Can Europe Stop Washington’s Military Provocations on Russia’s Borders?

Can Europe Stop Washington’s Military Provocations on Russia’s Borders?

Can Europe Stop Washington’s Military Provocations on Russia’s Borders?

The extremism at NATO’s Warsaw summit revealed doves in opposition to the new Cold War hawks, but not in the United States.


Nation contributing editor Stephen F. Cohen and John Batchelor continue their weekly discussion of the new US-Russian Cold War. (Previous installments are at Cohen characterizes last week’s NATO Summit in Warsaw as another step in the militarization of the new Cold War and indeed just short of a declaration of war against Russia. Indicatively, the meeting issued a special communiqué on Ukraine falsely blaming President Putin for that continuing civil and proxy war, which remains the political epicenter of the US/NATO-Russian expanding conflict. (Much less was said about the Islamic State in Syria or international terrorism generally.) Cohen thinks Moscow commentators are right in worrying that the Warsaw Summit confirmed that the current NATO military buildup on Russia’s borders may be only the beginning of a long-term process and, not unrelated, Kiev may be preparing another military assault on rebel territories in the Donbass. Either possibility could result in war with Russia.

Extreme anti-Russian resolutions at the Warsaw Summit also revealed, according to Cohen, another recurring feature of the preceding 40-year Cold War: an increasingly public struggle between pro-détente “doves” and militaristic “hawks.” Remarkably, prior to and even at the summit, leaders of major NATO countries—Germany, France, and Italy—made clear that they do not regard Russia as an “enemy” or a threat, casting doubt on NATO’s military buildup on its new Eastern Front and the renewal of economic sanctions against Russia. This vital political struggle to end or at least curtail the new Cold War now is under way in Europe.

But even though Washington controls (and largely finances) NATO, no such high-level struggle has broken out in the United States, where the political-media establishment appears to be almost monolithically pro–Cold War. Indeed, Cohen thinks that only two leading American politicians have indicated interest in any kind of détente with Russia: Donald Trump, by a number of elliptical but still undeveloped public statements; and possibly President Obama.

In last week’s broadcast, Cohen and Batchelor discussed reports that Obama wants to achieve some kind of rapprochement with “Putin’s Russia” as part of his foreign-policy legacy instead of the new Cold War. Last week’s evidence was confirmed by reports that Obama had proposed to Putin real US-Russian military cooperation against the Islamic State in Syria. This week there was an additional report that Obama is preparing to propose to Putin new mutual steps in the area of nuclear-arms control, including taking warheads off “high alert” status and adoption of a “no-first-use” doctrine by Washington and Moscow. Both measures would considerably reduce the growing risk of nuclear war.

Unlike Europe’s pro-détente “dove” leaders, Obama has been extremely inconsistent in words and deeds, both on Syria and in regard to the NATO buildup and Ukraine. His speech at the Warsaw Summit, for example, was extremely hawkish, though overshadowed by his need to respond on television to the events in Dallas. (Cohen wonders how many American viewers asked themselves, “What is he doing there, anyway?”) Whether Obama’s irresolute conduct on these vital issues of war or peace is due to his own irresolute nature in foreign policy or to the high-level struggle we know to be under way inside his own administration is not yet clear.

In either case, Cohen concludes, for now Americans must look to Europe to save us from Washington’s escalating Cold War against Russia.

Thank you for reading The Nation!

We hope you enjoyed the story you just read. It’s just one of many examples of incisive, deeply-reported journalism we publish—journalism that shifts the needle on important issues, uncovers malfeasance and corruption, and uplifts voices and perspectives that often go unheard in mainstream media. For nearly 160 years, The Nation has spoken truth to power and shone a light on issues that would otherwise be swept under the rug.

In a critical election year as well as a time of media austerity, independent journalism needs your continued support. The best way to do this is with a recurring donation. This month, we are asking readers like you who value truth and democracy to step up and support The Nation with a monthly contribution. We call these monthly donors Sustainers, a small but mighty group of supporters who ensure our team of writers, editors, and fact-checkers have the resources they need to report on breaking news, investigative feature stories that often take weeks or months to report, and much more.

There’s a lot to talk about in the coming months, from the presidential election and Supreme Court battles to the fight for bodily autonomy. We’ll cover all these issues and more, but this is only made possible with support from sustaining donors. Donate today—any amount you can spare each month is appreciated, even just the price of a cup of coffee.

The Nation does not bow to the interests of a corporate owner or advertisers—we answer only to readers like you who make our work possible. Set up a recurring donation today and ensure we can continue to hold the powerful accountable.

Thank you for your generosity.

Ad Policy