Cold War II

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For the 2016 film, see Cold War 2 (film).

Cold War II,[1][2] also called the New Cold War,[3] Second Cold War[4][5][6] and Cold War 2.0,[7] refers to a renewed state of political and military tension between opposing geopolitical power-blocs, with one bloc typically being led by Russia,[8] while the other refers to the Western world. This is akin to the original Cold War that saw a global confrontation between the Western Bloc led by the United States and the Eastern Bloc led by the Soviet Union.


Some sources use the term as a possible[9] or unlikely future event,[10] while others have used the term to describe ongoing renewed tensions, hostilities, and political rivalry that intensified dramatically in 2014 between the Russian Federation on the one hand, and the United States, European Union, and some other countries on the other.[11] While some notable figures such as Mikhail Gorbachev warned in 2014, against the backdrop of Russia–West political confrontation over the Ukrainian crisis,[12] that the world was on the brink of a New Cold War, or that a New Cold War was already occurring,[13] others argued that the term did not accurately describe the nature of relations between Russia and the West.[14] While the new tensions between Russia and the West have similarities with those during the original Cold War, there are also major dissimilarities such as modern Russia's increased economic ties with the outside world, which may potentially constrain Russia's actions[15] and provides it with new avenues for exerting influence.[16] The term "Cold War II" has therefore been described as a misnomer.[17]

The term "Cold War II" gained currency and relevance as tensions between Russia and the West escalated throughout the 2014 pro-Russian unrest in Ukraine followed by the Russian military intervention and especially the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in July 2014. By August 2014, both sides had implemented economic, financial, and diplomatic sanctions upon each other: virtually all Western countries, led by the US and EU, imposed restrictive measures on Russia; the latter reciprocally introduced retaliatory measures.[18][19]

Tensions escalated in 2014 after Russia's annexation of Crimea, and military intervention in Ukraine. In October 2015, some observers judged the developments in the Middle East to be a proxy war between Russia and the U.S.,[20][21] and even a "proto-world war".[22] In January 2016, senior UK government officials were reported to have registered their growing fears that "a new cold war" was now unfolding in Europe: "It really is a new Cold War out there. Right across the EU we are seeing alarming evidence of Russian efforts to unpick the fabric of European unity on a whole range of vital strategic issues.”[23] Jeremy Shapiro, a senior fellow in the Brookings Institution, believed the unfolding situation in and around Syria was "a very, very familiar proxy war cycle from the bad old days of the Cold War".[24]

An article in The National Interest explained why there would not be another Cold War[25] while in an interview with TIME in 2014, Gorbachev alleged that the US was dragging Russia into a new Cold War.[26] In February 2016, at the Munich Security Conference, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that NATO and Russia were "not in a cold-war situation but also not in the partnership that we established at the end of the Cold War,"[27] while Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, speaking of what he called NATO's "unfriendly and opaque" policy with regard to Russia, said: "One could go as far as to say that we have slid back to a new Cold War."[28]


Alternatively, a Yale University professor David Gelernter,[29] a Firstpost editor,[30] and South Asia Analysis Group[31] refer the term to possible tensions between the United States and China. Talk of a new cold war between the US (alongside its allies) and China has grown particularly with increased Chinese assertiveness in the South China Sea.[32]

See also


  1. Dmitri Trenin (4 March 2014). "Welcome to Cold War II". Foreign Policy. Graham Holdings. Retrieved 4 February 2015. 
  2. As Cold War II Looms, Washington Courts Nationalist, Rightwing, Catholic, Xenophobic Poland, Huffington Post, 15 October 2015.
  3. Simon Tisdall (19 November 2014). "The new cold war: are we going back to the bad old days?". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media Limited. Retrieved 4 February 2015. 
  4. Mackenzie, Ryan (3 October 2015). "Rubio: U.S. 'barreling toward a second Cold War'". The Des Moines Register. USA Today. Retrieved 28 January 2016. 
  5. Bovt, George (31 March 2015). "Who Will Win the New Cold War?". The Moscow Times. Retrieved 28 January 2016. 
  6. Trenin, Dmitri (2 March 2014). "The crisis in Crimea could lead the world into a second cold war". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 January 2016. 
  7. Eve Conant (12 September 2014). "Is the Cold War Back?". National Geographic. National Geographic Society. Retrieved 4 February 2015. 
  8. Powell, Bill. "A New Cold War, Yes. But It's With China, Not Russia". Newsweek. Retrieved 16 April 2016. 
  9. Pavel Koshkin (25 April 2014). "What a new Cold War between Russia and the US means for the world". 
  10. Lawrence Solomon (9 October 2015). "Lawrence Solomon: Cold War II? Nyet". 
  11. "Welcome to Cold War II". Foreign Policy. 4 March 2014. Retrieved 10 November 2014. 
  12. Conant, Eve (12 September 2014). "Is the Cold War Back?". National Geographic. Retrieved 19 December 2014. 
  13. Kendall, Bridget (12 November 2014). "Rhetoric hardens as fears mount of new Cold War". BBC News. Retrieved 20 December 2014. 
  14. Bremmer, Ian (29 May 2014). "This Isn’t A Cold War. And That’s Not Necessarily Good". Time. Retrieved 19 December 2014. 
  15. Stewart, James (7 March 2014). "Why Russia Can’t Afford Another Cold War". New York Times. Retrieved 3 January 2015. 
  16. "Putin's 'Last and Best Weapon' Against Europe: Gas". 24 September 2014. Retrieved 3 January 2015. 
  17. “The Cold War II: Just Another Misnomer?”, Contemporary Macedonian Defence, vol. 14. no. 26, June 2014, pp. 49-60
  18. "U.S. and other powers kick Russia out of G8". 25 March 2014. Retrieved 7 August 2014. 
  19. Johanna Granville, "The Folly of Playing High-Stakes Poker with Putin: More to Lose than Gain over Ukraine", 8 May 2014.
  20. "U.S. Weaponry Is Turning Syria Into Proxy War With Russia". The New York Times. 12 October 2015. Retrieved 14 October 2015. 
  21. "U.S., Russia escalate involvement in Syria". CNN. 13 October 2015. Retrieved 17 October 2015. 
  22. "Untangling the Overlapping Conflicts in the Syrian War". The New York Times. 18 October 2015. Retrieved 19 October 2015. 
  23. "Russia accused of clandestine funding of European parties as US conducts major review of Vladimir Putin's strategy / Exclusive: UK warns of "new Cold War" as Kremlin seeks to divide and rule in Europe". The Daily Telegraph. 16 January 2016. Retrieved 17 January 2016. 
  24. ""The Russians have made a serious mistake": how Putin's Syria gambit will backfire". The VOA. 1 October 2015. Retrieved 17 October 2015. 
  25. Rojansky & Salzman, Matthew & Rachel S (March 20, 2015). "Debunked: Why There Won't Be Another Cold War". The National Interest. The National Interest. 
  26. Shuster, Simon. "Exclusive: Gorbachev Blames the U.S. for Provoking ‘New Cold War’". TIME. TIME. 
  27. "Russian PM Medvedev says new cold war is on". BBC. Retrieved 13 February 2016. 
  28. "Russian PM Medvedev equates relations with West to a 'new Cold War'". CNN. 13 February 2016. Retrieved 13 February 2016. 
  29. Gelernter, David (3 April 2009). "Welcome To Cold War II". Forbes. 
  30. Jagannathan, R (24 August 2011). "Is the Cold War really over? Well, Cold War II is here". Firstpost. 
  31. Kapila, Subhash (25 February 2016). "United States Cannot Afford Two Concurrent Cold Wars – Analysis".  (Original publication)
  32. Pilling, David. "US v China: is this the new cold war?". Financial Times. Retrieved 16 April 2016. 

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