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Prof. Cohen: This Is Most Dangerous Time In U.S.-Russian Relations Since Cuban Missile Crisis

April 15, 2017 (EIRNS)—Professor Stephen Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian Studies at New York University, in a series of interviews this past week warns that U.S.-Russian relations are in the worst state he’s ever seen in his 40 years of watching them. During his appearance on the John Batchelor radio show on April 11, Cohen reported that Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, considered the leader of the pro-Western faction in the Kremlin, declared that U.S.-Russian relations have been "ruined," a statement Cohen said he didn’t recall any previous Soviet or post-Soviet leader ever having made. Medvedev also said that the two nuclear superpowers are at "the brink" of war. Considering that Medvedev is regarded as the leading pro-Western figure in Putin’s inner circle, imagine what the other side, state patriots, or nationalists, as they are called, are telling Putin.

On top of that, the Kremlin said that President Trump’s cruise missile strike on Syria crossed Russian "red lines" and Russian President Vladimir Putin himself called the alleged April 4 chemical attack in Syria’s Idlib province a provocation. "In short, while the Kremlin does not want and will not start a war with the United States, it is preparing for the possibility," Cohen said.

Cohen made the same points during an April 13 appearance on "Democracy Now," and said:

"I think this is the most dangerous moment in American-Russian relations, at least since the Cuban missile crisis. ... And arguably, it’s more dangerous, because it’s more complex."

The complexity on the U.S. side is the factless accusations that Trump is somehow compromised by the Kremlin.

"So, at this worst moment in American-Russian relations, we have an American president who’s being politically crippled by the worst imaginable—it’s unprecedented,"

Cohen said.

In both interviews, Cohen stressed that what the Russians wanted to know from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s visit to Moscow, is who is making policy in Washington and what is that policy? They’re particularly concerned about fighting terrorism. "They’ve had more, outside the Middle East, casualties of terrorism than any country in the world," Cohen said.

"We need an alliance with Russia. That’s what this is all about. Are we going to make an alliance with Russia to war against terrorism in Syria and elsewhere, or not? That’s the issue today."