If you ask several people on the street if we are in a new cold war with Russia, then you will get different responses from each of them. The same would apply to the different political parties. In my article, Are We Going Through a Media Blackout? I touched on how our media often bases it’s reporting tactics upon what’s hot and what’s not in their own political corner. In particular, the Republican party feels America should be fearful of some things, like Russia and Ebola, while the current Administration would rather play down these events due to the fact that it can place it into a negative light. So if you were to ask anybody in our current Presidential Administration if we were in a cold war, the answer would be Absolutely Not.
Of course, we may get the opposite response from any republican leaning reporter. Not only might such a person state that yes, we are in a new cold war, some may even say that the last one never ended. So placing politics aside, I decided to analyze just what a cold war is and how it might relate to current events using a point scale.
The definition of a Cold War is as follows:
a state of political hostility between countries characterized by threats, propaganda, and other measures short of open warfare, in particular.
Earlier this year, Russia annexed Crimea, the Southern portion of Ukraine. In addition, Russia appears to be aiding rebel fighters in Ukraine’s East by supplying them with weapons, vehicles and troops. Although Ukraine is not a member of NATO, it does hold strategic interests to the Alliance. In response to Russia’s meddling in Ukraine’s East, the United States has threatened and imposed several rounds of Sanctions against Russia’s economy. Consolidating these, I will just count this as one threat point from the United States. In response, Russia’s President Putin also attempted to apply sanctions on the West, in the form of food imports. This ads another point to the threat scale.
Russia claims that the leaders of Ukraine use and support Pro-Nazi tactics. Since many members of this government are actually Jewish, I have to assume that this isn’t true. In addition, the Pro-Russian Rebels in the East do things such as fire into residential areas and promote pictures of the dead in social media for the sole purpose of blaming the Ukraine Government. Again, we’ll consolidate these and add one point to Propaganda.
Since this crisis began, Russia has placed as many as 50,000 or more troops on it’s border with Ukraine. In response and escalation, the United States and NATO have also placed a formidable military presence on Russia’s border in the Eastern NATO States. This is another point to the threat scale accounting for both Russia and the United States.
Propaganda was probably at its worst so far at the time a Malaysian airliner was accidently shot down over the East in Ukraine. The West claimed that the plane was shot down by Russian Anti-Aircraft Weapons. The claim is that a Pro-Russian Commander was bragging about the incident on social media, up until it was discovered to be a commercial civilian airliner, which lead to an immediate deletion of the comments. Photos of a Russian Rocket Launcher were also posted to support this theory. Russian media however, claims that the plane was followed and fired on by the Ukrainian Air Force. They even went as far as showing video on Russian State Run Television, showing a Ukrainian Jet firing on the unsuspecting MH-17. This footage however was later proven to be fabricated for the sole purpose of propaganda. Giving this incident its own propaganda point, we are now two for two between on threats and propaganda.
Crash site of MH-17 (NBC)
In late summer, Russian guardsmen apparently crossed a border and supposedly kidnapped an Estonian Border Guard. Russia however spread the propaganda that he was abducted on the Russian side of the border in an attempt to spy, but further investigation indicates the opposite. These actions by Russia were not only threatening in nature and useful in its propaganda, but it could be considered a direct attack against a NATO Member State. So we apply one point to threats, one point to propaganda and another into Other Measures.
In nuclear concerns, Putin has had no shortage in regard to bragging about Russia’s nuclear capabilities. He has stated publicly that Russia is one of the most powerful nuclear nations in the world, and here lately has had no problem implying that Russia’s nuclear capabilities may have even surpassed those of the United States and NATO. Russian State Run media also made claim that it can turn the United States into, ‘Nuclear ash.’ It is highly unusual for a world superpower to make mention of their nuclear capabilities, unless it was for the purpose of making a threat or inciting propaganda. In this case, it was for the purpose of doing both, so one point to each of these categories.
To top it all off, and this is probably one of the most extreme indications that we may be in a new cold war, is the fact that Russian bombers and jets have threatened the airspace of NATO (Including the United States) not just one time, not just a dozen times, but hundreds of times since the start of the year that Russian planes had to be escorted out of another nation’s airspace. We expect this trend to continue as the Russian Military says it will soon begin patrols inside the Gulf of Mexico, bringing even more tension to an already tense situation. For the sake of argument, I’ll count all of these as one point. However, the United States isn’t completely innocent either. Though it’s on a far smaller scale that that of its Russian counterpart, the US was also accused of launching a drone into Russian airspace, which was chased into Swedish airspace, with no advance warning to Swedish Authorities. At this time however, both Sweden and Finland appear to have a closer relationship with NATO than they do Russia. These two countries, who are not actual members of NATO, are bound to be suffering from at least some fear from Russia due to the events in Ukraine. Nevertheless, another threat point goes to the United States. Considering that some of these flights may have actually violated territory, an argument can be made that other cold war type measures have also been taken in these incidents.
Russian bombers like the ones chased off the coast of California (CNN)
More recently, Sweden claims to have evidence that a Russian Submarine had violated its waters. Part of this evidence includes Russian communications taking place from the point of the suspected violation zone. Must of this is still unconfirmed, but just the fact that the Swedish Government was thrown on high alert following the accusation, is enough to add another point to the threat scale, and a possible point to Other Measures in event a violation did occur.
Photo of alleged Russian Submurine in Swedish waters
As we go inside of Russian media, we find more propaganda. While the United States has apparently been downplaying the possibility of a new cold war, Russia seems to be doing just the opposite. A person will not have to look very hard to find Russia’s Government making claims that NATO, along with the United States, are an imminent threat and may attack Russia at any time. With the additional action of revamping and securing Russia’s bomb shelters, the Russian people are in no doubt expecting a war with the United States. So while America’s Government clearly wants its people to feel safe, their Russian counterparts are on high alert.
These are just a few highlights on the provocative actions taken by both Russia and NATO so far. China’s sudden interest in Russia can also be seen as provocative to the West as well, and some even fear a potential alliance between the two nations, which could be seen as a necessary ingredient leading to a new world war. Aside from what we see in the public viewing arena, there are bound to be several other incidents taking place right now that also indicate the fact that we are in a New Cold war, but I’m convinced that just on the few examples that I provided, we have enough points to show that this is the case. Both sides are clearly spreading propaganda, making threats and performing additional measures that meet the definition of a cold war. Since this does appear to be the case, let’s just hope that like the one in the 20th century, it stays cold this time as well and doesn’t become the sum of all fears, a nuclear hot war between Russia and the United States.