Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Russia's Invasion of Ukraine - A New Cold War?

 Is there a new Cold War? The situation in Ukraine is escalating with Russian troops invading the Crimea, and with concerns about Russian soldiers potentially advancing further. There has been a dip in world markets in response to this news. The United States has halted trade and investment talks with Russia and the planned G8 summit in Sochi looks to be in trouble.

In the 21st century, an era of globalization and trade, a post-Cold War era, this talk is shocking, and really does sound like another Cold War could be upon us. Hopefully not, hopefully this situation will de-escalate soon and Putin will come to his senses. Though Putin seems mad with power - with Czarist delusions - and seems determined to recreate the Russian Empire. Thankfully the United States is more cautious, and does not have a desire for military confrontation.

The timing is ironic, soon after the over-priced $50+billion Sochi Olympics, an overpriced Olympics rife with corruption and mismanagement. Many in Sochi were displaced as Putin embarked on the absurd project of hosting a Winter Olympics in a subtropical climate.

Though not everyone in the West is off the hook, John Baird used shockingly provocative language - in a situation that should call for diplomacy - by saying Putin's invasion of Ukraine was like Hitler's invasion of Czechoslovakia. Over-using the Hitler analogy - as Baird did - marginalizes the suffering of the Holocaust, the brutality of WWII.

In all this, de-escalation is needed. Let's hope this situation calms down soon, that we are not pulled into another Cold War.

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  1. I saw somewhere on the news, LD, that things like economic sanctions are unlikely to be imposed, given Russia's position in the globalization of trade. To hurt Russia, the commentator said, would be essentially to hurt world economies, given their intertwined nature.

    As for Baird's overblown rhetoric, I think it best to ignore what he say on this topic, just as I think it prudent to pay little attention to what the entire Harper regime says about almost everything.

  2. Lorne, economic sanctions part was discussed on Power and Politics with similar conclusions. It was mentioned that all EU countries have to agree to such sanctions which is highly unlikely.

    As far as Baird and Harper are concerned they give the impression that Canada is the superpower and is capable of punishing Putin. Even Obama is quite careful. You're right that these morons need to be ignored.

  3. I've been watching the emergence of this New World Order for years, LD. We know the civilizational centre of gravity is shifting to Asia. There's a significant and turbulent re-alignment underway. Few dominant powers have ever ceded superiority gracefully.

    America is in decline but that's often exaggerated because much of the shift is from the ascendancy of Asia. Somehow, post-Reagan, we came to buy the notion of a unipolar world. You'll recall the Project for the New American Century which advocated the use of American military power to ensure U.S. military and economic domination for the next hundred years. It sounds like Dr. Strangelove madness and it was but it was embraced by some of the most powerful political figures in the U.S.

    Don't forget, the U.S. unipolar supremacy was the creature not of any particular growth in America but the severe decline of Russia in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union. When the USSR cratered, America was left standing alone. Now that vacuum is gradually being filled and, with it, chances improve for a 21st century form of Cold War.

    This is a highly emotional issue for Putin as well as for the Chinese military leadership. It manifests in a new nationalism. In Russia, Putin is investing heavily in rebuilding Russia's strategic nuclear forces. It's the whole gamut - new missiles, new warheads, new bombers, new submarines. Putin felt the sting when his USSR faltered and he wants to restore Russian pride.

    China is doing similar things. The Chinese seek to redress what they call their "century of humiliation" at the hands of the West. They actually have some legitimate grievances. We did treat them awfully badly. Remember the Opium Wars when Britain waged wars against China because of the Chinese government's refusal to allow Britain to sell opium to the Chinese public? That sort of thing leaves scars - and lasting grievances.

    We could be pushing Moscow and Beijing ever closer into each other's arms. It would be fascinating to see what sort of Cold War would emerge from what are now all capitalist countries with globalized economies. There are no hermit kingdoms any more.

  4. In the second paragraph I meant to write: "...advocated unilateral and pre-emptive use of American military power..." They really felt that America had a natural right to dominate the world, friend and foe alike, and to use its military muscle to achieve its ends.

    You will recall that Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfie, Feith et al were charter members of the PNAC.

  5. Mound, thank you for this great and detailed analysis. I was vaguely aware of PNAC but you have spelled it out quite well.

    Now it is turning into ADC (American Disintegration Century). All powerful civilizations follow that path and America is apparently no exception to that.