Friday, April 19, 2019

TRRN - Is Trump for Detente With Russia and Militarism With China and Iran? - RAI with Stephen Cohen (2/5)

A lively debate between Paul Jay and Stephen Cohen where they essentially agree but spar a little at times. It's a terrific interview, and part 3 looks like it will be even more riveting.

STEPHEN COHEN: I live in a social realm–to the extent that I have any social life at all anymore– where people get very angry if I say, or anybody says, anything positive about Donald Trump. When Trump was campaigning in 2016, he said, “I think it would be great to cooperate with Russia.” All of my adult life, my advocacy in American foreign policy–I’ve known presidents, the first George Bush invited me to Camp David to consult with him before he went to the Malta Summit. I’ve known presidential candidates, Senators and the rest, and I’ve always said the same thing. American national security runs through Moscow, period. Nothing’s changed.

In the era of weapons of mass destruction, not only nuclear, but primarily nuclear, ever more sophisticated, the Russians now have a new generation of nuclear weapons–Putin announced them on March 1, they were dismissed here, but they’re real–that can elude any missile defense. We spent trillions on missile defense to acquire a first strike capability against Russia. We said it was against or Iran, but nobody believed it. Russia has now thwarted us; they now have missile defense-evading nuclear weapons from submarines, to aircraft, to missiles. And Putin has said, “It’s time to negotiate an end to this new arms race,” and he’s 100 percent right. So when I heard Trump say, in 2016, we have to cooperate with Russia, I had already become convinced–and I spell this out in my new book, War with Russia?–that we were in a new cold war, but a new cold war more dangerous than the preceding one for reasons I gave in the book, one of them being these new nuclear weapons.

So I began to speak positively about Trump at that moment–that would have been probably around the summer of 2016–just on this one point, because none of the other candidates were advocating cooperation with Russia. And as I told you before, Paul, all my life I’ve been a detente guy. Detente means cooperate with Russia. I saw in Trump the one candidate who said this is necessary, in his own funny language. Mrs. Clinton, on the other hand, was very much a hawk. When she said publicly that Vladimir Putin has no soul, you could not commit or utter a more supreme statement of anti-diplomacy, and particularly addressing the Russians, who put a lot of stock in soul. To say somebody has no soul and then go on to equate him with Hitler, I found that so irresponsible. I didn’t vote for Trump, but I did begin to write and broadcast that this was of vital importance that we have this discussion, that we needed a new detente because of the new and more dangerous Cold War.

Since he’s been president, I think he’s been ineffective in regard to pursuing detente with Russia for a couple of reasons. I think that the people who invented Russiagate were the enemies of detente, and they piled on. So they’ve now demonized Russia, they’ve crippled Trump. Anything he does diplomatically with Putin is called collusion. No matter what Mueller says, it’s collusion. This is anti-democracy, and detente is pursued through democracy. So whatever he really wants to do–it’s hard to say–he’s been thwarted. I think it’s also one of the reasons why he put anti-detente people around him.



Marian Ruccius said...

Spa a little? Tryin' to lose weight together? :-)

Kaivey said...

I left the r off, sorry.