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The ‘New Cold War’ was never inevitable

Russian-American relations today can be described by Kennan’s phrase: “a new cold war.”

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Note: this article is part of a symposium on U.S.-Russia relations included in the September/October 2017 issue of the National Interest.

On May 2, 1998, the journalist Thomas L. Friedman published a column in the New York Times based on an interview with the dean of American students of Russia, George Kennan.

“I think it is the beginning of a new cold war,”

Kennan answered, when asked his opinion of the decision of the Clinton administration to expand NATO into the territory of the former Warsaw Pact, while excluding Russia from NATO membership.

Kennan continued:

“I think the Russians will gradually react quite adversely and it will affect their policies. I think it is a tragic mistake.”

Friedman went on to write that “if we are lucky,” future historians would say that

Russia, despite NATO expansion, moved ahead with democratization and Westernization, and was gradually drawn into a loosely unified Europe. If we are unlucky they will say, as Mr. Kennan predicts, that NATO expansion set up a situation in which NATO now has to either expand all the way to Russia’s border, triggering a new cold war, or stop expanding after these three new countries and create a new dividing line through Europe.

The future has arrived, and confirmed the pessimism of Kennan and Friedman back in 1998. The attempt of the United States and its European allies to draw Georgia into their orbit provoked the Russo-Georgian War of 2008. A similar attempt to bring Ukraine into NATO and the EU provoked Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, and a proxy war in Ukraine that continues today. To these actions—seen as defensive by Moscow but aggressive by the West—the United States and its allies responded with financial sanctions. In turn, Putin’s government engaged in further provocative military actions, including its intervention in Syria, and is accused of having had a role in hacking Democratic Party records in order to embarrass the Clinton campaign in the 2016 election.

Russian-American relations today can be described by Kennan’s phrase: “a new cold war.”

READ MORE: RISE AND FALL OF GIANTS: US-Russian VISA Suspension Begins the Next Cold War

If any further proof were needed, it can be found in the revival of Cold War–style McCarthyite paranoia—this time not among conservatives, but among progressives, many of whom sincerely believe that Vladimir Putin is responsible for the election of Donald Trump. This explanation provides a comforting alibi for the disastrous failure of the Clinton campaign and for the decline of the Democratic Party as a whole, which has been reduced to its lowest share of government power at all levels in the United States in nearly a century.

The fires of Russophobia are stoked by many neoconservatives as well as partisan Democrats. Temporarily disgraced by their support for the catastrophic war in Iraq, neoconservatives nostalgic for Cold War One can try to regain influence by rallying Washington and the American people to heroic efforts in Cold War Two against Putin’s shrunken, post-imperial Russian Federation.

Russia, we are supposed to be believe, is a threat on the scale of the former Soviet Union. Unlike the USSR, which sought to overturn Western liberalism by promoting Marxism-Leninism, Putin’s Russia, it is claimed, seeks to spread an “alt-right” ideology of neofascism via its fifth columnists—populist politicians like Trump and Marine Le Pen—in Europe and the West.

Just as Russian interference in the 2016 election provides an alibi for the failed Clinton campaign, so the alleged Russian global ideological conspiracy absolves the centrist establishments of the United States and Europe of any responsibility for provoking the current transatlantic populist rebellion against neoliberal trade and immigration policies. Western dissidents who reject the bipartisan neoliberal consensus shared by center-right and center-left parties do not have legitimate domestic grievances; no, they are Russian dupes—when they are not Russian agents! Many on today’s center-left and center-right interpret domestic populist movements exactly as much of the Right interpreted civil-rights and prolabor movements for much of the twentieth century between 1917 and 1989—as conspiracies directed by Moscow.

At some point the fever will break. In a decade, today’s Russian Peril will probably seem as deranged, and as manipulated for partisan domestic purposes, as the Red Scares of the 1920s and the 1950s. In time, it is likely that President Trump or a successor will deescalate Cold War Two in favor of something like détente during the Nixon era. But with one of the two parties—the Democrats—along with most of the U.S. foreign-policy establishment (which benefits from threat inflation) committed to making Cold War Two even colder, a thaw is unlikely any time soon.

Michael Lind is a contributing editor at the National Interest and author of The American Way of Strategy.

Source: National Interest 

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zorbatheturkShahnaIsabella Jonesdave3200 Recent comment authors
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Isabella Jones
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Isabella Jones

I’m not sure why something called “Russia” feed would bring this piece of typical American garbage, full of it’s lies and unsubstantiated,unproven allegations against Russia. It starts with the usual “Crimean annexation” which wasn’t, goes onto the supposed invasions of Ukraine, Syria, – where Russia is present at the invitation of the Syrian government, and so on, finishing with the utter garbage lies about so called “hacking” of the election, proven to be impossible. I never read anything out of America, or the Western MSM for this reason. I dont expect to have it turn up in my Facebook Page… Read more »

dave3200
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dave3200

Excellent post, Ms. Jones. However, it is sometimes valuable to learn the viewpoint of others, especially those with whom you disagree. How else can one justify an opposition to the views of others if those views are not known and understood?

Isabella Jones
Guest
Isabella Jones

Thank you for your kind words dave. Regarding your comment about gathering the knowledge of what those of the Western MSM have to say : Well, indeed, yes. What you say is very true. However, I honestly doubt if anyone who comes here regularly is still in the slightest doubt regarding the regular diet of garbage the West dishes up about things Russian. In a way, that’s my point. We know the crap they keep spieling, we know it is brain manipulation lies, we long ago completely rejected it and came here [and to similar sites] to read truth and… Read more »

Shahna
Guest

Disagree.
When China announced all was in place for all the world to trade oil in yuan instead of dollars this new Cold War became inevitable. What is not inevitable, but horribly likely, is that it will progress to a “hot” war.

Shahna
Guest

“The future has arrived, and confirmed the pessimism of Kennan and Friedman back in 1998. The attempt of the United States and its European allies to draw Georgia into their orbit provoked the Russo-Georgian War of 2008. A similar attempt to bring Ukraine into NATO and the EU provoked Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, and a proxy war in Ukraine that continues today. To these actions—seen as defensive by Moscow but aggressive by the West—the United States and its allies responded with financial sanctions. In turn, Putin’s government engaged in further provocative military actions, including its intervention in Syria,… Read more »

Shahna
Guest

“In a decade, today’s Russian Peril will probably seem as deranged, and as manipulated for partisan domestic purposes, as the Red Scares of the 1920s and the 1950s. In time, it is likely that President Trump or a successor will deescalate Cold War Two in favor of something like détente during the Nixon era.”
————-
Excuse my French but, quite literally, Phuck that.
Here’s hoping the Russians wipe them off the face of the earth and save themselves and the rest of us from the scourge of America that is nothing more than wanton Death & Destruction across the face of the planet.

Shahna
Guest

…. I can’t help wondering – has Murdoch bought out RussiaFeed?

zorbatheturk
Guest
zorbatheturk

RuSSia is a busted flush.

Latest

Vladimir Putin calls new Ukrainian church ‘dangerous politicking’

President Putin said creation of the “Orthodox Church in Ukraine” is against Church canon and that the West drove Constantinople to do it.

Seraphim Hanisch

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In an interview with the Serbian newspapers Politika and Vecernje Novosti ahead of his visit to Serbia, Russian President Vladimir Putin noted the creation of the “Orthodox Church of Ukraine”, a schismatic agglomeration headed by Ukrainian ultra-nationalists was “dangerous politicking.” He further noted that:

The establishment of the new religious entity in Ukraine is nothing but an attempt “to legalize the schismatic communities that exist in Ukraine under the jurisdiction of Istanbul, which is a major violation of Orthodox canons.”

“Yet, hardly anyone in the U.S. or in the Ukrainian leadership worries about this,” Putin said.

“Once again, this has nothing to do with spiritual life; we are dealing here with dangerous and irresponsible politicking,” he said.

President Putin had more things to say in the interview, and we present what he said in full here (emphasis ours), as reported on the Kremlin.ru website:

Question: The Serbian Orthodox Church has taken the side of the Russian Orthodox Church in the context of the ecclesiastical crisis in Ukraine. At the same time, a number of countries are exerting pressure on Patriarch Bartholomew and seek to ensure recognition of Ukrainian ”schismatics“ by Local Orthodox Churches. How do you think the situation will evolve?

Vladimir Putin: I would like to remind your readers, who are greatly concerned about the information regarding the split in the Orthodox community but are probably not fully aware of the situation in Ukraine, what it is all about.

On December 15, 2018, the Ukrainian leaders, actively supported by the USA and the Constantinople Patriarchate, held a so-called “unifying synod”. This synod declared the creation of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, with Patriarch Bartholomew signing the tomos (decree) granting it autocephaly on January 6, 2019. Thus, it was attempted to legalize the schismatic communities that exist in Ukraine under the jurisdiction of Istanbul, which is a major violation of Orthodox canons.

Yet, hardly anyone in the US or in the Ukrainian leadership worries about this, as the new church entity is an entirely political, secular project. Its main aim is to divide the peoples of Russia and Ukraine, sowing seeds of ethnic as well as religious discord. No wonder Kiev has already declared ”obtaining complete independence from Moscow.”

Once again, this has nothing to do with spiritual life; we are dealing here with dangerous and irresponsible politicking. Likewise, we do not speak about the independence of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. It is de-facto fully controlled by Istanbul. Whereas Ukraine’s largest canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which has never requested autocephaly from Patriarch Bartholomew, is absolutely independent in its actions. Its connection with the Russian Orthodox Church is purely canonical – but even this causes undisguised irritation of the current Kiev regime.

Because of this, clergymen and laymen of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church are being persecuted and deprived of churches and monasteries, and attempts are made to deny the Church its legitimate name, which raises tensions and only leads to further discord in Ukrainian society.

Evidently, Ukraine’s leaders have to understand that any attempts to force the faithful into a different church are fraught with grave consequences. Yet, they are eager to put interconfessional concord in the country at stake in order to conduct the election campaign of the current Ukrainian President based on a search for enemies, and to retain power by all means.

All of this does not go unnoticed by Orthodox Christians.

Naturally, Russia does not intend to interfere in ecclesiastical processes, especially those happening on the territory of a neighboring sovereign state. However, we are aware of the danger posed by such experiments and blatant interference of the state in religious affairs.

The situation continues to degrade in Ukraine, and though the Orthodox faithful of the Autonomous but Moscow-based Ukrainian Orthodox Church are the hardest hit, worry over Ukrainian lawlessless-made-law has the Jewish community in that country nervous as well. This is perhaps to be expected as the Azov Brigade, a neo-Nazi aligned group that is hypernationalist, is a good representation of the character of the “hate Russia at all costs” Ukrainian nationalists. A parallel piece in Interfax made note of this in a piece dated January 17th 2019:

[A] bill passed by the Verkhovna Rada introducing a procedure by which parishes can join the new Ukrainian church makes it easier to seize places of worship, and supporters of autocephaly have already started doing this across the country, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church said.

“They need this law to seize our churches. You can’t just come with a crowbar to someone else’s barn, but now the law allows you to do so. They aren’t creating something of their own, but are trying to steal what’s ours,” Ukrainian Orthodox Church spokesperson Vasyl Anisimov told Interfax on Thursday.

The religious entity set up in December with Constantinople’s involvement and called the Orthodox Church of Ukraine “in fact doesn’t yet exist in nature. It’s fake. It doesn’t have any parishes of its own or government registration,” he said.

However, “the supporters of autocephaly don’t have plans to create anything of their own at all, so they have chosen the path of takeover, and the authorities are helping them in that,” Anisimov said.

“Hence, the legislation passed by the Verkhovna Rada today is in fact absolute lawlessness,” he said.

“If you pass legislation affecting an industry, you should talk to industrialists, and if it’s legislation on the agricultural sector, talk to farmers. And here legislation on a church is passed, and moreover, this legislation is aimed against this church, it is protesting, and Jews are protesting, too, because this legislation may affect them as well – but nobody is listening, and they change the law for the sake of an absolutely absurd and unconstitutional gimmick. But, of course, it’s the people who will ultimately suffer,” Anisimov said.

 

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Latest

According to Ukraine, the Crimean Bridge doesn’t exist (VIDEO)

Ukraine tries to deny the reality of the completion and soundness of the Crimean Bridge, though Ukraine was unable to build it, itself.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Russia’s VESTI News is truly an entertaining channel at times. This news service is strongly supported by the Russian government, and one of the criticisms it receives from Russian people is that it is an “extreme” propaganda house, telling all manner of crazy stories to distract its watchers’ attention away from the real problems that Russian people face at home.

No doubt there is truth to this, as this is a technique certainly duplicated in the US, Great Britain and elsewhere. Every nation has the right to its own propaganda. However, Vesti also seems to have a lot of fun making fun of other nations’ propaganda, and here they found a great one. Apparently, Ukraine’s propaganda ministry is trying to make the assertion that the Crimean Bridge collapsed and its debris is floating around in the Kerch Strait, “with the tectonic plates.”

See for yourself.

According to Ukrainian scientists and even “psychics”, this bridge is doomed to fall into the Kerch Strait once a sufficient earthquake hits it. Some claims appear even to say that the bridge already is not there, or at least, is not there in the way the Russian news sources have described it.

Of course, the VESTI team erupts into its famous snark, talking about how the bridge is very much alive and well and that it is the new “pride of Russia,” and so on.

This bridge is indeed quite an engineering feat, being completed only about three years after the rejoining / annexation / invasion / hostile takeover / or was it a voluntary referendum? of Crimea to the Russian Federation. This is a rapid speed for such a major project, but it is not very unusual for such projects to progress rather quickly when they are done with a will.

Burj Khalifa (formerly Burj Dubai) is presently by far the tallest building in the world, reaching skyward 828 meters, over half a mile into the sky. It took a little over four years to construct this landmark building, and it was done steadily and with a will to completion. Its would-be successor is not having as smooth an experience, for the Jeddah Tower in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, has hit problems, and even though this tower is projected to go only about 130 meter higher (reaching a significant milestone of one kilometer tall), its construction started in 2013, and as of the latest update, only 63 floors are completed.

The Crimean Bridge was built with a will to make a point, presumably to Ukraine, the rest of Russia and the world:

This is the New Russia. Look what we can do!

And, they did a marvelous feat of engineering in a very short time.

VESTI indeed does try to make some people feel better by pointing out the problems of other countries. Sometimes that is a distraction. But sometimes it is worth a serious bit of consideration.

Ukraine has a leader most of its people apparently cannot stand, who is a warmonger and a crybaby at the same time, begging the West for help while breathing threats against Russia.

While there are no doubt many, many wonderful people there trying to do wonderful things, it does seem to be that the country is suffering because of its willingness to be a pawn of the West. Russia is feeling the Western squeeze and it is not pleasant, but the Russians also seem to know that they can get themselves through this, and so they have reason to be glad when the country makes a good accomplishment such as the Crimean Bridge. The political and geopolitical importance of this project is such that it is very likely that all sorts of great engineering went into the bridge. It is prudent, and Russians seem to understand prudence very, very well.

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Second group of Su-57 stealth fighters to be requested in 2020

The second Su-57 contract will feature fighters with the advanced engine design that was under development while the prototypes were made.

Seraphim Hanisch

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The contract for a second order of Russian Su-57 stealth fighters is expected to be signed in 2020, according to an unnamed source in Russia’s aircraft-making industry. TASS, the Russian News Agency, reported on this on Wednesday, 16 January:

The second contract to manufacture 13 Su-57 fighter jets for the Russian Aerospace Forces is to be signed next year, a source in Russia’s aircraft-making industry told TASS on Wednesday.

“In 2020, we plan to sign the second contract to manufacture and deliver 13 Su-57 fighter jets, some of them equipped with the second-stage engines,” he said. “The preliminary timeframe for the new contract is five years.”

The first contract envisages the delivery of two fifth-generation aircraft in 2019-2020.

“In line with the contract signed in 2018, one serial Su-57 jet with first-stage engines will be delivered to the Aerospace Forces this year, the other aircraft featuring the same type of engine – in 2020.”

The aircraft’s manufacturer, the United Aircraft Corporation, refrained from commenting on the report.

The Su-57 is a fifth-generation multirole fighter designed to destroy all types of air targets at long and short ranges and hit enemy ground and naval targets, overcoming its air defense capabilities.

The Su-57 took to the skies for the first time on January 29, 2010. Compared to its predecessors, the Su-57 combines the functions of an attack plane and a fighter jet while the use of composite materials and innovation technologies and the fighter’s aerodynamic configuration ensure the low level of radar and infrared signature.

The aircraft has been successfully tested in Syria.

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