The United Nations has raised the death toll from fighting in eastern Ukraine to more than 5,300 people since last April following the ouster of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych one year ago this month. Another 1.5 million people have been displaced. The ceasefire is fraying and as fighting resumes, the Obama administration is considering directly arming Ukrainian forces against Russian-backed rebels. Washington already supplies nonlethal military equipment to Ukraine, but top officials are reportedly leaning toward sending arms, from rifles to anti-tank weapons.
The role of the U.S. and European allies in Ukraine has prompted former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to accuse the West of dragging Russia into a new Cold War. In the following Democarcy Now interview Amy Goodman and Aaron Maté discuss the latest developments and their implications with Stephen Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian studies and politics at New York University and Princeton University.
As a little taster, here’s a brief exeprt from an article Cohen recently contributed for Nation magazine:
I regret to say that today the crisis is even worse. The new Cold War has been deepened and institutionalized by transforming what began, in February last year, as essentially a Ukrainian civil war into a US/NATO-Russian proxy war; by a torrent of inflammatory misinformation out of Washington, Moscow, Kiev and Brussels; and by Western economic sanctions that are compelling Russia to retreat politically, as it did in the late 1940s, from the West. Still worse, both sides are again aggressively deploying their conventional and nuclear weapons and probing the other’s defenses in the air and at sea. Diplomacy between Washington and Moscow is being displaced by resurgent militarized thinking, while cooperative relationships nurtured over many decades, from trade, education, and science to arms control, are being shredded. And yet, despite this fateful crisis and its growing dangers, there is still no effective political opposition to the US policies that have contributed to it—not in the administration, Congress, mainstream media, think tanks, or on campuses—but instead mostly uncritical political, financial, and military boosterism for the increasingly authoritarian Kiev regime, hardly a bastion of “democracy and Western values.”
Here’s the Democracy Now interview:
Click here to watch the rest of Democracy Now’s interview with Stephen Cohen (from about 10 minutes in).