The New Cold War and the Unquestioned ‘Establishment’

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STEPHEN COHEN sfc1 at nyu.edu and via Caitlin Graf, caitlin at thenation.com

KATRINA VANDEN HEUVEL, rdambrose at thenation.com,

Available for a very limited number of interviews, Cohen is professor emeritus at New York University and Princeton University. Also available for a limited number of interviews, Katrina vanden Heuvel is editor and publisher of The Nation. They just co-authored the piece “Cold War Against Russia — Without Debate” for The Nation, in which they wrote, “Future historians will note that in April 2014, nearly a quarter-century after the end of the Soviet Union, the White House declared a new Cold War on Russia — and that, in a grave failure of representative democracy, there was scarcely a public word of debate, much less opposition, from the American political or media establishment. …

“No modern precedent exists for the shameful complicity of the American political-media elite at this fateful turning point. Considerable congressional and mainstream media debate, even protest, were voiced, for example, during the run-up to the U.S. wars in Vietnam and Iraq and, more recently, proposed wars against Iran and Syria. This Cold War — its epicenter on Russia’s borders; undertaken amid inflammatory American, Russian and Ukrainian media misinformation; and unfolding without the stabilizing practices that prevented disasters during the preceding Cold War — may be even more perilous. It will almost certainly result in a new nuclear arms race, a prospect made worse by Obama’s provocative public assertion that ‘our conventional forces are significantly superior to the Russians’,’ and possibly an actual war with Russia triggered by Ukraine’s looming civil war. (NATO and Russian forces are already mobilizing on the country’s western and eastern borders, while the U.S.-backed Kiev government is warning of a ‘third world war.’)

“Both sides in the confrontation, the West and Russia, have legitimate grievances. Does this mean, however, that the American establishment’s account of recent events should not be questioned? That it was imposed on the West by Putin’s ‘aggression,’ and this because of his desire ‘to re-create as much of the old Soviet empire as he can’ or merely to ‘maintain Putin’s domestic rating.’ Does it mean there is nothing credible enough to discuss in Moscow’s side of the story? That twenty years of NATO’s eastward expansion has caused Russia to feel cornered. That the Ukraine crisis was instigated by the West’s attempt, last November, to smuggle the former Soviet republic into NATO. That the West’s jettisoning in February of its own agreement with then-President Viktor Yanukovych brought to power in Kiev an unelected regime so anti-Russian and so uncritically embraced by Washington that the Kremlin felt an urgent need to annex predominantly Russian Crimea, the home of its most cherished naval base. And, most recently, that Kiev’s sending of military units to suppress protests in pro-Russian eastern Ukraine is itself a violation of the April 17 agreement to de-escalate the crisis.”

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