The New Cold War

By tamara on
hammer and sickle

Although the Cold War ended over two decades ago, I would argue that the events of the last several days are an indication that a new Cold War may be igniting.  The events which I am course referring to, is the Russian invasion of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula.  This invasion is much more endemic of a standoff between East and West than it is about Ukraine.

Putin’s goal is to build a modern Russian Empire that resembles the old Soviet Union, of which Ukraine was the second largest republic with its population of 50 million people.  Ukraine is a critical part of Putin’s imperialist plan based on its size and its location as it situated between Europe and Asia while Crimea provides access to the Mediterranean.  Furthermore any agreement between the EU and Ukraine would surely include military provision and there is no way that he would allow NATO so close to his borders.

But it is Putin’s decision to invade Crimea that is reminiscent of the cold war because Putin doesn’t need to use force to bring Ukraine to its knees – he could do so quietly; economically.  As Ukraine teeters on the brink of financial collapse Russia remains critical to Ukraine’s solvency.  Without Russia’s financial assistance through gas subsidies and debt forgiveness Ukraine will default.

But this not what he has done. He has chosen aggressive action at the risk of criticism and isolation from his European partners .  He is also risking possible confrontation – war.  And he has chosen this course for a very specific reason to show strength and defiance.  Putin is using the crisis in Ukraine to confront an old rival, the United States.

In Putin’s mind this is a rivalry was unjustly lost by Russia due to what Putin believes was weak leadership of former President Boris Yeltsin.  Putin now has the opportunity to vindicate the collapse of the Soviet Union, an event that he calls the greatest tragedy of the 20th century.

He has challenged the US in a stand-off to see how far we are willing to go.  And as we’ve seen, not very far at all.  An inane threat of consequences that include Obama’s withdrawal from the G8 Summit in Sochi this June – so essentially Obama told Putin that he is not going to come to his birthday party.  Maybe next Obama won’t let him ride his pony.


  1. See the reaction of the US in regard to Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968 to figure out what we will do. Our president is the equivalent of an English constable who does not carry a weapon. Chasing after a fleeing thief, he yells “stop” or I will yell “stop” again.

  2. I strongly disagree. Hopefully the US will not put Boots on the Ground but President Obama is sending John Kerry to the Ukraine tomorrow and the US is ready to provide Major economic assistance to the Ukraine. Quoting John Kerry “Foreign Ministers from the G8 (which include the United States, Britain, Canada, France, Italy, Japan, Germany) and other Nations are prepared to go to the hilt to isolate Russia. They’re prepared to put sanctions in place and isolate Russia economically”

    • I hope you are right Linda, but I’m not sure that Putin is concerned with these threats and don’t forget that Europe is still heavily reliant on Russian gas so they need to be careful in playing the isolation game. Also europe’s economy although improving is still not strong which adds to the complexity of the overall situation. No one wants to go to war, but sometimes you have to. The problem is we should have never been in Iraq and now we have war fatigue.

  3. Loved your post. Birthday party/pony bit was outstanding.

    The only thing is that I think it’s mistitled. It’s not a cold war, it’s a hot one. As you correctly said, he could have chosen a cold war (literally), but he didn’t.

    The parallels with Sudentenland (Crimea) and “protection” of indigenous peoples (Russia protecting Russians in Crimea, Hitler protecting Germans in the Sudentenland) are striking.

    The only issue here which is deeper and different than WWII is that the US is actually MORE involved than they were in 1938, when there was a tremendous isolationist sentiment here in the US. While I would argue that the US is more isolationist today than it’s been in a while (battle fatigue from Afghan/Iraq wars, need for defense spending cuts), it’s nothing like the late 1930s.

    I also hope that the will of the Europeans is greater than it was in the late 1930s. We shall see.

    • Alfredo, thank you for your thoughtful comment. A week has now passed and the situation remains fluid. We are now seeing a shift, as the US now stands in the forefront as Europe takes a back seat due to its economic ties to Russia.

      As Reagan once said, the US doesn’t necessarily have to go to war, it just has to let the world know that it would go to war if necessary. This is not the impression that is being made by Obama which is why he is being perceived as weak. His weakness is said to have emboldened Putin.

    • Thanks for your comment Emma. I now see that media across the US has also labeled this as a Cold War. As the world waits and watches, Ukrainians from across the globe are on pins and needles to see what Putin will do next. We hope and pray for a free Ukraine. Slava Ykraini!

    Check out the link above. Ukraine should become truly independent and not side with Russia or the US, in my opinion. They both will exploit and rob them of their resources. Unfortunately, true independence and neutrality, like the Swiss, will never happen. Crimea is Russia’s only warm water port and there’s no way in hell they will ever give that up. The US wants access to the large gas fields in western Ukraine that was just recently discovered. I truly fear Ukraine will eventually be split up in two, like Germany was back in the day (without a wall hopefully). There’s a really good interview with Jim Willie by Greg Hunter going over all the “behind the scenes” activities in Ukraine. The link is below.

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