TV and radio appearances by Nation writers and editors, big Nation announcements.
The Donetsk People’s Republic, the contested area of eastern Ukraine that has been the scene of violent confrontations between Ukrainian troops and separatist rebels, recently elected a new leader, Alexander Zakharchenko. On The John Batchelor Show, Stephen Coehn explains that it was not clear whether or not the Kremlin wanted this to take place. The situation reminds us that “the Kremlin is not in complete control of the Donbass.”
“[Zakharchenko]…is an interesting figure partly because he is so local,” says Cohen. “He is representative of the political forces in the Donbass, not the ones in Moscow.”
This election year, abortion rights are being vigorously challenged in the courts and in referendums across the US. That’s why Katha Pollitt’s new book, Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights, is making an active case for reproductive justice. Pollitt joins Democracy Now! with Amy Goodman and Narmeen Sheikh to explain that “having children when you want to have children is very important for women’s lives.”
In the next few days, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko will meet with European leaders Vladimir Putin, Angela Merkel and François Hollande. Stephen Cohen goes on The John Batchelor Show to discuss what will occur at that meeting and what’s next for Ukraine, now that Poroshenko’s position has drastically weakened and Putin holds all the cards. First, says Cohen, Poroshenko will ask for gas, because winter is coming.
As the Wisconsin gubernatorial race between Mary Burke and Scott Walker tightens—the latest poll shows the two in a dead heat—Walker appears to be fighting for his political life. On Wednesday night, John Nichols, The Nation’s Washington correspondent, appeared on All In with Chris Hayes to talk about how the minimum wage debate in Wisconsin could doom Walker’s re-election campaign and tank his presidential ambitions. “The issue of the minimum wage and the issue of a living wage have come front and center,” Nichols said. Walker’s opponent is a relative newcomer to statewide politics, Nichols explained, but she has gained an advantage over Walker because “her ads have focused like a laser beam on these economic issues.”
“For the first time, there is a military expansion of NATO, not just political, toward Russia. But, it’s not too late to stop it,” said Stephen Cohen, contributing editor of The Nation, on the SophieCo show. Cohen spoke about deteriorating US-Russian relations, the possibility of direct conflict and the dangers of NATO expansion eastwards. “If leadership does what leadership is supposed to do, if states—men and women—do what they’re supposed to do, we can end this Ukrainian crisis and stop this military expansion of NATO.”
Watch the interview here.
Ukraine’s president, Petro Poroshenko, has now formed his own political party, but whether or not he will control a majority of Parliament is now in doubt. As Stephen Cohen explained on The John Batchelor Show, “For Poroshenko everything, everything—the war, the political future of Ukraine, his own future, and the billions of dollars that the West is promising Ukraine to build and restructure—hinges to some degree on these parliamentary elections and whether he can build in Kiev a workable majority. He certainly doesn’t have it now.”
On the eve of the September 11 anniversary, President Obama revealed his strategy to combat terrorism, particularly the threat posed by ISIS. On Monday morning Phyllis Bennis appeared on Democracy Now! to explain why the US strikes against Iraq are “politically driven, not strategically driven.”
One thing the public doesn’t hear about from the pro-war pundits on cable news: how military action in Iraq and Syria could benefit their pocket books. Lee Fang, a contributing writer with The Nation, appeared on Democracy Now! Monday morning to discuss his latest piece, “Who’s Paying the Pro-War Pundits?” In that piece and on the show, Fang describes how many of the pundits and contributors on cable news networks urging aggressive military escalation have conflicts of interest and current ties to military contractors that the public is unaware of. And those conflicts could be skewing public perception of the threat ISIS poses. “Military opinion is not monolithic,” Fang said. “But on many of these networks, you hear from a limited set of opinions.”
Read Next: “Who’s Paying the Pro-War Pundits?”
In late August, The Nation published exclusive audio from a secretive summer retreat for billionaire Republican donors organized by the Koch brothers. In the audio, released by Lauren Windsor of The Undercurrent, Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) tells those assembled that he will do everything in his power to block government spending on “healthcare, on financial services, on the Environmental Protection Agency, across the board.”
In additional audio from the retreat, top Koch strategist Richard Fink describes the minimum wage as “the recruitment ground for fascism,” and compares liberals to groups ranging from the Nazi Party to modern-day suicide bombers. So yesterday, Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D-NV) brought The Nation and The Undercurrent’s reporting to the Senate floor by asking McConnell to denounce Fink’s inflammatory remarks. Later in the afternoon at a press briefing, Windsor again asked McConnell to comment on the Fink recording. McConnell turned away without answering, moving on to the next question.
“The crisis has split Europe. It’s not quite a barricade, they’re not shouting at each other, but it’s clear that behind closed doors two European…points of view have emerged,” said Stephen Cohen, a contributing editor at The Nation, on The John Batchelor Show. “One is that this Ukrainian crisis shows a resurgent, revanchist, aggressive, imperialistic, soviet-like Russia headed by Putin and that Ukraine is only his first act of aggression—that he’s headed after this to the Baltics and elsewhere. The other Europe doesn’t see it that way at all; it sees it as conflicts of interest, as policies that got out of control that require compromise on both sides, Russia and Europe.”
—Pablo Mayo Cerqueiro