Are we heading for a cold war with Russia?

The Cold War was a tense period that lasted about 40 years following WWII, when the Soviet Union and the U.S. (and allies) struggled with ideological differences, each side trying to strengthen its position and increase its influence in the world.

It was competition between communism’s one-party system versus democracy, and communism’s state-controlled economy versus free-market capitalism.

There was no conventional fighting, but plenty of posturing.

Are we sliding into another passive/aggressive battle with Putin and his regime?

Two problems for Russia we probably should keep in mind while running through these arguments:

  • Lower oil and natural gas prices have created economic problems for Putin.
  • In 2011, huge political demonstrations rattled Putin as Russians protested ballot-stuffing and fraud following Parliamentary elections.

We’re heading toward another cold war.

Russia’s military muscle is ripped right now

Russia has a powerful military, including over 7000 nuclear weapons.

Conversely, NATO is weak, with most countries spending less than the NATO required minimum for defense (2% of GDP).

Russia might be in a good position to flex its military muscle.

Russia’s takeover of Crimea is not a good sign

Demonstrations in Ukraine led to a messy leadership change.

While this mess was going on, Russia–who had been leasing naval bases from Ukraine on the Crimean peninsula, and therefore had troops, planes, airbases, etc, in the area—used the unstable situation to abruptly take over Crimea.

Which was a little… aggressive.

In response to Russia’s aggressiveness, the U.S. and EU imposed sanctions.

And, Russia’s state-owned media spun the sanctions as the reason for economic problems to the Russian public.

let’s not forget Russia’s involvement in U.S. elections

We know this: Russian computer hackers helped Trump to win the presidency.

Which was a little….aggressive.

In response, U.S. sanctions were imposed. In response to the sanctions, Russia ordered hundreds of U.S. diplomats to leave Moscow. And, then, the U.S. ordered Russian diplomats to leave the United States.

and then there’s Syria

Russia sent military support to Assad, keeping the dictator in power even though the U.S. (and its allies) pushed for regime change.

And, Putin seems to be pretty tight with Iran, Turkey, and Syria—all three of which are U.S. toothaches.

There is no cold war in our future.

competition just isn’t there

During cold war, the U.S. and Russia were competitors. Now Russia has 1/10 the size of the U.S. economy. The over-all population has declined.

ideology isn’t that important

Russia’s not a country that’s governed by communism, and Putin doesn’t seem to be looking for a global expansion of that ideology.

Europe’s influence

Russia is an important part of the European economy, which gives the country a stable interest in not getting too crazy with war-like tactics.


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