Ukraine has re-sparked the Cold War mantra like never before. It has been nearly 23 years since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Since then the relations between Russia and the U.S. have “warmed.” Much of the world has forgotten the terrifying decades of the past, and the concerns are currently more focused on the war on terrorism. In Russia and the U.S. a whole generation grew up without the fear of nuclear war. Children grew up to be tolerant and it seemed that the Cold War was long over. However, now as the Ukraine crisis continues to boil, it is important to consider that the Cold War may never have officially ended.
The end of the Soviet Union era allowed for improved relations between the two superpower nations. Unfortunately with the continuous re-elections of the same leader, the superpower countries frequently ended up supporting different sides in many of the worldwide conflicts.
The tension has been increasing throughout the years and was most notably noticed during the conflicts in the Middle East, and during the Arab Spring conflict. These sparks of unrest are very similar to the ones during the period of Cold War. One could even classify the current Arab-Israeli conflict and the war in Syria as proxy wars between Russia and the United States. Proxy wars are defined as conflicts between third parties who are fighting on behalf of much more powerful nations.
The Cold War was filled with proxy wars in which the majority of the fighting happened in foreign lands. This is not much different from the wars in the Middle East. It seems that the civil war in Ukraine is yet another one of the proxy wars of today. As Western countries issue sanctions against more and more Russian officials, films about Russian mafia gain popularity in the West. It can seem that the officials in these Western countries are attempting to shape public opinion against the Russian population. As similar action was done during the Cold War, this has caused many people to worry that the Ukraine crisis has re-sparked the instability.
It can be argued that Cold War ended with the communist superpower, and since Russia today is extremely focused on capitalist ideals, the similar ideals would make a Cold War impossible. However much of Cold War was focused on the cultural differences between Russia and U.S. and not their respective economic ideologies.
As the Ukrainian crisis takes more and more lives, many citizens of the torn country hope that the newly elected billionaire candy magnate Petro Poroshenko will reunite its quarreling citizens. Since his win in Sunday’s presidential election, Poroshenko has ordered an attack against the Eastern Ukrainian citizens who are fighting to join Russia. Nearly 100 people were killed in Monday’s attack which marks one of the deadliest attacks by government forces against the separatists.
While the often called “pro-Russian” Eastern Ukrainian side fights to stay allied with Russia, much of the Western Ukraine desires to join Europe with high hopes that belonging to the European Union will help boost the Ukrainian economy and allow for the open borders between the European countries. With no official announcement that the Cold War was ever over, many worry that this split in opinions is enough to re-spark the nuclear worries of the past.
Opinion by Ivelina Kunina