With tensions between Russia and the United States reaching boiling point there have been multiple media comparisons between Putin and Hitler; even potential presidential candidate Hilary Clinton has got in on this. With this reminder of World War Two looming over the Ukrainian tensions, is nobody asking whether this is just a continuance of the Cold War?
International Relations are always riddled with intermittent peace and the subsequent rise in tensions – so have the last two decades just been an extended lull in the Cold War? American identity remains inexplicably linked to opposition; After the Cold War enemies were constructed in the Middle East, filling this need for an ‘other’ to define American identity against. The pervasive extent to which Russians were vilified by American media during the Cold War has remained pertinent, and as such every stereotypical Bond villain has contributed to bonding Russian identity with evil- McCarthyism and the Red Scare helped tie Russia to Communism, and Communism in turn was made an enemy to America.
Americans tend to subconsciously associates Russia with subversive actions and clandestine conspiracies to topple the United States because of this pervasive media demonization. This has of course not been remedied by the draconian and dictatorial manner in which Putin has ruled Russia; freedom is a privilege, not a right; LGBT rights are systematically trampled on; the right to protest is constricted. These are not traits associated with a modern, liberal democracy; they are traits worthy of the USSR. So we still have two superpowers being drawn into an identity conflict, with Russia being equally sceptical of the United States imperialist looking strategies, complete with its own Sovietesque techniques of keeping power.
…it is an age old technique to divert tensions outwards…
American hegemony in the world is dwindling; China is becoming a looming economic threat; the Iraq War tarred American conceptions of democracy; the NSA surveillance amounts to a trampling over their constitution. In times of domestic strife it is an age old technique to divert tensions outwards; in this case towards Ukraine and Russia. This second era of Cold War tensions will be dominated by identity crisis, not economic ideology, but it will be a Cold War nonetheless.
Nobody wants to see two global superpowers with the capacity to catastrophically wipe out civilisation come into direct conflict. They know that; I know that; you know that. The Cold War is making an unwelcome return, and despite the similarities being made between Putin and Hitler it is not World War Three that we should worry about. It is the insidious, clandestine similarities between Putin and Khrushchev and Obama and Reagan; each is supposedly fighting for their nations, without a contemplation or care for the rest of the world.
…plunging into a second phase of the Cold War…
The shadows being drawn by warmongers predicting a Third World War has no utility whatsoever; but seeing the world as plunging into a second phase of the Cold War allows us to understand a sudden shift in International Relations which will impact the all of us.