Nation contributing editor Stephen F. Cohen and John Batchelor continue their weekly discussions of the new US-Russian Cold War. (Previous installments are at TheNation.com.) After noting the mounting hysterical (and false) attacks on Trump as a candidate who as America’s president would willfully betray its national-security interests on behalf of Putin’s Russia, Cohen and Batchelor turn to the real issues that should be debated in the mainstream media and by the candidates themselves. Those issues include:
— Do Trump’s proposals for more cooperation and less conflict with Russia, in effect a new détente, have merit in the current conditions of an increasingly dangerous new Cold War?
— What are the implications for NATO if Turkey, a NATO member state, aligns itself more closely with Russia in the aftermath of the failed coup against Turkish President Erdogan, who met with Putin in Russia this week? Cohen points out that Erdogan seems to feel beholden to Putin for surviving the coup attempt and that major Russian financial incentives canceled after the Turkish shootdown of a Russian warplane several months ago—among them Turkey as a major site for Russian tourists and making Turkey a hub for Russian natural gas supplies to Europe—are already being restored. Cohen also asks whether or not this will alter Ergodan’s position regarding the war against ISIS and other jihadists in Syria, which had been at sharp odds with Putin’s position.
— Should Obama cooperate with Putin’s air war against ISIS and its jihadist allies in Syria as a breakthrough moment that may now be unfolding in the battle for Aleppo? Obama and Putin had reached a tentative agreement for such cooperation but it is being thwarted by opponents in Washington, particularly by Ash Carter’s Department of Defense, and by major segments of the mainstream media. Is demonizing Putin and thereby refusing a kind of mini-détente with Russia in this war against terrorism in America’s best interests? Cohen thinks it is, but he laments that this urgent issue is scarcely discussed in the establishment media or by the two major presidential candidates.
— Finally, and briefly, Cohen and Batchelor ask again if the banning of so many Russian athletes from the Rio Olympic Games is due to confirmed evidence of a massive Russian state-sponsored doping program or to the politics of the new Cold War. This issue will not end with the Games, as indicated by Cold War behavior by American and Russian athletes themselves.