Mikhail Gorbachev, who let the Soviet union break up rather than shed blood, warned in an interview last week that we are already in a new Cold War and expressed fears that it could turn hot:
If we call a spade a spade, America has pulled us into a new cold war, trying to openly implement its general idea of triumphalism. Where will it take us all? The Cold War is already on. What’s next? Unfortunately, I can not say firmly that the cold war will not lead to the hot one. I’m afraid that they might take the risk.
Gorbachev could be wrong in laying so much of the responsibility for the rupture in Russian-American relations at our feet, but prudence and his track record call for re-examining whether our perspective – that it is all Putin’s fault – is correct.
It is disturbing that, even though I read three papers daily (The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The San Jose Mercury News), I only found this interview today via an alternative, online newsfeed. A Google search found coverage at the Times, but only online, not in the print edition – so very few people saw it. Similar searches found nothing at the other two papers. This reinforces my concern that the American mainstream media is ignoring the nuclear dimension to the risk.
We need to be working to defuse the Ukrainian crisis and end that nation’s humanitarian disaster. To do that, we need to stop blinding ourselves to aspects of the crisis which cast us or the current Ukrainian government in a less than glowing light. Putin is far from blameless, but common sense would tell us that, when a war is on, neither side is likely to be purely angelic.
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