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29 Nov, 2017 16:17

America’s No.1 threat? Russia not even close, argues leading US scholar

America’s No.1 threat? Russia not even close, argues leading US scholar

The incessant attempts by the US establishment to portray Russia as America’s greatest peril jeopardize national security by ignoring real threats and preventing a much-needed US-Russia alliance, argues Professor Emeritus of Russia Studies Stephen Cohen.

As the US political-media complex continues to saturate the American psyche with the bad seed of Russophobia, harassing anyone who dares deviate from the narrative, Cohen, of New York and Princeton Universities, is one of the few scholars bucking the trend.

In his latest contribution in a lengthy series of articles published in the Nation, Cohen argues that Russia fails to make it among the top-five threats facing the United States today.

Cohen begins by arguing that ever since the late 1940s, the single “existential duty” of every US president has been to avoid “the possibility of war with Russia.” The reason is obvious: the risk of touching off a “conflagration that could result in the end of modern civilization.”

According to Cohen, Donald Trump is the first US leader who has lost those critical presidential powers due to the dissemination of “still unverified but ever-more-persistent allegations” that Trump somehow colluded with the Kremlin to steal the 2016 presidential elections from Hillary Clinton.

It is that accusation, which has dogged the American public – not to mention the White house – for over a year, that Cohen ranks as the “number-one threat” confronting America today.

The professor roundly criticized the ongoing spate of warmongering found not only in the mainstream media, but in the halls of power as well.

Referencing a comment by Democratic Senator Ben Cardin, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s ranking member, who described the allegations of ‘Russian election meddling’ as a “political Pearl Harbor,” Cohen asked, “What could be more reckless than to insist that we are already at war with the other nuclear superpower?”

The diplomatic breakdown between the two countries hit rock bottom in August when the US forced Russia to close its consulate in San Francisco and cut back its diplomatic staff in Washington and New York. The tit-for-tat move came in response to Moscow announcing the US would have to scale back its embassy and consulate personnel in Russia by 755, months after the Obama administration expelled 35 Russian diplomats and closed Russian property over the claim that Moscow had meddled in the 2016 US elections.

Putin demonization

On the point of Vladimir Putin and the Western establishment’s ongoing efforts to place him in practically the same category as of Hitler, Cohen calls wave of attacks “unprecedented.”

“No Soviet or post-Soviet leader was ever so wildly, baselessly vilified as Putin has increasingly been for more than a decade—and even more since a few selected members of a few US intelligence agencies claimed in January 2017, without making known any evidence whatsoever, that he personally ordered the ‘attack on America’,” Cohen wrote.

Always in the background of Cohen’s commentary is the reminder that we are living in the nuclear age, a fact that makes bilateral cooperation between Moscow and Washington an absolute imperative. Yet thanks to the allegations of ‘Russiagate’, which some Republicans and Trump himself say were concocted to explain Hillary Clinton’s loss, as well as conceal numerous skeletons in the Democratic closet, Putin has been characterized as a “master villain in the Kremlin.”

“Despite the ongoing bashing of the Russian leader, the result has been that Vladimir Putin, the ‘national-security partner most needed by Washington’, has been effectively delegitimized.”

The loss of Russia as a reliable US partner represents a massive setback in the fight against real global baddies, foremost among them Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS), which Cohen said would be the “number one [threat] if the US political-media establishment had not conjured up the preceding ones.”

But the nuclear issue is also of key importance here, according to the scholar.

“The high-alert/hair-trigger status of American and Russian nuclear weapons is an accident waiting to happen,” which requires Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin to negotiate “an end to that perilous status,” he wrote.

Cohen wraps up his article with a short explanation as to why Russia does not feature on his list of US threats.

“Russia… represents no threat to the United States at all (apart from a nuclear accident or miscalculation), except those Washington and NATO have themselves created. Meanwhile, the “expanding alliance between Russia and China,” symptomatic of “unwise” US policy, is a “separate subject.”