In the first half, a leading scholar of Soviet and post-Soviet Russia, media commentator, and the author of several widely acclaimed books, Stephen F. Cohen discussed the current dynamics of the U.S. relationship with Russia, as well as the Cold War with the Soviet Union. Much of the analysis we're being fed regarding Ukraine is misleading, and this could be leading up to the most serious international situation since the Cuban Missile Crisis, he contended. The US policy since the 1990s is the main driving force behind the Ukraine crisis, not Russia, he argued, adding that the demonization of Putin is not analysis, understanding, or policy, but an excuse not to engage in those things. Putin is not an autocrat, he added, but part of the Russian political class.
Chances to negotiate a non-war solution are being lost, mostly by the US and Western Europe, he said, and now NATO and Russian troops are on the move. Everything in Ukraine is descending into chaos and if the trend is not reversed soon, there will be a catastrophic war -- probably beginning with civil war in Ukraine and then Russian and NATO intervention on the opposing sides. No one in the US political-media mainstream establishment has an open mind, in contrast to how Reagan met Gorbachev halfway in bringing an end to the Cold War, he remarked. Cohen, who befriended Gorbachev back in the 1980s and has remained in touch with him, said that the former Soviet leader is tormented by what is happening in Russia today. More here.
In the latter half, former war correspondent for NBC News, Brad Willis, (now known as Bhava Ram) shared his amazing journey from hardened broadcast journalist, to terminal cancer patient. He recounted the series of events that inspired him to refuse his morphine drip and reach out for unconventional activities including yoga to restore his mobility, which ultimately set him on a path leading to remission and restoration of his health. As an esteemed journalist, he was one of the only ones from the West to get deep into Afghanistan during the Soviet Occupation in the 1980s. But eventually his career collapsed when he broke his back, had a failed surgery, a dire cancer diagnosis, and a dependence on pain medications.
His turnaround began when his young son said simply "Get up Daddy," and he went into detox, and then got involved in mind-body techniques at a pain clinic. It was there he began a yoga practice, and studied the ancient Ayurvedic system. After going home, he focused on yoga postures, breathwork, and meditation for 8-12 hours a day, as well as a dietary switch to veganism, and frequent fasting. Over a six month period, he shed 80 lbs. of excess weight and "1,000 lbs. of darkness off my mind, my emotional body," he said. Two years into this practice, he was completely healed and cancer-free. For more, check out this video of Bhava Ram's TEDx Talk in San Diego.
Bumper music from Wednesday April 30, 2014