Stephen Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian studies at New York University and Princeton, spoke with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson for a second time this week Friday evening.
Cohen, one of the country’s foremost experts on Russia, argued that the anti-Putin hysteria in Washington, D.C., is putting the United States in danger.
Carlson started the conversation by referencing Senator Marco Rubio’s grilling of President-elect Trump’s pick for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, at his confirmation hearing earlier this week, particularly Rubio’s question about whether Tillerson considers Russian President Vladimir Putin to be a “war criminal.”
“I was so struck by Rubio’s insistence that Tillerson concede that he was,” Carlson said. “Would America gain something, do you think, by an incoming secretary of state calling another head of state a war criminal?”
“No,” Cohen answered flatly. “Because it would end what President-elect Trump says he wants to do, and that’s create a new policy toward Russia that we used to call detente — cooperation.”
The professor described the precarious state of affairs around the world as President Barack Obama prepares to leave office: “Perhaps the worst relationship with Russia in our time, [with] perils everywhere from the Baltics to Ukraine to Syria, to guys running around — terrorists — looking for radioactive material to make bombs, and if they set them off we won’t be able to inhabit those places for a generation.”
“Trump seems to understand this,” Cohen continued. “He seems to understand that we can’t deal with these problems without Russian cooperation.”
The professor argued that “the bloody war” we’re already seeing against Trump from the establishment in Washington is “partly because he wants to do this.”
Cohen noted that he is not a partisan of Trump or a partisan of Putin. “I’m a partisan of American national security,” he explained. “They say these things because they do not know what they’re talking about. They don’t know the dangers. They don’t know Putin’s real role in the world. He is far from the greatest threat to America.”
He added that “the threat that Putin represents to the United States — probably wouldn’t make the top five. But they’re testifying in Congress that it’s number one. And this is a threat to our own national security.”
Tucker, while conceding that he’s not an expert on Russia, agreed with the professor, saying it “comports with common sense.”
“It does seem like hysteria has seized D.C.,” Carlson said.
“And we’re in danger, as a result,” Cohen concluded.