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

Taliban's New Leader Says Jihad Will Continue

Top US Afghan diplomat also meets with Pakistani, Afghan officials following news of Mullah Omar's death More

Video Empire State Building Highlights Cecil the Lion

People gathered in streets and rooftops in Manhattan to see the image highlights that covered 33 floors of the building More

World’s Widest Suspension Bridge Being Built Over Bosphorus

Once built, Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge will span 2 kilometers with about 1.5 kilometers over water, and will be longest suspension bridge in world carrying rail system More

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.
Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missionsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
July 30, 2015 8:59 PM
Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.

VOA Blogs