CNN anchor Anderson Cooper became defensive on Monday when third-party presidential candidate Dr. Cornel West refused to accept his narrative about the Ukraine war.
Last week, West criticized NATO expansionism and characterized the Ukraine war as a "proxy war" between the United States and Russia. His criticism has been framed as "pro-Putin."
"Let us not be deceived: NATO is an expanding instrument of U.S. global power that provoked Russia into a criminal invasion and occupation of Ukraine," he tweeted. "This proxy war between the American Empire and the Russian Federation could lead to World War III."
West reaffirmed that position in his interview with Cooper.
"The people of Ukraine right now who are suffering — and I'm in deep solidarity with their suffering," he said. "They are being caught between this proxy war between the American empire and the Russian Federation."
That's when the interview began to sour because Cooper quickly registered his umbrage with West's position, arguing Western intervention in Ukraine to stop Russia is essentially a moral imperative.
"I just spoke to the foreign minister of Ukraine," Cooper told West. "I think if you said to him [that] you're standing with people of Ukraine in solidarity and you're saying that they are just victims in this proxy war, he would say you're out of your mind."
Stopping Russian President Vladimir Putin is such moral imperative that without Western intervention Putin will continue to "slaughter" people, Cooper argued, citing Russia's carpet bombing of Grozny in the First Chechen War.
But West refused to budge. He responded that barbarity is a tactic of empires and affirmed the Ukrainian people are victims, but reasserted his position that Russia was provoked.
"There is no doubt that Ukrainian people are being treated in a barbaric way," he said. "But the context is one in which that did not have to be if the expansion of NATO — and NATO is an arm of the American global power network. It is just a fact."
Cooper then took issue with West for allegedly wanting Ukraine to compromise with Russia. Cooper framed his critique by suggesting compromise is bad, "unfair," and not the correct moral position.
"I want just peace for my Ukrainian brothers and sisters," West shot back. "And I don't want World War Three."
West concluded the interview by noting that Biden's decision to call up 3,000 reservists — and potentially deploy them to Europe — resembles the U.S. move to send thousands of military "advisers" to South Vietnam in 1962.
Of course, we all know how that ended: more and more military personnel in Vietnam before it was full-scale war.
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