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The 11th Hour
April 9, 2018
11:25:07 PM Eastern
NICOLLE WALLACE: Welcome back. Joining the conversation is Steve Schmidt, a veteran Republican strategist and an MSNBC political analyst. Steve, go!
STEVE SCHMIDT: Well, I thought what we saw today was extremely disturbing, Nicolle. We see Donald Trump sitting there with his arms crossed like a dime store Mussolini saying that an attack on the country is the result of a legally executed search warrant on his private attorney. What he really means there is that anything that endangers him politically or otherwise legally is, in fact, an attack on the country. That the leader and the country are synonymous. And that just goes to show the degree to which Donald Trump doesn’t understand the United States of America. It is because the United States of America is a nation of laws, where the rule of law prevails, and no person, even the president, is above the law.
And so what we saw of him today is using the senior military uniform leadership of the country as political props, while he goes on this disturbing rant, while at the same time speculating about the use of military force and sending America’s fighting men and women into harm’s way. It was a very, very disturbing performance, and per The Washington Post reporting, and I think as evidenced by his comments today, he seems unhinged. He seems off balance, and he seems unhinged and off balance at an exact moment in time where he appears to be contemplating military action. It was disturbing to watch him in action today. It was disturbing to see how he operates. But his reaction is obvious because this scandal has moved another giant step closer to the Oval Office.
11:31:39 PM Eastern
SCHMIDT: Here’s the analogy I would use, Nicolle. It’s a person who goes to the doctor and says I’m not feeling well, and I have some stomach pain. And the doctor does some tests and comes back and say, we have some bad news. We looked and what we see is cancer is everywhere. In the same way, I think what the prosecutors have done is the empowering of the special counsel that they’ve looked inside the Trump organization. They’ve looked at this collusion issue, but what they found is there is corruption everywhere.
11:46:34 PM Eastern
SCHMIDT: We are light years from normal. We are outside of the galaxy from normal. This is unprecedented. What we saw today was an American president say essentially, “I am the state. I am the country.” And that is simply not the case in the United States of America. And I think if you listen closely tonight, you can hear the faint applause from heaven of this country’s founding fathers, who bequeathed to us a nation where the rule of law is supreme. We are a nation of laws. We are not a banana republic.
© Copyright 2016 David Duke.com
— Michael Hoffman (@HoffmanMichaelA) December 9, 2017
The ZIO DEEP STATE Political Assassination of Donald Exposed! -IG Horowitz Cohen-cidence of Lost Emails on “Secret Society”
Today Dr. Duke talked about new revelations regarding the Russia Hoax investigations against Donald Trump, which actually amount to a Jewish-led coup d’etat attempt. Inspector General of the Justice Department (((Michael Horowitz))) has conveniently lost 50,000 text messages between two anti-Trump FBI agents who referred to themselves as part of a “secret society” dedicated to protecting America from the man they elected as president.
Then he and Dr. Slattery expose the leading Jewish role in this Jew d’etat against the president, which includes the media, the “deep state” permanent bureaucracy, and Congressional leaders like Adam Schiff and Diane Feinstein.
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Professor Stephen F. Cohen, renowned ivy league professor and expert on Russia gave a speech called “Rethinking Putin” at the annual The Nation cruise on December 2, 2017.
Professor Stephen F. Cohen is that “villain” who dared talk about Russia and Russians without demonizing them, and he just gave a speech called “Rethinking Putin”!
The inhumanity! How dare those pesky academics urge people to think! He had the nerve to imply people should not only think…but they should rethink! What kind of free world do we live in where academics are encouraging people to think without demonizing the enemy of the deep state. What next…people will start asking questions!?! And what will that lead to…asking more questions…or worse…Questioning More! (That was just a little bit of sarcasm if you couldn’t tell.)
In all seriousness, we highly recommend you check out his speech. Cohen is an American professor, so while he is an expert, that does not mean he represents Russia. Russians, Russophiles, or people who simply don’t hate Russia are not required to agree with everything he says, however one can see he speaks reason, and that is hard to come by these days. Check it out!
New evidence that Washington broke its promise not to expand NATO “one inch eastward” – a fateful decision with ongoing ramifications – has not been reported by The New York Times or other agenda-setting media outlets
John Batchelor has a very popular political talk show on America’s largest radio network, WABC.
He has Stephen Cohen on live in the studio almost every week for a full 45 minute segment, the only guest he gives that much time to.
Why? Because Cohen’s appearances are killing the ratings. America seems to be thirsting for an alternative and critical view of Obama’s Russia policy.
See below for a summary of this program courtesy of The Nation.
Cohen returns to a subject he has treated repeatedly since the 1990s, mainstream media malpractice in covering Russia, but with a new and highly indicative example that is both historical and profoundly contemporary.
There have been three relevant major episodes of such malpractice. The first was when American newspapers, particularly The New York Times, misled readers into thinking the Communists could not possibly win the Russian Civil War of 1918-20, as detailed in a study by Walter Lippmann and Charles Merz, published as a supplement to The New Republic, August 4, 1920. (Once canonical, the study was for years assigned reading at journalism schools, but no longer it seems to be.)
The second episode was in the 1990s, when virtually the entire mainstream America print and broadcast media covered the US-backed “reforms” of Russian President Boris Yeltsin, which plundered and immiserated the Russian people, as a benevolent “transition to democracy and capitalism” and to “the kind of Russia we want.” (For this episode, see Cohen’s book Failed Crusade: American and the Tragedy of Post-Communist Russia.)
The third and current episode grew out of the second but spread quickly through the media in the early 2000s with the demonization of Vladimir Putin, Yeltsin’s successor, and now is amply evidenced by mainstream coverage of the new Cold War, Russiagate’s allegation that “Russia attacked American democracy” in 2016, and much else related to Russia. This rendition may be the worst, certainly it is the most dangerous.
Media malpractice has various elements – among them, selective use of facts, some unverified, highly questionable narratives or reporting based on those “facts,” mingled with editorial commentary passed off as “analysis,” buttressed by carefully selected “expert sources,” often anonymous, and amplified by carefully chosen opinion page contributors. Throughout is the systematic practice of excluding developments (and opinion) that do not conform to the Times‘ venerable motto, “All the News That’s Fit to Print.” When it comes to Russia, the Times often decides politically what is fit and what is not. And thus the most recent but exceedingly important example.
In 1990, Soviet Russian leader Mikhail Gorbachev agreed not only to the reunification of Germany, whose division was the epicenter of that Cold War, but also, at the urging of the Western powers, particularly the United States, that the new Germany would be a member of NATO. (Already embattled at home, Gorbachev was further weakened by his decision, which probably contributed to the attempted coup against him in August 1991.)
Gorbachev made the decision based on assurances by his then-Western “partners” that in return NATO would never be expanded “one inch eastward” toward Russia. (Today, having nearly doubled its member countries, the world’s most powerful military alliance sits on Russia’s western borders.) At the time, it was known that President George H.W. Bush had especially persuaded Gorbachev through Secretary of State James Baker’s “not one inch” and other equally emphatic guarantees.
Ever since Bush’s successor, President Bill Clinton, began the still ongoing process of NATO expansion, its promoters and apologists have repeatedly insisted there was no such promise, that it had all been “myth” or “misunderstanding,” and moreover that NATO’s vast expansion had been necessary and has been a great success, actual myths that Cohen also discusses.
Now, however, the invaluable National Security Archive at George Washington University has established the historical truth by publishing, on December 12 of last year, not only a detailed account of what Gorbachev was promised in 1990-91 but the relevant documents themselves. The truth, and the promises broken, are much more expansive than previously known: All of the Western powers involved – the US, the UK, France, Germany itself – made the same promise to Gorbachev on multiple occasions and in various emphatic ways. If we ask when the West, particularly Washington, lost Moscow as a potential strategic partner after the end of the Soviet Union, this is where an explanation begins.
And yet, nearly a month after the publication of the National Security Archive documents, neither the Times nor The Washington Post, which profess to be the nation’s most important, reliable, and indispensable political newspapers, has published one word about this revelation. (Certainly the two papers are pervasively important to other media, not only due to their daily national syndicates but because today’s broadcast media, especially CNN, MSNBC, NPR, and PBS, take most of their own Russia-related “reporting” cues from the Times and the Post.)
How to explain the failure of the Times and Post to report or otherwise comment on the National Security Archive’s publication? It can hardly be their lack of space or their disinterest in Russia, which they featured regularly in one kind of unflattering story or another – and almost daily in the form of “Russiagate.” Given their immense daily news-gathering capabilities, could both papers have missed the story? Impossible, even more so considering that three lesser publications – The National Interest, on December 12; Bloomberg, on December 13; and The American Conservative, on December 22 – reported and commented on its significance at length.
Or perhaps the Times and Post consider the history and process of NATO expansion to be no longer newsworthy, even though it has been the driving, escalatory factor behind the new US-Russian Cold War; already contributed to two US-Russian proxy hot wars (in Georgia in 2008 and in Ukraine since 2014) as well as to NATO’s ongoing buildup on Russia’s borders in the Baltic region, which is fraught with the possibility of an actual war between the nuclear superpowers; provoked Russia into reactions now cited as “grave threats”; nearly vaporized politically both the once robust pro-American lobby in Moscow politics and the previously widespread pro-American sentiments among Russian citizens; and implanted in at least one generation of the Russian policy elite the conviction that the broken promise to Gorbachev represented characteristic American “betrayal and deceit.”
Both Russian presidents since 2000 – Putin and President Obama’s “reset partner,” Dmitry Medvedev – have said the same, more than once. Putin put it bluntly: “They duped us, in the full sense of this word.” (See Cohen’s book Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives.) Russians can cite other instances of “deceit,” including President George W. Bush’s 2002 unilateral abrogation of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and Obama’s broken promise that he would not use a 2011 UN Security Council resolution to depose Libyan leader Gaddafi. But it is the broken promise to Gorbachev that lingers as America’s original sin, partly because it was the first of many such perceived duplicities, but mainly because it has resulted in a Russia semi-encircled by US-led Western military power, an encroachment that continues today.
Given all this, we must ask again: Why did neither the Times nor the Post report the archive revelations? Most likely because the evidence fundamentally undermines their essential overarching narrative that Putin’s Russia is solely responsible for the new Cold War and all of its attendant conflicts and dangers, and therefore that no rethinking of US policy toward post-Soviet Russia since 1991 is advisable or, it seems, permissible, certainly not by President Donald Trump. Therein lie the national-security dangers of media malpractice, and this example, while of special importance, is far from the only one in recent years. In this regard, the Times and Post seem contemptuous not only of their own professed journalistic standards but of their purportedly cherished adage that democracy requires fully informed citizens.
If Americans cannot rely on the Times and Post, at least in regard to US-Russian relations, where can they seek the information and analysis they need? There are many valuable alternative media outlets, but few hard-working citizens have time to locate and consult them. Cohen recommends that they turn to two websites that almost daily aggregate reporting, analysis, and opinion not to be found in the Times, Post, or most other mainstream publications. One is Johnson’s Russia List. The other is the website of the American Committee for East-West Accord, of which Cohen is a board member. Upon request, both will come to your computer. The former requests a nominal donation but does not insist on it. The latter is free. For readers who worry about international affairs, the new US-Russian Cold War, and America itself, the information and perspectives they will gain from these sites are invaluable.
The history of the Ukrainian crisis, which has made everything it affected worse, is distorted by political myths and American media malpractice.
Stephen F. Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian studies and politics at NYU and Princeton, and radio-show host John Batchelor continue their (usually) weekly discussions of the new US-Russian Cold War. (Previous installments, now in their fourth year, can be found here at TheNation.com.)
Cohen argues that the Ukrainian crisis, which unfolded in late 2013 and early 2014 and which led to Crimea’s annexation by (or “reunification with”) Russia and to the still ongoing US-Russian proxy war in eastern Ukraine, is a seminal event of the 21st century. It militarized and moved the new Cold War to Russia’s borders-in the form of a civil and proxy shooting war-indeed to inside a civilization shared for centuries by Russia and large parts of Ukraine. It implanted a toxic and dangerous political element in US, Russian, Ukrainian, and European politics, perhaps for at least a generation. And it has left Ukraine in near-economic ruin, with thousands of citizens dead and millions displaced and many more struggling to regain the quality of life they had before 2014. The events of 2014 also led to the ongoing NATO buildup on Russia’s western border in the Baltic region, yet another new Cold War front fraught with the possibility of hot war. Making things only worse, in late 2017, the Trump administration announced that it would supply the Kiev government with more, and more sophisticated, weapons, a step that even the Obama administration, which played a major detrimental role in the crisis, declined to take.
Two conflicting narratives of the Ukrainian crisis have been a major factor in preventing its resolution. One, promoted by Washington and the US-backed government in Kiev, blames only “aggression” by the Kremlin and specifically by Russian President Putin. The other, promoted by Moscow and rebel forces in eastern Ukraine, which it supports, blames “aggression” by the European Union and NATO, both inspired by Washington. Cohen sees enough bad intent, misconceptions, and misperceptions to go around, but on balance thinks Moscow’s narrative, almost entirely deleted from US mass media, is closer to the historical realities of 2013-2014:
- Putin, celebrating the apparently highly successful Olympic games in Sochi, in January 2014, intended to demonstrate that Russia was prospering, sovereign, and a worthy partner in international affairs, had no reason to provoke a major international crisis with the West on Russia’s borders, and still less in “fraternal” Ukraine. Whether wise or not, his actions ever since have been mostly reactive, not “aggressive,” including in Crimea and eastern Ukraine.
- On the other hand, ever since the 1990s, following the end of the Soviet Union, Washington has made clear that both EU and NATO expansion eastward should eventually include Ukraine, which was regarded as “the prize.” What precipitated the Ukrainian crisis was the EU “partnership” offered to Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, which he declined to sign in November 2013. (Actually, having learned the astronomical financial costs, he merely asked for more time to consider the terms.) Protests in Kiev, centered on Maidan Square, led to violence and eventually to Yanukovych’s overthrow and his replacement by the US-backed government in Kiev.
- Several circumstances need to be remembered-or learned-in recalling these events. Putin and his ministers sought to persuade the EU to make the economic agreement with Ukraine “tripartite,” including Moscow so as not to disadvantage the very substantial trade relationship between Ukraine and Russia. The EU leadership, for whatever reason, refused, telling Kiev it had to choose between Russia and the West. For years, as all sides knew, Washington and other Western actors had been pouring billions of dollars into Ukraine to prepare it for the West’s “civilizational” values. That is, the “march” on Ukraine had long been under way. The EU agreement-purportedly only economic and civilizational-included provisions binding the new “partner” to NATO “military and security” policy. (The intent was clear, with President George W. Bush having proposed to fast-track NATO membership for Ukraine in 2008, only to be vetoed by Germany and France.) Moreover, during the years preceding the EU’s proposed agreement, President Yanukovych had not been “pro-Kremlin,” as regularly alleged in the US media, but had, on the advice of his American electoral adviser (the now-infamous Paul Manafort), “tilted” toward the West, toward the EU, in order to expand his electoral base beyond southeastern Ukraine. (Putin’s loathing for Yanukovych as a greedy and corrupt opportunist was well known in Moscow and Kiev, though evidently not by the US media.) As anyone who followed the unfolding of the crisis knows, prominent members of US officialdom-from the State Department, Congress, and the Obama administration-were persistently present throughout the Maidan events, publicly and privately urging a showdown with Yanukovych, the constitutionally elected president. (A phone conversation between the leading State Department official involved and the US ambassador to Ukraine plotting the makeup of a successor government became public.) Finally, the day before Yanukovych was forced to flee the country by an armed street mob, he signed an agreement, brokered by three EU foreign ministers, to end the crisis peacefully by forming a coalition government with opposition leaders and agreeing to an early presidential election. That is, a democratic resolution of the crisis, privately endorsed by President Putin and President Obama, was in hand. Why none of the Western parties defended their own agreement, insisting that it be honored, remains uncertain, though perhaps not a mystery.
- Which brings Cohen to another prevailing media myth: that what occurred on Maidan in February 2014 was a “democratic revolution.” Whether it was in fact a “revolution” can be left to future historians, though most of the oligarchic powers that afflicted Ukraine before 2014 remain in place four years later, along with their corrupt practices. As for “democratic,” removing a legally elected president by threatening his life hardly qualifies. Nor does the peremptory way the new government was formed, the constitution changed, and pro-Yanukovych parties banned. Though the overthrow involved people in the streets, this was a coup. How much of it was spontaneous and how much directed, or inspired, by high-level actors in the West also remains unclear. But one other myth needs to be dispelled. The rush to seize Yanukovych’s residence was triggered by snipers who killed some 80 or more protesters and policemen on Maidan. It was long said that the snipers had been sent by Yanukovych, but it has now been virtually proven that the shooters were instead from the neo-fascist group Right Sector among the protesters on the square. (See, for example, the reports of the scholar Ivan Katchanovski.)
- The antidemocratic origins of today’s Kiev regime continue to afflict it. Its president, Petro Poroshenko, is intensely unpopular at home. It remains pervasively corrupt. Its Western-financed economy continues to fail, as even some of its ardent American cheerleaders now admit. And for the most part it continues to refuse to implement its obligations under the 2015 Minsk II peace accords, above all granting the rebel Donbass territories enough home rule to keep them in the Ukrainian state. Meanwhile, Kiev is semi-hostage to armed ultranationalist battalions, whose ideology and symbols include proudly neo-fascist ones, which hate Russia and today’s Western “civilizational” values almost equally. It may be said that the Donbass rebel “republics” have their own ugly traits, but it should be added that they fight only in defense of their own territory against the armies of Kiev and are not sponsored by the US government.
Adding to this explosive mix, the Trump administration now promises to supply more weapons. The official pretext is plainly contrived: to deter Putin from “further aggression against Ukraine,” for which he has shown no desire or intention whatsoever. Nor does it make any geopolitical or strategic sense. Neighboring Russia can easily upgrade its weapons to the rebel provinces. Indeed, the danger is that Kiev’s failing regime will interpret the American arms as a signal from Washington for a new offensive against the Donbass in order to regain support at home-but which will end again in military disaster for Kiev while perhaps bringing neo-fascists, who may well come into possession of the American weapons, closer to power, and the new US-Russian Cold War closer to a larger, more direct war between the nuclear superpowers. (US trainers will need to be sent with the weapons, adding to the some 300 already there. If any are killed by Russian-backed rebel forces, even if unintentionally, what will be Washington’s reaction?)
Why would Trump, who wants to “cooperate with Russia,” take such a reckless step, long urged by Washington’s anti-Russian hawks? Assuming it was Trump’s decision, it was no doubt to disprove the underlying premise of the still unproved Russiagate allegations that he is a lackey of the Kremlin and an accomplice of Putin-accusations he hears and reads daily, not only from damning commentary on MSNBC and pseudobalanced panels on CNN, but from the once-distinguished academic Paul Krugman, who tells his New York Times readers: “There’s really no question about Trump/Putin collusion, and Trump in fact continues to act like Putin’s puppet.” There is every “question” and no “in fact” at all, but Trump is understandably desperate to end the unprecedented allegations that he is a “treasonous” president-that there was “no collusion, no collusion, no collusion.” We have here yet another example, Cohen points out, of his argument that Russiagate has become the No. 1 threat to American national security, certainly in regard to nuclear Russia.
Indeed, Cohen concludes, if the media insists on condemning Trump for mangled narratives and dubious international entanglements, they might want to focus on former vice president Joseph Biden. It has long been known that President Obama put him in charge of the administration’s “Ukrainian project,” in effect making him proconsul overseeing the increasingly colonized Kiev. In short, Biden, who is clearly already seeking the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, bears a heavy personal responsibility for the four-year-old Ukrainian crisis. But he shows no sign of rethinking anything and still less any remorse. In an article in Foreign Affairs, Biden and his coauthor, Michael Carpenter, string together a tsunami of highly questionable, if not false, narratives regarding “How to Stand Up to the Kremlin,” many of them involving the years he was vice president. Along the way, Biden repeatedly berates Putin for meddling in Western elections. This is the same Joe Biden who told Putin not to return to the Russian presidency during Obama’s purported “reset” with Moscow and who, in February 2014, told Ukraine’s democratically elected President Yanukovych to abdicate and flee the country.
Stephen F. Cohen is a professor emeritus of Russian studies and politics at New York University and Princeton University and a contributing editor of The Nation.