"What is it about Russia that continues to wind everyone up so much? What do you think why will the Anga the alarms? Rick the ruthless draw twice light a great power with a vassal of nuclear weapons will for five years. Now, certainly since the outbreak of the Ukraine standoff, February twenty four hop ventilating pundits and politicians on left. Dan, wrought have been warning the bear is on the prow. And that led me Putin is destroying democracy all across the globe as a result, and many of you have heard me say this all too often on this show and elsewhere the Russia fobs have spread exaggerations about the Putin fresh which fuelled hatred and sewed misunderstanding. My next guest today agrees. There is he argues nothing peculiar pathological. In Russia's behavior. It is simply protecting legitimate security interests in the Baltics its near abroad and the Middle East, and it's objectives. Limited. Steven Cohen is professor emeritus in Russian studies from in while you in Princeton, and he's the author of the wall with Russia from Putin and Ukraine to Trump and Russia gate. That's just out stave. Welcome back to between the lines. Thank you. Tom grand to be with you. Now, you'll critics all too often denounce you as a Russian apologised in a Putin. Stooge? What are they continued to impugn you'll motives when you have decades of what many people argue is rigorous intellectual experience in this field. Well, it's become about me in the last five years as you say all this slurring of me, but it's a more general problem. Generally, speaking, anybody who has a public platform in the United States today, and they're not very many of us and very few public platforms available anymore who tried to take? Let's call it a balanced or objective. More storks view of Russia, particularly American Russian relations are being slurred. How do we explain this? Well, Russia has always been talk sake in America. I did a calculation the other day, and I was surprised myself to discover that one hundred years of American Russian relations there have been seventy five years Cold War out of the hundred. So that's a subject where thinking about maybe not today, but this is not unusual. But I think what makes it so severe today is it has to do with Putin the Russian leader since two thousand and in a word, I put it like this. There was. The expectation among American political media -letes when the Soviet Union ended Russia would become a subordinate partner of the United States in world affairs, and it looked for a decade or less in the nineteen ninety s like that might be the case because then Russian President Yeltsin was weak needy and President Clinton took advantage of him in a kind of soft way that made it sound like a friendship, but the resentment was building in Russia. The resentment produced Putin could have been much worse. And I think it's the reaction to Putin primarily the sense that the American media political elites were wrong when they thought that after the end of the Soviet Union, the United States alone would determine world affairs when Russia reemerged on the world stage. It was a shock. A bitter disappointment and much of that continues to influence American thanking today about Russia. And about people's touches me who say this is not a bad thing when need to deal with it. And there are a lot of good possibilities. But we're not taking those possible. Well, of course, you like many realists such as George Kennan, the intellectual architect of the containment doctrine and not hang forty seven in the non hundred nineties you both among others oppose Naito expansion. But remember Steve at the time. Many Republicans end Democrats believed strongly that the expansion of the Atlantic alliance. Eastwood's was a benign move. Well, tom. I mean, if I find out where you live, and I come over to your house with my home as my buddies. They're all carrying. I doubt that calms. Go to say, Steve, why are you? So benign. It's preposterous."