Global powers play Cold War games

By: Laman Sadigova

A year into the Ukrainian crisis and it appears the world has reverted back to a Cold War set up, with Russia on the one side and the U.S. and the EU on the other.

The world is witnessing a split in its political map involving new camps and new players. While certain relations unraveled under the strains of conflicting wills and agendas, new friendships were brokered, putting former foes in the friends’ zone.

Bystanders of the last Cold War, which could have ended with the Cuban Missile Crisis, are watching the two powers clash over chessboard which Ukraine has become, holding their breath as the two players are making their move.

It is safe to say that Crimea’s merger with Russia was an unexpected event.

Will Western countries allow Russia’s such an easy victory in this game of confrontation? Hardly.

Moscow, despite its apparent pole position, untied the EU and the U.S.’ hands by its actions and gave them new instruments to use against its interests.

U.S. intelligence expert and analytical organization Stratfor believes that the military conflict in Ukraine grew into a confrontation between Russia and the U.S. Perhaps, their confrontation since the Cold War never ever really went away and instead stagnated, waiting for the right momentum to re-emerge.

U.S. frequent statements that Russia has “violated the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine,” claiming that the referendum in Crimea was fabricated, clearly showed Western powers’ position towards Russia. The U.S. did not show the same degree of severity in other conflicts – for example when Armenia invaded Azerbaijan, putting 20 percent if its land under military occupation the U.S. failed to demonstrate much zeal in addressing the issue. Even the EU failed to master much conviction when calling on Yerevan to withdraw behind its borders.

And while many expected that neither Russia nor the U.S. would actually lock horns over Ukraine, and instead simply clench their fists and exert some degree of political pressure, the situation got quickly out of hand.

The two super-powers have now reached a crossroad. First blood was drawn when the U.S. decided to hammer Russia with a series of sanctions, which severely affected Russia’s economy.

The goal was to isolate Russia from the rest of the world, regardless of the harm it will do to the EU and the U.S. economic interests.

In return, Russia imposed sanctions against the EU and the U.S.

The U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki reported that imposing sanctions against Russia after the reunification with Crimea are going to remain in force until such a time when the peninsula returns back to Ukraine.

Ongoing growing tensions between the two powers have lasted a year now.

News of military mobilization from both the U.S. and Russia has meant that people have remained wary of developments, fearful that war could erupt at any moment. And though both Russia and the U.S. have said they were only training their troops, many saw through the smokescreen.

David Cameron, the prime minister of the UK said that “an attack against one or several members [of NATO] is considered an attack against all”. What if we read between the lines? Was it an open fulmination?

Experts have reported that three hundred U.S. Marines will arrive in the Ukrainian city of Lviv for joint exercises with the Ukrainian army. At the same time, Russia is conducting exercises to strengthen the defense in the North and the South Caucasus, including Armenia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The Russian army will also have exercises in Crimea. Analysts expressed their concerns about NATO forces activity in the Baltic countries and Russia’s increasing pressures.

Hundreds of U.S. military vehicles have arrived in the Baltic states and they are going to stay in Europe. Perhaps, UK Defense Secretary Michael Fallon’s words about “real and present danger” of Russia trying to destabilize the Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia were an attempt to defend and acquit U.S.’s actions.

Fallon also said NATO must be prepared for aggression from Russia “in whatever form it takes”. It seems the U.S. and its allies are looking for an excuse to harshly punish Russia for moving against Ukraine.

The conflict between the two giants may lead to a world crisis, a 21st century’s disaster. It remains unclear whether or not the U.S. is ready to use drastic methods and whether or not Russia has enough power to retaliate.

SOURCE: Azer News