Ruscism = Russian fascism
- Apr 18, 2013
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- Political Leaning
‘Cold War, Part 2’: How Putin is dragging America back to the bad old days
Moscow has reoriented the strategic landscape, and is pulling the West reluctantly back into a drawn-out military and diplomatic standoff.
Welcome to the new Cold War. And like the last one, strap in for a long and costly military and diplomatic duel with the Kremlin. On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin officially recognized the independence of breakaway regions in Ukraine’s east, areas that Moscow has functionally controlled since 2014. The nearly hourlong speech had all the hallmarks of former Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev’s finest: a winding, one-sided treatise about the Soviet Union’s alleged creation of Ukraine, laced with references to other Communist leaders Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin, that left little doubt Putin intends to right perceived wrongs and recenter Russia in a multipolar world — beginning with Europe. He then followed up by sending “peacekeeping” troops into the territories. The developments, which came after Russia massed an estimated 190,000 troops along Ukraine’s borders, are ushering in another high-stakes war of wills that threatens to divert U.S. and NATO military and diplomatic muscle from other growing challenges such as China, according to U.S. and European diplomatic and security experts. “Washington’s attention has been yanked back to Russia,” said Rose Gottemoeller, who served as deputy secretary general of NATO from 2016 to 2019 and negotiated arms control treaties with Moscow when she was at the State Department. “One of the implications here is that the focus like a laser light on China is not exactly what the Biden administration is ending up with now,” she added.
Russia’s latest provocations and NATO’s scramble to beef up Europe’s eastern flank with troops, arms and aid have echoes of the decadeslong standoff between East and West that defined the Cold War before the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. “This will have wide-reaching impact across Europe,” said Jonathan Katz, director of democracy initiatives at the German Marshall Fund of the United States. Katz argues that Russia’s threats against democratic Ukraine are only just the beginning: He also fears Russian efforts to destabilize adjacent areas “like the Western Balkans or the South Caucasus — spaces where there’s already strategic competition.” “Call that Cold War, Part 2,” Katz said. “Putin is reminding us of the relevance of hard power,” said Bradley Bowman, senior director of the Center on Military and Political Power at the hawkish Foundation for Defense of Democracies. “It is sobering and we should take note.” He said it is likely to compel the Biden administration to rethink a series of military and strategic reviews that are nearing completion. Regardless of how the crisis in Ukraine plays out in the coming days, its consequences are only just becoming clear, and portend a more robust U.S. commitment to a Europe that just a few years ago seemed to be at peace.
Although Putin will achieve a short-term victory, it will come at a high price. The Rubicon has been crossed.
Europe and NATO will rearm, and finding any common ground with the West will be impossible for Russia as long as Ukraine remains occupied.