Why are we witnessing today what looks like the re-emergence of the Cold War between Russia and the US at a time when the roots of the Cold War in these two countries’ competing social systems have long been effaced? Bill Clinton’s extension of US military-political alliances ever closer to Russia’s borders initially sharpened conflict in the 1990s. The rise of nationalism in Russia in response laid the basis for Vladimir Putin’s ascendancy and his effort to restore his country’s international status and power. Against the resulting background of mutual distrust, random and unconnected developments have combined to set the the two countries on a collision course: US intelligence agencies’ claims of Russian interference in the 2016 US elections; heightened conflict in the Middle East, driven by Putin’s alliance with Assad and America’s with Saudi Arabia; and Russian interventions in Crimea and Ukraine. A wholly avoidable conflict today threatens to spin out of control, risking a conflagration in no one’s interest.
Robert English Director of the USC School of International Relations and author of Russia and the Idea of the West: Gorbachev, Intellectuals, and the End of the Cold War
Tony Wood Author of Chechnya: The Case for Independence
Co-sponsored by the Center for European and Russian Studies