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Nation in the News

Nation in the News

TV and radio appearances by Nation writers and editors, big Nation announcements.

Stephen Cohen: Ukraine’s ‘Full-Fledged Economic Meltdown’

Damaged buildings in Donetsk

An armed pro-Russian separatist stands in front of damaged buildings in Donetsk. (Reuters/Sergei Karpukhin)

Stephen Cohen, contributing editor at The Nation, joined The John Batchelor Show on Tuesday to discuss the series of setbacks facing those looking for a peaceful end to the Ukraine crisis—especially the problems facing the Ukrainian economy.

Cohen explained that Ukraine’s economy had been in a “complete meltdown”—unable to balance its budget or to pay its bills or sovereign debt—long before the crisis started. At Riga, Ukraine was unable to obtain the money it needed and further, was told “‘No, you’re not going to be a member of the European Union,’” Cohen said. He believes that it appears the EU will not give Ukraine money because it’s giving this money to Greece.

On top of this economic instability, Cohen said, is an increasing crisis of political faith. According to a recent poll, only 17 percent of Ukrainians approve of the president’s performance. The same poll also showed that only 1 percent of Ukrainians “see the government as fulfilling its obligations.”

“Unfolding before our eyes is a deepening economic, financial, political and military crisis in Kiev,” Cohen said. “The regime is becoming wobbly. It can’t do anything except call for war.”

—Ava Kofman

Read Next: Stephen Cohen on the geopolitical transition of the Ukraine crisis

Katrina vanden Heuvel: Economic Inequality Is the Crisis of Our Time

Katrina vanden Heuvel on Sophie&Co

Katrina vanden Heuvel (Russia Today)

With six Republicans and two Democrats officially in the race, America’s seemingly never-ending presidential campaign is in full swing. The Nation’s Katrina vanden Heuvel joined RT’s Sophie&Co to discuss how a new wave of social movements might alter the upcoming election.

“We’re looking at a populist moment in this country,” said vanden Heuvel. “Economic inequality has become the crisis of our time.” Citing the fast-food workers' movement and Mayor de Blasio’s recently unveiled inequality agenda, vanden Heuvel expressed optimism that the growing political momentum in the streets is provoking a shift in Democratic policy.

“We are in the fight of our lives for people’s control of corporate power and our democracy, but the fight is on,” said vanden Heuvel.

James F. Kelly


Read Next: Katrina vanden Heuvel on why the GOP still doesn't get it on Iraq

Stephen Cohen: The White House Policy Pivot on Russia

Kerry and Putin

US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi, Russia, on May 12, 2015 (Alexei Nikolsky/RIA-Novosti, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

Almost two weeks ago, Secretary of State John Kerry went to Sochi. And last week on the The John Batchelor Show, The Nation’s Stephen Cohen explained why it mattered: In meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Cohen said, Kerry was signifying that the “White House policy towards Russia during the last year has failed.”

President Obama’s strategy has been to “isolate Russia and bring its leadership and the person of Putin to his knees,” Cohen explained. Obama had hoped that the new Cold War would force Russia to “make the concessions that the United States and NATO wanted in Ukraine.” Clearly, that has not happened and, as Cohen said, the White House is now making a “pivot in the Ukrainian crisis.”

Putin’s decision to meet with Kerry, Cohen continued, is a “very big symbolic diplomatic deal” that points to the possibility of a thaw in the new Cold War. The question now is: “What’s the new American policy?” And how will Obama convince Putin to cooperate on Ukraine? This, Cohen said, is “the major international crisis of our time.”

—Khadija Elgarguri

Read Next: Stephen Cohen on why Mr. Kerry went to Sochi

Stephen Cohen: Why Mr. Kerry Went to Sochi

John Kerry and Vladimir Putin

US Secretary of State John Kerry shakes hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi, Russia in May 2015. (Alexei Nikolsky/RIA-Novosti, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

Secretary of State John Kerry’s recent sitdown with Russian President Vladmir Putin in Sochi has ushered the Ukrainian crisis onto a new and far more public stage. The Nation’s Stephen Cohen joined The John Batchelor Show to comment on the long-awaited meeting of the minds, as well as the competing strategies for stability in the Ukraine.

It was not certain, Cohen explained, that Putin would make time to meet with Kerry. But prior to Kerry’s visit, Angela Merkel met with Russian leaders to stress the importance of a non-military solution. Cohen speculated that “Merkel and Putin must have decided that this was the last chance to actually implement the Minsk agreement and compel Kiev…to negotiate with the rebels in the East.” Kiev’s close ties to Washington, Cohen said, were likely on Putin’s mind when he “agreed to meet with Kerry, seeking that commitment…to get Kiev to the negotiating table.”

—Cole Delbyck

Read Next: Stephen Cohen on how America misremembers Russia’s central role in World War II

Hot Type: 150 Years of The Nation

The Nation, America’s oldest weekly magazine, founded in 1865 and now in its 150th year, has long been considered one of America’s definitive journalistic voices. Hot Type, the new film by Barbara Kopple, a two-time Academy Award winner for Best Documentary Feature, tells the riveting and surprising story of The Nation.

The film captures daily life at the magazine, introduces staff writers and editors past and present, and follows members of The Nation’s sought-after internship program. At the heart of the film are the reporters covering stories in the field, and the in-depth coverage and long-term perspectives that The Nation provides on core issues like racial justice, foreign intervention and climate change. It is the story of The Nation—and the nation—evolving into the future, as it is guided by its remarkable past.

Who Wrote for The Nation?

The Second Part of the Sentence

Amy Wilentz in Haiti

Hot Type premiered at the MoMA Film Festival in February and has since screened in Los Angeles, Tucson, Kansas City, Chapel Hill, Madison, and Montclair as part of The Nation’s 150th Anniversary tour. Next up will be the first public New York City screening on May 26 as part of the IFC’s Stranger than Fiction series. Check The Nation’s 150th events page for info on other screenings and events coming up coast to coast in 2015.


Read Next: Living Liberally honors The Nation

Living Liberally Honors The Nation, ‘A Place for Rebel Voices.… Incredible Luminaries’

Living Liberally logo

Living Liberally,” the national organization dedicated to creating politically engaged progressive communities, “promoting democracy one pint at a time,” honored The Nation along with editor and publisher Katrina vanden Heuvel this month at their annual spring gala—“celebrating 150 years of the magazine’s leadership in progressive journalism and opinion and 20 years of vanden Heuvel’s leadership at the helm of the great institution.”

The proclamation, delivered by Congressman Jerry Nadler, Assembly Member Richard Gottfried, City Council Member Ben Kallos, State Senator Gustavo Rivera, and City Council Member Brad Lander, is below.

We the undersigned are proud to honor The Nation’s 150th anniversary, and Katrina vanden Heuvel on her 20th year at the helm of the magazine; and

WHEREAS: The Nation was founded on July 6, 1865 and is the oldest continuously published weekly magazine in the United States. Among its founding objectives were to discuss “topics of the day…with greater accuracy and moderation than are now to be found in the daily press,” to maintain and diffuse the “true democratic principles in society and government,” and the earnest and persistent consideration of the condition of the laboring class”; and

WHEREAS: Established and still headquartered in New York City, The Nation has always been a place for rebel voices and those outside of the mainstream; and

WHEREAS: The Nation counts a long list of incredible luminaries as former writers, including: Pat Buchanan, Hunter Thompson, Theodore Dreiser, H. L. Mencken, John Dos Passos, James Agee, Sinclair Lewis, Tony Kushner, Toni Morrison, Emma Goldman, Henry James, W. E. B. Du Bois, Langston Hughes, Willa Cather, Kurt Vonnegut, E. L. Doctorow, Gore Vidal, all of whom exemplify the excellence and spirit of The Nation’s work; and

WHEREAS: Katrina vanden Heuvel has capably led the magazine for 20 years, keeping a relevant and powerful voice for outsiders in the digital age. She is also a frequent commentator on news sites and pens two columns—one for the Washington Post and the “Editor’s Cut” for The Nation; and

WHEREAS: Katrina vanden Heuvel has received multiple awards for her powerful work and commitment to keeping The Nation an independent voice, including Planned Parenthood, Liberty Hill Foundation, the Correctional Association and the Association for American-Russian Women. She is also a recipient of the NYCLU Callaway Prize for the Defense of the Right of Privacy and the American-Arab Anti-discrimination Committee’s 2003 “Voices of Peace” award; now, therefore

BE IT KNOWN: That we, the undersigned Council Members, gratefully honor Katrina vanden Heuvel and The Nation for their many years of extraordinary achievements and contributions.

Signed this 7th day of May in the year Twenty Fifteen.

New York State Assembly Member, 75th District

Council Member, 5th District

Council Member, 39th District

Congressman, 10th District

State Senator, 33rd District


Read more on The Nation’s special 150th anniversary plans

Stephen Cohen: How America Misremembers Russia’s Central Role in World War II

Russian fighter jets celebrate Victory Day

Russian fighter jets streak across the sky in celebration of Victory Day, May 9, 2010. (Dmitry Terekhov, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Stephen Cohen, contributing editor at The Nation, joined The John Batchelor Show on Tuesday to revisit the popular narrative of American exceptionalism in World War II. As Moscow prepares to celebrate Victory Day, marking the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945, Cohen urged listeners to reject Washington’s attempt to “spoil” the 70th anniversary. “We have the Saving Private Ryan American narrative of World War II,” said Cohen. “I read often…that the liberation of Europe was Eisenhower’s achievement. This is historically untrue…America won the war in the Pacific and Soviet Russia won the war in Europe.”

The conversation raised important questions about historical memory and how the 27 million USSR dead are remembered in both Russia and the United States. Emphasizing the magnitude of the loss, Cohen remarked, “At least 60 percent of every Soviet family lost a member of the nuclear family—mom, dad, daughter, son—in the war. It meant that millions of children grew up without ever knowing their fathers.”

International participation in the holiday has been under intense scrutiny amidst the conflict in eastern Ukraine. Last week, the White House said that President Obama will not be in attendance. According to Cohen, “The decision not to go by Washington and EU leaders is a grave mistake, because it won’t be forgotten or forgiven in Russia for a very long time.”

—Cole Delbyck

Read Next: Stephen Cohen on why we must return to the US-Russian parity principle

Stephen Cohen: We’re Living Through a Geopolitical Transition

Donetsk bus station destroyed by shelling

A member of the separatist armed forces stands guard at a Donetsk bus station destroyed by shelling. (Reuters/Maxim Shemetov)

Stephen Cohen, contributing editor at The Nation, joined The John Batchelor Show on Tuesday to talk about the historical contest between the West and the East, from the Cold War up to the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.

When discussing the Ukrainian crisis, Cohen said that “authoritative voices” in Kiev, Brussels and Washington are saying that “that a larger war is coming, and coming soon.” He noted that there are reports of weapons pouring into Kiev territories, in addition to the rebel territories.

Cohen emphasized the formation and expansion of NATO as a contributing factor to the current geopolitical situation. “To say that Putin is destroying the post-Soviet order created in Europe,” Cohen said, “neglects to mention that Russia was excluded purposefully from that order.”

—Ava Kofman


Read Next: Stephen Cohen on why we must return to the US-Russian parity principle

Stephen Cohen: Even Centrists Are Warning of War With Russia

Ukrainian soldiers

Ukrainian soldiers train on a military base near Kiev in September 2014. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukasky)

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.”

—Cole Delbyck

Read Next: Stephen Cohen on why we need a new US-Russia detente

Stephen Cohen: We Need a New US-Russia Détente

Stephen Cohen on The Thom Hartmann Program

“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

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