During his time in Munich, Russian PM Medvedev stressed the fact that a new cold war might dawn. He delivered a show as 2007 Putin did on Nato and Ukraine, so as Russia then set in place „facts“ 2014 in Ukraine, it might be good to look what “cold war” might mean if it takes again 5 – 7 years in preparation to come.
(Note: I would like to refer you to the article of Bernd Greiner: Kalter Krieg und “Cold War Studies”, in which he refers to historic, economic, political and military definitions of that term.
Online link: (Bernd Greiner, Kalter Krieg und “Cold War Studies”, Version 1.0, in: Docupedia-Zeitgeschichtem 11.02.2010, URL: http://docupedia.de/zg/Cold_War_Studies abgerufen am 15.02.2016.)
So let’s first adress the usual images of „Cold War“ with a closer loot to the real issues.
Usually one refers to “Cold War” as the “long peace” between the nuclear states USSR and USA. It took part in the Northern Hemisphere from 1947 – 1991. It was ended around the time, the Berlin wall came down. Cold War took place in the northern Hemisphere, atomic bomb threats were made, it was a time, where the nuclear war was prevented, a time of hard kept peace between…
.. well.. not quite…
Long kept peace:
In fact 1947 to 1991 was the time, where more than 150 heavily armed conflicts took place, proxy wars of the big powers, fought in other countries (that had no atomic bomb). And this also was fought in the southern hemisphere, in African and South American countries. Of course there was no nuclear war between the two nuclear blocks, no one wanted to erase themselves in attacking the other directly, but lots of heavily conflicts in other states on behalf of that.
It was also the time for despots and tyrants to declare their alignment with power state x or power state y, and so with their claim to help against the big enemy, they got military Equipment by their „friend“ and could claim power over their citizens in their own countries.
Capitalism and Trade:
Cold War was the time, where the countries on earth were divided according to the countries they referred to economically. So whether they traded with USA or with USSR and China.
It was a time of “vital” partners, vital cooperation, vital alliances. It was a time, where seemingly “remote controlled governments” of smaller countries were just as possible as governments waiting, which of the big hegemony partners would be the right one, so a time, where smaller countries could wait and see, who would be the referred choice that would then help them grow. An interesting field of power for small states with large ambitions.
Place of Cold War / Battlefields:
The cold war took place between USA and USSR – right?
They were in threat of getting bombed, right?
Especially in Europe, Cold War is remembered as a time and place, where the war could happen in any moment on the own soil. Due to the split of Germany, one of the scenarios was Berlin as a place of invasion.
This changed. Tremendously.
Russia invading Ukraine showed, that it does not have the potential for a starting point of a new cold or hot war. Yet what is visible: Medvedev’s point of being at the verge of a Cold war might mean, they want the former states back. It could be seen as the warning of a Russia, ready to occupy the former USSR States that joined Europe in the east enlargement (with support of Russia.
Geostrategic and geopolitical might be the terms to use in the next months to follow.
The questions one can ponder on, according to the short remarks above:
- Who is my (economic) ally? (which ressources do I have / can I get?)
- Where do I deliver my military equipment to?
- Which countries might be good for proxy wars?
These three questions will be the main focus of any Cold War discussion. So let’s start with it
Only if Question 3: Proxy wars, can no longer be answered, the issue of a Third world war might arise. yet: who really wants the atomic bomb set fire in the own country.. ?
GEOSTRATEGY, ECONOMY AND MONEY; Yes, Medvedev, MONEY.
Irak was a geostrategic war. Yet the Obama administration lacked any geostrategic movement. In fact the letting go of Irak showed a USA ready for an autonomous region and government there. This might change in the years to come, with an other president. Yet right now it is as it is.
Syria destabilized. Despite his red line warnings, America did not act geostrategic yet waited for an UN-mandate – that was blocked by Russia.
Yet, Russia was active, claiming Ukraine back. Ignoring UN mandates and resolutions for this.
Hm. Stage set, Russia already Shows clear signs of ignoring any international community or international law.
So which other international actors act geostrategic?
Europe, e.g. in my understanding, even with the east enlargement, is not a geostrategic player, if so, Turkey would be part of Europe since it asked for it (as providing access to the black sea). Yet the fact that Turkey, and with it its access to the black sea , is denied due to humanitarian reasons, one can really consider Europe as an idealistic or liberal Federation with no real geostrategic interest.
China might be a geostrategic player, with expanding interests all over the globe, claiming also access to the Arctic. They set up an island in the sea, devastating ecological treasures, ignoring international upheaval and UN resolutions, also they keep the occupation of Tibet. So China is the a geostrategic player next to Russia with the same mind set than Russia.
The question hidden here is, would China be a singular economic and political player, or shoulder to shoulder with Russia. So therefore, Russia claiming being the owner of the Arctic, would they consider China as a partner in the Arctic? Or would China even cockfight with Russia on this?
So, by nature, America under the Obama administration shows a lack of geostrategy in military terms, Europe does not show geostrategic interests, China and Russia yet are forces and international player on the state since decades, ignore boundaries and frontiers, acting against humanitarian law in occupying countries, ignoring international or law and resolutions in their geostrategic interests. North Korea in the past weeks showed an interest in stepping onto this stage of actions.
So let’s take a look closer at the economic issues.
China, Russia, Brasil, India, South-Africa crated the Brics states. A new trade and money organization. Goldman-Sachs coined the word “Brics”, blessing the cooperation with a name.
TPP, TTIP are names of contracts on the other side of cooler/hotter side of this new emerging “cold control”, economically speaking.
What about the crude stuff – called oil?
Russia came out of a phase where sanctions are against it, but especially where the breakdown of the oil price heavily impacted its economy.
This did not start with the Iran-Deal, in fact the time, when the change on the Throne in Saudi-Arabia occurred, the oil prices broke off even with the usual fix. Some of the breaking might have occurred due to the inflow of ISIL-Daesh related Oil to the market – so one issue of the cold war might be – who was the one floating the international markets with the Terror-Crude?
Russia is rich in gaz. Yet turkey declined cooperation with Russia on a pipeline.
The Arctic is rich on oil and gaz – yet maybe too dangerous to drill there.
Nevertheless, for a country claiming geostrategy, claiming military occupation of the Arctic, something different then Syria and Ukraine may be behind the words of Munich.
The former Cold War “red” related Asian countries now show interest in the economy of the West. With the trade agreements waiting in line, but a Cold War threat issued, it might be just a matter of time until the Asian countries turn into the economic proxy wars of the coming time.
So economically, the Near, Middle and Far east are the places of the proxy wars of the next Cold War era.
Asymmetric Warfare is called any means that is used to veil / cover, that a war takes place in a certain area, while another area is used as a scenery.
In Munich the real arguments against Russia were: Destabilizing Europe in enhancing the refugee flow towards Europe.
Since the Russians started to bomb in Syria, the refugee flow from that area increased. Starvings re most likely.
The bombings do not target Terror groups or areas where fighting needs to stop,
Russia bombs in Syria, no Assad at a negotiation table. The Refugees stream into Europe increased counts of hundred thousands … one really might consider a destabilization, if there was a Europe interested in being a global player.
Yet Humanitarian reasons win .. and .. just as I spoke about this earlier, there are no geostrategic interests of the federation of Europe.
So – the area of the new proxy wars is declared also in military style.
It is the Near and Middle East. With asymmetric warfare against Europe.
Fazit: If the term „cold war“ is coined, the set is staged for proxy wars.
the area most likely are:: Near and Middle East & Arctic as Military battleground,
Near, Middle and Far East as economic Proxy war area.
It took Putin 7 years from his outcry to his invasion to Ukraine.
With TPP, TTIP and BRICS, economical war may be quite clearly to be seen soon.
And the Proxy wars might also slowly but clearly put in place.
Let’s see who’s next to join the stage as actor