The Next Cold War? – Thoughts and Analysis.

The situation in Ukraine has led many to speculate that we are in the midst of a second Cold War. This has brought forth a number of differing opinions on how the US should react and move forward to the Russian military action in Ukraine. The disagreement largely sits within the populace; most federal politicians have made it clear that they want a piece of the Ukrainian action, whether by giving guns and money to Ukraine, or even getting directly involved militarily. Are we involved in a second Cold War? How should we react?

To begin with, the answer to the Cold War-question is strictly empirical. We are basically asking if Russia poses a threat to the USA. The answer is, sure. They have a military. They have long-range bombers and ICBMs. They’re conceivably a threat. So is Canada. Canada has those things. Hypothetically, Canada could launch a sneak attack on D.C. tomorrow, out of anger over America’s mistreatment of national hero Justin Bieber. This is conceivable, but laughable. Empirically, there is no evidence that Canada is planning this.

Analyzing Putin’s Russia as a grave threat to the national security of the US is an empirical question, and not something to be answered in a few lines of clever monologue. Therefore, I’ll come right out and say that I don’t see any evidence of Russian threats to the national security of the USA, in the present or future. There isn’t a single piece of evidence that convinces me otherwise. In fact, it’s the other way around: it is the Russians who should be concerned of a grave threat posed by the United States to their own security.

Everyone raises the specter of the USSR in discussing the purported new Russian threat. The fact of the matter is that there is no evidence the USSR ever intended to launch an attack on the United States. In fact, the USSR was desperate to maintain the tense peace with the West at all costs, to almost the point of self-extinction. This was laid out from the very beginning, when Vladimir Lenin signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk in 1918 to end Russian involvement in World War I. On paper, the treaty was nothing but a loss for the infant USSR, which ceded the Baltic states, western Belarus, and parts of modern Ukraine. In reality, though, the peace was a magnificent achievement in ending the insane imperialistic war that was utterly destroying Tsarist Russia. In the years that followed, the USSR did it’s damndest to maintain a peaceful status-quo with the West, as demonstrated by the doctrine of “Socialism in One Country”. They believed that the collapse of Capitalist society was inevitable anyway, as according to Marx. They didn’t need to invade the West, all they had to do was wait out it’s collapse. This wasn’t true, of course, but they believed it. Even in the midst of the Cuban missile crisis, there is no evidence that the USSR intended to ever bomb to USA. It’s obvious why they were putting missiles in Cuba: to protect Cuba from an invasion by the United States, which was hardly unthinkable, considering the failed CIA-orchestrated Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961.

The USSR was not committed to peace and non-aggression on principled or moral grounds. The pursuit of peaceful coexistence with the West was purely out of practical concerns. There was plenty of internal barbarism and butchery on the part of the Communist Party; but in the context of West vs. East, it is clear that there was never any intention to attack the United States, or even Western Europe. The Soviet Union was desperate to reach some point of actual peace with the West so that it could focus less on the military and commit more resources to other internal pursuits. It wouldn’t have mattered much because Socialism is impossible to sustain, but hey: maybe lines for bread could have been a little shorter, at least.

The paradigm was opposite to how usually portrayed: It actually was the Soviet Union which feared the incessant sabre-rattling and fiery rhetoric of American Presidents and politicians constantly calling for it’s destruction. Which superpower had thousands upon thousands of nuclear-tipped IRBMs aimed at the other power’s capital (and population center) for nearly 50 years? Hint: It wasn’t the USSR. It was the US who had missiles at the ready in Turkey and Italy to blow Moscow off the map, holding millions of Russians in constant fearful hostage of nuclear annihilation for over 50 years. After all, the USA had unnecessarily nuked the already-defeated Japan at the end of WWII for no other reason than to intimidate the East. The US government had already demonstrated their flippant attitude towards unnecessary mass murder at least once before. The famous story in which President Reagan jokingly said he was ordering a bombing of Russia within 5 minutes may seem funny to us, but I suspect Russian intelligence officials who heard of this had terror struck into their hearts; the warmongering Reagan was finally making good on his years of threats and hostile rhetoric! Fortunately for them, it was just a bit of dark humor.

So to bring that point home, harkening back to the legacy of the first Cold War doesn’t hold any sway. The Soviet Union never intended to attack the USA. The Soviet Union was far more afraid of the USA, and with good reason. I fully believe that paradigm continues today with the new Russia.

Crimea is strategically important to the Russian government. It is the base of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, formally through a lease agreement with the Ukrainian government (at least, until Crimea separated from Ukraine). I do not know all of the strategic implications in controlling the Black Sea, but I know the Russian government considers it vital as a part of their national security plan. Is it so unbelievable that the Russian government would attempt to seize Crimea as Ukraine fell away from their sphere? Of course not. To them, it makes perfect sense. It fits right in with the definition of “defending national interests”. I am not condoning what is happening in Ukraine, but neither am I condemning it as a transgression worthy of a hostile US reaction.Think about this: NATO, spearheaded by the US government, maintains a huge arsenal in Europe. They have varying claims as to why, but we all know the real reason why: to use against Russia, should they see fit. Numerous missile batteries are maintained throughout Europe; they are intended for use against Russia. The official reason is always cited as defense against Iranian missiles. That’s a laugh. Iran isn’t about to start lobbing missiles into Europe.

The United States and NATO are at Russia’s doorstep. All it takes is a particularly warmongering generation of Western politicians, and Russia could face invasion and fiery death from above with little warning. The Russian government has good reason to be alarmed by this state of affairs. After all, the US government turned on secret allies Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi when it suited their political agendas. The US government needs these foreign bogeymen to constantly justify an expansion of it’s own control and spending. Who’s to say the same thing won’t happen to Russia, when the US government needs to manufacture another satanic foreign threat?

Conclusion: Whether or not we are in the midst of a new Cold War is an empirical question that requires deeper study to answer; but it is my firm opinion that taking an alarmist view towards Putin’s Russia is nothing short of ludicrous. The mass call for mobilization against a “rearming and resurgent Russia”, as Romney called it, is a bad idea. There is no evidence that Russia or Putin have any diabolical schemes cooked up for the USA. What’s happening in Crimea is a rational response by the Russian government to what could have potentially become yet another glaring threat posed by NATO and the United States to their national security. Once again, I am not condoning or endorsing what’s going on, but trying to wring a grave threat to US national security out of the Russian invasion of Crimea is unfounded and baseless. And for heaven’s sake, we literally cannot afford a repeat of the Cold War.

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One Comment on “The Next Cold War? – Thoughts and Analysis.”

  1. peteybee March 23, 2014 at 3:05 pm #

    well said, thank you

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