Cold War II

For a list of various conflicts called "Cold War", see Cold war (general term). For the 2016 film, see Cold War 2 (film).

Cold War II,[1][2] also called the New Cold War,[3][4] Second Cold War[5][6][7] and Cold War 2.0,[8][9] refers to a renewed state of political and military tension between opposing geopolitical power-blocs, with one bloc typically reported as being led by either Russia or China,[10] and the other led by the United States or NATO. This is akin to the original Cold War that saw a global confrontation between the Western Bloc led by the United States and the Eastern Bloc led by the Soviet Union, Russia's predecessor.

The West vs. Russia

Some sources use the term as a possible[11][12] or unlikely future event,[13][14] while others have used the term to describe ongoing renewed tensions, hostilities, and political rivalry that intensified dramatically in 2014 between the Russian Federation on the one hand, and the United States, NATO, European Union, and some other countries on the other.[15] Oxford Professor Philip N. Howard argued that the new cold war has a distinct media dimension in that the battles are being fought over control of Russia's media broadcasters and through cyberwar between authoritarian governments and their own civil society groups.[16] While some notable figures such as Mikhail Gorbachev warned in 2014, against the backdrop of Russia–West political confrontation over the Ukrainian crisis,[17] that the world was on the brink of a New Cold War, or that a New Cold War was already occurring,[18] others argued that the term did not accurately describe the nature of relations between Russia and the West.[19] While the new tensions between Russia and the West have similarities with those during the original Cold War, there are also major dissimilarities such as modern Russia's increased economic ties with the outside world, which may potentially constrain Russia's actions[20] and provides it with new avenues for exerting influence.[21] The term "Cold War II" has therefore been described as a misnomer.[22]

The term "Cold War II" gained currency and relevance as tensions between Russia and the West escalated throughout the 2014 pro-Russian unrest in Ukraine followed by the Russian military intervention and especially the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in July 2014. By August 2014, both sides had implemented economic, financial, and diplomatic sanctions upon each other: virtually all Western countries, led by the US and EU, imposed restrictive measures on Russia; the latter reciprocally introduced retaliatory measures.[23][24]

Tensions escalated in 2014 after Russia's annexation of Crimea, and military intervention in Ukraine. In October 2015, some observers judged the Russian military intervention in the Syrian Civil War to be a proxy war between Russia and the U.S.,[25][26] and even a "proto-world war".[27] In January 2016, senior UK government officials were reported to have registered their growing fears that "a new cold war" was now unfolding in Europe: "It really is a new Cold War out there. Right across the EU we are seeing alarming evidence of Russian efforts to unpick the fabric of European unity on a whole range of vital strategic issues.”[28] Jeremy Shapiro, a senior fellow in the Brookings Institution, believed the unfolding situation in and around Syria was "a very, very familiar proxy war cycle from the bad old days of the Cold War".[29]

  EU/NATO countries

In an interview with TIME in December 2014, Gorbachev said that the US under Obama was dragging Russia into a new Cold War.[30] In February 2016, at the Munich Security Conference, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that NATO and Russia were "not in a cold-war situation but also not in the partnership that we established at the end of the Cold War,"[31] while Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, speaking of what he called NATO's "unfriendly and opaque" policy with regard to Russia, said: "One could go as far as to say that we have slid back to a new Cold War."[32]

In September 2016, when asked if he thought the world had entered a new cold war, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov argued that current tensions were not comparable: he noted the lack of an ideological divide between the United States and Russia, said that conflicts were no longer viewed from the perspective of a bipolar international system.[33]

In October 2016, John Sawers, a former MI6 chief, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that he thought the world was entering an era that was possibly "more dangerous" than the Cold War, as "we do not have that focus on a strategic relationship between Moscow and Washington.”[34] Similarly, Igor Zevelev, a fellow at the Wilson Center, said, "[I]t's not a Cold War [but] a much more dangerous and unpredictable situation."[35] CNN opined, "It's not a new Cold War. It's not even a deep chill. It's an outright conflict."[35]

United States vs. China

  United States

A Yale University professor David Gelernter,[36] a Firstpost editor R. Jagannathan,[37] and South Asia Analysis Group[38] use the term to refer to tensions between the United States and China. Talk of a new cold war between the US (alongside its allies) and China has grown particularly with increased Chinese military activity in the South China Sea[39] and with the US deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) in South Korea.[40]

Other analysts, including ones interviewed by The Straits Times, rejected the "new Cold War" reference to the US–China relations, mostly "citing obstacles such as a lingering distrust between [China, Russia, and North Korea]."[40] Nevertheless, the analysts suggested US and China to ease tensions between the two countries. Jin Canrong from Renmin University (金灿荣) said, "China remains committed to building a new type of major-power relationship with the US that avoids conflict and focuses on cooperation."[40] Wang Dong from Peking University dismissed the "new Cold War" talks as "media sensationalism" and further told the newspaper his reasons to reject the claim: "[F]or one thing, the two are highly interdependent, economically and socially, and, for another, the cost of rushing into a new Cold War for nuclear powers like China and the US is prohibitively high."[40] Chen Jian from Cornell University said, "A new Cold War is not going to happen if neither side makes serious mistakes, including mistakes related to misperceptions of a new Cold War."[40]

See also


  1. Dmitri Trenin (4 March 2014). "Welcome to Cold War II". Foreign Policy. Graham Holdings. Retrieved 4 February 2015.
  2. As Cold War II Looms, Washington Courts Nationalist, Rightwing, Catholic, Xenophobic Poland, Huffington Post, 15 October 2015.
  3. Simon Tisdall (19 November 2014). "The new cold war: are we going back to the bad old days?". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media Limited. Retrieved 4 February 2015.
  4. Philip N. Howard (1 August 2012). "Social media and the new Cold War". Reuters. Reuters Commentary Wire. Retrieved 2 August 2016.
  5. Mackenzie, Ryan (3 October 2015). "Rubio: U.S. 'barreling toward a second Cold War'". The Des Moines Register. USA Today. Retrieved 28 January 2016.
  6. Bovt, George (31 March 2015). "Who Will Win the New Cold War?". The Moscow Times. Retrieved 28 January 2016.
  7. Trenin, Dmitri (2 March 2014). "The crisis in Crimea could lead the world into a second cold war". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 January 2016.
  8. "Cold war 2.0: how Russia and the west reheated a historic struggle". The Guardian. 28 October 2016. Retrieved 24 October 2016.
  9. Eve Conant (12 September 2014). "Is the Cold War Back?". National Geographic. National Geographic Society. Retrieved 4 February 2015.
  10. Powell, Bill. "A New Cold War, Yes. But It's With China, Not Russia". Newsweek. Retrieved 16 April 2016.
  11. Boris N. Mamlyuk (July 6, 2015). "The Ukraine Crisis, Cold War II, and International Law". The German Law Journal.
  12. Pavel Koshkin (25 April 2014). "What a new Cold War between Russia and the US means for the world".
  13. Rojansky & Salzman, Matthew & Rachel S (March 20, 2015). "Debunked: Why There Won't Be Another Cold War". The National Interest. The National Interest.
  14. Lawrence Solomon (9 October 2015). "Lawrence Solomon: Cold War II? Nyet".
  15. "Welcome to Cold War II". Foreign Policy. 4 March 2014. Retrieved 10 November 2014.
  16. Philip N. Howard (1 August 2012). "Social media and the new Cold War". Reuters. Reuters Commentary Wire. Retrieved 2 August 2016.
  17. Conant, Eve (12 September 2014). "Is the Cold War Back?". National Geographic. Retrieved 19 December 2014.
  18. Kendall, Bridget (12 November 2014). "Rhetoric hardens as fears mount of new Cold War". BBC News. Retrieved 20 December 2014.
  19. Bremmer, Ian (29 May 2014). "This Isn't A Cold War. And That's Not Necessarily Good". Time. Retrieved 19 December 2014.
  20. Stewart, James (7 March 2014). "Why Russia Can't Afford Another Cold War". New York Times. Retrieved 3 January 2015.
  21. "Putin's 'Last and Best Weapon' Against Europe: Gas". 24 September 2014. Retrieved 3 January 2015.
  22. “The Cold War II: Just Another Misnomer?”, Contemporary Macedonian Defence, vol. 14. no. 26, June 2014, pp. 49-60
  23. "U.S. and other powers kick Russia out of G8". 25 March 2014. Retrieved 7 August 2014.
  24. Johanna Granville, "The Folly of Playing High-Stakes Poker with Putin: More to Lose than Gain over Ukraine." 8 May 2014.
  25. "U.S. Weaponry Is Turning Syria Into Proxy War With Russia". The New York Times. 12 October 2015. Retrieved 14 October 2015.
  26. "U.S., Russia escalate involvement in Syria". CNN. 13 October 2015. Retrieved 17 October 2015.
  27. "Untangling the Overlapping Conflicts in the Syrian War". The New York Times. 18 October 2015. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  28. "Russia accused of clandestine funding of European parties as US conducts major review of Vladimir Putin's strategy / Exclusive: UK warns of "new Cold War" as Kremlin seeks to divide and rule in Europe". The Daily Telegraph. 16 January 2016. Retrieved 17 January 2016.
  29. ""The Russians have made a serious mistake": how Putin's Syria gambit will backfire". The VOA. 1 October 2015. Retrieved 17 October 2015.
  30. Shuster, Simon (11 December 2016). "Exclusive: Gorbachev Blames the U.S. for Provoking 'New Cold War'". TIME.
  31. "Russian PM Medvedev says new cold war is on". BBC. Retrieved 13 February 2016.
  32. "Russian PM Medvedev equates relations with West to a 'new Cold War'". CNN. 13 February 2016. Retrieved 13 February 2016.
  33. Lavrov, Sergey (1 September 2016). "Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's remarks and answers to questions at a meeting with students and faculty at MGIMO University, Moscow, September 1, 2016". The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation. Retrieved 8 September 2016.
  34. Osborne, Samuel (12 October 2016). "World entering era 'more dangerous than Cold War′ as Russian power grows, former MI6 boss warns". The Independent. Retrieved 28 October 2016.
  35. 1 2 Labott, Elise; Gaouette, Nicole (18 October 2016). "Russia, US move past Cold War to unpredictable confrontation". CNN. Retrieved 28 October 2016.
  36. Gelernter, David (3 April 2009). "Welcome To Cold War II". Forbes.
  37. Jagannathan, R (24 August 2011). "Is the Cold War really over? Well, Cold War II is here". Firstpost.
  38. Kapila, Subhash (25 February 2016). "United States Cannot Afford Two Concurrent Cold Wars – Analysis". (Click here for original publication)
  39. Pilling, David. "US v China: is this the new cold war?". Financial Times. Retrieved 16 April 2016.
  40. 1 2 3 4 5 Kor Kian Beng (22 August 2016). "China warming to new Cold War?". The Straits Times.
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