Professor Stephen F. Cohen of New York University, who has followed Soviet and Russian affairs for 50 years, said on Fox News that President Donald Trump challenged the foreign policy establishment of the United States by admitting that both the U.S. and Russia are to blame for their poor bilateral relations. Cohen criticized Trump’s critics in the media and intelligence community who blasted the president for meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday. "The reaction by most of the media, by the Democrats, by the anti-Trump people, is like mob violence. I've never seen anything like it in my life,” said Cohen, who added that media reaction to the Helsinki summit amounts to "pornography passing as news analysis and commentary."
Reviewing the history of relations between the U.S. and Russia, Cohen said, "This is the president of the United States, doing what every other president before him since FDR in 1943 with Stalin [has done], meeting with the head of the Kremlin. And something that every American president since Eisenhower, a Republican, by the way, has met with the leader of the Kremlin for one existential purpose: To avoid war between the nuclear superpowers." Cohen explained, "Every president has been encouraged to do that an applauded by both parties. Not Trump," he had also said Monday. "Look what they did to him today. They had a kangaroo court. They found him guilty. And then you had the former head of the U.S. CIA, who himself ought to be put under oath and asked about his role in inventing Russiagate, calling the President of the United States treasonous. What have we come to in this country? And what is going to happen in the future?"
Cohen asked why elites in Washington appear to “dislike Putin, the president of post-communist Russia, more than they ever seemed to dislike the communist leaders?" He concluded that there is an answer, “but we would need a lot more time and a psychiatrist."
Saying that there is good news that came out of the summit, Cohen said, "Ever since the Soviet Union ended, relations with Russia have gotten worse and worse and now we are where we are. And we ask ourselves why did that happen. Communism is gone; the Soviet Union is gone. And the answer here is always - it's an orthodoxy. It's biblical. You can't dissent from it without being accused of being pro-Kremlin. The answer is: 'Russia is to blame. Putin is to blame. he United States has done nothing wrong.'"
"And now, the president of the United States has said something absolutely heretical. He said at first in a tweet and after the meeting with Putin. And it was very simple, but it was profoundly true. He said we have bad relations today because both sides are to blame," he said. "And I think that's what underlies their fury at him. That he has become a heretic in the American policy system. He has challenged the fundamental axiom of American foreign policy for 25 years."
Here follows a transcript:
Tucker Carlson: Professor Stephen Cohen is one of the famous Russia experts, preeminent Russia experts in America. He's professor emeritus at NYU, was at Princeton for many years. Now. a contributing editor at "The Nation" magazine and he joins us tonight for some perspective on this conversation about Russia.
You have followed this country for 50 years and know many of its leaders personally. Give us a sense of what's at stake in this conversation about Russia for the United States.
Stephen F. Cohen: For 75 years, the president of the United States, beginning with Roosevelt, has met the leader of the Kremlin.
Beginning with Eisenhower, in the atomic age, the main purpose was to avoid war with Russia. Right now, we are in a new cold war fraught with hot war from Ukraine to the Baltic region to Syria.
President Trump did not have a choice. He had to go, as his predecessors did, to meet with the leader of the Kremlin, Putin. And he did. We don't know exactly what they decided. We will learn.
But never - never! - not only in my lifetime or history has a president coming back from doing his duty to avoid war with Russia been greeted with this pornography passing as news analysis and commentary.
He is literally being called traitorous, treasonous. And I don't know what we are going to do because if we can't discuss the issue, how can we think about our policy?
But there is a good piece of news and I will state it quickly. Ever since the Soviet Union ended, relations with Russia have gotten worse and worse and now we are where we are.
And we ask ourselves why did that happen. Communism is gone; the Soviet is gone. And the answer here is always - it's an orthodoxy. It's biblical.
You can't dissent from it without being accused of being pro-Kremlin. The answer is Russia is to blame. Putin is to blame. The United States has done nothing wrong.
And now, the president of the United States has said something absolutely heretical. He said at first in a tweet and after the meeting with Putin.
And it was very simple, but it was profoundly true. He said we have bad relations today because both sides are to blame.
And I think that's what underlies their fury at him. That he has become a heretic in the American policy system. He has challenged the fundamental axiom of American foreign policy for 25 years.
Carlson: Well, and it's stupid. I mean, what's true in foreign relations is true in marriage. It's always a joint effort to screw something up.
So, quickly - it is true actually, as you know.
Cohen: I'm not going there no matter what you say.
Carlson: Give us a sense quickly of the consequences of what's at stake here. I think, for a lot of Americans, this is a political story, but it's also a geopolitical story. This is a country with a lot of weapons. It sees the world very differently from us. So, what are we playing with here?
Cohen: All right. Leave this Russia game aside because I can't find a fact to support it.
What President Trump has done - and in this regard, though I didn't vote for him - I say three cheers for President Trump. He has said, look, we are in a dangerous situation with Russia and it's not just Russia that's to blame. We are to blame. We did wrongheaded things back in the 90s. And since.
What we need to do, this is me speaking now, having acknowledged that, is have a discussion of where our policy toward Russia went wrong, first under Clinton, then under Bush, then under Obama. It is fully bipartisan.
But what Trump has given us, if the media would allow him, is an opportunity to rethink. And if you don't rethink, how do you get policy right? If you don't get policy right, we are talking about war.