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The New Cold War Is A Reality

Sometimes things happen, things we’re not eager to admit, because we don’t want to fall prey to them. Yet denying their existence causes even more trouble …

In a previous article, I mentioned the casual introduction of the New-Cold-War narrative to everyday life. To back up my argument, here are a couple of headlines from the past few days, all of them involving the term ‘Cold War.’

VICE – How Nick Clegg Cooked Brunch Instead Of Preventing A Cold War (click here)

BBC – New Cold War Coming (click here)

Also, for a more in-depth analysis of the nature of this situation, here is a great article from the magazine Foreign Affairs titled Managing The New Cold War.

The original Cold War’s third lesson might be the most important. Events, and not predetermined plans and policies, usually determined U.S. and Soviet behavior. In the current crisis over Ukraine and in others to follow, the United States and its European allies should therefore focus on influencing Russian choices by shaping events rather than by trying to change the way the Kremlin sees things.


At the moment, emotions are running high in Moscow, Washington, and the capitals of Europe, and the confrontation over Ukraine seems to have taken on a momentum of its own. If somehow the Ukraine crisis fades, the intensity of the new Cold War will weaken, but not end. If the crisis in Ukraine deepens (or a crisis elsewhere arises), so will the new Cold War. In other words, Ukraine is central to the direction the confrontation will take, but not everything depends on what happens there. Just like the original Cold War, the new Cold War will play out on many stages, and it will not even begin to be resolved until both sides recognize the high costs of the course they are on and decide to tackle the difficult steps leading to a different path.

Clearly this is going to be a major problem, if left untended, if those involved pretend it’s not happening. How do we deal with it? I don’t know. Let’s start with acknowledging its existence and taking it from there.

From your reality-obsessed Spin Doctor,

Eyes open, mind sharp.