implications of the Russian-American Cold War | By Ayaz Ahmed

Implications of the Russian-American Cold War

DURING his election campaign, President Joe Biden has repeatedly demonstrated his readiness to adopt a strict containment policy to deter Russian strategic intrusion into Eastern Europe and Chinese assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region.

This engendered a glimmer of hope among warmongering, pessimistic, and power-centric realists in the United States that their prediction about the direction of American foreign policy would turn out to be correct.

Today, the dangerous warmongering, tight-rope politics and saber-rattling between Russia and the West over Ukraine and China and the United States over East Asia have the potential to bring the pandemic-stricken world to the precipice of a limited but unpleasant war.

Since Biden took office, the powerful American security establishment has radically changed his view of the world, showing him Russia’s growing footholds in the Baltic region, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and the United States. Afghanistan.

The Pentagon believes that such a meteoric rise of Russia could pose a threat to the declining influence of the United States in these regions.

Thus, to curb Russia’s assertiveness in the Middle East and Eastern Europe, the Biden administration developed a harsh policy: it imposed strict economic sanctions on Moscow following the deployment of Russian troops on the border. Ukrainian and seems determined to punish Russia severely. with even more crippling sanctions if Moscow masses more forces on the Ukrainian border.

But Uncle Sam is grossly mistaken in this respect; punitive sanctions to persuade a resurgent Russia to agree to negotiations are unlikely to achieve the desired result.

The United States seems to have blatantly failed to grasp the fact that President Putin lifted Russia from the rubble of its crushing defeat in the late 1980s.

Now, Moscow is poised to challenge waning US influence in Pak-Afregiona and the Middle East by aiding the Afghan Taliban, the Assad regime in Syria and reinvigorating Russian ties with major Middle Eastern powers.

What seems certain about these geopolitical differences between Russia and the United States is that the world is, once again, immersed in the dangerous politics of the Cold War.

Since the end of the Cold War, Russia has carefully watched NATO’s steady expansion in its immediate backyard.

Since the disintegration of the (former) Soviet Union, the transatlantic security bloc has expanded its membership to 28, having added 12 more countries, including the three strategically important Baltic states.

And at its 2008 summit in Bucharest, Romania, NATO even promised possible membership to Ukraine and Georgia.

As a result, Russia annexed Crimea in 2014 and has widely deployed around 100,000 troops to its border with Ukraine this year.

The West supplied the embattled Ukrainian government with arms to deter Russia from launching a war against Ukraine.

Many Russian political and military leaders hold the United States largely responsible for orchestrating regime change during the so-called color revolutions in Eastern Europe in the early 2000s.

Moreover, Moscow sees a secret US hand behind the 2014 ouster of former pro-Russian Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych.

NATO’s expansionist stance and US policy of regime change in Eastern Europe prompted Russia to invade the important Crimean peninsula in March 2014.

Rather than resolving the Ukrainian issue diplomatically under the auspices of the UN, the United States has provided military equipment to the Ukrainian military to be used against Russian-backed separatists in eastern Israel. Ukraine.

It is imperative to mention that until 1917, when the communist revolution overthrew the tsarist system in Russia, tsarist Russia had long cherished the grandiose dream of economically and militarily dominating the Mediterranean and the Baltic regions.

During this period, Britain effectively acted as a balancing act by capitalizing on its naval supremacy to prevent Russia from posing a threat to British economic interests in the region.

British India blocked Russian attempts to extend its tentacles into the Persian Gulf via Afghanistan.

Now, Russia sees this as an opportunity to rely on the annexation of Crimea to realize its hitherto unfulfilled dream of carving out a special sphere of influence for itself in the Mediterranean rim region.

This has made the United States worried about a growing Russian presence in the region.

Therefore, Washington is deeply committed to providing military support to anti-Russian forces in Ukraine to push Russia back.

The more weapons the US-led West supplies to anti-Russian forces in Ukraine, the more Moscow tightens its grip on Crimea.

The Baltic region has also become a major flashpoint between the United States and Russia due to their massive military deployment in the region.

As part of its “Advanced Forward Presence”, NATO has deployed battalion-sized units in Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania and Poland, and is keen to further strengthen its military presence in these countries.

In addition, US rockets were placed in the Czech Republic and Poland. The Kremlin sees NATO’s military build-up as an aggressive posture and the systematic encirclement of Russia by the security bloc.

NATO’s militarized strategy in the Baltic States will force Russia to further increase its military presence in the region, thus increasing the risks of confrontation.

Due to its potential energy resources, the former Soviet Union and the United States fiercely competed for special spheres of influence in the Middle East during the Cold War.

In recent years, the US pivot to East Asia against China and its dismal failure to topple the Assad regime in Syria has opened the door for Russia to expand its military influence in the region.

Russia has strengthened its military ties with Egypt by sending some 500 troops to the country for joint military exercises when President Trump was in charge of the Oval Office.

The Biden administration views this growing Russian engagement with major Middle Eastern countries as a deliberate attempt to trump the US economic and military presence in the region.

For Washington, Russian dominance in the Middle East also means increased Chinese military and economic engagement with major regional powers.

If Arab energy-exporting countries lean towards Russia, it will force European powers to lift their economic sanctions against Moscow for importing energy resources from Russia.

—The author is a former senior researcher at the Pakistan Institute of International Affairs (PIIA) and now a Karachi-based editor and commentator.

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