To listen to the endless cacophony from American global interventionists who are regularly booked on the major American news networks to spew their neo-Cold War rhetoric, one might think that we are back in the 1960s during the dark days of fractious U.S.-Soviet relations. However, there are a growing number of voices in the United States who do not want to play the game of the neoconservatives and “set back” the clock of Washington-Moscow relations to the Cold War era.
One of the voices of sanity is Dr. Stephen F. Cohen of New York University and Princeton and a veteran expert on Russian affairs. Although he has faced charges from the neocon right and the Obama media sycophants, primarily the Daily Beast and New Republic, that he is a witting tool of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Cohen undauntedly continues to make the case for American understanding of Russia’s position with regard to Crimea and Ukraine.
Cohen has echoed Russia’s fear of being encircled and squeezed by NATO and the United States. In an interview with CNN, Cohen said, “What if, suddenly, Russian power showed up in Canada and Mexico and provinces of Canada and Mexico said they were going to join Putin’s Eurasian economic union and maybe even his military bloc? Surely the American president would have to react at least as forcefully as Putin has.”
Individuals like Cohen, who oppose a fracture in U.S.-Russian relations, are considered by the U.S. corporate media of being mouthpieces for the Kremlin. These voices of sanity are also facing another vestige of America’s past that is steadily but assuredly creeping into the American body politic: McCarthyism.
Cohen has seen the ugly reincarnation of the “Red baiting” ways of the firebrand anti-Communist senator from Wisconsin, Joseph McCarthy, in the criticism of his stance against those who want to see a major confrontation between the West and Russia, Cohen has been vilified by some because he promoted détente with the Soviet Union under Mikhail Gorbachev and felt that Soviet communism was not the monster as portrayed by the West. Some neoconservatives in the United States appear to be drawing up lists, in the style of the dark days of McCarthyism, of those who are said to be carrying out Moscow’s bidding.
Indeed, Cohen understands that it was the radical capitalist reformers under the man who gave away the Soviet and Russian state-owned enterprises and assets, Boris Yeltsin, who paved the way for the historical correction seen in the retrocession of Crimea to the Russian Federation. Even Gorbachev has voiced support for the retrocession of Crimea as correcting a historical mistake accomplished by the single stroke of a pen in 1954. That was the ceding of Crimea to Ukraine by Soviet Communist Party leader Nikita Khrushchev.
It is not just Cohen who sees danger in the rush by American war hawks to ratchet up tensions with Russia.
Jack Matlock, the U.S. ambassador in Moscow from 1987 to 1991, feels that Ukraine is better off without Crimea. He also feels that the current situation with regard to U.S.-Russian ties stems from years of hostility to President Putin by successive American leaders. Matlock also sees danger in prolonging Washington’s stand-off with Russia, telling the U.S. television news program Democracy Now, “To continue all of this rhetoric, I would ask how is it gonna end?” He added that, in Crimea, “the majority of people are Russian; they clearly would prefer to be in Russia.
Matlock also correctly sees years of U.S. political interference in the affairs of Ukraine at the heart of the country’s problems. Ever since the so-called “Orange Revolution” of 2004, Kiev has seen wave after wave of U.S. government-funded political interlopers involve themselves in the country’s protest movements. Matlock underscored how this appears to Russia and those in Ukraine who oppose the current coup-installed government in Kiev. He told Democracy Now, “Now I have to ask Americans, how would occupy Wall Street have looked if you had foreigners out there leading them?”
Matlock also told Democracy Now that Russia is justifiably concerned about two aspects of the Ukrainian coup: the takeover of critical elements of the Ukrainian government by fascists and the continued move by the U.S. and European Union to envelop Russia with countries hostile to Moscow.
He said, “We do have to understand that a significant part of the violence at the Maidan, the demonstrations in Kiev, was done by the extreme right-wing, sort of neo-fascist groups. Some of their leaders occupy prominent positions in the security forces of the new government.”
As to the encirclement of Russia, Matlock said, “It is that very prospect that the United States and its European allies were trying to surround Russia with hostile bases that has raised the emotional temperature of all these things . . . And that was a huge mistake.”
The assumption of control by extreme nationalists and neo-fascists of Ukraine’s national security, defense, and justice elements has longtime Washington newsman and political observer John Edward Hurley, a colleague of the late veteran White House correspondent Sarah McClendon, seeing yet another manifestation of America’s ugly past. Hurley has traced the political ties of the neo-fascists and Nazis now in power in Ukraine directly to Britain’s extreme right-wing National Front and the white supremacist National Alliance in the United States. In fact, some of the Maidan Square protesters draped U.S. Confederate flags in the main lobby of Kiev’s city hall. Hurley says these groups see “Eurasia” as a playground for their radical racist and right-wing agenda. In Hurley’s view, the right-wing putsch in Kiev has given new impetus for America’s neo-Nazis and white supremacists.
Former Representative Ron Paul of Texas, who has run for the Republican nomination for president, defended Russia’s decision to intervene in Crimea. Paul told the Fox Business Network that the Russians “have contracts and agreements and treaties for a naval base there [Crimea] and the permission to go about that area.” Paul also stated that Crimea had the right to secede from Ukraine. He said of Crimea, “There should be a right of secession.”
The head of Paul’s Institute for Peace and Prosperity, Daniel McAdams called the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, who conspired with the State Department’s Victoria Nuland, to arrange for the seizure of power by the present junta in Kiev, an “outlaw” sheriff. McAdams said the coup in Ukraine was the result of millions of dollars funneled from the U.S. Agency for International Development and “pseudo-NGOs.”
Even the old Cold Warrior Henry Kissinger has lambasted the current rush in Washington to confront Russia as foolhardy. Writing in The Washington Post, Kissinger opined that “to Russia, Ukraine can never be just a foreign country.” Kissinger cited how modern Russia came from the Kievan Rus of Ukraine. Kissinger also stressed that “such famed dissidents as Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and Joseph Brodsky insisted that Ukraine was an integral part of Russian history and, indeed, of Russia.”
As to the vilification of Putin, Kissinger wrote, “For the West, the demonization of Vladimir Putin is not a policy; it is an alibi for the absence of one.”
Across the American political spectrum, from the libertarian right to the progressive left, there are voices of sanity on U.S.-Russian relations. Occasionally, these voices are heard on American media, however, the din from the drooling rabid war maniac, John McCain; the foul-mouthed female “diplomat” Victoria Nuland; and a coterie of retired American flag rank military officers, all eager to play armchair generals and admirals in a war; and tired old sycophants and stenographers like CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, have many in the world wondering whether the mental asylum inmates have truly taken over the American political machinery.
This article originally appeared in Strategic Culture Foundation on-line journal.
Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist and nationally-distributed columnist. He is the editor and publisher of the Wayne Madsen Report (subscription required).