For the (Western) news cycle, what stood out from United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's visit to Russia this week was an "appeal for cooperation" and a "challenge" for Russia to open up its political system, embrace "diversity" and shelve Cold War thinking. Who's fooling whom? One might be forgiven to picture a torrent... Read More
The vilifying charges levelled at Russia's president by the American media could undermine rational U.S. policy-making.
Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared at Reuters. American media coverage of Vladimir Putin, who today began his third term as Russia’s president and 13th year as its leader, has so demonized him that the result may be to endanger U.S. national security. For nearly 10 years, mainstream press reporting, editorials and op-ed articles have... Read More
Make a plan; then make another plan. Both won't work. - Bertolt Brecht This is getting ridiculous. The President of the United States (POTUS) screamed and shouted because he wanted his spy (Edward Snowden) back. Snowden, following Russian laws, was granted temporary asylum. The White House was "disappointed". Then POTUS snubbed the bilateral summit with... Read More
Stephen F. Cohen went on CNN to talk about the opportunity Putin is giving the USA.
Nation writer Stephen F. Cohen went on CNN Saturday to discuss how Russian President Vladimir V. Putin "has given President Obama the chance to be an international statesman." He said Obama should so-operate with the Russians on disarming Syrian chemical weapons, and that Russian and US national interests in the Middle East are aligned. He... Read More
Putin-bashing on the left and the right must stop in the interest of US national security.
Instead of embracing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s proposal to save Washington from another disastrous war—his plan would put Syria’s chemical weapons under international control and destroy them—influential segments of the American political-media establishment are bent on discrediting him and thus in effect the alternative to war he represents. Still worse, purportedly liberal and progressive voices... Read More
In my previous post, I speculated that the US and EU orchestrated the climax of the Ukraine crisis to occur while Vlad was preoccupied with presiding over his beloved Olympics, and unwilling or unable to destroy the soft power vibe by intervening forcefully in the Ukraine, or even giving the matter his more complete attention.... Read More
Russian ex-oil tycoon, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who was incarcerated in Russia for a decade before he was amnestied by Vladimir Putin in December, was in Kiev's Maidan Square recently, giving aid and comfort to the new government with two rather dubious pronouncements. First, he backed the Kiev government's version of snipergate--that Russia was behind it. Second,... Read More
The Crimean Gambit
Nobody expected events to move on with such a breath-taking speed. The Russians took their time; they sat on the fence and watched while the Brown storm-troopers conquered Kiev, and they watched while Mrs Victoria Nuland of the State Department and her pal Yatsenyuk (“Yats”) slapped each other’s backs and congratulated themselves on their quick... Read More
The Golden Age of Newspeak
Harvard Professor Stephen Walt has described the current contretemps over Ukraine as “geostrategic incompetence of the highest order” on the part of the White House. Seconding that I would add that the central problem with the Obama foreign policy, guided as it is by a bundle of poorly defined principles, is that it has no... Read More
A situation that would draw Russia and NATO into a hot conflict.
Is Putin withdrawing troops from the border with Ukraine for fear of sanctions, or civil war? Stephen Cohen thinks it’s the latter, and that Putin “is convinced that we are a couple spits from civil war in Ukraine,” which could draw in NATO and Russia. Cohen joined Angela Stent of Georgetown University on PBS NewsHour... Read More
Time to Get Over It
Russian President Putin’s claim that, “Crimea has always been an inseparable part of Russia,” is an uncomfortable assertion (for some), but as pundit Eric Margolis points out, “President Putin keeps bringing up history to justify his assertive policies towards Ukraine and Crimea. This annoys Americans, who know little about history and refuse to accept Russia... Read More
Once an Enemy Always an Enemy
Does it not seem strange that, with the Cold War long over, the Paramount Enemies of the United States remain Russia and China? That is not a bad question to ponder during Vladimir Putin’s visit with Xi Jinping in Beijing. And there is no doubt that Russia and China hold this pariah status in the... Read More
The bloody farce in the Ukraine took another ugly turn with the shootdown of MH 17. And to be ugly about it, if the rebels shot the plane down, it shouldn’t matter very much except as a horrible and unexpected catastrophe in a war zone and an overwhelming tragedy to the survivors of the victims... Read More
The only thing Poroshenko has going for him is that Putin wants him to stay in power.
In the next few days, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko will meet with European leaders Vladimir Putin, Angela Merkel and François Hollande. Stephen Cohen goes on The John Batchelor Show to discuss what will occur at that meeting and what’s next for Ukraine, now that Poroshenko’s position has drastically weakened and Putin holds all the cards.... Read More
These are bleak times. I’ve been in serious conversation with some deep sources and interlocutors – those who know but don’t need to show off, privileging discretion. They are all deeply worried. This is what one of them, a New York strategic planner, sent me: That may sound somewhat extreme – but it’s a perfectly... Read More
Stephen Cohen went on The John Batchelor Show yesterday evening to discuss Vladimir Putin’s recent speech on the state of Russia, the equivalent of the State of the Union address in the United States, which is both an opportunity to boast about the achievements of the past year and to outline a program for the... Read More
"Abe tightens grip on power as Japanese shun election." So ran the page one headline of the Financial Times on the victory of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Sunday's elections. Abe is the most nationalistic leader of postwar Japan. He is rebooting nuclear power, building up Japan's military, asserting her rights in territorial disputes with... Read More
A Conservative Analysis
Anyone who has followed the ongoing crisis in Eastern Europe and Ukraine knows the very hostile view that the establishment news media and Washington political class have of President Vladimir Putin of Russia and his policies. In the halls of Congress and in the mainstream press—almost every night on Fox News—serious charges are proffered against... Read More
Putin versus Obama
In the American mainstream media fact and fiction frequently diverge, leading to established narratives that bear little relationship to what is actually happening. The recent events in Paris have most often been described as free speech colliding with religious extremism but the reality is that existing French hate crime legislation means that the country has... Read More
What are the Kremlin's true intentions in Ukraine?
Is a US war with Russia possible? The Nation’s Stephen Cohen joined The Thom Hartmann Program to discuss the politics underpinning the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. Cohen expressed concern over the narrative in the West that Putin sought to destabilize Ukraine as part of a wider campaign to take back former Soviet territories in Eastern... Read More
Blame the US, not Putin, for undermining unity in Europe.
The New York Times ran a front-page article on Tuesday accusing Putin of currying favor with Cyprus and Greece in an effort to secure their votes against renewing sanctions. Later that day, The Nation’s Stephen Cohen said on The John Batchelor Show that while it’s true that Putin hopes to find support in Europe’s “soft... Read More
As we all know Alexander Litvinenko was poisoned by polonium, a rare radioactive substance. The main narrative blamed it all on Vladimir Putin of Russia. The rationale rested on little other than because Litvinenko was a Putin critic. This was the quick line in mass media, and it was on all the typical war propaganda... Read More
The young man shook his head. “No, I can’t say I’m pro-Putin. There’s too much corruption in Russia, with too much money going to the wrong people. We should become more Western. Instead, we’re moving in the other direction.” Finally, I thought, a liberal critic of Putin. The young man continued. “Here it’s not too... Read More
The danger of a US-Russian hot war.
Nation contributing editor Stephen F. Cohen continues his weekly ABC radio discussions with John Batchelor about the new US-Russian Cold War and confrontation over Ukraine. Featured subjects include the ongoing struggle over the Minsk Accords for a negotiated settlement, with Secretary of State John Kerry’s progress with Russian President Vladimir Putin undermined by the Obama... Read More
Hail, fire and brimstone, new sanctions or the US tanks on its borders, Russia takes things in stride. President Putin could adopt the motto of William of Orange: saevis tranquillus in undis, calm amidst the tempest. The tempest is all around. American tanks moved into the Baltic states. American warships sail up the Black sea.... Read More