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Rejecting Cold War II, Fearing World War III

Denying Cold War II (Credits: The Hill)

Western leaders seem hesitant to acknowledge a stark reality in today’s geopolitical landscape: we are embroiled in a new Cold War. Specifically, authoritarian regimes in countries like Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran, along with their allies and affiliates, are actively engaged in what can be termed as Cold War II against the West.

While these autocratic regimes have individually challenged the United States and its allies for years, if not decades, recent developments indicate a more coordinated effort to undermine the U.S.-led international order.

This coordination became apparent when Vladimir Putin, just before the second invasion of Ukraine, solidified a “no-limits strategic partnership” with Xi Jinping in Beijing. China’s subsequent actions, including substantial support for Russia’s war economy and military capabilities, underscore this coordinated effort.

Fearing World War III (Credits: Foreign Policy)

Additionally, Iran and North Korea have intensified their collaboration with Russia, further enhancing its capacity to inflict harm on Ukraine. Iran’s proxy, Hamas, contributed to the chaos by launching a brutal attack on Israel, diverting Western attention and delaying international responses to the Ukrainian crisis.

Putin’s Repeated Invasions and Annexations of Territories in Georgia and Ukraine

Despite mounting evidence, Western governments appear reluctant to acknowledge the onset of a new Cold War. There is a pervasive fear that escalating confrontations with aggressive adversaries could inadvertently lead to a shooting war, whether due to miscalculation, accident, or deliberate action.

President Biden’s cautious approach aims to prevent such escalation, but it also raises concerns about maintaining a status quo that leaves Russia in control of Ukrainian territory. On the other hand, former President Trump’s willingness to entertain Russia’s expansionist ambitions risks setting a dangerous precedent for other aggressive powers.

Both approaches carry the risk of encouraging aggressors to pursue further territorial gains, reminiscent of historical precedents such as Nazi Germany’s “salami tactics” before World War II. Putin’s repeated invasions and annexations of territories in Georgia and Ukraine underscore this point.

A NATO-Russia Conflict Over Ukraine (Credits: RAND Corporation)

Biden’s reluctance to provide Ukraine with essential weapons stems from concerns about provoking Putin into more aggressive actions, including the potential use of nuclear weapons or attacks on Western allies.

A similar dynamic is observed in the Middle East, where Biden’s cautious response to Iran’s aggression reflects concerns about wider regional destabilization.

In facing these challenges, the West must recognize the importance of supporting populations living under oppressive regimes. By leveraging information warfare, the West can empower these populations to seek political change and challenge authoritarian rule peacefully.

Eventually, history has shown that oppressive regimes pose not only a threat to their own people but also to global stability. A robust and strategic approach, reminiscent of the Cold War era, is necessary to counter these threats effectively.

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