TV and radio appearances by Nation writers and editors, big Nation announcements.
This Sunday, Katrina vanden Heuvel appeared on ABC’s This Week and challenged Bill Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard, on Iraq and American foreign policy. Vanden Heuvel called Kristol one of the “architects of catastrophe that have cost this country trillions of dollars, thousands of lives.” She added, “This country should not go back to war. We don’t need armchair warriors, and if you feel so strongly, you should, with all due respect, enlist in the Iraqi Army.”
Yesterday, Melissa Harris-Perry appeared on All In with Chris Hayes to discuss the birth of the interracial Moral Mondays movement. She told Hayes that this initiative goes against many Northern liberals’ perception of the South, which they see as “so utterly backward and so utterly racially divided.” The reality is more complicated, she explains: “There is a level of intimacy, interracially in the US South that hasn’t always led to equality but has meant that there have been moments when interracial political movements could emerge.” This history of fusion movments since the aboliton of slavery should keep us from seeing Moral Mondays as game-changing, says Harris-Perry,”there are strategic partnerships, but we probably should not expect enduring, long-term coalitional change.”
—Hannah Harris Green
On The John Batchelor Show, Russian historian and Nation contributing editor Stephen Cohen discussed two recent and unsettling events in Ukraine: a spontaneous gas pipeline explosion in central Ukraine and a Ukrainian-led civilian assault on the Russian embassy. Because the explosion, argues Cohen, would benefit neither the Russian government nor the Kiev government, Cohen predicted that “extreme ultranationalists” are responsible. “Assuming it wasn’t an accident,” Cohen says, “I would have to say it was one of these groups.” Later in the show, Cohen critiqued the mob attack on the Russian embassy, where cars where overturned, windows smashed and the Russian flag torn in two. Asserting that all embassies are entitled to full safety and sanctuary, Cohen voiced extreme disappointment that neither the Kiev government nor any other Western states had issued a strong disapproval of this attack.
— Alana de Hinojosa
Dave Zirin appeared on MSNBC last night to comment on yet another round of protests and tear-gassing in Brazil. Yesterday in Porto Alegre, Brazilians marched against FIFA’s draining of public coffers, arguing that the $11 billion World Cup budget should go towards alleviating poverty. When the government agreed to host the games, Brazil was experiencing an economic boom, but now a recession has hit the country. FIFA was indifferent to the economic change: “They say, you made your commitment, and we want to see your skin in the game regardless of how your economy is doing. And that’s what I think fueled a lot of the anger Brazilians feel,” Zirin explained to MSNBC’s Ari Melber.
—Hannah Harris Green
Standing outside the Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Nation sports correspondent Dave Zirin described how he, as well as hundreds of protesters and tourists, were tear gassed just blocks away yesterday. He watched with his cameraman as police prepared to take down Brazilians marching against FIFA’s upheaval of their society. Nearby tourists were rooting for the police, but that didn’t last. “A headwind blew the tear gas onto the tourists,” Zirin told Democracy Now!’s Amy Goodman, “sending 200 tourists scattering.” Zirin himself was also hit, and so couldn’t see the police officer who fired a live round into the crowd. In his appearance on Democracy Now!, Zirin also discusses Brazilians who have been uprooted from their favela homes at gunpoint to make room for World Cup development.
—Hannah Harris Green
“Like Pac-man, the old game if you remember,” Dr. Stephen Cohen says, “NATO has gobbled up all of these countries between Germany and Russia; it’s now on Russia’s borders.” On June 13, The Nation’s contributing editor and author of Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives: From Stalinism to the New Cold War, appeared on The Big Picture with Thom Hartmann. Cohen describes the US position on Ukraine as a “twenty-first-century foreign policy disaster, condemning the Obama administration for its stagnant and worsening relationship with Russia. “I am convinced that the most essential partner for American national security in all of these areas—from Iran to Syria to Afghanistan and beyond—is the Kremlin, currently occupied by Putin.”
Read Next: Stephen Cohen’s “Cold War Again: Who’s Responsible?”
Should America be looking to Seattle for solutions to its broken economic system? On Sunday, The Nation’s editor and publisher Katrina vanden Heuvel appeared on ABC’s This Week with Neal Karlinsky and conservative commentator and Wall Street Journal editor Paul Gigot, to discuss Seattle’s historic minimum wage hike to $15 an hour. “This is smart economics,” argues vanden Heuvel. “It’s good politics and it’s morally right.”
While the minimum wage hike is double the federal rate and currently the highest in the country, many have questions regarding whether the hike will squeeze low-wage workers out of jobs and cause employers to move toward the use of automation in the workplace. Still, vanden Heuvel holds on in support of the 77 percent of Americans in favor of increases like these: “If we are a country that believes in a strong middle class and healthy families, we need rules of the road…. we need to have a sense of fairness in this country that’s also good for business and the economy.”
Dr. Stephen Cohen, a Russia scholar and longtime contributing editor at The Nation, laments what he perceives to be the absence of debate over US policy towards Ukraine. “The mainstream media has deleted people such as myself who are arguing for a change of policy,” he says. Appearing here on The Thom Hartmann Program, Cohen reviews the competing narratives as to what sparked the crisis in Ukraine and what it would take to end it. He argues that we should desist from Manichean posturing and engage with the possibility that the US does indeed bear some responsibility for the ongoing violence. Forcing the question of US culpability into public discourse is essential, he says, “because if we’re half at fault, and Russia’s half at fault, that’s the beginning of a negotiation.”
On Wednesday, President Obama delivered the commencement address to graduating cadets at the US Military Academy at West Point, using the occasion to articulate his vision for America’s role in world affairs. “This speech had different audiences,” says Nation editor and publisher Katrina vanden Heuvel. “He was trying to thread the needle between hyper-interventionists and isolationists and was speaking to a war-weary public.” Appearing here on The Diane Rehm Show with Poltico editor Micahel Hirsh and Robert Kagan of the Brookings Institution, vanden Heuvel says that while the president did give a nod to international law and the need to exercise restraint in the use of military power, the speech did “not so much signal the end of military misadventurism as direct it towards a new arena in fresh packaging,” his proposed $5 billion Counterterrorism Partnerships Fund being a case in point.
To listen to the entire conversation, visit The Diane Rehm Show here.
Petro Poroshenko has won this weekend’s presidential election in Ukraine. A business tycoon who previously served as economics and foreign minister, Poroshenko favors a trade deal with the European Union. Pundits view his ascent to the embattled country’s highest office as confirmation of the view that Ukraine wants to move towards the West. Nation contributor Stephen Cohen, appearing here on The John Batchelor Show, believes this is a problematic reading of the vote. “The election returns were primarily from Western Ukraine and Kiev. The East barely voted, so what we can say is Kiev and Western Ukraine elected a president.”