STEPHEN COHEN, sfc1 at nyu.edu
Available for a limited number of interviews, Cohen is professor emeritus at New York University and Princeton University. His books include Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives: From Stalinism to the New Cold War.
Listen to his recent interview “The American Press Is Wrong About Ukraine” on the “John Batchelor Show.”
Cohen recently wrote a letter to the New York Times which the paper did not run, but was posted at TheNation.com: “According to a New York Times editorial, “The Cold War should be over,’ but ‘not, it appears, for Mr. Putin,’ who is trying to keep former Soviet republics, particularly Ukraine, from signing binding economic agreements with the European Union. This is the one-eyed axiom of the U.S. political-media establishment, passing for analysis, when it comes to Putin and to U.S.-Russian relations: Washington and its European allies ended the Cold War nearly 22 years ago, but Putin continues to wage it.
“But have the U.S. and Europe really done nothing to provoke Putin’s reactions? During these years, who, for example, expanded the West’s Cold-War military organization, NATO, to Russia’s borders, and still covets Ukraine and Georgia as members; bombed or invaded three of Russia’s international partners (Yugoslavia, Iraq and Libya) and now threatens a fourth (Iran); and is currently ringing Russia with missile-defense installations? And then there is the editorial’s venerable Cold War double standard: ‘Europe’s use of trade leverage … is constructive and reasonable;’ but when Putin uses similar carrots — financial loans, discounted energy supplies, access to markets — to persuade Ukraine to join instead his fledgling Eurasian Customs Union, those are ‘attempts to bludgeon.’ …
“Moreover, independent editorial analysis would ask whether signing with Europe is really in Ukraine’s best interests. Ukraine is not ‘economically robust’ but near default. Will crisis-ridden Europe bail it out with tens of billions of dollars? Will Ukrainian goods flourish in Western markets? Will Europe open its arms to migrant Ukrainian workers?
“Not a word about any of this or about the real issue: the West’s ongoing campaign to move the new Cold-War divide further East, to the heart of Slavic civilization. Nothing could be more de-stabilizing or more detrimental to the real security of Europe or America.”