Good God, The Russia Obsession! How Liberals Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the New McCarthyism

Ever seen anything like that collective hysterical freakout over the Trump-Putin summit? I have not, and I’ve been paying some attention for 40-odd years.  Don’t forget CBS News head honcho Les Moonves’s candid comments during the 2016 presidential campaign: “Trump is damned good for CBS News” because higher ratings = higher profits, and we’re all tuned-in to his reality show now. Not only has Trump TV and Russiagate in particular made Rachel Maddow Queen of the Kremlin Takeover on cable television, as Doug Henwood points out below, it has the great advantage of neutering Trump and the left insurgency at the same time.

Read on for a dose of sanity from Henwood on KPFA, The Real News Network, David Swanson, Stephen Cohen and Off-Guardian. For unusually calm, sane discussions of the Helsinki summit, the corporate press, and anti-Trump reaction, take the time to check out the discussions featuring Paul Jay, Aaron Mate and Cohen below. [h/t to CJ Hopkins for the borrowed headline] – RR

 

Journalist Doug Henwood, Producer of Behind the News, featured on KPFA radio.

Good God, the Russia obsession!

It seems that Democrats are now incapable of talking about anything but Russian interference in our sacred elections.

The Trump administration is eviscerating environmental regulations, appointing horrific judges, prosecuting a grotesque war on refugees and immigrants, and we’re hearing about little other than Putin’s alleged hold over Trump, often expressed in grossly homophobic terms.

In doing so, they’re accepting uncritically the version of events proffered by cops, prosecutors and the CIA, organizations made up of professional liars who’ve been enemies of democracy and free expression at home and abroad for decades.

We’re seeing Dem pundits even accusing Bernie Sanders and other insurgents within their party of being Russian agents, witting or unwitting. Their indictments of Trump for treason make them sound like demented right-wingers at the height of the Cold War.

This obsession does relieve mainstream Democrats of concocting an attractive agenda that might win an election or two, but to do that they’d have to tack left, and Goldman Sachs wouldn’t like that.

This Russia obsession’s a win win for the establishment though – subdue Trump and the domestic left insurgency all at once.

I understand why those within a half a standard deviation of the center would embrace it, but why anyone further left would play along with it is beyond me.

Please stop. 

  • Doug Henwood, Behind the News, July 19, 2018.

 

Trump: A Symptom of a System in Decay

9/11!

Pearl Harbor!

Kristallnacht!

 

July 18, 2018.

View at the source.

 

 

The Intelligence Community Is Neither

David Swanson

At the big “Treason Summit” “Russopocalypse” “Catastrovent” on Monday, journalist Sam Husseini tried to ask a question about banning nuclear weapons, and was physically hauled out of the room by officials from the “Land of Press Freedom,” Finland. Meanwhile, an Associated Press reporter was permitted to ask a perfectly respectable question pushing a blatant lie that risks nuclear war. Yay for press freedom!

The AP reporter claimed that “every U.S. intelligence agency has concluded that” the Russian government interfered in the U.S. election of 2016. In fact, the report that this common lie always refers to was concocted by a group of “hand-picked” (James Clapper’s description) people from three agencies out of 18 or so. The three were the NSA, FBI, and CIA — none of which ever, ever lie or get things wrong, ever. The INR and DIA were excluded along with all the others.

That’s why the Associated Press told a lie. Here’s why it’s a blatant and dangerous lie. The same report didn’t conclude a damn thing. It just “assessed,” which is a weasel word for guessed. Of the three agencies involved, two assessed with high and one with moderate confidence that Russia did something or other to benefit Trump. Whether that something was revealing to the public the DNC’s slanting of its primary against Bernie Sanders we are not told. We are also not offered any evidence for whatever it was. We are also not told Trump was involved in it, or offered any degree of assessment of that, much less any evidence. We are also not given any claim that informing us about the DNC’s shenanigans, or any other actions, had any impact on the outcome of the election. We also are not presented any case that keeping the rigging of primaries secret from the public is essential to the sanctity and freedom of our democracy.

But here’s where it gets frightening. Unknown people produced an unread report that claims very little on behalf of very few but has not only become the gospel handed down by the “Intelligence Community,” but thousands of writers, bloggers, and tweeters between Monday and Tuesday have announced that one must choose either to believe this gospel or to side with The Russian Enemy. And the unknown propagandists who produced the ridiculously vacuous report have been turned into The Troops, and The People Who Risk Their Lives to Protect Us — this language now being used by all sorts of people clogging up my social media, including some pretty well-known ones like Michael Moore.

I asked one such liberal advocate for believing the brave CIA spies who protect us how exactly they risked their lives and what they protected him from, and he replied that they risk their lives because Russia shoots down airplanes and poisons people. In other words, the same crowd that claims Russia shot down a plane over Ukraine and poisoned people in England now gets Sacred Troop status conferred upon its additional allegations through the circular logic that because it accused Russia of deadly crimes its accusations against Russia are brave and not to be questioned. (Deadly crimes bombing people in Syria don’t count because those are good decent deadly crimes.)

And here’s where this seems to take us, as some of us have been warning for a year and a half: Endless indisputable impeachable offenses by Donald Trump continue to pile up. And nobody cares. Top Democrats have found what they stand for. A sustainable earth? Peace? Justice? Social prosperity? Clean elections?

Are you crazy? They stand for Russophobia. Now if Trump were to actually be impeached, even if for a legitimate reason, what would be President Pence’s best move to reassure liberals? Bombing Russia. If Democrats hold off impeachment (something for which some of them seem willing to actually risk their lives) what will they spend two years campaigning for the throne on? Hating Russia, punishing Russia, attacking Russia. It’s their way to out-Republican the Republicans, and they LOVE it. The U.S. public mostly doesn’t care, but the ones who get involved in electoral politics are in ecstasy.

The fate of the earth may just depend on somebody creating a television network in the United States not dedicated to hating Russia on the one hand or basic human decency on the other. In the meantime, a big thank you to Democracy Now for getting this one right and having Sam Husseini on the show.

 

 

Trump’s Treasonous Traitor Summit or: How Liberals Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the New McCarthyism

CJ Hopkins

July 19, 2018

Read at the Source

This is completely rational and not at all hysterical or strange.

So it appears America and democracy have miraculously survived the dreaded Trump-Putin summit … or Trump’s meeting with his Russian handler, as the neoliberal ruling classes and their mouthpieces in the corporate media would dearly like us all to believe. NATO has not been summarily dissolved. Poland has not been invaded by Russia. The offices of The New York TimesThe Washington Post, CNN, and MSNBC have not been stormed by squads of jackbooted Trumpian Gestapo. The Destabilization of the Middle East, the Privatization of Virtually Everything, the Conversion of the Planet into One Big Shopping Mall, and other global capitalist projects are all going forward uninterrupted. Apart from Trump making a narcissistic, word-salad-babbling jackass of himself, which he does on a more or less daily basis, nothing particularly apocalyptic happened.

And so, once again, Western liberals, and others obsessed with Donald Trump, having been teased into a painfully tumescent paroxysm of anticipation of some unimaginably horrible event that would finally lead to Trump’s impeachment (or his removal from office by other means) were left standing around with their hysteria in their hands. It has become a sadistic ritual at this point … like a twisted, pseudo-Tantric exercise where the media get liberals all lathered up over whatever fresh horror Trump has just perpetrated (or some non-story story they have invented out of whole cloth), build the tension for several days, until liberals are moaning and begging for impeachment, or a full-blown CIA-sponsored coup, then pull out abruptly and leave the poor bastards writhing in agony until the next time … which is pretty much exactly what just happened.

In the days and weeks leading up to the summit, the global capitalist ruling class Resistance deployed every weapon in its mighty arsenal to whip the Western masses up into a frenzy of anti-Putin-Nazi fervor. While continuing to flog the wildly popular baby concentration camp story (because the Hitler stimulus never fails to elicit a Pavlovian response from Americans, regardless of how often or how blatantly you use it), the corporate media began hammering hard on the “Trump is a Russian Agent” hysteria. (Normally, the corporate media alternates between the Hitler hysteria and the Russia hysteria so as not to completely short-circuit the already scrambled brains of Western liberals, but given the imminent threat of a peace deal, they needed to go the whole hog this time and paint this summit as a secret, internationally televised assignation between Hitler and … well, Hitler).

In order to render them even more repugnant in the eyes of Western liberals (as if being two Hitlers wasn’t repugnant enough), The New York Times produced this short porno graphically depicting Trump and Putin as insatiably horny homosexual lovers. A fusillade of apocalyptic op-eds followed, the most shamelessly paranoid and hysterical of which was Roger Cohen’s experimental dystopia, in which “The Alliance of Authoritarian and Reactionary States” trick the inherently fascist Europeans into launching a Second Holocaust with a “fake news” story about Moroccan migrants abducting poor little “Tatiana” from a beach resort in Fuengirola.

While faithful New York Times-reading liberals were still struggling to regain control of their sphincters and doubling up on their alprazolam prescriptions in a desperate attempt to banish these visions of the coming butch-gay Putin-Nazi Reich, go-to propagandist, Jonathan Chait, who has obviously been watching way too much Homeland, published this paranoid spec-fic novella (complete with a “Carrie is off her meds” flow chart) about how Trump has probably been “a Russian intelligence asset” since 1987. At the same time, MSNBC’s Malcolm Nance took to Twitter to denounce Glenn Greenwald as a treasonous “agent of Trump and Moscow” for physically traveling to a conference in Russia and speaking with several Russian people. Nance, who usually just makes things up, was actually telling the truth this time. Greenwald really did visit Russia, and was selfied in the company of Edward Snowden, on top of which he’s totally gay, and God knows what kind of Commie orgies go on in the Kremlin dungeon!

And the neoliberal “Resistance” was just getting started. As Trump was arriving at Stansted Airport to begin his “destruction of British diplomacy” (and possibly poison the Queen with more of that Novichok oatmeal that has been plaguing the UK), The Guardian‘s Owen Jones was personally preparing cells of the “London Resistance” for “the biggest demonstration in British history,” or “the biggest weekday protest in British history,” or a very large protest in any event. The London Resistance’s secret weapon was the baby Russian Agent Hitler blimp, which forced Trump and his Nazi goons to retreat to one of his Scottish golf resorts, but not before humiliating America, and horrifying The Washington Post, by failing to grovel before the British monarch. Still, the point is, London was saved. The forces of hatred, bigotry, and Russianness were roundly defeated by the forces of love, and goodness, and democracy, and tolerance, and whatever. If only the French had been willing to deploy a baby Hitler blimp in 1940 … or had been able to unite the corporate media, the intelligence agencies, the capitalist ruling classes, and thousands of virtue-signaling liberals to disapprove of the original Hitler!

But that wasn’t all … oh no, far from it. No, the weeks of white-eyed editorials warning us of the dangers of peace, the neo-McCarthyite smear campaigns, the virtue-signaling Stop Trump protests, all that was just an extended edition of Orwell’s famous Two Minutes Hate, designed to generate mass hysteria and paranoia in the run-up to the summit. By Friday, the Intelligence Community was issuing warnings of imminent Russian “attempts to undermine America” with September 11 scale “cyber attacks!” National Intelligence Director Dan Coats personally told the Associated Press that the little “Imminent Russia Attack” lights he has on his desk were all “blinking red.” Apparently, Trump and the Putin-Nazis are preparing “a crippling cyber attack” against “critical US infrastructure,” like “a power outage in New England in January,” or even “a cyber attack on banks” that will erase Americans’ entire life savings but somehow spare all the Russian accounts, or at least another devastating round of division-sowing Facebook ads!

Then, just in time for the corporate media to milk it throughout the weekend, special counsel Robert Mueller, III released a 29-page indictment accusing a bunch of Russian spies of, well, basically, being Russian spies. The indictment alleges that these Russian spies destroyed the campaign of Hillary Clinton, who everyone knows is supposed to be President, by “hacking” the Democratic Party’s servers and stealing and disseminating emails revealing both Clinton and the Democratic Party to be the soulless neoliberal hypocrites most people already knew they were. The indictment of these Russian intelligence officers (and no Americans, nor any other parties who can ever actually be brought to trial, requiring special counsel Mueller to offer evidence to support his allegations) was followed up by a chorus of voices demanding that the summit be cancelled and that Trump slink home in complete disgrace to confess his crimes to a vindicated nation, and then presumably fire his entire administration, resign, and appoint Hillary Clinton President.

Sometime early Sunday morning, after hours of careful deliberation over cheeseburgers and sodas on Air Force One with the Gorilla Channel streaming on his smartphone for ambiance, Trump decided to go ahead with the summit. This left the Resistance no other choice than to turn up the dial on the manufactured hysteria by repeating the words “treason,” “treasonous,” and “traitor” as many times as humanly possible on every news site, television channel, and social media platform in existence, and just generally running around like lunatics shrieking about an “IMMINENT RUSSIAN ATTACK!”

On the morning of the summit, Charles M. Blow, maestro of alliteration and subtlety, in The New York Times (which, we must remember, holds itself to the highest journalistic standards and in no way resembles a rabble-rousing tabloid), published this impassioned piece entitled “Trump, Treasonous Traitor,” accusing the President of “betraying the nation,” and basically demanding that he be tried for treason. “America is under attack,” Blow announces, “and its president absolutely refuses to defend it.”

If Mother Jones‘ David Corn has his way, Senator Rand Paul, who Corn denounces as “a traitor,” would also be taken outside and shot for the crime of noting that the Attack on America® Russia allegedly perpetrated is fairly standard clandestine behavior, engaged in by most developed nations, including the United States of America, whose history of election interference, coup-fomenting, assassinations, and other, more hamfisted forms of regime change is common knowledge, or at least it was, until the ruling classes and the corporate media turned the majority of Western liberals into paranoid McCarthyite fanatics denouncing anyone who questions the honesty of the US Intelligence Community as a “traitor,” and seeing Russians and Nazis coming out of the woodwork.

In the wake of Trump’s Treasonous Traitor Summit, which Garry Kasparov has called “the darkest hour in the history of the American presidency” (darker than Truman dropping the bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki!), the neoliberal establishment and the corporate media appear to have gone full Joe McCarthy. Virtually every establishment mouthpiece, former spook, official state clown, from Thomas Friedman to Stephen Colbert, have been braying about “treason” and “traitorousness,” and suggesting that Donald Trump be removed from office by, you know, whatever means necessary. At least David Frum, senior editor at The Atlantic had the balls to openly call for a CIA-orchestrated military coup, because we can’t afford to wait for the legal process to take its course this time, as we are “facing a national security emergency!”

God knows where we go from here. It’s hard to believe the ruling classes can keep teasing liberals, and other Trump-obsessives, over and over and over like this, without eventually impeaching or shooting the guy … but then again, maybe they can. Perhaps they intend to continue conducting this experiment all the way up to 2020, just to see how paranoid and mindlessly conformist they make the majority of the Western public. In any event, if they decide not to impeach him, and then try him for treason, or just kill him, or whatever, the Democrats at least have a new campaign slogan that they can use in 2018 and beyond … “NEXT TIME VOTE FOR WHO WE TELL YOU TO, YOU RUSSIA-LOVING NAZI SCUM!” It kind of has a ring to it, doesn’t it?

 

C. J. Hopkins is an award-winning American playwright, novelist and satirist based in Berlin. His plays are published by Bloomsbury Publishing (UK) and Broadway Play Publishing (USA). His debut novel, ZONE 23, is published by Snoggsworthy, Swaine & Cormorant. He can reached at cjhopkins.com or  consentfactory.org.

 

The Russia ‘National Security Crisis’ is a U.S. Creation

The Real News Network interviews Russia scholar Stephen Cohen

 

AARON MATE: It’s The Real News. I’m Aaron Mate.

The White House is walking back another statement from President Trump about Russia and U.S. intelligence. It began in Helsinki on Monday, when at his press conference with Vladimir Putin, Trump did not endorse the claim that Russia meddled in the 2016 election. After an outcry that played out mostly on cable news, Trump appeared to retract that view one day later. But then on Wednesday, Trump was asked if he believes Russia is now targeting the U.S. ahead of the midterms.

DONALD TRUMP: [Thank] you all very much. Appreciate it. Thank you. Thank you.

REPORTER: Is Russia still targeting the U.S. [inaudible]. No, you don’t believe that to be the case?

DONALD TRUMP: Thank you very much, everyone. We’re doing very well. We are doing very well, and we’re doing very well, probably as well as anybody has ever done with Russia. And there’s been no president ever as tough as I have been on Russia. All you have to do is look at the numbers, look at what we’ve done, look at sanctions, look at ambassadors. Not there. Look, unfortunately, at what happened in Syria recently. I think President Putin knows that better than anybody. Certainly a lot better than the media.

AARON MATE: The White House later claimed that when Trump said ‘no,’ he meant no to answering questions. But Trump’s contradiction of U.S. intelligence claims has brought the Russiagate story, one that has engulfed his presidency, to a fever pitch. Prominent U.S. figures have called Trump’s comments in Helsinki treasonous, and compared alleged Russian e-mail hacking and social media activity to 9/11 and Pearl Harbor. Those who also question intelligence claims or warmongering with Russia have been dubbed traitors, or Kremlin agents.

Speaking to MSNBC, the former U.S. ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul declared that with Trump’s comments, the U.S. is in the midst of a national security crisis.

MICHAEL MCFAUL: Republicans need to step up. They need to speak out, not just the familiar voices, because this is a national security crisis, and the president of the United States flew all the way to Finland, met with Vladimir Putin, and basically capitulated. It felt like appeasement.

AARON MATE: Well, joining me to address this so-called national security crisis is Stephen Cohen, professor emeritus at New York University and Princeton University. His books include “Failed Crusade: America and the Tragedy of Post-Soviet Russia,” and “Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives: From Stalinism to the New Cold War.” Professor Cohen, welcome. I imagine that you might agree with the view that we are in the midst of a national security crisis when it comes to Russia, but for far different reasons than those expounded on by Ambassador McFaul.

STEPHEN COHEN: There is a national security crisis, and there is a Russian threat. And we, we ourselves here in the United States, have created both of them. This has been true for years, and now it’s reached crisis proportion. Notice what’s going on. A mainstream TV reporter shouts to President Trump, “Are the Russians still targeting our elections?” This is in the category “Are you still beating your wife?” There is no proof that the Russians have targeted or attacked our elections. But it’s become axiomatic. What kind of media is that, are the Russians still, still attacking our elections.

And what Michael McFaul, whom I’ve known for years, formerly Ambassador McFaul, purportedly a scholar and sometimes a scholar said, it is simply the kind of thing, to be as kind as I can, that I heard from the John Birch Society about President Eisenhower when he went to meet Khrushchev when I was a kid growing up in Kentucky. This is fringe discourse that never came anywhere near the mainstream before, at least after Joseph McCarthy, that the president went, committed treason, and betrayed the country. Trump may have not done the right thing at the summit, because agreements were reached. Nobody discusses the agreements. But to stage a kangaroo trial of the president of the United States in the mainstream media, and have plenty of once-dignified people come on and deliver the indictment, is without precedent in this country. And it has created a national crisis in our relations with Russia. So yes, there’s a national crisis.

AARON MATE: Let me play for you a clip from Trump’s news conference with Putin that also drew outrage back in the U.S. When he was asked about the state of U.S.-Russia relations, he said both sides had responsibility.

DONALD TRUMP: Yes, I do. I hold both countries responsible. I think that the United States has been foolish. I think we’ve all been foolish. We should have had this dialogue a long time ago. A long time, frankly, before I got to office. And I think we’re all to blame. I think that the United States now has stepped forward, along with Russia, and we’re getting together, and we have a chance to do some great things. Whether it’s nuclear proliferation, in terms of stopping, because we have to do it. Ultimately that’s probably the most important thing that we can be working on.

AARON MATE: That’s President Trump in Helsinki. Professor Cohen, I imagine that this comment probably was part of the reason why there was so much outrage, not Just of what Trump said about the claims of Russian meddling in the election. Can you talk about the significance of what he said here, and how it contradicts the, the entire consensus of the bipartisan foreign policy establishment?

STEPHEN COHEN: I did not vote for President Trump. But for that I salute him, what he just said. So far as I can remember, no wiser words or more important words have been spoken by the American president about Russia and the Soviet Union since Ronald Reagan did his great detente with Mikhail Gorbachev in the late 1980s. What Trump just did, and I don’t- we never know, Aaron, how aware he is of the ramifications of what he says. But in this case, whether he fully understood it or not, he just broke with, and the first time any major political figure in the United States has broken with the orthodoxy, ever since at least 2000. And even going back to the ’90s. That all the conflicts we’ve had with post-Soviet Russia, after communism went away in Russia, all those conflicts, which I call a new and more dangerous Cold War, are solely, completely, the fault of Putin or Putin’s Russia. That nothing in American policy since Bill Clinton in the 1990s did anything to contribute seriously to the very dangerous conflict, confrontation we have with Russia today. It was all Russia’s fault.

What that has meant, and you know this, Aaron, because you live in this world as well, it has meant no media or public dialogue about the merits of American policy toward post-Soviet Russia from Clinton, certainly through Obama. It may be changing now under President Trump. Not sure. It means if we don’t have a debate, we’re not permitted to ask, did we do something wrong, or so unwise that it led to this even more dangerous Cold War? And if the debate leads to a conclusion that we did do something unwise, and that we’re still doing it, then arises the pressure and the imperative for any new policy toward Russia. None of that has been permitted, because the orthodoxy, the dogma, the axiom, is Putin alone has solely been responsible.

So you know, you know as well as I do what is excluded. It doesn’t matter that we moved NATO to Russia’s borders, that’s not significant. Or that we bombed Serbia, Russia’s traditional ally. Or that George Bush left the Antiballistic Missile Treaty, which was the bedrock of Russian nuclear security and, I would argue, our own. Or that we did regime change by military might in Iraq and Libya, and many other things. Or that we provoked the Ukrainian crisis in 2004, and supported the coup that overthrew a legitimate, elected, constitutional president there. None of that matters. Oh, it was kind of footnotes to the real narrative. And the narrative is, is that a Russian leader Vladimir Putin in power was a horrible aggressor. Killed everybody, somehow, with secret poisons or thieves in the night who opposed him. And began this new cold or even worse war with the United States.

No historian of any merit will ever write the story that way. It’s factually, analytically, simply untrue. Now Trump has said something radically different. We got here in these dire circumstances because both sides acted unwisely, and we should have had this discussion a long time ago. So for that, two cheers for President Trump. But whether he can inspire the discussion that he may wish to, considering the fact that he’s now being indicted as a criminal for having met Putin, is a big question.

AARON MATE: So a few questions. You mentioned that some agreements were made, but details on that have been vague. So do you have any sense of what concretely came out of this summit? There was talk about cooperation on nuclear weapons, possibly renewing the New START Treaty. We know that Putin offered that to Trump when he first came into office, but Trump rejected it. There was talk about cooperating in Syria. And, well, yeah, if I can put that question to you first, and then I have a follow-up about what might be motivating Trump here. But first, what do you think concretely came out of this?

STEPHEN COHEN: Well, look, I know a lot, both as a historian, and I’ve actually participated in some about the history of American-Russian, previously Soviet, summits. Which, by the way, this is the 75th anniversary of the very first one, when Franklin Roosevelt traveled to Tehran to meet Stalin. And every president, and this is important to emphasize, every president since Roosevelt has met with the Kremlin leader. Some many times, or several times. So there’s a long tradition. And therefore there are customs. And one custom, this goes to your question, is that never, except maybe very rarely, but almost never do we learn the full extent and nature of what agreements were made. That usually comes in a week or two or three later, because there’s still the teams of both are hammering out the details.

So that’s exactly what happened at this summit. There was no conspiracy. No, you know, appeasement behind closed doors. The two leaders announced in general terms what they agreed upon. Now, the most important, and this is traditional, too, by meeting they intended to revive the diplomatic process between the United States and Russia which has been badly tattered by events including the exclusion of diplomats, and sanctions, and the rest. So to get active, vigorous diplomacy about many issues going. They may not achieve that goal, because the American media and the political mainstream is trying to stop that. Remember that anything approaching diplomatic negotiations with Russia still less detente, is now being criminalized in the United States. Criminalized. What was once an honorable tradition, the pursuit of detente, is now a capital crime, if we believe these charges against Trump.

So they tried to revive that process, and we’ll see if it’s going to be possible. I think at least behind the scenes it will be. Obviously what you mentioned, both sides now have new, more elusive, more lethal, faster, more precise nuclear weapons. We’ve been developing them for a long time in conjunction with missile defense. We’ve essentially been saying to Russia, you may have equality in nuclear weapons with us, but we have missile defense. Therefore, we could use missile defense to take out your retaliatory capacity. That is, we could stage the first strike on you and you would not be able to retaliate.

Now, everybody who’s lived through the nuclear era knows that’s an invitation to disaster. Because like it or not, we’ve lived with a doctrine called MAD, Mutual Assured Destruction, that one side dare not attack the other with a nuclear weapon because it would be destroyed as well. We were saying we now have this primacy. Putin, then, on March 1 of this year, announced that they have developed weapons that can elude missile defense. And it seems to be true. In the air and at sea, their dodgy, darty, quick thing- but they could avoid our missile defense. So where we are at now is on the cusp of a new nuclear arms race involving more dangerous nuclear weapons. And the current START, New START Treaty will expire, I think, in three or four years. But its expiration date is less important that the process of talking and negotiating and worrying officially about these new weapons had ended.

So essentially what Trump and Putin agreed is that process of concern about new and more dangerous nuclear weapons must now resume immediately. And if there’s anybody living in the United States who think that that is a bad idea they need to reconsider their life, because they may be looking into the darkness of death. So that was excellent. Briefly. What I hope they did- they didn’t announce it, but I’m pretty sure they did- that there had been very close calls between American and Russian combat forces and their proxies in Syria. We’re doing a proxy war, but there are plenty of native Russians and Americans in Syria in a relatively small combat cell. And there have been casualties. The Russians have said at the highest level the next time a Russian is killed in Syria by an American-based weapon, we will strike the American launcher. If Russia strikes our launching pads or areas, whether on land or sea, which means Americans will be there and are killed, call it war. Call it war.

So we need to agree in Syria to do more than, what do they call it, deconfliction, where we have all these warnings. It’s still too much space for mishap. And what I hope it think Trump and Putin did was to try to get a grip on this.

AARON MATE: Stephen F. Cohen, professor emeritus at at Princeton University and New York University, thank you. And stay tuned for part two. I’m Aaron Mate for The Real News.

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