The Cold War lasted four decades, in many ways both beginning and ending in Berlin. The good news is that it remained cold — largely because nuclear weapons introduced a discipline missing from previous great-power rivalries — and that the United States, together with its European and Asian allies, emerged victorious, owing to sustained political, economic, and military effort that a top-heavy Soviet Union ultimately could not match.
A quarter-century after the end of the Cold War, we unexpectedly find ourselves in a second one. It is both different and familiar. Russia is no longer a superpower, but rather a country of some 145 million people with an economy dependent on the price of oil and gas and no political ideology to offer the world. Even so, it remains one of two major nuclear-weapons states, has a permanent seat on the UN Security Council, and is willing to use its military, energy, and cyber capabilities to support friends and weaken neighbors and adversaries.
This state of affairs was anything but inevitable. The end of the Cold War was expected to usher in a new era of friendly Russian ties with the United States and Europe. It was widely thought that post-communist Russia would focus on economic and political development. And relations got off to a good start when Russia, rather than standing by its long-time client Iraq, cooperated with the US in reversing Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait.
The goodwill did not last. Just why will be a matter of debate among historians for decades to come. Some observers will blame successive US presidents, pointing to a lack of economic support extended to a struggling Russia, and even more to Nato enlargement, which, by treating Russia as a potential adversary, increased the odds it would become one.
Putin largely responsible for current tensions
It is true that the US could and should have been more generous as Russia made its painful transition to a market economy in the 1990s. Nor is it clear that Nato enlargement was preferable to other security arrangements for Europe that would have included Russia. That said, the lion’s share of the responsibility for the emergence of a second Cold War is Russia’s, and above all Vladimir Putin’s. Like many of his predecessors, Putin viewed the US-dominated world order as a threat to his rule and to what he regarded as his country’s rightful place in the world.
Russia in recent years has used armed force to seize, occupy, and annex Crimea, in the process violating the fundamental principle of international law that borders may not be changed by armed force. Putin continues to use military or covert means to destabilize Eastern Ukraine, Georgia, and parts of the Balkans. And Russia employed military force in particularly brutal ways in Syria to prop up Bashar al-Assad’s appalling regime.
Putin’s Russia also went to great lengths, in the words of US Special Counsel Robert Mueller, to carry out “fraud and deceit for the purpose of interfering with the US political and electoral processes, including the presidential election of 2016.” Heads of US intelligence agencies have made clear that they expect further such efforts between now and the midterm congressional elections in November.
As Russia has become a revisionist country, with few if any qualms about overturning the status quo by whatever means it judges necessary, shoring up Europe’s defense and providing lethal arms to Ukraine is a sensible response. But what more should the US do, beyond reducing the vulnerability of voting machines and requiring technology firms to take steps to prevent foreign governments from trying to influence US politics?
Americans must recognize that defense is not enough. Congress is right to call for additional sanctions, and Donald Trump is wrong to refuse to implement sanctions that Congress has already passed
First, Americans must recognize that defense is not enough. Congress is right to call for additional sanctions, and Donald Trump is wrong to refuse to implement sanctions that Congress has already passed.
The US government also needs to find its voice and criticize a Russian regime that arrests its opponents and is said to murder journalists. If Trump, for whatever reason, continues to coddle Russia, then Congress, the media, foundations, and academics should publicly detail the corruption that characterizes Putin’s rule. Circulating such information might increase internal opposition to Putin, persuade him to hold off on further interference in US and European politics, and, over time, buttress more responsible forces within Russia.
At the same time, the objective should not be to end what little remains of the US-Russian relationship, which is already in worse shape than it was for much of the first Cold War. Diplomatic cooperation should be sought whenever it is possible and in America’s interest. Russia may well be willing to stop interfering in Eastern Ukraine in exchange for a degree of sanctions relief if it could be assured that ethnic Russians there would not face reprisals. Likewise, the Kremlin has no interest in a military escalation in Syria that would increase the relatively modest cost of its intervention there.
At the same time, Russian support is needed to tighten sanctions against North Korea. And maintaining arms-control arrangements and avoiding a new nuclear arms race would be in the interest of both countries.
There is thus a case for regular diplomatic meetings, cultural and academic exchanges, and visits to Russia by congressional delegations – not as a favor, but as a means to make clear that many Americans are open to a more normal relationship with Russia if it acts with greater restraint. The US and its partners have a large stake in greater Russian restraint while Putin remains in power — and in a Russia characterized by other than Putinism after he is gone.
© Project Syndicate 1995–2018
America pulled out of the arms control treaty in 2004.Russia can’t continue begging for a mutual benefit treaty because its a military Super power as a matter if status quo Period!!
Putin has been livid about the collapse of the Soviet Union since it happened, back when he was a well known (and frighteningly brutal) KGB operative in the good old East Berlin era. His rise to power and subsequent looting of the Russian resources have gone as well as he planned. His current infiltration and impact on Western political elections have also gone off as well as he could hope. His eventual goal is not only to cause instability and weakening of Western nations but the eventual elimination of NATO by right wing candidates he helps install in Western countries including, but not limited to, the US. With the apoplectic, incompetent and truly dangerously destructive Trump in place, he could not have asked for better results. America’s only hope is that the current investigation into Russian meddling to expose these facts for all to see clearly and oust his puppet leaders.
Godspeed, Mueller, godspeed!
Same old tension-stoking propaganda from the CFR bunch.
Compared to your Trump, Putin rather looks like a dignified prince.
Americans are so warped, I don’t think they will ever be able to pull their head out of their arse. "A quarter century after the Cold War, we unexpectedly find ourselves in another one"? Seriously? Who kept enlarging NATO and pushing ever closer to the Russian border? Who looted Russia? Putin? Hahaha. Well, Russia has now edged ahead. MAD is back in play. America’s missile shields in Europe and East Asia to gain first strike advantage have been nulified. And any use of small tactical nukes as conventional weapon will be considered a nuke strike,
What about US intervention in cuba, Venezuela, iraq, libya, tunis, iran, egypt, Pakistan, tiawan, North Korea, Afghanistan, etc. What about their support to dictators of Egypt, bahrain, Saudi Arabia, yemen and support to Israeli occupation of arab lands, Palestine etc. It z double standards, dual policy. In future their authority z going to vanish.
Quoting from the article:
"— and that the United States, together with its European and Asian allies, emerged victorious, owing to sustained political, economic, and military effort that a top-heavy Soviet Union ultimately could not match."
No we did not emerge victorious. Communism is spread by a few means.
-By Revolution as in Russia and China. Revolution is how Communism purges the old system and replaces it with the ideals of The Communist Manifesto.
-If Revolution does not take hold then it is exported. That is what Stalin planned for Europe in 1941. With the rise of Fascism in Italy and decades later in Germany Stalin realized that Russia cannot export Communist revolutions across Europe and an invasion is needed. The creation of his 6 million man army contributed to the "Holodomor" of Russians and Ukrainians (Holodomor the deliberate act of starving millions).
But there is yet another way to spread Communism and that is by Subterfuge. Back in the early 20th Century the Frankfurt School of Cultural Marxism developed a system of thought to undermine all traditional aspects of a society and bring it down from the inside. Once the process is complete the society will either succumb to Communism or pose no threat to it.
Cultural Marxism attacks every aspect of a society including the family unit (Divorce, abortion, Feminism, Homosexualiity to the Sexual revolution, the pill, contraceptions, etc) was systematically taken apart.
Attacks on Christian values especially the Catholic church. Hollywood and the Media did a stellar job. The social upheavals of the 1960’s was galvanized into major movements many times by College Professors schooled in Cultural Marxism.
The birth of P*rnography in Hollywood is a tool Cultural Marxists strongly advocate P*rnogrpaphy cut across the entire American society. Legalization of drugs devasted and continues to devastate America.
The counter Culture movement to the Transgender movement is finally stripping down even our concepts of male and female. Cultural Marxism a product of Karl Marx’s students devasted America and Western Europe. It hardly touched the Soviet Union.
Michael Bagala, it seems you have a problem spelling " pornography"; are you a Vatican’s pedophile ?
Outside of spelling issues do you have anything of value to contribute? if not the reason I put an asterix is because that word is often blocked. If you are under the delusion that pornography is an issue only dealing with children you have a lot to learn.
Russia (and probably China too) is ahead of USA in key weapons. There is no way USA can catch up because USA does not have the necessary resources (financial and human) to do so. Indeed, it cost USA twenty times more to develop a new weapon compared to Russia or China. Furthermore, USA needs plenty of money to fund its numerous wars abroad, to fund its even more numerous military bases abroad and to maintain its large amount of military ships and other military equipment. So, if China has a military budget of 150 billions dollars, USA needs a military budget of at least 7.5 trillion dollars just to be at par with China on new weapons. Finally, USA no longer has German scientists to develop new weapons.
"USA no longer has German scientists to develop new weapons"–probably true. But USA do believe Indian scientists would do just as well :).
Give this man a potato.
Not a word about America’s training and setting up of Isis.People who chop of children’s heads,and after a election have been completely rejected by Syrian people.American has not been invited to Syria so is a illegal force.Time you stopped lying to people.
America is interferring everywhere ? It must be stopped
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