Nation contributing editor Stephen F. Cohen and John Batchelor continue their weekly discussion of the new US-Russian Cold War. Cohen points out that the Cold War that erupted two years ago has now spread from Ukraine and Europe to Syria and Turkey. The old order is dying, but a new one is not yet clear.
Two opportunities to end, or at least diminish, the new Cold War appeared in late 2015 and early 2016. If seized, Washington-Moscow cooperation could help diminish other spreading conflicts. One opportunity is in Ukraine, where pressure by German Chancellor Merkel and French President Hollande compelled the reluctant Ukrainian president and parliament to enact two steps required to implement the Minsk Peace Accords. (Cohen adds that a recent Gallup poll suggests that the “Maidan Revolution,” which the U.S.-backed Kiev government claims to represent, has lost the support of a majority of Ukrainians even outside the rebel Donbass region.)
The other opportunity is in Syria, where the substantially successful Russian air campaign—greatly underreported, even denigrated, in US media—has shown the potential of an American-Russian coalition against jihadist forces in the region. (Cohen thinks the Russia air war in Syria contributed to recent victories against terrorists in Iraq as well.) In both cases, however, the Obama Administration still resists such cooperation with the Kremlin. Meanwhile, as discussed in the concluding segment of the broadcast, opponents of a new US-Russian detente—in Washington, Brussels and even in Moscow—have escalated their protests against seizing these new opportunities, in part by relentlessly demonizing Russian President Putin, Syrian President Assad and Moscow’s ally in Syria, Iran.