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The Top Four US Policy Mistakes That Ruined Its Relationship With Russia

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The position of the American political media is that the new Cold War between Russia and the US “is all Putin’s fault, while America didn’t do anything wrong.” However Professor Stephen F. Cohen takes a contrary position: he has put forward at least four US policies which caused offence to Russia and led to the present tensions between the two.

The first mistake, he says, is the decision to expand NATO right to Russia’s borders.

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“It’s nonsense when we say Putin has violated the post–Cold War order of Europe. Russia was excluded from the post–Cold War order of Europe by NATO’s expansion. Russia was pushed “somewhere out there” (beyond a zone of security),” the professor said in his address at San Francisco’s Commonwealth Club.

“Russia kept saying: Let’s do a Pan-European Security Arrangement like Gorbachev and Reagan proposed.” The NATO-expanders said, “This is not military, this is about democracy and free trade, it’s going to be good for Russia, swallow your poison with a smile.”

And when the Russians had no choice in the 1990s, they did; but when they grew stronger and had a choice, they no longer stood by silently.

The second: “The refusal on the part of the United States to negotiate on missile defense: Missile defense is now a NATO project.”

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“That means missile-defense installations, whether on land or sea (sea is more dangerous) are now part of NATO expansion and its encirclement of Russia. Missile defense is part of the same military system,” he explained.

“Russians are absolutely convinced that it is targeted at their nuclear retaliatory capabilities. We say, “Oh no, it’s about Iran, it’s not about you.”

But, Professor Cohen explains, the latter-stage missile defense is an offensive weapon that can hit Russia’s installations. It also violates the IMF Agreement because it can fire cruise missiles.

“Meanwhile we are accusing Russia of developing cruise missiles again; and they have begun doing so again because we are back in an unnecessary tit-for-tat arms race for the first time in many years.”

The third:“Meddling in Russia’s internal affairs in the name of democracy promotion.”

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“In addition to funding the National Endowment for Democracy’s “opposition politics” programs across Russia and Ukraine — are you aware that when Medvedev was president of Russia and Ms. Clinton and Michael McFaul had their wondrous “reset” (which was a rigged diplomatic game, if you looked at the terms of it), that Vice President Biden went to Moscow State University and said that Putin should not return to the presidency.”

“He then said it directly to Putin’s face. Imagine, Putin comes here in the next few weeks and tells Rubio or Clinton they should drop out of the US presidential race!”

There aren’t any red lines left anymore when it comes to the US behavior toward Russia, the expert says.

“Do we have the right to say or do anything we wish? This extends to everything, and it certainly extends to politics.”

The fourth:  ‘The lost partnership with Russia.”

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“Unfortunately, today’s reports seem to indicate that the White House and State Department are thinking primarily how to counter Russia’s actions in Syria. They are worried, it was reported, that Russia is diminishing America’s leadership in the world.”

“Here is the bottom line: We in the United States cannot lead the world alone any longer, if we ever could.”

“Long before Paris, globalization and other developments have occurred that ended the mono-polar, US-dominated world. That world is over. A multipolar world has emerged before our eyes, not just in Russia but in five or six capitals around the world.”

“Washington’s stubborn refusal to embrace this new reality has become part of the problem and not part of the solution.”

The expert explained that terrorists today are using conventional weapons, bombs, mortars, and guns. But if they had a cup of this radioactive material in Paris, Paris would have needed to be evacuated. This is the real threat today.

"This kind of threat cannot be diminished, contained, still less eradicated unless we have a partner in the Kremlin."

"I don’t care whether we like the Kremlin leader or not; what we need is recognition of our common interests for a partnership—the way two people in business make a contract. They have the same interests and they have to trust each other—because if one person violates the agreement, then the other person’s interests are harmed."

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