We’re shut out now. There hasn’t been an op-ed in The New York Times or Washington Post editorial pages arguing that the United States is at least equally to blame for this new Cold War crisis. They simply will not accept those articles…So this is the problem. In a democracy we fight through discourse. If you can’t get to the mainstream media and make the argument, then there’s no way of slowing the drift toward catastrophe.
– Stephen F. Cohen, Professor Emeritus of Russian studies at Princeton University and New York University
Stephen Cohen just recorded an incredibly trenchant interview regarding the extreme dangers of the recent explosion in Russia hysteria with Brian Lehrer on WNYC.
The degradation of mainstream American press coverage of Russia, a country still vital to US national security, has been under way for many years. If the recent tsunami of shamefully unprofessional and politically inflammatory articles in leading newspapers and magazines—particularly about the Sochi Olympics, Ukraine and, unfailingly, President Vladimir Putin—is an indication, this media malpractice is now pervasive and the new norm.
Even in the venerable New York Times and Washington Post, news reports, editorials and commentaries no longer adhere rigorously to traditional journalistic standards, often failing to provide essential facts and context; to make a clear distinction between reporting and analysis; to require at least two different political or “expert” views on major developments; or to publish opposing opinions on their op-ed pages. As a result, American media on Russia today are less objective, less balanced, more conformist and scarcely less ideological than when they covered Soviet Russia during the Cold War.
And sure enough, what has come to pass.
As the following paragraphs published in Politico earlier today show... While the article itself was embarrassingly biased toward standard U.S. government talking points, some valuable history can be found amongst all the noise. Such as the following:
Related was Hillary Clinton’s enthusiasm for NATO’s further expansion into Eastern Europe. That process was based on the well-founded idea that Eastern Europe needed—indeed, was asking for—protection from Russia aggression. But Russia’s military establishment treated it as a slow-rolling invasion of their sphere of influence.
This reaction, too, had its roots under Bill Clinton. An expanded NATO would help ensure democracy, prosperity and stability across Europe, he believed. Moscow took a sharply different view. After one 1994 summit at which Yeltsin gave Bill Clinton his blessing to the addition of new NATO members—including Poland and Hungary, both former Soviet satellites—a communist newspaper fumed about “the capitulation of Russian policy before NATO and the U.S.” One of Yeltsin’s main political opponents said he had allowed “his friend Bill [to] kick him in the rear.” He compared the agreement to the treatment of Germany at Versailles after World War I—a recurring theme among Russian officials since the Cold War’s end.
Some of Bill Clinton’s top advisers correctly predicted that NATO expansion would produce a backlash in Moscow, and would create a handy narrative for would-be nationalists to posture against the West. Clinton’s secretary of defense, William Perry, told POLITICO this summer that he considered resigning over the issue out of concern for its effect on U.S.-Russia relations. But Clinton pressed ahead, kicking off a process that added a dozen new members over the next 20 years, from the Baltic countries of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia through Eastern Europe (the Czech Republic and Romania) and into the former Yugoslavia—all places where Russia had once enjoyed uncontested influence.
As Obama kept the NATO train rolling, his secretary of state was fully on board. “There can be no question that NATO will continue to keep its doors open to new members,” Clinton said in February 2010.
Now without further ado, here’s perhaps the most important interview you’ll hear all month. Listen and share with everyone you know.