“I realized it wasn’t the Soviet Union that was the great danger, it was the potential of nuclear war, and it’s still the case today,” Stephen Cohen said in an interview with Paul Jay in May 2019.
The West’s approach to achieving peace in Ukraine has focused on Russia’s role while ignoring domestic factors because this is consistent with the broader US policy of portraying Russia as a destabilizing actor in world affairs. It is also in keeping with the dominant approach to international relations—Realism—which sees domestic actors as irrelevant when considering a nation’s foreign policy.
These demonstrate the methods used by journalists to paint a picture of the world that is far from accurate.
Coming from a developing country, I have a somewhat different view of sanctions because it has enabled me to see the actions of the US from both a positive and a not so positive perspective.
Last week, the Biden administration announced plans to stop processing American travel visas for most Russian citizens who wish to visit the US. In return, the Embassy in Moscow plans to cut counselor staff in Moscow by 75%.
We greet this tit-for-tat decision with deep dismay.
This Russia salon was led by Katrina vanden Heuvel and featured ACURA Board Members addressing a wide range of topics: Nicolai Petro on Ukraine; Cynthia Lazaroff on the Nuclear Peril; Krishen Mehta on our Sanctions Addiction; David Speedie on Russia and China; with thoughtful closing remarks by Ambassador Jack Matlock. The event also featured questions and comments from the Committee’s John Henry, Chas Freeman and Bruce Fein.
Today I spoke with Pietro Shakarian, a newly minted PhD from The Ohio State University. Pietro was a protege and friend of the late Professor Stephen F. Cohen and we talked about Steve’s influence on his work, as well as Pietro’s research on Anastas Mikoyan and the Soviet Union’s “nationalities” policy. Pietro gives a tour d’horizon on the goings on in Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh and shares his views on the Biden administration’s Russia policy. – J.C., Editor
The seven-year crisis in the Ukraine was largely an American creation, due to the US’s congenital meddling and interventionism in nations with little strategic importance to the United States. There is great irony in Biden administration officials trying to get ahead of a potential crisis that was largely caused by Biden’s nominee for undersecretary of state for political affairs, Victoria Nuland.
While any Russian attempt to seize all or part of Ukraine constitutes a violation of international law, before any decision is made about whether the U.S. should fight to defend Ukraine, which is not a U.S. ally, American policymakers must fully contemplate the ramifications of fighting Russia.
Many observers of President Vladimir Putin’s 2021 “State of the Nation” speech have focused on his statements with regards to “red lines,” since he let it be known that Russia’s answer would be “asymmetric, rapid, and tough.” Such a comment is not unexpected, but his next statement has thrown Western observers into quite a tizzy. He said he hoped that nobody would cross these red lines, but then declared, “We will determine ourselves [Putin’s emphasis] where these red lines are according to the circumstances of each situation.” And there are many such situations now – that’s for sure.