Patrick Cockburn who reported for the Financial Times and The Independent from the Middle East and other war zones for decades and now writes for Britain’s i News, joins Robert Scheer on this week’s “Scheer Intelligence” to discuss what could come next in this conflict and how far down the nuclear rabbit hole we really are.
In 1987, the prospects for peace were promising when Gorbachev joined Ronald Reagan in committing to a sharp reversal of hostile relations between the US and the Soviet Union following the precedent set by Cold Warrior Richard Nixon a decade earlier in suddenly negotiating peace with Mao’s China. Today, after steadily worsening US relations with post-Communist Russian leader Vladimir Putin, we face the likelihood of a disastrously ever widening war and the tangible threat of a nuclear holocaust.
Cockburn, whose most recent book, “War in the Age of Trump,” put events in the Middle East into the context of what he witnessed in the post-September 11 Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, and Libya offers fresh analysis of the war in Ukraine from the vantage point of a former war correspondent. He argues thatfrom the beginning, it’s been a bizarre conflict, perhaps unlike any other, and that it’s likely that Putin did not expect Russia’s invasion to go as it has. Regardless of expectations on either side of the conflict, what’s clear to Cockburn and Scheer is that nuclear war becomes more likely with every minute the violence continues. Even though this threat is more real than ever before, including at the height of the Cold War, Cockburn argues that there seems to be less fear and awareness about it than previously.
As Cockburn and Scheer discuss different ways the conflict may end, Scheer presses his guest to consider the motivations behind American investment in the conflict. Ultimately, the British journalist warns against the liberal hope that Putin is deposed, bringing about the Russian “regime change” US President Joe Biden accidentally let slip as an objective, and that his ouster would somehow lead to a more liberal Russia.
On the contrary, the journalists agree, it is highly likely that whoever takes over from the current leader may in fact be more aggressively nationalistic than Putin. Listen to the full conversation between Cockburn and Scheer as the two discuss how other countries see American saber-rattling attempts to establish itself once more as the dominant world power, and what effect this has on the ground in Ukraine, where citizens seem to be cannon fodder for the world’s superpowers.