“August 2008 conflict was a proxy Russia-US war”

The Georgian army which took part in the August 2008 conflict in South Ossetia was created, trained and supplied by Americans, says professor and author Stephen Cohen.

“I hope Barack Obama learned from the Georgian war that it is dangerous and it has to stop, but he is being given different advice. It is important to understand the struggle. Some people were telling Obama: ‘Look how the Russians invaded Georgia, how bad and dangerous they are. We have to get NATO to Ukraine and Georgia right away.’ Never forget that there was a powerful, powerful lobby in Washington to put NATO in Ukraine and Georgia – and that lobby has to be defeated,” Stephen Cohen says.

In an interview with RT’s Sophie Shevardnadze Stephen Cohen and Katrina Vanden Heuvel, editor and publisher of The Nation magazine, also touched upon the issues of NATO eastward expansion, America’s position on anti-missile defence shield in Eastern Europe and the difference between the Russian and American stance on Iran.

Washington can’t say to Moscow “let’s get tough with Iran,” Stephen Cohen says, because Russia has a geopolitical situation that America doesn’t have.

“There are 20 to 25 million Muslim citizens in Russia and Iran has never done anything to agitate Russian Muslims against the Russian government,” Stephen Cohen adds. “Russia is being encircled by NATO bases and Iran is one country that is not a candidate for NATO membership – but getting this through to Washington is almost impossible.”