As references to the ‘New Cold War’ abound, it is refreshing to read the analysis in Issue 49 of the Nato Watch Observatory, page 3:
“Based on the available evidence, a more accurate portrait of Russia would depict a more or less normal great power pursuing its own interests, sometimes in concord with the West and other times not, but usually in alignment with at least some Western countries.
“The Russian establishment’s views both of international order and of what constitutes national interest do not differ fundamentally from those of the harder-headed members of the West’s own security establishments….
“The red lines on both sides have been clear at least since 2014, and possibly as far back as 2008. It is understood that NATO will not defend any country that Russia might attack, and that Russia will not attack any country that NATO might defend. This leaves both sides—unlike the great powers before 1914—free to employ the rhetoric of confrontation without running the risk of actual catastrophic war…
“Nurturing a fear of Russia does not merely distract attention from the problems that are weakening and dividing the West, but by doing so helps to make them worse”.
In The National Interest, Doug Bandow writes: “President Donald Trump entered office with praise for Russian President Vladimir Putin and support for improving Washington-Moscow relations. A year later President Trump surprised even his aides by congratulating Putin on the latter’s reelection and suggesting a summit meeting between the two leaders . . . President Trump has stood by, mostly silently, as bilateral relations continued their slow-motion collapse and though there are diplomatic tensions there is no new Cold War”.
Bandow points out that Russia’s foreign policy is essentially conservative and restrained, though not pacifist and in contrast, “America’s is unconstrained and frankly militarist, determined to transform the world in its image, or at least in its interest. The Russian government’s greatest concerns are maintaining control, gaining respect for Russia’s interests and safeguarding its boundaries.
May 31, 1990 on the White House lawn, formal greetings from President Bush for Mikhail Gorbachev, later president of the USSR.
Declassified diplomatic records which may be read here, showed the security assurances given in 1990 against NATO expansion to Soviet leaders from Baker, Bush, Genscher, Kohl, Gates, Mitterrand, Thatcher, Hurd, Major, and Woerner. Bearing in mind these assurances, Moscow considers the incorporation of Ukraine, expanding NATO activities up to Russia’s borders as a security threat and a violation of the West’s commitment not to expand the transatlantic alliance eastward.
In It’s Nato that’s empire-building, not Putin, Peter Hitchens asks, “Two great land powers face each other. One of these powers, Russia, has given up control over 700,000 square miles of valuable territory. The other, the European Union, has gained control over 400,000 of those square miles. Which of these powers is expanding?”