Foreign Policy Blogs

The Slow Drift Towards a New Cold War

The Slow Drift Towards a New Cold War

A further reversal of the integration and cultural exchanges between Russia, Central Europe and Western Europe that took place after 1989 came about this week when the United States announced it would station added military forces in countries near the Russian border. Russia predictably responded by announcing they would add extra forces on their western borders as well due to further perceived acts of aggression by its adversaries. With the slow but certain re-installation of forces and the creation of an added deterrence to conflict between Russia and NATO, the repeat of the Cold War seems more likely after this recent addition of military hardware in the region.

Moves by Russia to finally sell the S-300 missile system to Iran after years of withholding the advanced system came about at the end of the last round of nuclear negotiations with the P5+1 and Iran. Russia has little incentive to aid Iran, a fellow oil and gas producer that will compete with it on the global market. The sale of the S-300 has come with tensions rising in Europe and in Ukraine and the re-establishment of Russia as a world military power. For this reason, Russia’s deal with Iran is worth its weight in popular support within Russia.

Europe and the United States have taken steps to place sanctions on Russia. While Europe depends on Russian oil and gas, sanctions and the threat of armed conflict on Russia’s border will do little to improve Russia’s economy.

Diverse options coming from Central Europe and NATO countries on how to handle a future aggressive Russia has made responses to the conflict in Eastern Ukraine all but effective. Sanctions will affect Russia’s economy, but with local popular support for Putin’s actions and a well-oiled information campaign promoting Russian interests in support of Putin, a de-escalation to the conflict may not come anytime soon.

Any decisive action by NATO will be met with an information blitz showing how historical threats to Russia have returned. For Russia, the perceived threats to the country appear to be closer than ever. Anticipation of how Russian leaders will react to those “threats” means its neighbors will justifiably be on constant alert.



Richard Basas

Richard Basas, a Canadian Masters Level Law student educated in Spain, England, and Canada (U of London MA 2003 LL.M., 2007), has worked researching for CSIS and as a Reporter for the Latin America Advisor. He went on to study his MA in Latin American Political Economy in London with the University of London and LSE. Subsequently, Rich followed his career into Law focusing mostly on International Commerce and EU-Americas issues. He has worked for many commercial and legal organisations as well as within the Refugee Protection Community in Toronto, Canada, representing detained non-status indivduals residing in Canada. Rich will go on to study his PhD in International Law.

Areas of Focus:
Law; Economics and Commerce; Americas; Europe; Refugees; Immigration