Leading scholar on US-Russia relations addresses the claim being trumpeted by politicians and media on both sides of the political spectrum that Russia is now the "number one" threat to the United States. Given the proxy wars in Syria and Ukraine, Dr. Stephen Cohen, Professor Emeritus at Princeton University and New York University, tells host of 'The Empire Files', Abby Martin, that the real alarming danger today is "a new, multi-front Cuban missile crisis."
This business that, Russia is the number one existential threat has been unfolding this false drama at the expense of US national security, maybe for a decade, but it certainly intensified under the Obama administration.
Meanwhile, Russia was of course in the person of Putin, repeatedly, almost begging the US to join it in an alliance against terrorism, not only in Syria, but in a kind of global war. I don't know if the global war against terrorism is possible as a separate issue, but Russia wanted to partner with the US. Obama was inclined very briefly in Sep. 2016, but that was killed by the US department of defence when they attacked those Syrian troops.
In the intelligence community, there are groups of different political impulses, different vested interest in these organizations, and often, they've been at war among themselves within, say the CIA. We're seeing that now with the hacking allegations. And, all likelihood, later we will discover, this was a war within the CIA itself. The FBI tried not to get involved.
There are very different views about Washington's policy toward Russia, inside the intelligence community. This may be the single most dangerous moment in American-Russian relations.
The Cuban missile crisis is always said to have been the turning point in our awareness of how dangerous the Cold War was. And that, after we avoided nuclear Armageddon, both sides became wise, and the Cold War continued, but there was a code of contact. Everybody understood where the danger lines were. There was a code of conduct between the Soviet Union and the United States. It doesn't exist today. After the Cuban missile crisis in '62, the two sides began to develop interactive cooperation, student exchanges, scientific exchanges, hot lines, constant talks about nuclear weapons, nuclear reductions, trade agreements. That has come to an end along with communication.
There are now three fronts in the new Cold War that are fought with the possibility of actual war. There's the Baltic region and Poland, where NATO unwisely building up its military presence. There is, of course, Ukraine which could exploded any moment, and, of course, there is Syria, where you got Russian and American aircraft. So, you got a multi-front potential Cuban missile crisis.
Meanwhile, in the United States, this hysterical reaction to alleged - because there is no proof been produced - that somehow Putin put Trump in the White House, this combination of demented public discourse, engrave danger abroad, at least comparable to the Cuban missile crisis.
It's been said that the European Union offered Ukraine a very benign economic relationship. That wasn't a benign agreement, about a thousand pages long. There is a section called 'military security issues' and it's very clear, that any country that signs this so-called eastern partnership agreement with the EU, is obliged to adhere to NATO security policies. By signing that, you become a de facto member of NATO. And this was just more of the attempt by Washington to get Ukraine in the NATO, if not openly, through the back door, and they're still at it.
The decision to expand NATO, all the way, including Ukraine and Georgia, has created a situation in which none of us is safe. And they call that 'national security'?