7/30/16, “Russia Expert Stephen Cohen: Trump Wants To Stop The New Cold War, But The American Media Just Doesn’t Understand,” Real Clear Politics, Tim Hains
“Stephen F. Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian studies at NYU and Princeton, spoke with CNN’s ‘Smerconish’ Saturday morning about Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, and the ‘New Cold War.’
Cohen says the media at large is doing a huge disservice to the American people by ignoring the substance of Trump’s arguments about NATO and Russia, and buying the Clinton campaign’s simplistic smear that Trump is a Russian “Manchurian candidate.”
“That reckless branding of Trump as a Russian agent, most of it is coming from the Clinton campaign,” Cohen said. “And they really need to stop.“
“We’re approaching a Cuban Missile Crisis level nuclear confrontation with Russia,” he explained. “And there is absolutely no discussion, no debate, about this in the American media.”
along comes, unexpectedly, Donald Trump,” he continued, “Who says he
wants to end the New Cold War, and cooperate with Russia in various
places… and –astonishingly– the media is full of what only can be called
neo-McCarthyite charges that he is a Russian agent, that he is a
Manchurian candidate, and that he is Putin’s client.”
“This is a moment when there should be, in a presidential
year, a debate,” he said. “And that is not what we are given in the
“Let’s go back to what you said Trump said about NATO,” Cohen also said. “Trump said early on, he wanted to know, 60 years after its foundation, what was NATO’s mission today.
100 policy wonks in Washington since the end of the Soviet Union, 25
years ago, have asked the same question. Is NATO an organization in
search of a mission?”
“That’s a legitimate question –but we don’t debate it. We don’t ask it. We just say, oh, Trump wants to abandon NATO.”
"MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN: When looking to blame someone for the cyberattack [against Hillary Clinton an the DNC], Russia was more than convenient. Is this a new cold war or political pot-stirring? Does this accusation have any basis in fact, and if not, could it cause real harm? Here to discuss is Stephen F. Cohen, American scholar of Russian studies at both Princeton and New York Universities. Professor Cohen, does Vladimir Putin indeed have a dog in our U.S. [election]?
STEPHEN F. COHEN: Vladimir Putin wants to end the ‘New Cold War — and so do I.
Let me say, I have no ties to the Trump campaign or the Clinton campaign. But if I were to write your headline for you today, I tried on the way down here, I couldn’t fit it on the front page, but it would go like this:
“We’re in a new and more dangerous Cold War with Russia.”
approaching a Cuban Missile Crisis nuclear confrontation with Russia,
both along Russia’s borders and possibly over Syria. There is absolutely
no discussion, no debate, about this in the American media — including, forgive me, on CNN.
Then along comes (unexpectedly) Donald Trump, who says something that suggests he wants to end the new Cold War, cooperate with Russia in various places. What we used to call detente, and now —astonishingly–
the media is full of what only can be called neo-McCarthyite charges
that he is a Russian agent, that he is a Manchurian candidate, and that
he is Putin’s client.
So the real danger is what’s being done to our own political process. This is a moment when there should be, in a presidential year, a debate.
Because Mrs. Clinton’s position on Russia seems to be very different [than Mr. Trump’s], has been a long time.
Trump speaks eliptically. You’ve got to piece together what he says. But
he seems to want a new American policy toward Russia. And considering
the danger, I think we as American citizens, deserve that debate, and not what we are given in the media today, including on the front page of the “New York Times.”
I end by saying, that this
reckless branding of Trump as a Russian agent, most of it is coming from
the Clinton campaign and they really need to stop.
SMERICONISH: Okay. I don’t know where to begin in
unpacking all that you just offered to us. But I guess I’ll start as
follows. As one who can’t match your credentials, here’s what I see from
the outside looking in.
I see Donald Trump having said to the “New York Times,” just within the
last ten days, that he’s not so sure he would stand with NATO allies, and I’m paraphrasing, he would want to know whether they would be pulling their own weight. The inpart of his comments seems to suggest he could provide Putin with unfettered, undeterred access to the Baltic states –whose independence he resents. So it all seems to fit, therefore, that Putin would have a dog in this fight, would want to see Donald Trump win this election so that he, Putin, could do as he pleases, in that part of the world. CNN is covering that. I have to defend the network in that regard. But why does that not all fit, and why does it not all fit in the headline in today’s “New York Times,” which says Russian spies said to have hacked Clinton’s bid.
COHEN: “Said to have.” Said to have. That’s not news, that’s an allegation. James Clapper. I don’t know who hacked. Everybody hacks everybody. I mean, we hacked into Chancellor Merkel’s cell phone.
We learned that from Snowden. The Israelis hack, the America. Everybody
hacks. The point is, and I know you said it, not to defend it, but as a
provocation, that let’s
take the position you just set out. That Putin wants to end the
independence in Baltic states. There is no evidence for that. None
The point is, is that on the networks — and I’m not blaming CNN, and there’s none on any network. There is none in the “New York Times.”
I am old enough to remember that during
the last Cold War, all these issues were debated in that you had a
proponent to each point of view. But you have now got accusations, both
against Putin, both against Trump, which needed to be debated.
The most — let’s go back to what you said — Trump said about NATO. Trump said early on, he wanted to know, 60 years after its foundation, what was NATO’s mission today.
100 policy wonks in Washington since the end of the Soviet Union, 25 years ago, have asked the same question. Is NATO an organization in search of a mission? For example, it’s a mission for the last 20 years was to expand ever closer to Russia.
So people have now asked why isn’t it fighting international terrorism?
That’s a legitimate question –but we don’t debate it. We don’t ask it.
We just say, oh, Trump wants to abandon NATO. I don’t defend Trump. Trump raises questions. And instead of giving answer to the substance of the question, we denounce him as some kind of Kremlin agent. That’s bad for our politics, but still worse, given the danger we’re not addressing it.""
It's disturbing and puzzling news: Death rates are rising for white, less-educated Americans. The economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton reported in December that rates have been climbing since 1999 for non-Hispanic whites age 45 to 54, with the largest increase occurring among the least educated. An analysis of death certificates by The New York Times found similar trends and showed that the rise may extend to white women.
studies attributed the higher death rates to increases in poisonings
and chronic liver disease, which mainly reflect drug overdoses and
alcohol abuse, and to suicides. In contrast, death rates fell overall
for blacks and Hispanics.
are whites overdosing or drinking themselves to death at higher rates
than African-Americans and Hispanics in similar circumstances? Some
observers have suggested that higher rates of chronic opioid prescriptions could be involved, along with whites’ greater pessimism about their finances.
I’d like to propose a different answer: what social scientists call
reference group theory. The term “reference group” was pioneered by the
social psychologist Herbert H. Hyman in 1942, and the theory was developed
by the Columbia sociologist Robert K. Merton in the 1950s. It tells us
that to comprehend how people think and behave, it’s important to
understand the standards to which they compare themselves.
is your life going? For most of us, the answer to that question means
comparing our lives to the lives our parents were able to lead. As
children and adolescents, we closely observed our parents. They were our
first reference group.
here is one solution to the death-rate conundrum: It’s likely that many
non-college-educated whites are comparing themselves to a generation
that had more opportunities than they have, whereas many blacks and
Hispanics are comparing themselves to a generation that had fewer
whites without college degrees look back, they can often remember
fathers who were sustained by the booming industrial economy of postwar
America. Since then, however, the industrial job market has slowed
significantly. The hourly wages of male high school graduates declined
by 14 percent from 1973 to 2012, according to analysis of data from the
Economic Policy Institute. Although high school educated white women
haven’t experienced the same major reversal of the job market, they may
look at their husbands — or, if they are single, to the men they choose
not to marry — and reason that life was better when they were growing
however, didn’t get a fair share of the blue-collar prosperity of the
postwar period. They may look back to a time when discrimination
deprived their parents of equal opportunities. Many Hispanics may look
back to the lower standard of living their parents experienced in their
countries of origin. Whites are likely to compare themselves to a
reference group that leads them to feel worse off. Blacks and Hispanics
compare themselves to reference groups that may make them feel better
sociologist Timothy Nelson and I observed this phenomenon in interviews
with high-school-educated young adult men in 2012 and 2013. A
35-year-old white man who did construction jobs said, “It’s much harder
for me as a grown man than it was for my father.” He remembered his
father saying that back when he was 35, “‘I had a house and I had five
kids or four kids.’ You know, ‘Look where I was at.’ And I’m like,
‘Well, Dad, things have changed.’”
men were more upbeat. One said: “I think there are better opportunities
now because first of all, the economy’s changing. The color barrier is
not as harsh as it was back then.”
addition, national surveys show striking racial and ethnic differences
in satisfaction with one’s social standing relative to one’s parents.
The General Social Survey conducted by the research organization NORC at
the University of Chicago has asked Americans in its biennial surveys
to compare their standard of living to that of their parents. In 2014,
according to my analysis, among 25- to 54-year-olds without college
degrees, blacks and Hispanics were much more positive than whites: 67
percent of African-Americans and 68 percent of Hispanics responded “much
better” or “somewhat better,” compared with 47 percent of whites.
figures represent a reversal from 2000, when whites were more positive
than blacks, 64 percent to 60 percent. (Hispanics were the most positive
in nearly all years.)