The Russian Response to Western Strategy
Dr. Nadia Arbatova
Department on European Political Studies,
Institute for World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO),
Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia
The recent Caucasus crisis has become a culmination of the Russia-West security differences and raised fears of a new Cold War. Given that “Cold War” is not so much a scientific but rather a journalistic term; any serious confrontation between Russia and the West can be labeled as “a new Cold War”. It is often used to describe any heightened tension between states, but this interpretation does not indicate any starting point from which the rise in tension can be measured and its probable consequences and dangers assessed. As we know from our recent history, the Cold War was a period of conflict and competition between the US and the Soviet Union that began in the 1940s and lasted until the early 1990s. This period can be characterized by several distinguishing features which are in fact missing in the current situation. Nonetheless, the last decade of mutual dissatisfaction and mistrust has deeply affected the Russia-West relations. After the end of bipolarity these relations passed through several stages beginning with euphoria in early 90s and ending with the recent flare-up in tensions between Russia and the United States during the Caucasus crisis. Why did it go wrong? And what should be done to avoid a new confrontation, whatever the name, between Russia on the one side and the United States, NATO and the European Union on the other? What are the possible scenarios in the Russia-West relations?