Communist Sympathizer “The Nation” Magazine Backs Putin

Katrina vanden Heuvel

The end of the Cold War must have been confusing or perhaps Vladimir still has some KGB connections from The Nation’s fellow traveling days because no sooner did Putin invade Ukraine than its editor, publisher and godmother, Katrina vanden Heuvel, came out banging the drum for Vlad the Invader.

Katrina vanden Heuvel’s twitter feed quickly filled with rants about Republican warmongers and various justifications for Putin. Heuvel’s husband, Stephen F. Cohen penned an article for The Nation accusing the media of targeting Putin.

James Kirchik described Cohen’s piece as “one of the most slavish defenses of Putinism.” It might equally be described as “Leave Putin Alone!”.

In the grand style of the old Commie apologists, Cohen wrote, “In August, Putin virtually saved Obama’s presidency by persuading Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to eliminate his chemical weapons. Putin then helped to facilitate Obama’s heralded opening to Iran. Should not Obama himself have gone to Sochi—either out of gratitude to Putin, or to stand with Russia’s leader against international terrorists who have struck both of our countries?”

It’s that last line that is telltale Russian propaganda and out of place in The Nation, which is favorably disposed to international terrorists.

Meanwhile Katrina vanden Heuvel was dividing her time on Twitter between shrieking about Arizona’s religious freedom bill as homophobic and urging the US to work together with Putin on the Ukraine. If Katrina saw anything contradictory about it, she wasn’t letting on.




Then she repeatedly tweeted a link to her old article justifying Putin’s invasion of Georgia because at least The Nation is consistent in supporting Moscow dictators and their invasions of foreign countries.

Finally Katrina penned a Washington Post op-ed which put the blame for Putin’s invasion on Obama. Apparently Putin’s KGB cred still makes him redder than Obama despite his lack of allegiance to the left’s economic agenda.

Let’s all take a deep breath before we commit our limited treasure and prestige to an unknown and still unsettled leadership in a country on Russia’s border, harbor to its fleet, that has had a fragile independent existence for barely 20 years.

Only 20 years. Why it’s not even a real country. Hint, hint, say no more. It’s a familiar pretext considering that it’s how Molotov justified Stalin’s invasion of Poland.

The more things change, the more The Nation stays the same.

Some history would also serve us well if we’re to understand fast-moving developments. The United States is reaping the bitter fruit of a deeply flawed post-Cold War settlement that looks more like Versailles than it does Bretton Woods, and that settlement was made even worse by the United States’ violation of the settlement by deciding to enlarge NATO and pursue other triumphalist policies aimed at isolating Russia and ignoring Russian interests.

If you believe the left, Putin isn’t the real villain here, NATO is.

 Americans across the political spectrum will not be eager to send billions of dollars to Kiev while we are starving investment in education, Head Start and other vital programs here at home.

I’m sure that Katrina feels the same way about sending billions of dollars to Pakistan, Jordan and Brunei. Oddly the left’s foreign aid critiques are rarely universal. When it’s convenient, they suddenly want to keep the money here.

In a Western media culture that largely disdains context or history, Putin has been made the villain in the piece. But Russia has legitimate security concerns in its near-neighbor. The Russian fear is far less about economic relations with the European Union (Russia is a major source of energy for the Europeans) than about the further extension of NATO to its borders. A hostile Ukraine might displace Russian bases in the Black Sea, harbor the U.S. fleet and provide a home to NATO bases.

Putin isn’t the villain here. He’s just terrified that the Yankee Devils will invade Moscow. Who can blame him?

Neoconservatives, politicians and frustrated Cold Warriors filling armchairs in the outdated “strategic” think tanks that litter Washington will continue to howl at the moon. But U.S. policy should be run by the sober. The president would be well advised to investigate whether the European Union, Russia and the United States can join together to preserve Ukraine’s territorial unity; to support new and free elections; and to agree to allow Ukraine to be part of both the European Union and Russian customs union, while reaffirming the pledge that NATO will not extend itself into Ukraine.

It’ll be just like Yalta. Speaking of which… let’s take a little flashback to The Nation’s past.

In 1936, as the Great Purge was underway and the Moscow Trials were getting started, the leftist magazine had declared that “[t]here can be no doubt that dictatorship in Russia is dying and that a new democracy is slowly being born.”

In 1946, after even much of the American left had broken with the Soviet Union, Walter Duranty used The Nation’s pages to describe Stalin’s latest purge as “a general cleaning out of the cobwebs and mess which accumulate in any house when its occupants are so deeply preoccupied with something else that they have no time to keep it in order.”

When the Soviet Union began to gobble up Eastern Europe a second time, Kirchwey said that America should accept the fall of Europe into darkness. “Peace and prosperity will be more than secure in America if we accept the process of revolution in Europe and the East instead of subsidizing resistance to it.”

In the 70s, Chomsky’s denial of the Cambodian genocide appeared in The Nation. “In the first place, is it proper to attribute deaths from malnutrition and disease to Cambodian authorities?” he asked.

And staying true to totalitarianism to the last, when Chavez died, an article in The Nation suggested that “the biggest problem Venezuela faced during his rule was not that Chávez was authoritarian but that he wasn’t authoritarian enough.”

Communist regimes may fall, but The Nation never changes. If it can’t have Stalin, The Nation tries to make do with Putin.

  • wreed22

    Katrina speaks to a few people at very small parties. Think of her situation compared to a modestly successful rock-n-roll band from 20 years ago now playing small bars in very small towns.

  • Hidden Author

    Because only a Commie would oppose partitioning Yugoslavia and placing an Islamic “Green Belt” around Russia in pursuit of world domination by the New World Order!

    • TIburius

      a belt that Russia is allowing by supporting Iran. Last I read Iran is about islamic theocracy as you can get.

  • popseal

    “Useful idiots” is a broader term than describing pacifism mixed with socialism.

  • truebearing

    “If you believe the left, Putin isn’t the real villain here, NATO is.”

    Yes, if NATO hadn’t been formed to deal with Soviet aggression, none of this would have happened because Ukraine would have never escaped Soviet/Russian domination. How dare Western democracies offer security to a victim of communism.

  • Habbgun

    Guess we know why Obama is afraid of Putin. There must be quite a few career Leftists on the KGB rolodex. Obama fears nothing except a sustained attack from the left and Putin could do it. Do the stooges get their marching orders from a text or is there a Journ-O-List for Russian stooges on the take.

  • herb benty

    The bitter fruit that Western Marxists produce to disinform free people is now rotting.

  • American Patriot

    Really? One of “The Nation” authors is bringing up the Panama invasion to try and delegitimize the West’s criticism of the Putin government’s invasion of Ukraine. The invasion of Panama was a justified response to the Noriega dictatorship’s constant human rights violations in Panama, constant violations of the Panama Canal sovereignty and the murder of a U.S. military member and the gruesome torture of the American military member’s wife. That right there was an act of war. Furthermore, “The Nation” ignores the fact that Noriega was a puppet of the Castro dictatorship in Cuba and the Sandinista dictatorship in Nicaragua and has numerous connections to drug cartels and other hostile forces. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is totally unjustified, as the Putin government is trying to overthrow a newly-established popular government by force. There is no comparison between the two invasions. One invasion reestablished democracy and freedom while the other is trying to overthrow a popular government and reimpose a client state.

  • rbla

    Yes, politics certainly makes strange bedfellows. On the pro-Putin side there are staunch leftists with a contingent of paleo-conservatives as well as nationalist radio talker Mike Savage and moderate conservative host John Bachelor. On the anti-Putin side we have assorted leftists – gay activists, diversity crazed petty tyrants from the EU, Obama, Kerry and their minions, assorted neo-conservatives and mainstream conservatives as well as Ukrainian neo-Nazis.

    The truth probably lies somewhere in between. I do agree that Russia and Putin are a problem and should be dealt with (though we have so weakened ourselves that we are incapable of doing so). But the pity is that it didn’t have to be that way. In addition to our liberal economists back in the 90s helping the Russian kleptocrats trash their economy as detailed in

    we have the following. After the end of the Cold War the West kept relentlessly trying to push NATO right up against the Russian border. Instead of treating Russia as a friend and seeking an alliance a cabal of crazed Western multiculturalists with hardliners who couldn’t let go of their Cold War obsession insisted on trying to encircle Russia. Then there was Clinton’s war on Russia’s traditional Serb allies and support for Chechen jihadists who sought to dismember Russia proper. That was followed by the war in Iraq which Russia warned us against (they turned out to be right) and Obama’s adventure in Libya which they also warned us about. In the meantime Russia did give us considerable support in Afghanistan and cooperated by giving us intelligence regarding terrorists. (They warned us about the Tsarnaev brothers which we, of course, ignored.)
    But all of this counted for nothing as the EU worked to undermine Russia’s relationship with Ukraine. Prominent politicians from Europe helped by that senile fool McCain went fishing in troubled waters appearing in Kiev in the midst of the crisis denouncing its president. If some foreign powers were pushing an anti-American alliance with Canada and Mexico any self-respecting US government would not put up with it. It is true, on the other hand, that we haven’t had anything like a self-respecting government since Reagan. So yes, Russia is a problem but it was all so tragically unnecessary.

  • Hard Little Machine

    I’m mildly amused that Tom Friedman or Glenn Greenwald haven’t blamed it on the Jews yet.

  • albert v. f. nelthropp

    I’m glad that someone sees through this woman. To stand behind Putin is to stand for totalitarianism. Poor Ukraine fighting for it’s freedom and standing up to Putin alone while the West dithers. Reminds one of Czekoslovakia in 1938. S h e lives on the Upper West Side and arrogantly attacks the US while defending Putin and his dictatorship. What a hypocrite.