Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Despite rhetoric, Russia and US can’t afford another Cold War

The United States has denounced the Russian involvement in Crimea as “a brazen military incursion“ and its annexation of the territory as "nothing more than a land grab” by Moscow. In the pre-referendum phase of Crimea,Washington adopted a tough posture, sending 12 F-16 fighters and 300 military personnel to Poland for joint NATO training.

But after the Russian takeover of Crimea the US has ruled out any military incursion in the Ukraine over Crimea issue and has preferred to opt for economic measures, putting sanctions on 11 Russian and Ukrainian officials and hinting at more stringent measures to come.

In his turn Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov told John Kerry there would be “consequences” if any significant economic sanctions were enacted by the US. The stand-off continues.

After the end of Cold War the ideological differences between US and Russia seemed to fade, especially on how to deal with terrorism; the US dealing with the consequences of 9/11 and Russia, mindful of its own problems with terrorism, co-operating.

But the US-Russia confrontation over Georgia in 2008 initiated a string of spats: tussles in the UN over Syria and the Iranian nuclear programme exposed fundamental differences in the two countries' foreign policy interests, while Russia’s granting of asylum to Edward Snowden and the launch of a talk show on state radio hosted by fugitive Wikileaks boss Julian Assange – shortlived but irritating to Washington – seemed to be prime examples of Moscow thumbing its nose at the US. But this latest stand-off on the Ukrainian crisis has developed into the worst East-West confrontation since the Cold War.

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