New York University Professor Stephen Cohen, a prominent American political scientist, believes that the new President who enters the White House in January should engage in a civil and respectful dialogue with Russia. He insisted that America should talk to Russia as an equal, not as the economically and politically shattered loser Washington dealt with during the 1990s. Professor Cohen’s upset by the complete lack of such understanding that he sees in either Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama or his Republican rival John McCain. Professor Cohen’s colleague in Moscow, Dmitri Efstafyev, said, “In the present situation, the United States needs to maintain its Big Power posture to preserve its global leadership and socioeconomic stability at home. Simply put, without an active imperial foreign policy the United States will simply cease to exist. Because its global economic leadership hinges entirely on their control of global trade, above all in oil, it needs a strong military presence just about everywhere. To be able to efficiently interact with the Americans, Russia needs to prove that without her, America will hardly be able to go it alone…” Well, there’s no denying the hard fact that the American foreign policy is the most “ideologised” around. Russia, for its part, keeps looking for normal and constructive cooperation with Washington, arguing that we really need each other. Well, there are things we agree and disagree on, no doubt about that, but, as President Dmitri Medvedev said, we need to work hand in hand. There’s one more thing that the Americans need to do today, and that’s to acquire the ability to listen and to hear what others are saying. This is needful, because in their attempts to be the only hyperpower in this ever-changing world of ours, the Americans could upset the hard-won stability and balance of forces in the world…
12 July 2008
Voice of Russia World Service
There have been too many tears already… let there be no more!
Nonetheless, most American officials, journalists, and academics, unwilling perhaps to confront their unwise policies and mistaken analyses since the Soviet Union ended in 1991, continue to deny the Cold War nature of today’s relationship with Russia. A resident expert at the Council on Foreign Relations tells us, for example, “The situation today’s nothing like the Cold War times”, while another think-tank specialist, testifying to Congress, can “see no prospect of a new Cold War”. … Still worse, the overwhelming majority of US officials and opinion-makers who do acknowledge the serious deterioration in relations between Washington and Moscow blame the development solely on Putin’s domestic and foreign policies. Not surprisingly, the most heretical part of my article, that the origins of the new Cold War are to be found instead in attitudes and policies toward post-Soviet Russia adopted by the Clinton administration back in the 1990s and largely continued by this Bush administration, has found even less support. But, unless it too is fully acknowledged, we are left only with the astonishing admission of a leading academic specialist with long-standing ties in Washington. Lamenting the state of US-Russian relations, he informed us, “Nobody has a good idea of what’s to be done”. What must be done, however, is clear enough. Because the new Cold War began in Washington, steps toward ending it also have to begin in Washington. Two are especially urgent, for reasons also explained in the article:
- A US recognition that post-Soviet Russia isn’t a defeated supplicant or American client state, as seems to have been the prevailing view since 1991, but, a fully sovereign nation at home with legitimate national interests abroad equal to our own
- An immediate end to the reckless expansion of NATO around Russia’s borders
According to the principles of American democracy, the best time to fight for such a change in policy is in the course of campaigns for the presidency. That’s why I’m pleased my article is reappearing at this time. On the other hand, the hour’s late, and it’s hard to be optimistic.
8 June 2007
Stephen F. Cohen
Professor, New York University, New York NY
There one has it. Two sober views, one Russian, one American, pleading for sanity. There’s no need for America and Russia to be enemies. There’s a possibility of true peace, if only America gives up its need for international adulation and its propensity for intervening violently in affairs not its own. Shall we grow up? God willing, we shall. The consequences of not doing so are too horrific to contemplate. God help us all.