A number of comments have come in regarding the Democracy Now interview of Professor Stephen Cohen contained in Friday's post. The interview apparently struck a nerve.
I'm passing on another piece in which Cohen expands on the misplaced and counter-productive antagonism toward Vladimir Putin that is pervading Washington and the media: Newsweek: The American Who Dared Make Putin's Case
"I began warning everyone in 1990, in the 90s when Clinton began to move NATO towards Russia, that this was going to lead to exactly what it’s led to...that if we keep this up, we’re like a Western Pac-man heading East, gobbling up all the way until we hit Russia’s border...Ukraine has always been the brass ring for these [U.S./NATO] people. That’s what they wanted and they went a bridge too far in Ukraine. Any Russian leader who has legitimacy at home would have had to do some version of what Putin is now doing. They’d push back."
Obama's former secretary of State Clinton has compared Putin to Hitler and today John McCain referred to Russia as “a gas station masquerading as a country.” Nice. Very productive.
As Cohen proffers, how would these same politicians react were Russia to show up in Canada or Mexico supporting the overthrow of either of their democratically elected administrations? The U.S. is reverting to a dangerous and unnecessary cold war sensibility because we have lightweights in charge of our security and future.
It was Putin, Cohen stresses who resolved the Syrian crisis when Obama backed himself into a corner with ill-advised bravado and bluster. Yet Obama, who might have made a gracious gesture toward Putin and Russia by appearing at the Sochi olympics pulled a no-show. Sochi was under heightened terrorist threat during the olympics and the U.S. president also lost an opportunity to make a statement about standing against international terrorism. Barack Obama seems to prefer the low road in international relations, reacting to crisis, drawing lines in the sand, making threats and taking cheap shots. There is no grand vision, only myopia.
Such contrasts in roads taken are what distinguishes statesmanship from community organizing.