Can Trump deliver detente with Russia?

1 Jan

Two days after Trump’s victory on November 8, Russia Today interviewed Professor Stephen Cohen, the Russia expert who used to advise Reagan. Here’s an abridged excerpt from that interview, linked below.

We are in a Cold War more dangerous than the 40-year long Cold War with the USSR. Trump wants to reduce conflict with Russia but will be opposed by a fierce and powerful pro-Cold War coalition, Democratic and Republican, and the media. He will have to fight very hard.

What the US needs, because the situation is so bad, is not a friend in the Kremlin but a partner. Trump is a businessman. Businessmen don’t look for friends but partners. Apart from this Cold War mania in the US there’s no practical reason why Trump and Putin should not be security partners. But you need leadership. Trump says he’d provide that but we can’t be sure. And don’t be naive – opposition to cooperation with Russia, however rational, is ferocious in America’s bi-partisan establishment. It will fight Trump to the end.

Discussion of Russia in our presidential campaigns was poisonous. The Clinton campaign indulged neo-McCarthyism, accusing Trump and anybody who backed him on Russian policy of being puppets of the Kremlin. This is beyond disgusting. We went through this many years ago in the US. It damaged our country badly. The poison is in our political bloodstream. Will it go away with Trump’s victory? I doubt it. Trump needs supporters in America who did not vote for him but understand how dangerous this Cold War is and will support cooperation with your President, Putin. But will those people come forward? They don’t want to be called names either. So this is a struggle in my country. You’ve got struggles in your country. Our struggle is that if Trump pursues detente with Putin, we need to support him.


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