The John Batchelor Show, February 16.

Nation contributing editor Stephen F. Cohen and John Batchelor continued their weekly discussions of the new Cold War. (Previous installments are at TheNation.com.) Cohen points out that Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev confirms what Cohen has been arguing for nearly a decade: Washington and Moscow are in a new Cold War more dangerous than the preceding one. Cohen asks why, if Pope Francis can establish a détente with his counterpart in Moscow after a 1,000-year schism, President Obama cannot do the same with Putin. Instead, US-Russian political relations are growing worse and more militarized. In Ukraine’s civil and proxy war, the political crisis of the US-backed Kiev government, fueled by Ukraine’s rapacious oligarchs, has deepened. In Syria, Putin’s successful strategy of militarily bolstering Assad’s army in order to defeat ISIS and its affiliate (“moderate”) terrorist movements, while evidently acknowledged by Secretary of State Kerry and many European officials, is the target of fierce defamation by Washington’s powerful war party that opposes Kerry’s diplomatic approach both to the Syrian and Ukrainian crises. Still worse, two American allies, Saudi Arabia and NATO member Turkey, are considering sending their troops (illegally) into Syria to fight Assad’s ascendant army, thereby risking military confrontations both with Russian and US “special-ops” boots on the ground. (This axis of Washington hardliners, Turkey and the Gulf sheikdoms, Cohen observes again, appears to regard Putin and Assad as a greater foe than Middle East terrorist armies Turkey and Saudi Arabia have abetted for years.) The conversation ends with Cohen pointing out that among Republican presidential candidates, only Donald Trump has proposed a kind of détente with Moscow, while the others advocate, in their bellicose bumper-sticker pronouncements, escalating the military confrontation with Russia on all fronts, from Europe to the Middle East. Meanwhile, debate moderators continue to fail to press them on these perilous international issues.