Keep up with the news by installing RT’s extension for . Never miss a story with this clean and simple app that delivers the latest headlines to you.

 

'Cold War Against Russia — Without Debate'

Published time: May 02, 2014 11:45
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin (L) and US President Barack Obama (AFP Photo)

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.

The Obama administration announced its Cold War indirectly, in a front-page New York Times story by Peter Baker on April 20. According to the report, President Obama has resolved, because of the Ukraine crisis, that he can “never have a constructive relationship” with Russian President Vladimir Putin and will instead “ignore the master of the Kremlin” and focus on “isolating…Russia by cutting off its economic and political ties to the outside world…effectively making it a pariah state.” In short, Baker reports, the White House has adopted “an updated version of the Cold War strategy of containment.” He might have added, a very extreme version. The report has been neither denied nor qualified by the White House.

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 US 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 US-backed Kiev government is warning of a “third world war.”)

Samantha Power (R), the American ambassador to the United Nations talks to Russia's ambassador to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin, before a vote regarding the Ukrainian crisis is taken at the U.N. Security Council in New York March 15, 2014 (Reuters / Andrew Kelly)

And yet, all this has come with the virtually unanimous, bipartisan support, or indifference, of the US political establishment, from left to right, Democrats and Republicans, progressives (whose domestic programs will be gravely endangered) and conservatives. It has also been supported by mainstream media that shape and reflect policy-making opinion, from the Times and The Washington Post to The Wall Street Journal, from The New Republic to The Weekly Standard, from MSNBC to Fox News, from NPR to commercial radio news. (There are notable exceptions, including this magazine, but none close enough to the mainstream to be “authoritative” inside the Beltway.)

To be more specific, not one of the 535 members of Congress has publicly expressed doubts about the White House’s new “Cold War strategy of containment.” Nor have any of the former US presidents or presidential candidates who once advocated partnership with post-Soviet Russia. Before the Ukraine crisis deepened, a handful of unofficial dissenters did appear on mainstream television, radio and op-ed pages, but so few and fleetingly they seemed to be heretics awaiting banishment. Their voices have since been muted by legions of cold warriors.

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.

Future historians will certainly find some merit in Moscow’s arguments, and wonder why they are being widely debated in, for example, Germany, but not in America. It may already be too late for the democratic debate the US elite owes our nation. If so, the costs to American democracy are already clear.

Katrina vanden Heuvel and Stephen F. Cohen

Katrina vanden Heuvel is Editor and Publisher of The Nation. She is the author of The Change I Believe In: Fighting for Progress in The Age of Obama (Nation Books, 2011). She is also the editor of Meltdown: How Greed and Corruption Shattered Our Financial System and How We Can Recover and co-editor of Taking Back America--And Taking Down The Radical Right.

Stephen F. Cohen is a professor emeritus at New York University and Princeton University. His Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives: From Stalinism to the New Cold War and his The Victims Return: Survivors of the Gulag After Stalin are now in paperback.

The original of the article can be found here.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

Comments (80)

 

gfhdjs 06.05.2014 10:52

Cool picture of Vitaly Churkin...and Samantha Power...she looks very hysterical...

 

seb o 05.05.2014 22:57

Jenks McStallion 04.05.2014 14:37

For decades, Russians believed in the lie of a communist utopia. How did that turn out for you huh? You lost. Get over it!

  


Lmfao... you mean kinda like you still believing in the American Dream. Its more like "The American Ponzi Scheme fed to you as a Dream".

And there are no American(t)s living in Russia right, that like it just fine? And you know this because you knoe everyone on this planet right?

Please also explain how exactly you will humiliate them, oh yes, by printing more fake money to fund your Nazi Army. You remind me of "Joe the Plumber"!

 

Tony 04.05.2014 23:48

Unfortunately Doctor Strangelove designed the new NATO Headquarters and a thirst for mass death is part of the engineering of the building... or as SS Panzer Corps general Paul Hausser put it "The foreign units of the SS were really the precursors of the NATO army".... Yandex it ;-)

View all comments (80)
Add comment

Authorization required for adding comments

Register or

Name

Password

Show password

Register

or Register

Request a new password

Send

or Register

To complete a registration check
your Email:

OK

or Register

A password has been sent to your email address

Edit profile

X

Name

New password

Retype new password

Current password

Save

Cancel

Follow us

Follow us