Offering introductory remarks was Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, who, over the course of a three-decade career in Washington, has made the improbable journey from Cold Warrior to slavish defender of the Russian regime. Rohrabacher, who came to Washington as speechwriter for the Reagan White House, is now doing the same sort of legwork for his old nemeses in the Kremlin, who, in his view, are worthy allies in our shared struggle against militant Islam. . . .
Next up was the redoubtable Stephen Cohen, America’s most notorious Kremlin apologist. Falsely labeling the conflict in Ukraine a “civil war,” Cohen called for a “new détente” between Russia and the United States. This would suit Cohen well, as the old détente effectively conceded Soviet mastery over Eastern Europe, which is exactly what Cohen wants the West to do today. Cohen lamented how, not long ago, “both sides had legitimate spheres of influence,” (or what he prefers to call “zones of national security”) yet after the collapse of the Soviet Union, America and its allies disregarded the “conception of parity” and “treated Russia as a defeated nation.” Washington’s relationship to Moscow has since been characterized by “constant meddling in Russia’s internal affairs,” and the problem has only gotten worse. “This vilification of a Russian leader is unprecedented,” constituting nothing less than “an illness.” . . .
Vanden Heuvel introduced a panel of has-bens, “formers” all around: former AP reporter Robert Parry, former UPI editor Martin Sieff, former International Herald Tribune Asia bureau chief Patrick Smith, and former CIA analyst Ray McGovern, now the proprietor of the internationally renowned news source RayMcGovern.com. Like all regular guests of RT, the men channeled embitterment over their flailing careers into critiques of the “mainstream media.” Parry, who accused the U.S. government of withholding information about the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine, complained about how no one in the State Department returns his calls. McGovern spoke of Russia’s “so-called aggression” in Ukraine before asking, “How can Russia trust a serial liar? And by that I mean John Kerry.” It was at some point in the midst of Sieff’s spiel about how the Western powers were leading us back to the carnage of World War that I decided I had better things to do.