Oh, the war profiteers must be salivating! Renewed fears of another Cold War brewing between great 20th century rivals are not without cause. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has posed a consistent threat to the Russian Federation. Foreign missile systems right along Russia’s borders. And, of course, several former Soviet states have been included in the Western military alliance. The US-sponsored coup d’état in Ukraine has proven to be the Russian’s “red line.” As far as Moscow is concerned, NATO expansion eastward must be brought to halt. And in making that point, the Kremlin has shown an increased willingness to use force, if necessary.
However, the East vs. West contention is much more nuanced this time around. Thanks to the neoliberal push for globalization, nations with as much international reach as Russia cannot be easily isolated, if at all. For the foreseeable future, Europe depends heavily on Russian financial capital and energy supplies. Hence the toothless, largely ceremonial sanctions enacted against Moscow.
Western capitalists have lost significant influence on the diplomatic stage, as well. While the US claims to speak for the “international community”, American diplomats had to twist the arms of some 50 nations just to gain their support for yet another largely ceremonial measure - this time in the United Nations General Assembly.
With military options effectively off the table, the ensuing stalemate gives rise to speculation of a new Cold War.
Conflicts elsewhere, however, are far from cold. The grinding chaos in Syria – instigated and enflamed by Western nations as well as regional clients - has spread throughout the region. For weeks now, another US-backed coup attempt has plagued Venezuela. Plus which - drone wars in Africa and Asia, drug wars in North and South America – oh there’s been no shortage of bloodshed.
But with a nuclear-armed superpower directly involved in these most recent tensions, some have dubbed this Cold War 2.0. Others, however, see current events as the opening stages of World War III.
Count me among the latter number.