leave it to others to offer up what they believe that cause might be.

History records that that the Congress relinquished powers that were properly theirs (trade, war powers) and now they so far appear impotent in the face of executive overreach when an effective check on the executive branch is critically needed.

Even if your opinion runs counter to mine I am reasonably certain we agree that dysfunction and chaos rule the day in Washington and beyond.

Clark Shanahan says: May 9, 2019 at 6:26 pm

"So much scorn heaped on members of the opposition party and the media"
Tell me, J., do you believe Russia is our adversary?
If so, when did they become such?

If Clapper and Brennan actually created a sting operation against the Trump Campaign, would you denounce that act? If Obama had approved such an operation, would you believe he was ethically entitled to do such?

[May 02, 2019] Mueller's Own Mysteries

The investigation was weak and biased: the real McCarthyism witch hunt. Mueller Mifsud blunder now will be played by Nunes and other republicans to the fullest extent possible, althouth this is only a tip of the iceberg of Mueller corruption. Other parts are too dangerous to expose and will be swiped under the carpet.
Notable quotes:
"... Mueller begins, on Page 1, with this assertion: "The Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion." Maybe so, but Mueller, who is not averse to editorializing and contextualizing elsewhere in the report, gives readers no historical background or context for this large generalization. ..."
"... Readers might wonder if, had Hillary Clinton won the 2016 election, there even would have been a Russiagate and Mueller investigation. ..."
"... Mueller repeatedly attributes to Trump campaign members and Russians who interacted in 2016, potentially in sinister or even criminal ways, a desire for "improved U.S.-Russian relations," for "bringing the end of the new Cold War," for a "new beginning with Russia." ..."
"... As reflected in the text and footnotes, Mueller relies heavily on reports by US intelligence agencies , but without treating the recorded misdeeds of those agencies, particularly the CIA under John Brennan , in promoting the Russiagate saga. ..."
"... Mueller reports that Mifsud "had connections to Russia" (p. 5), although a simple Google search suggests that Mifsud was indeed an "agent" but not a Russian one, as widely alleged in media accounts. ..."
"... Toward the end of the first volume (pp. 144, 146), Mueller produces a truly stunning revelation, though he seems unaware of it. After the 2016 US presidential election, the Kremlin "appeared not to have preexisting contacts with senior officials around the President-Elect." Even more, "Putin spoke of the difficulty faced by the Russian government in getting in touch with the incoming Trump Administration . Putin indicated that he did not know with whom formally to speak and generally did not know the people around the President-Elect." ..."
"... So much for all the shameful Russiagate allegations of Trump-Putin collusion, conspiracy, even treason. Surely it means the United States needs another, different investigation, one into the actual origins and meaning of this fraudulent, corrosive, exceedingly dangerous, and still unending American political scandal. ..."
May 01, 2019 | www.thenation.com

Special prosecutor Robert S. Mueller III's two-volume " Report on the Investigation Into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election " is not an easy read -- not unlike those manuals that come boxed with "easy to assemble" multipart children's toys on Christmas Eve. Nonetheless, considering the exceedingly damaging effects Russiagate has had on America at home and abroad for nearly three years, the report will long be studied for what it reveals and does not reveal, what it includes and does not include.

Because of my own special interest in Russia, I read carefully the first volume, which focuses on that country's purported role in the scandal. I came away with as many questions about the report as about the role of Moscow and that of candidate and then President Donald Trump. To note a few:

So much for all the shameful Russiagate allegations of Trump-Putin collusion, conspiracy, even treason. Surely it means the United States needs another, different investigation, one into the actual origins and meaning of this fraudulent, corrosive, exceedingly dangerous, and still unending American political scandal.

This commentary is based on Stephen F. Cohen's most recent weekly discussion with the host of The John Batchelor Show . Now in their sixth year, previous installments are at TheNation.com .

[Apr 20, 2019] Is Trump for Detente or Militarism - RAI with Stephen Cohen (2-5)

Notable quotes:
"... Great points, Mr. Cohen....this protracted attack on Russia via the phoney "Russiagate" investigation has set back relations with Russia for years to come. ..."
"... That Trump represents a thinking that the post Soviet reality is not of a uni-superpower world, but one of a multi-polar world dominated by US economic empire. ..."
"... After reading "Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century" in 2005, I came to the idea that the most dangerous section of the American elite were those that posited this uni-superpower world order idea; ..."
"... The problem is the incorrigible Big C (Capital) that wanted to eat away Russian minerals that Putin stopped in national interest. Any subsequent cooperation from the Russian side was probably was only for strategic cooperation with the U.S. to have world peace. ..."
"... Not a word in Cohen's appraisal about US criminality. Jay was pushing in that direction. I hope they get around to the criminality of the Deep State Mafia. ..."
"... Despite all the chaos and the moral panics that keep rocking the White House, Trump's three National Security Advisors - Flynn, McMaster, Bolton - had one core commonality: they want war with Iran. Watching the sinister neo-con Jim Woolsey betray the frothing neo-con Flynn to Joe Biden was a comedy of neo-con infighting. A major part of Russiagate was the older 'Atlanticist' neo-cons boxing in the boorish 'Trumpist' neo-cons. Whether Atlantic Council or US-homegrown both flavors of neo-conservatism want war with Iran. ..."
Apr 20, 2019 | therealnews.com

PAUL JAY: Welcome back to Reality Asserts Itself on The Real News Network. I'm Paul Jay.

And we're continuing our series of discussions with Stephen Cohen. And his biography is down below the video player, and you really should watch the first few segments anyway and you'll get where we are. Thanks for joining us again.

STEPHEN COHEN: Thank you.

PAUL JAY: So I've watched several of your interviews. You've done Larry King and others, and you've been positive about Trump's attitude towards sort of a detente, lowering tensions with Russia. And in terms of my personal view, I think you're right. I think anything that lowers tensions between two nuclear powers is a good thing, and I think this self-righteous American attitude towards Putin and Russia– when you look at the scale of crimes committed by countries internationally, there is nothing that Russia has done that compares to the Iraq war, and go on and on with the United States has done, and to have some self-righteous attitude Two, it's clear it's so hypocritical to worry about political rights in Russia, because it's clear in terms of U.S. foreign policy if you can ally with Saudi Arabia, the Israeli occupation, and you name it how many dictators the United States has supported over the years, it's not about democracy.

So whatever Trump's intent is, I think I agree that this is a good thing. I actually think Trump framed it quite well himself, where he said, "Russia is not our adversary, they're our competitor, the way other big capitalist countries are our competitors." I think all that makes sense. Where I push back is I think you need to add that one of the prime reasons Trump wants to diminish tensions with Russia–assuming he really does, because some of the people that work for him, Nikki Haley in the UN and others, have said as outrageous stuff about Russia as any Democrat has said.

All that being said, I think the Trump presidency is one of the most dangerous presidencies ever, and he is planning and his whole foreign policy agenda has been regime change in Iran. And I think that if they don't accomplish that through economic warfare against Iran, with John Bolton there, the possibility of some kind of at least bombing attack on Iran before 2020 is very possible. One of the reasons I think he wants to lower tensions with Russia is so he can go after China. His acting defense secretary justified this new military expenditure, the new budget, the 765 billion dollar budget, with three words, "China, China, China." Their strategic vision–and you can see this in Steve Bannon's interviews and language–is diminish the tensions with Russia, go after Iran and go after China. And I think one needs to say this, otherwise it kind of looks like Trump is some kind of peacenik. And far from it, I think they're militarists.

STEPHEN COHEN: Not sure what the question is, though. Is it about–

PAUL JAY: Well, my question is, I think when you are saying positive things about Trump diminishing tensions with Russia, which I think is correct, but I think you need to add this guy does not have peaceful intentions, he's very dangerous.

STEPHEN COHEN: I live in a social realm–to the extent that I have any social life at all anymore– where people get very angry if I say, or anybody says, anything positive about Donald Trump. When Trump was campaigning in 2016, he said, "I think it would be great to cooperate with Russia." All of my adult life, my advocacy in American foreign policy–I've known presidents, the first George Bush invited me to Camp David to consult with him before he went to the Malta Summit. I've known presidential candidates, Senators and the rest, and I've always said the same thing. American national security runs through Moscow, period. Nothing's changed.

In the era of weapons of mass destruction, not only nuclear, but primarily nuclear, ever more sophisticated, the Russians now have a new generation of nuclear weapons–Putin announced them on March 1, they were dismissed here, but they're real–that can elude any missile defense. We spent trillions on missile defense to acquire a first strike capability against Russia. We said it was against or Iran, but nobody believed it. Russia has now thwarted us; they now have missile defense-evading nuclear weapons from submarines, to aircraft, to missiles. And Putin has said, "It's time to negotiate an end to this new arms race," and he's 100 percent right. So when I heard Trump say, in 2016, we have to cooperate with Russia, I had already become convinced–and I spell this out in my new book, War with Russia?–that we were in a new cold war, but a new cold war more dangerous than the preceding one for reasons I gave in the book, one of them being these new nuclear weapons.

So I began to speak positively about Trump at that moment–that would have been probably around the summer of 2016–just on this one point, because none of the other candidates were advocating cooperation with Russia. And as I told you before, Paul, all my life I've been a detente guy. Detente means cooperate with Russia. I saw in Trump the one candidate who said this is necessary, in his own funny language. Mrs. Clinton, on the other hand, was very much a hawk. When she said publicly that Vladimir Putin has no soul, you could not commit or utter a more supreme statement of anti-diplomacy, and particularly addressing the Russians, who put a lot of stock in soul. To say somebody has no soul and then go on to equate him with Hitler, I found that so irresponsible. I didn't vote for Trump, but I did begin to write and broadcast that this was of vital importance that we have this discussion, that we needed a new detente because of the new and more dangerous Cold War.

Since he's been president, I think he's been ineffective in regard to pursuing detente with Russia for a couple of reasons. I think that the people who invented Russiagate were the enemies of detente, and they piled on. So they've now demonized Russia, they've crippled Trump. Anything he does diplomatically with Putin is called collusion. No matter what Mueller says, it's collusion. This is anti-democracy, and detente is pursued through democracy. So whatever he really wants to do–it's hard to say–he's been thwarted. I think it's also one of the reasons why he put anti-detente people around him.

PAUL JAY: Why didn't he pull out of the arms treaty?

STEPHEN COHEN: So this is a separate issue now, and a complicated one. We have been in violation–let's be clear for folks which treaty we're talking about. We're talking about the so-called Intermediate-Range Treaty. This band of deployment of missiles that could fly roughly from 500, I think, to 3000 miles, they were exceedingly dangerous. The American ones have been based in Europe. They were very dangerous because they tested high-alert systems. They flew low, fast, they could elude radar. They were dangerous. Reagan and Gorbachev abolished them in 1987, correct? Now, stop and think for a minute, Paul. What Reagan and Gorbachev did in 1987 was the first ever, ever in history, act of nuclear abolitionism. They abolished an entire category of nuclear weapons. That was a sacred act. It needed to be cherished and preserved forever, no matter what difficulties emerged.

But then comes the history, and we need to remember the history. In 2002, the second President Bush withdrew the United States unilaterally from the Antiballistic Missile Treaty, correct? Now, this treaty was related, because it forbid the deployment of so-called missile defense in a way that either side, American or Russian, could think that it had such great missile defense, it had a first strike capability. And everybody agreed nobody should think that. Mutually assured destruction had kept us safe in the nuclear age. But if Russia or the United States gets a first strike capability, then you don't have assured mutual destruction, and some crazy person might be tempted to risk it. So how did the Russians react to that? They began to develop–as I said before, when we began to deploy missile defense–a new generation of weapons. In other words, you're getting this classic action, reaction, action, reaction that drove the previous nuclear arms race, and now it's happening again.

So that brings us to Trump's decision. We don't know yet where it's going to lead, because Trump has said we're withdrawing. He said the Russians have been in violation. But in fact, we've been in violation since we deployed the missile defense systems. Just for the record, by the way–and professor Theodore Postol at MIT has been very good about this–these missile defense installations that we've installed around Russia, land, air, and sea, can actually fire cruise missiles. They are in violation of that Intermediate-Range Treaty, so we've been in systematic violation. Pushes come to shove, we withdrew, the Russians have now withdrawn. But Trump has said two things that are interesting and maybe correct, that technically the treaty was out of date because of the new weaponry. And secondly, who has the most cruise missiles? China. 30 years ago in 1987, it was only the United States and Russia, the Soviet Union. But now China, because of its vast regional presence, has all these intermediate range missiles.

So Trump says offhandedly, maybe in a Tweet, "Have you ever looked at the military budget of Russia, China, and the United States? It's obscene. We should cut it." What does that mean? What does that mean? It's a good idea, right? Then he said, "We can't have such a treaty without China." The Russians know this too, so let us hope that what they're stumbling toward is a new, modernized intermediate-range ban that would include China. China, however, will never sign it. But if they begin the negotiations and China doesn't deploy any more during the negotiations, and the negotiations go on indefinitely, we are safer than we now are. Now, do I think that Trump is cunning and thought this up? I'm not sure, but he's got China on the mind, and I don't quite agree with you that–he's got a kind of dualistic attitude toward China. It's a threat, but every time he makes a new trade deal with China, he brags on it that it's great for us.

You would agree with that, right? He's always talking about, "We're going to have this wonderful trade agreement with China, it's going to be so good for us." So in his mind, Trump's mind, China is kind of potentially–in his businessman mind–this big economic plus that he alone is going to get right. Let him try.

PAUL JAY: I don't know how much of this policy at all is Trump or not Trump. I think the brains behind a lot of this policy now is Bolton and some of the other neocon crazies around him.

STEPHEN COHEN: But Trump has been saying the same thing about cooperating with Russia long before he took on Bolton. There's two ways to look at this.

PAUL JAY: But his attitude towards China–

STEPHEN COHEN: Well, just stay for one minute on Russia, because the China thing is worth talking about too. But he says, almost alone, for the first time–how long has it been since we had a president really pursue detente? It's been a very long time. Obama called it a reset, but it was fraudulent. It was basically saying to the Russians, "Give us everything, and we aren't going to give you anything." It was doomed from the beginning. Plus, they wagered that Putin wouldn't return to the presidency. Do you know, by the way, speaking of meddling, that Biden went to Moscow and told Putin not to return to the presidency in 2012?

PAUL JAY: No.

STEPHEN COHEN: Wrap your head around that a minute. The vice president of the United States goes to Moscow and tells Putin, who's now prime minister because he termed out, but he could return, "We don't think you should return to the presidency." So you know what I'm wondering, I'm wondering whether Biden's calling up Putin today and asking Putin whether Biden should get into the presidential race here. I mean, what the hell? What the hell? And we talk about meddling? So the point about Trump, to finish this, is for the first time in many, many years, a presidential candidate, one that I didn't vote for and didn't care for, had said it's necessary to cooperate with Russia.

PAUL JAY: OK, but I've got to contextualize it. Because it's not enough–because first of all, Trump's a big liar, and everyone, from beginning to end, for real.

STEPHEN COHEN: Politicians lie, Paul. Welcome to the world,

PAUL JAY: No, but I think he lied on Russia.

STEPHEN COHEN: About what?

PAUL JAY: Well, on two things. I think number one–I think two things drove his Russia–

STEPHEN COHEN: Let me get my word in. Then I'll give it to you, I promise I'll pass it right to you, because this is going to set you up beautifully. When he said, Trump, 2016, "It's necessary to cooperate with Russia," there are two ways to interpret that. He was wise and smart, or the Kremlin had something on him.

PAUL JAY: No, I don't think either of those are true.

STEPHEN COHEN: And then we go straight to Russia.

PAUL JAY: Neither of those are true.

STEPHEN COHEN: Well, I'm not saying you say that, but that's the way it was taken.

PAUL JAY: No, I think there's two things drove the Russia thing. Number one, they wanted sanctions lifted because Tillerson and the American oil companies, especially Exxon, wanted a big energy play in Russia, and they needed to lift the sanctions to do it, and Tillerson was all positioned for it. And if it hadn't been for this whole Russiagate stuff, they would have sailed along, had a detente, lifted the sanctions, and had a whole realm of new energy.

STEPHEN COHEN: You mean under Trump.

PAUL JAY: Under Trump. And I think that would have been a good thing. I'm not critiquing that in the sense that anything that reduces tensions between the United States and Russia is a good, thing normalizing, even if it's exploitive and ripping off the Russian people in their oil, I don't care. The nuclear threat is so paramount, anything that reduces those tensions are good. But these are not peacenik intentions.

STEPHEN COHEN: Where do we disagree? You've lost me.

PAUL JAY: I'm not saying we necessarily disagree on this. The second part of it is–and this is where I think is the dangerous part. Because I think sometimes when Trump and Putin get together and talk quietly, part of that conversation could well be about Iran. Because when they had the first big round of sanctions on Iran, Russia supported them, Russia came in on it. And if your foreign policy objective–and clearly it is, between whether it was Flynn, or whether it was Mattis, or whether it was Bolton, all of them are "regime change in Iran is the prime objective." And if you want to do that, wouldn't you want Russia to at the very least step back a little bit?

STEPHEN COHEN: I got you now, I see where you're going.

PAUL JAY: Number one. And number two, the big strategic guns are focused on China. So if you want to focus on China, wouldn't it be nice to have a strategic normalization with Russia, try to split Russia from China? Because in their minds, the real enemy is not Russia, the real enemy is a superpower economy–

STEPHEN COHEN: In whose mind?

PAUL JAY: Much of the American foreign policy establishment, both Democrat and Republican.

STEPHEN COHEN: The real enemy is ?

PAUL JAY: China. Because that's the global economy, that's going to be the competing superpower.

STEPHEN COHEN: Let's say you're right.

PAUL JAY: And that doesn't in any way say it's still, in the final analysis, a good thing if Trump can diminish these tensions. But let's give it the whole context.

STEPHEN COHEN: Well, but it doesn't–I'm not sure what the whole context is. It seems to me you just said to me that Trump or these people were playing for Russia's support against Iran in China.

PAUL JAY: As one piece of this, yeah.

STEPHEN COHEN: Well, if so, it's a fool's folly. Russia is leaving the West. I mean, it can't leave the West geopolitically, because Russia is so big, it's half in the West and a half in the un-West geographically. But American foreign policy, NATO expansion, the unwise policies made in Brussels and Washington, are driving Russia from the West.

PAUL JAY: No doubt.

STEPHEN COHEN: And when you leave the West, where do you end up, Paul?

PAUL JAY: They are pushing exactly the kind of a line–

STEPHEN COHEN: Where do you go?

PAUL JAY: Well, with China, of course.

STEPHEN COHEN: And not only China, where else? All major powers that are not members of NATO, including Iran. So when Putin came to power, he was very much in the tradition of Gorbachev and Yeltsin. He wanted a strategic alliance with the United States. Who was the first person to call up Bush after 9/11? Putin. And he said, "George, anything." And if you go back and look at what the Russians did to help the American ground war in Afghanistan against the Taliban, whether you think it was a good idea or not, that ground war, Russia did more to save American lives–Russian soldiers fighting in Afghanistan–than any NATO country did.

PAUL JAY: No, Iran did more than any NATO country to help America.

STEPHEN COHEN: But Russia had assets, unbelievable assets, and corridors for transportation, and even an army, the Northern Alliance, that it kept in Afghanistan. It gave it all to the United States. Putin wanted a strategic alliance with the United States, and what did he get in return? He got from Bush, the second Bush, more NATO expansion right to Russia's borders, and as I mentioned before, American withdrawal from the Antiballistic Missile Treaty, which had been the bedrock of Russian nuclear security for 30 or 40 years. He got betrayed, and they use that word, "We were betrayed by Washington." This is serious stuff.

The pivot away from the West begins there and continues with these crazy policies that Washington has pursued toward Russia. It doesn't mean that Russia is gone forever from the West, but if you look at the billions of dollars of investment, you look at which way the pipelines flow, you look at Russia–Putin meets like six times a year, maybe more, with the leader of China. They've each called each other their best friend in politics. Trump meets with Putin and we think, "Oh my god, how can he meet with him." I mean, it's normal.

PAUL JAY: Netanyahu just met with Putin; nobody said a word.

STEPHEN COHEN: But the point here is that Russia has been torn between East and the West forever. Its best policy, in its own best interest, is to straddle East and West, not to be of the East or the West, but it's impossible in this world today. And U.S.-led Western policy since the end of the Soviet Union, and particularly since Putin came to power in 2000, has persuaded the Russian ruling elite that Russia can not count any longer, economically, politically, militarily, on being part of the West. It has to go elsewhere. So all this talk about wanting to win Russia to an American position that's anti-Iranian and anti-Chinese is conceived in disaster and will end in disaster. They should think of some other foreign policy.

PAUL JAY: I agree, but I think that's what Trump's–the people around Trump that wanted the detente–

STEPHEN COHEN: We should get new people.

PAUL JAY: Well

STEPHEN COHEN: I'll tell you truthfully, if Trump really wants to cooperate with Russia for the sake of American national security, if we forget all this Russiagate stuff and we say, "The guy is a little dim, but his ideas are right, you've got to cooperate with Russia," he has to get some new advisors. Because the people around him don't have a clue how to do it.

PAUL JAY: I don't think that is the intent, the intent is make money. I don't think there's any other intent. Make money for arms manufacturers, fossil fuel–

STEPHEN COHEN: Well, hope dies with us. I just don't see that constant bashing of Trump demeaning him, though it's so easy to do, helps us think clearly about American national interests.

PAUL JAY: I don't think bashing Trump by dredging up the demons of the Cold War is anything but war mongering. On the other hand, I don't think we should create any illusions about who Trump is.

STEPHEN COHEN: So let me give you the part with a paradox. We shouldn't have any illusions about who Trump is, that seems like–

PAUL JAY: Or who the system is, really.

STEPHEN COHEN: OK. So let's say–I mean, that seems a sensible point of view. But let me ask you a question. Why was it that American presidents since Eisenhower could do detente with Soviet communist leaders, and they weren't demonized after Stalin, but we're not permitted–and certainly Trump is not permitted–to do detente with a Russian Kremlin anti-communist leader, which Putin is? Did we like the communists better than the anti-communists in the Kremlin?

PAUL JAY: No. I'll give you what I think, it's just a layman's opinion. I think the foreign policy establishment, the elite, they were absolutely furious that after all these decades of trying to overthrow the Soviet Union, and they finally accomplish–although I think it was mostly an internal phenomenon, but still–and then they get Yeltsin and they have open Wild West, grabbing all these resources. I think they were really pissed that a state emerged, led by Putin, that said, "Hold on, it may be oligarchs, but they're going to be Russian, and you Americans aren't going to have a free-for–all, taking up the resources and owning the finance. We're not going to be a third world country to your empire."

STEPHEN COHEN: That's correct.

PAUL JAY: And they're pissed off at that.

STEPHEN COHEN: They, meaning ?

PAUL JAY: The Americans.

STEPHEN COHEN: Our people.

PAUL JAY: Our people. Well, I don't want to even take ownership for it.

STEPHEN COHEN: Don't run away. I don't know your age–

PAUL JAY: I'm 67.

STEPHEN COHEN: So we've established that I'm older than you.

PAUL JAY: No doubt. But you look younger, and I'm pissed at that.

STEPHEN COHEN: Well, that's a separate subject.

PAUL JAY: You've got more hair.

STEPHEN COHEN: I've got more hair. You've distracted me. What we share, despite the age difference, is that we grew up at a time when we were told–whether you or I believed it or not, but our generations, two generations, were told we are against Russia because it's communist. We were told that for decade after decade after decade. Now, Russia, the Kremlin, is not communist, it's anti-communist, and we're still against Russia. How do Russian intellectuals and policy-makers interpret that turnabout, that it was never about communism, it was about Russia? There's a saying in Russia formulated by a philosopher, his name was Zinoviev, he passed on but he was very influential, they were shooting–meaning the West–they were shooting at communism, but they were aiming at Russia.

And the view, very widespread among the Russian policy intellectual class today, is that Washington, in particular, will never accept Russia as an equal great power in world affairs, regardless of whether Russia is communist or anti-communist. And if that is so, Russia has to entirely reconceive its place in the world and its thinking about the West. And that point of view is ascending in Russia today due to Western policy. But just remember the view that all during the previous Cold War, they claim they were shooting at communism, but it was really Russia. And they still are today.

PAUL JAY: Yeah, I agree with that. I just–

STEPHEN COHEN: But we don't–you and I may agree, but we don't want Russians to think that way.

PAUL JAY: But I think the view coming out of World War II about being the global hegemon, the superpower, what that also means is you can't have any adversarial regional powers. And whether it's Russia or Iran, if you're not in the smaller American sphere of influence, the umbrella, you can't be there.

STEPHEN COHEN: It's funny you say that. I mean, I'm not a Putin apologist or a Trump apologist, but I do like intellectual puzzles. If you're saying that we have to give up our thinking about a multipolar world, so to speak, that there'll be other regional superpowers or great powers, then isn't Trump the first American president who seems to be OK with that? I don't see in Trump much a demand that we be number one.

PAUL JAY: Oh, I think Make America Great Again?

STEPHEN COHEN: But he didn't say Make American Number One Again. Maybe that's what he means, but you don't have Trump–

PAUL JAY: I don't think it kind of matters what the hell Trump thinks or says. And I think–

STEPHEN COHEN: Have you heard Trump say this thing that Obama and Madeleine Albright ran around saying for years, that American is "the indispensable nation?" Do you know how aggravated that made other states in the world? I mean, stop and think about it. Who runs around saying "we're indispensable?" I haven't heard Trump say that, maybe he has.

PAUL JAY: I just don't think we should put too much weight into whatever Trump says. I think he's a vehicle, he's a vessel.

STEPHEN COHEN: You take what you can get these days.

PAUL JAY: He's a vessel, first and foremost, for the arms manufacturers, for the fossil fuel industry. He's a vessel for right-wing evangelical politics. He's not a philosopher king. He's not a peacenik.

STEPHEN COHEN: You have to have priorities.

PAUL JAY: I think he's rather banal.

STEPHEN COHEN: Yeah, probably, but you have to have priorities. My priority in international affairs is to avoid a military conflict with Russia. In my book, my new book, War with Russia?, when I start writing that book in 2013, I never intended to give it that title. But as I worked and watched events unfold since 2013 to 2019, for the first time in my long career, I thought war with Russia was possible. I didn't even think there was going to be a war–as I remember it, I don't remember it vividly–during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Today, I assure you, the new Cold War is fraught with multiple Cuban Missile Crises. Take your pick; in the Baltic area where NATO is building up, in Ukraine where we've got ourselves involved in a proxy war, in Georgia where NATO is trespassing again as we talk, in Syria where American and Russian forces are flying and fighting on the ground in close proximity. By the way, Trump was absolutely right in withdrawing those–what were they–3000 Americans in Syria because whatever, Russia had killed just one of them.

With Trump in the White House, the trip wires, a war between nuclear Russia and nuclear America, are far greater and more multiple than they have ever been. That's the danger. Therefore, at this moment, if Trump says it's necessary to cooperate with Russia, on that one issue we must support him. It's existential at this moment. And believe me, and believe me, people love to hate on Putin in this country; "Putin's evil, Putin's bad." It's nonsense. Putin is a recognizable leader in Russia's tradition. Putin, as you said I think before, came to power wanting an alliance with the United States. He's spoken of his own illusions publicly. Leaders very rarely admit they ever had an illusion, rights, it's not something they do. He is reproached in Russia, reproached in Russia, for still having illusions about the West. You know what they say about him in high places in Russia? "He's not proactive, he just reacts, he waits for the West to do something abysmal to Russia, and then he acts. Why doesn't he first see what's coming?" What do they cite? They cite Ukraine.

PAUL JAY: Well, that's the next segment, because my question to you is going to be, "Did Putin make a mistake in Crimea?" So please join us for the continuation of our series of interviews with Stephen Cohen on Reality Asserts Itself on The Real News Network.


Pax et Bonum 2 days ago ,

In a country where the media runs the lives of gullible citizens, it is easy to believe that all the moves are being made for the peace and well being of all. Behind the curtains, a narcissistic and egotistic machine is hard at work trying to sell war for peace. This business only benefits a few and causes great suffering on others ... but who am I kidding, no one cares, as long money is being made ... no one really cares!

0040 Pax et Bonum 2 days ago ,

The US Constitution and other supporting documents have long stymied attempts at direct democracy in the US. Beware of anyone claiming to be a strict Constitutionalist ! They hate democracy and embrace slavery in all its disguises.

Marilynne L. Mellander 19 hours ago ,

Great points, Mr. Cohen....this protracted attack on Russia via the phoney "Russiagate" investigation has set back relations with Russia for years to come....of course, even here in Bezerkeley, there were signs posted everywhere before the 2016 election: "Hillary=WWIII (just sayin')".....even the libs around here knew the Clinton cabal wanted a war with Russia ASAP

Michael Holloway 18 hours ago ,

That Trump represents a thinking that the post Soviet reality is not of a uni-superpower world, but one of a multi-polar world dominated by US economic empire.

I think that's true.

After reading "Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century" in 2005, I came to the idea that the most dangerous section of the American elite were those that posited this uni-superpower world order idea; an impossibility in this age of technology (one in which even small economies like Canada could lead the world in nuclear physics understandings and implementation, and one where our collective wealth of scientific understanding and method, plus systems management, can 'leap' a large agrarian/industrial economy (China) to a 2nd generation industrial world power in 50 years, proves that understanding).

gchakko 20 hours ago ,

I haven't read the first part. But what the second part reveals is not that unravelling. American power is despotic. No principles. Money gain only. Russia turned democratic after enlightened brains like Yuri Andropov (Jewish-born ex-KGB Chief), old fox Andrei Gromyko, Gorbachev plus- plus, decided to change the system. In other words, Russia was willing for openness. But American oligarchs wanted to usurp Russian wealth with a hand stroke after Soviet State implosion.

Second, why did Rothschild-Rockefeller Banker vassals like Henry Kissinger, Schultz under Edward Teller influence, sabotage the Reagan-Gorbachev understanding to eliminate nuclear weapons entirely in Reykjavik, insisting unilateral Star Wars capability for the U.S. to remain as sole Superpower.

The problem is the incorrigible Big C (Capital) that wanted to eat away Russian minerals that Putin stopped in national interest. Any subsequent cooperation from the Russian side was probably was only for strategic cooperation with the U.S. to have world peace.

Steve belongs to that lone group of handful, distinguished U.S. intellectuals who see problems as they are in eventual meaningfulness for objective U.S. politics. I admire his talent and courage and support him.

George Chakko, former U.N. correspondent, now retiree in Vienna, Austria.
Vienna, 20/04/2019 06:05 am CET

Fat 18 hours ago ,

Not a word in Cohen's appraisal about US criminality. Jay was pushing in that direction. I hope they get around to the criminality of the Deep State Mafia.

That is the narrative that will get the most results. Trump is greedy and the neocons have already attacked him on two fronts: Russiagate and his need for money. He will likely do what the New World Order folks want him to do. Russiagate will turn out to be a benefit as long as he sticks with the program that the Neocons want. Who has pushed the US hard to get into war with Russia? Hilary, Obama, Cheney, now Bolton --all New World Order soldiers who will commit any crime to rule the world. This is what we are facing.

Jack Lomax a day ago ,

Trump like every POTUS since JFK does the bidding of the Zionist masters. Every POTUS except Nixon and Carter that is, and they were demonised and side tracked respectively. Nixon for his feral decision to recognise China and Jimmy Carter for being a dangerous liberal. But Trump is a normal run of the mill POTUS minus the PR masking tape. Perhaps the system has decided that the nice respectable masking tape is now an unnecessary add-on and every future president (if there are any or many) will do the will of Wall St and Tel Aviv as openly as does Trump and the msm will assure us that this is good and necessary. Good fo the economy and necessary to protect the poor suffering Jewish nation from the anti Semitic hatred of the deluded Palestinian lovers

nina sakun a day ago ,

and finally i think Putin is for Russian greatness, trump is for money for himself and his family, but also for a white America if that can fit in with his money making schemes.

mikjall • a day ago ,

I'm sorry, but Paul Jay, whom I sincerely admire, though with some reservations, sounds in this--very important--interview as if he were suffering from attention deficit syndrome. You see it most of all in the transcript. Stephen Cohen attempted to keep the discussion coherent and focused, and Paul injected irrelevancies. Paul, please keep your eye on the ball. Stephen Cohen is presenting an important message. It's OK to disagree with it, if you have coherent reasons, but it's important even if it's wrong.

michael nola a day ago ,

I think it's a mistake to take Trump at his word on anything that doesn't directly benefit himself. He is two things; an economic animal and a con man, and his motives are no more complicated than those of a cat. Unlike HRC, Bolton, Cheney Bush etc. he's no ideologue for war, however, I don't think he has any deep seated dislike of it either, so taking him at his word, either for or against any military action is foolish; basically, he's running a con and seeing where it goes, especially if there's any money in it for him or his family, a very obvious characteristic of his relationship with the Saudis and his continuing support of their genocidal war in Yemen, a gift he inherited from our Nobel Peace Prize president.

In the long run, there will be no stopping an alliance between the PRC and Russia, especially given our political elites' inability to see we are living in a world they can no longer dominate through an institution, the military, that few have ever been in, and those of Vietnam war draft eligibility, avoided at all costs, and they will continue that losing effort until the combined economic might of those nations and their geographic location on the world's most important land mass, Eurasia, and its proximity to resource rich Africa, eventually bring about the downfall of the American Empire.

antiparasites 2 days ago ,

1) Trump personally doesn"t want wars, never mind a war with Russia, though he's no philosopher or angel.

2) the neolibs, who almost had Russia in the bag before Putin came to power, have been pissed off at Putin and want regime change in Russia.

3) the same neolibs also want to pit russia, iran, and china against each other, in order to complete and maintain their New World Order.

4) the same neolibs panicked at Trump's election victory but has reined him in since with Russiagate. so whatever Trump wants matters not at the moment.

5) the same neolibs have miserably failed in their pursuit of 2) and 3) because of the alliance of the three, russia, china, and iran. now the entire arab world has declared independence from the US of Israel, because they now see an alternative bloc of russia, china, and iran to work with.

all the above are true. more and more people see the truth and reject the neolibs that the DNC leadership represents.

Trump will be reelected in 2020, if he fires bolton / pompeo / mnuchin / abrams etc. so far, he's been all bark but no bite, which is a good sign.

Yo 2 days ago ,

Ever noticed how contradictory people you know can be? Ever noticed how contradictory in yourself, in your own attitudes and deeds you can be? So why be surprised that Trump can be Stephen Cohen's Trump as much as Paul Jay's Trump? No problem really :-)

Luther Blissett • 2 days ago ,

There is no contraction between Cohen's observation that Trump is a voice of sanity on Russia (it just shows how bad US discourse on Russia is) and Jay's concern that detente with Russia is part of larger plan for war (economic, kinetic or hybrid) against Iran and China.

Real or fake, Trump's isolationism has produced no more peace than Obama's tepid liberalism did and Trump's veto of a bipartisan resolution to forced an end to American military involvement in Yemen has shown any arguments for an 'anti-war' Trump were pure self-delusion.

Despite all the chaos and the moral panics that keep rocking the White House, Trump's three National Security Advisors - Flynn, McMaster, Bolton - had one core commonality: they want war with Iran. Watching the sinister neo-con Jim Woolsey betray the frothing neo-con Flynn to Joe Biden was a comedy of neo-con infighting. A major part of Russiagate was the older 'Atlanticist' neo-cons boxing in the boorish 'Trumpist' neo-cons. Whether Atlantic Council or US-homegrown both flavors of neo-conservatism want war with Iran.

0040 2 days ago ,

Wonderful article with Mr Jay playing the role of village idiot ? Mr Cohen speaks with extreme clarity on Russia, which is totally unacceptable in for profit America by all sides, where arms sales are us. In regards to Crimea , I'd ask Mr Jay, did Bush 1 make a mistake in Panama where we killed 4 thousand civilians in keeping China from acquiring an interest in the Panama canal?

Doug Latimer 2 days ago ,

There are so many contradictions under the tent of Killer Clown's circus that it really isn't possible to make clear sense of them, is there?

I'll just say that he absolutely pimps "Amerika über alles", as it's the putrid patriotic red white and blue meat he throws his base.

Does he buy his own sales pitch? He does whatever his tiny but tricky little mind tells him is to his benefit. He'd be perfectly happy as a Russian oligarch or Saudi prince (as long as Putin or MBS let him bloviate to his heart's content).

His only allegiance is to the state of his ego and bank account.

[Apr 20, 2019] Is Russian 'Meddling' an Attack on America - RAI with Stephen Cohen

Notable quotes:
"... Sanctions are road rage. When you don't have a real policy, you do sanctions. But what's the logic of the sanctions? The sanction is we put this punishment on you. But when you change your behavior we will remove the punishment. Isn't that what we say with sanctions? Therefore sanctions have to be discussed if you're going to have diplomacy. So I would expect an American president to say to the Kremlin we need to have a lot of discussions, including the discussion of sanctions. The ones we've imposed. ..."
"... Actually, by now, depending on what comes next, I don't think the Kremlin cares very much. They've coped very nicely with the sanctions. Though it's hurting their ability to roll over their loans with Western banks, it's true. But generally speaking, they've managed. And Europe wants the sanctions ended, because it's hurt European manufacturers, I think there's 9,000 German firms that were or are making a profit in Russia. It's hurt European -- we have almost no trade with Russia, the United States. Sanctions is -- hurting Europe. ..."
"... Flynn was a professional intelligence officer. Let's repeat that. A professional intelligence officer. He knew everybody was listened to. It didn't bother him. The president had told him to have conversations with the Russian ambassador. There was a tradition of doing this. He had nothing to hide. ..."
"... The psychopaths in the Clinton campaign had no concern that the Russiagate meme would cause enormous consequences in the US relationships with important governments around the globe. Hillary Clinton attempted to damage Trump, the candidate that she wished for the Republicans to nominate, by alleging he was "Putin's puppet." More importantly, Clinton wanted to change the subject from her corruption that was evidenced in her leaked emails (likely by the murdered Seth Rich to Assange). The emails, among other things, proved that she and her toady Debbie Wasserman Schultz et al schemed to steal the nomination from Bernie Sanders. ..."
"... It's about Russian interference alright, but not in the election, rather with Washington's hegemonic ambitions in Eastern Europe (Ukraine), then in the Middle East (Syria) and now in South America (Venezuela). Charles Krauthammer's "unipolar moment" is over, the Bear is back. ..."
Apr 20, 2019 | therealnews.com

PAUL JAY: Welcome to Reality Asserts Itself on The Real News Network. And I'm Paul Jay.

People that follow this show know I particularly like to interview people that stick their neck out and stick to their guns for what they believe in, what they're fighting for. And our next guest is someone who's done both of those things under a lot of pressure. So this is the story, to begin with, of Stephen Cohen. Stephen is emeritus professor of politics at Princeton University, professor emeritus of Russian studies and history at New York University, and his most recent book: War with Russia? From Putin and Ukraine to Trump and Russia. Thanks for joining us again.

STEPHEN COHEN: Thanks, Paul.

PAUL JAY: So a lot of people were rather happy with Barr's summary of the Mueller report. And as we sit here talking today we haven't seen the Mueller report, it hasn't been given to Congress yet, and it may even happen tomorrow. We don't know. And it may change what we think of what I'm about to ask, but I don't think it's going to change too much about what I'm going to ask.

Obviously President Trump's pretty happy so far with the no collusion argument. And that was pretty clear from what Mueller said; what Barr says Mueller said. There's a quote from Mueller in Barr's summary. But I thought some people who've been critical of Russiagate were a little bit too happy about this, because the more important, I thought, substance of what Mueller says is that, in fact, Russia did interfere in the elections. And he takes it very seriously. And the more important part of Russiagate narrative, I don't think, was ever the collusion part. In fact, we all knew Mueller was not heading down any big collusion road anyway, because as you pointed out in one of your interviews, I don't know if it was Larry King, you know, you could see from how other people were being charged, Manafort and others, there was no breadcrumb leading you to a collusion argument with Trump. The real problem is the underlying idea is that this is an existential threat to American democracy, and Mueller more or less confirms that.

And I thought people shouldn't be so happy about that part of it, because the substantial argument -- and I'll quote you again -- is that whatever they did it was low-level stuff. It happens all the time between these countries. They all interfere in each other's elections. And then it gets raised to the existential level. That's the problem. And Mueller more or less confirms that.

STEPHEN COHEN: You are absolutely right, only not right enough. This expression, which has become a truth in the media and for too many politicians that "Russia attacked America during the 2016 presidential election" is both exceedingly dangerous and a complete falsehood. Why is it dangerous? Because if a great power is attacked, that great power has to eventually attack back, counterattack. This is a ticking time bomb in relations with Russia. No attack on America occurred in 2016. I was awake, present, and observant. I saw no missiles descending on our country. No Russian paratroopers. No Russian submarines. No Russian combat planes. Nothing. It's a complete fiction.

It's a form, I guess, of hyperbole. Did the Russians meddle? Some Russians? I don't know. I'm not even sure the Kremlin knew anything about it. But the Russiagate story is that Putin decided he wanted Trump to be in the White House. So he attacked American elections and rigged it. So Trump is now in the White House. I don't know how many people actually believe this. But too many continue to say it, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, MSNBC. Too many influential news outlets are putting out an exceedingly dangerous fiction which is a form of warmongering. It didn't happen, but they won't let go of it.

So I agree with you. There was no attack on America. But they're keeping this up. Was there meddling? As you say, sure. So let's do the -- briefly -- the history of Russian-American meddling in each other's politics. Where would you like to begin? Should we begin with the American intervention in the Russian Civil War in 1918? I mean, Wilson sent about 8,000 American troops to try to help overthrow the new red Communist government. Was that meddling? Really, is it meddling? You tell me. Sounds like meddling to me.

PAUL JAY: It's armed intervention.

STEPHEN COHEN: It's armed intervention. All right. What about, to leap forward, 1996? I was in Moscow, I observed it. Then-president of post-Soviet Russia Boris Yeltsin stood no chance of being reelected. No chance whatsoever. He was like 3 percent in the polls. But the Clinton administration desperately needed to keep him in power. So they meddled, big time. They sent electoral experts -- not unlike, by the way, Paul Manafort. Guys who make a living advising other countries about how to rig elections. We've got lots of them who do this for big money. So they set up in the presidential hotel. You could see them. Clinton arranged, I think, it was $10 billion, I may be wrong there, IMF loan to Yeltsin so Yeltsin could pay pensions and salaries he hadn't paid for five years. I mean, we did the whole -- I mean this was a massive intervention into Russia's election. And basically we kept Russia, Yeltsin, in the presidency. Is that meddling? Is that meddling?

PAUL JAY: Yeah, of course.

STEPHEN COHEN: What happened with Russian meddling in 2016, compared to the kind of meddling both sides have done, was jaywalking. The only reason it became one of the worst scandals, and I think most damaging in American history, because of the loathing for Trump and because the Clinton people couldn't accept that she was defeated fair and square. So they made up a story. You know, there's this book Shattered which tells about how they sat around and said we'll blame it on the Russians. However, it's exceedingly unpatriotic. It's warmongering. It's damaging our institutions of the presidency.

I mean, if it's true -- for example, let's say it's true that the Kremlin can put Trump in the White House. Then evidently our electoral system in this country is not reliable. And why not a governor, or a senator, or a member of the Congress that Putin likes? And what about the next one? I think it's going to erode confidence in our electoral system on the part of American voters. And what about the presidency itself? I mean, people actually say that a Kremlin puppet sits in the presidency. Do they think that the damage done to the institution of the presidency is going to end when Trump leaves? And do they think Republicans aren't going to do something similar to the next Democratic president?

And the media's scandalous coverage of this, abandoning their own standards. I mean, you don't get your virginity back quite that easily. I mean, they've got a lot to atone for, but at the moment they're not even prepared to say they did anything wrong. Just the other day the heads of these -- CNN, the executive editor of the New York Times and the Washington Post -- all said they thought their coverage of Russiagate had been great. I mean, really? Really? I mean, that's like a brain surgeon missing cancer, and then saying he thought he did a good job. I mean, it's preposterous.

So we have a major problem here. And the myth -- there was no Russian attack. The Russians meddled. Mainly what made the meddling different from the kind of meddling that went on, for example, when there were Russian-backed American communist parties, for example, in this country, is social media. It was a social media thing.

And a final point. Let's say that the Russians -- they didn't -- launched a major social media attack to distort the thinking of American voters, and were successful. Because that's one of the premises, right? People are saying that, right?

PAUL JAY: Yeah.

STEPHEN COHEN: What does that say for American voters? What contempt people have for American voters. So-called American Democrats have contempt for American voters. And now what are they doing? They're out busy censoring social media so that we won't get any information that might disorient an American voter. You can't -- if you don't believe that the electorate will reach a rational decision in voting by whatever interests individual voters have, you're not a democrat. I don't mean a member of the Democratic Party. You're not a democratic person. If you don't believe in voters you can't be a democratic person. Then you're an authoritarian.

PAUL JAY: The story that got completely lost as they focused on low-level meddling that was mostly -- that I think anyone can determine rather ineffective -- was the Cambridge Analytica story, and Bannon, and the use of troll farms, American-controlled troll farms, to do this targeted social media manipulation. And that's out there, including an arm of Cambridge Analytica which helped shape the Brexit vote in the United Kingdom. And the role of Robert Mercer, who funded Bannon and Kellyanne Conway and originally backed Cruz, and then helped create Trump as president, I mean, that's the real story of the Trump presidency. Not this low-level meddling. And they've never really told that story in mainstream media. We did a whole documentary on it on The Real News. This whole thing's been lost about the real kind of sinister dark side to the 2016 elections.

STEPHEN COHEN: What worries me more, though, is the way Russiagate, Russiagaters, the zealots of Russiagate, have criminalized contacts with Russia. I think that this Clinton organization -- what's it called, Center for American Progress, or something, CAP, which has a website called Thought Progress or something -- has some posted 150 Trump-related contacts with Russia. I mean, I've had most of those contacts with Russia. I mean, I've had contacts with Russian intelligence agents. One was a good friend of mine. Five or six of them I worked with in a historical archive, and we did smoking breaks and lunch breaks together, and we talked. I mean, I've had all sorts of contacts in my nearly 50 years of dealing with Russia. There was a time when contacts were supposed to be good because it was a way of understanding and avoiding conflict. Part of detente. Part of diplomacy. But Russiagate, the allegations -- and I don't believe any of them, by the way -- the allegations have criminalized contacts.

Incidentally, as we talk, this young Russian woman, Marina Butina -- sometimes pronounced here BuTIna, but it's BUtina, B-U-T-I-N-A -- has been sitting in an American prison for more than six months, most of it in solitary, for doing nothing other than what many Americans do in Russia, and that is go around talking about how good the American political system is to Russia, Russians. She went around bragging on Putin and the Russian political system here. For that she's been kept in prison, and was, as Russians say, finally broken. Literally. That's how Russians break people. They lock you away to you confess. We call confession a plea. So she -- and she's still in prison, even though she pled.

What did she plead guilty to? Coming here and advocating Russian perspectives without registering as a foreign agent. This is a Soviet practice, Paul. One of the things that worries me is that Russiagate has generated too many Soviet-style practices by American authorities. The use of informers. People who were sent to inform on members of Trump's team, like Papadopoulos, for example. Holding people's families hostage. I mean, Mueller held General Flynn's son hostage, essentially, until Flynn pled. And Flynn never should have pled guilty. Never. In fact, he said the other day he regretted it.

Let's talk about Flynn, for example, to see how bogus this is. Flynn was taped, as he knew he would be, making contact after Trump was elected, before Trump came President, with the Russian ambassador, correct? That was how the story began.

PAUL JAY: And they had to know they were being listened to.

STEPHEN COHEN: Of course they [inaudible].

PAUL JAY: Or he should have.

STEPHEN COHEN: Well, so you would say if he knew he was being listened to, why would he go forward and have this meeting, or discussions, with the Russian ambassador? Because Trump had told him to do it. And the reason is very simple to anyone who knows even a little history. At least since Nixon -- maybe since Eisenhower and Kennedy -- but at least since Nixon, every American president-elect has made a so-called back channel connection with the Russians, with the Kremlin, before taking office. End of story. And we know -- I mean, Kissinger did it for Nixon.

PAUL JAY: But Nixon did it with the North Vietnamese, and Johnson called it treason.

STEPHEN COHEN: I don't care. The point of it is it's become traditional standard practice for the president-elect to reach out to the Russians to say basically chill out, we're going to discuss everything. I mean, you got to remember what happened. I mean, this was dangerous. Obama, to his eternal disgrace, threatened the Russians with a cyberattack. He threatened them. He said we've implanted in your infrastructure some kind of cyber thing.

PAUL JAY: And passed sanctions.

STEPHEN COHEN: But forget the sanctions. Forget the sanctions. He threatened them with a secret attack on their infrastructure. Did it mean their medical system? Did it mean their banking system? Did it mean their nuclear control system? And then the nitwit Vice President -- Obama's -- goes out and tells jokes about it on late night TV. Yeah, hey, we got him. What kind of behavior is this?

So I think Trump did absolutely the right thing. He told General Flynn, after Obama had made this reckless statement, but after Trump was elected, but not yet president, told Flynn, go tell the Russians not to overreact to what Obama said. Don't do anything crazy. We'll sort this out when I take office. I personally am grateful he did that, because there were people in Moscow arguing to Putin that they had to wage some kind of counterattack first. I mean, this was a very dangerous moment that Obama created, unnoticed in this country. Unreported on.

But not only was it the tradition that the president-elect made contact with the Russians. Backdoor. Everyone had done it. But in this case it was essential, because the crazies in Moscow were urging Putin to do something based on what Obama had said. By the way, who's vanished. On the question of Russiagate, Obama has disappeared himself. I mean Russiagate began on Obama's watch as president. You'd think he'd have something to say. He hadn't said a word.

PAUL JAY: But let me counter. I mean, I think the sanctions Obama put on Russia for Russia's meddling in the U.S. elections was uncalled for; aggressive, and so on. And a continuation of a bunch of aggressive policy. But their argument is Obama was the president, and the sanctions had been implemented. And Trump was saying to Putin, don't worry, we're going to get rid of them.

STEPHEN COHEN: No there's no record. This is-

PAUL JAY: I thought that was Flynn's conversation.

STEPHEN COHEN: No. No. What Flynn told Kislyak, so far as we know, I haven't heard the tape, was do not overreact to this statement by Obama that your infrastructure is going to be attacked, and we will discuss everything, maybe he said including sanctions, when Trump takes the White House.

Now, let's back up a minute. Why shouldn't we discuss sanctions? The logic -- I don't believe in sanctions. They're road rage. I mean, as we talk, a few nitwit senators are up on the Hill trying to think up some new sanctions. And if you ask them what they're sanctioning Russia for today, they couldn't tell you. Everything. In fact, they do tell you. It's called for Putin's malign behavior in the world. It's not about Crimea anymore. It's not about voter interference. It's just basically he's a malign character, and you can't have too many sanctions.

Sanctions are road rage. When you don't have a real policy, you do sanctions. But what's the logic of the sanctions? The sanction is we put this punishment on you. But when you change your behavior we will remove the punishment. Isn't that what we say with sanctions? Therefore sanctions have to be discussed if you're going to have diplomacy. So I would expect an American president to say to the Kremlin we need to have a lot of discussions, including the discussion of sanctions. The ones we've imposed.

Actually, by now, depending on what comes next, I don't think the Kremlin cares very much. They've coped very nicely with the sanctions. Though it's hurting their ability to roll over their loans with Western banks, it's true. But generally speaking, they've managed. And Europe wants the sanctions ended, because it's hurt European manufacturers, I think there's 9,000 German firms that were or are making a profit in Russia. It's hurt European -- we have almost no trade with Russia, the United States. Sanctions is -- hurting Europe.

PAUL JAY: Well, let's get back to Flynn. How could he not know that's being listened to? And I guess they assume that this was not abnormal for an incoming president to have a conversation like this.

STEPHEN COHEN: Flynn was a professional intelligence officer. Let's repeat that. A professional intelligence officer. He knew everybody was listened to. It didn't bother him. The president had told him to have conversations with the Russian ambassador. There was a tradition of doing this. He had nothing to hide.

PAUL JAY: OK. There's a part of this that I don't think we're going to agree on, and we're going to talk about that in the next-

STEPHEN COHEN: I don't even know you were disagreeing with me. Those are just facts I gave you.

PAUL JAY: I didn't disagree up until this point. We might agree on something and then disagree in the next segment. So please join us for the next segment of our series of interviews with Stephen Cohen.


Infarction 4 days ago ,

Stephen Cohen: "... [B]ecause of the loathing for Trump and because the Clinton people couldn’t accept that she was defeated fair and square. So they made up a story. You know, there’s this book Shattered which tells about how they sat around and said we’ll blame it on the Russians."

The psychopaths in the Clinton campaign had no concern that the Russiagate meme would cause enormous consequences in the US relationships with important governments around the globe. Hillary Clinton attempted to damage Trump, the candidate that she wished for the Republicans to nominate, by alleging he was "Putin's puppet." More importantly, Clinton wanted to change the subject from her corruption that was evidenced in her leaked emails (likely by the murdered Seth Rich to Assange). The emails, among other things, proved that she and her toady Debbie Wasserman Schultz et al schemed to steal the nomination from Bernie Sanders.

0040 Infarction 3 days ago ,

In fact Billary won the "election" by 3 million votes. But since we are not a democracy it did not matter. Trump was appointed by America's elites, claiming otherwise just serves the status quo. I'm sure Mr Cohen knows that?

Putin Apologist 4 days ago ,

It's about Russian interference alright, but not in the election, rather with Washington's hegemonic ambitions in Eastern Europe (Ukraine), then in the Middle East (Syria) and now in South America (Venezuela). Charles Krauthammer's "unipolar moment" is over, the Bear is back.

antiparasites 4 days ago ,

right on point, Mr. cohen, right on the money. looking forward to the next installment.

RandyM 4 days ago ,

Just a question Paul. Who is "too happy" that no collusion was found? Can you name names? Russiagate debunkers like Glenn Greenwald and Aaron Mate may feel vindicated, but I don't see happiness in the fact that the whole episode probably helps Trump.

antiparasites RandyM 4 days ago ,

truth should set good people free and thus make them very happy. you're not too happy? well then you know what you are.

Marko 4 days ago ,

"But I thought some people who’ve been critical of Russiagate were a little bit too happy about this, because the more important, I thought, substance of what Mueller says is that, in fact, Russia did interfere in the elections..."

If there was interference , it was , as Cohen says , on the level of jaywalking in its seriousness. What would really constitute "an existential threat to American democracy" is if this whole affair began and continued as a fabricated-from-whole-cloth stitch-up of a candidate and then sitting President , orchestrated and implemented at the highest levels of the CIA , FBI , Justice and State Depts. , etc., and possibly all the way up to ex-Pres. Obama. If the origin of this whole mess is ever investigated properly , as it should be , I hope TRNN will cover it and the ramifications of its findings at least as thoroughly as it has the hoax itself , and will invite Stephen Cohen back to contribute to that analysis. You certainly won't hear from him on the MSM , where such honesty and clarity of thought are effectively banned.

EarthView 4 days ago ,

Where is part 2? What is it that Paul Jay disagrees with Cohen? Sanctions are utterly stupid. ALL sanctions against all countries should be removed, including those on Russia, Iran, Venezuela, China and even North Korea. No self-respecting counties will submit to the ridiculous demands of the terrorist empire because of sanctions.

0040 EarthView 3 days ago ,

Sanctions, embargoes, and tariffs, are a forms of taxation that harm the masses in the state that applies them, while their rulers blame others for the resulting shortages and higher prices.

antiparasites EarthView 4 days ago ,

fewer and fewer parties are concerning themselves about the US sanctions. not "even" north korea, according to their latest communique. maybe that's why cohen says "forget the sanctions."

Mark Swanson 3 days ago ,

Okay, Mr. Cohen spends a lot of time trashing the Clintons but is almost an apologist for the Trump administration. He states correctly that the U.S. has meddled in Russian politics in the past, notably in the 1920s and 1990s, which we probably shouldn't have done but that does not make it okay for the Russians to do the same to us. His position seems to be, tit-for-tat, eye-for-an-eye, so what, forget it. He dismisses, with contempt, the idea that Russia meddled at all, but no one knows how much they meddled or what the effects were because no one has looked into it.

Mr. Cohen states that Russia did not attack the U.S. by which he means militarily with troops and missles. Obviously, that is true but so what. Is cyberassault not something the U.S. should worry about? Also Mr. Cohen seems to imply that Vladimir Putin is not that bad as leaders go, despite the poisonings, the assassinations, the imprisonment of critics and banning of political opponents, and most egregious, the invasion of the Ukraine and occupation of Crimea. He seems to think invading other countries is okay and that the Europeans don't care because sanctions against Russia cause them economic hardship. I suspect that many Europeans care very much about European countries invading each other. He criticizes President Obama for placing sanctions on Russia and states that Obama did so because the U.S. doesn't have a strategy regarding Russia. How does he think the U.S. should respond? What does he think U.S. policy should be towards Russia?

Mr. Cohen defends Michael Flynn stating all new administrations contact Russia to reassure them. Maybe so but that doesn't explain why Mr. Flynn failed to register as a lobbyist for Turkey. Mr. Mueller would not have been able to hold Mr. Flynn's son "hostage" if neither Flynn or his son had not done something illegal. Cohen also defends Ms. Butina even though she was in contact with the National Rifle Association.

Altogether I don't find Mr. Cohen persuasive because of his dismissive arrogance of everything supporting the Russiagate scandal. At this point no on is in a position to accurately critique Russiagate until the report by Mr. Mueller is released.

It would have helped his case if he had expressed as much contempt for the Trump Administration as he did of the Clinton and the Democrats such as some acknowledgement that Trump is a dispicable, cruel, vicious and pathological narcissist. It also did not help that Mr. Jay seemed embarrassed to question or critique Mr. Cohen's assertions. Unfortunately in making his points Mr. Cohen takes too much information out of context and leaves out far too many details of the Russiagate scandal.

Paul McArthur Mark Swanson 3 days ago ,

I think if you listen more to professor Cohen (try Stephen Cohen John Batchelor show) , you find acknowledgement of all of Trumps faults as well that you accurately described and realize his "dismissive arrogance" relates to his informed knowledge of the Russiagate scandal.

Oracle Mark Swanson 3 days ago ,

I couldn’t have put it any more coherently. I don’t find Mr. Cohen persuasive at all, particularly after watching the Russian intelligence and counter intelligence cohort at the House Intelligence Committee hearing. (They were extremely knowledgeable.) After hearing them, this guy seems unbelievable to me. But! Paul got his anti-Mueller report guy. At this point, this country is like a boulder ready to roll down a cliff and finish democracy for good. Two of the issues I found ironic was that Mr. Cohen 1) feels that Democrats must not think voters are very smart if they are swayed by the Social Networks (ha!) and 2) he really believes (straight face) that our voting system and elections in this country are solid and uncorrupted. Where has he been? Thank you, Mark Swanson, for your eloquent analysis.

Marilynne L. Mellander 19 hours ago ,

Finally - an interview with someone who doesn't suffer from Trump Derangement Syndrome - great stuff!!

TomG 3 days ago ,

So simple yet so true, "Sanctions are road rage. When you don't have effective policy, you implement sanctions."

Maricata • 4 days ago ,

The NYT or WAPO, both, are CIA outlets that ALWAYS lied to the world

miomyo 4 days ago ,

I say, now is the time to invest in tinfoil.

0040 4 days ago ,

An historically factual and informative article once again based based on a false premise. Trump was not elected. Billary won the election by 3 million votes. Trump was appointed POTUS by the Electoral College, as Bush2 was appointed by the SCOTUS and then employed a government official in Ohio to stuff electronic ballot boxes to secure himself a second term, and the US media forced fed to desperate but credulous Americans the empty suit Obomber turned out to be to. The US is not and has never been a Democracy, more a police state run by Plutocrats . Mr Cohen simply trumpets the corporate approved narrative offering incrementalism for obedience. Kissinger and friends, investment advisers to most of the worlds tyrants, continues to facilitate Putin's end run around US sanctions helping him invest his enormous fortune.

antiparasites 0040 4 days ago ,

you don't like the rules? then change the rules first. Trump won the election fair and square, following the rules. if the rules had been different, voters and candidates would have behaved totally differently as well in terms of campaign strategies and voting. Trump could have won the popular vote by a landslide. ever thought about that? no.

0040 antiparasites 3 days ago ,

The rules are , there are no longer any rules just the cloying greed of our rulers, whose minions will promote/support any lie in their service.

[Apr 01, 2019] Amazon.com War with Russia From Putin Ukraine to Trump Russiagate (9781510745810) Stephen F. Cohen Books

Highly recommended!
Important book. Kindle sample
Notable quotes:
"... Washington has made many policies strongly influenced by' the demonizing of Putin -- a personal vilification far exceeding any ever applied to Soviet Russia's latter-day Communist leaders. ..."
"... As with all institutions, the demonization of Putin has its own history'. When he first appeared on the world scene as Boris Yeltsin's anointed successor, in 1999-2000, Putin was welcomed by' leading representatives of the US political-media establishment. The New York Times ' chief Moscow correspondent and other verifiers reported that Russia's new leader had an "emotional commitment to building a strong democracy." Two years later, President George W. Bush lauded his summit with Putin and "the beginning of a very' constructive relationship."' ..."
"... But the Putin-friendly narrative soon gave away to unrelenting Putin-bashing. In 2004, Times columnist Nicholas Kristof inadvertently explained why, at least partially. Kristof complained bitterly' of having been "suckered by' Mr. Putin. He is not a sober version of Boris Yeltsin." By 2006, a Wall Street Journal editor, expressing the establishment's revised opinion, declared it "time we start thinking of Vladimir Putin's Russia as an enemy of the United States." 10 , 11 The rest, as they' say, is history'. ..."
"... In America and elsewhere in the West, however, only purported "minuses" reckon in the extreme vilifying, or anti-cult, of Putin. Many are substantially uninformed, based on highly selective or unverified sources, and motivated by political grievances, including those of several Yeltsin-era oligarchs and their agents in the West. ..."
"... Putin is not the man who, after coming to power in 2000, "de-democratized" a Russian democracy established by President Boris Yeltsin in the 1990s and restored a system akin to Soviet "totalitarianism." ..."
"... Nor did Putim then make himself a tsar or Soviet-like autocrat, which means a despot with absolute power to turn his will into policy, the last Kremlin leader with that kind of power was Stalin, who died in 1953, and with him his 20-year mass terror. ..."
"... Putin is not a Kremlin leader who "reveres Stalin" and whose "Russia is a gangster shadow of Stalin's Soviet Union." 13 , 14 These assertions are so far-fetched and uninfoimed about Stalin's terror-ridden regime, Putin, and Russia today, they barely warrant comment. ..."
"... Nor did Putin create post-Soviet Russia's "kleptocratic economic system," with its oligarchic and other widespread corruption. This too took shape under Yeltsin during the Kremlin's shock-therapy "privatization" schemes of the 1990s, when the "swindlers and thieves" still denounced by today's opposition actually emerged. ..."
"... Which brings us to the most sinister allegation against him: Putin, trained as "a KGB thug," regularly orders the killing of inconvenient journalists and personal enemies, like a "mafia state boss." ..."
"... More recently, there is yet another allegation: Putin is a fascist and white supremacist. The accusation is made mostly, it seems, by people wishing to deflect attention from the role being played by neo-Nazis in US-backed Ukraine. ..."
"... Finally, at least for now. there is the ramifying demonization allegation that, as a foreign-policy leader. Putin has been exceedingly "aggressive" abroad and his behavior has been the sole cause of the new cold war. ..."
"... Embedded in the "aggressive Putin" axiom are two others. One is that Putin is a neo-Soviet leader who seeks to restore the Soviet Union at the expense of Russia's neighbors. Fie is obsessively misquoted as having said, in 2005, "The collapse of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the twentieth century," apparently ranking it above two World Wars. What he actually said was "a major geopolitical catastrophe of the twentieth century," as it was for most Russians. ..."
"... The other fallacious sub-axiom is that Putin has always been "anti-Western," specifically "anti-American," has "always viewed the United States" with "smoldering suspicions." -- so much that eventually he set into motion a "Plot Against America." ..."
"... Or, until he finally concluded that Russia would never be treated as an equal and that NATO had encroached too close, Putin was a full partner in the US-European clubs of major world leaders? Indeed, as late as May 2018, contrary to Russiagate allegations, he still hoped, as he had from the beginning, to rebuild Russia partly through economic partnerships with the West: "To attract capital from friendly companies and countries, we need good relations with Europe and with the whole world, including the United States." 3 " ..."
"... A few years earlier, Putin remarkably admitted that initially he had "illusions" about foreign policy, without specifying which. Perhaps he meant this, spoken at the end of 2017: "Our most serious mistake in relations with the West is that we trusted you too much. And your mistake is that you took that trust as weakness and abused it." 34 ..."
"... <img src="https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/S/amazon-avatars-global/default._CR0,0,1024,1024_SX48_.png"> P. Philips ..."
"... "In a Time of Universal Deceit -- Telling the Truth Is a Revolutionary Act" ..."
"... Professor Cohen is indeed a patriot of the highest order. The American and "Globalists" elites, particularly the dysfunctional United Kingdom, are engaging in a war of nerves with Russia. This war, which could turn nuclear for reasons discussed in this important book, is of no benefit to any person or nation. ..."
"... If you are a viewer of one of the legacy media outlets, be it Cable Television networks, with the exception of Tucker Carlson on Fox who has Professor Cohen as a frequent guest, or newspapers such as The New York Times, you have been exposed to falsehoods by remarkably ignorant individuals; ignorant of history, of the true nature of Russia (which defeated the Nazis in Europe at a loss of millions of lives) and most important, of actual military experience. America is neither an invincible or exceptional nation. And for those familiar with terminology of ancient history, it appears the so-called elites are suffering from hubris. ..."
Apr 01, 2019 | www.amazon.com

THE SPECTER OF AN EVIL-DOING VLADIMIR PUTIN HAS loomed over and undermined US thinking about Russia for at least a decade. Inescapably, it is therefore a theme that runs through this book. Henry' Kissinger deserves credit for having warned, perhaps alone among prominent American political figures, against this badly distorted image of Russia's leader since 2000: "The demonization of Vladimir Putin is not a policy. It is an alibi for not having one." 4

But Kissinger was also wrong. Washington has made many policies strongly influenced by' the demonizing of Putin -- a personal vilification far exceeding any ever applied to Soviet Russia's latter-day Communist leaders. Those policies spread from growing complaints in the early 2000s to US- Russian proxy wars in Georgia, Ukraine, Syria, and eventually even at home, in Russiagate allegations. Indeed, policy-makers adopted an earlier formulation by the late Senator .Tolm McCain as an integral part of a new and more dangerous Cold War: "Putin [is] an unreconstructed Russian imperialist and K.G.B. apparatchik.... His world is a brutish, cynical place.... We must prevent the darkness of Mr. Putin's world from befalling more of humanity'." 3

Mainstream media outlets have play'ed a major prosecutorial role in the demonization. Far from aty'pically', the Washington Post's editorial page editor wrote, "Putin likes to make the bodies bounce.... The rule-by-fear is Soviet, but this time there is no ideology -- only a noxious mixture of personal aggrandizement, xenophobia, homophobia and primitive anti-Americanism." 6 Esteemed publications and writers now routinely degrade themselves by competing to denigrate "the flabbily muscled form" of the "small gray ghoul named Vladimir Putin." 7 , 8 There are hundreds of such examples, if not more, over many years. Vilifying Russia's leader has become a canon in the orthodox US narrative of the new Cold War.

As with all institutions, the demonization of Putin has its own history'. When he first appeared on the world scene as Boris Yeltsin's anointed successor, in 1999-2000, Putin was welcomed by' leading representatives of the US political-media establishment. The New York Times ' chief Moscow correspondent and other verifiers reported that Russia's new leader had an "emotional commitment to building a strong democracy." Two years later, President George W. Bush lauded his summit with Putin and "the beginning of a very' constructive relationship."'

But the Putin-friendly narrative soon gave away to unrelenting Putin-bashing. In 2004, Times columnist Nicholas Kristof inadvertently explained why, at least partially. Kristof complained bitterly' of having been "suckered by' Mr. Putin. He is not a sober version of Boris Yeltsin." By 2006, a Wall Street Journal editor, expressing the establishment's revised opinion, declared it "time we start thinking of Vladimir Putin's Russia as an enemy of the United States." 10 , 11 The rest, as they' say, is history'.

Who has Putin really been during his many years in power? We may' have to leave this large, complex question to future historians, when materials for full biographical study -- memoirs, archive documents, and others -- are available. Even so, it may surprise readers to know that Russia's own historians, policy intellectuals, and journalists already argue publicly and differ considerably as to the "pluses and minuses" of Putin's leadership. (My own evaluation is somewhere in the middle.)

In America and elsewhere in the West, however, only purported "minuses" reckon in the extreme vilifying, or anti-cult, of Putin. Many are substantially uninformed, based on highly selective or unverified sources, and motivated by political grievances, including those of several Yeltsin-era oligarchs and their agents in the West.

By identifying and examining, however briefly, the primary "minuses" that underpin the demonization of Putin, we can understand at least who he is not:

Embedded in the "aggressive Putin" axiom are two others. One is that Putin is a neo-Soviet leader who seeks to restore the Soviet Union at the expense of Russia's neighbors. Fie is obsessively misquoted as having said, in 2005, "The collapse of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the twentieth century," apparently ranking it above two World Wars. What he actually said was "a major geopolitical catastrophe of the twentieth century," as it was for most Russians.

Though often critical of the Soviet system and its two formative leaders, Lenin and Stalin, Putin, like most of his generation, naturally remains in part a Soviet person. But what he said in 2010 reflects his real perspective and that of very many other Russians: "Anyone who does not regret the break-up of the Soviet Union has no heart. Anyone who wants its rebirth in its previous form has no head." 28 , 29

The other fallacious sub-axiom is that Putin has always been "anti-Western," specifically "anti-American," has "always viewed the United States" with "smoldering suspicions." -- so much that eventually he set into motion a "Plot Against America." 30 , 31 A simple reading of his years in power tells us otherwise. A Westernized Russian, Putin came to the presidency in 2000 in the still prevailing tradition of Gorbachev and Yeltsin -- in hope of a "strategic friendship and partnership" with the United States.

How else to explain Putin's abundant assistant to US forces fighting in Afghanistan after 9/1 1 and continued facilitation of supplying American and NATO troops there? Or his backing of harsh sanctions against Iran's nuclear ambitions and refusal to sell Tehran a highly effective air-defense system? Or the information his intelligence services shared with Washington that if heeded could have prevented the Boston Marathon bombings in April 2012?

Or, until he finally concluded that Russia would never be treated as an equal and that NATO had encroached too close, Putin was a full partner in the US-European clubs of major world leaders? Indeed, as late as May 2018, contrary to Russiagate allegations, he still hoped, as he had from the beginning, to rebuild Russia partly through economic partnerships with the West: "To attract capital from friendly companies and countries, we need good relations with Europe and with the whole world, including the United States." 3 "

Given all that has happened during the past nearly two decades -- particularly what Putin and other Russian leaders perceive to have happened -- it would be remarkable if his views of the W^est, especially America, had not changed. As he remarked in 2018, "We all change." 33

A few years earlier, Putin remarkably admitted that initially he had "illusions" about foreign policy, without specifying which. Perhaps he meant this, spoken at the end of 2017: "Our most serious mistake in relations with the West is that we trusted you too much. And your mistake is that you took that trust as weakness and abused it." 34


P. Philips , December 6, 2018

"In a Time of Universal Deceit -- Telling the Truth Is a Revolutionary Act"

"In a Time of Universal Deceit -- Telling the Truth Is a Revolutionary Act" is a well known quotation (but probably not of George Orwell). And in telling the truth about Russia and that the current "war of nerves" is not in the interests of either the American People or national security, Professor Cohen in this book has in fact done a revolutionary act.

Like a denizen of Plato's cave, or being in the film the Matrix, most people have no idea what the truth is. And the questions raised by Professor Cohen are a great service in the cause of the truth. As Professor Cohen writes in his introduction To His Readers:

"My scholarly work -- my biography of Nikolai Bukharin and essays collected in Rethinking the Soviet Experience and Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives, for example -- has always been controversial because it has been what scholars term "revisionist" -- reconsiderations, based on new research and perspectives, of prevailing interpretations of Soviet and post-Soviet Russian history. But the "controversy" surrounding me since 2014, mostly in reaction to the contents of this book, has been different -- inspired by usually vacuous, defamatory assaults on me as "Putin's No. 1 American Apologist," "Best Friend," and the like. I never respond specifically to these slurs because they offer no truly substantive criticism of my arguments, only ad hominem attacks. Instead, I argue, as readers will see in the first section, that I am a patriot of American national security, that the orthodox policies my assailants promote are gravely endangering our security, and that therefore we -- I and others they assail -- are patriotic heretics. Here too readers can judge."

Cohen, Stephen F.. War with Russia (Kindle Locations 131-139). Hot Books. Kindle Edition.

Professor Cohen is indeed a patriot of the highest order. The American and "Globalists" elites, particularly the dysfunctional United Kingdom, are engaging in a war of nerves with Russia. This war, which could turn nuclear for reasons discussed in this important book, is of no benefit to any person or nation.

Indeed, with the hysteria on "climate change" isn't it odd that other than Professor Cohen's voice, there are no prominent figures warning of the devastation that nuclear war would bring?

If you are a viewer of one of the legacy media outlets, be it Cable Television networks, with the exception of Tucker Carlson on Fox who has Professor Cohen as a frequent guest, or newspapers such as The New York Times, you have been exposed to falsehoods by remarkably ignorant individuals; ignorant of history, of the true nature of Russia (which defeated the Nazis in Europe at a loss of millions of lives) and most important, of actual military experience. America is neither an invincible or exceptional nation. And for those familiar with terminology of ancient history, it appears the so-called elites are suffering from hubris.

I cannot recommend Professor Cohen's work with sufficient superlatives; his arguments are erudite, clearly stated, supported by the facts and ultimately irrefutable. If enough people find Professor Cohen's work and raise their voices to their oblivious politicians and profiteers from war to stop further confrontation between Russia and America, then this book has served a noble purpose.

If nothing else, educate yourself by reading this work to discover what the *truth* is. And the truth is something sacred.

America and the world owe Professor Cohen a great debt. "Blessed are the peace makers..."

[Mar 30, 2019] The Real Costs of Russiagate

Highly recommended!
So Russiagate smoothly transferred in Neo-McCarthyism and it will poison the US political atmosphere for a decade or two.
Notable quotes:
"... But as I foresaw well before the summary of Mueller's "Russia investigation" appeared, there is unlikely to be much, if any. Too many personal and organizational interests are too deeply invested in Russiagate. Not surprisingly, leading perpetrators instead immediately met the summary with a torrent of denials, goal-post shifts, obfuscations, and calls for more Russiagate "investigations." ..."
"... Clamorous allegations that the Kremlin "attacked our elections" and thereby put Trump in the White House, despite the lack of any evidence, cast doubt on the legitimacy of American elections ..."
"... Persistent demands to "secure our elections from hostile powers" -- a politically and financially profitable mania, it seems -- can only further abet and perpetuate declining confidence in the entire electoral process ..."
"... Still more, if some crude Russian social-media outputs could so dupe voters, what does this tell us about what US elites, which originated these allegations, really think of those voters, of the American people? ..."
"... Mainstream media are, of course, a foundational institution of American democracy, especially national ones, newspapers and television, with immense influence inside the Beltway and, in ramifying synergic ways, throughout the country. Their Russiagate media malpractice, as I have termed it, may have been the worst such episode in modern American history. ..."
"... Almost equally remarkable and lamentable, we learn that even now, after Mueller's finding is known, top executives of the Times and other leading Russiagate media outlets, including The Washington Post and CNN, " have no regrets ." ..."
"... Leading members of the party initiated, inflated, and prolonged it. They did nothing to prevent inquisitors like Representatives Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell from becoming the cable-news face of the party. Or to rein in or disassociate the party from the outlandish excesses of "The Resistance." With very few exceptions, elected and other leading Democrats did nothing to stop -- and therefore further abetted -- the institutional damage being done by Russiagate allegations. ..."
"... Rachel Maddow continues to hype "the underlying reality that Russia did in fact attack us." By any reasonable definition of "attack," no, it did not, and scarcely any allegation could be more recklessly warmongering, a perception the Democratic Party will for this and other Russiagate commissions have to endure, or not. (When Mueller's full report is published, we will see if he too indulged in this dangerous absurdity. A few passages in the summary suggest he might have done so.) ..."
"... Finally, but potentially not least, the new Cold War with Russia has itself become an institution pervading American political, economic, media, and cultural life. Russiagate has made it more dangerous, more fraught with actual war, than the Cold War we survived, as I explain in War with Russia? Recall only that Russiagate allegations further demonized "Putin's Russia," thwarted Trump's necessary attempts to "cooperate with Russia" as somehow "treasonous," criminalized détente thinking and "inappropriate contacts with Russia" -- in short, policies and practices that previously helped to avert nuclear war. Meanwhile, the Russiagate spectacle has caused many ordinary Russians who once admired America to now be " derisive and scornful " toward our political life. ..."
Mar 30, 2019 | www.thenation.com

But as I foresaw well before the summary of Mueller's "Russia investigation" appeared, there is unlikely to be much, if any. Too many personal and organizational interests are too deeply invested in Russiagate. Not surprisingly, leading perpetrators instead immediately met the summary with a torrent of denials, goal-post shifts, obfuscations, and calls for more Russiagate "investigations." Joy Reid of MSNBC, which has been a citadel of Russiagate allegations along with CNN, even suggested that Mueller and Attorney General William Barr were themselves engaged in " a cover-up ."

Contrary to a number of major media outlets, from Bloomberg News to The Wall Street Journal , nor does Mueller's exculpatory finding actually mean that " Russiagate is dead " and indeed that " it expired in an instant ." Such conclusions reveal a lack of historical and political understanding. Nearly three years of Russiagate's toxic allegations have entered the American political-media elite bloodstream, and they almost certainly will reappear again and again in one form or another.

This is an exceedingly grave danger, because the real costs of Russiagate are not the estimated $25–40 million spent on the Mueller investigation but the corrosive damage it has already done to the institutions of American democracy -- damage done not by an alleged "Trump-Putin axis" but by Russsigate's perpetrators themselves. Having examined this collateral damage in my recently published book War with Russia? From Putin and Ukraine to Trump and Russiagate , I will only note them here.

§ Clamorous allegations that the Kremlin "attacked our elections" and thereby put Trump in the White House, despite the lack of any evidence, cast doubt on the legitimacy of American elections everywhere -- national, state, and local. If true, or even suspected, how can voters have confidence in the electoral foundations of American democracy? Persistent demands to "secure our elections from hostile powers" -- a politically and financially profitable mania, it seems -- can only further abet and perpetuate declining confidence in the entire electoral process.

Still more, if some crude Russian social-media outputs could so dupe voters, what does this tell us about what US elites, which originated these allegations, really think of those voters, of the American people?

§ Defamatory Russsiagate allegations that Trump was a "Kremlin puppet" and thus "illegitimate" were aimed at the president but hit the presidency itself, degrading the institution, bringing it under suspicion, casting doubt on its legitimacy. And if an "agent of a hostile foreign power" could occupy the White House once, a "Manchurian candidate," why not again? Will Republicans be able to resist making such allegations against a future Democratic president? In any event, Hillary Clinton's failed campaign manager, Robby Mook, has already told us that there will be a " next time ."

§ Mainstream media are, of course, a foundational institution of American democracy, especially national ones, newspapers and television, with immense influence inside the Beltway and, in ramifying synergic ways, throughout the country. Their Russiagate media malpractice, as I have termed it, may have been the worst such episode in modern American history. No mainstream media did anything to expose, for example, two crucial and fraudulent Russiagate documents -- the so-called Steele Dossier and the January 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment -- but instead relied heavily on them for their own narratives. Little more need be said here about this institutional self-degradation. Glenn Greenwald and a few others followed and exposed it throughout, and now Matt Taibbi has given us a meticulously documented account of that systematic malpractice , concluding that Mueller's failure to confirm the media's Russiagate allegations "is a death-blow for the reputation of the American news media."

Nor, it must be added, was this entirely inadvertent or accidental. On August 8, 2016, the trend-setting New York Times published on its front page an astonishing editorial manifesto by its media critic. Asking whether "normal standards" should apply to candidate Trump, he explained that they should not: "You have to throw out the textbook American journalism has been using for the better part of the past half-century." Let others decide whether this Times proclamation unleashed the highly selective, unbalanced, questionably factual "journalism" that has so degraded Russiagate media or instead the publication sought to justify what was already underway. In either case, this remarkable -- and ramifying -- Times rejection of its own professed standards should not be forgotten. Almost equally remarkable and lamentable, we learn that even now, after Mueller's finding is known, top executives of the Times and other leading Russiagate media outlets, including The Washington Post and CNN, " have no regrets ."

§ For better or worse, America has a two-party political system, which means that the Democratic Party is also a foundational institution. Little more also need be pointed out regarding its self-degrading role in the Russiagate fraud. Leading members of the party initiated, inflated, and prolonged it. They did nothing to prevent inquisitors like Representatives Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell from becoming the cable-news face of the party. Or to rein in or disassociate the party from the outlandish excesses of "The Resistance." With very few exceptions, elected and other leading Democrats did nothing to stop -- and therefore further abetted -- the institutional damage being done by Russiagate allegations.

As for Mueller's finding, the party's virtual network, MSNBC, remains undeterred.

Rachel Maddow continues to hype "the underlying reality that Russia did in fact attack us." By any reasonable definition of "attack," no, it did not, and scarcely any allegation could be more recklessly warmongering, a perception the Democratic Party will for this and other Russiagate commissions have to endure, or not. (When Mueller's full report is published, we will see if he too indulged in this dangerous absurdity. A few passages in the summary suggest he might have done so.)

§ Finally, but potentially not least, the new Cold War with Russia has itself become an institution pervading American political, economic, media, and cultural life. Russiagate has made it more dangerous, more fraught with actual war, than the Cold War we survived, as I explain in War with Russia? Recall only that Russiagate allegations further demonized "Putin's Russia," thwarted Trump's necessary attempts to "cooperate with Russia" as somehow "treasonous," criminalized détente thinking and "inappropriate contacts with Russia" -- in short, policies and practices that previously helped to avert nuclear war. Meanwhile, the Russiagate spectacle has caused many ordinary Russians who once admired America to now be " derisive and scornful " toward our political life.

[Feb 13, 2019] Stephen Cohen on War with Russia and Soviet-style Censorship in the US by Russell Mokhiber

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... War with Russia. ..."
"... Cohen said the censorship that he has faced in recent years is similar to the censorship imposed on dissidents in the Soviet Union. ..."
"... Washington Post ..."
"... "Katrina and I had a joint signed op-ed piece in the New York Times ..."
"... Washington Post ..."
"... "The alternatives have been excluded from both. I would welcome an opportunity to debate these issues in the mainstream media, where you can reach more people. And remember, being in these pages, for better or for worse, makes you Kosher. This is the way it works. If you have been on these pages, you are cited approvingly. You are legitimate. You are within the parameters of the debate." ..."
"... "When I lived off and on in the Soviet Union, I saw how Soviet media treated dissident voices. And they didn't have to arrest them. They just wouldn't ever mention them. Sometimes they did that (arrest them). But they just wouldn't ever mention them in the media." ..."
"... "And something like that has descended here. And it's really alarming, along with some other Soviet-style practices in this country that nobody seems to care about – like keeping people in prison until they break, that is plea, without right to bail, even though they haven't been convicted of anything." ..."
"... "That's what they did in the Soviet Union. They kept people in prison until people said – I want to go home. Tell me what to say – and I'll go home. That's what we are doing here. And we shouldn't be doing that." ..."
"... Russell Mokhiber is the editor of the Corporate Crime Reporter.. ..."
Feb 12, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org

On stage at Busboys and Poets in Washington, D.C. this past week was Princeton University Professor Emeritus Stephen Cohen, author of the new book, War with Russia: From Putin & Ukraine to Trump & Russiagate.

Cohen has largely been banished from mainstream media.

"I had been arguing for years -- very much against the American political media grain -- that a new US/Russian Cold War was unfolding -- driven primarily by politics in Washington, not Moscow," Cohen writes in War with Russia. "For this perspective, I had been largely excluded from influential print, broadcast and cable outlets where I had been previously welcomed."

On the stage at Busboys and Poets with Cohen was Katrina vanden Heuvel, the editor of The Nation magazine, and Robert Borosage, co-founder of the Campaign for America's Future.

During question time, Cohen was asked about the extent of the censorship in the context of other Americans who had been banished from mainstream American media, including Ralph Nader, whom the liberal Democratic establishment, including Borosage and Vanden Heuvel, stiff armed when he crashed the corporate political parties in the electoral arena in 2004 and 2008.

Cohen said the censorship that he has faced in recent years is similar to the censorship imposed on dissidents in the Soviet Union.

"Until some period of time before Trump, on the question of what America's policy toward Putin's Kremlin should be, there was a reasonable facsimile of a debate on those venues that had these discussions," Cohen said. "Are we allowed to mention the former Charlie Rose for example? On the long interview form, Charlie would have on a person who would argue for a very hard policy toward Putin. And then somebody like myself who thought it wasn't a good idea."

"Occasionally that got on CNN too. MSNBC not so much. And you could get an op-ed piece published, with effort, in the New York Times or Washington Post ."

"Katrina and I had a joint signed op-ed piece in the New York Times six or seven years ago. But then it stopped. And to me, that's the fundamental difference between this Cold War and the preceding Cold War."

"I will tell you off the record – no, I'm not going to do it," Cohen said. "Two exceedingly imminent Americans, who most op-ed pages would die to get a piece by, just to say they were on the page, submitted such articles to the New York Times , and they were rejected the same day. They didn't even debate it. They didn't even come back and say – could you tone it down? They just didn't want it."

"Now is that censorship? In Italy, where each political party has its own newspaper, you would say – okay fair enough. I will go to a newspaper that wants me. But here, we are used to these newspapers."

"Remember how it works. I was in TV for 18 years being paid by CBS. So, I know how these things work. TV doesn't generate its own news anymore. Their actual reporting has been de-budgeted. They do video versions of what is in the newspapers."

"Look at the cable talk shows. You see it in the New York Times and Washington Post in the morning, you turn on the TV at night and there is the video version. That's just the way the news business works now."

"The alternatives have been excluded from both. I would welcome an opportunity to debate these issues in the mainstream media, where you can reach more people. And remember, being in these pages, for better or for worse, makes you Kosher. This is the way it works. If you have been on these pages, you are cited approvingly. You are legitimate. You are within the parameters of the debate."

"If you are not, then you struggle to create your own alternative media. It's new in my lifetime. I know these imminent Americans I mentioned were shocked when they were just told no. It's a lockdown. And it is a form of censorship."

"When I lived off and on in the Soviet Union, I saw how Soviet media treated dissident voices. And they didn't have to arrest them. They just wouldn't ever mention them. Sometimes they did that (arrest them). But they just wouldn't ever mention them in the media."

"Dissidents created what is known as samizdat – that's typescript that you circulate by hand. Gorbachev, before he came to power, did read some samizdat. But it's no match for newspapers published with five, six, seven million copies a day. Or the three television networks which were the only television networks Soviet citizens had access to."

"And something like that has descended here. And it's really alarming, along with some other Soviet-style practices in this country that nobody seems to care about – like keeping people in prison until they break, that is plea, without right to bail, even though they haven't been convicted of anything."

"That's what they did in the Soviet Union. They kept people in prison until people said – I want to go home. Tell me what to say – and I'll go home. That's what we are doing here. And we shouldn't be doing that."

Cohen appears periodically on Tucker Carlson's show on Fox News. And that rankled one person in the audience at Busboys and Poets, who said he worried that Cohen's perspective on Russia can be "appropriated by the right."

"Trump can take that and run on a nationalistic platform – to hell with NATO, to hell with fighting these endless wars, to do what he did in 2016 and get the votes of people who are very concerned about the deteriorating relations between the U.S. and Russia," the man said.

Cohen says that on a personal level, he likes Tucker Carlson "and I don't find him to be a racist or a nationalist."

"Nationalism is on the rise around the world everywhere," Cohen said. "There are different kinds of nationalism. We always called it patriotism in this country, but we have always been a nationalistic country."

"Fox has about three to four million viewers at that hour," Cohen said. "If I am not permitted to give my take on American/Russian relations on any other mass media, and by the way, possibly talk directly to Trump, who seems to like his show, and say – Trump is making a mistake, he should do this or do that instead -- I don't get many opportunities – and I can't see why I shouldn't do it."

"I get three and a half to four minutes," Cohen said. "I don't see it as consistent with my mission, if that's the right word, to say no. These articles I write for The Nation , which ended up in my book, are posted on some of the most God awful websites in the world. I had to look them up to find out how bad they really are. But what can I do about it?"

Join the debate on Facebook More articles by: Russell Mokhiber

Russell Mokhiber is the editor of the Corporate Crime Reporter..

[Feb 02, 2019] The End Of Russia's Democratic Illusions About America

Feb 02, 2019 | theduran.com

The End Of Russia's "Democratic Illusions" About America

How Russiagate has impacted a vital struggle in Russia.

Published

6 days ago

on

January 27, 2019 By

Stephen Cohen 3,139 Views ,

[Jan 22, 2019] War with Russia From Putin Ukraine to Trump Russiagate

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Professor Cohen is indeed a patriot of the highest order. The American and "Globalists" elites, particularly the dysfunctional United Kingdom, are engaging in a war of nerves with Russia. This war, which could turn nuclear for reasons discussed in this important book, is of no benefit to any person or nation. ..."
Jan 22, 2019 | www.amazon.com

P. Philips 5.0 out of 5 stars December 6, 2018

"In a Time of Universal Deceit -- Telling the Truth Is a Revolutionary Act"

"In a Time of Universal Deceit -- Telling the Truth Is a Revolutionary Act" is a well known quotation (but probably not of George Orwell). And in telling the truth about Russia and that the current "war of nerves" is not in the interests of either the American People or national security, Professor Cohen in this book has in fact done a revolutionary act.

Like a denizen of Plato's cave, or being in the film the Matrix, most people have no idea what the truth is. And the questions raised by Professor Cohen are a great service in the cause of the truth. As Professor Cohen writes in his introduction To His Readers:

"My scholarly work -- my biography of Nikolai Bukharin and essays collected in Rethinking the Soviet Experience and Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives, for example -- has always been controversial because it has been what scholars term "revisionist" -- reconsiderations, based on new research and perspectives, of prevailing interpretations of Soviet and post-Soviet Russian history. But the "controversy" surrounding me since 2014, mostly in reaction to the contents of this book, has been different -- inspired by usually vacuous, defamatory assaults on me as "Putin's No. 1 American Apologist," "Best Friend," and the like. I never respond specifically to these slurs because they offer no truly substantive criticism of my arguments, only ad hominem attacks. Instead, I argue, as readers will see in the first section, that I am a patriot of American national security, that the orthodox policies my assailants promote are gravely endangering our security, and that therefore we -- I and others they assail -- are patriotic heretics. Here too readers can judge."

Cohen, Stephen F.. War with Russia (Kindle Locations 131-139). Hot Books. Kindle Edition.

Professor Cohen is indeed a patriot of the highest order. The American and "Globalists" elites, particularly the dysfunctional United Kingdom, are engaging in a war of nerves with Russia. This war, which could turn nuclear for reasons discussed in this important book, is of no benefit to any person or nation.

Indeed, with the hysteria on "climate change" isn't it odd that other than Professor Cohen's voice, there are no prominent figures warning of the devastation that nuclear war would bring?

If you are a viewer of one of the legacy media outlets, be it Cable Television networks, with the exception of Tucker Carlson on Fox who has Professor Cohen as a frequent guest, or newspapers such as The New York Times, you have been exposed to falsehoods by remarkably ignorant individuals; ignorant of history, of the true nature of Russia (which defeated the Nazis in Europe at a loss of millions of lives) and most important, of actual military experience. America is neither an invincible or exceptional nation. And for those familiar with terminology of ancient history, it appears the so-called elites are suffering from hubris.

I cannot recommend Professor Cohen's work with sufficient superlatives; his arguments are erudite, clearly stated, supported by the facts and ultimately irrefutable. If enough people find Professor Cohen's work and raise their voices to their oblivious politicians and profiteers from war to stop further confrontation between Russia and America, then this book has served a noble purpose.

If nothing else, educate yourself by reading this work to discover what the *truth* is. And the truth is something sacred.

America and the world owe Professor Cohen a great debt. "Blessed are the peace makers..."

jn 5.0 out of 5 stars January 18, 2019

This book examines the senseless and dangerous demonizing of Russia and Putin

This is a compelling book that documents and examines the senseless and dangerous demonizing of Russia and Putin. Unfortunately, the elites in Washington and mass media are not likely to read this book. Their minds are closed. I read this book because I was hoping for an explanation about the cause of the new cold war with Russia. Although the root cause of the new cold war is beyond the scope of this book, the book documents baseless accusations that grew in frequency and intensity until all opposition was silenced. The book documents the dangerous triumph of group think.

skeptic

"On my planet, the evidence linking Putin to the assassination of Litvinecko, Nemtsov, and Politkovskaya and the attempt on the Skripals is strong and consistent with spending his formative years in the KGB. The naive view from Cohen's planet is presented on p 6 and 170."

Ukrainian history. That's evident to any attentive reader. I just want to state that Ukrainian EuroMaydan was a color revolution which exploited the anger of population against the corrupt neoliberal government of Yanukovich (with Biden as the best friend, and Paul Manafort as the election advisor) to install even more neoliberal and more corrupt government of Poroshenko and cut Ukraine from Russia. The process that was probably inevitable in the long run (so called Baltic path), but that was forcefully accelerated. Everything was taken from the Gene Sharp textbook. And Ukrainians suffered greatly as a result, with the standard of living dropping to around $2 a day level -- essentially Central Africa level.

The fact is that the EU acted as a predator trying to get into Ukraine markets and displace Russia. While the USA neocons (Nuland and Co) staged the coup using Ukrainian nationalists as a ram, ignoring the fact that Yanukovich would be voted out in six months anyway (his popularity was in single digits, like popularity of Poroshenko those days ;-). The fact that Obama administration desperately wanted to weaken Russia at the expense of Ukrainians eludes you. I would blame Nuland for the loss of Crimea and the civil war in Donbass.

Poor Ukrainians again became the victim of geopolitical games by big powers. No that they are completely blameless, but still...

It looks like you inhabit a very cold populated exclusively with neocons planet called "Russiagate." So Professor Cohen really lives on another planet. And probably you should drink less American exceptionalism Kool-Aid.

[Jan 21, 2019] Anti-Trump Frenzy Threatens to End Superpower Diplomacy by Stephen F. Cohen

The problem is not Russia; the problem is the crisis of neoliberalism in the USA. And related legitimization of neoliberal elite, which now Deep State is trying ot patch with anti-Russian hysteria
Notable quotes:
"... That is, in the modern history of US-Russian summits, we are told by a former American ambassador who knows, the "secrecy of presidential private meetings has been the rule, not the exception." He continues, "There's nothing unusual about withholding information from the bureaucracy about the president's private meetings with foreign leaders . Sometimes they would dictate a memo afterward, sometimes not." Indeed, President Richard Nixon, distrustful of the US "bureaucracy," sometimes met privately with Kremlin leader Leonid Brezhnev while only Brezhnev's translator was present. ..."
Jan 16, 2019 | www.thenation.com

Baseless Russiagate allegations continue to risk war with Russia. Anti-Trump Frenzy Threatens to End Superpower Diplomacy | The Nation The New Year has brought a torrent of ever-more-frenzied allegations that President Donald Trump has long had a conspiratorial relationship -- why mince words and call it "collusion"? -- with Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin.

Why the frenzy now? Perhaps because Russiagate promoters in high places are concerned that special counsel Robert Mueller will not produce the hoped-for "bombshell" to end Trump's presidency. Certainly, New York Times columnist David Leonhardt seems worried, demanding, "The president must go," his drop line exhorting, "What are we waiting for?" (In some countries, articles like his, and there are very many, would be read as calling for a coup.) Perhaps to incite Democrats who have now taken control of House investigative committees. Perhaps simply because Russiagate has become a political-media cult that no facts, or any lack of evidence, can dissuade or diminish.

And there is no new credible evidence, preposterous claims notwithstanding. One of The New York Times ' own recent "bombshells," published on January 12, reported, for example, that in spring 2017, FBI officials "began investigating whether [President Trump] had been working on behalf of Russia against American interests." None of the three reporters bothered to point out that those "agents and officials" almost certainly included ones later reprimanded and retired by the FBI itself for their political biases. (As usual, the Times buried its self-protective disclaimer deep in the story: "No evidence has emerged publicly that Mr. Trump was secretly in contact with or took direction from Russian government officials.")

Whatever the explanation, the heightened frenzy is unmistakable, leading the "news" almost daily in the synergistic print and cable media outlets that have zealously promoted Russiagate for more than two years, in particular the Times , The Washington Post , MSNBC, CNN, and their kindred outlets. They have plenty of eager enablers, including the once-distinguished Strobe Talbott, President Bill Clinton's top adviser on Russia and until recently president of the Brookings Institution. According to Talbott , "We already know that the Kremlin helped put Trump into the White House and played him for a sucker . Trump has been colluding with a hostile Russia throughout his presidency." In fact, we do not "know" any of this. These remain merely widely disseminated suspicions and allegations.

In this cult-like commentary, the "threat" of "a hostile Russia" must be inflated along with charges against Trump. (In truth, Russia represents no threat to the United States that Washington itself did not provoke since the end of the Soviet Union in 1991.) For its own threat inflation, the Times featured not an expert with any plausible credentials but Lisa Page, the former FBI lawyer with no known Russia expertise, and who was one of those reprimanded by the agency for anti-Trump political bias. Nonetheless, the Times quotes Page at length : "In the Russian Federation and in President Putin himself you have an individual whose aim is to disrupt the Western alliance and whose aim is to make Western democracy more fractious in order to weaken our ability to spread our democratic ideals." Perhaps we should have guessed that the democracy-promotion genes of J. Edgar Hoover were still alive and breeding in the FBI, though for the Times , in its exploitation of the hapless and legally endangered Page, it seems not to matter.

Which brings us, or rather Russiagate zealots, to the heightened "threat" represented by "Putin's Russia." If true, we would expect the US president to negotiate with the Kremlin leader, including at summit meetings, as every president since Dwight Eisenhower has done. But, we are told, we cannot trust Trump to do so, because, according to The Washington Post , he has repeatedly met with Putin alone, with only translators present, and concealed the records of their private talks, sure signs of "treasonous" behavior, as the Russiagate media first insisted following the Trump-Putin summit in Helsinki in July 2018.

It's hard to know whether this is historical ignorance or Russiagate malice, though it is probably both. In any event, the truth is very different. In preparing US-Russian (Soviet and post-Soviet) summits since the 1950s, aides on both sides have arranged "private time" for their bosses for two essential reasons: so they can develop sufficient personal rapport to sustain any policy partnership they decide on; and so they can alert one another to constraints on their policy powers at home, to foes of such détente policies often centered in their respective intelligence agencies. (The KGB ran operations against Nikita Khrushchev's détente policies with Eisenhower, and, as is well established, US intelligence agencies have run operations against Trump's proclaimed goal of "cooperation with Russia.")

That is, in the modern history of US-Russian summits, we are told by a former American ambassador who knows, the "secrecy of presidential private meetings has been the rule, not the exception." He continues, "There's nothing unusual about withholding information from the bureaucracy about the president's private meetings with foreign leaders . Sometimes they would dictate a memo afterward, sometimes not." Indeed, President Richard Nixon, distrustful of the US "bureaucracy," sometimes met privately with Kremlin leader Leonid Brezhnev while only Brezhnev's translator was present.

Nor should we forget the national-security benefits that have come from private meetings between US and Kremlin leaders. In October 1986, President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev met alone with their translators and an American official who took notes -- the two leaders, despite their disagreements, agreed in principle that nuclear weapons should be abolished. The result, in 1987, was the first and still only treaty abolishing an entire category of such weapons, the exceedingly dangerous intermediate-range ones. (This is the historic treaty Trump has said he may abrogate.)

And yet, congressional zealots are now threatening to subpoena the American translator who was present during Trump's meetings with Putin. If this recklessness prevails, it will be the end of the nuclear-superpower summit diplomacy that has helped to keep America and the world safe from catastrophic war for nearly 70 years -- and as a new, more perilous nuclear arms race between the two countries is unfolding. It will amply confirm a thesis set out in my book War with Russia? -- that anti-Trump Russiagate allegations have become the gravest threat to our security.

The following correction and clarification were made to the original version of this article on January 17: Reagan and Gorbachev met privately with translators during their summit in Reykjavik, Iceland, in October 1986, not February, and Reagan was also accompanied by an American official who took notes. And it would be more precise to say that the two leaders, despite their disagreements, agreed in principle that nuclear weapons should be abolished.

Stephen F. Cohen is professor emeritus of politics and Russian studies at Princeton and NYU and author of the new book War with Russia? From Putin and Ukraine to Trump and Russiagate . This commentary is based on the most recent of his weekly discussions of the new US-Russian Cold War with the host of the John Batchelor radio show. (The podcast is here . Previous installments, now in their fifth year, are at TheNation.com . )

[Nov 24, 2018] Russian Diplomacy Is Winning the New Cold War by Stephen F. Cohen

Notable quotes:
"... During the preceding Cold War with the Soviet Union, no attempt was made to "isolate" Russia abroad; instead, the goal was to "contain" it within its "bloc" of Eastern European nations and compete with it in what was called the "Third World." ..."
"... The notion of "isolating" a country of Russia's size, Eurasian location, resources, and long history as a great power is vainglorious folly. It reflects the paucity and poverty of foreign thinking in Washington in recent decades, not the least in the US Congress and mainstream media. ..."
"... Nationalism, that is, by whatever name, has long been a major political force in most countries, whether in liberal enlightened or reactionary right-wing forms. Russia and the United States are not exceptions. ..."
Nov 24, 2018 | www.thenation.com

Washington's attempt to "isolate Putin's Russia" has failed and had the opposite effect.

On the fifth anniversary of the onset of the Ukrainian crisis, in November 2013, and of Washington "punishing" Russia by attempting to "isolate" it in world affairs -- a policy first declared by President Barack Obama in 2014 and continued ever since, primarily through economic sanctions -- Cohen discusses the following points:

1. During the preceding Cold War with the Soviet Union, no attempt was made to "isolate" Russia abroad; instead, the goal was to "contain" it within its "bloc" of Eastern European nations and compete with it in what was called the "Third World."

2. The notion of "isolating" a country of Russia's size, Eurasian location, resources, and long history as a great power is vainglorious folly. It reflects the paucity and poverty of foreign thinking in Washington in recent decades, not the least in the US Congress and mainstream media.

3. Consider the actual results. Russia is hardly isolated. Since 2014, Moscow has arguably been the most active diplomatic capital of all great powers today. It has forged expanding military, political, or economic partnerships with, for example, China, Iran, Turkey, Syria, Saudi Arabia, India, and several other East Asian nations, even, despite EU sanctions, with several European governments. Still more, Moscow is the architect and prime convener of three important peace negotiations under way today: those involving Syria, Serbia-Kosovo, and even Afghanistan. Put differently, can any other national leaders in the 21st century match the diplomatic records of Russian President Vladimir Putin or of his foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov? Certainly not former US presidents George W. Bush or Obama or soon-to-depart German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Nor any British or French leader.

4. Much is made of Putin's purportedly malign "nationalism" in this regard. But this is an uninformed or hypocritical explanation. Consider French President Emmanuel Macron, who recently reproached Trump for his declared nationalism. The same Macron who has sought to suggest (rather implausibly) that he is a second coming of Charles de Gaulle, who himself was a great and professed nationalist leader of the 20th century, from his resistance to the Nazi occupation and founding of the Fifth Republic to his refusal to put the French military under NATO command. Nationalism, that is, by whatever name, has long been a major political force in most countries, whether in liberal enlightened or reactionary right-wing forms. Russia and the United States are not exceptions.

5. Putin's success in restoring Russia's role in world affairs is usually ascribed to his "aggressive" policies, but it is better understood as a realization of what is characterized in Moscow as the "philosophy of Russian foreign policy" since Putin became leader in 2000. It has three professed tenets. The first goal of foreign policy is to protect Russia's "sovereignty," which is said to have been lost in the disastrous post-Soviet 1990s. The second is a kind of Russia-first nationalism or patriotism: to enhance the well-being of the citizens of the Russian Federation. The third is ecumenical: to partner with any government that wants to partner with Russia. This "philosophy" is, of course, non- or un-Soviet, which was heavily ideological, at least in its professed ideology and goals.

6. Considering Washington's inability to "isolate Russia," considering Russia's diplomatic successes in recent years, and considering the bitter fruits of US militarized and regime-change foreign policies (which long predate President Trump), perhaps it's time for Washington to learn from Moscow rather than demand that Moscow conform to Washington's thinking about -- and behavior in -- world affairs. If not, Washington is more likely to continue to isolate itself.

... ... ...

Stephen F. Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian studies and politics at NYU and Princeton, and John Batchelor continue their (usually) weekly discussions of the new US-Russian Cold War. (Previous installments, now in their fifth year, are at TheNation.com.)

[Nov 05, 2018] Nuclear war threat is now real

Nov 05, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Northern Star November 5, 2018 at 2:25 pm

USA Psychopaths in Power WATCH:

"Phil Collins
The only thing that can stop this ever happening is if the American people stand up to these psychopaths running their country its called people power and would stop them in their tracks madmen now run the Whitehouse"

https://youtu.be/OpQuUMURex8

[Nov 02, 2018] 'We have met the enemy and he is us' Who's really 'undermining' US democracy asks Stephen Cohen

Notable quotes:
"... War with Russia? From Putin and Ukraine To Trump and Russiagate ..."
"... undermine American democracy ..."
"... are engaging in an elaborate campaign of 'information warfare' to interfere with the American midterm elections ..."
"... public evidence ..."
"... arsenal of disruption capabilities... to sow havoc on election day ..."
"... Kremlin propaganda ..."
"... portraying Russian and Syrian government forces favorably as they battled 'terrorists' in what US officials for years have portrayed as a legitimate uprising against the authoritarian government of President Bashar al-Assad. ..."
"... Kremlin propaganda ..."
"... what US officials for years have ..."
"... undermining of American democracy ..."
"... We have met the enemy and he is us ..."
"... This article was originally published by The Nation . ..."
Nov 02, 2018 | www.rt.com

Allegations that Russia is still "attacking" US elections, now again in November, could delegitimize our democratic institutions. Summarizing one of the themes in his new book, ' War with Russia? From Putin and Ukraine To Trump and Russiagate ,' Stephen F. Cohen argues that Russiagate allegations of Kremlin attempts to " undermine American democracy " may themselves erode confidence in those institutions.

Ever since Russiagate allegations began to appear more than two years ago, their core narrative has revolved around purported Kremlin attempts to " interfere " in the 2016 US presidential election on behalf of then-candidate Donald Trump. In recent months, a number of leading American media outlets have taken that argument even further, suggesting that Putin's Kremlin actually put Trump in the White House and now is similarly trying to affect the November 6 midterm elections, particularly House contests, on behalf of Trump and the Republican Party. According to a page-one New York Times "report," for example, Putin's agents " are engaging in an elaborate campaign of 'information warfare' to interfere with the American midterm elections ."

Despite well-documented articles by Gareth Porter and Aaron Mate effectively dismantling these allegations about 2016 and 2018, the mainstream media continues to promote them. The occasionally acknowledged lack of " public evidence " is sometimes cited as itself evidence of a deep Russian conspiracy, of the Kremlin's " arsenal of disruption capabilities... to sow havoc on election day ." (See the examples cited by Alan MacLeod .)

Lost in these reckless allegations is the long-term damage they may themselves do to American democracy. Consider the following possibilities:

Even though still unproven, charges that the Kremlin put Trump in the White House have cast a large shadow of illegitimacy over his presidency and thus over the institution of the presidency itself. This is unlikely to end entirely with Trump. If the Kremlin had the power to affect the outcome of one presidential election, why not another one, whether won by a Republican or a Democrat? The 2016 presidential election was the first time such an allegation became widespread in American political history, but it may not be the last.

Now the same shadow looms over the November 6 elections and thus over the next Congress. If so, in barely two years, the legitimacy of two fundamental institutions of American representative democracy will have been challenged, also for the first time in history.

And if US elections are really so vulnerable to Russian " meddling ," what does this say about faith in American elections more generally? How many losing candidates on November 6 will resist blaming the Kremlin? Two years after the last presidential election, Hillary Clinton and her adamant supporters still have not been able to do so.

We know from critical reporting and from recent opinion surveys that the origins and continuing fixation on the Russiagate scandal since 2016 have been primarily a product of US political-intelligence-media elites. It did not spring from the American people – from voters themselves. Thus a Gallup poll recently showed that 58 percent of those surveyed wanted improved relations with Russia. And other surveys have shown that Russiagate is scarcely an issue at all for likely voters on November 6. Nonetheless, it remains a front-page issue for US elites.

Indeed, Russiagate has revealed the low esteem that many US political-media elites have for American voters – for their ability to make discerning, rational electoral decisions, which is the bedrock assumption of representative democracy. It is worth noting that this disdain for rank-and-file citizens echoes a longstanding attitude of the Russian political intelligentsia, as recently expressed in the argument by a prominent Moscow policy intellectual that Russian authoritarianism springs not from the nation's elites but from the "genetic code" of its people .

US elites seem to have a similar skepticism about – or contempt for – American voters' capacity to make discerning electoral choices. Presumably this is a factor behind the current proliferation of programs – official, corporate, and private – to introduce elements of censorship in the nation's " media space " in order to filter out " Kremlin propaganda ." Here, it also seems, elites will decide what constitutes such " propaganda ."

The Washington Post recently gave such an example : " portraying Russian and Syrian government forces favorably as they battled 'terrorists' in what US officials for years have portrayed as a legitimate uprising against the authoritarian government of President Bashar al-Assad. " That is, thinking that the forces of Putin and Assad were fighting terrorists, even if closer to the truth, is " Kremlin propaganda " because it is at variance with " what US officials for years have " been saying. This was the guiding principle of Soviet censorship as well.

If the American electoral process, presidency, legislature, and voter cannot be fully trusted, what is left of American democracy? Admittedly, this is still only a trend, a foreboding, but one with no end in sight. If it portends the " undermining of American democracy ," our elites will blame the Kremlin. But they best recall the discovery of Walt Kelly's legendary cartoon figure Pogo: " We have met the enemy and he is us ."

Stephen F. Cohen is a professor emeritus of Russian studies and politics at New York University and Princeton University and a contributing editor of The Nation.

This article was originally published by The Nation .

Read more US invents new 'meddling' charges to play 'Russia card' ahead of midterms - Moscow FM official US Congress has no Russian policy other than sanctions' – Stephen Cohen Suspicious packages could be 'Russian operation,' says MSNBC host

[Oct 23, 2018] Inconvenient Thoughts on Cold War and Other News by Stephen F. Cohen

Oct 17, 2018 | www.thenation.com

Stephen F. Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian Studies and politics at Princeton and NYU, and John Batchelor continue their (usually) weekly discussions of the new US-Russian Cold War. (Previous installments, now in their fifth year, are at TheNation.com). Cohen comments on the following subjects currently in the news:

1. National intelligence agencies have long played major roles, often not entirely visible, in international politics. They are doing so again today, as is evident in several countries, from Russiagate in the United States and the murky Skripal assassination attempt in the UK to the apparent murder of Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Turkey. Leaving aside what President Obama knew about Russiagate allegations against Donald Trump and when he knew it, the question arises as to whether these operations were ordered by President Putin and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) or were "rogue" operations unknown in advance by the leaders and perhaps even directed against them.

There have been plenty of purely criminal and commercial "rogue" operations by intelligence agents in history, but also "rogue" ones that were purposefully political. We know, for example, that both Soviet and US intelligence agencies -- or groups of agents -- tried to disrupt the Eisenhower-Khrushchev détente of the late 1950s and early 1960s, and that some intelligence players tried to stop Khrushchev's formal recognition of West Germany, also in the early 1960s.

It is reasonable to ask, therefore, whether the attacks on Skripal and Khashoggi were "rogue" operations undertaken by political opponents of the leaders' policies at home or abroad, with the help of one or another intelligence agency or agents. Motive is a -- perhaps the -- crucial question. Why would Putin order such an operation in the UK at the very moment when his government had undertaken a major Western public-relations campaign in connection with the upcoming World Cup championship in Russia? And why would MBS risk a Khashoggi scandal as he was assiduously promoting his image abroad as an enlightened reform-minded Saudi leader?

We lack the evidence and official candor needed to study these questions, as is usually the case with covert, secretive, disinforming intelligence operations. But the questions are certainly reason enough not to rush to judgment, as many US pundits do. Saying "we do not know" may be unmarketable in today's mass-media environment, but it is honest and the right approach to potentially fruitful "analysis."

2. We do know, however, that there has been fierce opposition in the US political-media establishment to President Trump's policy of "cooperating with Russia," including in US intelligence agencies, particularly the CIA and FBI -- and at high levels of his own administration.

We might consider Nikki Haley's resignation as UN ambassador in this light. Despite the laurels heaped on her by anti-Trump media, and by Trump himself at their happy-hour farewell in the White House, Haley was not widely admired by her UN colleagues. When appointed for political reasons by Trump, she had no foreign-policy credentials or any expert knowledge of other countries or of international relations generally. Judging by her performance as ambassador, nor did she acquire much on the job, almost always reading even short comments from prepared texts.

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More to the point, Haley's statements regarding Russia at the UN were, more often than not, dissimilar from Trump's -- indeed, implicitly in opposition to Trump's. (She did nothing, for example, to offset charges in Washington that Trump's summit meeting with Putin in Helsinki, in July, had been "treasonous.") Who wrote these statements for her, which were very similar to statements regarding Russia that have been issued by US intelligence agencies since early 2017? It is hard to imagine that Trump was unhappy to see her go, and easier to imagine him pushing her toward the exit. A president needs a loyalist as secretary of state and at the UN. Haley's pandering remarks at the White House about Trump's family suggests some deal had been made to ease her out, with non-recrimination promises made on both sides. We will see if opponents of Trump's Russia policy can put another spokesperson at the UN.

As to which aspects of US foreign policy Trump actually controls, we might ask more urgently if he authorized, or was fully informed about, the joint US-NATO-Ukraine military air exercises that got under way over Ukraine, abutting Russia, on October 8. Moscow regards these exercises as a major "provocation," and not unreasonably.

3. What do Trump's opponents want instead of "cooperation with Russia"? A much harder line, including more "crushing" economic sanctions. Sanctions are more like temper tantrums and road rage than actual national-security policy, and thus are often counterproductive. We have some recent evidence. Russia's trade surplus has grown to more than $100 billion. World prices for Russia's primary exports, oil and gas, have grown to over $80 a unit while Moscow's federal budget is predicated on $53 a barrel. Promoters of anti-Russian sanctions gloat that they have weakened the ruble. But while imposing some hardships on ordinary citizens, the combination of high oil prices and a weaker ruble is ideal for Russian state and corporate exporters. They sell abroad for inflated foreign currency and pay their operating expenses at home in cheaper rubles. To risk a pun, they are "crushing it."

Congressional sanctions -- for exactly what is not always clear -- have helped Putin in another way. For years, he has unsuccessfully tried to get "oligarchs" to repatriate their wealth abroad. US sanctions on various "oligarchs" have persuaded them and others to begin to do so, perhaps bringing back home as much as $90 billion already in 2018.

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If nothing else, these new budgetary cash flows help Putin deal with his declining popularity at home -- he still has an approval rating well above 60 percent -- due to the Kremlin's decision to raise the pension age for men and women, from 60 to 65 and from 55 to 60 respectively. The Kremlin can use the additional revenue to increase the value of pensions, supplement them with other social benefits, or to enact the age change over a longer period of time.

It appears that Congress, particularly the Senate, has no Russia policy other than sanctions. It might think hard about finding alternatives. One way to start would be with real "hearings" in place of the ritualistic affirmation of orthodox policy by "experts" that has long been its practice. There are more than a few actual specialists out there who think different approaches to Moscow are long overdue.

4. All of these dangerous developments, indeed the new US-Russian Cold War itself, are elite projects -- political, media, intelligence, etc. Voters were never really consulted. Nor do they seem to approve. In August, Gallup asked its usual sample of Americans which policy toward Russia they preferred. Fifty-seven percent wanted improved relations vs. only 36 percent who wanted a tougher US policy with more sanctions. (Meanwhile, two-thirds of Russians surveyed by an independent agency now see the United States as their country's number-one enemy, and about three-fourths view China favorably.)

Will any of the US political figures already jockeying for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020 take these realities into account?

Stephen F. CohenStephen F. Cohen is a professor emeritus of Russian studies and politics at New York University and Princeton University and a contributing editor of The Nation.

[Oct 11, 2018] More Cold War Extremism and Crises by Stephen F. Cohen

Oct 03, 2018 | www.thenation.com

Stephen F. Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian studies and politics at NYU and Princeton University, and John Batchelor continue their discussions of the new US-Russian Cold War. (Previous installments, now in their fifth year, are at TheNation.com.)

Emphasizing growing Cold War extremism in Washington and war-like crises in US-Russian relations elsewhere, Cohen comments on the following examples:

Russiagate, even though none of its core allegations have been proven, is now a central part of the new Cold War, severely limiting President Trump's ability to conduct crisis-negotiations with Moscow and further vilifying Russian President Putin for having ordered "an attack on America" during the 2016 presidential election. The New York Times and The Washington Post have been leading promoters of the Russiagate narrative, even though several of its foundational elements have been seriously challenged, even discredited.

Nonetheless, both papers recently devoted thousands of words to retelling the same narrative -- on September 20 and 23, respectively -- along with its obvious fallacies. For example, Paul Manafort, during the crucial time he was advising then Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, was not "pro-Russian" but pro -- European Union. And contrary to insinuations, General Michael Flynn did nothing wrong or unprecedented in having conversations with a representative of the Kremlin on behalf of President-elect Trump. Many other presidents-elect had instructed top aides to do the same. The epic retellings of the Russiagate narrative by both papers, at extraordinary length, were riddled with similar mistakes and unproven allegations. (Nonetheless, a prominent historian, albeit one seemingly little informed both about Russiagate documents and about Kremlin leadership, characterized the widely discredited anti-Trump Steele dossier -- the source of many such allegations -- as "increasingly plausible.")

Astonishingly, neither the Times nor the Post give any credence to the emphatic statement made at least one week before by Bob Woodward -- normally considered the most authoritative chronicler of Washington's political secrets -- that after two years of research he had found "no evidence of collusion" between Trump and Russia.

For the Times and Post and other mainstream media outlets, Russiagate has become, it seems, a kind of cult journalism that no counter-evidence or analysis can dint, and thus itself is a major contributing factor to the new and more dangerous Cold War. Still worse, what began nearly two years ago as complaints about Russian "meddling" in the US presidential campaign has become for The New Yorker and other publications an accusation that the Kremlin actually put Trump in the White House. For this reckless charge, with its inherent contempt for the good sense of American voters, there is no convincing evidence -- nor any precedent in American history.

Meanwhile, current and former US officials are making unprecedented threats against Moscow. NATO ambassador Kay Bailey Hutchinson threatened to "take out" any Russian missiles she thought violated a 1987 arms treaty, a step that would risk nuclear war. The secretary of the interior threatened a "naval blockade" of Russia. In an unprecedented, undiplomatic Russophobic outburst, UN ambassador Nikki Haley declared that "lying, cheating and rogue behavior" are a "norm of Russian culture."

These may be outlandish statements by untutored appointed political figures, though they inescapably raise the question: Who is making Russia policy in Washington -- President Trump with his avowed policy of "cooperating with Russia," or someone else?

But how to explain, other than as unbridled extremism, statements by a former US ambassador to Moscow and longtime professor of Russian politics, who appears to be the mainstream media's leading authority on Russia? According to him, Russia today is "a rogue state," its policies "criminal actions," and the "world's worst threat." It must be countered by "preemptive sanctions that would go into effect automatically" -- indeed, "every day," if deemed necessary. [These are the words of Michael McFaul, who has appointments at Stanford University which has become a friendly home for warmongers.]

Considering the "crippling" sanctions now being prepared by a bipartisan group of US senators -- their actual reason and purpose apparently unknown even to them -- this would be nothing less than a declaration of war against Russia; economic war, but war nonetheless.

Several other new Cold War fronts are also fraught with hot war, but today none more than Syria.

Another reminder occurred on September 17, when Syria accidentally shot down an allied Russian surveillance plane, killing all 15 crew members. The cause, as is known, was subterfuge by Israeli F-15s supplied by Washington that used the larger radar image of the Russian airplane to cloak their illegal attack on Syria. The reaction in Moscow was highly indicative -- potentially ominous.

At first, Putin, who had developed good relations with Israel's political leadership, said the incident was an accident, an example of the fog of war. His own Ministry of Defense, however, loudly protested, blaming Israel. Putin quickly retreated, adopting a much more hard-line position, and in the end vowed to send to Syria Russia's highly effective S-300 surface-to-air defense system, a prize both Syria and Iran have requested in vain for years. [Actually, Russia has now supplied both Iran and Syria the S-300.]

Second, if the S-300s are installed in Syria (they will be operated by Russians, not Syrians), Putin can in effect impose a "no-fly zone" over that country, which has been torn by war due, in no small part, to the presence of several major foreign powers. (Russia and Iran are there legally; the United States and Israel are not.) If so, it will be a new "red line" that Washington and Tel Aviv must decide whether or not to cross. Considering the mania in Washington, it's hard to be confident that wisdom will prevail. [Actually, it is likely that Putin will shift the responsibility of using the air defense system to Syria.]

All of this unfolded on approximately the third anniversary of Russia's military intervention in Syria, in September 2015. At that time, Washington pundits denounced Putin's "adventure" and were sure it would "fail." Three years later, "Putin's Kremlin" has destroyed the vicious Islamic State's grip on large parts of Syria, all but restored President Assad's control over most of the country, and has become the ultimate arbiter of Syria's future. President Trump would do best by joining Moscow's peace process, though it is unlikely Washington's mostly Democratic Russiagate party will permit him to do so. (For perspective, recall that, in 2016, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton promised to impose a US no-fly zone over Syria to defy Russia.)

There is also this. As the US-led "liberal world order" disintegrates, not only in Syria, a new alliance is emerging between Russia, China, Iran, and possibly NATO member Turkey. It will be a real "threat" only if Washington makes it one, as it has Russia in recent years.

Finally, the US-Russian proxy war in Ukraine has recently acquired a new dimension. In addition to the civil war in Donbass, Moscow and Kiev have begun to challenge each other's ships in the Sea of Azov, near the vital Ukrainian port city of Mariupol. Trump is being pressured to supply Kiev with naval and other weapons to wage this evolving war, yet another potential tripwire. Here too President Trump would do best by putting his administration's weight behind the long-stalled Minsk peace accords. Here, too, this seemed to be his original intention, but it has proven to be yet another approach, it now seems, thwarted by Russiagate.

Stephen F. Cohen is a professor emeritus of Russian studies and politics at New York University and Princeton University and a contributing editor of The Nation .

[Aug 08, 2018] God Bless Stephen Cohen

Notable quotes:
"... Max Boot believes that Donald Trump should have threatened (Boot's word, not mine) Vladimir Putin. How does one go about threatening a country with inter-continental nuclear weapons systems that are proven to work? ..."
Aug 04, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Let me stipulate at the outset that the phrase, "Max Boot," should be consider as a new synonym in the Oxford English Dictionary for the word inane moron or imbecile are other plausible possibilities.

Not since the days of Senator Joseph McCarthy have we witnessed such a bizarre, vicious level of red-baiting and smearing. Max Boot, have you no decency?

You will understand the context of my introductory observations after you view the following video. Max Boot believes that Donald Trump should have threatened (Boot's word, not mine) Vladimir Putin. How does one go about threatening a country with inter-continental nuclear weapons systems that are proven to work?

[Aug 05, 2018] Cooper was equally as unhinged as Boot: Neoliberal MSM is a real 1984 remake.

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... I'm somewhat puzzled why Trump and his people, when referring to the "fake news" and answering questions from hostile journalists, especially about the idea that the media are "enemies of the American people", fail to bring up the fact that the "fake news" and the "enemies of the people" are not the journalists themselves, but rather the management and ownership of the media. ..."
Aug 05, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com
paul malfara , a day ago
I posted this one to my facebook page three or four days ago. It's brilliant. I have a few comments. First, I disagree with the analysis given by the fellow from the Duran in the introduction, something along the lines of "even Anderson Cooper was smirking because Cohen was demolishing Boot so badly".

If you pay attention to the questions and statements, you find that Cooper is equally as unhinged as Boot is, first hammering on the point that nobody knows what was discussed in the meeting, then after Cohen rattles off a list, Cooper shifts to the "you're believing Vladimir Putin on this" tactic, a nail that Cohen wisely smashes with a hammering statement, "I don't want to shock you, but I believe Vladimir Putin on several things."

Cooper continues to insist that the content of the meeting is unknown and unconfirmed, regardless of what Putin and Trump say. The sheer hubris of journalists today is unprecedented and outrageous.

I do admit that Cooper shuts up after being schooled by Cohen a second and third time and after Boot makes the mistake of calling Cohen an apologist for Putin and Russia. This leads me to a second point.

I'm somewhat puzzled why Trump and his people, when referring to the "fake news" and answering questions from hostile journalists, especially about the idea that the media are "enemies of the American people", fail to bring up the fact that the "fake news" and the "enemies of the people" are not the journalists themselves, but rather the management and ownership of the media.

\This would accomplish two important things, both necessary, in my opinion. First, it would put the front line journalists into their correct place, telling them that they are really nothing but mouthpieces, and we know that the real decisions on content are not made by them.

What a blow to their narcisstic self-esteem that would be!

Second, it would give the American people more information on how their consent is engineered, how the media has owners who have an agenda, and that agenda is not related to improving the lives of the American people, or even keeping them informed with accurate information.

[Jul 31, 2018] You d have Trump waterboard Putin - Stephen Cohen schools Max Boot on CNN

Max Boot tries hard to ear his 12 silver coins from MIC. He does not want to point houses for living. Nothing new here.
Most card-carrying Russophobs and neocons are not crazy: they are cynical people without scruples working for money.
Hating Russia can be a highly paid profession
Jul 31, 2018 | www.rt.com

Renowned Russia scholar Stephen Cohen, a known skeptic of the 'Russia attacked America in 2016' narrative favored by some political circles, lectured neocon pundit Max Boot after he called him a "Russia apologist" on CNN. The two men with opposing views on whether Russia should be considered a threat to the US clashed during a panel hosted by CNN's Anderson Cooper, who asked if the American people should be concerned about US President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin had a two-hour meeting behind closed doors during a summit in Helsinki, with only their two interpreters to witness the conversation.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/Xb4ryRqJPe8

Boot, an outspoken 'Never Trump' neoconservative who openly joined the #Resistance and got a Washington Post column recently, said there was something "scary" about the situation. The established wisdom among the #Resistance pundits is that Putin is somehow controlling Trump and that the secret meeting in the Finnish capital was all about the US president selling his country's interest to the Kremlin.

Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian studies at NYU and Princeton, said there was nothing unusual about two heads of state meeting behind closed doors. He added people could get an idea or two about what was said at the meeting from public statements made by Putin. As both Boot and Cooper pointed out that it would require trusting Putin's word on it, Cohen said: "I don't want to shock you, but I believe Vladimir Putin on several things."

Read more But Putin said otherwise: #Resistance embraces Russian president to counter Trump

The professor offered a parallel to what happened after similar one-on-one talks between Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev in Reykjavik, in 1986, which eventually led to partial nuclear disarmament. Even some conservatives who today worship Reagan as a hero branded him a "useful idiot" then, for signing the INF treaty with the USSR.

Boot brought up Trump's willingness to negotiate with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, which he said would fit Trump's pattern of behavior, threatening leaders before talking to them.

"The striking thing to me is though he is willing to threaten North Korea, he is willing to threaten Iran, he never threatens Russia. And that's why a lot of intelligence officials think that there is something highly suspect in the relationship between Putin and Trump," Boot said, apparently failing to recall how Trump literally threatened Putin with American missiles over Syria.

"I have no idea what Mr. Boot is talking about," Cohen replied. "He wants Trump to threaten Russia? Why would we threaten Russia?"

"Because they are attacking us!" the agitated Boot cut the scholar off. "Russia is attacking us, Mr Cohen! Russia is attacking us right now, according to Trump's own director of national intelligence!"

"I've been studying Russia for 45 years," Cohen said, only to be interrupted by Boot, who claimed Cohen has been "consistently an apologist for Russia those 45 years." The scholar apparently couldn't believe the debate sank to personal attacks, because he asked Boot to repeat what he just said.

"I don't do defamation of people, I do serious analysis of serious national security problems," the professor said. "When people like you call people like me, and not only me, but people more eminent than me, apologists for Russia because we don't agree with your analysis, you are criminalizing diplomacy and detente and you are the threat to American national security, end of story."

CNN's @andersoncooper hosted a panel with @MaxBoot and Professor Stephen F. Cohen on Trump-Russia. Watch Cohen give Boot a lesson in history (and comportment): https://t.co/03gSrG25AP

-- Aaron Maté (@aaronjmate) July 31, 2018

"Why do you have to defame somebody you don't agree with?" Cohen continued. "They used to do that in the old Soviet Union. We don't do that here. Well, we used to, but we need to stop it."

Boot laughed as Cooper tried to regain control of the discussion, asking Cohen if he believed Russia attacked the US in 2016. As he tried to explain why he didn't, Boot cut him off again.

"You just denied being an apologist for Russia. You are apologizing for Russia as we speak," he said.

"Will you let me finish? You don't know what I am going to say," Cohen said after a pause. Then he argued that the US and Russia have been meddling in each other's affairs since after the 1917 Bolshevik revolution. The US actually sent troops to get involved in the Russian civil war, he reminded. The alleged Russian meddling "is not an attack, it is not 9/11, it is not Pearl Harbor. It is not Russian paratroopers descending on Washington," he said.

As one comment says " @MaxBoot got Cohen's boot" in this debate with Professor Stephen Cohen on @andersoncooper 's show. By debate I mean of course that Cooper sides with his neo-con guest the whole time: https://t.co/TSeienbseI

-- Anya Parampil (@anyaparampil) July 31, 2018

"I think that Mr Boot would have been happy if Trump had waterboarded Putin at the summit and made him confess," Cohen said. "Trump carried out an act of diplomacy fully consistent with the history of American presidency. Let us see what comes out of it, then judge."

Subscribe to RT newsletter to get stories the mainstream media won't tell you.

[Jul 29, 2018] Debunking the Putin Panic with Stephen F. Cohen

Notable quotes:
"... The European Commission, if you're talking about the 2008 war, the European Commission, investigating what happened, found that Georgia, which was backed by the United States, fighting with an American-built army under the control of the, shall we say, slightly unpredictable Georgian president then, Saakashvili, that he began the war by firing on Russian enclaves. And the Kremlin, which by the way was not occupied by Putin, but by Michael McFaul and Obama's best friend and reset partner then-president Dmitry Medvedev, did what any Kremlin leader, what any leader in any country would have had to do: it reacted. It sent troops across the border through the tunnel, and drove the Georgian forces out of what essentially were kind of Russian protectorate areas of Georgia. ..."
"... So that- Russia didn't begin that war. And it didn't begin the one in Ukraine, either. We did that by [continents], the overthrow of the Ukrainian president in [20]14 after President Obama told Putin that he would not permit that to happen. And I think it happened within 36 hours. The Russians, like them or not, feel that they have been lied to and betrayed. They use this word, predatl'stvo, betrayal, about American policy toward Russia ever since 1991, when it wasn't just President George Bush, all the documents have been published by the National Security Archive in Washington, all the leaders of the main Western powers promised the Soviet Union that under Gorbachev, if Gorbachev would allow a reunited Germany to be NATO, NATO would not, in the famous expression, move two inches to the east. ..."
"... If you want to know what obsesses Putin, it's the word 'sovereignty.' Russia lost its sovereignty- political, foreign policy, security, financial- in the 1990s. Putin saw his mission, as I read him, and I try to read him as a biographer. He says a lot, to regain Russia's sovereignty, which meant to make the country whole again at home, to rescue its people, and to protect its defenses. That's been his mission. Has it been more than that? Maybe. But everything he's done, as I see it, has followed that concept of his role in history. And he's done pretty well. ..."
"... "Facts don't matter in broadcast journalism". Good interview. Cohen always surprises me with something he says, and he doesn't disappoint me here in this regard. A healthy readjustment of our perspective is occasionally called for. How true the adage, "The first casualty in any war is the truth". ..."
Jul 29, 2018 | therealnews.com

AARON MATE: It's The Real News. I'm Aaron Mate. This is part two with Stephen Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian studies at New York University and Princeton. In part one we talked about the uproar over the Trump-Putin summit, and Trump's comments about the U.S. intelligence community and about cooperation with Russia. Now in part two we're going to get to some of the main talking points that have been pervasive throughout corporate media, talking about the stated reasons for why pundits and politicians say they are opposed to Trump sitting down with Putin.

So let me start with Jon Meacham. He is a historian. And speaking to CNN, he worried that Trump, with his comments about NATO calling on the alliance to pay more, and calling into question, he worried about the possibility that Trump won't come to the aid of Baltic states in the event that Russia invades.

JON MEACHAM: And what worries me most is the known unknown, as Donald Rumsfeld might put it, of what happens next. Let's say Putin- just look at this whole week of the last five, six days in total. What happens if Putin launches military action against, say, the Baltics? What, what is it that President Trump, what about his comments that NATO suggest thar he would follow an invocation of Article 5 and actually project American force in defense of the values that not only do we have an intellectual and moral assent to, but a contractual one, a treaty one. I think that's the great question going forward.

AARON MATE: OK. So that's Jon Meacham speaking to CNN. So, Professor Cohen, putting aside what he said there about our intellectual values and strong tradition, just on the issue of Trump, of Putin posing a potential threat and possibly invading the Baltics, is that a realistic possibility?

STEPHEN COHEN: So, I'm not sure what you're asking me about. The folly of NATO expansion? The fact that every president in my memory has asked the Europeans to pay more? But can we be real? Can we be real? The only country that's attacked that region of Europe militarily since the end of the Soviet Union was the United States of America. As I recall, we bombed Serbia, a, I say this so people understand, a traditional Christian country, under Bill Clinton, bombed Serbia for about 80 days. There is no evidence that Russia has ever bombed a European country.

You tell me, Aaron. You must be a smart guy, because you got your own television show. Why would Putin want to launch a military attack and occupy the Baltics? So he has to pay the pensions there? Which he's having a hard time already paying in Russia, and therefore has had to raise the pension age, and thereby lost 10 percentage points of popularity in two weeks? Why in the world can we, can we simply become rational people. Why in the world would Russia want to attack and occupy Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia? The only reason I can think of is that many, many of my friends love to take their summer vacations there. And maybe some crazy person thinks that if we occupy it, vacations will be cheaper. It's crazy. It's beyond crazy. It's a kind-.

AARON MATE: Professor Cohen, if you were on CNN right now I imagine that the anchor would say to you, well, okay, but one could say the same thing about Georgia in 2008. Why did Russia attack Georgia then?

STEPHEN COHEN: I'm not aware that Russia attacked Georgia. The European Commission, if you're talking about the 2008 war, the European Commission, investigating what happened, found that Georgia, which was backed by the United States, fighting with an American-built army under the control of the, shall we say, slightly unpredictable Georgian president then, Saakashvili, that he began the war by firing on Russian enclaves. And the Kremlin, which by the way was not occupied by Putin, but by Michael McFaul and Obama's best friend and reset partner then-president Dmitry Medvedev, did what any Kremlin leader, what any leader in any country would have had to do: it reacted. It sent troops across the border through the tunnel, and drove the Georgian forces out of what essentially were kind of Russian protectorate areas of Georgia.

So that- Russia didn't begin that war. And it didn't begin the one in Ukraine, either. We did that by [continents], the overthrow of the Ukrainian president in [20]14 after President Obama told Putin that he would not permit that to happen. And I think it happened within 36 hours. The Russians, like them or not, feel that they have been lied to and betrayed. They use this word, predatl'stvo, betrayal, about American policy toward Russia ever since 1991, when it wasn't just President George Bush, all the documents have been published by the National Security Archive in Washington, all the leaders of the main Western powers promised the Soviet Union that under Gorbachev, if Gorbachev would allow a reunited Germany to be NATO, NATO would not, in the famous expression, move two inches to the east.

Now NATO is sitting on Russia's borders from the Baltic to Ukraine. So Russians aren't fools, and they're good-hearted, but they become resentful. They're worried about being attacked by the United States. In fact, you read and hear in the Russian media daily, we are under attack by the United States. And this is a lot more real and meaningful than this crap that is being put out that Russia somehow attacked us in 2016. I must have been sleeping. I didn't see Pearl Harbor or 9/11 and 2016. This is reckless, dangerous, warmongering talk. It needs to stop. Russia has a better case for saying they've been attacked by us since 1991. We put our military alliance on the front door. Maybe it's not an attack, but it looks like one, feels like one. Could be one.

AARON MATE: OK. And in a moment I want to speak to you more about Ukraine, because we've heard Crimea invoked a lot in the criticism of Putin of late. But first I want to actually to ask you about a domestic issue. This one is it's widely held that Putin is responsible for the killing of journalists and opposition activists who oppose him. And on this front I want to play for you a clip of Joe Cirincione. He is the head of the Ploughshares Fund. And this is what he said this week in an appearance on Democracy Now!.

JOE CIRINCIONE: Both of these men are dangerous. Both of these men oppress basic human rights, basic freedoms. Both of them think the press are the enemy of the people. Putin goes further. He kills journalists. He has them assassinated on the streets of Moscow.

Donald Trump does not go that far yet. But I think what Putin is doing is using the president of the United States to project his rule, to increase his power, to carry out his agenda in Syria, with Europe, et cetera, and that Trump is acquiescing to that for reasons that are not yet clear.

AARON MATE: That's Joe Cirincione.

STEPHEN COHEN: I know him well. It's worse than that. It's worse than that.

AARON MATE: Well Yes. There's two issues here, Professor Cohen. One is the state of the crackdown on press freedoms in Russia, which I'm sure you would say is very much alive, and is a strong part of the Russian system. But let's first address this widely-held view that Putin is responsible for killing journalists who are critical of him.

STEPHEN COHEN: I know I'm supposed to follow your lead, but I think you're skipping over a major point. How is it that Joe, who was once one of our most eminent and influential, eloquent opponents of nuclear arms race, who was prepared to have the president of the United States negotiate with every Soviet communist leader, including those who had a lot of blood on their hands, now decide that Putin kills everybody and he's not a worthy partner? What happened to Joe?

I'll tell you what happened to him. Trump. Trump has driven once-sensible people completely crazy. Moreover, Joe knows absolutely nothing about internal Russian politics, and he ought to follow my rule. When I don't know something about something, I say I don't know. But what he just said is ludicrous. And the sad part is-.

AARON MATE: But it's widely held. If it's ludicrous-. But widely held, yeah.

STEPHEN COHEN: Well, the point is that once distinguished and important spokespeople for rightful causes, like ending a nuclear arms race, have been degraded, or degraded themselves by saying things like he said to the point that they're of utility today only to the proponents of a new nuclear arms race. And he's not alone. Somebody called it Trump derangement syndrome. I'm not a psychiatrist, but it's a widespread mania across our land. And when good people succumb to it, we are all endangered.

AARON MATE: But many people would be surprised to hear that, because again, the stories that we get, and there are human rights reports, and it's just sort of taken as a given fact that Putin is responsible for killing journalists. So if that's ludicrous, if you can explain why you think that is.

STEPHEN COHEN: Well, I got this big problem which seems to afflict very few people in public life anymore. I live by facts. I'm like my doctor, who told me not long ago I had to have minor surgery for a problem I didn't even know I had. And I said, I'm not going to do it. Show me the facts. And he did. I had the minor surgery. Journalists no longer seem to care about facts. They repeat tabloid rumors. Putin kills everybody.

All I can tell you is this. I have never seen any evidence whatsoever, and I've been- I knew some of the people who were killed. Anna Politkovskaya, the famous journalist for Novaya Gazeta was the first, I think, who was- Putin was accused of killing. I knew her well. She was right here, in this apartment. Look behind me, right here. She was here with my wife, Katrina vanden Huevel. I wouldn't say we were close friends, but we were associates in Moscow, and we were social friends. And I mourn her assassination today. But I will tell you this, that neither her editors at that newspaper, nor her family, her surviving sons, think Putin had anything to do with the killing. No evidence has ever been presented. Only media kangaroo courts that Putin was involved in these high-profile assassinations, two of the most famous being this guy Litvinenko by polonium in London, about the time Anna was killed, and more recently Boris Nemtsov, whom, it's always said, was walking within the view of the Kremlin when he was shot. Well, you could see the Kremlin from miles away. I don't know what within the view- unless they think Putin was, you know, watching it through binoculars. There is no evidence that Putin ever ordered the killing of anybody outside his capacity as commander in chief. No evidence.

Now, did he? But we live, Aaron, and I hope the folks who watch us remember this. Every professional person, every decent person lives or malpractices based on verified facts. You go down the wrong way on a one-way street, you might get killed. You take some medication that's not prescribed for you, you might die. You pursue foreign policies based on fiction, you're likely to get in war. And all these journalists, from the New York Times to the Washington Post, from MSNBC to CNN who churn out daily these allegations that Putin kills people are disgracing themselves. I will give you one fact. Wait. One fact, and you could look it up, as Casey Stengel used to say. He was a baseball manager, in case you don't know.

There's an organization called the Committee to Protect American Journalists. It's kind of iconic. It does good things, it says unwise things. Go on its website and look at the number of Russian journalists killed since 1991, since the end of the Soviet Union, under two leaders. Boris Yeltsin, whom we dearly loved and still mourn, and Putin, whom we hate. Last time I looked, the numbers may have changed, more were killed under Yeltsin than under Putin. Did Putin kill those in the 1990s?

So you should ask me, why did they die, then? And I can tell you the main reason. Corrupt business. Mafia-like business in Russia. Just like happened in the United States during our primitive accumulation days. Profit seekers killed rivals. Killed them dead in the streets. Killed them as demonstrations, as demonstrative acts. The only thing you could say about Putin is that he might have created an atmosphere that abets that sort of thing. To which I would say, maybe, but originally it was created with the oligarchical class under Boris Yeltsin, who remains for us the most beloved Russian leader in history. So that's the long and the short of it. Go look at the listing on the Committee to Protect Journalists.

AARON MATE: OK. So, following up on that, to what extent- and this gets a bit into history, which you've covered extensively in your writings. To what extent are we here in the West responsible for the creation of that Russian oligarchal class that you mentioned? But also, what is Putin's relationship to it now, today? Does he abet it? Is he entrenched in it? We hear, often, talk of Putin possibly being the richest person in the world as a result of his entanglement with the very corruption of Russia you're speaking about. So both our role in creating that problem in Russia, but then also Putin's role now in terms of his relationship to it.

STEPHEN COHEN: I'm going to give you a quick, truncated, scholarly, historical perspective on this. But this is what people should begin with when they think about Vladimir Putin and his 18 years in power. Putin came to power almost accidentally in 2000. He inherited a country whose state had collapsed twice in the 20th century. You've got to think about that. How many states have collapsed that you know of once? But the Russian state, Russian statehood, had collapsed once in 1917 during the revolution, and again in 1991 when the Soviet Union ended. The country was in ruination; 75 percent of the people were in poverty.

Putin said- and this obsesses him. If you want to know what obsesses Putin, it's the word 'sovereignty.' Russia lost its sovereignty- political, foreign policy, security, financial- in the 1990s. Putin saw his mission, as I read him, and I try to read him as a biographer. He says a lot, to regain Russia's sovereignty, which meant to make the country whole again at home, to rescue its people, and to protect its defenses. That's been his mission. Has it been more than that? Maybe. But everything he's done, as I see it, has followed that concept of his role in history. And he's done pretty well.

Now, I can give you all Putin's minuses very easily. I would not care for him to be my president. But let me tell you one other thing that's important. You evaluate nations within their own history, not within ours. If you asked me if Putin is a democrat, and I will answer you two ways. He thinks he has. And compared to what? Compared to the leader of Egypt? Yeah, he is a democrat. Compared to the rulers of our pals in the Gulf states, he is a democrat. Compared to Bill Clinton? No, he's not a Democrat. I mean, Russia-. Countries are on their own historical clock. And you have to judge Putin in terms of his predecessors. So people think Putin is a horrible leader. Did you prefer Brezhnev? Did you prefer Stalin? Did you prefer Andropov? Compared to what? Please tell me, compared to what.

And by the way, that's how that's how Russians-. You want to know why he's so popular in Russia? Because Russians judge him in the context of their own what they call "zhivaya istoriya" (living history); what we call autobiography. In terms of their own lives, he looks pretty darn good. They complain out about him. We sit in the kitchen and they bitch about Putin all the time. But they don't want him to go away.

AARON MATE: All right. Well, on that front, we're going to wrap this up there. Stephen Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian studies at New York University and Princeton. His books include "Failed Crusade: America and the Tragedy of Post-Soviet Russia," and "Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives: From Stalinism to the New Cold War." Professor Cohen, thank you.

STEPHEN COHEN: You forgot one book.

AARON MATE: I did not say I was reading your, your complete bibliography.

STEPHEN COHEN: It's called-. It's called "Confessions of a Holy Fool."

AARON MATE: Is that true? Or are you making a joke.

STEPHEN COHEN: Somewhere in between. [Thank you, Aaron.]

AARON MATE: Professor Cohen, thank you. And thank you for joining us on The Real News.

[Jun 17, 2018] The Necessity of a Trump-Putin Summit by Stephen F. Cohen

Highly recommended!
Decimation of anti-war forces and flourishing of Russophobia are two immanent features of the US neoliberalism. As long as the maintinace fo the US global neoliberal empire depends of weakening and, possibly, dismembering Russia it is naive to expect any change. Russian version of soft "national neoliberalism" is not that different, in principle form Trump version of hard "netional neoliberalism" so those leaders might have something to talk about. In other words as soon as the USA denounce neoliberal globalization that might be some openings.
Notable quotes:
"... The New York Times ..."
Jun 06, 2018 | www.thenation.com

Ten ways the new US-Russian Cold War is increasingly becoming more dangerous than the one we survived.

  1. The political epicenter of the new Cold War is not in far-away Berlin, as it was from the late 1940s on, but directly on Russia's borders, from the Baltic states and Ukraine to the former Soviet republic of Georgia. Each of these new Cold War fronts is, or has recently been, fraught with the possibly of hot war. US-Russian military relations are especially tense today in the Baltic region, where a large-scale NATO buildup is under way, and in Ukraine, where a US-Russian proxy war is intensifying. The "Soviet Bloc" that once served as a buffer between NATO and Russia no longer exists. And many imaginable incidents on the West's new Eastern Front, intentional or unintentional, could easily trigger actual war between the United States and Russia. What brought about this unprecedented situation on Russia's borders -- at least since the Nazi German invasion in 1941 -- was, of course, the exceedingly unwise decision, in the late 1990s, to expand NATO eastward. Done in the name of "security," it has made all the states involved only more insecure.

  2. Proxy wars were a feature of the old Cold War, but usually small ones in what was called the "Third World" -- in Africa, for example -- and they rarely involved many, if any, Soviet or American personnel, mostly only money and weapons. Today's US-Russian proxy wars are different, located in the center of geopolitics and accompanied by too many American and Russian trainers, minders, and possibly fighters. Two have already erupted: in Georgia in 2008, where Russian forces fought a Georgian army financed, trained, and minded by American funds and personnel; and in Syria, where in February scores of Russians were killed by US-backed anti-Assad forces . Moscow did not retaliate, but it has pledged to do so if there is "a next time," as there very well may be. If so, this would in effect be war directly between Russia and America. Meanwhile, the risk of such a direct conflict continues to grow in Ukraine, where the country's US-backed but politically failing President Petro Poroshenko seems increasingly tempted to launch another all-out military assault on rebel-controlled Donbass, backed by Moscow. If he does so, and the assault does not quickly fail as previous ones have, Russia will certainly intervene in eastern Ukraine with a truly tangible "invasion." Washington will then have to make a fateful war-or-peace decision. Having already reneged on its commitments to the Minsk Accords, which are the best hope for ending the four-year Ukrainian crisis peacefully, Kiev seems to have an unrelenting impulse to be a tail wagging the dog of war. Certainly, its capacity for provocations and disinformation are second to none, as evidenced again last week by the faked "assassination and resurrection" of the journalist Arkady Babchenko.

  3. The Western, but especially American, years-long demonization of the Kremlin leader, Putin, is also unprecedented. Too obvious to reiterate here, no Soviet leader, at least since Stalin, was ever subjected to such prolonged, baseless, crudely derogatory personal vilification. Whereas Soviet leaders were generally regarded as acceptable negotiating partners for American presidents, including at major summits, Putin has been made to seem to be an illegitimate national leader -- at best "a KGB thug," at worst a murderous "mafia boss."

  4. Still more, demonizing Putin has generated a widespread Russophobic vilification of Russia itself , or what The New York Times and other mainstream-media outlets have taken to calling " Vladimir Putin's Russia ." Yesterday's enemy was Soviet Communism. Today it is increasingly Russia, thereby also delegitimizing Russia as a great power with legitimate national interests. "The Parity Principle," as Cohen termed it during the preceding Cold War -- the principle that both sides had legitimate interests at home and abroad, which was the basis for diplomacy and negotiations, and symbolized by leadership summits -- no longer exists, at least on the American side. Nor does the acknowledgment that both sides were to blame, at least to some extent, for that Cold War. Among influential American observers who at least recognize the reality of the new Cold War , "Putin's Russia" alone is to blame. When there is no recognized parity and shared responsibility, there is little space for diplomacy -- only for increasingly militarized relations, as we are witnessing today.
  5. Meanwhile, most of the Cold War safeguards -- cooperative mechanisms and mutually observed rules of conduct that evolved over decades in order to prevent superpower hot war -- have been vaporized or badly frayed since the Ukrainian crisis in 2014, as the UN General Secretary António Guterres, almost alone, has recognized : "The Cold War is back -- with a vengeance but with a difference. The mechanisms and the safeguards to manage the risks of escalation that existed in the past no longer seem to be present." Trump's recent missile strike on Syria carefully avoided killing any Russians there, but here too Moscow has vowed to retaliate against US launchers or other forces involved if there is a "next time," as, again, there may be. Even the decades-long process of arms control may, we are told by an expert , be coming to an "end." If so, it will mean an unfettered new nuclear-arms race but also the termination of an ongoing diplomatic process that buffered US-Soviet relations during very bad political times. In short, if there are any new Cold War rules of conduct, they are yet to be formulated and mutually accepted. Nor does this semi-anarchy take into account the new warfare technology of cyber-attacks. What are its implications for the secure functioning of existential Russian and American nuclear command-and-control and early-warning systems that guard against an accidental launching of missiles still on high alert?

  6. Russiagate allegations that the American president has been compromised by -- or is even an agent of -- the Kremlin are also without precedent. These allegations have had profoundly dangerous consequences, among them the nonsensical but mantra-like warfare declaration that "Russia attacked America" during the 2016 presidential election; crippling assaults on President Trump every time he speaks with Putin in person or by phone; and making both Trump and Putin so toxic that even most politicians, journalists, and professors who understand the present-day dangers are reluctant to speak out against US contributions to the new Cold War.

  7. Mainstream-media outlets have, of course, played a woeful role in all of this. Unlike in the past, when pro-détente advocates had roughly equal access to mainstream media, today's new Cold War media enforce their orthodox narrative that Russia is solely to blame. They practice not diversity of opinion and reporting but "confirmation bias." Alternative voices (with, yes, alternative or opposing facts) rarely appear any longer in the most influential mainstream newspapers or on television or radio broadcasts. One alarming result is that "disinformation" generated by or pleasing to Washington and its allies has consequences before it can be corrected. The fake Babchenko assassination (allegedly ordered by Putin, of course) was quickly exposed, but not the alleged Skripal assassination attempt in the UK, which led to the largest US expulsion of Russian diplomats in history before London's official version of the story began to fall apart. This too is unprecedented: Cold War without debate, which in turn precludes the frequent rethinking and revising of US policy that characterized the preceding 40-year Cold War -- in effect, an enforced dogmatization of US policy that is both exceedingly dangerous and undemocratic.

  8. Equally unsurprising, and also very much unlike during the 40-year Cold War, there is virtually no significant opposition in the American mainstream to the US role in the new Cold War -- not in the media, not in Congress, not in the two major political parties, not in the universities, not at grassroots levels. This too is unprecedented, dangerous, and contrary to real democracy. Consider only the thunderous silence of scores of large US corporations that have been doing profitable business in post-Soviet Russia for years, from fast-food chains and automobile manufacturers to pharmaceutical and energy giants. And contrast their behavior to that of CEOs of PepsiCo, Control Data, IBM, and other major American corporations seeking entry to the Soviet market in the 1970s and 1980s, when they publicly supported and even funded pro-détente organizations and politicians. How to explain the silence of their counterparts today, who are usually so profit-motivated? Are they too fearful of being labeled "pro-Putin" or possibly "pro-Trump"? If so, will this Cold War continue to unfold with only very rare profiles of courage in any high places? 9. And then there is the widespread escalatory myth that today's Russia, unlike the Soviet Union, is too weak -- its economy too small and fragile, its leader too "isolated in international affairs" -- to wage a sustained Cold War, and that eventually Putin, who is "punching above his weight," as the cliché has it, will capitulate. This too is a dangerous delusion. As Cohen has shown previously , "Putin's Russia" is hardly isolated in world affairs, and is becoming even less so, even in Europe, where at least five governments are tilting away from Washington and Brussels and perhaps from their economic sanctions on Russia. Indeed, despite the sanctions, Russia's energy industry and agricultural exports are flourishing. Geopolitically, Moscow has many military and related advantages in regions where the new Cold War has unfolded. And no state with Russia's modern nuclear and other weapons is "punching above its weight." Above all, the great majority of Russian people have rallied behind Putin because t hey believe their country is under attack by the US-led West . Anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of Russia's history understands it is highly unlikely to capitulate under any circumstances.

  9. Finally (at least as of now), there is the growing war-like "hysteria" often commented on in both Washington and Moscow. It is driven by various factors, but television talk/"news" broadcasts, which are as common in Russia as in the United States, play a major role. Perhaps only an extensive quantitative study could discern which plays a more lamentable role in promoting this frenzy -- MSNBC and CNN or their Russian counterparts. For Cohen, the Russian dark witticism seems apt: "Both are worst" ( Oba khuzhe ). Again, some of this American broadcast extremism existed during the preceding Cold War, but almost always balanced, even offset, by truly informed, wiser opinions, which are now largely excluded.

Is this analysis of the dangers inherent in the new Cold War itself extremist or alarmist? Even SOME usually reticent specialists would seem to agree with Cohen's general assessment. Experts gathered by a centrist Washington think tank thought that on a scale of 1 to 10, there is a 5 to 7 chance of actual war with Russia. A former head of British M16 is reported as saying that "for the first time in living memory, there's a realistic chance of a superpower conflict." And a respected retired Russian general tells the same think tank that any military confrontation "will end up with the use of nuclear weapons between the United States and Russia."

In today's dire circumstances, one Trump-Putin summit cannot eliminate the new Cold War dangers. But US-Soviet summits traditionally served three corollary purposes. They created a kind of security partnership -- not a conspiracy -- that involved each leader's limited political capital at home, which the other should recognize and not heedlessly jeopardize. They sent a clear message to the two leaders' respective national-security bureaucracies, which often did not favor détente-like cooperation, that the "boss" was determined and that they must end their foot-dragging, even sabotage. And summits, with their exalted rituals and intense coverage, usually improved the media-political environment needed to enhance cooperation amid Cold War conflicts. If a Trump-Putin summit achieves even some of those purposes, it might result in a turning away from the precipice that now looms

[Jun 01, 2018] Debasing US Policy Discourse About Russia The Nation

Notable quotes:
"... The New York Times ..."
Jun 01, 2018 | www.thenation.com

Stephen F. Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian studies and politics at NYU and Princeton, and John Batchelor continue their (usually) weekly discussions of the new US-Russian Cold War. (You can find previous installments of these conversations, now in their fifth year, at TheNation.com .)

Baseless and reckless tropes about Russia, Cohen points out, have proliferated in the US political-media establishment during the new Cold War, and even more since Russiagate allegations began to circulate widely two years ago, in mid-2016. The worst of these tropes -- in effect an incitement to war -- is that "Russia attacked America during the 2016 presidential election." But there are others equally unfounded and almost as detrimental to Washington policy-making. Among them, as The Economist and The New York Times recently asserted, are that on today's "world stage" Russian President Vladimir Putin is a "pariah" and his country " isolated from the international community ." Indeed, the Times insisted, quoting a British intelligence chief, that Russia is " becoming a 'more isolated pariah.' "

These assertions are so detached from geopolitical realities that they may be expressions of some Putin-Russia Derangement Syndrome, as others have suggested. Consider only last week's St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, an annual event conceived by the Kremlin as a kind of Russian Davos. By most media accounts, including non-Russian ones, it was the best attended and most successful since 2014, when the West began imposing escalating economic sanctions on the country. Leaders of France, Japan, China, India, Saudi Arabia, and scores of less consequential states were there, along with innumerable international corporate executives, the director of the International Monetary Fund, and the president of Boeing, who declared that Russia " is a place for long-term partnership ." Judging by press reports, television footage, and transcripts of meetings, virtually all of them were eager for close encounters with the "pariah" Putin. Indeed, just prior to the event, Chancellor Angela Merkel and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi traveled to Sochi to meet separately with Putin. Again, all this against the backdrop of new financial and diplomatic sanctions rained on Russia by London and Washington and very perfunctory, if at all, implemented by their European "allies."

In reality, it is impossible to isolate Russia, the planet's largest territorial and most natural-resource rich nation. There is no "global politics," no "world order," without Russia. Its natural gas and oil resources, carried west and east through its far-flung networks of pipelines -- both existing ones and those under construction -- make such an effort an epic geopolitical folly. So too does Moscow's political-diplomatic influence in vital regions, from Europe, China, and Afghanistan to the Middle East. (Consider its crucial role, for example, in any crisis-resolution involving Iran or North Korea.) Much of this is due not primarily to Moscow's modernized conventional and nuclear weapons but to its foreign-policy philosophy under Putin. Simply put but often elaborated: In accord with national sovereignty, we are ready for good relations with any government that seeks good relations with us. Contrast this with Washington's longstanding ideological, highly militarized, and often hegemony-aspiring foreign-policy tenets.

As a result, unlike the Soviet Union, post-Soviet Russia has few, if any, unwilling allies, semi-allies, or partners in international affairs. China and Iran are big and important allies. Semi-allies and occasional partners include India and, of course, the other BRICs nations; Saudi Arabia, with whom Russia has cooperated in order to raise international oil prices; and Israel, whose prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, was an honored guest in Moscow for Russia's most sacred memorial holiday, Victory Day, on May 9. America's European NATO allies may seem united in "isolating" Russia, but not the leaders of Hungary, the Czech Republic, or the president of France. Indeed, Emmanuel Macron, again accompanied by his wife, did a mini-version of his effervescent socializing with President Trump in Washington with Putin in St. Petersburg, while also signing a major energy deal with Russia and hoping that France will become " Russia's largest investor ." Another test of Europe's fidelity to the United States (and its devout UK partner) will come in July, when EU sanctions on Russia must be continued or terminated. A single "no" vote will end them. Until now, Europe has been swayed -- or coerced -- by Washington. But can the new government now being formed in Italy be made to conform, or other governments now rebelling against Trump's renewed sanctions on Iran, with which not a few European companies have highly profitable business relations? But can the new government now being formed in Italy be made to conform? And what of the other governments now rebelling against Trump's renewed sanctions on Iran, a nation with which not a few European companies have highly profitable business relations? Is, as an official Russian news agency hopes, an "anti-sanctions coalition" forming against the United States? If so, who would be isolated?

Where did the foolish notion of "isolating Russia" originate? This, at least, cannot be attributed to President Trump, but to President Obama. In April 2014, he made known, as reported by the Times , that henceforth his policy would focus on " isolating Russia by cutting off its economic and political ties to the outside world effectively making it a pariah state ." This was extremist folly, not, as the Times correspondent thought, " an updated version of the Cold War strategy of containment ." Containment was intended not to isolate the Soviet Union but to keep it from spreading its military and political influence beyond its own existing "bloc" of allies.

Washington and its allies have certainly tried to isolate "Putin's Russia." Hence the multiyear cascade of tantrum-like, pointless, mostly ineffective, even counterproductive sanctions. In addition, whether by chance or intent, political campaigns have erupted on the eve of Putin and Russia's emerging on "the world state" in ways that demonstrate their central role in international affairs. Thus the media campaign to frighten away visitors to the 2014 Sochi Olympics with reports that terrorist and homophobic attacks were certain to happen along with life-threatening mishaps due to "corrupt" construction. (None did.) Now, on the eve of the World Cup championship in Russia, there is perhaps a predictable new series of US media reports suggesting that Russia should be treated as a pariah nation: accounts of an attempted assassination of Sergei Skripal in the UK, an official story that has almost completely fallen apart, but not before having major diplomatic consequences ; a revived report that Moscow was behind the shoot-down of a Malaysian passenger jetliner over Ukraine in 2014, but without any new actual evidence; a revival of the malicious allegation that Putin and Russia itself are "fascist," without a word, of course, about an epidemic of anti-Semitic episodes and armed neo-Nazis in US-backed Ukraine; and a prominent Times opinion article warning that "L.G.T.B. people" may be in danger during the World Cup games.

An argument about the extent to which Russia is or is not isolated in the world today may seem marginal given the looming dangers inherent in the new Cold War. But even leaving aside the obscurant conceit that Washington and London are "the international community," it is indicative of the general degradation of American thinking and discourse about geopolitics and US foreign policy generally in mainstream media and politics. (There are, of course, many exceptions outside the mainstream, especially in scholarly publications.) Henry Kissinger once said, "The demonization of Vladimir Putin is not a policy. It is an alibi for not having one." The "isolated pariah" trope is part of that demonizing. But Kissinger was partially wrong: Washington has had Russia policies in the Putin era -- exceedingly ill-informed, unwise, and failed ones.

Stephen F. Cohen Stephen F. Cohen is a professor emeritus of Russian studies and politics at New York University and Princeton University and a contributing editor of The Nation .

[May 27, 2018] Intel Informants and Suspicious Contacts Echo Dark Pasts by Stephen F.Cohen

Eussiagete should be properly called Intelgate argues Professor Stephen F.Cohen. Halper and Mifsud invoke memories of Soviet surveillance state.
Notable quotes:
"... But the issue is not President Trump, support him or not. It is instead twofold: our own civil liberties; and, in regard to the Russiagate allegations made against him as a candidate and now as president, or against others under investigation, the organizations and media that no longer profess nor defend these liberties as basic principles of American democracy. ..."
"... The New York Times ..."
"... Even if there was such a "multiyear conspiracy," for example, how does the Times ..."
"... Gen. Michael Flynn did nothing wrong or unusual in talking with the Russian ambassador to Washington in December 2016. Other presidents-elected have established such "back channels" to Moscow, including Richard Nixon and Barack Obama. Carter Page was not "recruited by Russian spies. " Russian agents tried to do so, but he helped the FBI expose and arrest them. And Paul Manafort had not, during the time in question, "lobbied for pro-Russian interests in Ukraine. " Instead, he urged that country's president to accept an EU trading agreement that Putin strongly opposed. ..."
"... The Washington Post ..."
"... The new cult of Intel is a mainstream orthodoxy. ..."
"... Not a word about constitutional civil liberties in any of this media coverage, though surely the "informant" and "contacts" themes -- the Clinton-sponsored Center for American Progress has recently posted 70-plus purportedly suspicious "contacts" between Trump's people and Russia -- should have reminded some editors, writers, or producers about those practices during the McCarthy era. (For a powerful reminder, read former Nation ..."
"... Originally said to be a Russian intelligence "asset," some evidence has appeared that Mifsud actually worked for British intelligence. In any event, he has vanished. ) This should not surprise us. ..."
"... The Halper affair should compel each of us to decide whether or not top levels of US intelligence agencies -- what Cohen has been referring to as Intelgate -- have played an improper, or worse, role in what now may be the worst political crisis in modern American history: Russiagate. ..."
"... If I am not mistaken, by statute, the CIA is forbidden from operating in the United States itself. Not that that means much. Government a all levels seems to feel free to exceed their statutory and constitutional limits as they choose and nobody says BOO. What's the quickest way to destroy a society? Make compliance with the law discretionary for those of wealth and power. ..."
May 27, 2018 | www.thenation.com
Intel 'Informants' and 'Suspicious Contacts' Echo Dark Pasts | The Nation Stephen F.Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian studies and politics at NYU and Princeton, and John Batchelor continue their (usually) weekly discussions of the new US-Russian Cold War.

(You can find previous installments of these conversations, now in their fifth year, at TheNation.com .) Cohen has several reactions to the recent revelation that a longtime CIA-FBI "informant," professor emeritus Stefan Halper, had been dispatched to "interact" with several members of Donald Trump's campaign organization in 2016.

He discusses each of them:

In February , Cohen asked if "Russiagate" was largely "Intelgate," pointing to the roles then known to have been played by CIA Director John Brennan and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

The revelation about Halper, essentially an Intel undercover operative, is further evidence that US intelligence agencies were deeply involved in the origins and promotion of Russiagate allegations of "collusion" between Trump and the Kremlin.

(We do not know if others were deployed covertly to "investigate" the Trump campaign, what the two agencies did with Halper's information, or whether he was connected in any way to UK intelligence officer Christopher Steele and his "dossier.")

But the issue is not President Trump, support him or not. It is instead twofold: our own civil liberties; and, in regard to the Russiagate allegations made against him as a candidate and now as president, or against others under investigation, the organizations and media that no longer profess nor defend these liberties as basic principles of American democracy. (This may be another by-product of what someone has called a "Trump Derangement Syndrome.") -- The ACLU, for example, seems not to have loudly protested Intel or related transgressions in this regard, if at all. -- Still worse, in two articles and an editorial , The New York Times unconditionally defended Halper's clandestine mission.

It did so by stating the underlying Russiagate narrative as "facts" that "aren't disputed": "There was a sophisticated, multiyear conspiracy by Russian government officials and agents, working under direct orders from President Vladimir Putin, to interfere in the 2016 presidential election in support of Donald Trump.

" In fact, aspects of this narrative have been strongly questioned by a number of qualified critics, including Cohen, though their questioning of it is never printed in the Times .

Even if there was such a "multiyear conspiracy," for example, how does the Times know it was carried out under Putin's "direct orders"? In reality, that entire assumption is based solely on two seriously challenged sources: an "Intelligence Community Assessment" of January 2017 and Steele's dossier.

But they are enough for the Times to assert that Halper's targets had "suspicious contacts linked to Russia" -- that these Trump associates had "met with Russians or people linked to Russia. " Indeed, Times columnist Paul Krugman, once a distinguished Princeton professor and Nobel Prize winner, tweeted as Joseph McCarthy might have, calling it "treason. " (These allegations are so vague and capacious they could apply to encounters with many New York City taxi drivers. Certainly, they apply to Cohen himself, who has had scores of "meetings" and "contacts" with Russians over the years, including with "Kremlin-linked" ones. ) Indicative of its malpractice in covering Russia and Russiagate, the Times then proceeds to commit factual misrepresentations about three of Halper's targets.

Gen. Michael Flynn did nothing wrong or unusual in talking with the Russian ambassador to Washington in December 2016. Other presidents-elected have established such "back channels" to Moscow, including Richard Nixon and Barack Obama. Carter Page was not "recruited by Russian spies. " Russian agents tried to do so, but he helped the FBI expose and arrest them. And Paul Manafort had not, during the time in question, "lobbied for pro-Russian interests in Ukraine. " Instead, he urged that country's president to accept an EU trading agreement that Putin strongly opposed.

The Times ends by asserting that no information collected by Halper (or Steele) had been made public prior to the November 2016 election. In fact, an article alluding to such material was published as early as July 2016 by Franklin Foer and subsequently by Michael Isikoff and David Corn .

The Times itself ran a number of insinuating "Trump-Putin" stories; accusatory opinion pieces by former Intel chiefs, like the CIA's Michael Morell and the NSA's Michael Hayden ; and its own editorials prior to the election.

Indeed, the allegations were so well-known that in their August debate, Hillary Clinton accused Trump of being Putin's "puppet." -- Nor was the Times alone among media outlets that had once deplored civil-liberties violations but justified the Halper operation.

The Washington Post also unconditionally did so, as in a column by Eugene Robinson , who denounced critics of those Russiagate practices for "smearing veteran professionals" of the agencies. Had they not dispatched Halper, Robinson added, it "would have been an appalling dereliction of duty. " Proponents of civil liberties might consider his statement "appalling."

-- As usual, MSNBC and CNN were in accord with the Times and the Post. For instance, CNN's Don Lemon summoned James Clapper himself to vouch for Halper's undercover mission: "That's a good thing because the Russians pose a threat to the very basis our political system. " Lemon did not question Clapper's rationalizing or perspective, nor did he book anyone who might have done so. The new cult of Intel is a mainstream orthodoxy.

Not a word about constitutional civil liberties in any of this media coverage, though surely the "informant" and "contacts" themes -- the Clinton-sponsored Center for American Progress has recently posted 70-plus purportedly suspicious "contacts" between Trump's people and Russia -- should have reminded some editors, writers, or producers about those practices during the McCarthy era. (For a powerful reminder, read former Nation editor and publisher Victor Navasky's widely acclaimed Naming Names .)

But Cohen recalls instead the times he lived in Soviet Russia periodically from 1976 to 1982 when the authorities banned him from the country (until Mikhail Gorbachev came to power in 1985) among open dissidents and semi-closeted Communist Party nonconformists, under Brezhnev's "vegetarian" surveillance state. Cohen's Soviet Russian friends called it "vegetarian" because the era of Stalin's mass arbitrary arrests, torture, and executions had long passed. Suppression by the KGB now featured "softer" tactics, among them clandestine informers and accusations of "contacts with American imperialism and the CIA.

"Cohen was quickly instructed by his Moscow friends how to detect informers or, in any case, to be ever mindful they might be present even at intimate gatherings, even "friends. " And, as an American living among targeted individuals, he took every precaution to avoid being that damning "contact. " Nonetheless, in the end, Cohen was cited by the KGB in cases against at least two prominent dissidents, one jailed and the other hounded.(Both later became very prominent human-rights figures under Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin: one as head of the human-rights organization Memorial, the other as the founder of Moscow's Museum of the History of the Gulag.)

Surveillance was, of course, very different and far more consequential in the generally repressive pre-Gorbachev Soviet Union than in America today. But a number of episodes on both sides involved professors who were intelligence operatives. In the Russigate saga, there is already Halper and the still-shadowy Professor Joseph Mifsud, who befriended the very minor, very inexperienced, and hapless Trump "aide" George Papadopoulos. ( Originally said to be a Russian intelligence "asset," some evidence has appeared that Mifsud actually worked for British intelligence. In any event, he has vanished. ) This should not surprise us. Not all American or Russian intelligence officers are assassins, recruiters, or even spies. Some are highly qualified scholars who hold positions in colleges and universities, as has been the case both in Russia and in the United States.

As a result, Cohen himself has had over the years personal -- yes -- "contacts" with several Soviet and post-Soviet "intelligence officers. " Two held the rank of general, both were affiliated with higher-educational institutions (one as a professor), which is where Cohen first met them. Another general headed the former KGB (now FSB) archives. The others, more junior, were working on their doctoral dissertations (a prerequisite for advancement) in the same Stalin-era archive where Cohen was doing research for a book.

Cohen took many lunch and smoking breaks with them. Most of the discussions focused on knowledge about the Stalin Terror of the 1930s, though sometimes they did wander to current concerns -- including whether Cohen's native Kentucky bourbon was superior to Russian vodka. No "suspicious" subjects ever came up.

The Halper affair should compel each of us to decide whether or not top levels of US intelligence agencies -- what Cohen has been referring to as Intelgate -- have played an improper, or worse, role in what now may be the worst political crisis in modern American history: Russiagate.

Whatever we decide, no one, especially proponents of the anti-Trump "Resistance," should forget a 20th-century political lesson: The end rarely, if ever, justifies the means.

Intel 'Informants' and 'Suspicious Contacts' Echo Dark Pasts | The Nation Jeffrey Harrison says: May 23, 2018 at 6:21 pm

Thank you, Mr. Cohen. If I am not mistaken, by statute, the CIA is forbidden from operating in the United States itself. Not that that means much. Government a all levels seems to feel free to exceed their statutory and constitutional limits as they choose and nobody says BOO. What's the quickest way to destroy a society? Make compliance with the law discretionary for those of wealth and power.

Clark M Shanahan says: May 23, 2018 at 10:18 pm

Trump is obviously one of our most repugnant presidents. Yet, those turning a blind eye to this sad abuse of power should really worry about the future when our "intelligence" turns against their own beliefs/values. Did our forever obliging Obama sign off on this BS?

"obliging" to our Strangeloves and "security apparatus"..

[May 16, 2018] Time changes: Professor Shephen Cohen became more popular among readers of unz.com

May 16, 2018 | www.unz.com

Dan Hayes , May 15, 2018 at 5:28 am GMT

n that Cohen tries to stay clear of anything outside his expertise, Russian history and geopolitics. Several times I've heard him fondly reminisce about being raised in Kentucky. So he may not be a complete Upper West Side liberal.

[Apr 16, 2018] Also excellent is Stephen F Cohen, Failed Crusade: America and the Tragedy of Post-Communist Russia

Apr 16, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

mauisurfer | Apr 15, 2018 6:02:21 PM | 108

Serious suggestion for you read Gorbachev, His Life and Times by William Taubman

Taubman is prof at Amherst also wrote "Nikita Khruschev" which won a Pulitzer

Also excellent is Stephen F Cohen, Failed Crusade: America and the Tragedy of Post-Communist Russia

In USA people say "everyone is entitled to an opinion", so maybe you are entitled to your view.

In England, they say "you are not qualified to have an opinion", and maybe they are right about your views on Gorbachev, because I do not believe you have informed yourself about the Gorbachev era.

Please read these books and then tell us if your view is influenced by what they say. I found all of them free online, do you know where/how to look for them? Any decent library will have them.

[Apr 15, 2018] The Trump Regime Is Insane by Paul Craig Roberts

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... People such as Stephen Cohen and myself, who were actively involved throughout the entirety of the Cold War, are astonished at the reckless and irresponsible behavior of the US government and its European vassals toward Russia. ..."
"... In this brief video, Stephen Cohen describes to Tucker Carlson the extreme danger of the present situation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zvK1Eu01Lz0 Published on Apr 13, 2018 ..."
Apr 13, 2018 | www.unz.com

Craig Roberts • April 13, 2018

  1. Is it insane to push for war with Russia, a major nuclear power?
  2. Is it insane to threaten Russia and bring false charges against her?
  3. Is it insane to brag about killing "hundreds of Russians"? https://news.antiwar.com/2018/04/12/pompeo-russians-met-their-match-us-killed-hundreds-of-them/
  4. A normal person would answer "yes" to the three questions. So what does this tell us about Trump's government as these insane actions are the principle practice of Trump's government?
  5. Does anyone doubt that Nikki Haley is insane?
  6. Does anyone doubt that John Bolton is insane?
  7. Does anyone doubt that Mike Pompeo is insane?
  8. Does this mean that Trump is insane for appointing to the top positions insane people who foment war with a nuclear power?
  9. Does this mean that Congress is insane for approving these appointments?

These are honest questions. Assuming we avoid the Trump-promised Syrian showdown, how long before the insane Trump regime orchestrates another crisis?

The entire world should understand that because of the existence of the insane Trump regime, the continued existence of life on earth is very much in question.

People such as Stephen Cohen and myself, who were actively involved throughout the entirety of the Cold War, are astonished at the reckless and irresponsible behavior of the US government and its European vassals toward Russia. Nothing as irresponsible as what we have witnessed since the Clinton regime and which has worsened dramatically under the Obama and Trump regimes would have been imaginable during the Cold War. In this brief video, Stephen Cohen describes to Tucker Carlson the extreme danger of the present situation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zvK1Eu01Lz0 Published on Apr 13, 2018

The failure of political leadership throughout the Western world is total. Such total failure is likely to prove deadly to life on earth.

[Mar 31, 2018] Unproven Allegations Against Trump and Putin Are Risking Nuclear War by Stephen F. Cohen

This is a fight to save Us led global neoliberal empire. Nothing more nothing less. Cohen is right about connections between Skripal case and Russiagate. Skripal case is a British attempt to save Russiagate.
Notable quotes:
"... Diplomacy kept the nuclear peace during the preceding Cold War, but the mass expulsions -- even pending the Kremlin's response -- seriously undermines the diplomatic process. They even criminalize it, as illustrated by denunciations of Trump's phone conversation with Putin and by widespread political-media demands after he expelled a large number of Russia's diplomats that he do "more" -- such demands ranging from more sanctions on Russia to more military responses in Syria, Ukraine, and elsewhere -- to prove he is not under Putin's control. ..."
"... Identifying all expelled diplomats as "intelligence officers" is also misleading. Posting intelligence officers as diplomats has long been a mutual de facto arrangement tacitly, if not explicitly, agreed upon and known by both sides. Moreover, the designation might apply to embassy officials who study the other country's economic, social, cultural, or political life. They gather and report "information." ..."
"... Recently, US-backed proxies apparently killed a number of Russian citizens also operating there. The Kremlin, through its Ministry of Defense, issued an ominous warning: If this happens again, Moscow will strike militarily not only at the proxies but also at US forces in the region who provided the weapons and launched the missiles. The same razor's edge could easily occur where the United States and Russia are also eyeball-to-eyeball, as in Ukraine or the Baltic region. (Again, as Trump is being crippled to the extent that he probably could not negotiate a crisis the way President Kennedy did the 1962 Cuban missile crisis.) ..."
"... the extreme demonization of Putin and growing Russophobia in the United States are elevating today's small, less formidable Russia into a threat even graver than was the Soviet Union, against which US nuclear weapons were developed and intended. And this, again, in the context of diminished diplomacy and Trump's diminished capacity to negotiate. ..."
Mar 31, 2018 | www.thenation.com

"Russiagate" and the Skirpal affair have escalated dangers inherent in the new Cold War beyond those of the preceding one.

1. "Russiagate" and the attempted killing of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in the UK have two aspects in common. Both blame Putin personally. And no actual facts have yet been made public.

§ Having discussed the fallacies of "Russiagate" often and at length, Cohen focuses on the Skripal affair. Putin had no conceivable motive, especially considering the upcoming World Cup Games in Russia, which both the government and the people consider to be very prestigious and thus important for the nation. No forensic or other evidence has yet been presented as to the nature of the purported nerve agent used or whether Russia still possesses it; or, even if so, whether Russia really is the only state whose agents did so; or when, where, and how it was inflicted on Skripal and his daughter; or why they and many others said to have been affected by this "lethal" agent are still alive. Nonetheless, even before the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has issued its obligatory tests, and while refusing to give the Russian government a required sample to test, the British leaders declared that it was "highly likely" Putin's Kremlin had ordered the attack.

§ Nonetheless, on this flimsy basis, Western governments, led by the UK and reluctantly by the Trump administration, rushed to expel 100 or more Russian diplomats -- the greatest number ever in this long history of such episodes.

§ It should be noted, however, that not all European governments did so, and a few others in only a token way, thereby again revealing European divisions over Russia policy.

2. This episode increases the risk of nuclear war between the United States and Russia.

§ Ever since the onset of the Atomic Age, the doctrine of Mutual Assured Destruction has kept the nuclear peace. This may have changed in 2002. when the Bush administration unilaterally withdrew from, thereby abrogating, the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. Since then, the United States and NATO have developed 30 or more anti-missile defense installments on land and sea, several very close to Russia. For Moscow, this was an American attempt to obtain a first-strike capability without mutual destruction. The Kremlin made this concern known to Moscow many times since 2002, proposing instead a mutual US-Russian developed anti-missile system, but was repeatedly rebuffed.

§ On March 1, Putin announced that Russia had developed nuclear weapons capable of eluding any anti-missile system, described it as a restoration of strategic parity, and called for new nuclear-weapons negotiations.

§ American mainstream political and media elites derided Putin's announcement. Following the evaluation of several American nuclear experts, four Democratic senators appealed to (now former) Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to (in effect) respond positively to Putin's appeal. Nothing came of it. Shortly after the Russian presidential election on March 18, President Trump himself, in a congratulatory call to Putin, proposed that they meet soon to discuss the "new nuclear arms race." Trump was widely traduced as having revealed further evidence that he was "colluding" with Putin, perhaps § The result has been, reflected in the mass expulsion of Russian diplomats, even more fraught US-Russian relations and with them, of course, the increased risk of nuclear war.

3. Many Americans, including political and media elites who shape public opinion, have been deluded into thinking, especially since the pseudo–"American-Russian friendship" of the Clinton 1990s, that nuclear war now really is "unthinkable." That the mass expulsion of diplomats was merely "symbolic" and of no real lasting consequence. In reality, it has become more thinkable.

§ Diplomacy kept the nuclear peace during the preceding Cold War, but the mass expulsions -- even pending the Kremlin's response -- seriously undermines the diplomatic process. They even criminalize it, as illustrated by denunciations of Trump's phone conversation with Putin and by widespread political-media demands after he expelled a large number of Russia's diplomats that he do "more" -- such demands ranging from more sanctions on Russia to more military responses in Syria, Ukraine, and elsewhere -- to prove he is not under Putin's control.

( Identifying all expelled diplomats as "intelligence officers" is also misleading. Posting intelligence officers as diplomats has long been a mutual de facto arrangement tacitly, if not explicitly, agreed upon and known by both sides. Moreover, the designation might apply to embassy officials who study the other country's economic, social, cultural, or political life. They gather and report "information." )

§ In this connection, historians remind us of how the great powers gradually "slipped" into World War I. The lesson is the crucial role of diplomacy, now being undermined. Consider, for example, Syria. Recently, US-backed proxies apparently killed a number of Russian citizens also operating there. The Kremlin, through its Ministry of Defense, issued an ominous warning: If this happens again, Moscow will strike militarily not only at the proxies but also at US forces in the region who provided the weapons and launched the missiles. The same razor's edge could easily occur where the United States and Russia are also eyeball-to-eyeball, as in Ukraine or the Baltic region. (Again, as Trump is being crippled to the extent that he probably could not negotiate a crisis the way President Kennedy did the 1962 Cuban missile crisis.)

4. The causes of the new risks of nuclear war are not "symbolic" but real and primarily political.

§ As diplomacy is diminished, the militarization of US-Russian relations increases.

§ Every weapon developed as extensively as have been nuclear weapons have eventually been used. Washington dropped two atomic bombs, genetic predecessors of their nuclear offspring, on Japan in 1945. (Before 1914, some people thought gas, the new weapon of mass destruction, would never be widely used in warfare.)

§ On both sides today, but especially in Washington, there is talk of developing "more precise nuclear warheads" that could be usable. Use of even a "small, precise" nuclear weapon would cross the Rubicon of apocalypse.

§ Meanwhile, the extreme demonization of Putin and growing Russophobia in the United States are elevating today's small, less formidable Russia into a threat even graver than was the Soviet Union, against which US nuclear weapons were developed and intended. And this, again, in the context of diminished diplomacy and Trump's diminished capacity to negotiate.

Stephen F. Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian Studies and Politics at NYU and Princeton

[Mar 25, 2018] Who Will Stop the US-Russia Arms Race naked capitalism

Notable quotes:
"... Look, it's bogus. It's fiction. It's B.S. It's disinformation. It's American propaganda. The reality is this: Russia has been protesting about the, once we left, Washington left the Antiballistic Missile Treaty, Russia has been protesting what we've been building. We told Russia, why are you worried? It has nothing to do with Russia. This is all about Iran and, quote, rogue states, unidentified. Russia said, OK, in that case let's build it together. We actually have better radar facilities than you have. We'll build it, we'll manage it together. We refused that systematically. ..."
"... Every attempt Russian made to join in the creation of a missile defense system was rejected by Washington. Everybody, unless, you know, you believe in the Easter Bunny, I guess, that this system as it was expanded, increasingly, and it branched out, was directed at Russia. I mean, maybe it would have worked against Iran, too, but that was going to be a bonus. This was about Russia. The Russians knew it. You and I knew it. Everybody knew it. Do you know what is an indestructible weapon system? ..."
"... One funded in all 50 states. All right. That's what this missile defense has been. They farmed out manufacturing of it everywhere from Paducah Kentucky to Israel. Everybody gets a piece of the action. Therefore you get no protest in Congress because it's constituency politics. And that's true of a lot of the weapons systems we make. They're indestructible when all 50 states get a piece of the action, and that's what you have with this missile defense stuff. ..."
"... One reason this situation is so dangerous, Aaron, so dangerous, is that in the '70s and '80s, and I participated at a junior or younger level, the debate over Cold War or detente in the United States, that the pro-detente people, the anti-Cold War people had lots of very senior allies many in Congress. Even in the State Department. Even among presidential aides. It was always a fair fight. ..."
"... There is no one today. Only the Schumers and the Pelosis. And they have become with this Russia gate stuff, claiming that Putin attacked America and it was like Pearl Harbor or 9/11. I mean I never call people names, but this is warmongering. That's exactly what it is. If you claim Russia attacked America, the assumption is we have to attack Russia. And we're talking about nuclear war potentially. So what kind of political leadership is, we have descended into a morass of degraded commentary on Russia that has never even when the Soviet Union existed, even during the worst days of the Cold War, we didn't have this kind of discourse. ..."
"... Warmongering or just politics as usual? That Washington is behaving is a reckless manner these days re Russia is disconcerting, but so is its bellicose behavior toward China, N. Korea, Syria . It is the age of the Moron in Charge. ..."
"... "we're really only making money", ..."
"... make a some money ..."
Mar 25, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Who Will Stop the US-Russia Arms Race? Posted on March 25, 2018 by Jerri-Lynn Scofield Jerri-Lynn here: This Real News network interview with Professor Stephen F. Cohen, professor emeritus at Princeton and NYU, about the insane arms race between the United States and Russia is terrifying. Cohen concludes by discussing how the state of debate over detente has deteriorated since the '70s and '80s, when "the pro-detente people, the anti-Cold War people had lots of very senior allies many in Congress. Even in the State Department. Even among presidential aides. It was always a fair fight."

Yet now:

There is no one today. Only the Schumers and the Pelosis. And they have become with this Russia gate stuff, claiming that Putin attacked America and it was like Pearl Harbor or 9/11. I mean I never call people names, but this is warmongering. That's exactly what it is. If you claim Russia attacked America, the assumption is we have to attack Russia. And we're talking about nuclear war potentially. So what kind of political leadership is, we have descended into a morass of degraded commentary on Russia that has never even when the Soviet Union existed, even during the worst days of the Cold War, we didn't have this kind of discourse.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/u3fongKv1dc

AARON MATE: It's the Real News. I'm Aaron Mate.

President Trump is drawing heat for congratulating Russian President Vladimir Putin on his re-election victory. During a phone call with Putin this week Trump reportedly ignored a written directive from his aides that instructed him, quote, do not congratulate. Speaking to MSNBC, Democratic Sen. Mark Warner echoed the outraged response from Republican Sen. John McCain.

MARK WARNER: I think John McCain put out a statement today, and his words were better than mine. He says, the leader of the free world doesn't call up and congratulate a dictator over a sham election. And clearly that's what happened today.

AARON MATE: News of the friendly phone call prompted former CIA Director John Brennan to suggest that the Russians could have compromising information on Donald Trump.

REPORTER: Why won't the president confront Vladimir Putin, why won't he read the cards and say the things that you say need to be said to Vladimir Putin? Do you believe he is somehow in debt to the president of Russia?

JOHN BRENNAN: I think he's afraid of the president of Russia.

REPORTER: Why?

JOHN BRENNAN: Well, I think one can speculate as to why. That the Russians may have something on him personally that they could always roll out and make his life more difficult.

REPORTER: Do you believe Russia has something on him?

JOHN BRENNAN: I believe that the Russians would would not, they would opt for things to do if they believed that it was in their interests. And the Russians, I think, have had long experience with Mr. Trump and they have things that they could expose.

REPORTER: Something personal, perhaps?

JOHN BRENNAN: Perhaps. Perhaps.

AARON MATE: In his defense, Trump said on Twitter that President Obama had also congratulated Putin during his last win in 2012. And like Obama, Trump claimed he wants to cooperate with Russia on several issues, including the arms race. This comes weeks after Putin gave a speech unveiling a new nuclear arsenal and blaming the U.S. for the arms race. He later spoke to NBC News.

VLADIMIR PUTIN: If you were to speak about arms race, then an arms race began at exactly the time and moment when the U.S. opted out of the Antiballistic Missile Treaty.

AARON MATE: Well, why does Russia blame the U.S. for the arms race? And in this current political moment, can their differences possibly be resolved. Well, to discuss this, I spoke recently to Professor Stephen F. Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian studies at New York University and Princeton. And I began by asking him what Putin is seeking in his relationship with the U.S.

STEPHEN COHEN: Well, let's begin by saying that there's hardly been a time when Putin did not call for good relations with the United States, even in the worst of times. And he continues to refer to American political leaders as 'my partners,' even in the worst of times. This, by the way, drives harder line, or harder line people in the Soviet security establishment up the wall. They say to him, why do you keep calling them your partner?

Putin is a guy who came to power with the hope and intention of a real, functional, constructive economic political relationship with the United States. And though he may have given up that hope, he still calls for it. The speech he gave that you're referring to, the equivalent, I guess, of the state of the Union speech on March 1, was exceedingly important.

The first two thirds of it was essentially his electoral program. It dealt with domestic issues, what he hopes to do for the Russian people. It was very similar to speeches made here during our elections. He talked about education, he talked about infrastructure, he talked about pensions. He talked about health care. No American would be surprised.

[But the latter third. Putin called it historic, and I think it is. And we can explain this simply. Ever since the America and the Soviet Union acquired the capacity to put nuclear warheads on ballistic missiles, cross the seas and strike the other country, we have been in a strategic agreement called mutual assured destruction. And all that meant that if Washington launched at Moscow, within minutes Moscow would launch at Washington, and both countries would be grievously affected, if not completely destroyed. And this doctrine, called MAD, may seem frightful, but it kept the nuclear peace until the idea came up that you could build an antiballistic missile weapon, missile defense. It started with Reagan.

To prevent that, I think signed in 1972, was a treaty, the antiballistic missile treaty, which meant that the sides were prohibited from deploying antiballistic missile systems in order to preserve this mutual assured destruction so that neither side would be tempted to launch a first strike. Each side, America and the Soviet Union, was given one exemption. Moscow put a missile defense system over, Russia did over Moscow. And I think we have our someplace in South Dakota for some reason, I'm not sure why. In 2002 President Bush left this treaty, nullified it unilaterally.

Ever since then we've been pushing missile defense installations toward Russia. I think there are 30 or 40. They range from, as I understand it, California to Alaska. But there's one operating in Romania, one to open in Poland. But here's the thing. we've figured out how to deploy them on ships. And so these anti-missile defense systems are sailing on ships in the Black Sea and the Baltic Sea, right on Russia's borders.

So what did Putin say? And it's really, if if half of what he claimed for these weapons is true, and I'm sure more than half is true, he said, we have developed several weapons that do not lie at the ballistic level. That is, high in the sky and descend. They fly much lower, much faster, and they can elude any any missile system that you Americans have spent trillions of dollars on. So therefore, we have restored mutual assured destruction. He's saying that you Americans, and it's true some Americans did this, tried to develop missile defense so that you could threaten us wit,h or perhaps launch, a first nuclear strike knowing that your missile defense would protect you from retaliation. He said that was a fiction from the beginning. But we now have these new weapons which make it absolutely impossible. And so he ends by saying, therefore, having restored the balance of sanity, let us sit down and have major nuclear weapons talks again.

But again, Aaron, I mean, if it's true, and I have no reason to think it's not true, though the stages of development of these weapons is a little unclear, it's true what Putin said about these four or five new weapons systems. We are now in a completely new era, because since the end of the Soviet Union the United States has tried to develop at least the capacity of a first strike capability at Russia using these missile defenses. That is over. It's not possible any longer. Trillions of dollars have been wasted.

By the way, I forget which administration, Bush or Obama, made missile defense a NATO project. It started out as an American project. But it officially gave it to NATO. Why? Because where NATO goes, the missile defense installations go, and NATO has expanded right to Russia's borders.

So this is an historic turning point, assuming what Putin said is largely true. Though you wouldn't know it. I guess you had on professor Theodore Postol of MIT. And I mean, Ted is excellent on this stuff but you don't get any of this in the mainstream media. Putin's speech was read as an act of threatened aggression against the United States. It was just the opposite.

AARON MATE: Right. And you know, I think what we often forget, too, is that as this missile system , defensive missile system, whatever it's called, was developed, especially under Bush number two, George W. Bush, it was billed to Russia for so long as being targeted towards Iran. Which seems like a pretty tough sell to accept when, when it's actually being positioned so close to Russia.

STEPHEN COHEN: Look, it's bogus. It's fiction. It's B.S. It's disinformation. It's American propaganda. The reality is this: Russia has been protesting about the, once we left, Washington left the Antiballistic Missile Treaty, Russia has been protesting what we've been building. We told Russia, why are you worried? It has nothing to do with Russia. This is all about Iran and, quote, rogue states, unidentified. Russia said, OK, in that case let's build it together. We actually have better radar facilities than you have. We'll build it, we'll manage it together. We refused that systematically.

Every attempt Russian made to join in the creation of a missile defense system was rejected by Washington. Everybody, unless, you know, you believe in the Easter Bunny, I guess, that this system as it was expanded, increasingly, and it branched out, was directed at Russia. I mean, maybe it would have worked against Iran, too, but that was going to be a bonus. This was about Russia. The Russians knew it. You and I knew it. Everybody knew it. Do you know what is an indestructible weapon system?

AARON MATE: No I don't.

STEPHEN COHEN: One funded in all 50 states. All right. That's what this missile defense has been. They farmed out manufacturing of it everywhere from Paducah Kentucky to Israel. Everybody gets a piece of the action. Therefore you get no protest in Congress because it's constituency politics. And that's true of a lot of the weapons systems we make. They're indestructible when all 50 states get a piece of the action, and that's what you have with this missile defense stuff.

AARON MATE: OK, so, speaking of Congress. If there is to be any push for Trump to engage with what Putin said seriously and try to restart some sort of arms control talks, including the New START treaty, which Trump has indicated little interest in advancing, you'd think that it would be Trump's opposition party who would be pushing him towards that.

Now, recently there were some Democratic senators to call for a new round of strategic arms talks with Russia. But I want to read to you a quote from the Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, where he is greeting the news of Mike Pompeo now being the secretary of state. And instead of pointing to Pompeo's open disdain for the Iran nuclear deal and his hawkishness on things including Russia, this is what Chuck Schumer said. He said: The instability of this administration and just about every area weakens America. If he's confirmed we hope that Mr. Pompeo will turn up we'll turn over a new leaf and will start toughening up our policies towards Russia and Putin, unquote.

So Professor Cohen, as we wrap, that is the top priority from the leader of the opposition party Chuck Schumer, for the new nominee to be secretary of state to be tougher towards Russia.

STEPHEN COHEN: Well, but it's not just Schumer. And Schumer is not to make this distinction as statesmen. He is a kind of local politician risen way above his pay grade when it comes to foreign affairs. It was outrageous what he said. But a lot of the Democratic leaders are saying this sort of thing.

I mean, let me make the point you made before. One reason this situation is so dangerous, Aaron, so dangerous, is that in the '70s and '80s, and I participated at a junior or younger level, the debate over Cold War or detente in the United States, that the pro-detente people, the anti-Cold War people had lots of very senior allies many in Congress. Even in the State Department. Even among presidential aides. It was always a fair fight.

There is no one today. Only the Schumers and the Pelosis. And they have become with this Russia gate stuff, claiming that Putin attacked America and it was like Pearl Harbor or 9/11. I mean I never call people names, but this is warmongering. That's exactly what it is. If you claim Russia attacked America, the assumption is we have to attack Russia. And we're talking about nuclear war potentially. So what kind of political leadership is, we have descended into a morass of degraded commentary on Russia that has never even when the Soviet Union existed, even during the worst days of the Cold War, we didn't have this kind of discourse.

AARON MATE: We have to leave it there. Professor Stephen F. Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian studies at New York University and Princeton University. Thank you.

STEPHEN COHEN: Pray a lot, Aaron.

AARON MATE: Will do. And thank you for joining us on the Real News.



Tomonthebeach , , March 25, 2018 at 3:35 am

Warmongering or just politics as usual? That Washington is behaving is a reckless manner these days re Russia is disconcerting, but so is its bellicose behavior toward China, N. Korea, Syria . It is the age of the Moron in Charge.

Pelosi and Schumer, are likely motivated by sticking as much McCarthy-tar to Trump as they can before the elections, because Mueller-goo is not yet available. I doubt that they would support preemptive attacks. In Trump's case WH recklessness appears to be adolescent bravado -- soon to be amplified by his new National Jingo Advisor. Preemptive attacks are Bolton's broken record (whyizit saber-rattlers are always cowardly draft dodgers?).

timbers , , March 25, 2018 at 8:17 am

That Washington is behaving is a reckless manner these days re Russia is disconcerting, but so is its bellicose behavior toward China, N. Korea, Syria . It is the age of the Moron in Charge.

If by the Age of Moron in Charge you refer to Obama as well as Trump, I agree with you. Yet sill, your moron in charge misses the point that it is primarily Democrats -- not Trump -- who've embraced and created the Russiagate nonsense that is probably the far greater danger.

But your moron in charge holds up perfectly with all the other nations, besides Russia.

Russia isn't Iraq. She can wipe the United States off the face of earth at will if she is forced to.

IMO you underestimate the level of danger the "politics as usual" is causing this time with the Democratic Tea Party Birtherists spreading so many lies about Russia it's impossible to keep track of, and it's affect is to create war with Russia.

In other words, the politics of usual you think this is not usual at all. Its UN-usually dangerous and irresponsible.

oh , , March 25, 2018 at 2:57 pm

The tar babies will soon have s**t on their face and after millions of $$$$ the Mueller-goo will fail to stick. Too bad we can't get Trumpie and his boys as well as the Dimrats to sink in the large tar pit.

jackiebass , , March 25, 2018 at 6:23 am

The answer is no-one. Our government and policy is controlled by the security, industrial , military complex. Exactly what Ike predicted before leaving office.

Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author , , March 25, 2018 at 11:31 am

Yes, Ike did indeed deliver that notable speech. But he didn't shut down the Dulles brothers when he had the chance. Instead, he more or less gave them carte blanche. I recently read Stephen Kinzer's The Brothers -- and it reminded me just how odious they were, and how their malign influence continues to haunt US foreign policy.

Dirk77 , , March 25, 2018 at 7:39 am

I have often wondered about Aristotle's observation of democracy -> oligarchy -> tyranny and if it were really universal. But as time goes on I see myself wondering if a tyrant who was actually an adult would be better than the children who run this country, elected though they may be.

A possibly softer landing would be for the rest of the world to gang up on the USA and administer a beat down a la Sparta in the Peloponnesisn war. Perhaps if the US economy finally crashes and no one fears us anymore economically. Would that do it? I don't see the children having much of a spine.

JTMcPhee , , March 25, 2018 at 8:42 am

The children in this neighborhood all have caches of old-fashioned matches and lots of butane lighters and the gasoline cans from the garages in their single-family houses. And if the beat-down happens, handed out by folks in other neighborhoods, my bet is that these children are socio-psychopathic enough to burn down the other neighborhoods.

Earlier versions of the "Single Integrated Operational Plan" which like its successors and what's now OPLAN 8010-12 listed out the targeting options for the US imperial nuclear weapons, included some interesting possibilities. Maybe it was because the stockpile numbers of warheads was so large, at over 30,000 weapons, that the "most strategically important" target set was expected to be "taken out" (cue the nuclear winter scenario), leaving a lot of "unused" warheads for other purposes. So those target lists, from what I read, included the capitals and commercial centers of a whole lot of other supposedly "friendly" or at least "neutral" places. The notion being that if the Empire was to be destroyed, why should some upstart probably socialist-tending bunch of Wogs be left to survive and profit from picking over the remains of the Vast Global Capitalist Empire?

So my guess is that, given all the globalization-effectuated corruption and interlocking interests of the Elites, and the Empire's innovative and disruptive means and methods of "destabilizing" and "democratizing" places where "anti- full spectrum dominance global capitalist US" sentiments and motions might arise, getting the Peloponnesus Consensus together and functioning is just not going to happen. The pathogens and Neo-plasms have hijacked all the other organ systems, all the incentives are lined up (as with Cohen's rendering of that other "50-state strategy," and like In that scene in "Planet of the Apes" franchise, you'll have Charlotte Heston encountering the top of the Statue of Liberty sticking up from the beach and wailing, Oh my God I'm back. I'm home. All the time, it was We finally really did it. [falls to his knees screaming] YOU MANIACS! YOU BLEW IT UP! AH, DAMN YOU! GOD DAMN YOU ALL TO HELL!! [camera pans to reveal the half-destroyed Statue of Liberty sticking out of the sand] For the video version, looking here: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=XvuM3DjvYf0

But never you worry, children, it's only a movie And Daddy has such a good job there at the Pantex plant https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pantex_Plant And you know Reverend Billy Bob has it straight from God that we will all be raptured up to Heaven before the bombs detonate! And We Are Ready! https://www.raptureready.com/

Dirk77 , , March 25, 2018 at 2:04 pm

So you don't think the children can estimate odds very well? Hmm. Since change seems to occur now faster than in the past, I guess we are all going to find out in our lifetime.

Quentin , , March 25, 2018 at 9:00 am

Imagine being a North Korean, Russian, Iranian.. hearing the ravings of Washington about attacking your country, your house, your family, killing whoever gets in the way why? Mrs. Clinton knows all about it, ' and he died'. guffaw, girly giggle, guffaw; Mr. McCain, 'bomb, bomb Iran', to the tune of teenage, musical drivel from half a century ago; Mr. Obama 'Gee, I'm really good at killing', concluding with a knowing grin worthy of an Academy Award; and so forth. Only a rant can possibly relay the breadth and depth of US institutionalised violence at home and abroad.

timbers , , March 25, 2018 at 9:04 am

Watching the video truly is scary. Democrats like Pelosi and Schumer have truly lost their minds. Parapheasing Stephen Cohen: "We have never seen this kind of rhetoric even at the height of the Cold War with the Soviet Union."

Sometimes I fail to realize how insane Democrats (and of course Republicans) have become, because I don't watch TV and the corporate news shows regularly, and I've lost interest in the relentless fake news charges against Russia it just never stops and it's always wrong.

I do have Democratic friends who have called me names, insulted my intelligence, and implied bad social identity labels to me like "DO you believe the hallocaust even happened?" and talked down to me like I am mentally retarded, when I insist to them that money laundering and tax evasion by Americans in deals in Ukraine or elsewhere is not equivalent to showing evidence that Russia meddled in the election, who insist it's illegal to talk to Russians, that all Russians are spies and enemies of America. One Democrats told me Capone was convicted of mail fraud, and he was a gangster, so these people are guilty of election meddling.

My Republican friends a bit more nuanced regarding Russia. They usually don't like Putin, but seem indifferent or show little interest with the election meddling angle.

Bill Smith , , March 25, 2018 at 9:08 am

Funny, today the Russian newspaper at nvo.ng.ru has an article on the rise of the Chinese military and the need to keep up with them.

RenoDino , , March 25, 2018 at 9:15 am

The budget that Trump just signed doubles down on all the weapons systems that Russia just made obsolete with its recent announcement of new strategic delivery systems. General Mattis thanked the country for its sacrifice in making this huge military expenditure possible. (I about drove into a tree when I heard him say this. He is actually admitting that everyone and everything must now suffer because this is now the country's highest priority when, in fact, we are not at war yet.)

In exchange for crumbling roads, schools and bridges, a public healthcare crisis and massive economic inequality, you will be receiving half a trillion dollars of military gear that will be useless right out of the box.

Given the corrupt and archaic procurement methods used by this country, that has virtually no oversight, we can expect the defense gap between our current weapons systems and the Russians to be at least twenty years at current funding levels.

rkka , , March 25, 2018 at 9:37 am

I'll gently disagree with Prof. Cohen on one point.

Opposing the destroyers of Detente was never a fair fight.

Yes, the policy of Detente did have support at the highest levels of government and academia, but they were vastly outnumbered by the Paul Nitzes and the Richard Pipes'se, and the destroyers of Detente lied about & distorted Brezhnev's intentions every bit as much as their intellectual heirs now lie about & distort Putin's intentions.

And this is nothing new. A similar hysteria followed the victory in 1945. A perceptive observer at the time, a British Army officer who served on the British military mission to the USSR, minces no words.

"Even in Russia, the land of immensities, it means that one in every twelve Russians alive in 1941, one In twelve men, women, and children, has died a violent death, in order that the others might resume their lives with a swing and, if possible, a flourish. And most of those fifteen million were adults.

The survivors will not, of course, forget this. But we seem to have forgotten it. Because now, with this great country shattered, ravaged, and exhausted, with her people strained to the breaking-point, and with her adult manhood more than decimated-now, at this moment, there are many loud voices in the West crying out that another war is coming quickly and that this time the aggressor is Russia. And these voices, which cry out of a depth of imbecility, or ignorance, or unimaginativeness which is truly horrifying to contemplate, are widely believed."

Edward Crankshaw-Russia and the Russians, 1948, pgs 200-201

Imbecility, ignorance, unimaginitiveness. Of a depth which is truly horrifying to contemplate.

Hallmarks of the postwar US foreign policy elite, from the get-go.

Blue Pilgrim , , March 25, 2018 at 9:38 am

Cohen understands.

The arms race is over, and Russia has won, for decades to come, but for some carrying through and tying up some strings. Sadly, the plutocracy and politicians, especially the psychopaths, don't know this or are in denial.

The fictions (with the aid of the media) in the demonization of Russia and trying to maintain the empire may well push us into war and global destruction before climate destruction takes most of us out.
Since I wasn't here for the beginning of the 'Stupid Mankind play', maybe being here for the end is next best thing? The final curtain call could happen any time now if huge numbers of people don't wake up, end the absurd games, and stop it. Otherwise, this is not business or politics as usual, but very likely the last act.

Bill Smith , , March 25, 2018 at 10:31 am

What, exactly did the Russians win?

Rates , , March 25, 2018 at 12:11 pm

They have weapons now that will totally nullify an aircraft carrier group. Their weapons actually work as demonstrated in Syria, while America did all sorts of shitty expensive stuff that bombed like the F35.

Think about it this way. You have a common enemy, and you take turns to take the enemy on. If you are doing better than your rival, presumably your weapons/tactics are better no? That's what Russia demonstrated in Syria.

Americans continue to think that they have the best military in the world. It's as if Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq didn't happen. Americans better pray that they are not engaging Iran soon. Let's put it this way, if Iran is so easy to beat, why haven't the Israelis done it on their own?

Blue Pilgrim , , March 25, 2018 at 1:26 pm

What 'Rates' says, and also the new weapons Putin talked about in his speech, unstoppable hypersonic non-ballistic weapons, and M.A.D. fully in effect. Except Russia has somewhat better chance for surviving for a while, until the global radiation and nuclear winter takes out everyone who live through the initial onslaught.

The ABM stuff, what might have worked to a very limited extent, is now totally obsolete. US doing first strike is suicide. And even trying to catch up will not only take decades, but bankrupt the country entirely.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iDGvrdqQZVY
Putin's annual address to Federal Assembly (FULL VIDEO)

(March 1, 2018) Military section begins about 1 hour 15 minutes.

http://en.special.kremlin.ru/events/president/transcripts/56957

The Rev Kev , , March 25, 2018 at 10:11 am

You know the democrats should really re-consider their push for a war with Russia. Clinton supporters on the 2016 electoral map were scattered in small pockets around America which came to known as the Clinton Archipelago. With a few judicious nuclear strikes, the Russians could virtually wipe out the bulk majority of democrat voters for good leaving an all-Republican America left standing.

Lee , , March 25, 2018 at 1:05 pm

Now that would constitute election meddling.

Watt4Bob , , March 25, 2018 at 11:29 am

The sad fact is that America's rulers are not actually pushing war with Russia, they are just trying to make a lot of money by aligning themselves with the interests of those who profit from the arms race.

Our rulers long ago gave up even pretending to oppose wasteful military spending and simply rubber-stamp any spending requests no matter how obviously ill conceived, or even useless.

They probably feel deep in their hearts that since the whole point of their game is to enrich those who produce the weapons, and by extension, themselves, as opposed to preparing for war, that their behavior is not evil, dangerous warmongering, it's only making money, which everyone knows is the sacred right of every American, enshrined in our constitution

The problem is, that even though every thinking person on the rest of the planet understands that our rulers believe "we're really only making money", they also understand that that belief is a giant delusion, obscuring the fact that making all that money involves not only spending $trillions buying weapons from the folks who pay to get them elected, but killing millions of people in the mindless process of manufacturing enemies to justify the expense.

So now we've arrived at the point where our collective insanity, and bad behavior has convinced Russia and China to develop weapons systems to counter ours, but theirs are not simply money making schemes designed to enrich a small bunch of their richest people, their weapons are actually reliable and effective.

You may ask how I know that their weapons are reliable and effective, it is because their purpose is to defend their countries from the obviously greed-crazed and hysterical psychopaths who have purchased control of our country, and have perpetrated the myth that we are busy spreading peace and our superior democratic values around the world by spreading chaos, death and destruction.

We've become the existential threat to the planet, and most of people on earth understand that fact more clearly than we do, because we're so thoroughly marinated in the myth of America's unassailable virtues, and blind to the fact that hysterical greed is not a virtue.

Donald and Hillary and Nancy and Chuck are all just trying to make a some money , that's one way of looking at it.

marku52 , , March 25, 2018 at 3:46 pm

Russian and Chinese weapons *have* to work, because they have all the evidence in the world that the US is deranged enough to use its own.

Whoa Molly! , , March 25, 2018 at 12:26 pm

"funded in all 50 states. All right. That's what this missile defense has been."

Serious questions for NC commentariat:

-- Why has there been no serious movement for infrastructure spending instead of bloated, wasteful MIC spending? Seems like infrastructure is (could be) a 50 state spending.

-- Has any empire ever prioritised infrastructure spending over military expansionism and wars? Ever?

-- Would depression era WPA be an example? If so why did WPA cause such antipathy on right?

oh , , March 25, 2018 at 4:01 pm

The MIC with its bloated contracts have more lobbyists (bribers) than the construction companies that compete locally since the states have to pitch in a considerable amount for infrastructure projects. And the Congress critters can't use the fear card to promote infrastructure spending.

Whoa Molly! , , March 25, 2018 at 4:15 pm

Sounds like fear is the easiest and most consistent motivator for social and political change.

Once MIC spending begins, a load of people who are getting rich off the contracts are highly motivated to keep things going.

Thus the "New Red Scare", bloated MIC contracts, and endless war.

(I am trying to think clearly about this)

Huey Long , , March 25, 2018 at 4:16 pm

-- Why has there been no serious movement for infrastructure spending instead of bloated, wasteful MIC spending? Seems like infrastructure is (could be) a 50 state spending.

MIC spending is completely unaccountable. ( https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/12/08/569394885/pentagon-announces-first-ever-audit-of-the-department-of-defense ) Infrastructure spending is not.

-- Has any empire ever prioritised infrastructure spending over military expansionism and wars? Ever?

I can't recall any imperial state that has done so, although Rome and China did build some major infrastructure projects such as the Grand Canal and the Roman Aqueducts. Both are still in use today thousands of years later.

http://www.romanaqueducts.info/q&a/11stillinuse.htm
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Canal_(China)#Modern_course

-- Would depression era WPA be an example? If so why did WPA cause such antipathy on right?

I'll quote Kalecki here and leave it at that:

We have considered the political reasons for the opposition to the policy of creating employment by government spending. But even if this opposition were overcome -- as it may well be under the pressure of the masses -- the maintenance of full employment would cause social and political changes which would give a new impetus to the opposition of the business leaders. Indeed, under a regime of permanent full employment, the 'sack' would cease to play its role as a 'disciplinary measure. The social position of the boss would be undermined, and the self-assurance and class-consciousness of the working class would grow. Strikes for wage increases and improvements in conditions of work would create political tension. It is true that profits would be higher under a regime of full employment than they are on the average under laissez-faire, and even the rise in wage rates resulting from the stronger bargaining power of the workers is less likely to reduce profits than to increase prices, and thus adversely affects only the rentier interests. But 'discipline in the factories' and 'political stability' are more appreciated than profits by business leaders. Their class instinct tells them that lasting full employment is unsound from their point of view, and that unemployment is an integral part of the 'normal' capitalist system.

https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/08/kalecki-on-the-political-obstacles-to-achieving-full-employment.html

Anarcissie , , March 25, 2018 at 1:03 pm

To repeat myself from a few years ago, ''The Devil rages because his time is short,' indeed, but, 'Beware the lash of the dragon's tail as he dies.'

julia , , March 25, 2018 at 2:25 pm

I am canadian but was born in communist germany, lived " behind the iron curtain " for the first twenty years of my live. I still do not know, whom to thank for, that back than, we did not get " liberated" by the western world, or that they did not try for regime change
Now by default, I am supposedly on the other side of the new cold war. It is not my side either.
I absolutly do not want any war, no even a cold war, but this aggressive Neoliberal US and Nato politic is pulling the whole world down.
I am no fan of Putin, but he is not pushing for war.
I went in the 80' to soviet union and could still see what my people had done there
and no, the russians do not want another war.

[Mar 08, 2018] In recent years, there has been ample evidence that US policy-makers and, equally important, mainstream media commentators do not bother to read what Putin says, or at least not more than snatches from click-bait wire-service reports.

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Still worse, Putin and "Putin's Russia" have been so demonized that it is hard to imagine any leading American political figures or editorial commentators responding positively to what is plainly his hope for a new beginning in US-Russian relations. If nothing else, strategic parity always also meant political parity -- recognizing that Soviet Russia, like the United States, had legitimate national interests abroad. The years of American vilifying Putin and Russia are essentially an assertion that neither has any such legitimacy. ..."
Mar 08, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

outthere , 08 March 2018 at 11:01 AM

Stephen F. Cohen:

Does Putin really believe Washington will "listen now"? He may still have some "illusions," but we should have none. In recent years, there has been ample evidence that US policy-makers and, equally important, mainstream media commentators do not bother to read what Putin says, or at least not more than snatches from click-bait wire-service reports.

Still worse, Putin and "Putin's Russia" have been so demonized that it is hard to imagine any leading American political figures or editorial commentators responding positively to what is plainly his hope for a new beginning in US-Russian relations. If nothing else, strategic parity always also meant political parity -- recognizing that Soviet Russia, like the United States, had legitimate national interests abroad. The years of American vilifying Putin and Russia are essentially an assertion that neither has any such legitimacy.

And making matters worse, there are the still unproven allegations of "Russiagate" collusion. Even if President Trump understands, or is made to understand, the new -- possibly historic -- overture represented by Putin's speech, would the "Kremlin puppet" allegations made daily against him permit him to seize this opportunity? Indeed, do the promoters of "Russiagate" care?

more here:

https://www.thenation.com/article/how-washington-provoked-and-perhaps-lost-a-new-nuclear-arms-race/

[Feb 11, 2018] Cohen has basically been trying to show that Putin is a normal leader, ready to cooperate with the US and defend his country's national interests. His posture has been defensive

Notable quotes:
"... However, the Ukraine conflict has completely messed up that dream project. My most important objection to Saker is that Putin does not know what to do about Ukraine and does not have a policy on Ukraine. He puts up with what no Russian leader would put up with. Americans are arming Ukrainian neo-Nazies for a war with Russia. And Putin does nothing. Americans openly arm terrorists on Syria who shoot a Russian airplane and Russia does nothing. Basically Putin's policy of turning enemies into partners and partners into friends and friends into allies has partially succeeded in Syria but failed in Ukraine. Is he going to wait until US missiles are established in Ukraine? Is he going to accept de facto NATO membership of Ukraine. Where is the red line beyond which he would not go? ..."
Feb 11, 2018 | www.unz.com

Vlad, February 9, 2018 at 11:12 am GMT

Saker did a great job of explaining Cohen's position on Putin that had been misunderstood in mainstream Western media. Cohen has basically been trying to show that Putin is a normal leader, ready to cooperate with the US and defend his country's national interests. His posture has been defensive. Cohen is trying to reason with the liberals and New York Jews. He is trying to convince them that the mainstream media is lying. Fine.

But that does not explain what Putin's agenda is. Saker goes further. He does explain most of Putin's past and present. But still there is room for disagreement. Saker argues that Putin knew all along the wicked intentions of the US and openly revealed that knowledge after the Ukraine take over by the US. Here I disagree. When Bush came to Russia Putin greeted him with genuine enthusiasm. Putin then did hope that Russia and US could turn the page and begin a new relationship. That did not happen. Expansion of NATO happened instead. And that is when Putin began to reconsider. My difference with Saker is that I believe that Putin still does not know what his policy to the US should be. He still hopes that Trump will live up to his pre-election promise. Putin is still beholden to the moment of 2003 when Russia Germany France and Italy were together in opposition to US Iraq war. He still craves for the days when the German Chancellor and Italian leader were his personal friends. He hoped then and still hopes today to draw Europe to Russia and undermine NATO from within.

However, the Ukraine conflict has completely messed up that dream project. My most important objection to Saker is that Putin does not know what to do about Ukraine and does not have a policy on Ukraine. He puts up with what no Russian leader would put up with. Americans are arming Ukrainian neo-Nazies for a war with Russia. And Putin does nothing. Americans openly arm terrorists on Syria who shoot a Russian airplane and Russia does nothing. Basically Putin's policy of turning enemies into partners and partners into friends and friends into allies has partially succeeded in Syria but failed in Ukraine. Is he going to wait until US missiles are established in Ukraine? Is he going to accept de facto NATO membership of Ukraine. Where is the red line beyond which he would not go?

Sergey Krieger , February 10, 2018 at 9:31 pm GMT
@yurivku

I believe it is all divide and rule strategy by western elites. Gender, race. It is far easier to control and fleece when steeple is distracted and confused, unity, moral and ethics are destroyed. With Soviet union in place as other choice and pole it would have never happened even in the West. And frankly, were ussr still in place the West would have been completely bankrupt by now. Our resources bought them 20 years. Why do you think so much hatred towards Russia? Imagine your favorite meal refusing to get eaten but actually fighting back successfully.

yurivku , February 10, 2018 at 9:36 pm GMT
@Sergey Krieger

Sergey, I 've asked just after u said about bright expectations. Sorry. Actually for me every one who consider our country as Motherland is precious and should be kept and helped.
See trolls are under attack, dont know which .. but ill refresh my english and continue to spread the simple words of reason

yurivku , February 10, 2018 at 9:49 pm GMT
@AP

AFAIR u are from khohols ? Just fly down, I wont speak with a shithole representatives

yurivku , February 10, 2018 at 9:57 pm GMT
@Sergey Krieger

Sergey, if u'll come to Russia, just cal me my email is yurivku then l dot ru, try to write. Ill be happy to help if I can

yurivku , February 10, 2018 at 10:10 pm GMT
@Sergey Krieger

Sergey, I dont give my explanations and underderstandings when I just fix the presence of jews here and there. Of cource I have an explanation, but I keep it for now. But as always they are here.

Sergey Krieger , February 10, 2018 at 10:11 pm GMT
@yurivku

Future looked bright in 1985 when I finished school. Misunderstanding.

AP , February 11, 2018 at 12:56 am GMT
@yurivku

Try to write in better English.

AnonDisclaimer , February 11, 2018 at 12:58 am GMT
@AP

Yea, truth hurts. Losers are particularly vulnerable. My condolences.

AP , February 11, 2018 at 4:33 am GMT
@Anon

So in your world Kadyrov came to Kiev in 2014? Very funny.

Beefcake the Mighty , February 11, 2018 at 5:47 am GMT
@Vlad

Putin's main flaw, like Hitler's, is underestimating the hostility his opponents have towards him and Russia. However, he does know that Russia is not yet ready for a major war and is rightfully proceeding carefully. He has countered NATO's attempt to close off Russia's access to the Black Sea. He has been effectively a savior in helping Syria stave off Zio-American terror and halted, at least for now, their continued destabilization of the ME. I would say thus far he has played his cards reasonably well.

[Feb 11, 2018] What is clear that the west has resumed the Cold War, under a pretext, this time, with a not negligible chance of turning it into a hot war, the war that will end all wars, the end of humanity

Feb 11, 2018 | www.unz.com

jilles dykstra , February 11, 2018 at 8:18 am GMT

A weird country, the USA.
Until 1933 the USA did not recognise diplomatically the USSR. FDR did. Conspiracy theorists, I'm one of them, suppose that already in 1933 FDR was planning his war.

During the thirties the USSR show trials were denied by USA ambassadors in Moscow, Davies the first, a nephew of Morgenthau. USA top brass who met the Russians during WWII were very cynical about them, Patton one of them, he died by an accident, of which many suppose it was murder.

1948 was the turning point, Stalin blocked Berlin. All of a sudden Uncle Joe became a monster, THE threat to the USA McCarthy saw communists anywhere.

Then the long Cold War, an effort by the west to let the USSR fall apart through the burden of defence spending.

1990 success, not just because of defence spending, but because a centrally directed economy without the profit motive is unable to produce the consumer goods the consumer wants.
In 1990 I was so naive to think that NATO would be dissolved, it was not.

What western policy towards the non communist Russia was after 1990, I never fully understood. What is clear that the west has resumed the Cold War, under a pretext, this time, with a not negligible chance of turning it into a hot war, the war that will end all wars, the end of humanity.

[Feb 11, 2018] Professor Stephen F. Cohen Rethinking Putin. For what it is worth, this is the best article on Putin, the USSR/Russia and the KGB I have ever read by The Saker

Feb 11, 2018 | www.unz.com

Chris Bridges , February 11, 2018 at 1:55 pm GMT

I am a retired CIA ops officer. For what it is worth, this is the best article on Putin, the USSR/Russia and the KGB I have ever read. Russiphobe idiots, take note.
Michael Kenny , February 11, 2018 at 2:30 pm GMT
Putin certainly changed sides about the time he returned to the presidency in 2012. Prior to that he had been slowly steering Russia back to its normal place as a European great power and, thereby, drawing closer to the EU. Suddenly, he became a US neocon stooge and allowed himself to be used as a "useful idiot" in their campaign to destroy the EU.

That blunder led him to paint himself into the corner he is now in in Ukraine and that blunder, in turn, led him to wade into the Syrian civil war, thereby painting himself into another corner. What emerges is a man with little or no political savvy who simply lurches from blunder to blunder, with each blunder an attempt to overcome the consequences of the previous blunder. Professor Cohen also repeats a classic neocon propaganda line, namely, that Russians do not see themselves as Europeans.

As far as I can tell, that propaganda line was invented by Daniel Pipes and was intended, one supposes, to drive a wedge between Russia and the rest of Europe, in particular the EU. I can find no evidence (to borrow a phrase!) that Russians regard themselves, or have ever regarded themselves, as anything but European and Professor Cohen provides no evidence in support of his claim, although he is quite happy to dismiss criticisms of Putin by arguing that there is no evidence to support them.

The classic technique of the pro-Putin camp: when it favours Putin, no evidence is required; when it doesn't suit him, proof, almost to courtroom standards, has to be provided. Professor Cohen has once again lived up to his reputation as a pro-Putin propagandist and his remarks will be judged accordingly.

I was amused by the author's claim that Putin "wants a new, multi-polar, international order of sovereign countries". He could usefully prove his bona fides in that regard by respecting Ukrainian sovereignty and ceasing to finance anti-EU political parties (the latest, apparently, being the Lega Nord in Italy), thereby violating the sovereignty of the countries in which they operate. Indeed, if he hadn't started violating the sovereignty of other European countries, there wouldn't be a dispute with him in the first place! That does tend to support the author's view that Putin has been double-dealing from the start, which, in its turn, completely demolishes Professor Cohen's "nice but misunderstood Mr Putin" thesis.

Anon Disclaimer , February 11, 2018 at 4:37 pm GMT
@AP

Anon from TN
He didn't even need to fly there personally: he scared pathetic nonentities calling themselves Ukrainian leaders long-range. The truth is, first Ukraine denied OSCE mission access to these journalists, broke all the rules so badly that even Human Rights Watch said that Ukraine dangerously interferes with press freedom. But all this bluster evaporated when Kadyrov entered negotiations. Within 4 days both journalists were released unconditionally and flown to Moscow. Typical Ukraine: it "suffered a glorious victory" then, not for the first and not for the last time.
As is widely known, Ukraine is the only country in the world that shot down two civilian aircraft and not a single military one. However hard the Empire and its lackeys try to convince the gullible that Malayan Boeing in 2014 was shot down by Russia or Russia-backed Donbass freedom fighters, international airlines made their conclusions: all fly over Russia, but they fly around Ukraine, avoiding Ukrainian airspace like they avoid North Korean.

Aedib , February 11, 2018 at 4:48 pm GMT
@Michael Kenny

in that regard by respecting Ukrainian sovereignty

You fail to understand what self-determination (i.e. Crimean referendum) means.

Anon Disclaimer , February 11, 2018 at 7:28 pm GMT
@Aedib

Anon from TN
As far as Crimean population is concerned, it tried to get out of Ukraine since the dissolution of the USSR in 1991. Crimeans say that finally in 2014 Russia did not betray them. Polls by Gallup and Pew Research Center in 2014, as well as by German company GfK later, showed that more than 80% of Crimean residents want to be part of Russia, not Ukraine.
Not to mention that today the expression "Ukrainian sovereignty" makes as much sense as "the virginity of an old prostitute".

[Feb 09, 2018] Professor Stephen F. Cohen Rethinking Putin – A critical reading, by The Saker - The Unz Review

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... As a young and inexperienced leader placed at the helm of a collapsing state: He rebuilt, stabilized and modernized Russia in a way to prevent future collapses He had to restore the "vertical" of power: "managed democracy" (i.e. restored order) He needed a consensual history patching up Czarist, Soviet and post-Soviet eras without imposing one, single, version of history He needed Western support to modernize the Russian economy He wanted Russia to be a great power, but not a super-power He never favored iron-curtain isolationism; he is an internationalist (more European than 90% of Russians, at least in the beginning). ..."
"... The key thesis is this: Putin began as a pro-Western, European leader and with time he realigned himself with a much more traditional, Russian worldview. He is more in line with Russian voters today. ..."
"... "by any reckoning, be it flourishing inside Russia or relations with Israel, by general consent of all, nobody denies this, Jews under Putin in Russia are better off than they had ever been in Russian history. Ever. They have more freedom, less official anti-Semitism, more protection, more official admiration for Israel, more interaction, more freedom to go back and forth". ..."
"... The Soviet KGB was first and foremost a huge bureaucracy with completely different, and separate, directorates, departments, and sections. Yes, one such Directorate did deal with dissidents and anti-Soviet activists (mainly the 9 th Department of the 5 th Directorate) but even within this (infamous) 5 th Directorate there were some Departments which, in coordination with other KGB Directorates and Departments, dealt with more legitimate tasks such as, for example, the early detection of terrorist organizations (7 th Department). Other Directorates of the KGB dealt with economic security (6 th Directorate), internal security and counter-intelligence (2 nd Directorate) or even protection of officials (9 th Directorate). ..."
"... My most important objection to Saker is that Putin does not know what to do about Ukraine and does not have a policy on Ukraine. ..."
"... The collapse of the Soviet Union was arranged by the Nomenklatura for their own benefit as a massive asset grab. ..."
"... On the plus side, Western sanctions have been a net benefit to Russia over the last three years – keeping capital in the country and giving the agricultural, food processing and light manufacturing industries some room to breathe and develop free from Western competition. ..."
"... I've heard a few of Grudinin's speeches, and they were very disappointing, to put it mildly. It is nice to say that you want to confiscate oligarch's money (after all, they just stole it), stop capital flight, nationalize natural resources, etc. It might sound good for the electorate, but without specifying means of achieving these goals, this is pure demagoguery. ..."
Feb 09, 2018 | www.unz.com

I have recently had the pleasure of watching a short presentation by Professor Stephen F. Cohen entitled "Rethinking Putin" which he delivered on the annual Nation cruise on December 2, 2017 (see here for the original Nation Article and original YouTube video). In his short presentation, Professor Cohen does a superb job explaining what Putin is *not* and that includes: (but, please do watch the original video before proceeding).

Professor Cohen ended his talk by suggesting a few things which might form a part of a future honest biography:

As a young and inexperienced leader placed at the helm of a collapsing state: He rebuilt, stabilized and modernized Russia in a way to prevent future collapses He had to restore the "vertical" of power: "managed democracy" (i.e. restored order) He needed a consensual history patching up Czarist, Soviet and post-Soviet eras without imposing one, single, version of history He needed Western support to modernize the Russian economy He wanted Russia to be a great power, but not a super-power He never favored iron-curtain isolationism; he is an internationalist (more European than 90% of Russians, at least in the beginning).

The key thesis is this: Putin began as a pro-Western, European leader and with time he realigned himself with a much more traditional, Russian worldview. He is more in line with Russian voters today.

Professor Cohen concluded by addressing two topics which, I presume, his audience cared deeply about: he said that, contrary to Western propaganda, the so-called 'anti-gay' laws in Russia are no different from the laws of 13 US states. Secondly, that "by any reckoning, be it flourishing inside Russia or relations with Israel, by general consent of all, nobody denies this, Jews under Putin in Russia are better off than they had ever been in Russian history. Ever. They have more freedom, less official anti-Semitism, more protection, more official admiration for Israel, more interaction, more freedom to go back and forth".

This is all very interesting important stuff, especially when delivered to a Left-Liberal-Progressive US audience (with, probably, a high percentage of Jews). Frankly, Professor Cohen's presentation makes me think about what Galileo might have felt when he made his own "presentations" before the tribunal of Inquisition (Cohen's articles and books are now also on the modern equivalent of the Index Librorum Prohibitorum) . In truth, Professor Cohen is simply true to himself: he opposed the crazies during the old Cold War and now he is opposing the same crazies during the new Cold War. His entire life Professor Cohen was a man of truth, courage, and integrity – a peacemaker in the sense of the Beatitudes (Matt 5:9). So while I am not surprised by his courage, I am still immensely impressed by it. Some might think that delivering a short presentation on a cruise-ship is hardly a sign of great courage, but I would vehemently disagree. Yes, nobody would shoot Cohen in the back of the neck like, say, the Soviet ChK-GPU-NKVD would have done, but I submit that these methods of "enforcing" a single official consensus were far less effective than their modern equivalents: the conformity imposition techniques (see: Asch Conformity Experiment ) so prevalent in the modern Western society. Just look at the results: there was far more reading and thinking (of any kind) going on in the Soviet society than there is today in the modern AngloZionist Empire (anybody who remembers the bad old USSR will confirm that to you). As one joke puts it: in a dictatorship, you are told to "shut up", while in a democracy you are encouraged to "keep talking". QED.

Turning to Professor Cohen's talking points, numbers 1, 2, 3 and 4 are basic facts. Nothing to be debated here – Cohen is plainly setting the factual record straight. Number 5 is much more interesting and controversial. For one thing, we are talking views/intentions, which are hard to judge. Was Putin ever pro-Western? Who knows? Maybe his closest friends know? My own belief is that this question must be looked at in combination of issue #8: Putin's service in the KGB.

There is still a huge amount of misinformation about the old Soviet KGB in the West. To the average American a "KGB agent" is a guy called Vladimir, with steel gray-blue eyes, who beats up dissidents, steals Western technological secrets, and spies on the wives of politicians (and even beds them). He is a hardcore Communist who dreams about nuking or invading the US and he speaks with a thick Russian accent. Alternatively, there is Anna Kushchenko (a.k.a. Anna Chapman ) – a devious sex doll who seduces Western men into treason. These prototypes are as accurate as James Bond is an accurate representation of MI6. The reality could not be more different.

The Soviet KGB was first and foremost a huge bureaucracy with completely different, and separate, directorates, departments, and sections. Yes, one such Directorate did deal with dissidents and anti-Soviet activists (mainly the 9 th Department of the 5 th Directorate) but even within this (infamous) 5 th Directorate there were some Departments which, in coordination with other KGB Directorates and Departments, dealt with more legitimate tasks such as, for example, the early detection of terrorist organizations (7 th Department). Other Directorates of the KGB dealt with economic security (6 th Directorate), internal security and counter-intelligence (2 nd Directorate) or even protection of officials (9 th Directorate).

Putin was an officer (not an "agent" – agents are recruited from outside the KGB!) of the First Main Directorate (PGU) of the KGB: foreign intelligence. Putin himself has recently revealed that he was working inside the most sensitive Department of the PGU, the "Department S" which are "illegals". This is very important. The PGU was so separate from all the other Directorates of the KGB that it had its own headquarters in the south of Moscow. But even inside the PGU, the Department S was the most secret and separated from all the other PGU Departments (no less than 10). As somebody who has spent many years as an anti-Soviet activist and who has had personal, face to face, dealings with KGB officers (of various Directorates) I can confirm that not only did the KGB as a whole get some of the best and brightest in Russia, but the PGU got the best ones of those and only the very best ones from that select group ever made it to the legendary Department S. Now let's look at what kind of skill-set was required from PGU officers in general (besides the obvious two: being very bright and very trustworthy).

First and foremost, a PGU officer has to be a top-notch specialist of his area of expertise (in Putin's case: Germany, of course, but also the rest of Europe and, since Western Europe was – and still is – a US colony, the US). While Soviet people were told that the West was the enemy, the PGU officers had to understand why and how the West was that enemy.

In practical terms, this implies not only knowing and understanding the official cultural, political, social and economic realities of the enemy's polity, but also the real power relations inside that polity. Such an understanding is not only useful to approach and evaluate the potential usefulness of each person you interact with, but also to be able to understand in what environment this person has to operate. The notion of PGU officers being bigoted commies is laughable as these men, and women, were very well read (they had unlimited access to all the Western information sources, including anti-Soviet ones, classified reports, and all the anti-Soviet literature imaginable) and they were ultimate realists/pragmatists. Of course, like in any organization, the top leaders were often political appointees and the bureaucrats and counter -intelligence officers were much less sophisticated. But for officers like Putin to really understand the reality of the Western society was a vital skill.

Second, a good PGU officer had to be likable; very, very likable. Being liked by others is also a crucial skill for a good intelligence officer. In practical terms, this means that he/she has to not only understand what makes the other guy tick but how to influence him/her in the right direction. When dealing with 'illegals' that also meant being their best friend, confessor, moral support, guide and protector. You can't do that if people don't like you. So these intelligence officers are masters of being good friends and companions; they are good listeners and they know a lot about how to make you like them. They also understand exactly what you like to hear, what you want to see and what words and actions place you in a relaxed and trusting mode.

Now combine these two: you have a man who is top notch specialist of the West and who is superbly trained to be liked by Western people. How likely is it that this man had many illusions about the West, to begin with? And what if a man like that did have misgivings – would he have shown them?

My own gut feeling is that this is not very likely at all.

What is far more likely is this: Putin played the "West best's friend" role for as long as possible and he dumped it when it was clearly not productive any longer. And yes, in doing that he did realign himself to the mainstream Russian public opinion. But that was just a useful side-effect, not the cause or the goal of that realignment.

Look at the Professor Cohen's points 9-13 above (I would summarize them as "fix Russia"). They all make sense to me, even that " he was a young and inexperienced leader ". There is a huge difference between being a skilled PGU officer and being the man who rules over Russia. And even if Putin did lose some of his illusions, it would have been primarily because the West itself changed a great deal between the 1980s and the 2010s. But Putin must have indeed always known that to implement Cohen's points 10-13 he needed the West's help, or, if that was not possible, at least the West's minimal interference/resistance. But to believe that a man who had full access to the real information about the two Chechen wars would have any kind of illusions left about the West's real feelings about Russia is profoundly misguided. In fact, anybody living in Russia in the 1990s would have eventually come to the realization that the West wanted all Russians to be slaves, or, more accurately, and in the words of Senator McCain – " gas station " attendants. Putin himself said so when he declared , speaking about the US, " they don't want to humiliate us, they want to subjugate us. They want to solve their problems at our expense, they want to subordinate us to their influence ". Putin then added, " nobody in history has ever succeeded in doing this and nobody will ever succeed ". First, I submit that Putin is absolutely correct in his understanding of the West's goals. Second, I also submit that he did not suddenly "discover" this in 2014. I think that he knew it all along, but began openly saying so after the US-backed coup in the Ukraine. Furthermore, by 2014, Putin had already accomplished points 9-13 and he did not need the West as much anymore.

Now let's look at points 6 (Putin's view of the Soviet period), 12 (consensual history) and 14 (Russia as a great power but not a super-power). And again, let's consider the fact that officers of the PGU had total access to any history books, secret archives, memoirs, etc. and that they were very free to speak in pragmatic analytical terms on all historical subjects with their teachers and colleagues. Here I submit that Putin had no more illusions about the Soviet past then he had about the West. The fact that he referred to the breakup of the Soviet Union (which, let's remember, happened in a totally undemocratic way!) as a " catastrophe " which was " completely unnecessary " does in no way imply that he was not acutely aware of all the horrors, tragedies, waste, corruption, degradation and general evil of the Soviet regime. All this shows is that he is also aware of the immense victories, achievements, and successes which also are part of the historical record of the Soviet era. Finally, and most importantly, it shows that he realizes what absolute disaster, a cataclysm of truly cosmic proportions the break-up of the Soviet Union represented for all the people of the former USSR and what an absolute nightmare it was for Russia to live a full decade as a subservient colony of Uncle Sam. I am certain that Putin studied enough Hegel to understand that the horrors of the 1990s were the result of the internal contradictions of the Soviet era just as the Soviet era was the result of the internal contradictions of Czarist Russia. In plain English, this means that he fully understood the inherent dangers of empire and that he decided, along with the vast majority of Russians, that Russia ought to never become an empire again. A strong, respected and sovereign country? Yes. But an empire? Never again. No way!

This fundamental conclusion is also the key to Putin's foreign policy: it is "reactive" by nature simply because it only acts in response to when (and what) something affects Russia. You could say that all "normal" nations are "reactive" because they have no business doing otherwise. Getting involved everywhere, in every fight or conflict, is what empires based on messianic ideologies do, not normal countries regardless of how big or powerful they are. For all the sick and paranoid hallucinations of Western Russophobes about a "resurgent Russia" the reality is that Russian diplomats have often mentioned what the goals of Russian foreign policies truly are: to turn enemies into neutrals, neutrals into partners, partners into friends and friends into allies. And this is why Professor Cohen is absolutely correct, Putin is no isolationist at all – he wants a new, multi-polar, international order of sovereign countries; not because he is a naïve wide-eyed idealist, but because this is what is pragmatically good for Russia and her people. You could say that Putin is a patriotic internationalist.

And now to the homosexuals and Jews. First, both assertions made by Professor Cohen are correct: homosexuals and Jews are doing great in modern Russia. I would even agree that they are doing better than ever before. Of course, both Professor Cohen and I are being factual and very superficial when we say that. And since I discussed both of these topics in some detail in the past (see here and here ) I won't discuss them here. Rather, I would simply state that in both cases we are talking about a rather small minority of whose treatment is, for some reason or other, considered as THE measure of humanity, kindness, civilization, and modernity in the West. Well, okay, to each his own. If in the West, the treatment of these two minorities is The One And Only Most Important Topic In The Universe – fine. I personally don't care much (especially since I don't feel that I owe any special consideration to either one of them). This being said, I would also claim that Putin's number one concern is also not for any specific minority. However, and that is where this is indeed very interesting, his concern for the majority does not at all imply any kind of disregard or disrespect for the fundamental freedoms and rights of the minorities but includes his concern for all minorities (and, in this case, not just two minorities which are treated as "more equal than others").

This is where various right-wingers and assorted Alt-Righters completely "lose" Putin. The very same Putin who told an assembly of Orthodox Jews in Moscow that 80-85% of Bolshevik leaders were Jews (see subtitled video here ), the same Putin who crushed the (overwhelmingly Jewish) oligarchs of the Eltsin era as soon as he came to power, and the same Putin who completely ignored all the hysterics of Bibi Netanyahu about the Russian role in Syria is also the same Putin who went out of his way to protect Russian Jews inside Russia and who considers that Jews and Russians are forever joined in their common memory of the horrors of WWII.

[Sidebar: I personally wish that Russia would denounce Israel for what it is, an illegitimate racist rogue state hell-bent on genocide and expansion, but I don't have relatives there. Neither am I the President of a country with very strong ties to the Russian-speaking Jewish communities worldwide. In my opinion, I am accountable to nobody else but my conscience and God, whereas Putin is accountable to those who elected him and still support him].

Guilt by association, the punishment of all for the actions of some, scapegoating, the vicious persecution of minorities in the name of some ideal – this has all been tried in the past, both in Russia and in the West. The Nazis did that and so did the Soviets. And both the Nazis and the Soviets inflicted untold horrors upon the many peoples of the Soviet Union and beyond. Putin is acutely aware of the dangers of nationalism, just as much as he is aware of the dangers of imperialism, and he said so many times: Russia cannot afford any more nationalistic conflicts as they almost completely destroyed Russia in the 1990s. Just look at modern Ukraine and you will see what a Russia torn apart by nationalist ideologies could have looked like had Putin not cracked down, hard, on various nationalists (including and mostly Russian ones).

Far from catering to (an admittedly powerful) Jewish lobby in Russia, Putin is, in fact, trying to assemble as many different peoples and minorities as possible to his project of a New Russia; and that project includes Russian Jews, not only for the sake of these Jews, but mainly for the sake of Russia . The same goes for another crucial minority in Russia – Muslims. They also very much form a key part of the project Putin has for Russia. Of course, racists, nationalists and other less than bright folks in Russia will still dream about expelling all Jews (or Muslims) from Russia. Simply put – that ain't happening (for one thing this would be physically impossible) and Putin and those who support him will fight such projects with every legal tool at their disposal. Here again, you could say that Putin is a patriotic internationalist.

In the meanwhile, the West is still stuck in its old, ideological ways: imperialism, nationalism and messianic exclusivism on one hand, and a complete surrender to post-modernism, cultural self-hatred, petty minority politics and moral relativism on the other. It is, therefore, no surprise whatsoever that both mainstream camps in the West completely misread Putin and can't figure out what he is up to.

Professor Cohen is right: the real Putin has absolutely nothing, nothing at all, in common with the pseudo-Putin the Western media presents to its infinitely gullible and zombified audience. Alas, nobody will listen to Cohen, at least not until the regime in Washington DC and the power structure which supports it, and whose interests it represents, come crashing down. But I do believe that Professor Cohen will eventually go down in history as the most intellectually honest and courageous Russia expert in the US.


exiled off mainstreet , February 8, 2018 at 5:41 am GMT

I respect this commentator and respect Mr. Cohen and detest the power structure they are resisting. This seems to be a realistic appraisal of Putin's role.
Cyrano , February 8, 2018 at 6:57 am GMT

Guilt by association, the punishment of all for the actions of some, scapegoating, the vicious persecution of minorities in the name of some ideal – this has all been tried in the past, both in Russia and in the West. The Nazis did that and so did the Soviets.

Saker, I know you want to sound egalitarian and fair, but comparing Nazi's and Soviet treatment of minorities – come on man. Nazi's mistreated minorities because of the fact that they were of different ethnicity, and that treatment was reserved for them only, and not for the Germans.

In the Soviet Union, the mistreatment of minorities had more equal opportunity flavor – they didn't want to make the minorities feel left out of the mistreatment that the ethnic Russians were receiving themselves.

In other words, the USSR didn't want to discriminate against the minorities by treating them differently than the ethnic Russians.

Imagine how it would have felt from the minorities perspective if the USSR authorities refrained from sending them to the Gulag. They would have felt unloved and unworthy of receiving the same treatment as the Russians. Like they are not good enough to be sent to the Gulag.

yurivku , February 8, 2018 at 9:14 am GMT
Thank you Saker. It was an interesting reading.

Both of you – The Saker and prof. Cohen probably are right in yours conclusions about Putin and its role in world and Russia's history. But: - he was appointed by Yeltsin, as I.Shamir ( http://www.unz.com/ishamir/the-rich-also-cry/ ) said to guard Old Money; - he did alot for our country and really saved it from final crushing, but he could have done much more and he had not.

I mean corruption questions when he behaves very selectively (keeping some corruptioners while fight with others, this looks like undercover fight), economy (thanks US imbeciles with sanctions which forced him to support internal productions and agriculture), he did almost nothing to get those oligarchs's money work for country, he does invest to different unneeded projects (like football champ etc) not trying to help poorest part of our society, he still does nothing (even supports) 5th column (Chubais, Kudrin, Shuvalov, Gref ), building stupid Eltsin center .

So I, as well as many Russian, have a very contradictory feelings to him. After Crimea joined Russia we all gave him a big credit. Most than 90% of Russians happy of this, when root and lovely part of Russia returned home not to say about strategic meaning of that. But now credit is over and if we could see someone good enough to be compared with Putin – quite a significant part of a society is ready to vote for for such person. Unfortunately not now. Grudinin doesn't seem to be real alternative, others are just clowns appointed to be faked alternatives.

And the future of Russia is very vague.

Alas, nobody will listen to Cohen, at least not until the regime in Washington DC and the power structure which supports it, and whose interests it represents, come crashing down.

But, thanks to US neocons, it's probably no future at all going to happen, just getting back to stone age. Hope it's a joke. Alas.

Renoman , February 8, 2018 at 10:42 am GMT
Putin is the leader of the free World. A sensible man with a real set of nuts, he stands almost alone.
Ludwig Watzal , Website February 8, 2018 at 10:43 am GMT
There are still some voices of reason left in the US. The most aggressive, dangerous and trigger-happy country in the world is the US Empire.

http://www.newspronto.com/opinion/45229-the-demonization-of-president-vladimir-putin-must-stop

Randal , February 8, 2018 at 12:11 pm GMT

Professor Cohen is right: the real Putin has absolutely nothing, nothing at all, in common with the pseudo-Putin the Western media presents to its infinitely gullible and zombified audience. Alas, nobody will listen to Cohen, at least not until the regime in Washington DC and the power structure which supports it, and whose interests it represents, come crashing down. But I do believe that Professor Cohen will eventually go down in history as the most intellectually honest and courageous Russia expert in the US.

It's very encouraging for me to get the impression that a genuine expert, such as Cohen is on Russia and on Putin, has reached the same broad conclusions about Putin as I have as a mere amateur (albeit long-time) observer of world events.

It's vaguely discouraging that on the particular issues of homosexuals and jewish influence Cohen is able to "reassure" the worst parts of his leftist and presumably political correctness-hobbled audience on Putin, but it's not really a big concern for me. It would be better imo if Putin had wise views on those topics – "gays" are not a "minority" but rather just people who choose to engage in sexual perversion which ought, at the least, to not be officially encouraged, and Jewish people are a recognizable ethnic/national/religious group, with broadly clear identity interests and external loyalties not necessarily congruent with those of the nations they live in, but it's mostly not really any of my business or concern, except insofar as it plays into politics and international policy over here, since he's the Russian president and I'm not Russian.

anonymous Disclaimer , February 8, 2018 at 5:47 pm GMT
Anyone who would bother to examine the issue would arrive at the same conclusions as Mr Cohen. Most Americans won't but just rely on what the mass media transmits to them. The propaganda campaign against Putin depends on repeating the same themes over and over again hence the constant use of the term "thug" to influence the minds of the audience. The campaign against Putin is so vehement and shrill because of his effectiveness in building up the Russian state. Contrast it to the treatment Yeltsin received in the western media as a brave fighter for democracy with pics of him standing on top of a tank. Name calling can't harm Putin or Russia even if it creates an unpleasant environment. After all, they have their army and can't be aggressed against no matter any wishful thinking. The toxic haze is to get the western mind used to the idea that conflict with the Russians, or Putin, in inevitable and desirable to free the world of a dictator. Clinton appeared to want a no-fly zone over Syria and thus military confrontation was on the horizon over that and over other places. We were being prepared for that. That seems to have dissipated for the moment but the internal dynamic of US expansionism remains. What we don't want to do is start believing our own baloney and blunder into any conflict that could cause a catastrophe.
bluedog , February 8, 2018 at 9:20 pm GMT
@yurivku

As they say you can't make everyone happy, for they could have always in their limited view and knowledge of what's going on behind the scenes could always have done more, but the fact remains that Putin was the right person at the right time for Russia

Anon Disclaimer , February 8, 2018 at 10:45 pm GMT
@Renoman

Anon from TN
You wrote: "Putin is the leader of the free World. A sensible man with a real set of nuts, he stands almost alone".

In my view, you grossly overestimate Putin. He is a normal man, capable and intelligent, but he is not by any means that larger-than-life leader and savior of the free World. He looks much greater than he is because you subconsciously compare him with pathetic nonentities that the Western world sees as leaders now. In fact, the leadership of the US Empire and all its vassal countries visibly degenerated in the last decades. Just compare De Gaulle with sad excuses La Belle France had for presidents lately. Or compare Nixon (he might have been a nasty person, but he was a great President of the country) with various Clintons, bushes, obamas, and trumps. Or compare Chancellor Kohl with that poor excuse for a chancellor that Germany has today. You get the drift.

Putin's Russia punches much more than its economic power warrants for the simple reason that he plays chess, seeing many moves ahead, whereas Western leaders he deals with don't even have enough brains to play checkers. He is often winning the game with weak hand not so much because he is great, but because his opponents are clueless. I'd say he, Chinese Xi, and Israel's Bibi look so smart not because they are geniuses, but because they are dealing with morons.

Anon Disclaimer , February 8, 2018 at 11:04 pm GMT
@Thorfinnsson

Anon from TN.
Sorry to disappoint you, but when the Russians saw the example of Ukraine after 2014 they understood the destructive power of primeval tribal nationalism. That's why after the Ukrainian coup popular support for Russian nationalists nosedived. Let me remind you that neither Kadyrov, nor Shoigu, nor Lavrov are ethnic Russians, yet they are perceived by many in the country as super-Russians. Many in today's Russia hold the view that Russian is not a nationality, but a state of mind. Let me remind you the words of former commander of Gorlovka (Donetsk Republic) Bezler: "My mother is Ukrainian, my father German, so who am I? A Russian!"

Dan Hayes , February 9, 2018 at 12:00 am GMT
The Saker,

For the last four years I have listened to Prof Steve Cohen being interviewed on the John Batchelor radio show. In those discussions I have always been struck by Cohen's equanimity, scholarship and sense of fair play. (As an aside, I have also been struck by his seemingly fond regard for being reared and educated in Kentucky which at that time was still semi-segregated.)

Cohen oftentimes contrasts the Old Cold War where various viewpoints were on the table versus the one-sidedness of the New Cold War. And he especially castigates his fellow left wingers for failing to consider alternative viewpoints. Note that Cohen is associated with The Nation magazine, a leftist publication edited and subsidized by his wife.

As of now Cohen is a lone voice crying out in the wilderness. I concur with your judgement and it is my hope that history will honor him for his efforts.

polskijoe , February 9, 2018 at 12:10 am GMT
@anonymous

Amongst people who tend to really distrust, dislike people, where we are called Russian agents, or Russians. I have studied lots about Russia, especially since 1990 plus.

I also came to similar over years as Cohen. There is no plan for USSR rebirth, or tanks rolling to Poland and Berlin, or even returning to super power status (at least unlikely).

In 1990 the Russians were in very poor state, and now they have returned to world power status. I think its important to have bipolar world. (even multipolar would be better).

Now I dont love Russians, Im still mixed on Putin, but I think Russians and Putin have made some positive changes. I can respect that. Average Russian, morals are similar to mine (and the same can be said of most Slavics).

Anon Disclaimer , February 9, 2018 at 12:15 am GMT
@AP

Anon from TN. Well, current Ukrainian regime is a lot more "Sovok" than those who resist it. At least if by "Sovok" you mean rampant corruption, widespread unprofessionalism, and obsession with a totally loony ideology.

RobinG , February 9, 2018 at 1:00 am GMT
@Dan Hayes

"Cohen is a lone voice crying out in the wilderness." Feels that way, but he's not totally alone. For example, I believe most members of VIPS (Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity) feel about the same. And he's a board member of the American Committee for East-West Accord.

https://eastwestaccord.com/

nebulafox , February 9, 2018 at 1:05 am GMT
I neither like nor dislike Putin. He is what he is, he's in charge of Russia, he needs to be dealt with.

>He is not the man who de-democratized Russia (Elstin and the White House did)

When was Russia ever democratic to begin with? Tsarism, civil war, Communism, oligarchy, Putin. That's pretty much been it. And that's OK. Russia is a massively different culture. But the US isn't to blame.

>He is not the leader who created corruption and kleptocracy in Russia (Elstin and the White House did)

No. Corruption began to really take off in the 1970s under Brezhnev, and that's when the Russian mafia began to strongly collaborate with the government, breaking the old vor code. The KGB remained above it all, but Putin was the product of a corrupt society from the get-go.

Following the collapse of the USSR, yes, everything got a lot more explicit and out-there. But the rot didn't just appear overnight.

>He is not a criminal leader who ordered the murder of opponents or journalists (no evidence)

I don't find it hard to believe, but I don't care enough to find out one way or the other. What Putin does in his own country is, or should be, his own business. Properly conducted foreign policy cares about the external actions of foreign nations, not their internal ones, but that's anathema to American political culture-on both sides of the political spectrum.

Besides, I can't really label a single group in society I could care less about than journalists.

>He did not order the hacking of the DNC servers (no evidence)

Again: I don't find it hard to believe he did, but I don't think it is as relevant as the Democrats would like it to be. Intelligence services can exacerbate political conditions. They cannot create them. Putin did not force Hillary to run arguably the most inept campaign in American political history, losing in spite of the near uniform backing of everything "official" in the US. Unless you believe Moscow magically spawned millions of pissed off downscale white voters in the Rust Belt, try again.

Moreover, Putin definitely wanted Trump to create political chaos in the US. Whether he wanted him in the White House is an open matter. Though he's friendlier than Hillary on a lot of foreign policy issues, he's surrounded by standard issue GOP hawks who influence everything, and he must be disappointed. Furthermore, like all authoritarian rulers, Putin wants stability. (That's why, prior to Bush II, most authoritarian governments in the world-especially Russia and China-openly preferred Republicans in charge.) Trump is anything but.

>He was not anti-US or anti-West from the get-go (Putin changed over time)

Correct. He's changed over the years.

>He is not a neo-Soviet leader (he is very critical of Lenin and Stalin)

Very critical of Lenin, which should surprise no one given that Lenin himself was far more fond of Western culture-specifically German -- than Russia, who he thought of as a backward, "Asiatic" place. As I've said, the KGB following Stalin's purges was arguably the least ideologically Communist place in the USSR, at least compared to their major two rivals-the military and party -- in the ever ongoing three-war political struggle that characterized post-Stalin Russia.

More ambiguous with Stalin. He's been making noises about replacing Volgograd's name around the anniversary of the battle back to the old Stalingrad. I think he holds the standard views that Russians his age hold of Stalin. I think they'll readily agree that he's probably in hell if it exists right now, and showed there was such a thing as being too fond of law and order, but he was *their* SOB and got them through the war.

>He is not an aggressive foreign policy leader (he has been a reactive leader)

He is primarily defensive, yes. Partially by necessity-his Russia just can't project power like the USSR could-but also because, unlike the USSR, his Russia is not governed by an ideology that necessarily implies eventual expansionism.

>He is not somehow defined by his years at the KGB.

He's partially defined by them, but not in the way people think. The KGB was, by the time Putin was in the organization, far and away the least ideologically Communist place in the USSR and saw their main function as protecting what was essentially an old-style Muscovite imperium with Marxist trappings from the spoiled, corrupt party princelings-who they did not allow into the organization. The KGB was the only place someone like Putin could have accelerated, given that 1970s USSR had one of the lowest social mobility rates in the world, contrary to the propaganda. Chekist thinking is very evident in his public pronouncements, his actions, and his beliefs about how life works. It's pretty obvious. Putin's regime is the first in history to be dominated by former security and intelligence professionals to this extent. Most of his inner circle-former intelligence officers.

However, equally important is old-style Tsarist Orthodox-laden Slavophilism, and just plain greed and venality. The third one is overlooked. I think Putin's real first goal, all things balanced, is staying in charge, on top, and wealthy. That means keeping the various turf lords in check and satisfied. It works for now. What happens to the sand-castle when he dies is a different matter.

That's it. Goodbye Unz.

yurivku , February 9, 2018 at 6:28 am GMT
@bluedog

Got to PC, writing from smartphone is unhandy

As they say you can't make everyone happy, for they could have always in their limited view and knowledge of what's going on behind the scenes could always have done more

Exactly, but I think you know not more that me here in Russia "what's going on behind the scenes".
And yes, probably there are hidden reasons for his behaviour, but I've written what many (I beleive the majority) of Russians think. Of cource not all, there are some absolute fans of him and absolute enemies, BTW mainly latter are jews for unknown reasons.

but the fact remains that Putin was the right person at the right time for Russia

bold assertion – "the fact". It's not the fact, – it's your opinion, not more. Yes, It could have been much worse person, but could have been much better. Or you think he's an ideal? Nobody denies his achievements, but I mentioned also his (actually ours) losses or mistakes.

bluedog , February 9, 2018 at 10:43 am GMT
@yurivku

Who would you have recommended?

Vlad , February 9, 2018 at 11:12 am GMT
Saker did a great job of explaining Cohen's position on Putin that had been misunderstood in mainstream Western media. Cohen has basically been trying to show that Putin is a normal leader, ready to cooperate with the US and defend his country's national interests. His posture has been defensive. Cohen is trying to reason with the liberals and New York Jews. He is trying to convince them that the mainstream media is lying. Fine.

But that does not explain what Putin's agenda is. Saker goes further. He does explain most of Putin's past and present. But still there is room for disagreement. Saker argues that Putin knew all along the wicked intentions of the US and openly revealed that knowledge after the Ukraine take over by the US. Here I disagree. When Bush came to Russia Putin greeted him with genuine enthusiasm. Putin then did hope that Russia and US could turn the page and begin a new relationship. That did not happen. Expansion of NATO happened instead. And that is when Putin began to reconsider. My difference with Saker is that I believe that Putin still does not know what his policy to the US should be. He still hopes that Trump will live up to his pre-election promise. Putin is still beholden to the moment of 2003 when Russia Germany France and Italy were together in opposition to US Iraq war. He still craves for the days when the German Chancellor and Italian leader were his personal friends. He hoped then and still hopes today to draw Europe to Russia and undermine NATO from within.

However, the Ukraine conflict has completely messed up that dream project. My most important objection to Saker is that Putin does not know what to do about Ukraine and does not have a policy on Ukraine. He puts up with what no Russian leader would put up with. Americans are arming Ukrainian neo-Nazies for a war with Russia. And Putin does nothing. Americans openly arm terrorists on Syria who shoot a Russian airplane and Russia does nothing. Basically Putin's policy of turning enemies into partners and partners into friends and friends into allies has partially succeeded in Syria but failed in Ukraine. Is he going to wait until US missiles are established in Ukraine? Is he going to accept de facto NATO membership of Ukraine. Where is the red line beyond which he would not go?

Peter Akuleyev , February 9, 2018 at 11:24 am GMT
Cohen is a Communist and reflexive hater of the United States in the Noam Chomsky mold. He is either naive or a fool if he believes half of what he is saying.

Russia never had a decent shot at democracy. The collapse of the Soviet Union was arranged by the Nomenklatura for their own benefit as a massive asset grab. The fight between Yeltsin and the Russian Parliament was basically a fight between two factions, and the Yeltsin/KGB faction beat the CPSU/Red Manager faction. Putin is very much a product of and continuation of the Yeltsin/KGB team (notice, for example, the role that Chubais continues to play in government policy), but the current team realizes how hated Yeltsin is and are smart enough to create plausible distance for public consumption.

For the most part the Putin years have been a failure, and these last two decades will be seen as squandered. Very little economic growth, continuing deterioration of the education and health systems, increasing dependence on China and massive transfers of wealth abroad. Those are Putin's primary achievements. On the plus side, Western sanctions have been a net benefit to Russia over the last three years – keeping capital in the country and giving the agricultural, food processing and light manufacturing industries some room to breathe and develop free from Western competition.

yurivku , February 9, 2018 at 12:53 pm GMT
@bluedog

Who would you have recommended?

Good question. Probably it was a sarcasm and you think you proved I'm wrong?
After all the answer depends on what you trying to get. For US probably Sobchak will be just fine, for people of Russia who want peace and prosperity the answer will be certainly other.

I put it quite clear

But now credit is over and if we could see someone good enough to be compared with Putin – quite a significant part of a society is ready to vote for for such person. Unfortunately not now.

Unfortunately I see no specific person

Grudinin doesn't seem to be real alternative, others are just clowns appointed to be faked alternatives.

But as for me personally I ( probably , I'm still watching for his electoral company) will vote for Grudinin cause he's representing patriotic block, not himself only.

Anon Disclaimer , February 9, 2018 at 3:39 pm GMT
@yurivku

Anon from TN
You are free to vote any way you want. However, I'd like to remind you that Russia already had one Director of Sovkhoz as president (Gorbachev), and nothing good came out of it.

Shemp , February 9, 2018 at 3:59 pm GMT
Cohen could go further. One of the curious fixations of US public discourse is reducing the country to a leader, when the most comprehensive standard of governance assigns duties to the state as a whole. Anyone can compare Russia and the USA point by point.

Comparing US and Russian human rights protections, it's evident that Putin's Russia undertakes to meet world human rights standards in good faith, and the USA does not. Russians get a better deal than we do.

yurivku , February 9, 2018 at 4:37 pm GMT
@bluedog

If my opinion really matters i'll write more later, now from phone its abit difficult.
I can only say that we need clever, honest patriotic person which is not easy task u know. Especially if u are from US, every elections believe that most stupid people we already seen and its cant be worst, but I'm mistaken. Compare for ex Samanta Power and N. Haley or Obama and Trump

yurivku , February 9, 2018 at 4:41 pm GMT
@Anon

Yes we need to isolate those cause they will do their dirty job with childs and u have no enough police to watch. They aggressively set theirs habits remember lgbt parades etc

bluedog , February 9, 2018 at 5:33 pm GMT
@yurivku

Yes I would be interested in your opinion, and yes I do live in the U.S. and yes your right that just when you think the worse has arrived then on the scene one always worse arrives to makes you out as a lair

Anon Disclaimer , February 9, 2018 at 5:43 pm GMT
@yurivku

Anon from TN
You are right, this is not a scientific conclusion. Politics are not science.

I agree that Putin is not a perfect leader. His foreign policy is smart and successful (hence the US hysterics). But his internal policies are far from admirable: he allows oligarchs to plunder the country and even transfer their loot abroad. A big chunk of state budget is stolen by those close to the trough, but you have to keep in mind that even greater chunk of state budget is stolen by "contractors" in the US and other countries (F35 program and Zumwalt are the best known examples, but there are many more). Thing is, the politics are the game of the possible. I am not sure Putin can maintain his international stance and his position in Russia and antagonize the whole ruling class at the same time. I disapprove of his "vertical" – Russia is not Lichtenstein, it's a huge country that cannot be directly ruled by one person. I also believe that Russia cannot afford to have a total nonentity as a Prime Minister, with only one redeeming (from Putin's standpoint) quality: loyalty.

However, I've heard a few of Grudinin's speeches, and they were very disappointing, to put it mildly. It is nice to say that you want to confiscate oligarch's money (after all, they just stole it), stop capital flight, nationalize natural resources, etc. It might sound good for the electorate, but without specifying means of achieving these goals, this is pure demagoguery. There is only one way to do all of it, and this way is called "socialism", like in the USSR. Problem is, this comes in a package: you must make rouble not freely convertible into other currencies, you must strictly control the movement of people across the border, you must introduce planned or at least semi-planned economy, etc.

You cannot pick and choose, no more than you can be a little bit pregnant: it is a yes or no thing. If Grudinin does not understand that, he is not smart enough to be president. If he understands it, but does not acknowledge, he is simply dishonest. Many of the other candidates are just clowns supported by the Kremlin to play this role (think Zhirinovsky). Besides, Russia should have as the president someone who cares about the country more than about him/herself (this excludes Sobchak: she is smart, but she cares only about her precious self), and certainly not a traitor running to the US Embassy for money and marching orders (you should know who I mean). Thus, in my humble opinion, Putin, warts and all, is still the best president Russia can have at the moment.

yurivku , February 9, 2018 at 6:07 pm GMT
@bluedog

From phone..
Well, its funny, I just dont understand who are the God sake US people here on UNZ, from different sources I see Americans happy with one more Russian killed in Syria. You know we call Americans "pindosy" ( пиндосы ) I actually not sure what its mean, but its clear that its a most degree of disgust. And further its going the more our disgust. And its between two most powerful countries in the world. Are u Americans have any feelings of selfdefence? Actually all red lines crossed and everything ready for apocalypse

Sergey Krieger , February 9, 2018 at 6:42 pm GMT
@yurivku

Very good post. Agree.

yurivku , February 9, 2018 at 7:22 pm GMT
@Anon

Pbone.
I'll answer,later. But just understand that for us its a live question, well probably for the whole world also, but this stupid world doesn't know it yet

Sergey Krieger , February 9, 2018 at 7:25 pm GMT
@yurivku

People of Lenin and Stalin caliber do not happen often. I think Putin is sort of transitional figure. However the main issue since Stalin times seems to be lack of systematic approach in bringing up and then putting in power capable leaders and in reality lots of fools getting up there. I believe fools essentially destroyed Ussr as saying goes fool is more dangerous than enemy. Long topic but it is really a murky question as to where Russia is going with 70% of everything in few hands and stolen funds siphoned offshore.

bluedog , February 10, 2018 at 1:25 am GMT
@yurivku

Oh I don't think most Americans are glad to see another Russian killed, at least not the sane ones that is, or anyone else for that matter but our so called leadership is quite a different matter, and the farther down the rabbit hole we go the worse it becomes as the best government money can buy goes into overdrive, for I suspect it will get a whole lot worse before it even starts to get and better

[Jan 13, 2018] Stephen F. Cohen The US Betrayed Russia, but It Is Not News That s Fit to Print (Podcast)

Notable quotes:
"... The New York Times ..."
"... The New Republic ..."
"... Failed Crusade: American and the Tragedy of Post-Communist Russia ..."
"... The Washington Post ..."
"... The National Interest ..."
"... The American Conservative ..."
"... Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives ..."
Jan 13, 2018 | russia-insider.com

New evidence that Washington broke its promise not to expand NATO "one inch eastward" -- a fateful decision with ongoing ramifications -- has not been reported by The New York Times or other agenda-setting media outlets John Batchelor Jan 11, 2018 | 2,513 70

John Batchelor has a very popular political talk show on America's largest radio network, WABC.

He has Stephen Cohen on live in the studio almost every week for a full 45 minute segment, the only guest he gives that much time to.

Why? Because Cohen's appearances are killing the ratings. America seems to be thirsting for an alternative and critical view of Obama's Russia policy.

See below for a summary of this program courtesy of The Nation .

http://embeds.audioboom.com/posts/6588850-tales-of-the-new-cold-war-was-gorbachev-deceived-and-other-media-mysteries-left-unreported-part-1-of-2-stephen-f-cohen-nyu-princeton-eastwestaccord-com/embed/v4?eid=AQAAAD9tV1qyiWQA

http://embeds.audioboom.com/posts/6588851-tales-of-the-new-cold-war-was-gorbachev-deceived-and-other-media-mysteries-left-unreported-part-2-of-2-stephen-f-cohen-nyu-princeton-eastwestaccord-com/embed/v4?eid=AQAAAD9tV1qziWQA

Cohen returns to a subject he has treated repeatedly since the 1990s, mainstream media malpractice in covering Russia, but with a new and highly indicative example that is both historical and profoundly contemporary.

There have been three relevant major episodes of such malpractice. The first was when American newspapers, particularly The New York Times , misled readers into thinking the Communists could not possibly win the Russian Civil War of 1918–20, as detailed in a study by Walter Lippmann and Charles Merz, published as a supplement to The New Republic , August 4, 1920. (Once canonical, the study was for years assigned reading at journalism schools, but no longer it seems to be.)

https://lockerdome.com/lad/9533801169000550?pubid=ld-1806-5338&pubo=http%3A%2F%2Frussia-insider.com&rid=russia-insider.com&width=745

Failed Crusade: American and the Tragedy of Post-Communist Russia .)

The third and current episode grew out of the second but spread quickly through the media in the early 2000s with the demonization of Vladimir Putin, Yeltsin's successor, and now is amply evidenced by mainstream coverage of the new Cold War, Russiagate's allegation that "Russia attacked American democracy" in 2016, and much else related to Russia. This rendition may be the worst, certainly it is the most dangerous.

Media malpractice has various elements -- among them, selective use of facts, some unverified, highly questionable narratives or reporting based on those "facts," mingled with editorial commentary passed off as "analysis," buttressed by carefully selected "expert sources," often anonymous, and amplified by carefully chosen opinion page contributors. Throughout is the systematic practice of excluding developments (and opinion) that do not conform to the Times ' venerable motto, "All the News That's Fit to Print." When it comes to Russia, the Times often decides politically what is fit and what is not. And thus the most recent but exceedingly important example.

In 1990, Soviet Russian leader Mikhail Gorbachev agreed not only to the reunification of Germany, whose division was the epicenter of that Cold War, but also, at the urging of the Western powers, particularly the United States, that the new Germany would be a member of NATO. (Already embattled at home, Gorbachev was further weakened by his decision, which probably contributed to the attempted coup against him in August 1991.)

Gorbachev made the decision based on assurances by his then–Western "partners" that in return NATO would never be expanded "one inch eastward" toward Russia. (Today, having nearly doubled its member countries, the world's most powerful military alliance sits on Russia's western borders.) At the time, it was known that President George H.W. Bush had especially persuaded Gorbachev through Secretary of State James Baker's "not one inch" and other equally emphatic guarantees.

Now, however, the invaluable National Security Archive at George Washington University has established the historical truth by publishing, on December 12 of last year, not only a detailed account of what Gorbachev was promised in 1990–91 but the relevant documents themselves . The truth, and the promises broken, are much more expansive than previously known: All of the Western powers involved -- the US, the UK, France, Germany itself -- made the same promise to Gorbachev on multiple occasions and in various emphatic ways. If we ask when the West, particularly Washington, lost Moscow as a potential strategic partner after the end of the Soviet Union, this is where an explanation begins.

And yet, nearly a month after the publication of the National Security Archive documents, neither the Times nor The Washington Post , which profess to be the nation's most important, reliable, and indispensable political newspapers, has published one word about this revelation. (Certainly the two papers are pervasively important to other media, not only due to their daily national syndicates but because today's broadcast media, especially CNN, MSNBC, NPR, and PBS, take most of their own Russia-related "reporting" cues from the Times and the Post .)

How to explain the failure of the Times and Post to report or otherwise comment on the National Security Archive's publication? It can hardly be their lack of space or their disinterest in Russia, which they featured regularly in one kind of unflattering story or another -- and almost daily in the form of "Russiagate." Given their immense daily news-gathering capabilities, could both papers have missed the story? Impossible, even more so considering that three lesser publications -- The National Interest , on December 12; Bloomberg , on December 13; and The American Conservative , on December 22 -- reported and commented on its significance at length.

Or perhaps the Times and Post consider the history and process of NATO expansion to be no longer newsworthy, even though it has been the driving, escalatory factor behind the new US-Russian Cold War; already contributed to two US-Russian proxy hot wars (in Georgia in 2008 and in Ukraine since 2014) as well as to NATO's ongoing buildup on Russia's borders in the Baltic region, which is fraught with the possibility of an actual war between the nuclear superpowers; provoked Russia into reactions now cited as "grave threats"; nearly vaporized politically both the once robust pro-American lobby in Moscow politics and the previously widespread pro-American sentiments among Russian citizens; and implanted in at least one generation of the Russian policy elite the conviction that the broken promise to Gorbachev represented characteristic American "betrayal and deceit."

Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives .) Russians can cite other instances of "deceit," including President George W. Bush's 2002 unilateral abrogation of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and Obama's broken promise that he would not use a 2011 UN Security Council resolution to depose Libyan leader Gaddafi. But it is the broken promise to Gorbachev that lingers as America's original sin, partly because it was the first of many such perceived duplicities, but mainly because it has resulted in a Russia semi-encircled by US-led Western military power, an encroachment that continues today.

Given all this, we must ask again: Why did neither the Times nor the Post report the archive revelations? Most likely because the evidence fundamentally undermines their essential overarching narrative that Putin's Russia is solely responsible for the new Cold War and all of its attendant conflicts and dangers, and therefore that no rethinking of US policy toward post-Soviet Russia since 1991 is advisable or, it seems, permissible, certainly not by President Donald Trump. Therein lie the national-security dangers of media malpractice, and this example, while of special importance, is far from the only one in recent years. In this regard, the Times and Post seem contemptuous not only of their own professed journalistic standards but of their purportedly cherished adage that democracy requires fully informed citizens.

If Americans cannot rely on the Times and Post , at least in regard to US-Russian relations, where can they seek the information and analysis they need? There are many valuable alternative media outlets, but few hard-working citizens have time to locate and consult them. Cohen recommends that they turn to two websites that almost daily aggregate reporting, analysis, and opinion not to be found in the Times , Post , or most other mainstream publications. One is Johnson's Russia List . The other is the website of the American Committee for East-West Accord , of which Cohen is a board member. Upon request, both will come to your computer. The former requests a nominal donation but does not insist on it. The latter is free. For readers who worry about international affairs, the new US-Russian Cold War, and America itself, the information and perspectives they will gain from these sites are invaluable.

Source: The John Batchelor Show

Vtran , January 11, 2018 11:09 AM

American citizens Never have adhered to agreements, Cease Fires, Peace Agreements ....Just look at the First Nations

Isabella Jones Vtran , January 11, 2018 3:28 PM

It is something of a mystery that this should have escaped Gorbachev, although Cohen does say that Conservatives warned him against going with the flow on this one. He ignored them.
There's an old saying about leopards and never changing their spots. I guess he was as fooled, as many are, that the appalling history of the US was in each case a separate incident, involving and caused by different people, and therefor "it will be different this time." Gorbachev was willing to overlook the horrific evidence of an Anglo West planning to destroy the Russia who had saved their bacon by winning WWII for them; and to destroy her utterly and horrifically. That he could overlook that beggars belief.
It's so essential to get the bigger picture, to read the History of the Nations you are dealing with extensively, to determine how to connect the dots to find the pattern, and to realise that ultimately nations are an aggregate of systems - and a system is far more powerful than most individuals [until you find a rare person who knows how to break the system].
Sadly, it seems that they had fallen for the idea too, that, as V. P. said when Russia abandoned communism, their opponent would "to them hand the sword". i.e. would become partners and equals. That was never going to happen. It also shows us, once again, that all too often political leaders are not well enough educated, not well enough informed and not bright enough, to undertake the job of national leader which they do.
And we are not interested nor thoughtful enough to demand better.

Tommy Jensen Isabella Jones , January 11, 2018 5:41 PM

...And we may not be educated suficient to look through the matter.
Before 1968 in Nordic countries with Sweden had hollistic education systems, making academics able to see the whole picture.

After 1968-70 they changed the education system so the working class could get academic degrees, but separated the disciplines so you only were able to see your part and not the whole picture and leaving out history and roots.
Newspeak was introduced and started.
Its about classes, deliberately leaving the knowledge and whole picture to the elite.

Any hollistic educated who analyse US history should be able to see that you deal with a hypocrite and liar country throughout from start up til today.
When Russia with its excellent education system missed the point in 1990´es I think it maybe more due to their previous suffering and emotional culture, than to actual foolishness as we can see the Russians quickly raised their heads again from the ashes.

John Mason Tommy Jensen , January 12, 2018 12:52 AM

Same happened here in Australia Tommy, they lowered the education standard so that anyone can obtain a University Degree under the belief that everyone is entitled to one and not only those best suited. Now one has idiots running corporations and in politics. Getting them out is the problem. I have always expressed concern that those who wish to go into politics and government should present to the Public a full resume as anyone would who is seeking a senior position in a corporation.

Isabella Jones John Mason , January 12, 2018 3:29 AM

Very true John.
If you look at the entire system, we see that immense power over the lives of millions of people is given to those who don't have to show any form of qualification for the job; any training; or prior experience, assessment by qualified experience assessors.

In fact, all they have to be able do is to generate money for themselves by making promises to others using taxpayer money; present themselves in a slick, eye catching fashion like an aspiring film actor auditioning for a role; lie; as Vladimir Putin said "make promises better than those of your competitor"; and sell meaningless words better than a used car salesman.

In other words, present themselves to voters as an ignorant, inexperienced psychopathic, criminally fraudulent, snake oil salesman. And then we wonder why that's exactly what we get as our "leaders". !!

John Mason Isabella Jones , January 12, 2018 10:18 AM

Very passionate you are on this subject your profundity is a source of enlightenment Isabella.

Isabella Jones John Mason , January 12, 2018 10:42 AM

Thank you John - yes I do feel deeply that as civilisations, we have strayed from so much that is balanced, natural, and optimal for human growth and happiness. We have so much in our cultures that beggars belief in it's stupidity- and as always, the very stupid are too stupid to know that they are very stupid. I see us preening ourselves as the epitome of civilisation, when research into the distant past shows we have had about 3.5 thousand years of slow, non-stop collapse including an arrogant ignorance.
Yet the answers are so close to hand. It's only an understanding of where we have all gone wrong, and a willingness to do what needs to be done to correct it which will stop us falling into the night, I suspect.
Then again, I remember that everything happens in circles, and follows Universal Laws. Maybe we have no course but to follow the natural pattern we have put ourselves on try to learn from it.
Thanks for your kind words John.

Isabella Jones Tommy Jensen , January 11, 2018 9:46 PM

Yes, all this was about the time they introduced the "expert". Prior to that idea, a well educated, intelligent person was held to have a wide ranging education, and to be familiar with many different disciplines. They they got the "expert" idea - a mechanic in my - then - University Department informed me that "expert means, here is x which marks the spot of a drip under pressure" !! :-)
Now we have people who know more and more about less and less until they reach the pinnacle where they know absolutely everything about nothing.
Yes, I think the Russian education got infected by America, and in the struggle to break free of all the other disasters that caused - just to survive as a country and as a people - this is an issue that has had to be put on a back burner. But they are doing fine in spite of it, and I'm sure will find their way back to the best of the Soviet times education.

Vtran Isabella Jones , January 12, 2018 2:58 PM

I still (and know not alone) feel Gorbachev is a Traitor that "sold" the USSR, the People of the USSR for Personal ("friends") gain .... so he knew what would happen !

Remember the people of the USSR wanted to work through the "problems / issues" leaving the USSR intact but Gorbachev decided to GO AGAINST the Wishes of the People / Wishes of the country and allowed the regions to "break free" including denying the right for Crimea to Return to RF (loaned to Ukraine while USSR existed) .... why would you Do that except for your own agenda !

And Where does Gorbachev live .... but in U$ america ... and every time he visits RF he comes with masses of Body Guards

Isabella Jones Vtran , January 12, 2018 4:30 PM

That last part is very interesting Vtran - I didn't know he lived in America.
I hadn't caught up with any documentation about his "friends", although there is the comment - with the long/lat given of the area on the documentary "The Unknown Putin" - that Gorbachev sold to US what wasn't his to sell - a huge chunk of sea off the coast of Russia, containing massive amounts of oil deposits!! He did it to get the money to try and defeat Yeltsin!! So, he has a track record, and as the saying goes "he who lies once, lies ten times". The principle holds for everything, as well as lying. I also didn't know that there were grass roots movements of people trying to stop the collapse of the USSR.
Can you recommend any good modern history resource which covers these events please?
I got a lot from that excellent documentary, but as is so often one is left wanting more.
I know Vladimir Putin doesn't like him - not one bit. I could "read" it from the Stone Interviews :-)
I certainly agree with you - that if he did all that, selling out the people of Russia - no way does he deserve to be grouped with them, they aren't "his" people, in that case - then yes, he was a sellout traitor. Should count himself lucky to be alive!!

Vtran Isabella Jones , January 12, 2018 10:34 PM

Isabella,, I will look for a document regarding Gorbachev selling out the people of the USSR .... However my comment is personnel ... all Russians I know, all people of the ex USSR (except those of fanatical Ukraine) speak as One ...The did not at the USSR to break ... their views were "over ridden" !
-
Interesting comment of "selling off which does not belong" reminiscent of Alaska where the Gold supposedly exchange disappeared after the western inspired revolution of 1918 !

Isabella Jones Vtran , January 12, 2018 10:38 PM

Joined a small river of disappeared gold from many places Vtran with Libya and Iraq being the latest!!

Le Ruse Vtran , January 12, 2018 12:58 AM

Quote: Over 500 treaties were made with American Indian tribes, primarily for land cessations, but 500 treaties were also broken, changed or nullified when it served the government's interests.

Qua Patet Orbis Le Ruse , January 12, 2018 2:31 AM

White men speak with forked tongue....

Le Ruse Qua Patet Orbis , January 12, 2018 3:34 AM

Like that one ??
View Hide

Vtran Le Ruse , January 12, 2018 2:49 PM

Because U$ Americans citizens thought the had "Given away STOLEN Worthless Land" .... and then found that "Worthless Land" contained "Yellow Gold" ...... later more so called "Worthless Land" contained Black Gold and so it went on

Le Ruse Vtran , January 12, 2018 7:30 PM

Yupp...
Like the mineral & natural wealth of Russia, doesn't belong to Russia, but belong to the WORLD (a.k.a. City of London/Wall St) ??
Mad Madeleine Notsobright.

Kjell Hasthi Vtran , January 11, 2018 7:51 PM

Who was Christopher Columbus? Any can check it out. My guess as another Vtran.
- What do you see?
- No gold yet?
- Of course there is gold there
It was the same as Europa. War in Indians replaced war on Muslim.

paul , January 11, 2018 11:35 AM

This a a very unhelpful spin by Cohen. Dugin, addressing the end of the cold war, reports that Brzezinski once told him, "we tricked you." That's what happened. This is what Russians need to think about when speaking with their common law partners.

Alberto , January 11, 2018 12:52 PM

I have wondered many times how the S Union, a nation with so many brilliant people, could chose someone like Gorbatchev to lead the country.
Reagan and Thatcher did whatever they wanted with him. They achieved all their objectives in dealing with Gorbachev because he was receptive, soft and a puppet. Worst of all, he was a mix of an idiot and naif by believing them.
It was hard to build the S Union, very hard, and Gorbatchev wanted to make a transition from socialism to capitalism in one year. Only an idiot could think like that.
He is the main responsible not only of the demise of the S Union but of the shameful accumulation of wealth in the hands of a bunch of soulless oligarchs whose wealth, to date, remain untouched.
As a communist, I ask myself how could a guy like him lead the S Union. Yeltsin was another calamity but the main responsible of the debacle is Gorbachev.
As a result of his stupidity, not only millions of Soviets encountered poverty and criminality, but he opened the way to the unipolar world. Many invasions took place because the US. did not face any opposition.
North Korea had to rearm itself to protect. Cuba underwent a terrible period.
Gorbachev will go down in the history of Russia and communist from across the world as an idiot, as an irresponsible leader and as a traitor.

mark Alberto , January 11, 2018 2:30 PM

This is very true. Millions died as a result of this colossal stupidity. Tens of millions more suffered appalling misery and destitution. Several countries like Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, have been completely destroyed. These are crimes on a gargantuan scale. And there has been zero accountability.

Alberto mark , January 11, 2018 2:37 PM

Right, zero accountability because the S Union was influential on world institutions. Because of "imported liberalism in 365 days" many factories closed (because they were not "modern"), many good engineers became poor, families destroyed, all sorts of gangs emerged, collective property and natural resources went to oligarchs without scruples for a cheap price. And there was no bread in stores.

All thanks to Gorbachev who was in power almost 17 years, a long period in which he succumbed to the sweet-talk of Reagan and Thatcher.

VeeNarian (Yerevan) , January 11, 2018 3:16 PM

Having lived through the incredible 90s and the end of the Soviet Union, I believe that it was not wrong for Gorbachev to seek partnership with the West. That move brought all of mankind back from the precipice of total extinction. It was the LYING and deceitful actions of the "superior and civilized" West that betrayed the world and their own interests, just to expand their territory and control, like some mindless plague that knows no morality.

There must be balance in world affairs. Power corrupts and absolute power has corrupted the US/EU/NATO gang absolutely. The West's loss is the worlds gain. Russia will lead the free nations away from the rotten and putrid fate offered by the death merchants of the West.

AM Hants VeeNarian (Yerevan) , January 11, 2018 4:50 PM

I remember those times, but, it was 'Spitting Image' that made the memories. The thought of John Major, still makes my skin crawl.

Nuclear War...

Play Hide
Krestovan VeeNarian (Yerevan) , January 11, 2018 10:23 PM

Russia cannot seem to be able to lead itself from the cluches of the ooligarks who out send capital Russia desparately needs. If and when Russia cleans up the mess that Gorby, Gelsman, and others made, there will not be any free nations or any hope for peace and freedom in this late stage of mankind's probationary time.

Gerry Hiles , January 11, 2018 1:05 PM

No wonder we are in deep trouble! How shall I say? Well Stephen Cohen is too pedestrian, to put it mildly. There is nothing I have ever heard him say that I did not know years ago. Wow the NYT and WaPo both publish fake news and omit what isn't convenient ideologically. Go suck eggs granny. Even if large numbers of people in the US now listen to him (which I very much doubt), he's too late by decades and will probably never catch up with the fact that 9/11 was an inside job/CIA/Mossad operation. As for Gorbachev, Yeltsin, US deception, etc., he could have asked me a thing or six back in the 80s when Gorbachev was best buddies with Reagan and Thatcher, it was bleedin' obvious that he was a dupe, though at first I was hopeful for glasnost and perestroika.

Not that I didn't have hopes for the Soviet Union anyway, nor that I didn't understand hanging on to Eastern Europe for too long, because of US betrayal after WW2 ... heck Prof Cohen, since when hasn't Russia been betrayed?. Too late for all those who either couldn't or wouldn't be informed decades ago. Too late for there to be any chance of averting escalation to WW3, unless by more or less luck, such as the US internally imploding like the Soviet Union did but, unlike the Soviet Union's collapse by US design, collapse of its own hubris and Empire over-reach, perhaps. Academics generally do not impress me.
.
Sorry if I have condensed too much, but I daresay some will know what I'm getting at.

John McClain , January 11, 2018 12:01 PM

As a "well informed American", a retired Marine, and having spent some two decades in research of our "national history", as it relates to the status of the world today, I have to say, I've not deliberately read either paper since I was in third or fourth grade, and then only because we lived in Massachusetts for a couple years.

I spent nine years in Chicago, before entering the Marines, and as a "paper boy", laughed at headlines every day, knowing the lies for what they were, and having "truth" solely because my parents subscribed me to Popular Mechanics and Popular Science, because I'm dyslexic, had problems in school, but am endowed with talent in mechanics and the hard sciences.

Those two magazines spent their pages defining the world of mechanics, moving forward, and the world of science, advancing, and while most facts regarding "our state of our Nation" were indirect, just part of background, when a boy reads such cover to cover, every month dozens of times, for a decade and more, the bits and pieces add up and paint a picture behind the "mechanical issue or science issue", that is easily seen, looking past, and is intrinsically absolutely true, because no part was put up for the purpose of "the big picture", but the big picture naturally emerges, when sufficient bits and pieces of data accumulate, and we add them to what has long been accepted as true, tested and tried.

Having come to understandings by multiple articles on definitive science and engineering, with background bits and pieces coalescing, simply reading headlines were nothing but amusing, and the greatest factor was wondering how adults could believe this trash.

I began with the intent to debunk all the conspiracy theories regarding McCarthy and government, and ended up with the certainty McCarthy was right, he simply named them wrong, they were "Bolsheviks", using socialism and communism for cover, with the full intent of overthrowing our government, and they have continued to this day.

We have become "an empire whose people follow the Emperor, even when he dances around with no clothes, never believing that boy who actually sees.
Semper Fidelis,
John McClain
Vanceboro, NC, USA

AM Hants John McClain , January 11, 2018 4:35 PM

Well said. It is quite refreshing, as I have been upsetting a few of your neighbours over on Info Wars. The activists, who are desperate for a war with Iran, managed to leave Breit Bart for the day and flock to one of the articles. Together with those that have no idea that the US is in a bad way, economically. As I find myself being labelled a Soros paid troll. The standard of debate is quite soul destroying, until you can get somebody, who does not need personal insult to enhance their argument. Which is so liberating.

Socrates207 , January 11, 2018 4:24 PM

You have to be very naive to trust the American government, it is like to trust Al Capone. No wonder Putin doen's trust them one inch.

DIRTY TEXAN , January 12, 2018 11:36 AM

For those who know what Russians are this is no surprise. A classless herd of sheep lead by a maniacal leader. If you think ISIS or Hitler were bad you should read about Russian history and the atrocities they have perpetrated and continue today.

AM Hants , January 12, 2018 7:40 AM

Off topic, but, related. A few interesting articles that all merge together.

Putin: Turkey not responsible for drone attack; Russia knows who was
Russian President calls drone attack "provocation" aimed at causing rift between Russia and Turkey... http://theduran.com/putin-t...

WATCH as US denies involvement in drone attack on Russian base in Syria... http://www.fort-russ.com/20...

How does Ukraine, fit into it, bearing in mind that Ukraine is planning similar in Crimea. The same Ukraine that does so well from having the US Bio-weapons factories up and running. Not forgetting that NATO is also setting up a base in Khakov, non-NATO territory and close to the bio-weapons factories. Then you have the mother craft, found hovering around the Russian bases in Syria and her sister working so hard around Crimea.

Remember the Pentagon begging for Russian DNA? Now what was that all about?

Kharkov Is Forcibly Prepared For The Status of a NATO Base (remember Ukraine is a non-NATO nation)...http:// www.stalkerzone.org/kharkov ...

US Military Bio-labs in Ukraine, Production of Bio-weapons and "Disease Causing Agents"

In 2015, American alternative media outlet InfoWars accused the Pentagon of developing new types of biological weapons in secret military laboratories in Ukraine. The facilities were constructed under the terms of the bilateral agreement signed between the Ministry of Health of Ukraine and the Department of Defense in 2012.

Today thirteen American military bio-labs operate in Ukraine, The International Mass Media Agency reports. They employ only American specialists being entirely funded from the budget of the Department of Defense. Local authorities have pledged not to interfere in their work. These military labs are reported to be mainly involved in the study and production of disease-causing agents of smallpox, anthrax and botulism. The facilities are located in the following Ukrainian cities: Odessa, Vinnytsia, Uzhgorod, Lviv (three), Kharkiv, Kyiv (four), Kherson, Ternopil.

http://theinformer.life/us- ...

Russia Says U.S. Expanding Bioweapons Labs in Europe U.S. denies claim outlined in new Russian strategy http://freebeacon.com/natio...

AM Hants , January 11, 2018 6:02 PM

Slightly off topic, but, another story of the West trying to upset Russia. Followed by what came next, which made me seriously laugh. The first article is well worth reading, just for the awe aspect and mega congratulations to the team. The 2nd article, just made me laugh. You gotta love those sanctions. Where there is a will there is a way.

Russia Wins in Arctic After U.S. Fails to Kill Giant Gas Project... https://www.bloomberg.com/n...

What comes next?

HEY TRUMP, LOOK WHO WILL WARM UP THE EAST COAST, GAS FROM MOTHER RUSSIA TO WARM CHILLY BOSTON !... http://nrt24.ru/en/news/hey...

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AM Hants AM Hants , January 11, 2018 6:21 PM

Yamal LNG and container tanks. View Hide

Mia Williams , January 11, 2018 5:23 PM

President Gorbachev has made clear several times that the agreement reached with the former Soviet Union regarding NATO and the reunification of Germany was specific to the East/West line through Germany. To date Germany and NATO have kept that promise.

What are Russia's rights? Well, Moscow simply has no right to expect that her neighbors do not enjoy the sovereign right to join any alliances each may wish.

Krestovan Mia Williams , January 11, 2018 10:36 PM

Providing they were sovereign which they are not but under the EU control.

observerBG Mia Williams , January 11, 2018 6:44 PM

James Baker (and others) told Gorbachev that NATO will not expand to the East so western powers are a bunch liars, that's for sure.

As for sovereign rights, that also depends if the organisation is willing to accept a certain country, not only if the country wants to join it. Germany and France for example blocked Ukraine and Georgia from joining NATO in 2008. Countries are also allowed to join NATO in order to contribute to its security and i'm not sure about the "gain" of taking small countries on the border of the biggest nuclear power. That increases the possibility for arms race and for war between the major powers, that's for sure.

Also it is unclear how "sovereign" these decisions are, since lots of western money was invested in media, NGOs and political leaders and parties in Eastern Europe in order to promote pro-NATO views. US government officials bragged about "investing" 5 billion dollars in Ukraine for that purpose.

So those countries and their politicians were basically bribed, while their population propagandised via foreign sponsored media. This has nothing to do with sovereignity, rather its about interfering in other countries affairs.

Moreover, the US uses loopholes in international law in order to support rebels in various countries, to stage coups and to interefere in democracy and elections, with the aim of changing the politics of the target country, and even balkanising/disintegrating the target country.

Well, if the US can do that, others can too, hence the rebels in Ukraine, who are now preventing the country from joining NATO.

It could be much more simple. An agreement for buffer zone between NATO and Russia, so that peace and stability are secured. Or it could be "my way or the high way" mentality, which of course leads to wars and destabilisation. Which will not be a good thing in the nuclear proliferation era.

Russia wants peace and stability. The US does not. Its entire geopolitical strategy is based on destabilising the rest of the world, so that it remains divided and mired in internal squabbles, and no strong power could arise there. In addition to fueling conflict and selling weapons to both sides while staying out of it. Divide and rule.

The Russian (and Chinese - OBOR) strategy will be to stabilise, unite and interconnect the rest of the world, particularly Eurasia, in order to overthrow the US - the great disruptor. And as of now, they are winning.

Mia Williams observerBG , January 11, 2018 8:29 PM

Personally speaking, I have little choice but to go with what Presidents Gorbachev and Reagan, along with FM Shevardnadze and Secretary Baker, have said on the subject. Not moving NATO troops or equipment one step east of the East/West German line of the time was promised. This happens to fall precisely in line with what German Chancellor Schroeder has said and written as well. The context of the discussions were in the context of Germany, not the whole of Europe.

According to President Gorbachev the collapse of the Soviet Union was not conceivable at that time. Thus, according to Mr. Gorbachev, he never participated in any discussion of Soviet States joining (or not joining) NATO.

Lastly, I reject the popular notion in some circles that all who align themselves with Russia do so out of free will but those who align themselves with the U.S. and the West must be corrupt or coorced. I believe such ideas ring of arrogance and dismissiveness.

observerBG Mia Williams , January 12, 2018 11:36 AM

This is not what recent US media says on ths topic.

"the collection shows that top officials from the U.S., Germany and the U.K. all offered assurances to Gorbachev and Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze that NATO would not expand toward the Russian borders. The documents make clear that the Western politicians meant no expansion to Eastern European countries, not just the East German territory."

https://www.bloomberg.com/v...

http://nationalinterest.org...

http://beta.latimes.com/opi...

http://www.theamericanconse...

The context here is about NATO expansion in Eastern Europe, to the east of Germany, whether the new (former soviet) states existed or not.
Large parts of EE were never part of the USSR.

"Lastly, I reject the popular notion in some circles that all who align
themselves with Russia do so out of free will but those who align
themselves with the U.S. and the West must be corrupt or coorced. I
believe such ideas ring of arrogance and dismissiveness."

Thanks for the straw man, but i did not say that.

About this, i will say several things. First, there are no bigger and more sophisticated liars than western elites. They are specialists in hiding and masking their interests behind "freedom", "democracy" and "human rights". The russians are more direct and directly talk about russian interests, economic gains, "the fate of our people in this or that country", etc.

Second, if you look at russian foreign policy docs and statements you will notice that russians embrace multipolarity and significantly lower level of interference in other peoples affairs. Specifically, the russians do not try to impose their "system", or developmental model, or culturo-religious model on other countries. After the fall of communism, Russia no longer believes that it should impose its "model" or "system" on other countries, and it does not believe that such an attempt could work either. So Russia accepts the cultural and developmental differences and diversity in the different countries of the world, and does not try to remake it in its own image, or push for "one size fits all" models. For example Russia does not believe that its own "state capitalism" should be imposed everywhere, the way the US believes that its own neo-liberal capitalism should be imposed everywhere.

In comparison, the West and especially the US is messianic and self-obsessed, with strong belief in its own superiority and maniacal desire to impose its own cultural and economic models on everyone else, whether they like it, or not. It thus believes that it "knows better" than anyone else, and therefore should rule the world "for its own good".

In other words the US interferes everywhere and sees the whole world as its playground and even property, something that it can change or remake the way it sees fit. Its like someone who wants to make decisions instead of you "for your own good", which implies that everyone else is mentally inferior to the US, that the whole world is in custody of the US "parent", who knows "better" than anyone else. It becomes crazed and obsessed if its model and culture are rejected by someone, as if that fatally weakens its confidence in itself.

In comparison, the russians are much more direct that things are about pure interests, and are also not interested in interfering at the level or scope the US does. They do not want to remake Poland, Britain, Korea or Iraq in their own image and are ok with whatever culture or economic model these people have. Russia has several military bases abroad in comparison to 700 bases for the US, and that tells you what is going on. Russia can also interfere sometimes, but for far more practical (and real) reasons, mostly in their neighbours, with the aim of ensuring its own security (anti-terrorism), or for making sure that NATO military can not be deployed en masse near its borders. There can be also some economic interference (gas disputes) or attempts to protect russian minorities abroad. But russian interference does not come close to the level of the US one, or the scope of the US one, and certainly does not include messianic dreams about remaking the whole world in its own image, and Russia definitely does not see the world as its playground. The russian embrace of multipolarity means that Russia accepts that there will be countries with vastly different cultures, economic and developmental models, even very different than the russian one, that there will be many powers, and that Russia can not impose its views on the rest of the planet.

John Tosh , January 11, 2018 3:51 PM

The attack on Russian airbase in Syria is a sign that the Central Intelligence Agency is sleepwalking into 3rd world war

For the CIA's information at the start of WW3, the CIA will be nuked since everyone knows it is the brain and actor for the entire Western group of criminals.

CIA you will be nuked. Those CIA agents who survived will be hunted down in different countries like the dogs they are. Many CIA superior officers will sell out their boses and subordinates to survive at the end there would be no more CIA. Just like the NAZIs.

QE ornotQE John Tosh , January 12, 2018 7:38 AM

Look up DUMBs and YouTube a guy called Phil Schneider. The elites (including the CIA) will be as safe and secure as possible in the event of a nuclear war.

Tommy Jensen , January 11, 2018 12:05 PM

Russia was not betrayed by USA. Russia was letting themselves willingly being betrayed, this is a big difference. The Russians were shining all over their faces, dreaming, hoping to become Europeans, and getting coca-cola, friendships, scolarships and dollars from the Americans...............LOL.
The Russians loved to be betrayed man, you loved it man................LOL.

Peter Paul 1950 Tommy Jensen , January 11, 2018 12:26 PM

If you really believe your words then they just reveal that you have an underdeveloped character and lack of empathy towards your own self ... and towards others ... and an even larger deficit in history ... the uprising in Russia 1991 and tanks shooting holes in the White House in Moscow were absolutely not about becoming Europeans or the want of Coca Cola and Big Macs that were then introduced and made available thanks to Yeltsin ... a US puppet ... you love nothing Tommy ... and you are LOLing yourself in an illusion if you try making others believe anybody would love to be betrayed ...

AM Hants Peter Paul 1950 , January 11, 2018 1:02 PM

I have got a project for you, if interested. Andrew came up with a wonderful idea for one of your images. A pyramid, of 'yes' men/women, with their noses firmly embedded in the butts of those above them. If you fancy some artwork, public friendly and nothing that would frighten us, or get you banned, I will leave it to you.

You can even use these characters and their friends that arrived in 2017.

[Dec 17, 2017] Dr. Stephen Cohen on Tucker Carlson: Empty Accusations of Russian Meddling Have Become Grave National Security Threat

Notable quotes:
"... Cohen, who has been quite vocal against the Russophobic witch hunt gripping the nation , believes that this falsified 35 page report is part of an "endgame" to mortally wound Trump before he even sets foot in the White House, by grasping at straws to paint him as a puppet of the Kremlin. The purpose of these overt attempts to cripple Trump, which have relied on ham-handed intelligence reports that, according to Cohen "even the New York Times referred to as lacking any evidence whatsoever," is to stop any kind of détente or cooperation with Russia. ..."
Dec 17, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com

With eyebrows suspiciously furrowed, Tucker Carlson sat down tonight with NYU Professor of Russian Studies and contributor to The Nation , Stephen Cohen, to discuss the 35 page #FakeNews dossier which has gripped the nation with nightmares of golden showers and other perverted conduct which was to be used by Russia to keep Trump on a leash.

The left leaning Cohen, who holds a Ph.D. in government and Russian studies from Columbia, taught at Princeton for 30 years before moving to NYU. He has spent a lifetime deeply immersed in US-Russian relations, having been both a long standing friend of Mikhail Gorbachev and an advisor to President George H.W. Bush. His wife is also the editor of uber liberal " The Nation," so it's safe to assume he's not shilling for Trump - and Tucker was right to go in with eyebrows guarded against such a heavyweight.

Cohen, who has been quite vocal against the Russophobic witch hunt gripping the nation , believes that this falsified 35 page report is part of an "endgame" to mortally wound Trump before he even sets foot in the White House, by grasping at straws to paint him as a puppet of the Kremlin. The purpose of these overt attempts to cripple Trump, which have relied on ham-handed intelligence reports that, according to Cohen "even the New York Times referred to as lacking any evidence whatsoever," is to stop any kind of détente or cooperation with Russia.

Cohen believes that these dangerous accusations attempting to brand a US President as a puppet of a foreign government constitute a "grave American national security threat."

At the very end of the interview, Tucker's very un-furrowed eyebrows agreed.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OtwFEA4dM18

Content originally generated at iBankCoin.com

[Jul 30, 2017] The Establishment's Russia Fixation Takes A Dark Turn An Interview With Stephen F. Cohen

Jun 21, 2017 | www.youtube.com

TYT Politics Reporter Michael Tracey ( https://Twitter.com/mtracey ) sits down with NYU & Princeton Professor, Stephen F. Cohen, to discuss the establishments response to the Russia investigation. What role has the establishment played in the Russia hysteria?

Don't forget to tell us your thoughts in the comment section below!

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[Jul 12, 2017] Stephen Cohens Remarks on Tucker Carlson Last Night Were Extraordinary

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Cohen's appearance on Carlson's show last night demonstrated again at what a blistering pace public opinion in the West about Putin and Russia is shifting, for the better. ..."
"... Cohen is always good, but last night he nailed it, calling the media's coverage of Hamburg 'pornography'. ..."
"... It was just a year ago, pre-Trump, that professor Cohen was banned from all the networks, from any major media outlet, and being relentlessly pilloried by the neocon media for being a naive fool for defending Putin and Russia. ..."
"... "The first thing you notice is just how much the press is rooting for this meeting between our president and the Russian President to fail. It's a kind of pornography. Just as there's no love in pornography, there's no American national interest in this bashing of Trump and Putin. ..."
"... Carlson tried to draw Cohen out about who exactly in Washington is so against Assad, and why, and Cohen deflected, demurring - 'I don't know - I'm not an expert'. Of course he knows, as does Carlson - it is an unholy alliance of Israel, Saudi Arabia and their neocon friends in Washington and the media who are pushing this criminal policy, who support ISIS, deliberately. But they can't say so, because, ... well, because. Ask Rupert Murdoch. ..."
Jul 12, 2017 | russia-insider.com
Cohen's appearance on Carlson's show last night demonstrated again at what a blistering pace public opinion in the West about Putin and Russia is shifting, for the better.

Cohen is always good, but last night he nailed it, calling the media's coverage of Hamburg 'pornography'.

Ahh, the power of the apt phrase.

It was just a year ago, pre-Trump, that professor Cohen was banned from all the networks, from any major media outlet, and being relentlessly pilloried by the neocon media for being a naive fool for defending Putin and Russia.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/5L2F4ocEIZw

Last night he was the featured guest on the most watched news show in the country, being cheered on by the host, who has him on as a regular. And Cohen isn't remotely a conservative. He is a contributing editor at the arch-liberal Nation magazine, of which his wife is the editor. It doesn't really get pinker than that.

Some choice quotes here, but the whole thing is worth a listen:

"The first thing you notice is just how much the press is rooting for this meeting between our president and the Russian President to fail. It's a kind of pornography. Just as there's no love in pornography, there's no American national interest in this bashing of Trump and Putin.

As a historian let me tell you the headline I would write instead:

"What we witnessed today in Hamburg was a potentially historic new detente. an anti-cold-war partnership begun by Trump and Putin but meanwhile attempts to sabotage it escalate." I've seen a lot of summits between American and Russian presidents, ... and I think what we saw today was potentially the most fateful meeting ... since the Cold War.

The reason is, is that the relationship with Russia is so dangerous and we have a president who might have been crippled or cowed by these Russiagate attacks ... yet he was not. He was politically courageous. It went well. They got important things done. I think maybe today we witnessed president Trump emerging as an American statesman."

Cohen goes on to say that the US should ally with Assad, Iran, and Russia to crush ISIS, with Carlson bobbing his head up and down in emphatic agreement.

Carlson tried to draw Cohen out about who exactly in Washington is so against Assad, and why, and Cohen deflected, demurring - 'I don't know - I'm not an expert'. Of course he knows, as does Carlson - it is an unholy alliance of Israel, Saudi Arabia and their neocon friends in Washington and the media who are pushing this criminal policy, who support ISIS, deliberately. But they can't say so, because, ... well, because. Ask Rupert Murdoch.

Things are getting better in the US media, but we aren't quite able to call a spade a spade in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

[Jun 28, 2017] WaPo does not like Ukrainian far right

Notable quotes:
"... "The recent brutal stabbing of a left-wing anti-war activist named Stas Serhiyenko illustrates the threat posed by these extremists. Serhiyenko and his fellow activists believe the perpetrators belonged to the neo-Nazi group C14 (whose name comes from a 14-word phrase used by white supremacists). The attack took place on the anniversary of Hitler's birthday, and C14's leader published a statement that celebrated Serhiyenko's stabbing immediately afterward. ..."
"... The attack on Serhiyenko is just the tip of the iceberg. More recently C14 beat up a socialist politician while other ultranationalist thugs stormed the Lviv and Kiev City Councils. Far-right and neo-Nazi groups have also assaulted or disrupted art exhibitions, anti-fascist demonstrations, a "Ukrainians Choose Peace" event, LGBT events, a social center, media organizations, court proceedings and a Victory Day march celebrating the anniversary of the end of World War II. According to a study from activist organization Institute Respublica, the problem is not only the frequency of far-right violence, but the fact that perpetrators enjoy widespread impunity. It's not hard to understand why Kiev seems reluctant to confront these violent groups. For one thing, far-right paramilitary groups played an important role early in the war against Russian-supported separatists. Kiev also fears these violent groups could turn on the government itself - something they've done before and continue to threaten to do. ..."
"... To be clear, Russian propaganda about Ukraine being overrun by Nazis or fascists is false. Far-right parties such as Svoboda or Right Sector draw little support from Ukrainians." ..."
"... "Indeed, the brazen willingness of Vita Zaverukha – a renowned neo-Nazi out on bail and under house arrest after killing two police officers - to post pictures of herself after storming a popular Kiev restaurant with 50 other nationalists demonstrates the far right's confidence in their immunity from government prosecution. ..."
"... [T]he government must also break any connections between law enforcement agencies and far-right organizations. The clearest example of this problem lies in the Ministry of Internal Affairs, which is headed by Arsen Avakov. Avakov has a long-standing relationship with the Azov Battalion, a paramilitary group that uses the SS symbol as its insignia and which, with several others, was integrated into the army or National Guard at the beginning of the war in the East. Critics have accused Avakov of using members of the group to threaten an opposition media outlet. As at least one commentator has pointed out, using the National Guard to combat ultranationalist violence is likely to prove difficult if far-right groups have become part of the Guard itself. ..."
"... Avakov's Deputy Minister Vadym Troyan was a member of the neo-Nazi Patriot of Ukraine (PU) paramilitary organization, while current Ministry of Interior official Ilya Kiva – a former member of the far-right Right Sector party whose Instagram feed is populated with images of former Italian fascist leader Benito Mussolini – has called for gays "to be put to death." And Avakov himself used the PU to promote his business and political interests while serving as a governor in eastern Ukraine, and as interior minister formed and armed the extremist Azov battalion led by Andriy Biletsky, a man nicknamed the "White Chief" who called for a crusade against "Semite-led sub-humanity ..."
"... In one notorious incident, media captured images of swastika-tattooed thugs - who police claimed were only job applicants wanting to have "fun" - giving the Nazi salute in a police building in Kiev. This cannot be allowed to go on, and it's just as important for Ukrainian democracy to cleanse extremists from law enforcement as it is to remove corrupt officials from former president Viktor Yanukovych's regime under Ukraine's "lustration" policy." ..."
"... Yarosh is an MP, Parubiy would, if the same set of events occurred as in February 2014, become President, as Turchynov did. Nazi's/far right are in the SBU, Police, parts of their academia, military ..."
"... Its an intentionally idiotic statement by Cohen because Ukrainian political parties can come and go at the drop of the hat. All this just means that the 2 million Nazi voters in 2012 election have chosen these newly created parties because a new line of what is " mainstream" has been drawn in Ukraine. ..."
"... Cohen is no idiot, I think he is just covering his ass and preparing his exit strategy. In the hopes of keeping his press card after Ukraine goes totally South. Cohen always knew these guys were Nazis, now he has to pretend to his reading public that he wasn't quite aware. ..."
"... They always use that to pooh-pooh the suggestion that Nazism is influential in Ukraine – but look! They only get tiny levels of support in elections! That matters little when people are appointed to political positions rather than voted into them. There are so many things – the dissolving of opposition political parties, the uberpatriotic signage everywhere exhorting citizens to report their neighbours if they suspect separatist sympathies, the hit list (Mirotvorets) of those who failed to shout the government line when prompted until told to stop – that simply scream "FASCISM!!!" ..."
"... But it is inconvenient for the west to see those things, because it could not acknowledge seeing them and continue to support the country and government which did them. The USA is an old hand at unseeing things which don't fit the narrative. Unfortunately, it has evolved into a nation which is good at unseeing obstacles as well; obstacles which are present and prevent it from achieving its goals. These are expected to disappear before the eraser called 'exceptionalism'. ..."
Jun 21, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com

Lyttenburgh , June 16, 2017 at 12:10 pm

Into the breach – once more! Or – once again about honest, balanced and tolerant Western Media ™, SUDDENLY finding out that there are roving bands of neo-nazis in the Ukraine. Why this particular article is important? First of all – because it's WaPo – a fearless crusader and enabler of leakers in anything Trump+Russia related. To doubt WaPo for a certain category of the people is sacrilege. Second – because of WHO wrote this article, namely Joshua Cohen, former (?) USAID chief honcho in realization of the "economic reforms" on the territory of the former USSR – a thoroughly handshakable person, judging by his last name.

Thirdly – the amount of evidence provided in one article combined with proof links to serve as the future reference material. Links are to very-very kosher and Ukrainian sources – so you can't accuse them in good faith of being Kremlenite propaganda.

Ukraine's ultra-right militias are challenging the government to a showdown

Blah-blah-blah – evul Russia, blah-blah, and then:

"The recent brutal stabbing of a left-wing anti-war activist named Stas Serhiyenko illustrates the threat posed by these extremists. Serhiyenko and his fellow activists believe the perpetrators belonged to the neo-Nazi group C14 (whose name comes from a 14-word phrase used by white supremacists). The attack took place on the anniversary of Hitler's birthday, and C14's leader published a statement that celebrated Serhiyenko's stabbing immediately afterward.

The attack on Serhiyenko is just the tip of the iceberg. More recently C14 beat up a socialist politician while other ultranationalist thugs stormed the Lviv and Kiev City Councils. Far-right and neo-Nazi groups have also assaulted or disrupted art exhibitions, anti-fascist demonstrations, a "Ukrainians Choose Peace" event, LGBT events, a social center, media organizations, court proceedings and a Victory Day march celebrating the anniversary of the end of World War II.

According to a study from activist organization Institute Respublica, the problem is not only the frequency of far-right violence, but the fact that perpetrators enjoy widespread impunity. It's not hard to understand why Kiev seems reluctant to confront these violent groups. For one thing, far-right paramilitary groups played an important role early in the war against Russian-supported separatists. Kiev also fears these violent groups could turn on the government itself - something they've done before and continue to threaten to do.

To be clear, Russian propaganda about Ukraine being overrun by Nazis or fascists is false. Far-right parties such as Svoboda or Right Sector draw little support from Ukrainians."

Full stop here. First of all – "Russian propaganda" (and the Western propaganda understands by that all Russian press, except a few "brave ones" that suck foreign grants tit of theirs) claims no such a thing. Second – it is Poroshenko and his government who renames streets after Bandera and Shukhevitch. Third – in the second half of the article Mr. Cohen basically proves, that said roving bands all BUT overrun the Ukraine, while the alleged lack of support does not translate in the active resistance to them – which is what's enough for them to reign supreme:

"Indeed, the brazen willingness of Vita Zaverukha – a renowned neo-Nazi out on bail and under house arrest after killing two police officers - to post pictures of herself after storming a popular Kiev restaurant with 50 other nationalists demonstrates the far right's confidence in their immunity from government prosecution.

[ ]

[T]he government must also break any connections between law enforcement agencies and far-right organizations. The clearest example of this problem lies in the Ministry of Internal Affairs, which is headed by Arsen Avakov. Avakov has a long-standing relationship with the Azov Battalion, a paramilitary group that uses the SS symbol as its insignia and which, with several others, was integrated into the army or National Guard at the beginning of the war in the East. Critics have accused Avakov of using members of the group to threaten an opposition media outlet. As at least one commentator has pointed out, using the National Guard to combat ultranationalist violence is likely to prove difficult if far-right groups have become part of the Guard itself.

Avakov's Deputy Minister Vadym Troyan was a member of the neo-Nazi Patriot of Ukraine (PU) paramilitary organization, while current Ministry of Interior official Ilya Kiva – a former member of the far-right Right Sector party whose Instagram feed is populated with images of former Italian fascist leader Benito Mussolini – has called for gays "to be put to death." And Avakov himself used the PU to promote his business and political interests while serving as a governor in eastern Ukraine, and as interior minister formed and armed the extremist Azov battalion led by Andriy Biletsky, a man nicknamed the "White Chief" who called for a crusade against "Semite-led sub-humanity."

[ ]

In one notorious incident, media captured images of swastika-tattooed thugs - who police claimed were only job applicants wanting to have "fun" - giving the Nazi salute in a police building in Kiev. This cannot be allowed to go on, and it's just as important for Ukrainian democracy to cleanse extremists from law enforcement as it is to remove corrupt officials from former president Viktor Yanukovych's regime under Ukraine's "lustration" policy."

P.S. Comment section is as always colorful there.

yalensis , June 16, 2017 at 3:12 pm

"To be clear, Russian propaganda about Ukraine being overrun by Nazis or fascists is false. Far-right parties such as Svoboda or Right Sector draw little support from Ukrainians ."

True (about the level of support), but irrelevant, Mr. Cohen! It doesn't matter if these fascists enjoy an approval rating of 5% or .005% You yourself said that these perps enjoy "widespread impunity" --

They can do whatever they want, kill anybody they please, and never get punished -- That's the literal meaning of the word "impunity".

Eric , June 17, 2017 at 2:33 am
Yarosh is an MP, Parubiy would, if the same set of events occurred as in February 2014, become President, as Turchynov did. Nazi's/far right are in the SBU, Police, parts of their academia, military

Its an intentionally idiotic statement by Cohen because Ukrainian political parties can come and go at the drop of the hat. All this just means that the 2 million Nazi voters in 2012 election have chosen these newly created parties because a new line of what is " mainstream" has been drawn in Ukraine.

That's why I found it more than a little odd what is happening in France now .a new party under Macron has been created and occupies that vast majority of seats .this is the type of thing you would see in a banana republic.

yalensis , June 17, 2017 at 4:36 am
Cohen is no idiot, I think he is just covering his ass and preparing his exit strategy. In the hopes of keeping his press card after Ukraine goes totally South. Cohen always knew these guys were Nazis, now he has to pretend to his reading public that he wasn't quite aware.

He was duped! Or maybe the turning point, which got his Jewish blood boiling was Biletsky calling his ethnic group a "Semite-led sub-humanity."

Cohen: "Oh, I never realized these people could be so hateful!" – LOL!

marknesop , June 17, 2017 at 8:15 am
They always use that to pooh-pooh the suggestion that Nazism is influential in Ukraine – but look! They only get tiny levels of support in elections! That matters little when people are appointed to political positions rather than voted into them. There are so many things – the dissolving of opposition political parties, the uberpatriotic signage everywhere exhorting citizens to report their neighbours if they suspect separatist sympathies, the hit list (Mirotvorets) of those who failed to shout the government line when prompted until told to stop – that simply scream "FASCISM!!!"

But it is inconvenient for the west to see those things, because it could not acknowledge seeing them and continue to support the country and government which did them. The USA is an old hand at unseeing things which don't fit the narrative. Unfortunately, it has evolved into a nation which is good at unseeing obstacles as well; obstacles which are present and prevent it from achieving its goals. These are expected to disappear before the eraser called 'exceptionalism'.

The canard about levels of public support for Nazism in Ukraine is used to suggest that if Russia is spouting propaganda about this, then everything it says is propaganda.

[Jun 20, 2017] The 'Soft Coup' of Russia-gate by Robert Parry

Notable quotes:
"... For the neocons in 2016, there also was the excited expectation of a Hillary Clinton presidency to give more momentum to the expensive New Cold War. But then Trump, who had argued for a new détente with Russia, managed to eke out an Electoral College win. ..."
May 13, 2017 | consortiumnews.com
The 'Soft Coup' of Russia-gate

Where is Stanley Kubrick when we need him? If he hadn't died in 1999, he would be the perfect director to transform today's hysteria over Russia into a theater-of-the-absurd movie reprising his Cold War classic, "Dr. Strangelove," which savagely satirized the madness of nuclear brinksmanship and the crazed ideology behind it.

A scene from "Dr. Strangelove," in which the bomber pilot (played by actor Slim Pickens) rides a nuclear bomb to its target in the Soviet Union.

To prove my point, The Washington Post on Thursday published a lengthy story entitled in the print editions "Alarm at Russian in White House" about a Russian photographer who was allowed into the Oval Office to photograph President Trump's meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

The Post cited complaints from former U.S. intelligence officials who criticized the presence of the Russian photographer as "a potential security breach" because of "the danger that a listening device or other surveillance equipment could have been brought into the Oval Office while hidden in cameras or other electronics."

To bolster this alarm, the Post cited a Twitter comment from President Obama's last deputy CIA director, David S. Cohen, stating "No, it was not" a sound decision to admit the Russian photographer who also works for the Russian news agency, Tass, which published the photo.

One could picture Boris and Natasha, the evil spies in the Bullwinkle cartoons, disguised as photographers slipping listening devices between the cushions of the sofas.

Or we could hear how Russians are again threatening to "impurify all of our precious bodily fluids," as "Dr. Strangelove" character, Gen. Jack D. Ripper, warned us in the 1964 movie.

Watching that brilliant dark comedy again might actually be a good idea to remind us how crazy Americans can get when they're pumped up with anti-Russian propaganda, as is happening again now.

Taking Down Trump

I realize that many Democrats, liberals and progressives hate Donald Trump so much that they believe that any pretext is justified in taking him down, even if that plays into the hands of the neoconservatives and other warmongers. Many people who detest Trump view Russia-gate as the most likely path to achieve Trump's impeachment, so this desirable end justifies whatever means.

Boris and Natasha, the evil spies from the Rocky and Bullwinkle shows.

Some people have told me that they even believe that it is the responsibility of the major news media, the law enforcement and intelligence communities, and members of Congress to engage in a "soft coup" against Trump – also known as a "constitutional coup" or "deep state coup" – for the "good of the country."

The argument is that it sometimes falls to these Establishment institutions to "correct" a mistake made by the American voters, in this case, the election of a largely unqualified individual as U.S. president. It is even viewed by some anti-Trump activists as a responsibility of "responsible" journalists, government officials and others to play this "guardian" role, to not simply "resist" Trump but to remove him.

But The New York Times and The Washington Post, in particular, have made it clear that they view Trump as a clear and present danger to the American system and thus have cast aside any pretense of neutrality.

The Times justifies its open hostility to the President as part of its duty to protect "the truth"; the Post has adopted a slogan aimed at Trump, "Democracy Dies in Darkness." In other words, America's two most influential political newspapers are effectively pushing for a "soft coup" under the guise of defending "democracy" and "truth."

But the obvious problem with a "soft coup" is that America's democratic process, as imperfect as it has been and still is, has held this diverse country together since 1788 with the notable exception of the Civil War.

If Americans believe that the Washington elites are removing an elected president – even one as buffoonish as Donald Trump – it could tear apart the fabric of national unity, which is already under extraordinary stress from intense partisanship.

That means that the "soft coup" would have to be carried out under the guise of a serious investigation into something grave enough to justify the President's removal, a removal that could be accomplished by congressional impeachment, his forced resignation, or the application of Twenty-fifth Amendment, which allows the Vice President and a majority of the Cabinet to judge a President incapable of continuing in office (although that could require two-thirds votes by both houses of Congress if the President fights the maneuver).

A Big Enough 'Scandal'

That is where Russia-gate comes in. The gauzy allegation that Trump and/or his advisers somehow colluded with Russian intelligence officials to rig the 2016 election would probably clear the threshold for an extreme action like removing a President.

And, given the determination of many key figures in the Establishment to get rid of Trump, it should come as no surprise that no one seems to care that no actual government-verified evidence has been revealed publicly to support any of the Russia-gate allegations.

There's not even any public evidence from U.S. government agencies that Russia did "meddle" in the 2016 election or – even if Russia did slip Democratic emails to WikiLeaks (which WikiLeaks denies) – there has been zero evidence that the scheme resulted from collusion with Trump's campaign.

The FBI has been investigating these suspicions for at least nine months, even reportedly securing a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant against Carter Page, an American whom Trump briefly claimed as a foreign policy adviser when Trump was under fire for not having any foreign policy advisers.

One of Page's alleged offenses was that he gave a speech to an academic conference in Moscow in July 2016 that was mildly critical of how the U.S. treated countries from the former Soviet Union. He also once lived in Russia and met with a Russian diplomat who – apparently unbeknownst to Page – had been identified by the U.S. government as a Russian intelligence officer.

It appears that is enough, in these days of our New McCarthyism , to get an American put under a powerful counter-intelligence investigation.

The FBI and the Department of Justice also reportedly are including as part of the Russia-gate investigation Trump's stupid campaign joke calling on the Russians to help find the tens of thousands of emails that Hillary Clinton erased from the home server that she used while Secretary of State.

On July 27, 2016, Trump said, apparently in jest, "I will tell you this, Russia: if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing."

The comment fit with Trump's puckish, provocative and often tasteless sense of humor, but was seized on by Democrats as if it were a serious suggestion – as if anyone would use a press conference to seriously urge something like that. But it now appears that the FBI is grabbing at any straw that might support its investigation.

The (U.K.) Guardian reported this week that "Senior DoJ officials have declined to release the documents [about Trump's comment] on grounds that such disclosure could 'interfere with enforcement proceedings'. In a filing to a federal court in Washington DC, the DoJ states that 'because of the existence of an active, ongoing investigation, the FBI anticipates that it will withhold all records'.

"The statement suggests that Trump's provocative comment last July is being seen by the FBI as relevant to its own ongoing investigation."

The NYT's Accusations

On Friday, in the wake of Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey and the President's characterization of Russia-gate as "a total hoax," The New York Times reprised what it called "The Trump-Russia Nexus" in a lead editorial trying to make the case of some fire behind the smoke.

Former Trump foreign policy adviser Carter Page.

Though the Times acknowledges that there are "many unknowns" in Russia-gate and the Times can't seem to find any evidence of collusion, such as slipping a Russian data stick to WikiLeaks, the Times nevertheless treats a host of Trump advisers and family members as traitors because they've had some association with Russian officials, Russian businesses or Russian allies.

Regarding Carter Page, the Times wrote: "American officials believe that Mr. Page, a foreign policy adviser, had contacts with Russian intelligence officials during the campaign. He also gave a pro-Russia speech in Moscow in July 2016. Mr. Page was once employed by Merrill Lynch's Moscow office, where he worked with Gazprom, a government-owned giant."

You might want to let some of those words sink in, especially the part about Page giving "a pro-Russia speech in Moscow," which has been cited as one of the principal reasons for Page and his communications being targeted under a FISA warrant.

I've actually read Page's speech and to call it "pro-Russia" is a wild exaggeration. It was a largely academic treatise that faulted the West's post-Cold War treatment of the nations formed from the old Soviet Union, saying the rush to a free-market system led to some negative consequences, such as the spread of corruption.

But even if the speech were "pro-Russia," doesn't The New York Times respect the quaint American notion of free speech? Apparently not. If your carefully crafted words can be twisted into something called "pro-Russia," the Times seems to think it's okay to have the National Security Agency bug your phones and read your emails.

The Ukraine Case

Another Times' target was veteran political adviser Paul Manafort, who is accused of working as "a consultant for a pro-Russia political party in Ukraine and for Ukraine's former president, Viktor Yanukovych, who was backed by the Kremlin."

New York Times building in New York City. (Photo from Wikipedia)

Left out of that Times formulation is the fact that the Ukrainian political party, which had strong backing from ethnic Russian Ukrainians - not just Russia– competed in a democratic process and that Yanukovych won an election that was recognized by international observers as free and fair.

Yanukovych was then ousted in February 2014 in a violent putsch that was backed by U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt. The putsch, which was spearheaded by right-wing nationalists and even neo-Nazis, touched off Ukraine's civil war and the secession of Crimea, the key events in the escalation of today's New Cold War between NATO and Russia.

Nazi symbols on helmets worn by members of Ukraine's Azov battalion. (As filmed by a Norwegian film crew and shown on German TV)

Though I'm no fan of U.S. political hired-guns selling their services in foreign elections, there was nothing illegal or even unusual about Manafort advising a Ukrainian political party. What arguably was much more offensive was the U.S. support for an unconstitutional coup that removed Yanukovych even after he agreed to a European plan for early elections so he could be voted out of office peacefully.

But the Times, the Post and virtually the entire Western mainstream media sided with the Ukrainian coup-makers and hailed Yanukovych's overthrow. That attitude has become such a groupthink that the Times has banished the thought that there was a coup .

Still, the larger political problem confronting the United States is that the neoconservatives and their junior partners, the liberal interventionists, now control nearly all the levers of U.S. foreign policy. That means they can essentially dictate how events around the world will be perceived by most Americans.

The neocons and the liberal hawks also want to continue their open-ended wars in the Middle East by arranging the commitment of additional U.S. military forces to Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria – and perhaps a new confrontation with Iran.

Early in Obama's second term, it became clear to the neocons that Russia was becoming the chief obstacles to their plans because President Barack Obama was working closely with President Vladimir Putin on a variety of projects that undermined neocon hopes for more war.

Particularly, Putin helped Obama secure an agreement from Syria to surrender its chemical weapons stockpiles in 2013 and to get Iran to accept tight constraints on its nuclear program in 2014. In both cases, the neocons and their liberal-hawk sidekicks were lusting for war.

Immediately after the Syria chemical-weapons deal in September 2013, key U.S. neocons began focusing on Ukraine as what National Endowment for Democracy president Carl Gershman called "the biggest prize" and a first step toward unseating Putin in Moscow.

Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland, who pushed for the Ukraine coup and helped pick the post-coup leaders.

Gershman's grant-giving NED stepped up its operations inside Ukraine while Assistant Secretary Nuland, the wife of arch-neocon Robert Kagan, began pushing for regime change in Kiev (along with other neocons, including Sen. John McCain).

The Ukraine coup in 2014 drove a geopolitical wedge between Obama and Putin, since the Russian president couldn't just stand by when a virulently anti-Russian regime took power violently in Ukraine, which was the well-worn route for invasions into Russia and housed Russia's Black Sea fleet at Sevastopol in Crimea.

Rather than defend the valuable cooperation provided by Putin, Obama went with the political flow and joined in the Russia-bashing as key neocons raised their sights and put Putin in the crosshairs .

An Unexpected Obstacle

For the neocons in 2016, there also was the excited expectation of a Hillary Clinton presidency to give more momentum to the expensive New Cold War. But then Trump, who had argued for a new détente with Russia, managed to eke out an Electoral College win.

Perhaps Trump could have diffused some of the hostility toward him but his narcissistic personality stopped him from extending an olive branch to the tens of millions of Americans who opposed him. He further demonstrated his political incompetence by wasting his first days in office making ridiculous claims about the size of his inaugural crowds and disputing the fact that he had lost the popular vote.

Widespread public disgust over his behavior contributed to the determination of many Americans to "resist" his presidency at all junctures and at all costs.

Peter Sellers playing Dr. Strangelove as he struggles to control his right arm from making a Nazi salute.

Russia-gate, the hazy suggestion that Putin put Trump in the White House and that Trump is a Putin "puppet" (as Clinton claimed), became the principal weapon to use in destroying Trump's presidency.

However, besides the risks to U.S. stability that would come from an Establishment-driven "soft coup," there is the additional danger of ratcheting up tensions so high with nuclear-armed Russia that this extreme Russia-bashing takes on a life – or arguably many, many deaths – of its own.

Which is why America now might need a piercing satire of today's Russia-phobia or at least a revival of the Cold War classic, "Dr. Strangelove," subtitled "How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb."

[For more on this topic, see Consortiumnews.com's " Watergate Redux or 'Deep State' Coup ."]

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America's Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com ).

[Jun 20, 2017] Is Vladimir Putin the Number 1 Threat to America or Its Security Partner in Waiting

Jun 14, 2017 | www.thenation.com

 Cohen's main point is one that he has often made in his weekly discussions with Batchelor: The United States is fully in a new and more dangerous Cold War with Russia, while at the same time having vital national-security interests that fully coincide with Russia's-first and foremost, the existential danger to both nations, and to the world, represented by a new kind of international terrorist movements that are in search of radioactive materials to make their bombings incalculably more lethal. A US-Russian anti-terrorism alliance is the only hope of diminishing this looming threat. Each time such an alliance has seemed politically within reach, beginning in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, it has been thwarted, not the least by the US political-media establishment's demonizing of Putin as an unworthy partner for America. This is now happening again in the conflict between President Trump's stated wish "to cooperate with Russia," beginning in Syria, and the purported scandal known as "Russiagate." Given Oliver Stone's very up-close interviews with Russia's leader, Americans can now decide for themselves-apart from the mainstream media-about Putin, about where real threats lie, and about what should be their nation's priorities.

[Jun 02, 2017] Stephen F. Cohen just wants Trump and Putin to get along by Isaac Chotiner

what is really interesting that there were only a couple of sane individuals (Jack Paper , Wilfred_Blake, PT come to mind ) and in the whole discussion thread. The level of hysteria is really incredible and remind me of Stalinist Russia. People are so brainwashed into new McCartyism, that Senator McCarthy is he would know, probably is really proud and little bit envious at the results achieved. This collective Senator McCarthy that MSM now represent proved to be more dramatically efficient
Notable quotes:
"... Threat. OK. Threat. That's a good word. We're in a moment when we need an American president and a Kremlin leader to act at the highest level of statesmanship. Whether they meet in summit or not is not of great importance, but we need intense negotiations to tamp down this new Cold War, particularly in Syria, but not only. Trump is being crippled by these charges, for which I can find no facts whatsoever. ..."
"... New York Times ..."
"... You need Trump because he's in the White House. I didn't put him there. I didn't vote for him. Putin's in the Kremlin. I didn't put him in the Kremlin either, but we have what we have, and these guys must have a serious dialog about tamping down these cold wars, which means cooperating on various fronts. The obvious one-and they already are secretly, but it's getting torpedoed-is Syria. ..."
"... "This assault on Trump, for which as yet there are zero facts, has become a grave threat to American national security." ..."
"... So we come now with this so-called Russiagate. You know what that means. It's our shorthand, right? And Trump, even if he was the most wonderfully qualified president, he is utterly crippled in his ability to do diplomacy with the Kremlin. So let me give you the counterfactual example. ..."
"... Imagine that Kennedy had been accused of somehow being, they used to accuse him of being an agent of the Vatican, but let's say he had been accused widely of being an agent of the Kremlin. The only way he could have ended the Cuban Missile Crisis would have been to prove his loyalty by going to nuclear war with Russia. That's the situation we're in today. I mean Trump is not free to take wise advice and use whatever smarts he has to negotiate down this new and dangerous Cold War, so this assault on Trump, for which as yet there are zero facts, has become a grave threat to American national security. That's what I meant. That's what I believe. ..."
"... So we don't have any forensic evidence that there was a hack. There might have been. If there was a hack, we have no evidence it was the Russians, and we have an alternative explanation that it was actually a leak, that somebody inside did a Snowden, just stuck a thumb drive in and walked out with this stuff. We don't know. And when you don't know, you don't go to war. ..."
"... On the face of it, because it so deviated from American mainstream thinking about Putin, which was that he was a demon-that's what was startling about Trump, you're absolutely right. That he alone of all the candidates, even when we had multiple ones in the Democratic and Republican primaries, so far as I recall, he alone made this statement, I think I quote exactly, "Wouldn't it be great if we cooperated with Russia?" My answer is not only great but imperative. He also said, he also said he didn't know that Putin was actually a killer of personal enemies. That is correct. There is no evidence to support those allegations. He also said that Putin is a strong leader. That is also correct. ..."
"... I'm saying that the people with expertise and independence who examined, for example, the Litvinenko poisoning in London, find no evidence that Putin was involved. [Ed. note: A public inquiry in the United Kingdom found that Putin had "probably" approved his murder.] These are not Russians or Americans. These are just people who know about polonium. I'm saying that the newspaper in Moscow-and you're not quite correct that there's no free press in Moscow. There is a small, embattled free press in Moscow. I and my wife are very, very close, very close to the primary one, that's Novaya Gazeta ..."
"... Wait a minute. Let me just get to the point. That notion that he had her killed and put his signature on it is beyond ridiculous. Why? The next day he comes out, there's a press conference, and he's asked about her killing and the charges that the Kremlin was behind it, and he said something that might have been, what's the word? Not politic. Not diplomatic, but it was true. Essentially, I don't remember exactly what he said. Why would we want to kill her? Nobody in Russia read her. She had no influence in Russia. ..."
"... Why did you kill her? ..."
"... Why would I want to kill her? What was my motive? ..."
"... You know, Anna was a great journalist, we mourn her death, but let's be serious. She was not an influential force in Russia. ..."
"... My view is that this Cold War is even more dangerous. As we talk today, and this was not the case in the preceding Cold War, there are three new fronts that are fraught with hot war. You know them as well as I do. The NATO military build-up is going on in the Baltic regions, particularly in the three small Baltic countries, Poland, and if we include missile defense, Romania. That's right on Russia's border, and in Ukraine. You know that story. That's a proxy civil war right on Russia's border, and then of course in Syria, where American and Russian aircraft and Syrian aircraft are flying over the same airspace. ..."
"... And a nation, but a country that has long been deeply divided by history or by God. I mean, we're talking ethnicity, language, religion, political tilting. One part tilts toward Russia, one part tilts toward the West. Many millions of Ukrainians and Russians have intermarried over the years. This is a country that always had the potential to either break apart or launch into civil war. The events of 2014, for which both sides are highly culpable, initiated a civil war. This entourage around Putin, one segment of it was absolutely 1,000 percent convinced that NATO was headed via Kiev to Crimea. Had Crimea fallen in any way to NATO, any way, even in the shadow of NATO, Putin would have had to either go to war or resign. No Russian leader would have been able to sustain that kind of defeat. ..."
"... I don't want to go down in a subway and get blown up. It's going to happen. The Russians are excellent at this. They've got great intelligence. We're pretty good-not as good as the Russians. We need to combine it all. I see that this kind of alliance is good; we move on then to finding the solution in Ukraine and in the Baltic region. That's what Reagan did. Do you remember that Reagan going to Geneva, I think it was November 1985? Then two years later-I think this is right-he and Gorbachev for the first time in history, Isaac, abolished an entire category of nuclear weapons. This is what I want. This is probably what's not possible. ..."
"... I mean for Christ's sake. Have you watched Carter Page on television? ..."
"... Correction, May 30, 2017: This article originally misstated that the Moscow hotel mentioned in the dossier was the St. Regis. It was the Ritz-Carlton. ( Return .) ..."
"... I see little independent evidence that Putin wanted Trump specifically to be elected rather than wanting HRC not to be elected. There was no attempt at interfering with the GOP primary in Trump's favor. Any notion that Trump was groomed by Putin in some kind of long game defies reason. Simply put, no one could have had any confidence that Trump would win, ever. ..."
"... So if both of these assumptions hold, what the Democrats are creating, essentially, is a "stab in the back" myth on which they can focus their anger while muddying issues of accountability. Putin, I think it's clear, did not think that Trump had much chance of winning. To say he got "lucky" also doesn't describe the current reality, because this issue will probably taint US-Russian relations far into the future, and in ways no one could have foreseen. ..."
"... But then it's also possible that this will taint American politics into the distant future. The thing about stab-in-the-back myths is that they're emotional, it's extremely difficult for people to a discuss them. much less turn a contested narrative into one based upon mutual agreement. This will be true whether Trump gets impeached or serves two terms. ..."
"... "Europeans have an opinion of Americans as people who hysterically overreact to even the smallest of problems, real, or imagined" ..."
"... And what did exactly Putin did? Told everyone what they already knew about Hillary Clinton? American politics is all about negative ads and made up stuff about other candidates, how exactly was it news to anyone that Hillary Clinton was plotting to bring down Bernie Sanders? Did you guys never have an election before? ..."
"... Are you saying Putin finances Antifa? Because so far they have been the biggest force behind making Trump and Alt-Right look good. That would not be impossible, some corporations did that with environmental groups and they highlight targets for them that were either competitors or themselves but to paint those corporations as victims of unreasonable radicals (hence drowning any constructive criticism). ..."
"... His brilliant placement of several thousand Russian operatives in MI, WI and PA, who were able to bribe a significant number of voters to tip the electoral scale in Trump's favor, was simply brilliant. ..."
"... While this guy isn't saying Trump is right, in as nice a way possible he is saying the NeoCon/NeoLibs are as much to blame and the anti-Russian hysteria is overblown, out of control and incredibly short-sighted. ..."
"... I don't think the Russian interference amounted to a hill of beans in this election. If you think it did, you are delusional. Do you really think some person in the Midwest changed their vote because of what was in the Podesta emails? You're an idiot if you think that. ..."
"... And let's not forget our own interference. ..."
"... So why should Russia trust a country that reneged on its promises and expanded its way to Russia's border? ..."
consortiumnews.com

Stephen F. Cohen has long been one of the leading scholars of Russia and the Soviet Union. He wrote a biography of the Bolshevik revolutionary Nikolai Bukharin and is a contributing editor at the Nation, which his wife, Katrina vanden Heuvel, edits and publishes. In recent years, Cohen has emerged as a more ideologically dexterous figure, ripping those he thinks are pursuing a "new Cold War" with Russia and calling for President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin to form "an alliance against international terrorism." Cohen has gone so far as to describe the investigations into the Trump campaign and Russia "the No. 1 threat to the United States today."

... ... ...

I heard you recently on Fox News. You said that the "assault" on President Trump "was the No. 1 threat to the United States today." What did you mean by that?

Threat. OK. Threat. That's a good word. We're in a moment when we need an American president and a Kremlin leader to act at the highest level of statesmanship. Whether they meet in summit or not is not of great importance, but we need intense negotiations to tamp down this new Cold War, particularly in Syria, but not only. Trump is being crippled by these charges, for which I can find no facts whatsoever.

Wait, which charges are we talking about?

That he is somehow in the thrall or complicity or control, under the influence of the Kremlin.

I think it would help if he would admit what his own intelligence agencies are telling him, that Russia played some role in

No, I don't accept that. I don't accept that at all, not for one minute.

People in the Trump administration admit this too.

Well they're not the brightest lights.

And the president is?

No. You didn't ask me that. You asked me, you said, some of the president's people. You're referring to that intel report of January, correct? The one that was produced that said Putin directed the attack on the DNC?

I was referring to that and many news accounts that Russia was behind the hacking, yes.

The news accounts are of no value to us. I mean you and I both know ...

No value? None?

No. No value. Not on face value. Just because the New York Times says that I don't know, Carter Page or [Paul] Manafort or [Michael] Flynn did something wrong, I don't accept that. I need to see the evidence.

So then how do you know what's going on in, say, Ukraine? You're not reading "news accounts" of it?

I read on the internet mainly. I can't read Ukrainian very well, but most of the sources coming out of Ukraine are in Russian anyway.

So that media's OK, but the New York Times isn't?

No. It absolutely is not OK. No, no, no, no, no, no.

OK, let's just go back to what you were saying about Trump being hamstrung.

You need Trump because he's in the White House. I didn't put him there. I didn't vote for him. Putin's in the Kremlin. I didn't put him in the Kremlin either, but we have what we have, and these guys must have a serious dialog about tamping down these cold wars, which means cooperating on various fronts. The obvious one-and they already are secretly, but it's getting torpedoed-is Syria.

So we come now with this so-called Russiagate. You know what that means. It's our shorthand, right? And Trump, even if he was the most wonderfully qualified president, he is utterly crippled in his ability to do diplomacy with the Kremlin. So let me give you the counterfactual example.

Imagine that Kennedy had been accused of somehow being, they used to accuse him of being an agent of the Vatican, but let's say he had been accused widely of being an agent of the Kremlin. The only way he could have ended the Cuban Missile Crisis would have been to prove his loyalty by going to nuclear war with Russia. That's the situation we're in today. I mean Trump is not free to take wise advice and use whatever smarts he has to negotiate down this new and dangerous Cold War, so this assault on Trump, for which as yet there are zero facts, has become a grave threat to American national security. That's what I meant. That's what I believe.

To use your Kennedy example, there was no evidence that Kennedy was an agent of either the Vatican or the Kremlin-

No, but Isaac you're not old enough to remember, but during the campaign, because he was the first Catholic, they all went on about he's an agent of the Vatican.

I know that. I'm old enough to have read "news accounts" of it. Anyway, there was a hacking of the DNC and-

Wait actually no, Isaac stop. Stop. Now, I mean we don't know that for a fact.

That there was a hacking of the DNC?

Yeah we do not know that for a fact.

What do we think happened?

Well ...

So you're really going to argue with me that the DNC wasn't hacked?

I'm saying I don't know that to be the case.

OK.

I will refer you to an alternative report and you can decide yourself.

Can we agree on this much at least: that Trump said there was a hack, refused to say who he thought did it, encouraged the hackers to keep doing it, at the same time that he was getting intelligence reports that it was the Russians, and that he continued to talk very positively about Putin after he was told this?

You've given me too many facts to process, but if Trump said he knew it was a hack, he was not fully informed. We just don't know it for a fact, Isaac.

So we don't have any forensic evidence that there was a hack. There might have been. If there was a hack, we have no evidence it was the Russians, and we have an alternative explanation that it was actually a leak, that somebody inside did a Snowden, just stuck a thumb drive in and walked out with this stuff. We don't know. And when you don't know, you don't go to war.

Let me try another tactic.

It's not me making this stuff up. It's not my opinion. It's just out there. I read it, and I think it's credible.

Why do you think Trump, who has essentially, as far as I can tell, no clue about what's going on anywhere and can't keep his mind on some issue for 10 minutes, has had in his head consistently time and again that we must make peace with Putin, we must come together with Putin, Putin's a good guy? What do you make of that?

Well you have given me a kind of primitive version of what Trump said. First of all, I don't share the view that Trump's an idiot. Trump's a clever, cunning, smart man, or he wouldn't have become Donald Trump. Whether that's applicable to the presidency is a different question, but to treat him as a buffoon and an idiot is just silly.

On the face of it, because it so deviated from American mainstream thinking about Putin, which was that he was a demon-that's what was startling about Trump, you're absolutely right. That he alone of all the candidates, even when we had multiple ones in the Democratic and Republican primaries, so far as I recall, he alone made this statement, I think I quote exactly, "Wouldn't it be great if we cooperated with Russia?" My answer is not only great but imperative. He also said, he also said he didn't know that Putin was actually a killer of personal enemies. That is correct. There is no evidence to support those allegations. He also said that Putin is a strong leader. That is also correct.

You say there's no evidence Putin was a killer. Don't you think if Russia had a more robust free press and was more of a liberal democracy, evidence might actually emerge?

There's no evidence. I know there are allegations, but I have looked into the three or four most famous cases. I can't look at them all because there's about 30 now, some of them withdrawn.

So you're saying these Putin enemies who keep turning up dead in Moscow, and then those deaths are not properly investigated, there's no evidence that Putin was behind them? That's your argument?

Not behind, that's correct. He was not behind. He didn't order the killings, yes.

We know that because there's been a fair investigation and there's a free press to report on that? That's what you are saying?

I'm saying that the people with expertise and independence who examined, for example, the Litvinenko poisoning in London, find no evidence that Putin was involved. [Ed. note: A public inquiry in the United Kingdom found that Putin had "probably" approved his murder.] These are not Russians or Americans. These are just people who know about polonium. I'm saying that the newspaper in Moscow-and you're not quite correct that there's no free press in Moscow. There is a small, embattled free press in Moscow. I and my wife are very, very close, very close to the primary one, that's Novaya Gazeta. That's the newspaper that employed Anna Politkovskaya and several other journalists that were assassinated.

Who killed her?

I mean, I don't know who killed her. They've arrested the gunman, but they never get to the contract-giver. It almost certainly came out of Chechnya, almost certainly.

And who runs Chechnya?

You're headed now into a complicated turf.

You know who runs Chechnya, and you know who his patron is.

Let me put it to you like this: On the chart of federal authority, Ramzan Kadyrov runs Chechnya, and Putin could remove him.

OK, well, there you go.

No, that's the beginning of the discussion. What would happen in Chechnya if Putin removed Kadyrov? He either leaves Kadyrov in power and tries to rein him in, or the Russian army tries again to occupy Chechnya, which was a catastrophe two times under Yeltsin. You can't do it. What choice does Putin have at the moment?

Didn't Putin speak disparagingly after Anna's death and say she had "minimal influence"?

Wait a minute. Let me just get to the point. That notion that he had her killed and put his signature on it is beyond ridiculous. Why? The next day he comes out, there's a press conference, and he's asked about her killing and the charges that the Kremlin was behind it, and he said something that might have been, what's the word? Not politic. Not diplomatic, but it was true. Essentially, I don't remember exactly what he said. Why would we want to kill her? Nobody in Russia read her. She had no influence in Russia. What he said was about 95 percent true. Very few people except the inner political class knew who Anna Politkovskaya was, just like the great majority of Americans don't know who Stephen Cohen and Isaac Chotiner are. We are known to the people who care about the things we do.

What he was saying was, when people said, Why did you kill her? He said, Why would I want to kill her? What was my motive? He shouldn't have said it, I guess. He should have said, You know, Anna was a great journalist, we mourn her death, but let's be serious. She was not an influential force in Russia. That would have been better but he just, he's a blunt sort of guy. He said what he said.

Let's turn to Putin and America. Why do you think we have entered a new Cold War?

My view is that this Cold War is even more dangerous. As we talk today, and this was not the case in the preceding Cold War, there are three new fronts that are fraught with hot war. You know them as well as I do. The NATO military build-up is going on in the Baltic regions, particularly in the three small Baltic countries, Poland, and if we include missile defense, Romania. That's right on Russia's border, and in Ukraine. You know that story. That's a proxy civil war right on Russia's border, and then of course in Syria, where American and Russian aircraft and Syrian aircraft are flying over the same airspace.

And there is the utter demonization of Putin in this country. It is just beyond anything that the American political elite ever said about Khrushchev, Brezhnev, and the rest. If you demonize the other side, it makes negotiating harder.

You just said that Ukraine is a civil war. What was the Russian annexation of Crimea?

There's a long history, but it is a civil war in the sense that Ukraine is a country.

We agree on that.

And a nation, but a country that has long been deeply divided by history or by God. I mean, we're talking ethnicity, language, religion, political tilting. One part tilts toward Russia, one part tilts toward the West. Many millions of Ukrainians and Russians have intermarried over the years. This is a country that always had the potential to either break apart or launch into civil war. The events of 2014, for which both sides are highly culpable, initiated a civil war. This entourage around Putin, one segment of it was absolutely 1,000 percent convinced that NATO was headed via Kiev to Crimea. Had Crimea fallen in any way to NATO, any way, even in the shadow of NATO, Putin would have had to either go to war or resign. No Russian leader would have been able to sustain that kind of defeat.

Gallup did a poll afterward that 80-some percent of Crimeans wanted to be reunited with Russia.

You're explaining the way Putin and his advisers were thinking, which I agree is important context, but that doesn't give you the right to invade a sovereign country regardless of what a Gallup poll may say.

Isaac, come on. Great powers preach international law, and they do what they think they must.

If a province in any country votes for independence certainly the Crimeans did. There's just no question that that was a legitimate referendum. People get a little confused about what the choice was.

But this referendum was after the Russians had gone in.

No, no, no. Well ... wait, wait, wait, wait. Russia was already there by treaty. There were approximately 23,000 Russian soldiers at the naval base in Crimea, at Sevastopol. It was an invasion only in the sense that they left the base on Crimea.

[The idea of Crimea being part of Russia] was alive in Russia for years and years. Putin was never interested in it. ... That was a sleeping dog, which should not have been awakened, but the events of 2014 awakened it. Once that happened, it was close to inevitable that Russia would proceed with the annexation of Crimea, which was a part of Russia for 300 years.

What's now Pakistan was part of India for a long time. That doesn't mean India can go in and take Lahore tomorrow.

You know if we follow your logic, we're going to end up in Texas. We got to stay in modern history where leaders have a memory.

You and I are going to end up in Texas?

Well, you know what I mean. Texas wasn't always ours. The point is how far back in history do we go?

That's my point. Anyway, what did you mean when you said leakers here had become a fourth branch of government, and one intent on undermining Trump?

When I was asked what's driving the leaking, because you would agree that virtually every day almost there's a new news story that's based on a leak. You have to go back to when it began, which was the summer of 2016. The Clinton campaign was deeply involved. You know the story of this dossier right?

Yes.

The one BuzzFeed published?

I do.

It's the one that has urinating in the Ritz-Carlton hotel.*

I was trying to get you to keep going without saying that, but there you go.

Well, take it out. But there's a serious point here. CNN, where they broadcast 1,000 hours about this dossier as though it's authentic, says it won't repeat that part because it's too salacious. No, the reason is if you broadcast that part, people would realize the whole thing is bullshit.

I don't want to go down in a subway and get blown up. It's going to happen. The Russians are excellent at this. They've got great intelligence. We're pretty good-not as good as the Russians. We need to combine it all. I see that this kind of alliance is good; we move on then to finding the solution in Ukraine and in the Baltic region. That's what Reagan did. Do you remember that Reagan going to Geneva, I think it was November 1985? Then two years later-I think this is right-he and Gorbachev for the first time in history, Isaac, abolished an entire category of nuclear weapons. This is what I want. This is probably what's not possible.

Steve, I really appreciate you taking the time to talk with me. I hope when this is printed that you will believe it is real news and not fake news.

No, no, no. Let me make a distinction. Opinion, what you and I think, is real news. It's our news. It's what we think. But when I read in the newspaper that Carter Page was somehow a Russian agent, I had plenty of reasons to know that that is really a super bogus report.

[Jun 02, 2017] Forum - The Unz Review

Notable quotes:
"... The comments under that piece are depressing. US liberals are such dumb assholes, disturbing how they're totally buying the anti-Russian narrative without any thought for the possible consequences. ..."
"... Cohen is an intelligent, accurate commentator and historian on Russian matters. The lamestream media, including Slate as indicated by the interviewer and other articles, seem to have it in for Russia in the manner of fascist propaganda. Of course, the fact Russia has a large store of nukes, makes the prevailing propaganda meme not only criminal but nihilistically stupid. ..."
Jun 02, 2017 | www.unz.com

German_reader , Show Comment Next New Comment June 1, 2017 at 1:28 am GMT

The comments under that piece are depressing. US liberals are such dumb assholes, disturbing how they're totally buying the anti-Russian narrative without any thought for the possible consequences.

WorkingClass , Show Comment Next New Comment June 1, 2017 at 2:59 am GMT

I have to wonder why SLATE published this. Too much truth!

exiled off mainstreet , Show Comment Next New Comment June 1, 2017 at 3:50 am GMT

Cohen is an intelligent, accurate commentator and historian on Russian matters. The lamestream media, including Slate as indicated by the interviewer and other articles, seem to have it in for Russia in the manner of fascist propaganda. Of course, the fact Russia has a large store of nukes, makes the prevailing propaganda meme not only criminal but nihilistically stupid.

exiled off mainstreet , Show Comment Next New Comment June 1, 2017 at 3:52 am GMT

@German_reader They robotically follow the party propaganda line like nihilist fascist lemmings almost like those following the prevailing view during the tausendjaehrige.

Nobody , Show Comment Next New Comment June 1, 2017 at 5:17 am GMT

It wasn't too long ago that the lefties wanted to be bestest friends with the USSR. Now, Putin is our enemy.

Eagle Eye , Show Comment Next New Comment June 1, 2017 at 6:08 am GMT

Breathtaking how WITHIN DAYS after November 8, 2016 all the former Russia-loving Left-Totalitarians did a smooth 180 and now spout anti-Russian rhetoric that would have seemed overwrought to Cold Warriors back in the 1950s.

Chuck , Show Comment Next New Comment June 1, 2017 at 5:20 pm GMT

Putin's a good goy:

http://forward.com/news/breaking-news/197664/holocaust-deniers-in-russia-now-face-five-years-in/

utu , Show Comment Next New Comment June 1, 2017 at 6:21 pm GMT

@Eagle Eye Left-Totalitarians did a smooth 180

It is easy for them. Till June 22, 1941 all communist in America were isolationists and supported America First, Charles Lindbergh. They were writing pacifist pamphlets and composed anti-war songs, etc. And within one day they switched 180. Took them some effort to cover up traces of their isolationist and pacifist episode.

http://www.unz.com/isteve/nyt-when-communism-inspired-americans/#comment-1855425
"Professor Zinn, in May of 1941 your friend, Pete Seeger, produced an album called Songs for John Doe which was a collection of blue collar songs that included one called The Ballad of October 16th. [At the time, Pete Seeger had formed his first commercial band called the Almanac Singers.] That song demonstrated yours and Pete's pacifist philosophy by excoriating Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt for urging United States entry into World War II to fight Hitler. Shortly after the album's release, you and Pete were desperately trying to retrieve all the copies to take them out of circulation. Exactly what happened between May and June of 1941 to turn you from devoted anti-war activists into sabre-rattling patriots, resulting in your enlisting in the Army Air Force as a bombardier?"

RobinG , Show Comment Next New Comment June 1, 2017 at 7:24 pm GMT

@Eagle Eye The Clintonistas and Berniacs have shamelessly united to attack Trump, cynically using the fakest of fake news. This weekend they're marching "for Truth." If that were true, why aren't they marching to investigate Hillary and who killed Seth Rich?

But no. On June 3 they're out to get Trump.
"Demonstrations to call for urgent investigations into Russian interference in the US election and ties to Donald Trump, his administration and his associates." https://www.marchfortruth.info/

Meanwhile, barely a peep about illegal, unconstitutional attacks on Syria, or huge sale of arms to Saudis that will likely end up with terrorists. A better investigation would be Who Killed Seth Rich. Ask for one here:

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/appoint-special-prosecutor-investigate-murder-seth-rich-alleged-wikileaks-email-leaker

On July 10, 2016, Seth Rich was shot twice in the early morning as he walked back to his house in Washington D.C. Immediately after the crime, the death was called an armed robbery but none of Seth Rich's belongings were taken from him.

Rod Wheeler, a private investigator hired by the family, said that there was evidence Seth Rich had contacted WikiLeaks and that law enforcement were covering this up. MSM is not covering this murder, instead pushing it to the side, so it is now up to us.

The facts do not add up, law enforcement stopped covering the crime, and now it is time for us to fight for justice. Seth Rich deserves this.

Ryan , Show Comment Next New Comment June 1, 2017 at 9:43 pm GMT

I got the sense that the reporter was in high school or something. Totally immature.

Agent76 , Show Comment Next New Comment June 1, 2017 at 9:57 pm GMT

14.05.2017 International Cyber Attack: Roots Traced to US National Security Agency

Over 45,000 ransomware attacks have been tracked in large-scale attacks across Europe and Asia - particularly Russia and China - as well as attacks in the US and South America.

http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2017/05/14/international-cyber-attack-roots-traced-us-national-security-agency.html

Jan 2, 2017 BOOM! CNN Caught Using Video Game Image In Fake Russian Hacking Story

It looks like CNN Has tried to pull the wool over our eyes once again. This time, they used a screenshot from the Fallout 4 Video game to paint the picture of Russian Hacking. To bad that's not what a real hacking screen looks like. And an image you will only find in the video game!

Daniil Adamov , Show Comment Next New Comment June 1, 2017 at 11:45 pm GMT

Is it just me, or is this an exceptionally awful interview?

Whether you agree with Cohen or not (IMHO he certainly says some silly things there), the interviewer is demagogical and biased in the extreme. I suppose that's sort of the norm for them?

By the way, is there any evidence of 1) Putin ordering someone killed or 2) The Collusion out there yet? If read uncritically, the interview gives the impression that of course there is, all those smart and good people say so. If read critically one notices that if there's any evidence of anything, it's never mentioned. But if only Russia had a more liberal media environment, then surely

KenH , Show Comment Next New Comment June 1, 2017 at 11:59 pm GMT

Stephen F. Cohen is one of the few honest and patriotic Jews living in America who's capably of telling the unvarnished truth. I regularly seek out his writings for an objective appraisal of U.S. – Russia relations.

Unfortunately, there are ten Victoria Nuland's, William Kristol's and Chuck U. Schumer's to every one Stephen F. Cohen.

[May 29, 2017] The demonization of Putin is not a policy. Its an alibi for not having a policy by Stephen F. Cohen

Notable quotes:
"... Washington Post ..."
"... Do you have information you want to share with HuffPost? Here's how ..."
Jul 01, 2007 | .huffingtonpost.com/

Originally from: Rethinking Russia A Conversation With Russia Scholar Stephen F. Cohen by Dan Kovalik

Last week I had the honor of interviewing Stephen F. Cohen, Professor Emeritus of Russian Studies and Politics at NYU and Princeton University, where for many years he was director of its Russian Studies program. Professor Cohen, a long-time friend of Mikhail Gorbachev, is one of the most important Russia scholars in the world and a member of the founding board of directors of the American Committee for East-West Accord , a pro-detente organization that seeks rethinking and public discussion of U.S. policy toward Russia.

Despite his impressive credentials and intimate knowledge of Russia and its history, you will rarely hear Cohen's voice in the mainstream press. And it is not for a lack of trying; his views, and those of others like him, are simply shut out of the media, which, along with almost every U.S. politician, has decided to vilify Russian and Putin, irrationally equating Putin with such tyrants as Adolf Hitler. As Cohen explains:

Even Henry Kissinger - I think it was in March 2014 in the Washington Post - wrote this line: "The demonization of Putin is not a policy. It's an alibi for not having a policy." And then I wrote in reply to that: That's right, but it's much worse than that, because it's also that the demonization of Putin is an obstacle to thinking rationally, having a rational discourse or debate about American national security. And it's not just this catastrophe in Ukraine and the new Cold War; it's from there to Syria to Afghanistan, to the proliferation of nuclear weapons, to fighting global terrorism. The demonization of Putin excludes a partner in the Kremlin that the U.S. needs, no matter who sits there.

And Cohen reminds us that, quite contrary to the common, manufactured perception in this country, we have a very willing and capable potential partner in Moscow right now. As Cohen explains, "Bill Clinton said this not too long ago: To the extent that he knew and dealt with Putin directly, he never knew him to say anything that he, Putin, didn't mean, or ever to go back on his word or break a promise he made to Clinton."

What's more, as Cohen reminds us, when the 9/11 attacks happened, Putin was the very first international leader to offer help to President Bush:

Putin called George Bush after 9/11 and said, "George, we're with you, whatever we can do," and in fact did more to help the Americans fight a land war in Afghanistan to oust the Taliban from Kabul. ... Russia still had a lot of assets in Afghanistan, including a fighting force called the Northern Alliance. It had probably better intelligence in and about Afghanistan than any country, and it had air-route transport for American forces to fight in Afghanistan. He gave all this - Putin gave all this - to the Bush administration. Putin's Kremlin, not a member of NATO, did more to help the American land war and save American lives, therefore, in Afghanistan, than any NATO country.

However, as Cohen explains, Bush strangely repaid Putin by (1) unilaterally withdrawing from the anti-ballistic (ABM) treaty, the "bedrock" of Russia's national security, and (2) launching the second wave of NATO expansion toward Russia.

And, as Cohen points out, this was not the only case in which the U.S. quite brazenly betrayed Russia in recent decades. Thus he notes that Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama have all violated the very clear agreement that, in return for Gorbachev's allowing the reunification of Germany, the U.S. would not move NATO one inch further east. In addition, the U.S. undermined then-President Medvedev (who we claim to prefer to Putin) by unseating Gaddafi in Libya - with disastrous consequences - despite our promise to Russia that we would do no such thing if Russia agreed to the Security Council resolution approving the no-fly zone over Libya.

All of this history must be considered when we view the current crisis in Ukraine, which, Cohen warns, is quickly leading to a hot war with Russia. As Cohen relates:

If you took even the short time frame of the Ukrainian crisis and you began it in November 2013, when the then-elected president of Ukraine, Yanukovych, didn't actually refuse to sign the European Union's offer of a partnership with Europe. He asked for time to think about it. That brought the protesters in the streets. That led to the illegal overthrow of Yanukovych, which, by the way, Poroshenko, the current president, strangely now admits was illegal. ...

Then comes Putin's annexation or reunification of Crimea, as Russians call it. Then already evolving now in Eastern Ukraine are protests against what's happening in Kiev, because Eastern Ukraine was the electoral base of Yanukovych. Yanukovych was its president in a fundamental way. Then comes the proxy war, with Russia helping the rebel fighters in Eastern Ukraine and the United States and NATO helping the military forces of Kiev. ...

And so it went, on and on. Now, if you back up and ask who began the aggression, it's my argument - for which I'm called a "Putin apologist," which I am not - ... but the reality is that Putin has been mostly reactive. Let me say that again: reactive. If we had the time, I could explain to you why the reportedly benign European Union offer to Kiev in 2013 was not benign at all. No Ukrainian who wanted to survive could have accepted that. And by the way, it had clauses buried below that would've obliged Kiev to adhere to NATO military security policy. ...

Ukraine had been on Washington's agenda for a very, very long time; it is a matter of public record. It was to that that Putin reacted. It was to the fear that the new government in Kiev, which overthrew the elected government, had NATO backing and its next move would be toward Crimea and the Russian naval base there. ... But he was reacting, and as Kiev began an all-out war against the East, calling it the "anti-terrorist operation," with Washington's blessing. ...

This was clearly meant to be a war of destruction. ... Meanwhile, NATO began escalating its military presence. In each of these stages, a very close examination will show, as I'm sure historians will when they look back, that Putin has been primarily reactive. Now maybe his reactions have been wrong-headed. Maybe they've been too aggressive. That's something that could be discussed. ...

But this notion that this is all Putin's aggression, or Russia's aggression, is, if not 100-percent false, let us say, for the sake of being balanced and ecumenical, it's 50-percent false. And if Washington would admit that its narrative is 50-percent false, which means Russia's narrative is 50-percent correct, that's where negotiations begin and succeed.

I can only hope that the policy makers in this country will hear the voices of people like Professor Cohen and enter into rational negotiations with Russia in order that we may be spared what is shaping up to be a disastrous war in Europe.

Follow Dan Kovalik on Twitter: www.twitter.com/danielmkovalik

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[May 29, 2017] Stephen F. Cohen - Coast to Coast AM

May 29, 2017 | www.coasttocoastam.com
Past Shows: US-Russia Relations/ Regenerative Medicine Wednesday April 19, 2017

Prof. Stephen F. Cohen discussed US-Russia relations, Pres. Trump, Syria, and North Korea. Followed by Prof. Sheldon Krimsky on stem cells and GMOs.

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US-Russia Relations

Prof. Stephen F. Cohen analyzed the volatile state of US-Russia relations. Followed by writer Chris Alexander on the history of horror films.

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Host: George Noory Russia & US Relations/ Synchronicity & Precognition Monday January 9, 2017

Prof. Stephen F. Cohen discussed volatile US-Russia relations. Followed by writers Trish and Rob MacGregor on pre-cognition.

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Host: George Noory Russia & Syria/ Geoengineering Wednesday September 30, 2015

In the first half, Professor of Russian Studies and History Emeritus at NYU, Stephen F. Cohen , reacted to Vladimir Putin's decision to get involved in the Syrian conflict and commence air strikes against ISIS forces.

Host: George Noory Russia Watch/ Mystical Technology Tuesday March 24, 2015

In the first half, Stephen F. Cohen , Professor of Russian Studies and History Emeritus at NYU, addressed the latest military and political developments in Russia, the threat of nuclear alerts, and the role of Putin in the ongoing geopolitical chess game.

Host: George Noory US-Russia Relations/ Unconventional Healing Wednesday April 30, 2014

In the first half, a leading scholar of Soviet and post-Soviet Russia, media commentator, and the author of several widely acclaimed books, Stephen F. Cohen discussed the current dynamics of the U.S. relationship with Russia.

Host: George Noory

[May 29, 2017] "Why Cold War Again?" - Keynote speaker Stephen Cohen & Roundtable Discussion - Duration: 2:38:45.

Dartmouth
  • Streamed 3 months ago
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MEDIATING THE 'NEW COLD WAR' IN THE DIGITAL AGE Keynote speaker Stephen Cohen via Skype "Why Cold War Again?
  • Stephen F. Cohen: Searching for Common Ground in U.S.-Russian Relations - Duration: 11:47.

    Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs

    • 5 months ago
    • 2,672 views
    The Putin that is so irrationally demonized in America today, this Putin is the almost inevitable result of these unwise American ...
  • CNN's Michael Smerconish interviews Prof. Stephen F. Cohen 07/30/16 - Duration: 5:36.

    jj jj
    • 2 weeks ago
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  • U.S. - Russia Relations....What the Mainstream Media Gets Wrong (w/guest: Stephen Cohen) - Duration: 21:25.

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    • 1 month ago
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  • 'We're in a new Cold War' – Stephen Cohen on mounting US-NATO military on Russia border - Duration: 8:45.

    RT America

    • 5 months ago
    • 20,894 views
    The Obama administration's and NATO's recent ramp up of forces on the Russian border has raised many questions on why the ...
  • Professor Stephen Cohen on the Obama/Putin U.N. Meeting - Duration: 21:36.

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    • 10 months ago
    • 8,033 views
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  • Russia scholar Stephen Cohen shuts down CNN shill host who tries to link Trump to Putin - Duration: 5:05.

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    • 2 weeks ago
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  • Stephen F. Cohen: The Ukrainian Crisis - It's not All Putin's Fault - Duration: 1:10:35.

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    • 8 months ago
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  • Stephen F. Cohen about the importance of Palmyra, colonization of Ukraine and Donald Trump - Duration: 39:55.

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    • 3 months ago
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    Stephen , F. , Cohen , about , the , Importance , of , Palmyra, Colonizing , Kiev, and , Donald , Trump ,Ukraine , kiev , odessa , isis ,
  • CrossTalk: Containment 2.0? (ft. Stephen Cohen & John Mearsheimer) - Duration: 27:43.

    RT

    • 2 years ago
    • 38,792 views
    What does Washington's "containment" policy mean? What threats does it pose? Will it work against today's Russia? And does ...
  • Stallin' history? Ft. Stephen Cohen, Professor Emeritus of Russian Studies, NYU - Duration: 29:32.

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    • 9 months ago
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  • Russia, Ukraine, Modern Cold War, & Edward Snowden - Expert Interview w/ Professor Stephen F. Cohen - Duration: 50:05.

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  • Professor Stephen Cohen - This is the worst international crises since the Cuban missiles crisis - Duration: 14:58.

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    • 1 year ago
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  • FOLLY POLICY? Ft. Stephen Cohen, Scholar of Russian studies - Duration: 27:17.

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  • The Other "N" Word (Nukes) and the New Cold War... - Duration: 20:49.

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  • The Media's Dangerous anti-Russian Jingoistic Game (w/ Prof. Stephen Cohen) - Duration: 32:58.

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  • Professor Stephen Cohen: U.S. and Russia in Proxy War on Two Fronts - Duration: 7:39.

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  • U.S.-Russian Relations Worst Since Cuban Missile Crisis (with Prof. Stephen Cohen - Duration: 35:49.

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    to HAVE your copy and be READY click here http://bit.ly/1rd8O7U XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX I want to give special ...
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  • [Oct 18, 2015] US and Russia Should Form Coordinated Coalition in Syria – Stephen Cohen

    Notable quotes:
    "... The professor noted that some analysts are convinced that Vladimir Putin is about to sell out Donbass, eastern Ukraine, in return for Syria. According to Cohen, it is naïve to believe that Moscow would give up ethnic Russians suffering from Kiev's hostilities in return for protecting Assad ..."
    "... [Ukrainian authorities are worried] that Washington may kind of forget Ukraine or lessen its commitment to the Kiev government. So, I would not be surprised if Kiev stages a provocation to inflame the crisis which is at a very low level at the moment in Ukraine, ..."
    "... if Washington continues to indulge the neocons' plan to arm Ukraine and encourage Kiev's warmongering against Russia, the United States will finally face an equivalent of the Cuban Missile Crisis in Eastern Europe. ..."
    sputniknews.com

    "My hope is that [US President] Obama and [Russian President] Putin will rise above themselves and form a substantial coalition in Iraq and in Syria. But let's be realistic… There are enormous obstacles," Professor Cohen noted in an interview with US progressive political commentator Thomas Carl "Thom" Hartmann.

    The professor noted that some analysts are convinced that Vladimir Putin is about to sell out Donbass, eastern Ukraine, in return for Syria. According to Cohen, it is naïve to believe that Moscow would give up ethnic Russians suffering from Kiev's hostilities in return for protecting Assad. "That won't happen," the professor underscored.

    ... ... ...

    "It [the Ukrainian crisis] could flare up at any moment in a way that could disrupt any fragile agreement between Putin and Obama," the professor stressed.

    According to Cohen, the US-backed regime in Kiev is sweating bullets about the possibility of close cooperation between Moscow and Washington in the Middle East.

    "[Ukrainian authorities are worried] that Washington may kind of forget Ukraine or lessen its commitment to the Kiev government. So, I would not be surprised if Kiev stages a provocation to inflame the crisis which is at a very low level at the moment in Ukraine," Cohen warned.

    Meanwhile, the grim specter of World War III is prowling across Europe and the Middle East. Professor Cohen has repeatedly stressed that if Washington continues to indulge the neocons' plan to arm Ukraine and encourage Kiev's warmongering against Russia, the United States will finally face an equivalent of the Cuban Missile Crisis in Eastern Europe.

    Read more: http://sputniknews.com/politics/20151003/1027976725/us-russia-syria-coalition-cohen.html#ixzz3oz03EHB3

    [Jun 20, 2015] Architects of American policy towards Russia and Ukraine are destroying American national security

    "Architects of American policy towards Russia and Ukraine are destroying American national security": Stephen F. Cohen on the truths U.S. media and politicians hide

    Myths of American nationalism busted as our interview with noted scholar concludes

    Patrick L. Smith

    If there is a lesson in Stephen F. Cohen's professional fortunes over the past year, it is the peril of advancing a dispassionate reading of our great country's doings abroad. Cohen's many pieces in The Nation on the Ukraine crisis and the consequent collapse of U.S.-Russia relations now leave him in something close to a state of siege. "My problem with this begins with the fact that… I don't have a vested interest in one of the 'isms,' or ideologies," Cohen says in this, the second part of a long interview conducted last month.

    The problem lies with the ideologues infesting the waters wherein Cohen swims. Terminally poisoned by Cold War consciousness, they cannot abide disinterested thought. Cohen has been mostly scholar, partly journalist, since the 1970s. His "Sovieticus" column, launched in The Nation in the 1980s, put a magazine traditionally tilted toward domestic issues among the few American publications providing consistent analysis of Russian affairs. At this point, Cohen's Nation essays are the bedrock scholarly work to which those (few) writing against the orthodoxy turn.

    The first half of our exchange, last week on Salon, began with events during the past year and advanced toward the post-Soviet origins of the current crisis. In part two, Cohen completes his analysis of Vladimir Putin's inheritance and explains how he came to focus his thinking on "lost alternatives"-outcomes that could have been but were not. Most surprising to me was the real but foregone prospect of reforming the Soviet system such that the suffering that ensued since its demise could have been averted.

    Salon: Putin inherited a shambles, then-as he would say, "a catastrophe."

    Stephen F. Cohen: As Russia's leader, Putin has changed over the years, especially in foreign policy but also at home. His first impulse was toward more free-market reforms, anti-progressive taxes. He enacted a 13 percent flat tax-Steve Forbes would've been ecstatic, right? He offers [George W.] Bush what Clinton never really offered Yeltsin: a full partnership. And what does he do? On September 11, 2001, he called George and said, Whatever you want, we're with you. Bush says, Well, I think we're going to have to go to war in Afghanistan. And Putin said, I can help you. We've got major resources and assets in Afghanistan. I even have an army over there called the Northern Alliance. I'll give it to you! You want overflight? It's all yours!

    How many American lives did Putin save during our land war in Afghanistan? And do you know what a political price he paid in Russia for that? Because his security people were completely against it.

    They were? Please explain.

    Oh, yeah. You think they minded seeing America being brought to its knees? They'd been invaded so often; let America get a taste of it! But Putin assumes he's achieved what Yeltsin couldn't and that this benefits the Russian state. He has a real strategic partnership with America. Now, remember, he's already worried about his radical Islamic problem because Russia has nearly 20 million Muslim citizens of its own. Russia sits in the East and in the West; it's on the front lines.

    What does Bush give him in return? He expands NATO again and he unilaterally withdraws the United States from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, the bedrock of Russia's nuclear security- it's a complete betrayal. Is that how you repay somebody who's helped you save the lives of your citizens? This is where the word "betrayal" begins to enter into the discourse.

    It's an important word for Putin.

    It's not only Putin; [Dmitry] Medvedev uses it, too, when he becomes president [in 2008]. America has broken its word, it's betrayed us, it's deceived us, and we no longer take America at its word- well, they never should've in the first fucking place, just as Gorbachev should have got the promise not to expand NATO in writing. We'd have done it anyway, but at least they would have had a talking point.

    This trust, this naive trust on the part of Russians, that there's something about American presidents that makes them honorable-it suggests they need a crash course in something. This was betrayal for Putin, and for the entire Russian political class, and Putin paid a price.

    I've heard him called, among right-wing Russian intellectuals, an appeaser of the West. Soft. You can hear this today: Mariupol? Odessa? Should've taken them a year ago; they belong to us. What's he thinking? Why is he discussing it? [Mariupol and Odessa are two contested cities in the southeastern region of Ukraine.]

    So Putin sets his course, and then comes this famous speech he gives in 2007 in Munich, with McCain sitting in the front row. Putin says just what I told you. He says, Look, we want to be your partner; this is what we've wanted to be since Gorbachev. We believe in the common European home. But every time we turn to you or we negotiate with you or we think we have an agreement with you, you act like a hegemon and everybody has to do exactly what you say if they want to to be on your side.

    Putin has come to tell them that America is risking a new Cold War with more than a decade of bad behavior towards post-Soviet Russia. John McCain interprets this as the declaration of a new Cold War.

    But the demonization of Putin came earlier, before the Munich speech, when he began to drive a few favorite American oligarchs [oil companies] out of the country. I looked it up: No major oil-producing country permits majority foreign ownership of its oil. So there's a long a long history of how Putin goes from a democrat for sure in the U.S. media and an aspiring partner of America to becoming the Hitler of today, as Hillary Clinton put it. You can see what a disease it's become, this Putin-phobia….

    RT just aired a documentary in which Putin explains exactly when and why he decided to move as he did in Crimea. It's striking: The deliberations began the night President Yanukovych was ousted in the American-supported coup last year. Can you talk about Putin's thinking on the Crimea question, leading to the annexation?

    Putin, in my judgment, did some wrong-headed things. We now know much more about Crimea, but even given what he has said, there was an argument. It wasn't quite as clear-cut as he says it was. There was a debate with two sides.

    One side said, "Take Crimea now or fight NATO there later." The other said, "Let the referendum [on association with Russia, held in March 2014] go forward and they're going to vote 80-plus percent to join Russia. We don't have to act on it; they've just made a request and we'll say what we think about it. Meanwhile, we see what happens in Kiev." The Kremlin had done polling in Crimea. And it's the best bargaining chip Putin will have. He'll have Crimea wanting to join Russia and he can say to Washington, Well, you would like the Crimea to remain in Ukraine? Here's what I'd like in return: an eternal ban on NATO membership and federalization of the Ukrainian constitution, because I have to give my Crimean brethren something.

    But those arguing that Crimea was the biggest bargaining chip Putin was ever going to have lost. The other side prevailed.

    Now, Putin took all the credit, but that's not what really happened. They were all dependent on intelligence coming out of Kiev and Crimea and Donbass. You see now, if you watch that film, what a turning point the overthrow of Yanukovych was. Remember, the European foreign ministers-Polish, German, and French-had brokered an agreement saying that Yanukovych would form a coalition government and stay in power until December, and that was burned in the street. I'll never forget the massive Klitschko [Vitali Klitschko, a prizefighter-turned-political oppositionist, currently Kiev's mayor] standing on a platform at Maidan, all 6' 8" of him, announcing this great triumph of negotiation, and some smaller guy whipping away the microphone and saying, Go fuck yourself. This thing is going to burn in the streets. The next day it did. That night you saw what an undefeated heavyweight champion looks like when he's terror-stricken.

    This is the turning point, and "It's all due to Putin," but it's all due to Putin because demonization has become the pivot of the analysis.

    What do we do from here to resolve the Ukraine question? You used the word "hope" when talking about the February cease-fire, Minsk II-"the last, best hope." It tripped me up. Hope's a virtue, but it can also be very cruel.

    Anyone of any sense and good will knows that it [the solution] lies in the kind of home rule they negotiated in the U.K.-and don't call it a federated Ukraine if that upsets Kiev. As the constitution stands, the governors of all the Ukrainian provinces are appointed by Kiev. You can't have that in eastern Ukraine. Probably can't even have that in Western and Central Ukraine anymore. Ukraine is fragmenting.

    I want to turn this around: what is your view of America's strategic goal? I ask in the context of your analysis, in "Failed Crusade," of "transitionology," as you term the paradigm wherein Russia was supposed to transition into a free-market paradise. As the book makes clear, it amounted to the elevation and protection of crooks who asset-stripped most of an entire nation. Now we don't hear much about Russia's "transition." What is Washington's ambition now?

    I think the Ukranian crisis is the greatest blow to American national security- even greater than the Iraq war in its long-term implications- for a simple reason: The road to American national security still runs through Moscow. There is not a single major regional or issue-related national security problem we can solve without the full cooperation of whoever sits in the Kremlin, period, end of story.

    Name your poison: We're talking the Middle East, we're talking Afghanistan, we're talking energy, we're talking climate, we're talking nuclear proliferation, terrorism, shooting airplanes out of the sky, we're talking about the two terrorist brothers in Boston.

    Look: I mean American national security of the kind I care about-that makes my kids and grandkids and myself safe-in an era that's much more dangerous than the Cold War because there's less structure, more nonstate players, and more loose nuclear know-how and materials…. Security can only be partial, but that partial security depends on a full-scale American-Russian cooperation, period. We are losing Russia for American national security in Ukraine as we talk, and even if it were to end tomorrow Russia will never, for at least a generation, be as willing to cooperate with Washington on security matters as it was before this crisis began.

    Therefore, the architects of the American policy towards Russia and Ukraine are destroying American national security-and therefore I am the patriot and they are the saboteurs of American security. That's the whole story, and any sensible person who doesn't suffer from Putin-phobia can see it plainly.

    Is it too strong to say that the point is to destabilize Moscow?

    What would that mean? What would it mean to destabilize the country that may have more weapons of mass destruction than does the U.S.?

    Is that indeed the ambition?

    I don't think there's any one ambition. I come back to the view that you've got various perspectives in discussion behind closed doors. I guess Mearsheimer [John Mearsheimer, the noted University of Chicago scholar] is right in the sense of saying that there's a faction in Washington that is behaving exactly as a great power would behave and trying to maximize its security, but it doesn't understand that that's what other great powers do, too. That's its failure. Gorbachev and Reagan, though it wasn't originally their idea, probably agreed on the single most important thing: Security had to be mutual. That was their agreement and they built everything on that. We have a military build-up you're going to perceive as a threat and build up, and I will perceive your build-up as a threat… and that's the dynamic of permanent and conventional build-up, a permanent arms race. And that's why Gorbachev and Reagan reasoned, We're on the edge of the abyss. That's why we are going to declare the Cold War over, which they did.

    That concept of mutual security doesn't mean only signing contracts: It means don't undertake something you think is in your security but is going to be perceived as threatening, because it won't prove to be in your interest. Missile defense is the classic example: We never should have undertaken any missile defense program that wasn't in cooperation with Russia, but, instead, we undertook it as an anti-Russian operation. They knew it and we knew it and scientists at MIT knew it, but nobody cared because some group believed that you've got to keep Russia down.

    The truth is, not everything depends on the president of the United States. Not everything, but an awful lot does, and when it comes to international affairs we haven't really had a president who acted as an actual statesman in regard to Russia since Reagan in 1985-88. Clinton certainly didn't; his Russia policy was clownish and ultimately detrimental to U.S. national security interests. Bush's was reckless and lost one opportunity after another, and Obama's is either uninformed or completely out to lunch. We have not had a statesman in the White House when it comes to Russia since Reagan, and I am utterly, totally, 1000 percent convinced that before November 2013, when we tried to impose an ultimatum on Yanukovych-and even right now, today-that a statesman in the White House could end this in 48 hours with Putin. What Putin wants in the Ukraine crisis is what we ought to want; that's the reality.

    Interesting.

    What does Putin want? He's said the same thing and he's never varied: He wants a stable, territorial Ukraine-Crimea excepted-and he knows that's possible only if Ukraine is free to trade with the West and with Russia but is never a member of NATO. However, somebody's got to rebuild Ukraine, and he's not going to take that burden on himself, but he will help finance it through discounted energy prices. It could all be done tomorrow if we had a statesman in the White House. Tomorrow! Nobody else has to die.

    I think Chancellor Merkel understands this, too.

    I think she's come to, but how strong she is and whether Washington will cut her legs out from under her as they're trying to do now… [Shortly before this interview Senator McCain delivered a blunt attack on Merkel at a security conference in Munich for opposing the supply of lethal weapons to Ukraine. The Arizona Republican was similarly critical when Merkel began to explore a diplomatic solution in Ukraine in spring 2013.]

    They have very little respect for her, which is wrong.

    What Lindsay Graham and McCain did in Germany, in her own country, on German national television, to her face-and the fact that she's a woman didn't help, either. The way they spoke to her, I can't think of a precedent for that.

    Parts of your work are very moving, and that's not a word a lot of scholarship prompts. The enormous value the Soviet Union accreted-most Americans know nothing of this; with the media's encouragement, we're completely ignorant of this. There's nothing encouraging us to understand that the hundreds of billions of misappropriated assets during the 1990s was essentially the misappropriation of Soviet wealth.

    A lot of it came here, to the United States.

    Can you talk about this?

    I can tell you about a guy who was formerly very high up in the CIA. I called him about a something I was writing on Russian wealth smuggled through the banks into the United States, and he said, We have informed the FBI exactly where all this wealth is in the United States but we are under strict political orders to do nothing about it. Now, the interesting thing is, why now? Well, it would have badly damaged the Yeltsin regime, which the Clinton administration had unconditionally embraced, but also because that money became part of the flourishing stock and real estate markets here at that time.

    Even today in Russia, when you ask people if they wish the Soviet Union hadn't ended, you're still getting over 60 percent, among young people, too, because they hear the stories from their parents and grandparents. It requires a separate study, but it's not rocket science. If young kids see their grandparents dying prematurely because they're not being paid their pensions, they're going to resent it. When the bottom fell out of the Soviet welfare state and out of the professions, what happened in the 1990s was that the Soviet middle class- which was one of the most professional and educated, and had some savings and which therefore should have been the building block of a Russian free market sector- that middle class was wiped out, and it's never been recreated. Instead, you got a country of impoverished people and of very, very rich people-with a small middle class serving the rich. That changed under Putin; Putin has rebuilt the middle class, gradually.

    The Russian middle class isn't the same as ours. A lot of Russia's middle class are people who are on the federal budget: Army officers, doctors, scientists, teachers-these are all federal budget people. They're middle class, but they don't become middle class as autonomous property owners. A lot of my friends are members of this class, and a lot of them are very pro-Putin, but a lot of my friends are very anti-Putin, too. The thing about the Soviet Union can be summarized very simply: The Soviet Union lasted 70-plus years, so that would be less than the average life of an American male today. A person cannot jump out of his or her autobiography any more than they can jump out of their skin; it's your life. You were born in the Soviet Union, you had your first sexual experience in the Soviet Union, you were educated, you got a career, you got married, you raised your kids: That was your life. Of course you miss it, certainly parts of it.

    There were ethnic nationalities in the Soviet Union who hated it and wanted to break away, and this became a factor in 1991, but for a great many people- certainly the majority of Russians and a great many Ukrainians and Belorussians and the central Asians- it's not surprising that 25 years later, those adults still remember the Soviet Union with affection. This is normal, and I don't find anything bad in it. You know, Putin wasn't actually the first to say this but he did say it and it's brilliant and tells you who Putin is and who most Russians are. He said this: Anyone who doesn't regret the end of the Soviet Union has no heart. Anyone who thinks you can recreate the Soviet Union has no head. That's it, that's exactly right!

    Didn't Putin say that the end of the Soviet Union was the 20th century's greatest catastrophe?

    It all has to do with the word "the." There's no "the" in Russian. Did Putin say, in translation, that the end of the Soviet Union was "the" greatest catastrophe of the 20th century? If so, there's something wrong with that, because for Jews it was the Holocaust. Or did he say, "one of" the greatest catastrophes?

    I would have guessed the latter.

    All four professional translators I sent Putin's phrase to said you have to translate it as "one of the greatest catastrophes of the 20th century." Now, we can have a discussion. He's taken a moderate position, but what are the others? Fair enough, but catastrophe for whom? Americans don't think it was a catastrophe. Putin would say, "Look, 20 million Russians found themselves outside the country when the Soviet Union broke up, that was a tragedy for them, a catastrophe. Seventy or 80 percent plunged into poverty in the 1990s, lost everything. Can I put that on the list of "one of the greatest?" I would say sure, because for everybody there's a greater catastrophe. For the Jews there's no catastrophe greater than the Holocaust. For the Armenians, their genocide. Again, people can't jump out of their history. A tolerant, democratic person acknowledges that. Each people and nation has its own history. I'd like to write an article about this, but I'm not going to live long enough to write all the articles or books I want to write. We say, for example, the Russians have not come to grips with and fully acknowledged the horrors of Stalinism and its victims. I would argue in this article that they have done more to acknowledge the horrors of Stalinism than we have of slavery.

    Interesting.

    For example, do we have a national museum of the history of slavery in the United States? They're building a large one in Moscow to commemorate Stalin's victims. He recently signed a decree mandating a monument in central Moscow to those victims.

    In the way of being moved by some of the things you write, I've wanted to ask you about this for years. It has to do with the sentiments of Russians and what they wanted, their ambitions for themselves, some form of… as I read along in these passages I kept saying, "I wonder if he's going to use the phrase 'social democracy.'" And, sure enough, you did. These passages got me to take Rudolph Bahro [author of "The Alternative in Eastern Europe"] off the shelf. The obvious next step after East-West tension subsided was some form of social democracy. I don't know where you want to put it. I put it between Norway and Germany somewhere. To me what happened instead is a horrific tragedy, not only for Russia but for Eastern Europe.

    My problem with this begins with the fact that I'm not a communist, I'm not a socialist, a social democrat. I'd like to have enough money to be a real capitalist, but it's a struggle. [Laughs.] I don't have a vested interest in one of the "isms" or the ideologies, but I agree with you. I don't know about Eastern Europe, let's leave it aside, but look at Russia. You'd have thought that the logical outcome of the dismantling of the Stalinist Communist system, because the system was built primarily by Stalin from the 1930s on, would have been Russian social democracy and that, of course, was what Gorbachev's mission was. Lots of books have been written, most persuasively by Archie Brown, the great British scholar, who knows Gorbachev personally, probably as well as I do, that Gorbachev came to think of himself as a European social democrat while he was still in power. That's what his goal was. He had this close relationship with the Social Democratic prime minister of Spain, I forget his name.

    Zapatero?

    I don't remember, but I remember that they did a lot of social democratic socializing and talking.

    Felipe Gonzalez, I think it was.

    Gonzalez, that's right. Gorbachev was a very well-informed man and his advisors during his years in power were mostly social democrats and had been for years. Their mission had been to transform the Soviet Union. Now, remember, Lenin began as a social democrat, and the original model for Lenin had been not only Marx but the German Social Democratic Party. The Bolshevik or Communist Party was originally the Russian Social Democratic Party, which split into Bolsheviks and Mensheviks. So in a way, and I once said this to Gorbachev, historically you want to go back to Lenin before he became a Bolshevik. He said, "Well that's kind of complicated." Then Gorbachev said, "Everybody agrees Russia is a left-of-center country."

    The Russian people are left of center. They're a welfare-state country. Gorbachev had this interesting conversation with Putin, when he went to tell Putin that he, Gorbachev, was going to start a social democratic party. There had been several start-ups and they never went anywhere. And Putin said that's the right thing to do, because Russia really is a left-of-center country. So Putin said the same thing. And so Russia is, if you look at the history of Russia…

    Are you talking about Russia very early, thinking about Russian givenness to community and all that?

    However you put it all together, the peasant tradition, the urban tradition, the socialist tradition. Almost all the revolutionary parties were socialist. You didn't have a Tea Party among them. This is a Russian tradition. Now, it's obviously changed, but I would say that today, looking at the polls, most Russians overwhelmingly believe that the state has obligations that include medical care, free education, and guaranteeing everybody a job. In fact, it's in the Russian constitution, the guarantee of a job. Most Russians feel there should not be a "free market" but a social or regulated market, that some things should be subsidized, that the government should regulate certain things, and that nobody should be too rich or too poor. For that you get 80 percent of the vote every time. So that's a social democratic program, right? Why don't they have it?

    I ask everybody in Russia who wants a social democratic party. They exist, but not a party that can win elections? What's the problem here? I think know, but I want to hear Russians tell me what's right. People cite what you and I would guess. First of all, there's the hangover from communism, which was social democratic and somewhat socialist, in some form.

    Second, and this is probably the key thing, social democratic movements tended to grow out of labor movements-labor unions, historically, in England and Scandinavia and Germany. They became the political movement of the labor movement, the working class movement. So you normally get a labor movement that favors political action instead of strikes, creates a political party, you have a parliamentary system, they begin to build support in the working class, elements of the middle class join them, and you end up eventually with European social democracy.

    Old Labour in Britain is a perfect example.

    Well, the labor unions in Russia are a complete mess. I shouldn't say that, but they're complicated. The major one remains the old Soviet official one, which is in bed deeply with state employers. The independent one, or ones, haven't been able to get enough traction. In almost every European country there were circumstances, you might say the political culture was favorable. Those objective circumstances don't exist [in Russia]. First, you have an insecure savaged middle class that's seen its savings confiscated or devalued repeatedly in the last 25 years. You've got a working class trapped between oligarchs, state interests and old industries, and private entrepreneurs who are very vulnerable. In other words, the working class itself is in transition. Its own insecurities don't lead it to think in terms of political organizations but in terms of issues-of whether Ford Motor Company is going to fire them all tomorrow. They're localized issues.

    Then you don't have a leadership. Leadership really matters. No one has emerged, either in the Russian parliament or in Russian political life. By the 1990s Gorbachev was past his prime and too hated for what had happened to the country. He hoped to be, when he ran for president that time [in 1996] and got 1 percent, he hoped to be the social democratic leader. There are a couple guys in Parliament who aspire to be the leader of Russian social democracy…. When I'm asked, and I've told this to young social democrats and to Gennady Zyuganov, whom I've known for 20 years, the leader of the Russian Communist Party, the only real electoral party, that Russia needs social democracy with a Russian face….

    What this means is that the most important force in Russia, and people were wrong to say Putin created it, is nationalism. This began, in fact, under Stalin. It was embedded during the Brezhnev years, and it was overshadowed during perestroika in the late-1980s. Then there was an inevitable upsurge as a result of the 1990s. You cannot be a viable political candidate in Russia today unless you come to grips with nationalism.

    Therefore, the best way, in my judgment, if you also want democracy, is social democracy with a Russian nationalist face. What's interesting is the guy who was until recently the most popular opposition leader, Navalny [Alexei Navalny, the noted anti-corruption activist], who got nearly 30 per cent of the vote in the Moscow mayoral elections and then blew it by becoming again a foe of the entire system instead of building on his electoral success-he's too nationalistic for the taste of a lot of democrats.

    Truly? You wouldn't know it from what you read.

    He's got a bad history in regards to the Caucasus people, among others. But what's interesting in this regard is, we don't ever speak of American nationalism. We call it patriotism. It's weird, isn't it? We don't have a state, we have a government….

    Every American politician who seeks the presidency in effect tries to make American nationalism the program of his or her candidacy, but they call it patriotism. They're fully aware of the need to do this, right? So why they think Putin doesn't have to do it, too, is completely beyond me. There's no self-awareness.

    In Russia, people had lost hope tremendously after 1991 but their hope later attached to Putin-imagine what he faced. For example, can you imagine becoming the leader of such a country and for the sake of consensus having a textbook putting together Tsarist, Soviet and post-Soviet history? Our presidents had a hard time dealing with slave and post-slave, Civil War and post-Civil War history. How do they do it? Each president did it differently, but Putin inherited this conflicting history, and the way he's tried to patch all three together into a consensual way for Russians to view their history and to teach kids in school is very interesting. Now, of course, it's being ruptured again with this war and with Crimea and with this new nationalism.

    I'd like to change the subject. Often in the books you mention an interest in alternatives: What could've happened if this or that hadn't. We just covered one, the missed opportunity for a historically logical social democratic outcome in Russia. How do you account for this tendency in your thinking?

    We have formative experiences-what shaped you, at least so you think when you look back. You don't know it at the time, you don't know a formative experience is formative until later. You'd agree with that.

    It's only in hindsight. "Reality takes form only in memory." Proust.

    For me it was growing up in the segregated South. But the reality was valid in retrospect, because I later realized that what I was doing had been so shaped by growing up in the segregated South, the way I reacted to that and the way I learned from it later, actually, in a strange way, led me to Russia.

    You suggested this in the book on gulag returnees, "The Victims Return." I wonder if you could explain the connection. How did growing up in Kentucky [Cohen was raised in Owensboro] lead you to Russian studies, and what does it do for your analysis of the Russian situation? How does a Kentucky childhood keep you alert to alternatives?

    Well, you have to remember what segregation was. I didn't understand this as a little boy, but it was American apartheid. Owensboro, probably had fewer than 20,000 people then, including the farmers. For a kid growing up in a completely segregated county, first of all, the world you're born into is the normal world. I had no questions about it…. I didn't perceive the injustice of it.

    And then you get older and you begin to see the injustice and you wonder, how did this happen?… At Indiana University I run into this professor who becomes my mentor, Robert C. Tucker, [Tucker, who died in 2010, was a distinguished Russianist and author of a celebrated biography of Stalin]. I'd been to Russia-accidentally, I went on a tour-and he asked, "What in Russia interests you?" And I said, "Well, I'm from Kentucky, and I've always wondered if there was an alternative in Kentucky's history between being deep South and not being deep South." And Tucker said, "You know, one of the biggest questions in Russian history is lost alternatives. Nobody ever studies them." And I said, "Aha!"

    So the title of your 2009 book, "Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives," is in his honor?

    I began to live in Russia in 1976, for two or three months a year until they took my visa away in 1982. This is when I got deeply involved in the dissident movement, smuggling manuscripts out and books back in and all these things. I begin to think, how does Russia change today? And my mind reverted to segregation and the end of segregation and the friends and foes of change…. I wrote an article called "The Friends and Foes of Change" about reformism and conservatism in the Soviet system, because I thought that it was institutions, it was culture, it was history and leaders and that you needed a conjunction of these events before you could get major change in Russia and the Soviet Union…. I published that as an article in 1976 or 1977 and I expanded it for a book I wrote, "Rethinking the Soviet Experience," which was published in 1985, a month before Gorbachev came to power. And everybody would later say, "He foresaw Gorbachev."

    Actually I didn't quite. What I foresaw was perestroika. For me it wasn't about the name of the leader, but the policy such leader would enact. I got one thing wrong. Because it was so hard to make this argument in Cold War America, that the Soviet Union had a capacity for reform awaiting it, if factors came together. I didn't think to carry the argument beyond liberalization to actual democratization. So I didn't foresee a Gorbachev who would enact actual democratization, free voting, and dismantle the Communist Party…. But I always thought that thinking about the history of Kentucky, living through segregation, watching the change, seeing the civil rights movement, seeing the resistance to it and why helped me think more clearly about the Soviet Union under Brezhnev and about my dissident friends. And I also knew reformers in the party bureaucracy pretty well, and when we would talk at night, I never mentioned this but my mind would always kind of drift back.

    The connection is not at all obvious but you explain it very well and it's clear once you do.

    Well, sometimes people read a book that opens their eyes. I think the whole secret, particularly as you get older… Trotsky I think wrote that after some age, I think he said 39 or 45, all we do is document our prejudices. And there's some truth to that, obviously. But one of the ways that you avoid becoming dogmatic about your own published views is to keep looking for things that challenge what you think. You try to filter them through whatever intellectual apparatus you've been using for, in my case, 40 years.

    I thought it would be interesting to get through those sections of Kennan's journals ["The Kennan Diaries," 2014] that would be germane to our exchange. What struck me coming away from them was the enormous sadness and pessimism that hung over him in the later years. I wonder if you share that.

    My position has always been, America doesn't need a friend in the Kremlin. We need a national security partner. Friendships often don't last. Partnerships based on common interests, compatible self-interests, do.

    I have always known such a partnership would be difficult to achieve because there are so many differences, conflicts, and Cold War landmines. There were numerous chances to enhance the relationship-during the Nixon-Brezhnev détente period, Gorbachev and Reagan, Gorbachev and Bush, even with Putin after 9/11, when he helped [George W.] Bush in Afghanistan. But they all became lost opportunities, those after 1991 lost mainly in Washington, n ot Moscow.

    When I speak of lost alternatives I do not mean the counter-factuals employed by novelists and some historians-the invention of "what-ifs." I mean actual alternatives that existed politically at turning points in history, and why one road was taken and not the other. Much of my work has focused on this large question in Soviet and post-Soviet Russian history and in U.S.-Russian relations.

    So you ask if I'm disappointed by the lost opportunities for an American-Russian partnership, especially in light of the terrible confrontation over Ukraine? Having struggled for such a partnership for about 40 years, yes, of course, I'm personally disappointed-and even more so by the Ukraine crisis because I think it may be fateful in the worst sense.

    On the other hand, as an historian who has specialized in lost alternatives, well, now I have another to study, to put in historical context and analyze. And it's my historical analysis-that an alternative in Ukraine was squandered primarily in Washington, not primarily in Moscow-that those who slur me don't like.

    To which I reply, Let them study history, because few of them, if any, seem ever to have done so.

    Patrick Smith is the author of "Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century." He was the International Herald Tribune's bureau chief in Hong Kong and then Tokyo from 1985 to 1992. During this time he also wrote "Letter from Tokyo" for the New Yorker. He is the author of four previous books and has contributed frequently to the New York Times, the Nation, the Washington Quarterly, and other publications. Follow him on Twitter, @thefloutist.

    More Patrick L. Smith.

    [Feb 13, 2015] http://stopmakingsense.org/2015/02/13/stephen-cohen-on-the-ukraine-crisis-his-unpatriotic-views-and-henry-kissinger/

    Editor's Note: This interview was recorded on Wednesday, before the ceasefire agreement in Minsk. Stephen Cohen is Professor Emeritus of Russian Studies and Politics at NYU and Princeton, and he is a contributing editor to The Nation. He is also the author of 'Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives: From Stalinism to the New Cold War'. You can find more interviews and articles by Professor Cohen

    here.

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