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Will the Mueller Report Make the New Cold War Even Worse?

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The John Batchelor Show, April 17

A major theme of my recently published book War with Russia? is twofold: the United States is in a new Cold War with Russia, but one more dangerous, more fraught with possibilities of actual war, than was the forty-year Cold War the world survived. I began arguing the first proposition nearly twenty years ago, long before Donald Trump became a presidential candidate and even before Russian President Vladimir Putin became so widely demonized. For many years, it was dismissed by American commentators, though now it is generally accepted.

My second and more important proposition remains generally unacknowledged, even denied, as do the ways in which nearly three years of unsubstantiated Russiagate allegations—against both Trump and Putin—have escalated the new Cold War and made efforts to diminish it through traditional détente-like policies exceedingly difficult, perhaps impossible. In particular, those allegations have virtually criminalized the kinds of “cooperation” and “contacts” that kept the nuclear peace between the United States and Soviet Russia in the twentieth century. They have misrepresented present-day Russia as a “threat” so ominous that it “attacked American democracy” during the 2016 presidential election. And they have vilified both Trump and Putin to the extent that neither is regarded by much of the US political-media establishment as a legitimate diplomatic partner, even in the event of an existential crisis such as the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.

For the legion of anti-Trump Russiagate promoters, Mueller’s findings can do “nothing,” as they have already made clear, to diminish their allegations, however false. (See, for example, Bob Cesca in Salon.) For them, Russiagate has long since become a cult belief with with all the trappings that entails. Thus, Attorney General William Barr’s brief summary, made public on March 24, reporting that Mueller had found no collusion, or conspiracy, between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin was dismissed and Barr himself slurred. But for critical-minded people, how the Mueller report answers, or does not answer, the following questions should be of vital importance:

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