For the past several months Stephen Cohen has been warning the world about a potential catastrophe looming in the standoff between NATO and Russia. The political and military tension is immediately focused on Ukraine, but has roots deep in the fall of the Soviet Union, and threatens to spread to several other flash points along the Russian border and the Middle East.
Russian media seems well aware of these dangers, and so, to some extent, does the media in continental Europe, particularly eastern Europe. But in the UK and US a happy oblivion seems to be prevailing. Our journos either don’t want or are not permitted to discuss the growing dangers of war in Europe. The huge build-up of NATO military hardware in Poland and neighbouring Baltic states has gone virtually unreported in Britain. As has the embarrassingly ludicrous and utterly foolhardy US “WW3 Roadshow”, currently touring across much of eastern Europe as a “show of strength and solidarity to US and NATO allies in Eastern Europe”. The almost daily encounters between NATO and Russian aircraft are also rarely reported, unless there’s a chance to frighten the gullible into thinking Putin is invading Cornwall. Such absurd, non-existent comic-book “threats” are permissible for discussion. The real and growing dangers of real war igniting somewhere on Russia’s border, as a direct result of massive NATO presence there is simply never discussed. And therefore it’s a non-subject. A scotoma in the popular consciousness. As Cohen puts it – “There’s no discourse, no debate and this is failure of American democracy.”
We can only assume the failure to report is linked to the fact people in the west do not want to die in a pointless war with Russia, and if they knew one was brewing they’d object in their millions. The assorted under-medicated Type1 Crazies planning this show believe they can survive it and don’t want a bunch of whinging buzzkills spoiling the fun. So,the media silence isn’t just a failure of duty to report, it’s actually an act of sabotage against humanity. Most of the poor dupes in the news rooms don’t realise this of course. The reason they are working for large oligarch-owned media outlets in the first place is because they are bad at realising things and good at saying what they are told to say. If you doubt this, just Look at Shaun Walker’s happy, vacant owlish little face and ask yourself when he last had any clue what day it is or what socks he’s wearing. No, the journos for the most part have less idea than the person in the street. Which is why things do not look good for us all right now.
But enough of that. Here is Professor Stephen Cohen talking cogently about how much trouble we are all in. This was not even mentioned in the MSM of course. And therefore it didn’t happen (I wonder if that strategy will work if/when the ICBMs start raining down).
If you’re in a rush, here is a list of major points Cohen makes (courtesy of Russia Insider).
- The possibility of premeditated war with Russia is real; this was never a possibility during Soviet times.
- This problem did not begin in November 2013 or in 2008, this problem began in 1990’s when the Clinton administration adopted a “winner-takes-all” policy towards post-Soviet Russia.
- Next to NATO expansion, the US adopted a form of a negotiation policy called “selective cooperation” – Russia gives, the US takes.
- There is not a single example of any major concession or reciprocal agreement that the US offered Russia in return for what it has received since the 90s.
- This policy has been pursued by every president and every US Congress, from President Clinton to President Obama.
- The US is entitled to a global sphere of influence, but Russia is not entitled to any sphere of influence at all, not even in Georgia or Ukraine.
- For 20 years Russia was excluded from the European security system. NATO expansion was a pivot of this security system and it was directed against Russia.
- Putin started as a pro-Western leader, he wanted partnership with the US, provided helping hand after 9/11 and saved many American lives in Afghanistan.
- In return he got more NATO expansion and unilateral abolition of the existing missile treaty on which all Russian security was based.
- Putin is not an autocrat, he’s maybe very authoritarian as an ultimate decider, but he is answerable to other power groups.
- Putin is not anti-Western, or as Khodorkovsky said, he is more European than 99 percent of Russians. He has become less pro-Western and particularly less pro-American.
- Since November 2013, Putin has became not aggressive but reactive. For this he has been criticized in circles in Moscow as an appeaser (that is, soft, not tough enough).
- We (opposing academics) don’t have effective political support in the administration, the Congress, political parties, think tanks or on university campuses. This is unprecedented situation in American politics. There’s no discourse, no debate and this is failure of American democracy.
- There is ongoing extraordinary irrational and nonfactual demonisation of Putin. No Soviet leader was so personally vilified as Putin is now.
- The solution is federation to unite Ukraine without Crimea, which is not coming back, free trade with both the West and Russia and no NATO membership for Ukraine.
- This guarantees must be in writing, not oral premises like they gave to Gorbachev, and must be ratified by the UN.
- The Kiev regime is not a democratic one, but an ultra-nationalistic one. Poroshenko is a diminishing president.
- Unless the Kiev regime changes its approach to Russia or unless the West stops supporting Kiev unconditionally, we are drifting towards war with Russia.
Professor Stephen Cohen is an American scholar of Russian studies at Princeton University and New York University. His academic work concentrates on modern Russian history and Russia’s relationship with the United States.
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