Russia: The Cold War Returns

This is one in a series of essays about current global affairs.

Despite global warming, the Cold War is returning.

Russia, no longer feeling the “deep connection” between then-President Vladimir Putin and America’s former President George W. Bush, now is openly displaying disdain for the United States and the United Nations.

Putin, now Russia’s prime minister and running for a third term as president, not only is backing Syria with words but with weaponry as well.

Both Russia and China vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution for sanctions against Syria for the ongoing, daily massacres of the Syrian people by their government.

“In Syria there is a massacre,” Israeli Vice-Prime Minister Silvan Shalom recently told CNN. In a meeting February 13, 2012, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Turkey’s Foreign Minister Davutoglu discussed both Syria and Iran, noting the current similarities between the two nations.

One similarity not mentioned in the mainstream U.S. press was that both Syria and Iran are receiving weapons from Russia. While Putin himself has not handed a rocket-propelled grenade launcher to someone in Syria, the same day a shipment of arms bound for Syria was intercepted by the U.S, Putin told the world community that Russia backs Syrian President al-Assad. Iran has long been on the receiving end of both weapons and “nuclear devices,” purportedly for nuclear reactors, from Russia. Yet Iran announced Feb. 14, 2012, that their nuclear bunker was complete — a bunker built for making nuclear weapons. The U.S. Navy said on Feb. 13 that Iran was capable of sea-based suicide attacks similar to the attack on the U.S.S. Cole in Yemen, according to CBS News.

Neither Syria nor Iran is an American ally. While Russia technically is still considered an ally, more questions are being raised about loyalty to the U.S — particularly if Putin is successful in again winning the presidency.

“If he cannot change things and change himself, and I think that will be very difficult for him,” former Soviet Leader and President Mikhail Gorbachev — who ended the Cold War in the 1980s — said in a recent lecture at Moscow’s International University, “I think people will pour out into the streets.” 

Under Putin’s guidance, opposition leader Grigory Yavlinsky was banned from the March 4, 2012, presidential election. “[Putin] is convinced that he will win, of course,” said Gorbachev, despite the continuing outcry over the results of the December 4, 2011, parliamentary election in which Putin’s party purportedly won 49.3 percent of the vote.

By placing himself upon the world stage through his orchestration of not only Russia’s elections but the UNSC veto and the strategic armament of both Syria and Iran, Putin has become the face of the return of the Cold War.

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