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Katrina vanden Heuvel on Russia, Ukraine, and the Need for Diplomacy in a Nuclearized World

The Nation publisher and Russia expert discusses the origin of the crisis and possible ways out of it.

Katrina vanden Heuvel is the editorial director and publisher of The Nation magazine, as well as a columnist for the Washington Post. She is the president of the American committee for U.S.-Russia Accord and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. For years, she’s written on Russian affairs, and has recently been writing editorials on the origins of the current crisis in Ukraine and possible paths out of it:

She recently joined editor in chief Nathan J. Robinson on the Current Affairs podcast. This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for grammar and clarity.

Robinson

In the lead up to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, you wrote a number of columns in which you warned that the United States could be stumbling toward either a proxy war with Russia, or a direct war with Russia. And you were cautioning that American diplomatic decisions—or the lack of American diplomacy—was inflaming a very tense situation. Let’s lay out some of that context. But first, I want to ask you: When Russia ultimately did invade Ukraine, were you surprised? Did you see this as the logical outcome of a process that had been unfolding in slow motion? Or was it still something completely unexpected and out of the blue in some ways?

vanden Heuvel

Thank you for mentioning the American Committee for U.S.-Russia Accord. Ambassador Jack F. Matlock is a member of the board. He was Reagan’s ambassador to the USSR, and he presided over the beginning of the end of the Cold War. He was shocked. He spent decades studying Russian language and history and working in Russia. Many people were shocked. Anatol Lieven, a very important voice who wrote a major article for The Nation a few months ago on Ukraine—he’s at the Quincy Institute, a new institute designed for restraint diplomacy—he was shocked. And many of the people on our board who are professional Russia watchers and Ukraine scholars were shocked. There was a belief that Putin was amassing all this weaponry to leverage more diplomacy, or perhaps to leverage an agreement in which Ukraine would be a neutral buffer between east and west. I could go on. The shock is real and was real. And I think Putin has undermined Russian security with this act. It’s illegal and indefensible. There’s something really ill-considered—bloody, of course—and illogical in what he did. “Miscalculation” is the word many use as they report on the Kremlin and what is happening in the corridors of power. Among well-established veteran journalists, Russian and American and British, there’s shock.

Robinson

The week before the invasion I interviewed Patrick Cockburn, a reporter I respect immensely. I asked him, Is Russia going to invade Ukraine? And he said, Absolutely not. He said it would be a catastrophe.

vanden Heuvel

Yeah.

Robinson

He said, think of the U.S. occupation of Vietnam, think of Iraq. And he said, Putin’s aware of this. So Cockburn was completely taken by surprise, as was every respectable analyst I’ve been reading on the issue. So it raises the question. What is Putin thinking that he’s doing here?

vanden Heuvel

So, Putin’s speech was a grave concern to many scholars and watchers of Russia. He didn’t begin with NATO, which we can talk about. He began, first of all, by attacking Lenin, and I think Stalin, for their nationality policies. He’s known, by the way, to have attacked Lenin for other reasons. There’s the mythic idea of recreation not of the Soviet Empire, but of the Slavic empire—Ukraine, Belarus, Russia—and NATO. I think there are two precipitating factors, but who knows? Based on well-regarded reporters, in the corridors of power, Putin is viewed as increasingly isolated. He’s been very paranoid about the COVID pandemic. You could see it in the size of the table in which he met Emmanuel Macron and others—30 feet.

Robinson

It’s quite comical.

vanden Heuvel

Right. It’s comical but not in retrospect. He’s more isolated now than he has been in his 22 years in power, speaking really to the intelligence and defense community. He’s also, I think, increasingly angry. He’s been saying for decades—well, certainly since 2008—that this is no longer a unipolar world, don’t expand NATO to the borders of Russia. This idea of spheres of influence—disagree or agree with it—is very much in his head. But I think his grave miscalculation comes, in part, from the isolation, and possibly from what he’s being told by his defense chief, the intelligence community. Who he has to check those views is not clear. But I will say that the elite in the Kremlin and the other communities in Moscow are just shell-shocked by this decision. I have to say, it’s very hard to talk about Ukraine right now because of the blood and suffering. But at the Munich 2022 conference just a week before the invasion, Zelensky spoke of something which many people don’t know about: the Budapest Memorandum of 1994, when Ukraine gave up its nuclear weapons. And Zelensky appealed to the west to renege on the Budapest Memorandum, and wanted to bring back Ukraine’s nukes. And I think there’s enough paranoia in the Kremlin such that that may have resonated more deeply than we understand.

Robinson

There is the question of, Why now? I want to go back to this context of NATO expansion, the idea that Russia has red lines that it has drawn. But then there’s this question of, What could possibly have tipped Putin over the edge when it seemed like the status quo had been holding? Putin had made it clear that he didn’t want Ukraine ever to join NATO, but it was also, as you have written, quite clear that there was no realistic chance of Ukraine joining NATO in the near future.

vanden Heuvel

That was the cynicism that Ukraine couldn’t have joined NATO under its own NATO charter, because of territorial integrity issues and economic issues. That’s a context in which to understand some of this. But why now? It’s still not fully clear. Was it because he felt that there were more weapons coming in, that there were more things happening that are still not fully reported? The weapons shipments now are obviously secret but well-known and on the front page. But there’s been a lot of activity underreported. We shipped something like $3 billion worth of aid to Ukraine prior to the crisis. And there was a glimmer of hope in the upsurge of diplomacy, especially Macron of France, Germany, and others trying to mediate. It is the case that Blinken canceled the meeting with the Foreign Minister of Russia on the eve of the invasion. It’s still not clear, but I do think there was a break, that this is it, the idea that Russia is more powerful now than it may ever be, that kind of thing. But as I said, it has undermined Russia’s security. And I’m not sure Putin calculated the wave of unity among European allies. I never liked the stories arguing that Putin wanted an unstable Europe or wanted to destabilize Europe. That wasn’t the case many years ago. And it’s not clear to me that NATO should be the institution which defines Europe and militarizes all its relations. But the Putin who went into Ukraine is different from the Putin who tried to be a part of the West and was rejected. There’s a history to everything. And the history right now is very hard to speak about, as you know, because blood flows and we see images of bombardment and barbarism. I think history will be important for what emerges and what is possible to mediate and lead to a cease-fire in these coming days.

Robinson

A number of analysts in years prior predicted that diplomatic decisions by the United States and NATO countries were making it more likely that there would be a violent conflict that would escalate in Ukraine. John Mearsheimer, the international relations scholar, famously said in 2014 that NATO was “leading Ukraine down the primrose path, and that they were going to get wrecked.”

vanden Heuvel

Yeah. My late husband, Stephen Cohen, wrote a book collection of columns from 2018. It’s called War with Russia?: From Putin & Ukraine to Trump & Russiagate. There’s a question mark. If you believe in spheres of influence—and the United States has not repudiated them in action—Ukraine was too close. In 1997, The Nation did a special issue called “The Case Against NATO Expansion.” George Kennan, the esteemed diplomat, warned against it. There was a vigorous debate in this country against and for it—I wish we had more debates that would be healthy. But NATO expanded. And then it expanded more. So it went from Germany being the epicenter of the Cold War in 1990, where there was a betrayal of the promise to move eastward. But in 2008, when George W. Bush acceded to the view that Georgia and Ukraine should be jump-started into NATO, and NATO was on Russia’s borders, that was a different scenario than in 1997. And I think one that is hard for us to understand except in the context, maybe, of Russian troops in Canada or Mexico, the kind of Monroe Doctrine. But there’s more living history about World War II—in Russia they lost 27 million people. And the only consensual history, by the way, is not Stalin, or Soviet Communist leaders. It’s Marshal Zhukov, the hero of World War II, or Yuri Gagarin. I’m just saying that there was some diplomacy—an art form we haven’t fully committed to—and also cognitive empathy, being in someone else’s shoes. And I don’t think we’ve done that. But I think NATO expansion is so tragic because there was another security architecture on offer in 1990, which wouldn’t have militarized relations as deeply as NATO did. NATO is not a coffee klatch, as I’ve said. It’s a military institution which buys weapons. Weapons have to be interoperable and compatible with U.S. and other weapons. And a lot of money goes into it. But you know what was scary in the Trump years, or even now? To raise skeptical questions about NATO. Or to raise skeptical questions about intelligence information. The press officer of the Defense Department said the very good AP reporter Matthew Lee was “parroting Russian talking points.” I think the ability to hold in one’s head two or three ideas—the brutal invasion of Ukraine, yet the historical context that might have contributed to this horror, in addition to other factors—has to be present in order to move forward.

Robinson

So when people like George Kennan were warning in the late ‘90s that NATO expansion into Eastern Europe was in violation of the spoken pledge that was given to Gorbachev that NATO would not expand eastward—when they’re warning that that would be a disastrous foreign policy blunder—why was that? What is it that Russia feels it has to fear from NATO? The defense that is put forward is: Well, NATO is not going to invade Russia, it’s purely a defensive alliance. How does Russia view it?

vanden Heuvel

It has moved away from being seen as a defensive alliance. When you have weapons close to Russia’s borders and the danger of weapons supplies pouring in, I think it’s viewed as a military institution and not merely defensive. NATO has been in search of its mission for a long time. Logically, it would have shut down when the Warsaw Pact—which was its counter on the Soviet side—shut down. Both were formed around the same time. So it’s a military institution in search of a mission and I think the history of it has produced real anxiety. I will say that I am a huge admirer of Gorbachev, who, having just turned 91 a few days ago, is in a clinic in Moscow. He looks out at a world in which he had hoped there would be what is called a common European home. He gave a speech at the UN in 1987 about different institutions—OSCE, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, European Union, perhaps economic—that would stretch from Vladivostok to Lisbon. There was the idea of a different kind of security, a human security—and he was early in his concern about the climate crisis. In the immediate months and years post-Ukraine crisis, the ability to think in non militarized ways is going to be very difficult. And I think the progressive community needs the ability to understand that there are other ways of security than the kind of shock doctrine that the oil companies use in this crisis to justify more drilling. With the economy, it’s very hard to see sanctions without hurting the global economy, the most vulnerable. The renewed militarism is something that we’re going to have to grapple with and think hard about, in addition to the nuclear issues, which have been put aside. The danger is real right now in Ukraine because weapons are coming through Poland. If Russia decided to bomb into Poland, you get a whole different, very scary situation. But you also have an entire arms control infrastructure that’s been unraveled since 2002. And to put that back on track requires some element of trust, but verify. In the old Cold Wars, they would compartmentalize arms control, treaties, and negotiations. I’m not sure you can do it now.

Robinson

Yeah. I was just writing an article on the possibilities for World Wars in our century. And it was remarkable going back to Reagan and Gorbachev discussing nuclear weapons. They both agreed, essentially, that the full scale elimination of nuclear weapons was ultimately desirable. Steps were made that were undone.

vanden Heuvel

Reykjavík, 1986, was an extraordinary moment when they met, and there was close to a beginning abolition of nuclear weapons. I think Reagan’s aides got in there, someone got in there very quickly. The other big issue is that on June 12, 1982, there were a million people in Central Park on the eve of the UN Disarmament Conference [to protest nuclear weapons.] And it took Reagan and Gorbachev, in their alliance, to abolish an entire class of nuclear weapons in 1987. That’s been put back in. The INF Treaty has been rebuked. But I do think there’s an opening here, Nathan. I’m sure you are not of this kind, because you’re writing the essay you’ve mentioned, but I think a lot of people have forgotten the nuclear danger. At the end of the Soviet Union, it was as if the nuclear danger had also ended. And it hasn’t. And I think people are very scared now. Trump scared people because he had his finger on the nuclear weapon, but now it’s an overall kind of terrible anxiety, fear, which could either head toward more militaristic outcomes or could lead to more interest in trying to find ways to restrict these weapons which should never ever be used. That’s what Reagan and Gorbachev said, didn’t they? They said, the weapons must never be used and nuclear war can never be won and must never be waged.

Robinson

It’s remarkable when you go back and look at it because it’s just not the way that this is discussed anymore. It’s very odd that these facts have just slipped out of people’s heads.

vanden Heuvel

Gorbachev was a visionary. And Reagan wanted to go down as—I think Nancy Reagan wanted him to be a hero for peace. I did a book with my husband called Voices of Glasnost: Interviews with Gorbachev’s Reformers. Gorbachev had the brain trust of people who had long thought about these things. He’s very close, by the way, to the editor of Novaya Gazeta, the man Dmitry Muratov, who won the Nobel Peace Prize at the end of last year along with a Filipina journalist. He continues bravely with the newspaper. He’s not publishing the word war in wake of the Russian Parliament’s legislation on fake news and the danger of using war. Any time you have this kind of cold war, it’s lousy for everyone and for progressives, because the space for speaking out for dissent is narrowed and shut down. I worked in Russia for 30-40 years with independent newspapers and feminist groups. And such people are the ones often on the front lines. Of course, nothing compares to what’s happening in Ukraine. But I’m thinking inside Russia, there are good people who are protesting. And I think that’s surprising to many Americans, if they follow it.

Robinson

One of the things that is essential for forcing populations to go to war against one another is to develop that fear or distrust of the other, the sense that the people of a different country are fundamentally different from oneself, that their character is treacherous and mysterious. And so to see ordinary Russians who share sentiments about the war helps eliminate that sentiment.

vanden Heuvel

You’re right. I was covering Moscow from ‘85 to ‘91. And you can’t cover Russia these last years without covering the ascendance of the Russian Orthodox Church (not my favorite). But the coverage became all about Putin, all the time. And then the demonization of Putin makes it easy to demonize a country. So it’s going to be a tough period. You know, the Democrats in the House are as eager as anyone … so Eric Swalwell has proposed legislation to expel Russian students, and David Cicilline from Rhode Island has put forward legislation to expel Russia from the UN. And then there will be freedom fries … remember that? The freedom fries story is interesting. A man introduced that during the Iraq War because of the anger at the French. The man, Walter Jones, later became anti-war because he’d been to so many funerals in his constituency in his district in North Carolina. Anyway, I mentioned that because freedom fries and Russian vodka.

Robinson

Yeah. And taking Dostoevsky out of the curriculum. This is paranoid overreaction. Just to go back to some of the history and context is so important. All we’re going to see from now on are the images each day coming out of the unfolding tragedy. You wrote a lot in the lead up to the invasion about missed opportunities, diplomatically, places where things could have gone differently. What do you think the most important of those were?

vanden Heuvel

Let me just say that Crimea, which was 2014, was a different instance in the sense that there was a huge patriotic surge in Russia in favor of that. There’s a very different Russia right now in terms of different attitudes toward this invasion. The Minsk Process, which Anatol Lieven and I have written about, was a process that was underway. It was with France, Germany, Russia, and Ukraine, and it was endorsed by the EU and the UN. It would have brought about an independent sovereign Ukraine, neutral or non aligned, as Finland has been. It would have provided language rights and a kind of federative status to the Republics in the East of Ukraine. But the crucial thing was that it would have put a moratorium at best, or no entry into, NATO. That was always the central piece of the Minsk Process. It failed because the United States put no pressure on it, though it wasn’t a party to it. And the Ukrainians in the West would not begin to negotiate until the Russian East Ukrainian forces—and there were Russian forces—left the country. So it came back with a vengeance in 2021-22 with Macron, who showed diplomatic vigor, trying to revive it. Lieven has been a great proponent of it. When the two Republics in Donetsk and Luhansk were recognized, that undermined the possibility of Minsk, but once the invasion happened, it’s very hard to get that back on track. I think at this moment, there needs to be a mediating entity that could come forward, maybe the OSCE. There are other countries which have come forward. China would be very controversial. There seems to be a little more effort now on the humanitarian corridors, but China I think would be very difficult. The Prime Minister of Israel flew to Moscow, I think, on the weekend, with his interpreter, who was a deputy minister who’d been born in Russia. He’s friendly with Zelensky, and he knows Putin. But we need a mediating force because the Minsk Accord is very tough to get back on track. But that was on offer. And that was a kind of off-ramp. In terms of the negotiations that were had with Putin, in retrospect, people said how distant he was, how isolated he seemed, how he seemed, to a point, unhinged. He talked a lot about history, which is fine, but his history is a kind of a mythic history. But I do think Putin and the Russian elite in the Kremlin, the establishment, felt that there was not a serious consideration of the NATO question, that there were other issues raised, like, We’ll remove weapons, we’ll stop weapons, which is important. But the NATO question remained paramount for a long time.

Robinson

You write that the United States really didn’t take seriously the Russian position on this. You have a passage in one of your columns where you write, “The problem is that the United States doesn’t do diplomacy well.

vanden Heuvel

Yeah.

Robinson

“addled by the sugar high of being the world’s only superpower after the collapse of the Soviet Union. We don’t do compromise, we just expect to get our way. So when Putin demands that the United States agree not to make Ukraine or Georgia a member of NATO, it was just dismissed as a quote non-starter.”

vanden Heuvel

You know, this is no longer a unipolar world. And I think that’s very hard for the U.S. establishment to understand. It’s a tri-polar world. Even Russia, weakened, that may end. But certainly China is a major force. And the ability to deny that we’re no longer the only superpower is a denial that is very difficult for the American establishment to make. In addition, the danger has been that we’ve been so overwhelmingly the indispensable, powerful primary nation, that we’ve learned the arts of military power, but diplomacy has been secondary. And it sounds like an old-fashioned art form. But it’s true that Europeans were more active than the Americans in the diplomatic realm. It’s an art form. There needs to be tough, persistent, clear diplomacy. It’s not about being weak. I fear that in our country, it’s viewed as capitulation or as appeasement. Even though there is a new world, I think the old order is going to be reasserted for a period of time in light of this invasion and in light of the way the establishment—certainly in our country—will relate to it.

Robinson

You write of something rather absurd and tragic in the lead up to this. Obviously, we don’t know whether the invasion would still have occurred, even if there had been a firm guarantee that Ukraine wouldn’t become a NATO member. As you mentioned, Putin seemed distant and had this idea of reuniting Russia. But you have this sentence here, “NATO’s members have decided the Alliance can’t say it won’t do what it has no intention of doing.”

vanden Heuvel

There is an absurd quality to that. There’s a cynicism, too. NATO will not fight on behalf of Ukraine, and the U.S. will not send men or women. One doesn’t want any men or women anywhere to be in bloodshed. But there is an absurdity. Is this a war for NATO? Imagine sitting at a table in the middle of this country—I hate to speak for this country—but a country that is fatigued by endless war. You’ve just exited Afghanistan, but you’re saying we’re going to send troops for the sake of NATO’s reputation. There is an absurd quality to it. And in light of the horror that we are witnessing, was there a way to have averted this through more forceful diplomacy around this question of NATO? By the way, it’s unlikely Ukraine will get into the EU very quickly after its application the other day. I think two or three East European countries are still waiting. It’s hard to believe that the Ukrainian uprising of 2013-14 really began over the EU extending its offer. There was an offer from Russia for a very brief moment to join both the EU and the Eurasian Association, but that quickly fell apart. But it’s a lost opportunity. The squandered lost opportunities are very vivid in Russian history as well. Many people in this country believe Yeltsin was the Great democratizer. In fact, de-democratization began with Yeltsin and the looting of the country, and the poverty and the anger. And Putin’s first act when he was appointed in 2000 was to give Yeltsin and his family immunity from prosecution. Ironically, that may be something Putin’s looking at now.

Robinson

I just wanted to emphasize the tragedy of that incredible sentence that I just read that NATO members decide that they can’t say they won’t do what they have no intention of doing. It captures this core of what’s wrong with U.S. diplomacy. The idea was that, yes, we’re obviously not going to defend Ukraine, but we’re taking a very, very hard position, a nonnegotiable position, that we can never say that we’re not going to admit Ukraine into NATO. We have to keep up this fiction. So it’s almost like giving up the opportunity to possibly have a resolution for the sake of preserving a fiction that nobody truly believes.

vanden Heuvel

I think it’s true, but I think that sentence has a prehistory, too, because the distrust, the breakdown of relations, had a history prior to this crisis point. I also think it’s the measure of a country in denial—an establishment and an elite in denial about its power and wanting to maintain the pretense of power, even though it’s hollow. NATO, in fact, is quite hollow except for its weapons. And the leadership of NATO—it, too, is a warmongering elite at this moment—the absurdity and the tragedy…what could have been averted? Again, I do come back to the shock of the invasion. I respect Patrick Cockburn enormously. I remember when he first came to cover Moscow, and he’d just come from Beirut. And all the Russian journalists in 1986 were consumed with the need that they get hardship pay because of Moscow and he’s come from war-torn Beirut, and he looked at them. He’s an extraordinary reporter. John Mearsheimer canvassed a lot of people who studied Russia. They, too, were shocked. But you know what? Putin was the first leader to call George W. Bush after 9/11. He was very pro-West. And, by the way, the westernizers in the Kremlin, in the top echelon, have been undermined and sabotaged and driven out. There’s no room for them.

Robinson

Didn’t Putin ask whether Russia could join NATO at one point or float the possibility?

vanden Heuvel

He asked Clinton at one point, and there was an effort. Again, it was hollow. The kind of partnership with Russia was always hollow. It’s a tragedy about NATO. Listen, Tom Friedman did the famous interview with George Kennan and I think he understands in his Tom Friedman-esque way the great dangers.

Robinson

He wrote a column highlighting some of the same stuff. And he sounded a lot like some of the left critics.

vanden Heuvel

Could I say one thing about progressives again? I do think the oligarchs don’t deserve a lot of our pity, though they will probably find protection for their resources while ordinary Russians are getting battered by the sanctions. And I was just on a call with former Ambassador Chas Freeman who was quite eloquent in the unblemished history of sanction failures. There is a role for progressives as well with transnational movements, journalistic movements, like Pandora Papers. Do you remember that investigative project about offshore finance? You can’t have Russian oligarchs without an enabling class in the West. So I do think there’s work to be done there. Because the oligarchs of the world have found protection. I’m not talking about anything other than civil disobedience. But I think that’s a worthy project.

Robinson

Well, the final thing I wanted to ask you here was, how does the United States keep its head in this crisis? I mean, we may see the escalation of the war. We’re certainly going to see more horrific and disturbing images coming out of Ukraine. We need to go back to history and be self-critical and understand things that we might have done that contributed to this even as we vigorously condemn Putin as the aggressor here. But going forward, what is the correct approach for the United States to take in order to avoid worsening the disaster and making the same blunders all over again?

vanden Heuvel

I think in the short term, any cease-fire mediation is critical to end the bloodshed. I’m not an isolationist, but I believe in getting our own house in order before we go out and engage in interventions or more NATO expansion. We need to find a less militaristic way of approaching the worl. The defense budgets are insane. They ravage what is possible in dealing with the climate crisis or global inequality. Think of the humanitarian crisis—millions of displaced people. And what’s going to happen in Afghanistan? Who’s going to rebuild Ukraine? These are questions that are about people as well as policy. I think we need to find a different way of engaging the world with dialogue and diplomacy, with war as the last resort. Now, I’m speaking aspirationally. I think in the short term, as I said, this is going to add fuel to the forces who say we need a larger defense budget to deter people like Putin. I don’t see the connection there. I think we have more than enough, five times over, twenty times over. Our military budget, as you know, is 12 times the size of Russia’s. So I think we have a lot of work to do at home to rebuild this country.

Robinson

One of the things I’ve been trying to emphasize in my writings on this—and I assume you’d agree—is that when a solution to this conflict is found, we have to be ready to embrace and rekindle the possibility for a partnership between the United States, Russia, and Ukraine. We have to be able to see people—everyone—in sharing an interest in demilitarizing and denuclearizing the world. If we start forming power blocks and alliances again, we create the kind of situation where one small crisis can lead to a world war like World War I.

vanden Heuvel

I agree. Let’s remember, this is a hot war. I think it’s going to require self-interest on the part of countries to find a way to work together. I don’t think partnership is going to happen quickly. But I think at a minimum, we shouldn’t see a refueling of weapons and a military approach. We need to find other ways of engaging. But I agree with you. It’s going to take a lot of reweaving. When you look at the nationalist wave around different countries—the rise of nationalism in this country, in Russia, and in Ukraine—it’s going to take time to find ways forward. But I do think there’s an opening because of the nuclear weapons. If you could take two or three paths there, you could rebuild. You could do the so-called modernization of all of these weapons, which is insane. Or you could say we need to build down because the threat has come so close. This is far more perilous than the Cuban missile crisis. We could go in different directions. And we have to do everything we can—I’m not sure about partnership—to find a way to cool down and not fuel up.

Robinson

Thank you so much for talking to me today. Your columns on the crisis have been a welcome dose of sanity in a media environment that is increasingly and frighteningly warlike. We can all express solidarity with the people of Ukraine and should. But we also have to be cautious and self-critical because the United States has shown many times over that when there’s a war, there are those among us who are all too eager to embrace what would turn out to be a catastrophe. Thank you very much for joining me.

vanden Heuvel

Thank you, Nathan.

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