Stephen F. Cohen


On his book Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives: From Stalinism to the New Cold War

Cover Interview of July 09, 2009


Russia has long been part of our own political history, and is likely to remain so.  And our relationship with Russia today is even more dangerous than it was during the Cold War.

During the Cold War, both sides had their weapons of mass destruction under firm control.  That is no longer fully the case in Russia.  The state remains weak.  Some Americans hope that the Russian state will be destabilized and collapse, even though that could bring about the world’s biggest Wal-Mart of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.

I don’t expect all my readers to accept all the answers I give.  I’d be happy if readers quarrel with me.  But I do want them to rethink the questions I raise.

You often hear, for example, that the Soviet Union “collapsed.”  But in reality the Soviet Union did not collapse!  It was abolished.  But once you say it “collapsed,” you have answered the question of what happened at this historic turning point.  Wrongly.  And you then draw wrong conclusions for today.

If the question is wrong, then the answer is wrong.  The questions asked define the answers governments and people live by.

© Stephen F. Cohen