Taking The Temperature Of The U.S.-Russia Face Off

The U.S. and Europe face off against Russia. Are we looking at Cold War II? Something hotter?

Russian President Vladimir Putin heads the Cabinet meeting in the Novo-Ogaryovo residence, outside Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, July 30, 2014.  (AP)

Russian President Vladimir Putin heads the Cabinet meeting in the Novo-Ogaryovo residence, outside Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, July 30, 2014. (AP)

For decades, Moscow was the great bogeyman of the West.  The Cold War enemy.  Then the Berlin Wall came down, and the world was jubilant to say goodbye to all that.  Is it back?  Just when it’s the last thing anybody needs?  Vladimir Putin is pushing a hard line into Ukraine and specifically against the West.  Malaysia’s airliner is in pieces and the shock waves still shake us.  New sanctions are going at the heart of Russia’s wealth – oil.  And now there’s talk of the US helping target Russian weapons.  That’s hot.  This hour On Point: is it Cold War again?

– Tom Ashbrook


Masha Gessen, Russian-American journalist. Author of “Words Will Break Cement,” “The Man Without a Face” and “Dead Again: The Russian Intelligentsia After Communism,” among others. (@mashagessen)

Michael McFaul, former U.S. Ambassador to Russia. Professor of political science at Stanford University. (@McFaul)

From Tom’s Reading List

Washington Post: Mouthpieces for the Kremlin’s propaganda channel aren’t brave — “Sometimes journalists who admit having lied for years get to be heroes for a few days, garnering praise for their honesty and bravery. These public liars get to depart the story with their heads raised high and every reason to expect to continue a career in journalism.”

The Atlantic: Why Putin Turned Against the U.S. — “There several ways of thinking about the recent crisis. One favorite frame, especially among Russian experts, is that this is simply the way Great Powers behave and the way they’ve behaved for centuries. Russia is a rising power, and it’s only natural that it would seek to control more territory. That can’t be written off entirely, McFaul said, but he doesn’t see it as the main factor.

Bloomberg View: Tefft the Terminator Heads to Moscow — “To understand how little the U.S. and Russia expect of their relationship these days, consider this: The Barack Obama administration has put forward John Tefft, who is something of a bogeyman for the Russians, to become the next ambassador to Moscow — and the Kremlin today said it’s fine with that.”

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