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Miniblog #328: The Cold War Never Ended?

by Carson T. Clark on March 12, 2014

The other day I read the CNN article “5 lessons for a new Cold War” by Frida Ghitis. It was a disconcerting piece to say the least. In it she suggests we’re entering a new Cold War. I agree with her. Czar Putin seems to yearn for the power and prestige Russia enjoyed during the good ol’ days of the Cold War, which is not at all unsurprising since he was in the KGB. I’ve been wondering for years, however, if we’re going to have to reinterpret the events of my lifetime. This is where I would challenge the author. It seems to me that instead of a new Cold War we may well look back at the past 20 years as merely an extended détente and reorganization of East-West nuclear tension. That is, the Berlin Wall collapsed and the Soviet Union crumbled but perhaps the Cold War just went dormant. History has a way of screwing with our schema like that. Czar Putin’s proposed Eurasian Union sounds like the Soviet Union just without the veneer of communist ideology. Of course, the very idea of “Czar Putin” wanting a Cold War shows the convoluted nature of things as the czar was taken out to make way for Lenin’s communists, which directly led to the Cold War between the democratic West and the communist East. The theme that links the seemingly divergent periods in Russian history seems to be an authoritarian impulse by its leadership coupled with an inferiority complex toward Europe.

  • Elizabeth

    Turks/Georgians I’ve talked to in the Caucasus would claim that the Cold War never ended on that front and it just ended in Eastern Europe and everyone forgot about them. Then again I feel like every time someone says “Cold War” another Russian approves of Putin.

    • http://carsontclark.com/ carsontclark

      Interesting.

  • http://tonydahlman.wordpress.com Tony K. Dahlman

    Granted my knowledge of international current events or history isn’t where it used to be, I have been a little hesitant to buy into this “new/continued Cold War” rhetoric. While I am concerned about Putin, the economy of Russia is a shell of what it was in the 1980s. A quick look at the GDP rankings has them somewhere between Italy and Brazil. And the rampant corruption in the economy doesn’t seem like it will improve all that quickly.

    • http://carsontclark.com/ carsontclark

      Good and interesting points. The point of continuity, of course, being the lingering threat of their nuclear arsenal. The point of discontinuity, from what you’re saying, being their socio-economic status.

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