This May be the Most Dangerous Point Ever in US-Russian Relations: Cohen

Professor Emeritus of Russian Studies at Princeton, Stephen Cohen, this week in The Nation, dissects the six “factually unverified allegations” that supposedly prove “Trump has been seditiously ‘compromised’ by the Kremlin” and that Trump and Putin worked together to steal the election.

His conclusion: “It is not Putin who is endangering US and international security, but rather the high-level political and intelligence enemies of détente. Similarly, it is not Putin who is degrading the US media with “fake news.” Nor is it Putin who is subverting the American political process…”

(An aside: many may be surprised to note, as well, that Cohen points out there is “no evidence” Putin is a “killer of personal enemies”. Other analysts have noted there is about as much evidence for this unverified theory, which is now an ironclad “fact” in the US religio-nationalist doctrine, as there is for rightist conspiracy theories about the Clintons whacking dozens of political opponents.)

Cohen notes the Trump/Russia/Putin allegations are “exemplified now by New York Times columnists (who write of a “Trump-Putin regime” in Washington), strident MSNBC hosts, and unbalanced CNN commentators[. T]he practice is growing into a latter-day McCarthyite hysteria. Such politically malignant practices should be deplored wherever they appear, whether on the part of conservatives, liberals, or progressives.”

In an interview with Abby Martin, Cohen recently asserted this may be the most dangerous time in the history of US-Russian relations, and as dangerous, if not more dangerous, than the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Martin notes “one senior military official recently admitted there are US special operations forces in every single country surrounding Russia.”

On the proxy war in Syria, Cohen notes ISIS has been “clearly abetted by the United States”, and that for Russia, bolstering Assad is essential to stopping ISIS.  In Iraq, Cohen says if the US wanted to, it could close the “back door” being used by the jihadists the US is pushing out of Mosul to flee into Syria, but chooses to leave it open.

He also notes the idea that Russia should be okay with having NATO countries on its border is as “preposterous” as the idea that the US would be okay with having Russian or Chinese military bases on US borders.

(Video posted with permission of Abby Martin.)

Many believe this is the most important issue today, as it has the potential to kill everyone on the planet immediately, at any moment.  Cohen notes “no one should trust” the nuclear safeguards. We are, he says, on a “razor’s edge” of nuclear war. “Weapons on both sides are on high alert”. For the US to continue this nationalistic, unfounded demonizing of Putin and Russia is the “gravest danger”, but we could “turn this around. … The handful of us, or maybe there are more, who think we have to do this for our own security, will have to fight.”

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  • Louis Sartor

    Thank you for posting this informative and enlightening interview of Professor Cohen and Abby Martin.

    It’s so discouraging to go to liberal sites such as Common Dreams and Alternet and see nearly the same kind of demonization of Putin and the Russians as what appears in the New York Times and Washington Post.

    The media and key sectors of the military, the intelligence agencies and the Democratic Party have worked night and day to convince many Americans that it’s OK to interfere with the internal affairs of nations on Russia’s borders and even to post NATO/US military forces in many of those same nations.

    In the 1980s we saw huge marches and a movement to ease tensions with the Russians. Reagan scared a lot of people with his rhetoric about the evil empire. The widespread fear of nuclear war hung in the air. Eventually Reagan and Gorbachev came to an understanding and developed a working relationship. We were given a reprieve.

    Now, in the midst of a second cold war, we might not be so lucky. Instead of taking action to reduce tensions with Russia it feels like we are in a speeding automobile heading for a disastrous car wreck. We have an erratic driver at the wheel, Mr Trump, and a backseat filled with irresponsible characters recklessly urging him to step on the gas.

    Missing is the fear of nuclear war, at least in the US. Those missiles and warheads are still there. Thousands of them.

    Robert McNamara, JFK and LBJ’s Secretary of Defense, made a chilling statement in Errol Morris’s powerful documentary, The Fog of War. He said that with nuclear weapons you can’t make a mistake because if you do whole nations die. Every member of Congress should be asked to view that film. If they did then much of this anti-Russia hysteria would disappear. Not necessarily because the Russians or Putin are not saints but because it’s insanely irrational to foolishly antagonize a nation state that has the capability to destroy our country.

    • Ace

      A good comment. I disagree only that Reagan was correct about the Evil Empire which at that time was still incarcerating dissidents in mental hospitals and injecting them with drugs.

      Reagan scared no one with his rhetoric. No one who wasn’t blind to Soviet realities and history. He was a reasonable, decent man and the idea that he was a hair’s breadth away from taking on the Soviets is crazy. He used his insights into communism, rhetorical gifts, and humor to wage a success intellectual war on the Sovs.

      • Louis Sartor

        Thanks for the feedback.

        The Soviets certainly had major flaws and it’s good that their system collapsed.

        You are probably much braver than the crew I ran with back then because we were concerned that Reagan’s arms race might lead us into a war with the USSR. We did not see him as reasonable or very bright. In many ways we viewed him like Trump is today, as someone who had no business being in the WH. Luckily he had a skilled staff that took advantage of his experience as a Hollywood actor. The man could read his lines like the pro that he was.

        We survived Reagan, we survived Bush the Younger, and with a little luck we will survive Trump. All of them were underestimated by their critics and overestimated by their supporters.

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