News / Europe

    Are US and Russia in New Cold War?

    Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at a Security Council meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, March 28, 2014.
    Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at a Security Council meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, March 28, 2014.
    Relations between the United States and Russia have hit a low point since Moscow annexed the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea.  Many analysts are wondering whether the two sides are returning to a new Cold War.

    The “first” Cold War lasted roughly from the end of World War Two in 1945 to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

    Charles Kupchan with Georgetown University, said the Cold War was a rivalry between a Western bloc led by the United States and an Eastern bloc led by the Soviet Union.

    “It was defined by ideological competition, a communist system versus a capitalist system, an autocratic system versus a democratic system,” he said.  “And it was defined by traditional geopolitical rivalry, for dominance both over the military industrial heartland as well as over proxies in the developing world.”

    Since the demise of the Soviet Union, memories of the Cold War have faded.  But there is talk now of a new Cold War following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s annexation of Ukraine’s peninsula, Crimea.

    Obama says no cold war

    During a recent speech in Brussels (March 26th), President Barack Obama dismissed the notion of a new Cold War.

    “This is not another Cold War that we’re entering into.  After all, unlike the Soviet Union, Russia leads no bloc of nations, no global ideology.”

    President Obama also described Russia as “a regional power that is threatening some of its immediate neighbors - not out of strength, but of weakness.”

    Charles Kupchan agreed, saying Russia isn’t what it used to be.

    “During the Cold War, Russia had millions of soldiers under arms.  It had a world class navy.  It had proxy client states around the world.  That is not the Russia that we have today.  Russia today has 750 - 800,000 men under arms.  Its navy is a sad shadow of what it used to be,” said Kupchan.  “It has very few allies in the world and it’s for that reason, I think that a return to the Cold War is not on - Russia doesn’t have what it takes.”

    Experts say both sides are in a cold war

    But Robert Legvold, Professor Emeritus at Columbia University, has a different view.

    “I believe we are already in a new Cold War.  That is not a majority view.  I think most people are reluctant to think that we could fall again into something as large, complicated, dangerous, with particularly the shadow of a nuclear Armageddon as we had in that 50 year period earlier.”

    Legvold said some of the essential characteristics of the Soviet Union’s relationship with the West during that period are true of the relationship between Russia and the West today.

    “First of all, rather than the ambiguous sense of the other side that both the U.S. and Europe had of Russia for much of the last 20 years, that is neither friend nor foe, something in between but not quite clear what - reciprocated by the Russians who saw the West in much the same term - that has disappeared” he said.  “And you see each side now literally not only defining the other side as adversary, but calling it such in speeches that we’ve had from major leaders and pundits in the press.”

    US Russia relations at low point

    Legvold said another sign of a new Cold War is that, in his view, officials in Washington and Moscow have apparently given up on the idea of working towards a fundamentally different cooperative relationship.

    “The assumptions that underlay the Obama administration’s “reset,” for example.  They now have disappeared and have been replaced by the notion that the most we can hope for are momentary, quite specific, quite limited transactions that may be cooperative, but not something that adds up to a level of cooperation that begins to lead us toward genuine and durable partnership.”

    Many experts believe a genuine and durable partnership could only be achieved with new leaders in Washington and Moscow.
    Are US And Russia in a New Cold War?
    Are US And Russia in a New Cold War?i
    || 0:00:00
    ...    
     
    X

    Andre de Nesnera

    Andre de Nesnera is senior analyst at the Voice of America, where he has reported on international affairs for more than three decades. Now serving in Washington D.C., he was previously senior European correspondent based in London, established VOA’s Geneva bureau in 1984 and in 1989 was the first VOA correspondent permanently accredited in the Soviet Union.

    You May Like

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: VN from: Phila
    May 02, 2014 3:31 AM
    I've been saying this for years - Russians hate the Americans more than anybody, and always have. Russian society is formed against the key father figure (tsar, Stalin, Putin, etc.) and a national enemy figure - in the past it was Nazi Germany, then USA. More so, Russians are secretly, but lately more openly, collaborating and forming an alliance with China which potentially means nothing good for us at all. Us having outsourced the manufacturing to China will hit us hard and call me paranoid but it will happen quite soon (within Putin's life time) and suddenly - China may simply reposes the assets of American companies the escalate the military conflict together with Russia. This is becoming less about jobs floating away and more about sheer survival.

    by: Jojo from: USA
    April 24, 2014 11:09 PM
    This is a new Cold War, not the same one, but it certainly will become one. The threat of power always has and always will be in the world

    by: Damon ashworth from: Missouri USA
    April 19, 2014 8:24 AM
    I see how every one has there thought and that's great but if Russia wouldn't have so say "started " something with Ukraine there would probably be no talk in Cold War at all

    by: mvmUSA from: Texas USA
    April 17, 2014 5:49 PM
    The Russians - especially their government - are simply vodka-chugging thugs - always have been.
    In Response

    by: Vahe from: Soghomonyan
    April 22, 2014 4:33 PM
    Look at yourself and your government. Oh I forgot, only yankees can solve everything everywhere.

    by: Dennis from: USA
    April 17, 2014 12:41 PM
    as long as the world continues to call on the United States in times of trouble the New World Order is obsolete.to whom much is given much is required.if you want the seat of power you must accept all responsibility that comes with it the good and the bad.

    by: Igor from: Russia
    April 17, 2014 2:06 AM
    Obama must stop using sactions as a threat against Russia because Russia will punish the USA in response. If Obama think the USA is the center of the universe, he is totally wrong. The USA must accept the world's new order.
    In Response

    by: Connor from: Canada
    May 03, 2014 9:47 PM
    Sorry I just laughed at the thought of Russia as the "top" world power.....
    In Response

    by: Albert E from: USA
    April 17, 2014 6:50 AM
    Igor we will accept that as soon as you liberate the Caucasus. No? Then STFU!

    by: Joe
    April 17, 2014 2:02 AM
    😐 that's not right , either way if that happens u gotta talk to the person who works in the cage they will def help out!

    by: Gennady from: Russia, Volga Region
    April 16, 2014 10:55 PM
    I agree that a genuine and durable partnership could only be achieved with new leaders in Washington and Moscow. At least with a new American President. Altough President Obama is certainly right this is not another Cold War that we are entering into; just listen to his insulting to Mr Putin’s ears words that he reiterates repeatedly: “After all, unlike the Soviet Union, Russia leads no bloc of nations, no global ideology… Russia is “a regional power that is threatening some of its immediate neighbors - not out of strength, but of weakness.” In nowadays Russia the only ideology is to grab as much as you can and hide somewhere in the West and to intimidate everybody who critisizes you for doing this. President Obama does not recognise that the insult that Mr Putin has noticed also has received overwhelming support among 80% respondents in Russia. The American side has not somehow noticed that for many year it has been pushing NATO hated in Russia more and more into the Russia’s underbelly, deploying rockets in the vicinity of Russia’s territory, and not observing some international laws to the dismay of Russia.There is a minute illustration of the USA willingly participating in human trafficking. Contrary to the provisions of The Hague Convention of 25 October 1980 on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, in the end of March 2014 Russian-born school age children have passed the U.S. Embassy’s interviews, have immigrated to the USA and have been received in the USA schools without any consent of their legal father, Russian Federation national. The mother’s family name is Orlova, first name Elena, middle name Evgenyevna, born October 1969, divorced three years ago. She travelled to her wed USA national, called John somewhere in New Jersey, for permanent place of residence. Her son’s family name is Orlov, first name Artemyi, middle name Ilyich, born June 30, 1997. Her daughter’s family name is Orlova, first name Veronica, middle name Ilyinichna, born December 25, 2006. Should Russia enjoy and tolerate NATO expansion, rocket deplpyment and human trafficking or react in any way?
    In Response

    by: mike from: ohio, usa
    April 18, 2014 1:24 AM
    I am quite sorry that i may dissagree with the known facts that are a illusion at the best. Both countries have survived on their equal participation of propaganda to program the masses, but why? There is a agenda that is higher than we can fathomly see. Cold war era and war period amoung superpowers is obsolete! None of the powers can afford global war because the global economy would be severely offset. The people in both countries have their simularities. Everyone is trying to survive through this tough global economy. However, the people have been separated into idealogies of deception, and this creates a east vs west issue. Russians and Americans need to wake up and unplug from deception that have entered into the consciences of separation.

    by: Tom Murphy from: Northern Virginia
    April 16, 2014 9:19 PM
    "Cold War" is an arbitrary term used to describe a period of increased competition between Russia and the USA. The level of aggressiveness of Russia is dependent on the personality of the top leader. In the current circumstances, the USA should interpret Russia's actions as comparable to the behavior of a boa constrictor. The snake moves slowly while winding its coils around the intended victim and tightens its grip to strangle the victim before swallowing it whole. Obviously, trying to negotiate with a boa constrictor is useless, because the sake is totally focused on the process of swallowing the victim and any other sounds or actions are only diversions while following the process of swallowing the victim. Other former victims are familiar with the process and are alarmed that efforts to bag the snake are delayed in favor of useless negotiations.
    In Response

    by: From Trotsky's letters
    April 17, 2014 3:46 AM
    trying to negotiate with a boa constrictor is useless, because the sake is totally focused on the process of swallowing the victim... as opposed to negotiating with those totally focused on the process on winning minds and hearts by staging numerous coups and bombing bombing bombing bombing for the last 20 odd years. For a great and peaceful end, of course

    by: Davis K. Thanjan from: New York
    April 16, 2014 2:44 PM
    It is immaterial whether there is a cold war or not. Cold war just temporarily became dormant with the break up the Soviet Union. The West declared victory, but Russia did not recognize the victory of the west. Russia indirectly conquered the EU by the supply of badly needed energy. The Western Europe became dependent on Russia to such an extent that the Western countries cannot raise a finger against Russia.

    Same is the story with China. China indirectly conquered US, the West and rest of the world with the supply of manufactured goods. No country dare to raise a finger against China because they are all dependent now on China. The US was inactivated by the President Obama's policy of non interference in any aggression anywhere. The EU was inactivated by the bickering among themselves and lack of initiative.

    The world is still polarized politically by the US.and EU on one side and about half the world population of Russia, China, India and Brazil on the other side. The cold war still continues, the only difference this time is the weakness of the US, EU and NATO.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.