Emeritus Russia Scholar at Princeton: Obama, US are ‘Testing, Provoking Russia’, Pushing towards Hot War

Points from interview with Stephen F. Cohen, Emeritus scholar of Russian studies at Princeton University and New York University:

“The US in its history has never put troops so close to Russia, going back to the eighteenth century.”  (Okay, this is factually incorrect; the US invaded Russia with some 13,000 troops in 1918.)  Now the US is “right on Russia’s borders. … Obama cannot hide from this one in the shadows as he sometimes does regarding foreign policy.  This is his decision” and now “NATO is going to quadruple its military power around Russia.”

“The new Cold War has become much hotter because of a decision taken in Washington” and is “more dangerous than the preceding Cold War”.

Saying the new Cold War is “solely due to Putin’s ‘aggression'” is “simply not true.  At a minimum, both sides were responsible”, and in fact, as Cohen details, the US is the aggressor (which makes sense, as it has been expanding militarily since its inception, and is by far the largest military force in the world.)

On the US/NATO using Turkey to ignite the hot war: “We do know, I think, one thing: that for whatever reason, possibly because of its lucrative bootleg relations with the Islamic State, mainly involving oil, Turkey is trying to provoke a military conflict with Russia on the assumption that that would bring NATO directly in against Russia. … on the surface, there is no other explanation … NATO can tell Turkey to knock this off, but it goes on”; Washington doesn’t stop it, just as it does not, as Dr. Prashad points out, invoke the NATO charter to force Turkey to close its border to stop relations with ISIS.

“What’s going on at the moment” in terms of Turkey, Syria, and NATO’s expansion, is the US “testing Russia… provoking Russia… awaiting Russia’s reaction.”

Russia’s reaction so far is talk of “fortify[ing] its Western border.”

In the West, “all this is blamed on Russian aggression. But who’s the aggressor here?  Russia didn’t move its military equipment toward NATO.  NATO moved its toward Russia.  So I would say what you have here is a proactive NATO/American policy against Russia and a highly predictable reactive policy on the part of Russia.

In Ukraine, “the provocations and the initial punch came from the West, and Putin reacted in a way that Yelstin could not have or would not have, but Putin is Putin.”

Cohen says we are now at the most dangerous nuclear moment since the nuclear crisis of the early 1960s, and “Obama cannot hide from this now.  All his silences and his ellipses and his vanishing moment… this is his decision.  The buck stops there.  He signed off on this, and it is an enormous escalation of the Cold War in the direction of hot war.”

Perhaps the most notable statement of the interview comes at the end, when Cohen points out:

“Not one question about it has been raised in all this multitude of presidential debates.  … You and I tonight have talked about something that is unknown to the American public.”

How’s that for a propaganda system?

Robert Barsocchini is an internationally published author who focuses on force dynamics, national and global, and also writes professionally for the film industry.  Updates on Twitter.  Author’s review of the historical background to the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement.

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