Stephen F. Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian studies at NYU and Princeton, and John Batchelor continue their (usually) weekly discussion of the new US-Russian Cold War. (You can find previous installments of these discussions, now in their fifth year, at TheNation.com.)
Cohen points out that for more than a decade Russia—certainly its state and leadership—has been increasingly demonized and thus delegitimized by the American political-media establishment. This began with the personal vilification of Russian President Vladimir Putin but has grown into a general Russophobic indictment of Russia itself and any of its citizens with whom Americans may have had encounters. Nearly two years of “Russiagate” allegations, which still remain unproven, have more than implied that “contacts” or “ties” with anyone “linked to” Russian officialdom, directly or indirectly, are inherently suspicious, if not treasonous. (See, for example, statements by John Brennan and James Clapper.) According to former vice president (and would-be president) Joseph Biden, today’s Russia, which “is brazenly assaulting the foundations of Western democracy” everywhere, is apparently no less a nefarious menace than was communist Soviet Russia.
More recently, “crimes” attributed to the Kremlin in the UK and Syria (also yet to be proven) have expanded the condemnation beyond charges customarily leveled against Soviet Russia. Thus, the UK foreign minister, echoing Washington, indicts today’s Russia for its “malign behavior in all of its manifestations…whether it is cyberwarfare, whether it’s disinformation, assassination attempts, whatever it happens to be.” On April 20, the DNC went further, seeking a formal indictment of “whatever it happens to be” by suing the Russian government for conspiring with the Trump campaign to deprive Hillary Clinton of her rightful victory in the 2016 presidential election. Central figures in this “act of unprecedented treachery”—few deeds could be more criminal—are stated to have been “people believed to be affiliated with Russia.”