by Yvonne Lorenzo for The Saker Blog
Over ten years ago, one of the few voices that I listened to that provided facts outside the propaganda narrative of the legacy mass media and the U.S. government on what the situation was regarding Georgia fighting with Russia was from Russia scholar Professor Stephen Cohen. I felt blessed to discover him and his work.
After the events in Ukraine, where a U.S. sponsored putsch installed a fascist government in power, he and conservative radio talk show host John Batchelor held numerous conversations on the “New Cold War” with Russia. Professor Cohen has decided to collect the summaries of those conversations, up to recent events including the Kerch incident, in a new book, War with Russia?: From Putin and Ukraine To Trump and Russiagate. While Professor Cohen has written several works of scholarship and is unique in not sticking to the “party line” that Russia is greatest enemy of America and the West, this book is special because it’s both timely and accessible to interested readers. What is appalling, and demonstrates the bias of the so-called elites, is as Professor Cohen writes in his introduction, To My Readers:
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 in Moscow. For this perspective, I had been largely excluded from influential print, broadcast, and cable outlets where I had previously been welcomed…
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.
Professor Cohen is a unique American voice arguing that American national interests, including the often cited but ill-defined “National Security” are not best served by making Russia an enemy. One of the chapters in the book, The Silence of the Doves, discusses the nonexistent antiwar movement, even though the most likely outcome of war with Russia would be a nuclear conflict. Regarding Putin’s March speech on the new weapons technology Russia has developed, Professor Cohen’s insight exceeds anything the legacy media and so-called Russia experts purvey:
In the speech, Putin does not comment directly on past nuclear-arms races, but he makes clear that another, more dangerous, one looms, depending on how Washington reacts to Moscow’s new weapons. Washington can accept the parity—the deterrent—Russia has restored and return to full-scale nuclear arms negotiations. Or it can try again to surpass Moscow’s parity. If Washington chooses the latter course, Putin says, Moscow is fully able and ready to compete, again and again, though he makes clear he would prefer instead to commit his remaining years of leadership, legacy, and national resources to Russia’s modernization and prosperity, which he spells out (yet again) in the first two-thirds of his speech. Putin insists, that is, Russia’s new weapons are not for any kind of aggression but solely for its legitimate military defense and, politically, to bring Washington back to détente-like policies and particularly to nuclear arms negotiations. The Kremlin, he adds, is “ready.” Even having made a compelling and obviously proud presentation of what Russia has unexpectedly achieved, does Putin really believe Washington will “listen now”? He may still have some “illusions,” but we should have none. Recent years have provided ample evidence that US policy-makers and, equally important, influential media commentators do not bother to read what Putin says, at least not more than snatches from click-bait wire-service reports. Still worse, Putin and “Putin’s Russia” have been so demonized it is hard to imagine many 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. Years of American vilifying Putin and post-Soviet Russia are essentially an assertion that neither has any such legitimacy. Now, making matters worse, there is the Russiagate allegation of a Kremlin “attack” on the United States. Even if President Trump understands, or is made to understand, the new—possibly historic—overture represented by Putin’s speech, would the “Kremlin puppet” charges against him permit him to seize this opportunity? Do the promoters of Russiagate even care?
I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It addresses critical issues as our two nations drift closer and closer to military confrontation, a confrontation as Professor Cohen points out is not driven by Russia’s government but by irrational Russophobia by our political, financial and military class: the rulers. Professor Cohen does not provide solutions, but he raises important questions, and concludes:
Again, in light of all this, what can be done? Sentimentally, and with some historical precedents, we of democratic beliefs traditionally look to “the people,” to voters, to bring about change. But foreign policy has long been the special prerogative of elites. In order to change Cold War policy fundamentally, leaders are needed. When the times beckon, they may emerge out of established, even deeply conservative, elites, as did unexpectedly Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev in the mid-1980s. But given the looming danger of war with Russia, is there time? Is any leader visible on the American political landscape who will say to his or her elite and party, as Gorbachev did, “If not now, when? If not us, who?”
I think there is hope as in the fact a bright and capable minority of ordinary people seek out alternative news and information; for I don’t see any such leaders on the horizon. Perhaps as America socially implodes, a “Yellow Vest” revolt against the sociopath ruling class of warmongers might come into being and stop them from their dreams of eternal hegemony and war without consequence. Only Nemesis awaits them; I’m sure it’s only a matter of time.
Yvonne Lorenzo [send her mail] makes her home in New England in a house full to bursting with books, including works on classical Greece, history and literature. Her interests include mythology, ancient history, plasma cosmology and classical music, especially the compositions of Handel, Mozart, Bach, and the Bel Canto repertoire. She is the author of Son of Thunder and The Cloak of Freya.