Hey, Parents: Meet Neo-Soviet NYU, Princeton Professor Stephen Cohen
Vladimir Putin has a great supporter within U.S. higher education.
January 28, 2013 - 12:00 am
He does give an example of “selective” reporting by U.S. media, saying it failed to report a student strike at an obscure Russian college:
If their protest spreads to other universities, Russia could experience its first large-scale student strike in many decades, with major political consequences.
He claimed the protest was not reported because these students didn’t have U.S. reporters in their pockets the way earlier protesters did, and because the students did not criticize Putin but rather focused their ire on Obama “favorite” Dmitri Medvedev.
Cohen mentioned that the students were protesting the ouster of their rector Sergei Baburin, but didn’t tell his readers a thing further about Baburin, who is one of the most delusional figures in Russian politics. In 2007, he proposed paying each Russian citizen the tidy sum of four million rubles (Russian-language link) to compensate them for the ills imposed upon them by the fall of the USSR. That’s about $150,000 a head, enough to bankrupt not just Russia. Baburin is also a radical nationalist who vigorously opposed Boris Yeltsin, siding with those who wanted to preserve Soviet repression. How he represents some type of progressive future for Russia, only Cohen can say.
Cohen believes that the U.S. should have given Russia “most-favored nation” trading status in an unconditional manner, allowing Putin carte blanche authority to decimate Russian civil society so as to avoid a “haughty American intrusion into its political and legal affairs.” His dishonesty is quite breathtaking: Cohen did not tell his readers that Russian polls clearly show the people of Russia supported the Magnitsky Act, or that the bill was even more enthusiastically supported by the leaders of Russia’s democracy movement.
The only ones who didn’t support the measure were Vladimir Putin and … Barack Obama, who opposed it tooth and nail until his own party overwhelmingly approved it in Congress.
Cohen’s portrait of Obama as a new type of cold warrior — one not nearly fair, much less generous towards Russia — is equally deluded. He ignores that Obama handed Putin a nuclear missile treaty under which only the U.S., not Russia, had to reduce nuclear weapons stockpiles. He ignores that Obama unilaterally cancelled the Bush plan for missile defense in Eastern Europe. And he cannot point to one single instance in which Obama spoke out for human rights in Russia throughout his entire first term. He ignores Obama’s hot-mic moment with Dmitri Medvedev last year in which he promised to heap more largesse on Putin as soon as he had his reelection in the bag. Cohen called Obama’s reset policy “détente”; the only accurate term for it is “appeasement.”
What Cohen apparently means: Obama isn’t yet as far in the Putin camp as he believes he can be pushed. Just like Putin, Cohen sees Obama’s weakness as a basis to leverage even more one-sided gains for Russia. He feels Obama should have vetoed Magnitsky, committing political suicide to stand up for KGB values. Cohen calls for “movement towards partnership” on the part of the United States, without ever once recognizing a fault on the part of Putin, or acknowledging that Putin’s status as a proud KGB spy hardly makes him a viable candidate for partnership.
On innumerable occasions in the past, Cohen has painted Putin as the innocent victim of American bullying. He has trashed the Russian opposition and mercilessly attacked U.S. efforts to support democracy and American values.
He even sided with Putin on the murder of dissidents like Alexander Litvinenko.