Is Jeffrey Sachs one of Putin’s American Cheerleaders?


Putin’s American Cheerleaders

How Jeffrey Sachs, Mark Episkopos and Dimitri Simes contribute to the Russian propaganda effort.

By Adrian Karatnycky

Jan. 6, 2023 1:19 pm ET

More surprising are the appearances of several establishment figures: Columbia University economist Jeffrey Sachs; the National Interest’s former national security correspondent, Mark Episkopos; and Dimitri Simes, until recently president of the Center for the National Interest. They willingly appear on the programs of Russia’s most odious state propagandist, Vladimir Solovyov. Mr. Solovyov has called for a Russian invasion of Europe, bombing Ukrainian cities into the ground, and punishing Ukrainians for “Nazism.” Last month he declared on air that “the more we burn Ukraine now, the easier it will be to pummel Germany, Britain, France, all those European Nazi bastards, and the United States will also suffer.”

Mr. Sachs has made three appearances on Mr. Solovyov’s programs since November. Mr. Sachs has long argued that the West provoked Russia into invading Ukraine in 2014 by virtue of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s “threatening” expansion toward Russia. In his appearances last fall, he called for an immediate end to hostilities, which would preserve Russian control over 15% of Ukraine—more than double the Ukrainian land Moscow controlled before the February 2022 invasion. According to the Russian dubbing of Mr. Sachs’s English-language comments, he has told Russians that a “massive number” of Americans “wish to exit the conflict in Ukraine,” condemned the U.S. administration for “disinformation,” and called President Volodymyr Zelensky’s conditions for peace “absolute nonsense.”

Every U.S. citizen has a right to express an opinion about the issues of the day. And experts are free to challenge the pro-Ukraine views held by the vast majority of Americans. But cooperation with official propagandists who beat the drum for a state perpetrating massive war crimes and atrocities is another matter. Messrs. Sachs, Episkopos and Simes should know better.

Mr. Karatnycky, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, is author of the forthcoming “Battleground Ukraine: From Independence to the Russian War.”

Mr. Episkopos is no longer a correspondent for the National Interest. An earlier version misstated this.




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Democracy Now! video

We discuss Western hegemony and U.S. policy in Russia, Ukraine and China with Columbia University economist Jeffrey Sachs, whose new article is headlined “The West’s False Narrative About Russia and China.” Sachs says the bipartisan U.S. approach to foreign policy is “unaccountably dangerous and wrongheaded,” and warns the U.S. is creating “a recipe for yet another war” in East Asia. Democracy Now! is an independent global news hour that airs on over 1,500 TV and radio stations Monday through Friday.


Democracy Now! video

With the war in Ukraine now in its 10th month, Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Joe Biden have both expressed openness to peace talks to end the fighting, as have leaders in France, Germany and elsewhere. This comes as millions of Ukrainians brace for a winter without heat or electricity due to Russian strikes on Ukrainian civilian infrastructure. “This war needs to end because it’s a disaster for everybody, a threat to the whole world,” says economist and foreign policy scholar Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University. He says four major issues need to be addressed to end the war: Ukraine’s sovereignty and security, NATO enlargement, the fate of Crimea and the future of the Donbas region.


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