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Truth and War - John Pilger

New Statesman - 29 September 2008
John Pilger writes:

… Two years ago, Stephen Cohen, professor of Russian Studies at New York University, wrote a landmark essay in the Nation which has now been reprinted in Britain.* He warns of “the gravest threats [posed] by the undeclared Cold War Washington has waged, under both parties, against post-communist Russia during the past 15 years”. He describes a catastrophic “relentless winner-take-all of Russia's post-1991 weakness”, with two-thirds of the population forced into poverty and life expectancy barely at 59. With most of us in the West unaware, Russia is being encircled by US and Nato bases and missiles in violation of a pledge by the United States not to expand Nato “one inch to the east”. The result, writes Cohen, “is a US -built reverse iron curtain [and] a US denial that Russia has any legit­imate national interests outside its own territory, even in eth­nically akin former republics such as Ukraine, Belarus and Georgia. [There is even] a presumption that Russia does not have full sovereignty within its own borders, as expressed by constant US interventions in Moscow’s internal affairs since 1992 ... the United States is attempting to acquire the nuclear superiority it could not achieve during the Soviet era.”

This danger has grown rapidly as the American media again grow US -Russian relations as “a duel to the death – per­haps literally”. The liberal Washington Post, says Cohen, “reads like a bygone Pravda on the Potomac”. The same is true in Britain, with the regurgitation of propaganda that Russia was wholly responsible for the war in the Caucasus and must therefore be a “pariah”. Sarah Palin, who may end up US president, says she is ready to attack Russia. The steady beat of this drum has seen Moscow return to its old nuclear alerts. Remember the 1980s, writes Cohen, “when the world faced exceedingly grave Cold War perils, and Mikhail Gorbachev unexpectedly emerged to offer a heretical way out. Is there an American leader today ready to retrieve that missed opportu­nity?” It is an urgent question that must be asked all over the world by those of us still unafraid to break the lethal silence.


*Stephen Cohen's article, “The New American Cold War”, is reprinted in full in the current issue of The Spokesman, published by the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation.

This is an exerpt from John Pilger's article. The full text is available at: http://www.newstatesman.com/uk-politics/2008/09/pilger-russia-british-britain


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