The Cold War by Another Name, by Gilbert Ajacar (Le Monde Diplomacy)

R.RussiaThe failed invasion of Ukraine, which began on February 24 last year, and the war that has continued to rage in eastern Ukraine since then, have not only material consequences, but also meaningful consequences. The phrase “New Cold War” is used to describe the current situation. International relations have reached new heights.

Already in the 1980s, the term “Second Cold War” was used to refer to the escalation of tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union resulting from the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in late 1979, and the following year Ronald Reagan was elected President of the United States. His first term in office was marked by fierce arguments against an “evil empire”, along with a sharp increase in military spending.

The term Cold War II fell out of use because it was never really justified in the first place. The de-escalation of the 1970s did not end the First Cold War. It was only a temporary respite from the escalation and Cold War in the global tensions since 1945. Today, historians refer to the Cold War as we know it as a single era that began and ended after the end of World War II. The collapse of the Soviet Union culminated in the reunification of Germany in November 1990 and her dissolution of the Soviet Union in December 1991.

However, the term New Cold War no longer describes global tensions in a world characterized by the ideological conflict between a bloc of states based on liberalism and free enterprise and a bloc of states based on “communist” governance and state ownership. indicates a new stage. economic. In this new phase, the second bloc has been replaced by the alliance of conveniences among the nations of China, a country deeply integrated into the global capitalist market but still ruled by the “Communist Party”, with the private sector 60% contribution. A Russian state that accounts for 10% of GDP, whose ruler is seen as a beacon by the global far right, and like other crony landlord states blurs the lines between the private and state sectors.

Definition of “Cold War” itself

This difference between old and new means that the Cold War concept itself needs to be clarified.Contrary to what many believe, it no A reference to a specific ideological and organizational conflict between two world empires in World War II. In fact, the first recorded use of the term “Cold War” in its modern sense was made by the German socialist leader Eduard Bernstein (1850-1932) before World War I. However, his coining of this concept is rarely recognized. This concept appears twice under Bernstein’s name in the printed record. First he is in the late nineteenth century, then in 1914 on the eve of the war. (1).

In both cases, Bernstein refers to the huge investment in the armaments of the German Reich, and although in 1914 Bernstein described the situation as one of “no war” rather than “true peace,” At that time the German state was in an arms race with its neighbors. . This is an excellent definition of what we now call the Cold War, and the defining factor is that both sides maintain their readiness for war and continually strengthen it by building up their military capabilities.

While the United States chose in the early 1990s to maintain its military readiness levels in line with a simultaneous confrontation with Russia and China, Russia has been on the verge of increasing military spending since the turn of the century, thanks to a new surge in hydrocarbon prices. I went backwards. Coinciding with President Vladimir Putin’s rise to power, Russia began to recover from the economic downturn reached in the 1990s. China, on the other hand, has chosen to prioritize economic development while engaging in a steady military build-up, albeit at a much lower level than the United States and Russia relative to its economy. Russia and China stepped up cooperation in the face of Washington’s bullying. And Moscow’s sale of advanced weapons to Beijing, beginning in the 1990s, was soon complemented by joint military exercises.

George Kennan, the leading architect of the Cold War of 1946-1947, was the first to come up with the term “New Cold War” to describe the new state of the world. In 1998, Thomas Friedman of The New York Times said Mr. Kennan’s decision to expand NATO to include Eastern Europe, formally recognized in 1997, marked “the beginning of a new Cold War.” , reported. (2).

Clinton’s fateful decision

To my knowledge, I am the second person to make this diagnosis, published in 1999 in an essay on the Kosovo War published in English and in a book of that title in French. (3). My diagnosis was based on my previous analysis of post-Cold War Pentagon budget orientation and the Clinton administration’s actions toward both Russia and China in the 1990s, and those orientations were consistent with those orientations. (Four). From my point of view, the 1996 election to counter Bill Clinton’s fateful decision to expand NATO to include Eastern European countries formerly under Soviet control and China’s military stance to fuel Taiwan’s independence US military intervention laid the foundation for a new Cold War.

The turning point that triggered this new Cold War was the Kosovo War in 1999. This first-ever war, waged by NATO itself, was launched in the face of opposition from both Russia and China to circumvent the permanent UN Security Council, which both countries have veto powers on. Thus, the Kosovo War was a promise made by George H.W. Bush in 1990, months before the US-led, UN-sanctioned Gulf War that a “New World Order” was born to drive Iraq out of Kuwait. smashed the The rule of international law will prevail.

This new world order did not last ten years. Since then, there have been two distinct sides to him in the United States. One side is the United States and her Western allies (in the Western political sense, including Asia-Pacific countries such as Japan, Australia, and South Korea), and the United States has sworn allegiance to the United States. I tried to keep it after 1990, but the other side was Russia and China. Even with the ups and downs of the love triangle over the past quarter century, the two countries will see each other as global rival powers and act accordingly.

It took several more years before the existence of the new Cold War was even recognized. Two of his books with this term in their titles were published in his 2007 and his 2008. (Five). And in 2008, just months before Russia launched its first military counterattack against continued NATO expansion, Abkhazia and South Ossetia followed a pattern that was to be replicated in Donetsk and Luhansk, Ukraine. Russia intervenes in Georgia to aid separatists in 2014 – Then-U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice still maintained that “recent stories about the new Cold War are exaggerated nonsense” (6).

Russia’s annexation of Crimea and intervention in Ukraine in 2014 would be necessary to tip the balance decisively toward a growing awareness of the reality of the new Cold War. President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine in February 2022 following a sharp and hostile shift in US-China relations initiated by President Donald Trump and continued by President Joe Biden. This was done by bringing tensions between Russia and the West to a peak, and sometimes even domestically. The meager use of nuclear weapons and the beginning of the New World War made the New Cold War visible to all but those who did not want to see it.

(1) See Gilbert Ahaker New Cold War: From US, Russia, China, Kosovo to UkraineWestbourne Press, London and Haymarket, Chicago, 2023, pp. 17-18.

(3) Gilbert Ahkar, “Rasputin Plays Chess: How the World Fell into a New Cold War,” Tariq Ali, ed. Master of the Universe? NATO’s Balkan CrusadesVerso, London, 2000, pp. 57-98, and La Nouvelle Guerre froide: Days After KosovoFrench University Press, Paris, 1999.

(Five) Mark McKinnon The New Cold War: Revolutions, Fraudulent Elections, and Pipeline Politics in the Former Soviet Union, Carroll & Graff, New York, 2007 and Edward Lucas, The New Cold War: Putin’s Threat to Russia and the West.Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2008.

(6) Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, “Keynote Address at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting,” Davos, Switzerland, January 23, 2008, US State Department Archives, The Cold War by Another Name, by Gilbert Ajacar (Le Monde Diplomacy)

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