Russia expert Stephen Cohen on Trump

Stephen Cohen was on the John Batchelor Show on Feb. 16. At around 38:00 -- audio at TheNation.

Cohen is professor emeritus at New York University and Princeton University. His books include Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives: From Stalinism to the New Cold War.

Cohen: 'In my lifetime, in such moments of dire international crisis, I do not ever remember a presidential campaign or season where the candidates, on their own or because they were forced to by moderators or by the public or the media, won’t tell us what they think other than a bumper sticker like “I hate Putin and I won’t talk to him,” things like that, tell us what they would do if they were president today or tomorrow. Of the Republicans, since Rand Paul left the race, all of them simply say “we’ll punch Putin in the nose and that will solve the problem.” Only Donald Trump, also in bumper stickers, has said something different. He said:

1) 'He doesn’t accept all of these criminal allegations against Putin because there’s no proof, they’re just allegations, and in America we have due process.

2) 'He keeps saying that he’s a man who knows how to make a deal with Putin. So I interpret this for Donald Trump, who never uses the word, to mean “diplomacy.” That he would do diplomacy.

'Now what there’s been since the beginning of the New Cold War is a complete collapse of American diplomacy, or the militarization of American diplomacy towards Russia. Kerry is struggling, as we have already spoken, to demilitarize American diplomacy and to restore real negotiations. Trump in his odd way — “I’m the greatest deal maker in the world, I can make a deal with anybody, Putin doesn’t bother me, I’ll sit down and make him an offer he can’t refuse, and will make a deal and things will be okay.”

'Alright, he probably doesn’t know exactly what he means. But I would prefer a president who tells me not that “I’m going to send more troops to Russia’s borders in order to provoke them into a war,” but a president who tell me “I’m going to sit down and discuss this with you and see if we can work it out.”'
8 responses
I don't think Trump's candidacy is real. It's real in the sense that he's getting votes and nominations, but his candidacy exists for Hillary Clinton to have a cheap punching bag. That's how Clinton's tactics work. Do you remember Clint Eastwood talking to a chair? It's not the liberal-conservative divide really confusing the American public so much as idiotic media spectacle. That takes the pressure off not only foreign policy but the whole government in general. The few people *not* voting for Hillary Clinton tend to be younger, including young women and young Black voters. Why is this? We consume media differently. We read websites, rather than have the networks tell us what to think, whether it's NBC or FOX. The media are running this election and surprise, the people they gave the most coverage to are winning the most: her and Sanders.
Er meant to say "her and Trump"
L -- Maybe so, in my pieces I've repeatedly questioned Trump's motives. He certainly didn't back it up like he should have about Iraq war WMD lies. I think serious people should use his candidacy as effectively as possible. -- Sam
want fewer wars anywhere, vote trump. want a chance at a better amer economy not just wall st econ, vote trump. trump will be the only politician actually taking a balanced position on palestine and the jews.
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