TV and radio appearances by Nation writers and editors, big Nation announcements.
The crisis in Ukraine has taken on a global bent in the last few months, drawing Russia, the United States, NATO, and even China into its web. While many political pundits initially considered war with Russia to be an unlikely consequence of Ukrainian strife, a clash between the United States and Russia is now widely acknowledged as a serious possibility.
The Nation’s Stephen Cohen visited The John Batchelor Show this week to reflect on how the conversation has changed.
“When you and I first started talking about the Ukrainian crisis earlier in 2014,” Cohen told Batchelor, “I began framing it as so dangerous that it could slip toward actual war.… I think we probably sounded like alarmists then because nobody else was saying that. But here we are ten months later, and…you’ve got a whole series of centrist people telling us what you and I worried about ten months ago, that war with Russia is now something we have to think about.”
Read Next: Stephen Cohen on why we need a new US-Russia detente
“What do we do next if we manage to avert the worst in Ukraine?” That was the question The Nation’s Stephen Cohen raised when he joined The Thom Hartmann Program last week to discuss the ongoing crisis in Ukraine and the diplomatic strategy that the United States will need to mend its declining relationship with Russia.
The answer, Cohen said, could be found in lessons from the previous Cold War, when a group in Washington sought peace through cooperation.
“The American political establishment had to recognize the Soviet government as a coequal great power with legitimate interests and on that basis negotiate where cooperation was possible,” Cohen said. “We need a new détente.”
Later in the show, Cohen explained why the crisis in Ukraine is drawing the U.S. closer to a “hot war” with Russia and how U.S.-Russian relations will influence the 2016 presidential campaign.
—James F. Kelly
Read Next: Stephen Cohen on why we must return to the US-Russian parity principle
What will be the repercussions if Minsk II fails? In this segment of The John Batchelor Show, The Nation’s Stephen Cohen discusses the potential violence and growing humanitarian crisis that will ensue if the ceasefire does not hold. According to Cohen, the dissolution of the ceasefire would “almost certainly” lead Obama to, despite his reluctance, send billions of dollars of weapons to Kiev, spurring Russia’s further involvement in the Ukrainian civil war in the east.
“If Minsk fails, events will logically follow that will cross everyone’s red line—Putin’s, the West,” Cohen said. “And we’ll be in a situation much closer to actual war with Russia.”
Read Next: Stephen Cohen on how the New York Times gets Putin and the EU wrong
Katrina vanden Heuvel appeared on Charlie Rose this Wednesday to reflect on The Nation’s legacy on the occasion of the magazine’s 150th anniversary. Rose, a longtime host to many Nation writers, opened the conversation with a recap of the publication’s history. “It was founded by a group of young abolitionists in 1865,” he said. “Its focus on issues such as civil rights, income inequality, and corporate power has made it a thought leader of the American left.”
When asked what significance The Nation held for her, vanden Heuvel, who started at the magazine as an intern when she was nineteen, revealed that “The Nation was where I learned about journalism and where I learned about America. It was a school. It was what you don’t learn in university.” The conversation ranged from the personal to political, mentioning Nation contributors like James Baldwin, Martin Luther King Jr. and others who advocated for equality in its pages. Vanden Heuvel ended the discussion by reaffirming the magazine’s commitment to justice, not popularity. “One of the great animating impulses and principles of The Nation has been anti-imperialism—the opposition to reckless wars like the Spanish-American War, Vietnam War, Iraq,” she said. “What is heretical at some time is now common sense.”
Read Next: Katrina vanden Heuvel on The Nation’s commitment to independence
The New York Times ran a front-page article on Tuesday accusing Putin of currying favor with Cyprus and Greece in an effort to secure their votes against renewing sanctions. Later that day, The Nation’s Stephen Cohen said on The John Batchelor Show that while it’s true that Putin hopes to find support in Europe’s “soft spots,” the tone of the Times’s headline—”Waving Cash, Putin Sows E.U. Divisions in an Effort to Break Sanctions“—misleadingly places the blame on Russia for the current disunity in Europe. “It’s not Putin who split Europe. It’s American policy,” Cohen said, adding that Europe needs Russia for its own economic prosperity. He also discussed the continuing efforts of US leaders to undermine the Minsk II negotiations, which, he said, are crucial to lasting peace in the region.
Read Next: Stephen Cohen on the way we represent Putin’s motives
Is a US war with Russia possible? The Nation’s Stephen Cohen joined The Thom Hartmann Program to discuss the politics underpinning the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
Cohen expressed concern over the narrative in the West that Putin sought to destabilize Ukraine as part of a wider campaign to take back former Soviet territories in Eastern Europe. “It doesn’t correspond to the facts and above all it has no logic. This is the last thing Putin wanted,” said Cohen.
Cohen also maintained that the United States is closer to the possibility of war with Russia than it has been since the Cuban missile crisis. “American national security still runs through Moscow. We will never have real sensible national security without the Kremlin as partner,” Cohen said.
—James F. Kelly
Read Next: Stephen Cohen on Ukraine's last best chance
“Welcome to The Nation magazine’s 150th birthday party,” John Nichols said to the crowd at the Tucson Festival of Books this past month in Arizona. In this panel conversation, which aired on CSPAN2’s BookTV, Nichols joined The Nation’s Katha Pollitt, Lee Fang of The Intercept, and Congressman Raul Grijalva (D-Arizona) to honor what Nichols characterized as “150 years of rabblerousing, agitating and objecting and calling out the ugly abuses of corporate power and embracing the beauty of movements for social and economic justice.”
Discussing the ever-changing media landscape Congressman Grijalva praised The Nation for adding a "broader depth" to the political discourse, which is "so important for our democracy."
—James F. Kelly
“In an age where a magazine is lucky to survive ten years or count themselves among the big ones if it survives twenty or thirty, how has The Nation managed to survive for 150 years?"
Democracy Now host Juan Gonzalez posed this question to Katrina vanden Heuvel in an interview this week discussing the publication of the The Nation's 150th anniversary issue. During the conversation, vanden Heuvel spoke about the magazine’s unwavering commitment to independence, open debate, and freedom of the press.
“It’s a magazine for voices which might otherwise be marginalized. It’s for rebellious voices, for dissident voices, for writer’s voices... It's about it being a cause, a community, as much as a publication... Fighting for independence, and never giving up on a fight, is part of why The Nation has survived."
Read Next: Katrina vanden Heuvel on 150 years of telling the truth
The Nation's Stephen Cohen visited The John Batchelor Show on Tuesday to discuss the seemingly unopposed efforts of the American “war party” to undermine a political solution to the Ukraine conflict.
The "misinformation coming out of many Western and NATO capitals about some new Russian escalation of which there is no evidence,” Cohen said, is an “all-out campaign by the people who want a showdown with Russia.” This effort to sabotage the Minsk II agreement, which Cohen called “the last best chance to avert wider war," seems to be working: thanks to the war party's influence in Washington, American tanks are now “rolling across Europe."
Read Next: Stephen F. Cohen on why the Ukrainian people deserve better than the Kiev government
The Nation's Chris Hayes rang in the magazine's 150th birthday on his MSNBC show All In with Chris Hayes. He opened the hour with a powerful statement about The Nation's staying power in the tumultuous media landscape. "If you took a political journalist from 1865 and put him in a time machine to cover the current election cycle," he said, "they would be more or less baffled by everything they encountered, but for a small handful of institutions that have somehow managed to endure." The Nation is one of those institutions.
In its 150 years, the magazine has challenged the status quo, often anticipating the consequences of major political moments like the Iraq War, global warming, and the 2008 housing crisis before they happened. "The Nation is a reminder of how not liberal the mainstream is," Hayes said, "exposed in high relief during particular moments in our nation’s history." He ended the segment with a reminder of why The Nation is needed more than ever—"to criticize the cozy consensus of mainstream and power elite."
Read Next: Stephen Cohen on why the Ukranian people deserve a better government