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Ron Radosh

Along with Putin, Cohen depicts the demonstrators in Ukraine as hardly “right-minded oppositionists,” but in reality as a group whose politics are never examined and which, he implies, is most likely made up of far-Right extremists and includes fascists and anti-Semites.  He believes that  “a new Cold War divide between West and East may now be unfolding, not in Berlin but in the heart of Russia’s historical civilization.” The now ousted president of Ukraine is depicted by Cohen as presiding over a real democracy, and not anything like what he believes are the false portrayals by the  historian Timothy Snyder, whose articles in The New York Review of Books paint a not-so-rosy view of the old Yanukovych regime.

To Cohen, the crisis arose only because NATO expansion in Eastern Europe forced Putin and Yanukovych to rightfully protect Russia’s national interests. Moreover, U.S.-funded groups in Ukraine were interfering with domestic politics by bringing NGOs to fund democracy promotion, while trying to put provocative missile-defense installations in countries like Poland, meant to “subordinate Ukraine to NATO.”

He is angry that at the Sochi Olympics, the U.S. sent a low-level delegation, which infuriated Putin because it included “retired gay athletes.” How dare the United States do such a thing, knowing that Putin believes gay people should have no rights? What Obama should have done was go to Sochi himself, “either out of gratitude to Putin, or to stand with Russia’s leader against international terrorists who have struck both of our countries.”

Professor Cohen,  we all remember, was sad at the demise of the Soviet Union. He hoped it would not collapse and that it would remain in existence under the leadership of his beloved Mikhail Gorbachev. The last Soviet leader, Cohen believed, would have created a democratic communist state built in the tradition of the purged and executed Bolshevik leader Nikolai Bukharin, of whom Cohen wrote an admiring biography.  

The liberal columnist Jonathan Chait gets it correctly. Writing about those he terms Putin’s “pathetic dupes,” he singles out Stephen Cohen and accurately calls him “a septuagenarian, old-school leftist who has carried on the mental habits of decades of anti-anti-communism seamlessly into a new career of anti-anti-Putinism. The Cohen method is to pick away at every indictment of the Russian regime without directly associating himself with its various atrocities.” It is not surprising that Cohen is frequently a guest on the Kremlin’s TV propaganda outlet, Russia Today, just as he would have been welcome on Soviet stations in the Gorbachev era.  In a recent radio interview, Cohen writes:

I can’t remember any Soviet communist leader being so personally villainized, that is we wrote bad things about Khrushchev, about Brezhnev, about Andropov, but we disliked them because they represented an evil system. We didn’t say them themselves were thugs, murderers, assassins, which are words that we attach to Putin.

I think Professor Cohen should look a little more, because I recall plenty of people referring to the Soviet leaders as “thugs” and worse.

The truth is that Cohen analyzes Putin just as he analyzed the Soviet Union, for which he always apologized. In an interview in the new print Newsweek (not online), Cohen said:

We hit Russia’s borders under Bush because NATO was in the Baltics. Then we had this episode in Georgia in 2008 because we crossed Russia’s red line in Georgia. We’ve crossed it in Ukraine. I don’t understand why people don’t see this. That if you send, over a 20-year period, a military alliance which has it’s political components  – includes missile defense, includes NGOs that get money from governments but are deeply involved in politics in those countries, includes the idea of revolutions on their borders — then eventually you’re going to come up against a red line that, like Obama, they’re going to act on.

It’s the old apology for the Soviet Union by the Communists and fellow-travelers brought up to date to explain away Putin. Stalin and his minions in the West used to explain every Soviet action as a fault of “capitalist encirclement,” to which the poor USSR had to act to defend itself. So Cohen believes now we “went a bridge to far” in Ukraine. Putin had to act to defend the just national interests of Russia.

As for the suppression of gays in Russia, Cohen points out they were suppressed in America when he grew up. Moreover, he says that 85 percent of Russians believe homosexuality is a disease or a choice. And there is no popular support in the country for gay rights. In other words, we may not like it, but one has to respect the feelings of the Russian public, and not inflict our values and decisions on them. He goes on to say “it’s not our concern,” and sarcastically remarks: “Are we supposed to form a brigade and go there and liberate Russian gays?” That is, my friend the historian of Russia Louis Menashe puts it, “reminiscent of turning back criticisms of the USSR with: “What about the Negroes lynched in the South!”

Once again, leftists like Stephen Cohen join with paleoconservatives like Pat Buchanan in opposing a stand for democracy, and in charging critics of Putin with unfairly and aggressively opposing Putin’s supposed just and necessary policies. When will we learn the lessons we should have learned from the past?

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Ron, you missed the third flank. The Ron Paul imbeciles.

The Jew hating Buchanan wing has found a "mirror" in the Jew hating "libertarian" wing.

When these raging, drooling, low wattage apologists for large c communism get rolling, they are inseparable from the execrable left and their small c masquerade.

The small c communists hide as "liberals". They hate America and Israel, hate the free market, despise capitalism and try to tear down America's defense capabilities, soften her up and destroy her relationships with traditional allies, most especially Israel. They see America as colonialist, imperialist and warmongering.

The Buchanan wing is basically Mel Gibson on a bender. The JOOOOOOOS "start all the wars". Those soft "neocons, who don't tote a rifle, but push us into useless military endeavors". Their progenitors said the same nice things about Hitler and staying out of a war that was none of our business and pooh-poohed killing off the "evil money changers who killed Christ".

The Ron Paul idiot farm has grown a bumper crop of Jew haters who hide better than Buchanan. They NEVER say the word Jew. Not out loud. (Ron Paul and Alex Jones and the infamy of slimy newsletters is an object lesson. The mutated breed adapted to the negative feedback and their new virus strain is more resistant to identification, hiding behind "the new isolationism". Oh, they SAY neocon, but they mean Jew. They say America is imperialist, warmongering and invasion hungry...but they wave the flag when slandering her.

These slimy cretins are mirrors of Jeremiah Wright thundering "liberation theology" in the God Damn America sermons. Hiding the marriage of the Nation of Islam to small c communism behind a veil of "Christianity". The neolibertarian hides his Buchanan Jew hatred marriage to leftist slanders of imperialism behind the veil of libertarianism.

The "live and let live" veil applies to all...except they would love to have the "neocons" (read JOOOOS) go to war and be killed off, finishing what Hitler could not.

The apologias for Putin are no different than the ones for Stalin, the Soviet Union, and even for Hitler.

Duranty, Zinn, Chomsky, now the mass media, Hollywood, academia and the Democratic Party....infiltrated every nook and cranny of our information stream. We are infested.

Buchanan and Ron Paul flanked us in consort with them. Buchanan grabbing the SoCons and Paul grabbing the libertarians.

Tearing down our ability to fight the radical left/radical Islam totalitarian push.

Totalitarianism is raging at our doorstep. So is tyranny. And treason. And traitors are everywhere. Screeching their slanders against this land of ours. I would hang them all.

They have found this blog. Some write 4553728 posts in a row hijacking every thread. Between the half sister's, brother-in-law's next door neighbor scams and their post glutting...it's a wonder anyone else comes here any longer. The comment section is beyond annoying, the flow is corrupted. These neolibertarians are an obnoxious lot. Not all of them, but a few are really miserable human beings. I've been here for years, but since Roger moved on, and the Google trolls and these Paulbots joined the leftist trolls...many of the great regulars have faded from view.

It's a big net loss.

And, a very ugly omen for the future of our country.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
EU: anti family & anti-life
Putin: pro family & pro life

EU: tax them to death
Putin: flat tax

EU: regulate them to death
Putin: let them do business

EU: promote sodomy
Putin: don't promote sodomy

I could add a few more pages. If Putin is a thug what has he done: fail to prosecute thugs with sticks at a poll station? Have a woman shot to death in front of her baby for the crime of approaching the Kremlin perimeter fence?

I have been siding with "thugs" like him for a while. And don't bring the "freedom of the press issue either. He controls the press there, the Libtards control the press here.

BTW the freely elected president of Ukraine was ousted by a mob. So don't give me the "democracy" excuse.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
Mr. Radosh, you seem to have a penchant for using an old leftists tactic. The one of trying to support advancing some position that most people would probably not otherwise agree with by picking the most onerous people who are against it, with it's implicit "You don't want to be like them, do you?". I don't think most people will fall for it.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
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I've noticed this here in Europe too. Russia says its fighting fascist Nazis in Ukraine and funnily has all the support from European extremists, right and left.

Putin really isn't saying anything that's not been said before. Since 19th century at least there has been this way of thinking that Russia is the Holy land, set between the barbarian East and Decadent west. Dostoyevsky calls Europe "Graveyard" in Brothers Karamazov (which pits Western atheism and decline against healthier Slavic values)

I'm a spenglerian history student, so I'm the firs one to say that Europe is in decline. But admitting that the enemies of the West have valid criticism about the state of our culture doesn't mean they are any less of enemies. My homeland Finland has a growing Russian minority Kremlin likes to use for political gain. Russia is getting increasingly dangerous and the West is too weak to respond to its challenge. People who admire Russia's current policies are like those kids who naturally follow the biggest bullies in school.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
Crimea is a role modele for China, when she'll want to annex Taiwan
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
http://youtu.be/22HkzDOc18k

It is worth watching
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
Thank you for the suggestion. It is worth watching just to observe Russian religiosity and Putin's participation and his analysis of the moral decay in Russia -- an inheritance from Communism. For the discussion of Radosh's article, Krauthammer's "thug" Putin and the tone of many critics in the comments, the video supports Spengler's view and certainly is a plus for my interpretation. I am left with a difficulty: Either Putin is a great faker of genial talent OR his religiosity in connection of Russian Orthodoxy says somethng about his character. If Putin's religious behavior is genuine, then the "thug" interpretatiuon of his blantant use of power must be disregarded as foreign to an objective analysis, one well presented by Spengler.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
Prof Iw,
I watched the video twice. Go back and specifically watch for him to say anything about G-d. He does not. It is a very carefully worded speech. He is speaking to a godly audience, and I believe that godly people fill in the blanks without realizing it. He discusses morals, and spiritual deficits, and citizenship, but in no way says that G-d is the answer. The remainder of the video is photo-opportunities at religious sites, but it is hard to say whether we should give those any more credence than we do to Obama attending church services on occasion.

Based on his behavior of jailing political opponents and businessmen, on his manipulation of his country’s constitution to hold power, on his family life, and now on very gritty realpolitick behavior vis-à-vis Ukraine, a very plausible case can be made that his faith does not run very deep.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
"We can see how many Euro-Atlantic countries are rejecting their roots, the Christian values that form the basis of Western civilization. They are reneging on moral pirnciples and their traditional identity: national, cultural, religious and even sexual". Who said these words? The Pope? Billy Graham? No, Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia.

"Is Putin Puttin' Us On)" is the name of an article by Micahael Matt, editor of the Catholic magazine "The Remnant" (March 15, 2014). Putin may be putting us on, but that does not mean that the words themselves are false. I agree 100% with them. Matt's response to Putin is reflective of the reaction of many Christians, Catholic and Protestant, who are alienated from the current modern secular culture, well designated by Pope Benedict XVI as "the dictatorship of Relativism" and as "the culture of death". At least, in contrast to the Weist, led by the EU, hurrying its way to non-reproductive annihilation, Putin seems to have upped the Russian birthrate. From an evolutonary point of view of survival of the fittest, Puting is pointing his Russia in an evollutionary sound postition while we of the West are proving that we are NOT evolutionarily fit >> hence our disappearance. And this downward trend is associated with the decline of moral, religous, sexual, pesonal, etc. values.

Is Putin just faking it? Perhaps! But turn to Gloria.tv and look up the 5 minute video "Putin and the Russian Orthodox Church". What Putin has to say to the churchmen fits the analysis made by Spengler, for which I thank him greatly for transcending the name-calling "thuggery" to which Western commentators (and all too any commentators to the article) are sinking. I also thank Mr. Radosh for his excellent, though errantly conceived, article. He has inadvertently raised a problem, relative to which Putin's words, faked or genuine, should stimulate discussion. What precisely?

Is Western culture as decadent as Putin says (and I would agree)? If so, why? I raised in my comments the whole value of "democracy", the ideology of postmodernity relativism. Do we really want a "democracy" or do we not want a return to a "Republic"? That is the difference between "now" and the "then" of the Founding Fathers. Hate Putin, but think about his words.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
While I am at it, I will add a few more words from the "thurg's" speeach:

"(Euro-Atlantic countries) put in place polcies that put on equal basis traditional families with LGBT families: faith in God is equal to faith in Satan. This excess of political correctness has led to people talking seriously of registering political parties whose aim is to promote pedophilia [I think immediately of the "Grüne Partei" in Germany]. ... What better evidence of this moral crisis than the loss of the ability to reproduce? Today almost all developed nations are no longer able to reproduce themselves ... [Germany has a birthrate of less than 1.4 children per woman and is dying out] . ... We consider it natural and right to defend these values. .... we see attempts to launch the standard of a one wolrd goernment and blur ...the national sovereignty model. Such a one world, standardized government does not need sovereign states, it needs vassals. Historically this represents a rejection of our own identity and of the universal diversity given by God."

Who among those who propse a "thug"-hermeneutics for Putin, disagree with the words just quoted? If there are any, please let me know in a '"reply".I would really be interested in reading Mr. Radosh's objections. I suspect to receive not a peep of dissent regarding the words themselves. Unless Putin is the greatest actor of all times, the evidence as to his person fits the intepretation of Spengler.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
Final, final note: According to a recent Forbes article affiliation to the Russian Orthodox Church has gone from ca. 15% in 1989 to over 60% today. Islam has increased some, but not anywhere as much. What Western countries can brag about a rapid augmentation of Christians? Europe? Ha! The US? Ha, but less so!

I guess, following the logic of one comment maker, that makes the Russian people into "thugs". Or???
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
My difficulty with all of this is the idea that democracy in the Western sense of the word is an achievable, perhaps even necessary condition for Russia. I think it's a chimera. Were the Russians to send Putin to the devil and elect Gary Kasparov, I would be delighted. I think it much more likely that Russia will cling to traditional nationalism, and the outpouring of support for Putin over Crimea is consistent with that view. We shall have to deal willy-nilly with a nationalist Russia. We are not going to war with it, and we are not going to persuade it to become something different. Ron Radosh has set up a straw man and asked us to salute it. The real world is radically different from the one he imagines. That said, I agree with him that Steven Cohen is a toady and Pat Buchanan is revolting. What he fails to address is the views of Henry Kissinger, Aaron David Miller, Walter Russell Mead, and others who do not share his utopian criteria. More Rachmaninoff and less banjo, please.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
" We shall have to deal willy-nilly with a nationalist Russia. We are not going to war with it, and we are not going to persuade it to become something different."

Have you rejected the concept of containment? If so, why on earth? If not, I do not believe you have made the case it should not have Ukraine on the western side of it, and if the Ukraine so chooses, why it should not have the arms from us to attempt it.

" More Rachmaninoff and less banjo, please."

Motorhead and Metallica seem better suited...
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
no Russian will vote for Kasparov, who represents the western interests

and yes, more Rachmaninoff and less banjo, hey it's not the same playgrounds
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
Praytell what Western interest does he represent? Or does he merely want a more western Russsia?
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
There are two important pieces that should be read along with Mr. Rodash's article:
Ron, Rand, and the Mises Institute
http://nyyrc.com/blog/2013/08/ron-rand-and-the-mises-institute/

What's Really going on in Ukraine?
http://nyyrc.com/blog/2014/03/what-is-really-going-on-in-ukraine/
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
your second link is excellent
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Putin has managed to box the U.S. into working with and bolstering the Assad regime...We are somehow supposed to believe that this is in our security interests."

Considering the unintended(?) consequences of supporting Jihadism in Afghanistan back in the 80's i think that every average moral person should believe that it is of our best interests to do so...
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
How does one adult really apologize for another adult? It's nonsense.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
Putin is not a communist. He is an autocrat and a Russian nationalist. His aspirations vis-a-vis the post-Soviet nations that were always part of the Soviet Union and were under the Tsars long before the Revolution do not threaten vital American interests. Our leverage in Ukraine is limited just as our interests there are limited. In part our leverage is limited by the incompetence of Obama.

To say this is not to white wash Putin. At the same time, we should not white wash the Ukrainians who oppose him. If I had to choose sides, I would choose the Ukrainians. But given poor leadership in Washington, a vigorous response that is proportionate to our interests isn't going to happen.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
Your defense of Putin's aggression against Ukraine could be applied almost verbatim to justify Stalin's annexation of eastern Poland, the Baltic states, and parts of Finland and Romania in 1939-40. These territories also had been parts of the Russian empire before the Bolshevik revolution. This is the problem with many conservatives: they base their judgement of foreign affairs on the officially professed doctrines of foreign rulers rather than following their concrete acts. What Putin is doing would not be better or worse from a moral standpoint if he WERE a communist (which he's not). Also, the reply by EJ01 is unspeakably evil and stupid.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
that's a error of interpretation, Putin ain't in that scenario anymore

butlike it's well defined in Randall's 2nd link
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
A communist Soviet Union is a threat to the United States. A nationalist Russia is not. Ukraine (as a whole) is very different from the Baltic states or for that matter Transcarpathia and Galicia, which now fall within the borders of Ukraine. There is also a world of difference between a totalitarian state, which Russia is not, and an authoritarian state. If we are on the hunt for villains, there is no end to it. Vladimir Putin is no Woodrow Wilson but he is no Idi Amin, either.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
Hear hear. Jeane Kirkpatrick distinguished between authoritarian states we could criticize but live with and totalitarian states that sought the destruction of our liberties. How is Putin threatening American liberties trying to aggressively export a totalitarian ideology like the Soviets were? Unless you want to go fully Bolshevik and claim Orthodox Christianity or libertarianism are the new Communism (and many a hack, from J.R. Nyquist, to Cliff Kincaid, to the anonymous dweeb behind @StopAgitprop ARE SAYING PRECISELY THAT!). Non-interventionism and libertarianism are the new Bolshevisms. Funny how they agree with the Nanny Statist gun grabber Mayor Bloomberg in that!
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
It's not evil at all. What would be unforgivable is allowing Communism to continue to exist even after all they did, especially when they're only going to see that mercy as a weakness and ensure they reconquer those institutions anyways. I know a lot of people who suffered under Communism, the murders the Communists conducted against them, especially those who were religious and followers of God. And considering how Communism is actually being promoted in our classrooms, praising the horrors of the French Revolution, as well as how Stalinism was a very good thing (like, oh, I don't know, how that Grover Furr guy in that medieval literature class is promoting Stalinism, even having a website dedicated to it), we can't even afford to let bygones be bygones, especially considering how our institutions have already been left extremely vulnerable to Communist takeover thanks to the blueprint Antonio Gramsci left behind. Is it extreme? Yes, but then again, sometimes extreme measures have to be taken to ensure an extremely evil group of people who are unforgivable have to be stopped, and right now wiping them out is the ONLY way to stop them. I learned from my Uncle as well as a polish priest about the persecutions of religion that the USSR and its satellite countries did, and I know some Vietnamese janitors who had fled from Vietnam, some even sporting disfigurements from being tortured by them. Don't tell me about my plans being unspeakable evils, because I'm far too well aware of what they are, from what I've witnessed, what I've read, what I've learned from history, and if anything, letting the Communists live is both unspeakable evil and stupidity. Heck, right now thanks to our "merciful" nature, we've got 70 communists in the House and Senate, most of them using the "Democrat" label, and we've got schools promoting Communism. You want to decry things being of unspeakable evil and unspeakable stupidity, try academia and those 70 communist senators/congressmen, not to mention the likes of Bill Ayers not only walking the streets, but also gaining respectable positions in the University system. God himself knew this, wiping out Sodom and Gomorrah. Are you going to label Him as being of unspeakable evil and stupidity?!
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
You know, Fidel Castro and Che Guevara claimed they weren't Communists, yet look what they turned out to be. Not saying Putin IS Communist, but I do find it suspicious that he doesn't try to hunt down any Communists in his country. I know if I were him, regardless of whether I actually fear the Communists in my country or not, I'd make DARN sure to hunt down and if needs be exterminate the communists in my country and in other countries. The socialists as well.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
When the dust settles on all of this the Putin secures two things absolutely for the Russian people. Poverty and alcoholism.

Meanwhile, Obama secures dependency and a spirit of over-whelming mediocrity for the American people.

All other plans for "their people" are simply transitory relative to the predictable end results.

Doesn't do just a whole lot to satisfy the universal yearning of mankind for peace and prosperity dies it?
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
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