Nation contributing editor Stephen F. Cohen and John Batchelor continue their weekly discussions of the new US-Russian Cold War. This installment begins with reflections on a recent article by Henry Kissinger analyzing the breakdown of order in the Middle East and Russian President Putin’s rational policy in the region.

Cohen argues that we are witnessing more generally Washington’s failing but persistent effort to maintain its “only superpower” status from Asia to Europe and the Middle East, as exemplified by its refusal to join France, Germany and Russia in a peaceful resolution of the Ukrainian crisis and to join Putin’s coalition against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.

Cohen also argues that a multi-polar world is an emerging reality being driven by history, economics, political, national traditions, trans-national crises, and that by opposing it the US is becoming part of the problem, not the solution. In this regard, he asks, was Putin really wrong in suggesting that American policymakers have “mush for brains”? Recent developments in Ukraine and in the European Union are also discussed.