http://russia-insider.com/: Professor Stephen Cohen is one of the most respected authorities on Russia among American and Western scholars. He is an American scholar of Russian studies atPrinceton University and New York University. His academic work concentrates on modern Russian history and Russia’s relationship with the United States.
The key points of Cohen’s extraordinary speech:
- The possibility of premeditated war with Russia is real; this was never a possibility during Soviet times.
- This problem did not begin in November 2013 or in 2008, this problem began in 1990’s when the Clinton administration adopted a “winner-takes-all” policy towards post-Soviet Russia.
- Next to NATO expansion, the US adopted a form of a negotiation policy called “selective cooperation” – Russia gives, the US takes.
- There is not a single example of any major concession or reciprocal agreement that the US offered Russia in return for what it has received since the 90s.
- This policy has been pursued by every president and every US Congress, from President Clinton to President Obama.
- The US is entitled to a global sphere of influence, but Russia is not entitled to any sphere of influence at all, not even in Georgia or Ukraine.
- For 20 years Russia was excluded from the European security system. NATO expansion was a pivot of this security system and it was directed against Russia.
- Putin started as a pro-Western leader, he wanted partnership with the US, provided helping hand after 9/11 and saved many American lives in Afghanistan.
- In return he got more NATO expansion and unilateral abolition of the existing missile treaty on which all Russian security was based.
- Putin is not an autocrat, he’s maybe very authoritarian as an ultimate decider, but he is answerable to other power groups.
- Putin is not anti-Western, or as Khodorkovsky said, he is more European than 99 percent of Russians. He has become less pro-Western and particularly less pro-American.