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Cold War 2?
Publication date: 2021-06-20

Cold War - what it was and is it now?

The “America is Back!” slogan of the Biden Administration, with its “Democracies v Dictatorships” theme and the ideological hostilities towards Russia and China is reminiscent of the “Cold War” between the USA and the USSR. But the Secretary General of NATO said, ahead of the recent Brussels summit:

There is no new Cold War with China but Western allies will have to adapt to the security challenges the rise of Beijing brings.

But what is the real meaning of that political cliche “Cold War”?

The phrase “Cold War” was used to describe the relationship between the USA and the USSR which started shortly after WW2 and lasted until the dissolution of the USSR in 1991.

This relationship consisted of the following:

  1. Mutual ideological hostility.
  2. Mutual vilification and propaganda.
  3. Mutual restrictions on trade and travel.
  4. Mutual mistrust.
  5. Mutual espionage.
  6. Encouragement and support of internal opposition groups.
  7. Support of opposite sides in third-party conflicts.
  8. Creation of alliances against each other.
  9. Military exercises with the other side being the imaginary enemy.
  10. Arms race.
  11. No direct military confrontations between the sides.

After the dissolution of the USSR in 1991, the Russian Federation, which replaced it, had abandoned its Communist ideology and hostility towards the USA and became just a country concerned with its own well-being and seeking good relations with the rest of the world, and all the former USSR Cold War institutions and alliances ceased to exist.

By contrast, in the USA and Europe, the Cold War institutions and the Cold War anti-Russian alliance NATO continued to exist. Russia was still seen as the enemy, and NATO military exercises continued to play out imaginary confrontations with Russia.

This had lead the Russians to boost their defence and intelligence capabilities, and mutual mistrust had returned.

The lawlessness of the US invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq under the Bush Administration and the US adoption of the “Democracies v Dictatorships” ideology used to justify these wars of aggression still further prompted Russia to boost its military might to defend itself from a possible US aggression.

And the US involvement in Libya and Syria under Barack Obama still further pushed Russia to become more assertive on the world stage preventing the US-orchestrated regime-change in Syria.

Establishment in Ukraine of an anti-Russian government in 2014, which was encouraged and supported by US/NATO, has resulted in Crimea leaving Ukraine and becoming part of the Russian Federation by holding a referendum, which US/NATO see as “illegal annexation”. It has also resulted in emergence of a separatist movement in another Russian majority area of Eastern Ukraine, which US/NATO see as “Russian aggression”.

The West has also been actively supporting various anti-government activists within Russia. While Russia gave political asylum and then permanent residency to Edward Snowden, an American who publicly revealed US CIA global surveillance programs and was about to be arrested for this in the USA.

Thus, although there have been more trade and travel between Russia and the West than in the Old Days, the rest of the 11 elements of the Old Cold War have remained part of the relations between Russia and the West even before the Biden America is Back! campaign. And now even trade and travel restrictions are returning in the form of “sanctions”. — The Old Cold War has not ended.

At the time of the Old Cold War, China was seen by the West as part of the “Communist Block”. But then, it has become the most productive manufacturing country in the world, and today most manufactured goods used in the USA, Europe and other countries are made in China. And to promote global trade China has been building roads in many countries. And its “Silk Road” project is a railway from China to Europe, which has been completed up to Istanbul.

Up to the recent few years this Chinese growth was seen as beneficial, but now the West sees it as a danger to its own world domination, as can be seen from the present Western actions and rhetoric.

So while the Old Cold War was due to the West's fear of Communism, the present Cold War is due to:

  1. The Western Establishment inability to grow out of the Old Cold War mentality.
  2. Survival of the Old Cold War institutions and alliances which without wars, hot or cold, lose their reasons for existence.
  3. Replacement of any traces of International Law by US “Might is Right” Foreign Policy (wars, regime-changes, assassinations, economic sanctions) which is justified by the slogans of “Our Values” and “Freedom and Democracy” and of the ideology of “Democracies v Dictatorships”.
  4. Failure by the West to come to terms with its loss of global influence and seeking to re-establish its world dominance.

But the world has changed. The idea of world domination by a single country, or an “alliance”, is obsolete.

The US/EU leaders say that they do not want a new Cold War, but they still have not got out of the old one. And they have been waging hot wars which brought them nothing but loss.

To end its cold and hot wars on the rest of the world the West needs to grow out of its Old Cold War mentality, dismantle its Old Cold War institutions and alliances, abandon its “geopolitical” ideologies and Quixotic1 attempts to establish world dominance, and to come to terms with the new world order based on mutually beneficial trade and co-operation with all countries on equal terms.

Will President Biden understand that this is in America's own interest, or will he fail America as his predecessors did?


1) Don Quixote de la Mancha is a character from a book by a Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes. Having stuffed his head with romantic books about knights and crusaders, Don Quixote, who lived at a time when the Crusades were past history, set out on a crusade of his own in Spain attacking windmills. As there were no real enemies to attack, he had to imagine them, just as the West is doing it today.

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