What Steven F. Cohen & Other Liberals Get Wrong About Obama & Ukraine’s War

Eric Zuesse

Liberals won’t acknowledge that they’ve “been had” by Barack Obama when they believed his liberal rhetoric; they won’t acknowledge it, even after Obama has proven by his actions that he is actually extremely conservative (a total agent of Wall Street; and, thus, inequality has been rising under his rule); Obama is conservative despite his liberal rhetoric, which is designed to deceive them; and he has — which is the worst thing of all — intentionally caused an extremely bloody ethnic cleansing in Ukraine, a war there against those of Ukraine’s citizens who think that Russia is a better country than the United States: an ethnic cleansing to cement-in, as permanent, a rabidly anti-Russian Government in Ukraine, by getting rid of the people there who had voted for the man Obama overthrew. This is, historically, the first time in history that any American President has sponsored an ethnic cleansing: it’s an attempt to exterminate a civilian population. That’s how bad Obama actually is.

Liberals won’t acknowledge either the violent coup in Ukraine, or the brutal ethnic-cleansing campaign to cement its result: an anti-Russian Government on Russia’s doorstep — a very real threat to Russia’s national security, and a very aggressive American policy against Russians.

The founder of Stratfor, the “private CIA” firm, says that the overthrow of Viktor Yanokovych in Ukraine in February 2014 was “the most blatant coup in history.” The President of the Czech Republic contrasts that coup versus Czechoslovakia’s authentically democratic 1968 “Velvet Revolution,” and he says that “only poorly informed people” don’t know that the governmental overthrow in Ukraine in 2014 was a coup. America’s liberals, then, are indeed poorly informed, and they are so partly because they don’t want to know the truth about Obama; America’s conservatives, by contrast, simply hate Obama, merely because he’s a black Democratic politician (and any President who has been so good to Wall Street would be loved by them if he were a white Republican); they don’t mind (and they actually support) that Obama hates Russia and institutes an ethnic cleansing campaign in his aggressive war against Russia. Whereas conservatives don’t mind Obama’s ethnic-cleansing campaign to get rid of pro-Russians in Ukraine, liberals don’t want to know about it. The result is actually conservatives reigning in both Parties, not just in one: we now have one-party government, in all but name.

Typical on the liberal side is Professor Steven F. Cohen, a supposed Russia-expert, who sometimes writes articles for his wife’s liberal magazine (which she, Katrina vanden Heuvel, owns), The Nation, and plays dumb about Obama’s anti-Russian coup in Ukraine, and he even says, on Amy Goodman’s February 3rd “Democracy Now!”: “Many people have argued that the United States organized a coup in February to overthrow the president of Ukraine and bring to power of this new pro-American, pro-Western government. I do not know if that’s true.”

The founder of Stratfor is correct: it’s not only true, it is blatantly true. In fact: this was the best-documented coup in all of human history; and some of the documentation of it is simply stunning. For example: Here is Obama’s selected and hired U.S. State Department official, who is responsible for policy in Europe, Victoria Nuland, telling the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, on 4 February 2014, whom to get appointed to be the leader of the Ukrainian Government to replace Ukraine’s democratically elected President — and it was “Yats” Yatsenyuk, who, 22 days later, did, in fact, become appointed to rule in Ukraine as the new Prime Minister when the coup occurred, to rule that country not as being its President, because that would be unseemly (to replace the President directly); but, instead, Yatsenyuk himself chose the rabidly anti-Russian fundamentalist Baptist preacher Oleksandr Turchynov to fill that post until the voters in the extremely conservative and anti-Russian northwestern half of Ukraine would select a ‘democratic’ President, from among a field of pre-selected extremely right-wing anti-Russian candidates on May 25th. (The voters in Ukraine’s non-fascist southeastern half were so turned off (if they hadn’t already seceded from this rabidly right-wing Ukrainian Government), so that the electoral turnout in that half of the country was small to nil. The current Ukrainian Government does not represent those people, but still wants to control their land and all the resources that lie under it (such as gas).

This was an extremely violent coup that Professor Steven Cohen says he doesn’t know about (that he doesn’t know about even though it was captured in hundreds of shocking videos, which he apparently hasn’t seen or else doesn’t want to understand — here are some of the best of those).

Cohen should look at what Obama is doing in the former Ukraine, right now:


Is he blind, or does he simply refuse to see?

Will he blame the slaughter on Obama’s underlings, whom Obama hired? They’re doing the jobs Obama hired them to do. This is Obama’s Administration — no  one else’s. They ran his coup, appointed the new Government, and oversee the ethnic cleansing this Government does after being installed.

Is Cohen going to excuse Obama’s total lack of expressed outrage against the barbarisms that the Government he placed into power has perpetrated? Of course not: these things have been done on Obama’s behalf. That’s why Obama perpetrated the coup: this is the purpose of it: to install a rabidly anti-Russian Government on Russia’s doorstep, in Ukraine, ready and eager to place nuclear missiles within a ten-minute flight to Moscow — checkmate. In order to do this, Obama needs to get rid of the people in the area of Ukraine whose 90% votes for the former neutral Ukrainian President, Viktor Yanukovych, had made Yanukovych President. If those voters aren’t eliminated, then the current, Russia-hating Ukrainian Government, will be elected out of office in a subsequent election. That’s the reason why the area of the former Ukraine that is now undergoing firebombing, clusterbombing, and other exterminationist measures, which is the area that’s shown in dark purple on the far-eastern side of this map, is exactly the same area that had voted 90% for the person, Yanukovych, whom Obama overthrew (and the EU was shocked to find out that it had, indeed, been a coup). The purpose of this ethnic cleansing is to assure that, in the future, pro-Russian voters in Ukraine, most especially the 90%-voters-for-Yanukovych (the residents in this area), won’t ever again be in Ukraine to vote on candidates for the national Government. Obama wants the U.S. Government to control all of Ukraine, including the land where those people have lived their lives, but he doesn’t want those people on it. He wants them either dead, or gone to Russia, so that they won’t be able to participate in future Ukrainian elections and reverse the strategic impact of Obama’s 2014 Ukrainian coup.

Evading Obama’s culpability in both the coup and the subsequent ethnic-cleansing in Ukraine is nothing new for Cohen, and any ‘news’ media that participate in spreading or else ignoring such evasions are not to be trusted by any intelligent reader or viewer or hearer. Spreading of such liberal pap is placing against the conservative poison of Fox ‘News’ etc., not an opponent but a nullity. It might be liberal, if liberalism is simply the verbal repudiation of conservatism, but it’s not an alternative to conservatism; it is definitely not progressivism; it is just an absence of ideology, being put up against the very real — and this nation’s dominant — ideology, which is conservatism, or “the right.”

No nation whose political discourse ranges between conservatism and nothingness can be anything else than extremist conservative, or fascist (essentially pure conservatism), which seems to be what now exists in the United States.

In the case of Barack Obama, who is the first American President to install an outright racist-fascist (in this instance, a rabidly anti-Russian) government — in other words a nazi government — anywhere in the world, and who is also the first American President to sponsor an ethnic cleansing anywhere in the world, what we actually have in the U.S. right now is a nazi President and a nazi Congress to support his nazism. Obama is not out to exterminate the Jews as Hitler was; he is out to exterminate, or else to achieve U.S. domination over, the Russian people.

If America does not repudiate that, then America has transmogrified into what America was waging war against in World War II. It’s spitting onto the graves of America’s WW II heroes. 

‘News’ media that tolerate (as liberals do), or else encourage (as conservatives do), nazi control over the U.S., are not news media for a democratic nation. They are ‘news’ media for a fascist one. That’s what we’ve now got.

There should be millions of people marching on Washington to stop this U.S.-initiated and -backed genocide of Ukraine’s pro-Russian population. Where are the ‘peace’ marchers? Maybe they think that people such as Steven Cohen are the ones to follow.

Is that the best America now has?

This American anti-Russian nazism could lead to a nuclear WW III.

PS: This is a response to the earliest group of reader-comments to this article as posted at Fort Russ, because those comments fall into two categories, both of which I find disturbing:

1) There are several comments that are plainly anti-Semitic, and which therefore belong in the league along with the ethnicity that was the obsession of Germany’s form of nazism, that of the original Nazi Party. Such readers apparently have nothing better to respond to the American aristocracy’s and their Ukrainian agents’ anti-Russian nazism than to side with Hitler’s form of nazism, and that’s neither an intelligent nor a germane way to respond to any form of racist fascism; I find all racist fascisms to be deplorable.

2) There are also several comments that defend Professor Cohen’s claimed ignorance on whether there was a coup in Ukraine, and that assert that because Cohen is a liberal and is the highest-profile one who is allowed onto the major ‘news’ media to discuss this matter, he should not be held to account for understating the vileness of the reality here. I do not respect any such blurring of Obama’s horrendous guilt in this extremely important historical matter: Obama caused the coup, and Russia had to respond to it, which was a basic defensive necessity for that country, not at all optional, neither as regards Russia’s accepting the obvious desire of the vast majority of Crimeans to rejoin Russia, nor as regards Russia’s assisting the tragic victims in Donbass to protect their lives against the Obama-nazi assault from Kiev. If one (such as Cohen) alleges that there is question as to whether Obama perpetrated a coup in the violent overthrow of Yanukovych, then one is alleging that Russia might have been the instigator of the conflict here, when Russia responded to it with protection of the Crimeans and protection of the Donbassers. What Cohen is doing is to assert that he doesn’t have any idea which side was the aggressor here. If there was no coup, then Obama was not the aggressor. Is that really a serious possibility? I would not be devoting most of my time since at least last May 2nd to reporting on the return of the nazi threat, if there was any reason whatsoever to doubt Obama’s guilt as the aggressor in the Ukrainian war. To me, what Obama is doing here is to spit on the graves of all Americans who died in World War II. Tolerance of nazism, such as by saying “I don’t know which side is the aggressor here, and which side is responding to that aggression” is despicable. One might as well say that maybe Germany’s Nazis were defending Germany’s Christians from the depradations by all Jews inside and outside Germany. Steven F. Cohen’s expressed position compromises truth just as much.


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010,  and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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  • Nick Smegg

    This is a stupid article and does the reputation of Washington’s Blog no good. Professor Cohen has been strident in his criticism of the Obama regime’s policy towards Russia both before and after the February 22nd coup, and yet Zuesse feels that Cohen is somehow at fault. Cohen has put his reputation on the line in a political environment where the allowable discourse has narrowed considerably in the past years and decades, and yet Zuesse complains about Cohen!

    Shame on you Zuesse!.

    • Hatuxka

      Nonsense. Just how halting and timid Cohen has been in the face of a Nazified project to ethnically cleanse a region full of staunchly antifascist Russian speaking people is well documented in the article.

      • Nick Smegg

        Is there some confusion between somebody called Walt and somebody called Cohen? The latter has been demonised by the American media because he has not underplayed the role of the United States in the Ukraine imbroglio. Walt – his first names escape me – is the academic most often linked with Mearsheimer.

        And yes – Stephen F Cohen has admitted that he voted twice for Obama, but would Romney have been less aggressive? I doubt it.

        • Nick Smegg

          Look at this recent TV interview with Cohen. I don’t see how this can be called timid and halting.


          • cettel

            It’s not a “Cold War” as Cohen says it is; it’s a hot war; it’s already a civil war and a raging ethnic cleansing in Ukraine. As regards the U.S.-Russia situation, it’s a potential nuclear war, but is it a “Cold War.” Cohen says (2:42) that the conflict inside Ukraine “became violent in February” of 2014. That’s false. Right Sector thugs were already throwing Molotov cocktails at police in late November and early December 2013, and from then on until late February of 2014. Here’s a typical youtube from 25 January 2014:
            As you can see, Cohen’s timeline is wrong. Moreover, that wasn’t just violent; it was extremely violent, and the police were fearing for their lives, and many became injured. But the Obama mercenary snipers weren’t until after February 18th, if I recollect exactly.
            Then he says (2:53) “and the President fled, and then came a civil war.” But that’s not quite correct, either; because the Right Sector armed men were already threatening the lives of the parliamentarians of Yanukovych’s party and so he was actually fleeing for his life, escaping the nazi gangs; but he didn’t leave Ukraine until if I recollect correctly the 22nd of February, maybe a few days after that. But the civil war didn’t immediately start (as Cohen says it did “barricades, lots of violence; and then the President fled, and then came a civil war in Ukraine”). First, there was the government’s massacre by burning alive anti-coup protesters at the Trade Unions Building in Odessa on May 2nd; and then after eastern cities protested that, the Government sent the army to Mariupol and other eastern cities on May 9th and this was the actual start of the civil war. In other words: a lot happened after the coup on February 22nd, before the start of the civil war on May 9th. Cohen has the history wrong in lots of ways, all underplaying the barbarism of the Obama coup-team and its stooge operation headed by the Obama-appointed Yatsenyuk all rqabidly anti-Russian and anti pro-Russian Ukrainians — anti ”
            ethnic Russians,” and pro-ethnic-cleansing. Cohen consistently sugar-coats the reality.

        • Charles Fasola

          You have just caused me to projectile vomit. Anyone who supports the “lesser of two evils” excuse for being a timid slave to the status quo not only deserves being led by the mediocracy that is obama and his cabinet but also deserves to to bear the consequences of his psychotic policies. Persons like you are coconspirators and are complicit with that poor excuse of a president, cia barry, is.

          • Nick Smegg

            Cohen could have stayed at home and said nothing. He is a private citizen with nothing to gain from controversy, except maybe the public welfare. He has instead been the only voice on Tv who has opposed the policy of Obama and the neocons in Russia. And for that, he has been abused, condemned and attacked by the Obamanauts and the White House, not to say the full court press of the CIA and the foreign policy establishment.

            Why should eh have bothered? why shouldn’t he have just stayed at home and been silent like all the rest of the lickspittles in Washington, fearfiul for his career and his personal safety?

            He may as well if the price of his bravery has been an astonishingly stupid hit piece by Eric Zuesse.

    • paul

      For Cohen and Mearsheimer to play down the Ukraine coup is unacceptable, regardless of how narrowed they perceive the allowable discourse to be. In fact, they could SHOW how narrowed that discourse is and do a lot of good that way, how far it has strayed from anything real.

    • Charles Fasola

      That sir is an idiotic comment.

  • Hatuxka

    “This is, historically, the first time in history that any American President has sponsored an ethnic cleansing.” Never heard of Andrew Jackson? The US presidents before and after him in extermination campaigns against Indians. Obama is merely the latest in a long line. Do you mean first to sponsor ethnic cleansing overeas? Even that is debatable.

    • Don Tran

      NO IT’S NOT 1ST time, Bosnia / Herzigovinia / Croatia / Serbia / Slovania / Albania / Macedonia during Bill Clinton’s Term was the first time. U.S. didn’t do jack sh!t. and let it happen after we initiated the break-up of Yugoslavia.

  • ClubToTheHead

    I caught Cohen’s hedging on whether Obama was involved in the coupe, and also saying that he voted twice for him.

    Disappointing that Cohen can see so much and yet be so selectively blind.

  • paul

    Mearsheimer hedged on this too recently.

    • ClubToTheHead

      I caught that too.

      Find the TUC Radio podcast for this catch

  • dougdiggler

    I think that compared to the think tank scum from Brookings et al, Cohen is a breath or fresh air. I don’t know why he is soft peddling the Nazi atrocities of the OUN/B in the Donbass, but he is able to get on Democracy Now and calmly admonish the hosts for their support of “Humanitarian War” and “Color Revolutions” right to their faces without so much as raising his voice. Formerly he had been a guest on several MSM talk shows, but I think there is a new push for war with Russia and Cohen has been sidelined. It’s clear that a lot of others who are in academia are getting the word that they can talk about Ukraine Nazis at the peril of their own careers. But I think Cohen is still well-placed to talk the Liberals down from backing World War 3.

  • dougdiggler

    Also, Eric or somebody else explain this to me and others: why are wealthy ethnically Jewish oligarchs like Yatseniuk, Poroshenko, Kholomoisky in bed with the children of Bandera? Didn’t the SNPU and Right Sector frequently rant about Jews and wanting to do them violence? I mean these guys literally parade around in Wehrmacht uniforms and kneel at the graves of Nazi collaborators.

    • cettel

      Back in 2004, when the “Orange Revolution” was getting off the ground, the CIA persuaded the Social Nationalist Party of Ukraine to change its name to the Freedom Party, or “Svoboda.” This was part of the CIA’s plan to make the issue solely anti-Russian not also anti-Jewish; and this, in turn, was part of that Party’s origins, which go back to Stepan Bandera and his #2, Yaroslav Stetsko, the latter of whom oversaw, as Ukraine’s Nazi-appointed Premier in 1941, the slaughter of over 7,000 Jews, to please Himmler. Stetsko also founded the Anti Bolshevik Bloc (of nations) or ABN. The CIA’s file on Stetsko noted on p. 139 that Stetsko was “Chairman of the Central Committee of the Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations,” and on its p. 72 the CIA’s file noted the specific type of racism of this organization, its anti-Russian bigotry:
      “ABN hates all things Russian — not Bolshevik but Russian. It proclaims ‘We are fighting for the complete annihilation and partition of the Russian empire.’ … The whole course of Russian history is portrayed as … the nature of ’that people.’ … ’The Russian people,’ ABN Correspondence says,’ has never been able to evolve what the West considers to be an order of society worthy of human beings.’ The refrain continues: ’There is only one inveterate enemy of humanity in this world: Moscow.’ … It does not matter for ABN what type of government is established in Russia, for ‘Russians are all the same.’”
      So: Ukraiinian far-rightists could be of any type so long as they wanted to exterminate Russians.
      Anti-Semitism was always #2 for most of them. But in 2004, the CIA made clear to Oleh Tyahnybok that it would need to be that way in order for the U.S. to include them (not exclude them) in its plans. As regards organized gangsters such as Ihor Kolomoysky and Petro Poroshenko, they are more oriented toward money than toward power in the political sense.
      But, anyway, the Right Sector’s founder, Dmitriy Yarosh, who idolizes Bandera, is totally focused on exterminating Russians, and he is the most powerful person in today’s Ukraine.
      Ukraine’s nazis were generally not as anti-Semitic as were Germany’s. The main bigotry of Ukraine’s has always been anti-Russian. This also means a hatred of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church — Moscow Patriarchate. Ukraine’s nazis are mainly Ukrainian Orthodox Church — Kiev Patriarchate, and Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, which recognizes the Pope as the supreme human authority. Both of those Churches hate Russians, even more than they hate Jews.

      • dougdiggler

        Wasn’t Yaroslav Stetsko’s daughter married to VIktor Yuschenko and a Reagan cabinet staffer?

  • Voice of Reason

    There is a great quote captured in Ken Burns’ “Roosevelts”, something along the lines of “We bought him (TR I think) but he wouldn’t stay bought.” Except possibly for the blood lust, Obama is, of course, no TR. As Eric notes he has stayed “bought”.

  • goingnowherefast

    I now refer to the establishment press as Press Nazis for the reason that any journalist who deviates from the official party line of bad Putin invaded Ukraine or any other official position for that matter is marginalized, ridiculed, vilified and in some cases their career destroyed by the fawning sycophants at the NYT, Washington Post, LA Times and every other gatekeeper of US hegemony. No dissent in the press allowed. Nazis!

  • Angry Canuck

    I couldn’t agree more with Eric Zuesse’s article – I have written my member of Parliament, I have written our Prime Minister – Mr. Harper – the biggest American Govt. ass kisser- neo Nazi loving a** hole our Country ( Canada) has even seen – to object to our Countries interference in the Ukraine. Harper, has sent the Kiev Government last summer and again recently (16 million dollars) in some form of military aid. And now is thinking of loaning them 100 million!! – (I know the US is giving them 2 Billion in loans) so 100 Million may not seem like much – but- I am one Canadian that does not support the killing of another 4000+ eastern Ukraine people, just because they don’t want anything to do with Kiev.

  • Nick Smegg

    This article doesn’t make any sense – I think Zuess has confused Stephen Walt with Stephen Cohen, a severe critic of American policy towards Russia and Ukraine.

    Gen Washington needs to check this out – this basic mistake undermines his journalistic integrity.

  • MacFly1

    Obomber = Bush = Killary

  • Ukrainian beast

    Look, I’m conservative, however, this and other people like Alex jones, Steve Quayle etc taking Russia’s side is not good. Ukrainians never attacked Russia or Russian speaking people in Ukraine.
    Ukrainian people never were interested in war, but do fight fiercely if need be.
    I have friends and family living there and NO ONE is on the separatists side.

    Yes, Obama and crew suck and all, and yes Russia could be setting a buffer zone however, Putin
    Could of went through a different approach with Ukraine instead of in axing them.
    Really? What ethnic cleansing? Killing all Russian speakers because the Banderos are alive and well?
    Lol. Really, truth is the first casualty in war.

    • Chimp

      Eric is a nut. There’s so many holes in this guy’s essay it’s 6 feet under water before you even begin. Just the fact he states that Russia invaded Crimea in order to ‘protect’ the crimeans is such an absolute joke it’s hard to take him seriously. The ‘referendum’ only gave two choices..join russia…or be independent . It didn’t even offer the most obvious and important option of all…stay with Ukraine. Add to that it was held at gunpoint and many segments of the Crimean population refused to participate (like the Tatars) and it’s a completely illegal, joke of a vote. If the UN came in and held a ‘real’ vote, how much do you want to bet they would choose to remain part of Ukraine.

  • A.Alexander

    ” fascist conservatives” -? Is the author the Marxist-Leninist?

  • Chimp

    Eric, your purported ‘evidence’ that this was a coup isn’t. You misirepresent the conversation between Victoria Nuland and Geoffrey Pratt from an obviously pro-russian Youtube clip that gives no evidence this ‘conversation’ took place before the 18-23rd of February and even if it did…it’s not so hard to read the ‘writing on the wall’ when a politician is about to be overthrown due to massive corruption.

    The reality is that Viktor Yanukovych was a kleptocrat just like Putin and was in Putin’s pocket. The majority of Ukraine want closer ties with Europe yet he was swayed by Putin to not follow the public’s will and instead strike a deal with the Kremlin. Don’t forget the corruption. Have you forgotten the ‘secret’ mansions that Mr. Yanukovych had that the public did not know about and was built with Ukraine tax payer’s money? That alone is enough to get him thrown out of office. I remember the videos well of ordinary Ukrainians walking around his mansions amazed at the opulence and wondering how he got the money.

    Putin is no different. If the Russian public knew about the billions that Putin has stolen from the Russian nation and how he has padded the wallets of his oligarch buddies, not to mention the murders Putin has ordered against foes (Litvinenko for one) and journalists…their stomachs would turn. or perhaps not. It appears that Russians have a propensity to turn a blind eye whenever ‘patriotism’ is waved in front of their insecure eyes. Staging a ‘fake’ war with an ‘imaginary enemy’ is the oldest trick in the book to get a propagandized and shut off people like russians to support their ‘dear leader’. We’ve seen this trick played out for years in North Korea and we can see Putin borrowing a page from the Kim Jong-iL playbook to put one over on the Russian people as we speak.

    It’s no accident that Russia has closed down virtually any independent media in Russia. Every tv station, internet news site or radio station is required to screen materials through Kremlin media censorship and any individual that has a website with over 3000 views a day is required to register as well. This is not to mention the laws against public protest as well as against gays. You have to be blind, deaf and stupid to see what is going on in Russia. For you to try and lay this one on Obama or the U.S. at all is positively laughable.

    The only thing Obama has to do with this Ukrainian crisis is the 500,000 US troops he’s pulled out of europe which gave Putin the freedom to do as he wishes he could have done 15 years ago. Time for the US troops to go back. Russia obviously hasn’t ‘grown up’ yet and learned to play with others as equals.

  • A.Alexander

    The Israeli TVchannel 9 have stopped all comments because of the same trolls like these ones.